‘Secession Is A Deeply American Principle’

So sayeth Ron Paul, via his blog. Should we expect the retiring Congressman to return to Texas and lead its secession movement?

Is all the recent talk of secession mere sour grapes over the election, or perhaps something deeper? Currently there are active petitions in support of secession for all 50 states, with Texas taking the lead in number of signatures. Texas has well over the number of signatures needed to generate a response from the administration, and while I wouldn’t hold my breath on Texas actually seceding, I believe these petitions raise a lot of worthwhile questions about the nature of our union.

Is it treasonous to want to secede from the United States? Many think the question of secession was settled by our Civil War. On the contrary; the principles of self-governance and voluntary association are at the core of our founding. Clearly Thomas Jefferson believed secession was proper, albeit as a last resort. Writing to William Giles in 1825, he concluded that states:

“should separate from our companions only when the sole alternatives left, are the dissolution of our Union with them, or submission to a government without limitation of powers.”

Keep in mind that the first and third paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence expressly contemplate the dissolution of a political union when the underlying government becomes tyrannical.

Do we have a “government without limitation of powers” yet? The Federal government kept the Union together through violence and force in the Civil War, but did might really make right?

Secession is a deeply American principle. This country was born through secession. Some felt it was treasonous to secede from England, but those “traitors” became our country’s greatest patriots.

There is nothing treasonous or unpatriotic about wanting a federal government that is more responsive to the people it represents. That is what our Revolutionary War was all about and today our own federal government is vastly overstepping its constitutional bounds with no signs of reform. In fact, the recent election only further entrenched the status quo. If the possibility of secession is completely off the table there is nothing to stop the federal government from continuing to encroach on our liberties and no recourse for those who are sick and tired of it.

Consider the ballot measures that passed in Colorado and Washington state regarding marijuana laws. The people in those states have clearly indicated that they are ready to try something different where drug policy is concerned, yet they will still face a tremendous threat from the federal government. In California, the Feds have been arresting peaceful medical marijuana users and raiding dispensaries that state and local governments have sanctioned. This shouldn’t happen in a free country.

It remains to be seen what will happen in states that are refusing to comply with the deeply unpopular mandates of Obamacare by not setting up healthcare exchanges. It appears the Federal government will not respect those decisions either.

In a free country, governments derive their power from the consent of the governed. When the people have very clearly withdrawn their consent for a law, the discussion should be over. If the Feds refuse to accept that and continue to run roughshod over the people, at what point do we acknowledge that that is not freedom anymore? At what point should the people dissolve the political bands which have connected them with an increasingly tyrannical and oppressive federal government? And if people or states are not free to leave the United States as a last resort, can they really think of themselves as free?

If a people cannot secede from an oppressive government, they cannot truly be considered free.


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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43 Comments on "‘Secession Is A Deeply American Principle’"

  1. emperorreagan | Nov 20, 2012 at 10:18 am |

    Ignore all recent precedent and find something you like further back in history!

    A war was fought and the secessionists lost. The Supreme Court issued post-civil war rulings on the issue. The issue is settled law.

    So unless all states are going to vote to allow secession/to dissolve the entire union, or he’s proposing another civil war, he’s just babbling pointlessly.

  2. Almost all states where secession could conceivably pass are ones that are kept afloat by transfer payments and subsidies from the Federal government, What happens if a Red State full of Social Security recipients secedes and all those recipients are no longer US citizens as they enjoy their status as citizens of a free and independent nation?


    Texas is the only state I could imagine seceding which might actually make a go of it.

    This is something Democrats should enthusiastically support. Balance the budget and push the political spectrum to a new 2 party system… left and “left” centrist, the GOP would disappear. Millions of new jobs building border fences to keep TEH CRAZY in.

    States that want to “go Galt” should be permitted to go. The Constitution could be changed to permit secession.

    • emperorreagan | Nov 20, 2012 at 10:31 am |

      Texas’s long term trend is to become increasingly Hispanic. With a decreasing share of the voting population, the nutbag secessionists have a fairly small window to maintain control and try out their ideas. I don’t see them having a go at being successful – I could see the nutbag secessionists having a go at fences and ethnic cleansing, though.

      * Edited because my comment didn’t make sense without the second, omitted sentence.

