In what can only be a symbolic gesture of disunity, neo-secessionists have posted petitions for each State to be allowed to peacefully leave the Union on the whitehouse.gov website. There have occasionally been rumblings of secession over the last 150 years or so; and this seems to represent only a mild expression of the same with none of it actually supported by the corresponding State governments.
In what appears to be a movement motivated by a rejection of despotism, the surface appearance is anything but libertarian and completely contradictory in nature. At the very least, every single one of those petitions is completely anti-democratic, devoid of any kind of process in which each citizen in each State has been asked for support before attempting to pull the plug on the Union. I heap loads of criticism on this movement not because I am unsympathetic to the basic motivation behind the petition drive. I am sympathetic to those who are incensed by the indignities involved with what our national government has become; but it is wrongheaded to start a movement indignant of violations of a political compact in principle, while violating those principles at the same time. They damage their own credibility from the start. It reminds me of Nigel Farage’s famous question posed to the European Parliament regarding its demands that Ireland postpone elections in the absence of preparing their budget: “Who the hell do you people think you are?” These people have completely trashed democratic principles of individual sovereignty while behaving quite rashly.
Even if some find the idea of being free from the spending, debt and tyranny of the centralized administrative state appealing, the next step in rationalizing whether secession is a good idea is to consider what would be gotten in exchange; a very important question that most citizens in the South failed to consider 150 years ago when the reality of what they thought they voted for turned out to be much different than advertised as their society devolved into something resembling anarchy with pockets of hard tyranny. There is still much to be taken for granted concerning the current state of affairs, as distasteful as it is; and there is little to be gained by embracing a movement whose first official act is anti-democratic at its core.
To put another log on the heap of criticism, the alternative to secession, nullification, has not been tried to any extent to stem the ever encroaching tide of violations of State sovereignty. If a State cannot stand up for its sovereignty within the Union, how can it possibly stand up for its sovereignty outside the Union where doing so is much more of a daunting task? The opportunity to become a foreign political satellite is very real, especially when the body politic has a serious issue with being able to reject inappropriate advances. The maintenance of political sovereignty takes dedication by every citizen with an understanding of the consequences of neglect. That was the majority of the purpose behind constituting a national government with delegated spheres of sovereignty – in order to protect the undelegated sovereignty of the States from outside influences and those of other States. Secession would equal throwing that protection in the circular file with no plan for solving the real problem of violated sovereignty at the core of their complaints.
There is certainly much more to this ill advised approach to protest to pick apart. But I think I’ve done enough, at least for now, to bring a little sunshine to the cause. They are wasting our time and energy on a plan that has no hope of leaving everyone involved better off. They need to go back and figure out how to solve their problems another way or perhaps find some other place to go.