Thursday, April 16, 2009


I've discussed the idea of a secession movement at some length with friends and family and I'm not sure I took the idea seriously even while I was entertaining it. I have for a while now thought that moves towards secession might be a good way to illustrate the frustration that people have with both the course of our governance and the widening chasm between people who see themselves as Liberals and Conservatives in this country. It's a difficult thing to maintain unity in a country that both encourages the freedom of one's political ideas but is also mired in a virulent partisan divisions. I believe that there are still significantly common ideas and ideologies in this country to support all of us together but there are solid reasons to believe that an environment of forced division and competing extremist political movements may not. This is one of the reasons that I am such an advocate for liberty and for the liberty movement. The initial premise is, unlike other systems, devoted to the idea that each of us can and should choose the way in which we live our lives and the political theories we wish to adopt.

The fact that Texas is talking about secession is really not a huge surprise to me. They have threatened this repeatedly throughout our history as a nation. Perhaps it is important to note that the only time they have actually voted and declared secession was in 1861. I'm not sure if there are significant numbers in the Texas political architecture that actually intend to follow through with it but I wouldn't bet my paycheck against it.

What I see as the positives of Texas secession: for starters there is the immediate disconnection with the federal tax system and the ballooning national debt. That's significant, it's basically like you or I declaring bankruptcy without the credit problems. Second of course would be the hardest blow in favor of states rights since... well since 1861, and as a bonus there isn't an overreaching moral issue like slavery on which their opposition can hang a long and violent war. As such this might be the gambit that the state's rights movement has been waiting for. I doubt it about as much as I doubt the seriousness of the secession in the first place. Even as a simple act of protest this is a strong move for state's rights. One of the things they teach you in negotiation seminars is that you don't need to achieve your primary goal, you simply need to set a primary goal that makes meeting your actual needs seem attractive. A giant step forward in the quiet fight between the federalists and the state's rights crowd would be a very nice prize for remaining a state.

There are negatives in secession as well and not every state can do it easily. For Texas the large quantity of seaports, oil rigs and refineries makes for a pretty safe bet on a post secession small nation success. Landlocked states without significant commodities might suffer from what would assuredly be a bitter relationship with the remaining country. Many nations know that being on the outs with the United States Government isn't a great place to be.

So we shall see what comes from this and I'm not certain it will be much but the only real negatives I see are the ones that come with the independence of actually winning a secession fight. The other thing they teach you is that the key to any good negotiation is walk-away-power. And Texas is telling the world right now that they have tons of it.

Or maybe Rick Perry just announced his run for the White House.


Mel said...

If only Texans got along with Californians.... Imagine a new nation that stretched from Texas, through Arizona & New Mexico, and up the California coast. It would have what--a third or more of the US' GDP, the biggest ports & military bases, the wineries, tons of agriculture and no ethanol production, the best music, like half the "national parks" with none of their "national park" baggage, plenty of hard-working and inexpensive labor coming in from Mexico, and of course the best surf beaches in the lower 48. Throw in Oregon and you have the best county in the history of the Universe. I'm for it.

Anonymous said...

its all so very strange... When the going gets tough, the tough get... their own country?

Is this the strong american spirit we keep hearing about?