Tue, 10 May 2005

Secession

Well, if Walter Williams can talk about secession, so can I. While there is much to love about America, there is much to dislike about its government. It surely seems as if the intent of the founders of this country intended to create a system of competing governments. The federal government has a strictly limited set of things it can do. All else is relegated to the states.

To hear people, America will live or die based on the results of the Presidential election later this fall. That's wrong, that's just wrong. The federal government is not supposed to be a concentration of power. While some people are worried about the power of corporations, they seem to be neglecting the power of the federal government. Corporate monopolies use the monopoly power of a government to force themselves on you. The trouble with federal government power is that it is the ultimate monopoly. It's the one with the guns that makes all the other monopolies work. If you live in the United States, you have no choice but to abide by federal government decisions.

The only way to escape a bad federal government decision is to emigrate from the United States. There are many reasons why that is difficult to do. If you look at the Constitution, there are many features designed to make it easy to escape a bad state government decision.

Everyone reading this can think of a round dozen really bad things that the federal government does. I don't intend to present my personal list here, because that would distract from the subject. My point here is that if you had the option of staying in the United States, and moving to a different state to escape those bad things, then you would be happier. More likely what would happen is that the states wouldn't do those bad things because it's predictable that people would vote "with their feet" to change those policies.

What to do

Of course you already know that I'm going to suggest secession. A lot of people think that secession was decided by the Civil War to be out of the question. You can go read Walter Williams article, linked from above. Without relying on the legality of unilateral secession, I would shoot for bilateral secession. A region like New York State's North Country (draw a line from Watertown to Plattsburgh; everything north of that is the North Country) is a net receiver of tax dollars from both New York State and the federal government. I would start with the idea that "you are paying us to remain in the United States. There is no sign that those payments will ever cease. We would like to leave and save you that money."

The key to this secession working is to re-create the intended conditions of the Constitution: competing governments keeping down the bad policies proposed by politicians. So, free immigration from the US, and free emigration back to the US. No tariffs with the US, no tolls, no travel restrictions. Stick with the dollar as the currency as long as the US doesn't inflate it. Stick with 120V power. Stick with driving on the right-hand side. Stick with all the things that people are used to, only make it so that the new country will thrive if it improves on USA policies.

Unrealistic, perhaps, to suggest that a region with no cohesive identity, no existing government, could secede. Maybe it would be better, then, to move to New Hampshire and join the Free State Project?

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