Friday, April 17, 2009

Most likely to secede

Texas Governor Rick Perry is getting a lot of flack for his off-hand, tax-day comment that Texans might one day want to leave the union, and that the state's original treaty with the United States allows it to secede if its people so choose. Critics have him dead-to-rights on one point: Perry got the treaty wrong; Texas negotiated the right to split into five states, but not to regain independence. But those critics engage in wishful thinking by saying this means that Texas "can't" secede. Honestly, anything is possible -- if you can make it stick.

Look, no country likes to lose territory, and politicians rarely make it easy. But borders aren't forever. Countries get bigger, they get smaller, they split and sometimes they disappear forever. These changes occur no matter what is written in law books or inscribed in constitutions. The border revisions, more often than not, take place while bodies are cooling on the battlefield.

The United States is no exception. So far, the U.S. has grown bigger through the use of force, and it squashed the one serious attempt by states to leave the union (we're looking at you, Texas and friends).

But someday, 50 or 100 or 200 years from now, the people of some part of the country will once again want to split away. It might be Texas, it might be Vermont, or it might be your mom's backyard -- it doesn't matter. This eventually happens in all countries. If that restive region chooses a moment when the federal government is a bit weak, because of national decline, or war, or depression, it will stand a better chance of success than we can imagine right now.

Still, the federal government and many average Americans will react with outrage. Troops will be mobilized.

Then, the dissident region will whip out a treaty with a foreign power the U.S. can't afford to fight, or it'll detonate an atomic bomb in orbit, or it'll otherwise show that it has the ultimate trump card to play against any legal argument.

And then the world will have its newest independent nation.

Rick Perry probaby won't be around to see it happen. But someday, somebody like him is going to demonstrate the old truth that legal "can't" becomes realpolitik "can" if you're tough enough to back up your talk.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

For once, Texas Governor Rick Perry is correct. Many conservative and libertarian Americans agree that the right of peaceful, democratic secession by state convention is a legitimate constitutional right of every state in the union.

There are only two solutions to the massive Washington national debt now threatening the economic future and prosperity of every productive American. One is peaceful secession on the state level from the Washington Empire leaving the illegitimate federal debts with the Washington and Wall Street interests who created the debts. The second alternative is a constitutional amendment by the states to cancel the Washington national debt. The cancel the Washington Debt by 12/21/2012 Constitutional Amendment is now online at

April 17, 2009 4:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

secession is so cool...i'm for it!

April 17, 2009 5:23 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

Didn't I read a few years ago that the Arizona legislature had passed, or was trying to pass, a bill that would have Arizona secede from the U.S. if the federal government passed a law outlawing private possession of firearms, or some such?

Whatever became of that?

April 18, 2009 7:10 AM  
Blogger J.D. Tuccille said...


I vaguely remember that bill. Something similar was proposed in New Hampshire. There just wasn't enough support to get it through, so it died.

Legislators aren't generally drawn from the ranks of people who question government power.

April 18, 2009 7:35 AM  
Anonymous Frank said...

Before Perry breaks away from the USA, he needs to get his own house in order.

Beeville senior citizen Faye Freeman was effectively arrested and hauled in for questioning by Texas Ranger Andy Lopez and Beeville Police Department Staff Sgt. Richard Cantu for the thoughtcrime of sending tea tags (not tea bags, but the tags from the tea bags) to various government elected officials as part of the TEA party tax protest.

I guess the Texas Rangers are now the Texas Stormtroopers.

April 18, 2009 5:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The idea that succession would lead to independence from Wall Street and the "Washington Debt" is ludicrous. There's no place on this planet that isn't dependent on what happens on Wall Street (and y'all should be glad of it since at least your state governments have some tiny influence over Wall Street).

I think the US coastal states should secede from the states in the center who take our federal taxes and offer little other than bigotry and the corn syrup that's killing our youth.

April 19, 2009 4:40 PM  
Anonymous Goyim-American Libertarian Atheist said...

"If that restive region chooses a moment when the federal government is a bit weak, because of national decline, or war, or depression, it will stand a better chance of success than we can imagine right now."

That's the one bright spot in this huge economic mess - the US Federal Gov't is bleeding badly, broke, in debt and soon to go begging abroad for more borrowed bucks to fund it's addictions, so it's looking the most likely it ever has, that the USA may go the way of the USSR a la 1989, without a shot being fired, eliminating the need for anyone or any State to secede.

It's probably not likely, but I think it's certainly a possibility. No one thought the Soviet Union would fall, and when it did fall, it's collapse was rapid and spectacular - I wouldn't be shocked if the USSA follows suite before Obama's term is up.

Anyone see any downside to a loose confederation of 48 sovereign, independent Constitutional Republics with no central gov't?
I sure as heck don't see any - at least, what minor problems may arise are heavily outweighed by the benefits of not having that 800pound gorilla on our collective backs anymore. That's MY kinda "Hope and Change" ;-)

April 20, 2009 10:51 AM  
Anonymous Texas Transplant said...

Nope. Texas does, in fact, have the right to secede. Whether it should is another question.

April 22, 2009 3:25 PM  

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