      • agreed. If that happens, good time for anyone sane in TX to bug out. Anybody think Hispanics won’t shoot back? Especially if druglords start shipping mil-grade weapons back into the USA because there’s a sudden market. Would expect there to be lots of Hispanic vets with recent combat experience.

  3. Liam_McGonagle | Nov 20, 2012 at 10:38 am |


    There am a difference between conviction and refusing to learn from history.

    For instance, no matter how many times I use it as such, ‘am’ is not an acceptable alternative for the standard 3rd person singular verb form in English.

    *I call him Ron, instead of Mr. Senator. No, I’m not personally acquainted with him, but he just seems like a really warm, approachable kind of guy.

    • emperorreagan | Nov 20, 2012 at 4:59 pm |

      I call everyone by their first names, except cops because I don’t want to get shot and my doctor because I don’t want to be on a first name basis with the only man who fondles my balls.

  4. charlieprimero | Nov 20, 2012 at 12:02 pm |

    America loves Texas so much they would never let us divorce. Like an abusive spouse, they spew ridicule and threaten violence every time the topic comes up.

    Fedbitches suffer from a psychological condition known as Battered Persons Syndrome, ICD-9 code 995.81, which causes them to idolize their abuser. It’s very sad.

    • Liam_McGonagle | Nov 20, 2012 at 12:10 pm |

      You are most likely correct. But what if we perform a thought experiment?

      What if we extrapolate our experience of U.S. “free” trade agreements with foreign nations onto the hypothetical secession of Texas? Do you think there is any powerful constituency, either within Texas or the rest of the current U.S., that has any interest in preserving the standard of living for workers of a small nation virtually surrounded by a much larger, more economically robust and well armed neighbor?

      Even if you don’t believe that current Texas is an environmental basket case hell for wage slaves, there isn’t a very realistic case for improvement under secession.

      • charlieprimero | Nov 20, 2012 at 12:20 pm |

        Greater economic freedom tends to result in greater prosperity. Texas would boom after secession. It would surpass Costa Rica, Panama, and Ecuador as a haven for expatriates. Texas would be relived of the tax burden from America’s wars, the Federal Reserve Inflation Tax, and the $200,000 each unborn American owes on the National Debt.

        • Calypso_1 | Nov 20, 2012 at 12:34 pm |

          Do you think all the US defense contractors which make up a sizable share of the Texan economy would stay put?

          • Liam_McGonagle | Nov 20, 2012 at 12:58 pm |

            Excellent point: indirect subsidies aren’t measured by the net transfers metric.

          • Calypso_1 | Nov 20, 2012 at 1:32 pm |

            It raises a cascade of questions as well. Texas has the 2nd highest percentage of US military recruits. Losing them would be a huge blow to the US military. Remove the Red States as a whole and the US military is gutted of personnel. Most of the hawkish politicians come from Red states so if the US were to lose an aggressive stance that the Blue states are less inclined to support, would the Defense industry stay with them or move to the neoconfederecy?

            Command and control of militaries has historically not survived national level divisions…always a good reason to have a foreign war to fight instead.

          • Liam_McGonagle | Nov 20, 2012 at 1:56 pm |

            Well, that is yet another close parallel with the 19th century unpleasantness. Just about every officer of any degree of competence defected to the Confederacy.

            Didn’t do them much good, though, for obvious reasons. Apart from the CSA’s dwarfish industrial capacity (i.e., one rifle plant in Connecticut produced more arms in one year than the entire Confederacy did during the duration of the conflict), a drunken Ohioan named Grant stepped up to the plate and learned that all you need to do to win a war is be willing to kill a whole lot of people.

            May not be pretty, but the conclusion still seems fairly obvious to me: this is an experiment not worth repeating.

          • Liam_McGonagle | Nov 20, 2012 at 2:11 pm |


            “. . . Grant stepped up to the plate and learned that all you need to do to win a war is be willing to kill a whole lot of people.”


            ” . . . be willing to kill a whole lot of YOUR OWN people.”

            It should go without saying that this is not a strategy that favors a comparatively small population base.

          • Calypso_1 | Nov 20, 2012 at 2:57 pm |

            That and this time around they would be fighting an internal battle against their ‘coloreds’ as well.

          • JanuaryRevolution | Nov 20, 2012 at 4:10 pm |

            If/when sequestration goes into effect many of these contractors will be out of work. If anything, Texas being full of defense contractors will make them more likely secede.

