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Commentary: We all secede | Revolution Now!

Commentary: We all secede

Submitted by Freedomman on Sat, 01/14/2023 - 10:22

by Eric Poutos

January 8, 2023 - Why is secession considered such an unspeakable thing by so many when it comes to peoples and nations when everyone - literally, everyone - practices it regularly in their own lives?

Who hasn’t left a bad job for a better one? Moved to another place? Parted from friends outgrown? Everyone has done at least one of these things. Many have done them all, more than once. Are they guilty of a moral wrong for having seceded from situations that no longer suited them?

Should people remain in dead-end jobs, never try living in another place? Continue to hang out with people with whom one no longer has much in common? Stay married just for the sake of staying married?


Everyone knows why not.

Because the alternative - staying put - leads to unhappiness, which easily leads to resentment and anger, particularly if the unhappy party is told he must stay and that he will be forced to stay.

This is explosive.

It is why there is divorce. It is why there is secession. Or at least, why there ought to be.

This was understood at the time of the Amerikan revolution, which by the way was no such thing. Just as the subsequent struggle circa 1861-1865 was not a civil war, either. Both were in fact attempts to secede from political associations that no longer suited the party that sought to secede.

The first was of course successful. The second wasn’t.

It is interesting that both were framed as what they weren’t. It is interesting not merely etymologically but also psychologically. It being necessary to evade thought - and thereby, discussion - of the facts of the matter.

Neither the Amerikan “Revolution” nor the Amerikan “civil war” were fought to establish radically different forms of government over the same group of people. What happened in France was a revolution. The monarchy was overthrown and replaced by a radical egalitarian system that sought to overthrow everything. Even to the extent of the calendar,
which was altered to something entirely new.

The Amerikan “Revolution” was about separating - that is, seceding - from Great Britain. One people - Amerikans - from another (Britons). No effort was made by the Amerikans to turn Britons into Amerikans or get rid of the King and Parliament in Britain. If the King and Parliament had deigned to allow the peaceful secession of the Amerikan colonies, there would have been no war at all. The same might have happened in 1861, when the people and states of the Southern Confederacy expressed their desire to depart from the Union - into which it had been understood all parties had agreed to enter and were free to depart from, if the arrangement ever became unwanted by any of the parties who agreed to it.

This latter is important because it marks a difference from the separation of the Amerikan colonies from the British Empire in that the Amerikan colonies had not previously been sovereign states who entered into a formal agreement with the Crown. But this was precisely the case as regards the Amerikan states that entered into an agreement with one another - i.e., ratified the Constitution. They did so as sovereign states and would never have done so had they suspected they were surrendering their sovereignty by doing so.

Lincoln - who was a revolutionary - denied this historical fact viz, the prior almost-secession of several New England states during the War of 1812 and then again, over slavery, ironically enough, all of which were considered legitimate threats by everyone at the time). He maintained that the Union was an ironclad and forever pact that, once agreed to, could never be dissolved for any reason.

Who would agree to such a contract? Perhaps the more interesting question is who exactly did agree to it? Schoolchildren are taught that “We, the People” did. But this is palpably untrue. There is no “We, the People.” It is a piece of rhetoric without substance.

Some people agreed to it - and those people have been dead for 200 years. What sort of contract binds the great-great-great grandchildren of the men who agreed to it? Contracts bind the parties that agree to be so bound - and no one else.

A man and a woman agree to marry one another. It is a specific contract made between two specific people, who make commitments to one another - the chief one being that they shall remain bound to one another until death do them part.

Yet even this commitment - to which each of the parties formally and publicly avow their agreement - is not considered irrevocably and permanently binding. If the married couple find, after having tried hard to resolve them, that they cannot resolve serious differences and for that reason their remaining together in happiness is no longer possible, then separation is regarded by almost everyone as acceptable and even salutary.

That being preferable to forced unhappiness.

None of us, as Lysander Spooner pointed out even before the attempt of the Southern Confederacy to leave the Union, ever committed to any contractual obligation with the federal government. It asserts dominion over us - as it does over the states. But does this assertion carry any legitimacy or is it merely something that is enforced? The question need not be answered as we all know what the answer is.

Yet why should it be so?

Human beings get along best when they aren’t forced to get along - or stay together. They are happiest when they are free to choose what suits - be it a job, a place to live, or whom to marry.

Happy families, communities and nations arise from voluntary free association. They become unhappy - and less free - to the extent they are less voluntary. A point is reached when going our separate ways is preferable to unhappiness that leads to resentment that can flash to anger.

There is a word for this - and perhaps it is time to begin saying it aloud.

Secession. The peaceful way to end all of the politically created problems of Amerikans.