Secession is Freedom to Disassociate

Let me put my anarchist argument on the back-burner for a moment. It is often a philosophical argument I make: if the ends cannot justify the means, then societal order cannot justify state aggression. But even without the philosophical reasoning behind anarchism and the immorality and inherent injustice of a state, something we should all be able to get behind is secession.

Secession is not the elimination of the government, but rather the fracturing of the state into smaller states.

Conservatives today argue from a funny position: they argue against liberals saying that we need a less centralized government to increase competition and allow different people to make decisions best for their region and culture. And then they turn around and argue with anarchists that we need a strong centralized state to defend us from foreign aggression.

Liberals too have a contradictory position: they argue against conservatives that having a large centralized state is necessary to make sure no one is left without government to take care of them, and standardize things like roads, trade, education, and healthcare. But they also lament the fact that backwards politicians from, say, South Carolina have influence over progressives from California.

Why don’t we all just stop associating if we don’t get along? Do you spend your time campaigning against a restaurant that gave you bad service, or do you just stop going there, and warn others with a review? You don’t need to ban the restaurant to get back at them. They cannot take your money if you don’t voluntarily go there. If your state’s wants and needs do not match the federal government’s, why shouldn’t the state simply go its separate way peacefully, without being dragged violently back into the fold?

The state of Texas could simply become its own country if it thinks it has a strong enough military to stand alone, or can form proper alliances with other states. The state of California could become its own country if it thinks raising taxes to 90% will benefit its economy. Texas can ban immigration if it wishes, and California can ban guns. But currently federal laws generally trump state laws. California pot growers are still being raided because cannabis is illegal at the national level. And Kentucky is up in arms about federally sanctioned gay marriage. Wouldn’t everything just be easier if we let each state do what it wants? Isn’t it easier to move across state borders than to a different country?

With 50 nation-states we could shop around for the best fit, but with an overbearing federal government, we get the worst of both worlds. No matter where we go, we still have to pay for the largest military on earth, yet we still need to know each state’s laws, lest we wind up in prison for a decade because we brought legal pot from Colorado over the state line. States could be as secure or as lax in their borders as they want. The best tax policies for the economy would quickly show what type of government people want: even now people are fleeing California over their high tax rates.

Liberals shouldn’t have a problem with any of this because then their state could be progressive without being stopped by the federal government, or burdened by military expense. Conservatives shouldn’t have a problem because then they don’t have to pay for liberal federal programs, and won’t have their freedom jeopardized by the Feds.

What right does the federal government have to force a state to be a vassal of the United States government? If government’s are controlled by the people, and empowered by the people, doesn’t it make sense for those people to voluntarily start their own, smaller state that is a better match?

Now here is where I turn the anarchy back on: if a state is free to secede and disassociate with the old government, why not a town? Why not a neighborhood, or a single household? Why not an individual? If any of the people inhabiting these places step back into “your” society on “your government’s” land, they will again be subject to that government’s laws, same as it is now. So why not let them disassociate and stay away if they choose? Why not let people do whatever they want on their own land, and take issue only if their actions start to negatively affect those not on their land?

And I think this shows the true nature of government. They need you, they need us, because we fund them, and we contribute to their control and power. We are not free to disassociate, we cannot just walk away and say no thanks, we cannot take our business elsewhere. This sounds an awful lot like slavery. If we could simply choose another plantation to work on, or create our own garden, we would be free.

So if any state is free to secede from a larger government, then there is nothing to stop secession down to the individual level. And if a state is not free to secede, that means whoever has the most guns is the rightful ruler of earth. If you are against the freedom to secede, it means your support slavery, by keeping those who wish to leave in your club against their will.

If you are not free to secede, it is no use complaining if your next rulers are Muslims, or Christians, Republicans, or Democrats, fascists, or socialists, Chinese, Russian, or the United Nations. If Kim Davis or Kim Jun Un is in power, what each one says is the law of the land, and you have no right to disassociate. Go ahead and try to change it from within, and good luck, but meanwhile, live by all the laws handed down, and don’t complain about the enforcers of those laws just doing their jobs. Oh yeah, and the laws handed down will be designed to make sure you cannot change the system of the rulers.

You can say how it should be, and how the constitution meant it to be, but that isn’t the way it is. We have a dictatorial centralized state, and if we could all simply agree not to attack those who withdraw from the system, the world could quickly become a much better, and more free place.

The Moral Case for Secession 

5 thoughts on “Secession is Freedom to Disassociate

  1. I have a general point I’d like to present to you and I’m not sure which blog of yours will be responsive to your point in that given blog so, I will just pick one!
    The issue at hand right now is an overwhelming government state. We are in danger of losing The United States of America. The best experiment in all of human history for the world population at any given time. We are in danger of being taken over from within.
    Your argument as an anarchist is that a government will always try to usurp individual rights. I agree. We are there. But, I disagree that it’s a mistake to create a group coalition (a country) as our founders did, to ward off danger of being overtaken.
    Unfortunately, a fact of human existence is, you’ll always have the bad guys as part of the population. They are not content to “leave people alone”. But there is strength in unity. And everyone in the group needs to rely on each other when it’s a massive influx of “we want to take you over”.
    Now, this is where the vigilance comes in. Once we all decide that a subset of the group are going to defend us, we have to understand as a group that they are now not “in charge”. Once the threat is over, everyone goes back to their job of taking care of their own. The soldiers go home, the congress goes home etc.
    Our mistake IS NOT in having a constitution! Our mistake is laziness. Us letting these “takeover kids” lurk around Washington DC looking for another problem to solve or another hand to grease. Our mistake is, letting them react to every crisis with a huge new law! This is how we ended up with an income tax! And SS. And obamacare.
    Your dream of finding an island that is just going to be left alone is a pipe dream. The bad guys are out there. The most dangerous are wolves in sheep’s clothes (ex. The Romans, the British, Whitey Bulger, Hitler, Obama, Hillary) they will infiltrate a peaceful population just for fun. And unfortunately, Capitalism, as good as it gets, and as much as I believe in it as a system of living, is susceptible to these maniacs throughout history that need it all for themselves. Power is a higher driving force than money. Money is just money. But power comes with money. It’s a twofer and they want it all.
    A country, such as the USA, is the biggest defense history has ever presented to these types and since we are not complete serfs (yet) we have a responsibility and obligation to future generations to preserve this great country.
    Thanks Joe for a great blog!

  2. I do not think it is a mistake to create a coalition to ward off outside danger, i think it is a mistake to force others into that coalition. I am not against voluntary groups, we could accomplish the same security (or better) without government, even though it would seem very much like government. But since it would be a voluntary group, like a company, charity, non-profit, political action group etc., it would not violate people’s rights: people could simply not be involved if they so wished, and therefore not fund it.

    In fact it will be easier to be vigilant in a scenario with no government, than to be vigilant over a government. Voting has not been effective to keep tyrants out of government, and as the tyrants now design the system from within, it never will be. The Constitution still bind people without their consent, and as Lysander Spooner said, it has either authorized such a government such as ours, or has been powerless to prevent it.

    The real pipe dream is ever being able to control government. I don’t need an island, I am content right where i was born, and simply want to choose who provides me security, just the same as I choose which restaurant to eat at. The clear difference between power to force and power of money is that if the money cannot buy you the power of force, then there is no power of force.

    I would argue we do not have the best defense, as our own government is now the biggest threat to our survival, not some outside group.

    I always appreciate your comments because I know thought goes into them, and I know we agree on the basic premises! Maybe I’ll get you to come around one of these days 😉 Thanks!

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