          • Calypso_1 | Nov 20, 2012 at 4:43 pm |

            And accomplishes what? Most of those contractors are part of supply chains that extend outside of TX and not independent entites. What would an independant Texas have to offer? It’s currency would be what…tied to the Ruble (it’s a comparable economy) or maybe they can set up an oil for gold exchange with Iran? Are they going to start a war with Mexico? Sell oil field services to Russia & Myanmar?
            Its rather ironic that those who most easily fell prey to anti-NWO rhetoric are rather eager to adopt the supposed balkanization plans of their own free will.

          • The corporations that need warm body employees and know how to sucker local municipalities into paying for their infrastructures are already in the Red States, but if secession happens, no US Fed subsidies and no “new nation’ governments in a position to subsidize them. Corporations that need working infrastructure including public-funded higher education are in Blue states.

            If secession gets put to a vote, watch Walmart funding the nastiest negative anti-secession ads imaginable.

        • Liam_McGonagle | Nov 20, 2012 at 12:37 pm |

          What about all the additional governmental infrastructure, like defense and national regulatory regimes, that Texas would suddenly find it had to pay for 100% and on its own?

          Even if you plan on just rubber stamping toxic waste dumps for multinational corporations, etc., you still need an office, office supplies and utilities and a skeleton staff to process the worthless permits. Texas pays only a fraction of that cost now, probably around 2%, but it will have to pay 100% going forward for the myriad of agencies required to run a modern economy, even in a very slapdash fashion.

          And what about currency? Okay, relative to most U.S. states Texas’ economy is large, but don’t kid yourself. Creating a currency with the buying power on par with the Malawian Goat Turd is no acheivement, even if done independently. No, even if the remaining U.S. didn’t actively work to crush the Texan Estrella, or whatever they’d call it, Texas would have a long, uphill battle there, as it has no major world financial capital.

          Also don’t forget how far behind Texas schools are in comparative education statistics. Outside of the union, Texas would be even MORE dependent upon immigration than they currently are–and without the benefits of the enormous pool of workers legally eligible under current U.S. law. You don’t necessarily need rocket scientists to run an economy, but you do need people who can read, and Texas isn’t winning that race.

          Also, let’s be realistic–the remaining U.S. would have every incentive to undermine Texas at every turn. This has been the pattern with every one of its small trading parters around the world.

          It’s clear what would actually happen: the social divide would become even greater, with an ever shrinking pool of literate (for Texas) people grabbing even more power for themselves, as they mismanage the place into becoming the Ash Bin of North America. If you think horrific bribery scandals are a commonplace of Texas political life now, just you wait until secession has been in place for a while. Say a couple of weeks.

          Texas probably wouldn’t even be able to resist the inevitable military incursion from Mexico, once they decide to make good on the perennial threats to retake their territory.

          • why tell them? This is an idiocy the rest of us would profit by encouraging.

          • charlieprimero | Nov 21, 2012 at 1:06 pm |

            Texas already has its own military ( http://www.txmf.us ) and regulatory structures ( http://www.texas.gov ).

            We could debate all day about the positive and negative economic impacts of secession but the most important thing is the absurdity of people living under laws crafted by power elites thousands of miles away, regardless of whether it’s Washington D.C., Rome, Beijing, London, or Moscow.

            Poland from the USSR, the U.S. from Britannia, Taiwan from China, Mexico from Spain, …freedom from a failing empire is a good thing. Increased freedom is a good thing. Self-determination is a good thing. Frankly, I’m puzzled how anyone could be in favor of oppression and a stronger world banking cartel.

            Let’s free Scotland and Tibet while we’re at it.

        • Where do people think the economy of Texas comes from? If Texas were to secede without paying back it’s part of the debt it would be sanctioned by the US just like Cuba has been. Cut off from the US economy they’d wither just like Cuba has. Also, Texas is constantly wracked by drought, wildfires and hurricanes, and without federal aid those things would be much more devastating. Perhaps if they could convince the rest of the gulf states to secede with them their control of gulf shipping and a large part of the US refining capacity would give them some bargaining power, but if they were to go it alone they’d simply be cut off and left to rot.

          Besides, Texas is full of a lot of great people and the brain drain of all of those people migrating out of the state would be devastating.

