You Can’t Be A Libertarian and Not Support Personal Secession

You cannot be a libertarian and not support (affirm, approve of, endorse) the right of any person to opt out of being a citizen of a government or state without being forced to leave the territory the state claims to rule. For if you do not support this right of personal secession, then you are endorsing the state’s coercions over unwilling and non-consenting subjects. Such an affirmation of coercion surely contradicts the Non-Aggression Principle. It approves of the state’s “raping” of nonconsensual persons who are forced to be citizens. To affirm this particular aggression is to deny the principle of consent of the governed as well as the broader principle of freedom of association. To deny consent of the governed is to approve of a form of involuntary servitude or slavery in which unwilling persons become the state’s subjects.

But since the right to opt out of a state and its government implies the right to choose one’s own non-territorial government, which is the central defining feature of panarchy, all libertarians necessarily must support panarchy if they really are libertarians. Libertarians may disagree on a number of meanings and implications of the NAP, but they cannot disagree on its implication that governance has to be with the consent of the governed. Without that consent, it is a basic, clear, and far-reaching aggression when a state takes control over one’s very person because of where one happens to be born and live.

This does not mean that libertarians are necessarily anarchists or fall into any other particular political category, because if they can opt out they can choose any of a number of political denominations to live by, with or under. Panarchy allows for a variety of social and political groupings within what are now the boundaries of states. Existing differences or social-political shadings among libertarians (thick, thin, minarchist, anarchist, anarcho-capitalist, private society, etc.) that arise from varying interpretations of the NAP and from other sources cannot possibly divide libertarians as panarchists since all libertarians must support panarchy.


11:53 am on May 20, 2014