The Moral Case for Secession

Secession is a Natural Right

Morality is what is naturally right or wrong. Saying someone has a “right” is a statement about an individual’s condition in nature, absent other parties. That is why rights are expressed in the negative: because a right is a declaration of the natural state of a human, and the assertion that another human that disrupts this natural state is in the wrong.

Therefore, there is only one natural right, from which all other rights stem: self ownership. Self ownership means only the individual gets to decide what happens with his or her body. Self ownership condemns nonconsensual interference with another person’s body.

In reference to human interaction, in nature an individual is at peace until acted upon by an outside force. Whoever wields that force is morally and naturally in the wrong. Justice is when a person who is morally in the wrong is held to account for their transgression of an individual’s right. Unless an individual violates the rights of another, it is immoral and unjust to violate that individual’s rights.

It is a natural right of the individual to secede from a larger group, because the individual owns himself and may decide what to do with his own body. Other individuals are not justified in stopping the exiting party, since it is not a violation of anyone’s state of nature to be disassociated from. The moral response to secession is to leave the individual or individuals to their own devices.

Secession Organizes Property According to Natural Rights

Forming free market startup societies or “geolibres” is in essence a secessionist movement. Secession is not the elimination of “government” per se, but rather the fracturing of the state into smaller states. Geolibres seek to remove private property from state control, and restructure that control under the property owners in order to form a more just society.

Geolibres are made up of voluntary groups of individuals. If government is by the people, and requires the consent of the governed, the structure of geolibres is the perfect government: the people who own the land all agree to start a society together. Then, as the land is inhabited, every new member of the society consents to its rules by moving there.

This differs from current government which exists without consent of the landowners, and which claims land already inhabited by people who had no choice in their government. Current governments form involuntary groups: people who are forced to associate as part of a country. It is not a government of the people if it does not require consent, and majority rule is not individual consent. Governments are funded by taxation which is also non-consensual, while geolibres are funded voluntarily. This means current governments are not structured to protect individual rights, as individual rights are violated in order to fund the government.

The only way for a government to be truly of the people, by the people, and for the people, is for every individual to agree to participate. Consensus is the only proper government, and geolibres have found a way to govern by consensus. That is, by forming voluntary groups. If someone disagrees with the structure of the geolibre, they are free to leave it, which is justified by the fact that they did not have to voluntarily join it in the first place.

This might sound the same as saying if you don’t like the country in which you were born, that you are free to leave. The difference is in how a government acts in relation to property rights.

First off, government claims the administration of communal ownership of countless unoccupied acres within its borders, authorized only by force. That land is all claimed without accordance to original appropriation and use, which forms the basis for property rights, stemming from self ownership. If an individual occupies and uses a previously unoccupied, unused piece of land, naturally and therefore morally, the land is his. He did not violate anyone else’s right of self ownership in that action, therefore it is immoral to violate his rights, for instance, if he built a cabin on “federal land”.

Secondly, traditional government enforces laws on all property, even if the owners do not consent to those laws. Ignoring for a moment how government is funded, it is otherwise moral and just to enforce laws on private property when a person who owns or inhabits that private property has violated another individual’s rights. This is because the person who first violated the rights of another was morally in the wrong, and justice is holding them accountable for their violation.

But government enforces other laws and regulations on private property which have nothing to do with natural rights, and are therefore unjust and immoral, because the government takes the first aggressive action, which violates an individual’s state of nature.

And finally, government funds all its services through taxation, which must be considered immoral and unjust since it is a non-consensual aggression which carries violent consequences if an individual refuses to pay. Rights have been violated in order to acquire the funding which government uses to carry out every function. This means government as it currently stands is not justified in owning land, nor enforcing any laws since enforcement first requires the violation of rights. If funding was voluntarily acquired however, it would be just to enforce only crimes with victims.

In contrast, geolibres solve this problem of consent: you must obey the rules on an individual’s private property, and an individual cannot place rules on others’ private property, nor claim administrative privileges of property that is already in use by another. But to reiterate, morally, true justice–as in, holding a rights violator accountable for his actions–may be served on private land regardless of whether the property owner agrees or not.

Secession is Legitimate Down to the Individual

If an individual owns land, he is free to be a government of one. Even if an individual does not own land, he is free to be a government of one on any previously unclaimed, unused land, which he then owns by being the first to claim and use it. When he voluntarily enters land owned by others however, he must obey the rules set forth by the property owner.

There must be consensus in government for it to be moral and just, and when a larger group cannot come to an agreement, the only moral course of action is to allow the group to fracture until agreements can be had in all the subgroups. If an individual cannot come to terms with the group, he is also morally free to separate.

Even within the confines of a geolibre, is is not moral to dictate what non-aggressive actions can be done on one’s own property. If the geolibre was formed with land in common, then the rules set forth by the communal owners of that land must be followed. But this association cannot morally kick someone off of their own land, simply because that land falls within the confines of the geolibre–assuming the individual did not agree to specific terms when purchasing the land within the confines of the geolibre.

Consent is necessary for all moral interactions, and an individual disassociating from others is no violation of natural morality.

People are morally free to disassociate peacefully if they do not get along. Most people find others they share similar beliefs and visions with, and therefore voluntarily team up. They may not agree all the time, but if they see value in the partnership, all their decisions will be by consensus, as the alternative is going their separate ways. As soon as consensus is not reached, smaller groups can then secede.

Secession is Moral, and Stopping Secession is Unjust

The only moral form of government is by complete consent of all governed. Geolibres, free market startup societies, organize in this fashion. They are formed on private property that has been acquired without aggression, and do not force any rules on anyone except what participants voluntarily agree to. Otherwise self ownership, the natural law which dictates morality, is the only tenet.

Governments have no right to keep those in their system without consent. This is a violation of individual rights; even if the majority consents, this does not make consent for the individual.

An individual human in his natural state is free and unharmed, therefore it is morally wrong for another human to nonconsensually disrupt this natural state, and it is just to punish the aggressor in any human interaction.

Startup societies must be free to break away from larger governments in order to form a peaceful voluntary society of individuals’ own choosing. This is the next giant leap forward for mankind; a world where people are truly self governed, down to the individual.


6 thoughts on “The Moral Case for Secession

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