        • If this is true, than the African Third World should be filled with rising industrial giants. No infrastructure, but governments that can be cheaply bought off to allow corporations and entrepreneurs to do as they please.

          You Libertarians just want to piggyback your personal growth in wealth off taxpayer-funded infrastructures paid for by previous generations of taxpayer funding whose maintenance you don’t want to pay for out of your own taxes.

          If you truly believe in what you say, don’t bother waiting for secession, common sense won’t dominate the discussion to the point where TPTB will permit it. Go Galt NOW in a Third World country with an unusually ineffective government. And do please post about your experience with rugged individualism here if you can find a way to access the Internet.

    • Calypso_1 | Nov 20, 2012 at 12:19 pm |

      Bollocks – Build a wall around Austin and start an airlift. Seeya Northern Mexico. Full support to the remaining neoconfederacy on their anti-immigration stance to keep the Texicans out.

      • charlieprimero | Nov 20, 2012 at 12:31 pm |

        Hahaha. That would be awesome. Austin is the whitest, most culturally segregated city in Texas. After Austin staved to death from lack of petroleum tax revenue or agricultural products, all us racial hybrids in the rest of Texas could knock down the wall and buy up their mansions and art galleries at reasonable prices.

        • Calypso_1 | Nov 20, 2012 at 12:40 pm |

          ; )

        • Kevin Leonard | Nov 20, 2012 at 3:09 pm |

          Austin is whitest city in Texas? What? Do you mean whitest with population over nnn thousand that is over nnn miles away from the border? Culturally segregated? I never felt racial tensions and separation in Austin the way I do sometimes in some places in Houston. Where are you hating from?

          • Have you ever lived in Austin? Austin is one of the most racist and segregated cities in Texas. You should see how the police force treats minorities in this city, it’s disturbing. For a time, there was a problem with Austin Police Officers shooting unarmed young minorities so often that there was a Federal investigation regarding the incidents. Not to mention, if you look at the amount of gentrification going on in Austin, it’s all set up to benefit the rich white citizens of Westlake, Tarry Town, Travis Heights, and Hyde Park neighborhoods while the cost of living goes up for those that are poor, elderly and minority. The most hilarious thing is that the PR department of the City of Austin has everyone suckered into thinking that this place is actually “liberal”. It’s really not.

          • Kevin Leonard | Nov 20, 2012 at 6:42 pm |

            Texas has an 80.9 % white population. Austin has a 68.3 % white population.

            Historically, Travis county has been consistently more liberal in its voting record than the vast majority of non-border counties in Texas.
            2004 http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/state.php?f=0&year=2004&fips=48
            2008 http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/state.php?f=0&fips=48&year=2008
            2012 http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/state.php?f=0&fips=48&year=2012

            I lived in Austin for 17 years. I lived on the East side my last year in Austin. Yes, gentrification happens, as it does in all cities that continue to have economic growth. It can hardly be said to be “set up” at all. And you cannot really take the actions of the police department as being in accord with the will and demeanor of the population.

            Austin is not as liberal as Berkeley, but how many cities are? For Texas, it was outranked only by Dallas in the liberal city rankings of the 2005 report by the Bay Area Center for Voting Research. Take a drive through the rest of Hill Country. Have lunch in one of their diners during lunch hour and tell me how much more liberal you find those towns.

          • charlieprimero | Nov 21, 2012 at 1:13 pm |

            Exactly. These douchbags who visit for SXSW or Formula 1 never ride out toward the lake or up into the hills where the power brokers live.

    • DeepCough | Nov 20, 2012 at 5:54 pm |

      I think you got it backwards: you see, Texas is the one which thinks it’s got “Terrorized State Syndrome,” and thinks it should secede to release itself from said tyranny; unfortunately, it fails to take into account the welfare programs it gets from the federal government it so detests: like the
      Border Patrol and National Guard.

    • Real opposition from the 0.0001% who don’t want to see their tax bills go up massively if US political spectrum shifts to a real left-wing political party (minus Red States, GOP is dead) vs a centrist-right Democratic Party where the few remaining GOP moderates wound up,

  5. "Big" Richard Johnson | Nov 20, 2012 at 12:27 pm |

    This all sounds rather seditious. Is there a drone in Mr. Paul’s future?

  6. Okay, guys, listen up! This has nothing to do with Red State/Blue State/Confederacy I’m a nut job kind of thing. There are those of us that would love to secede from this country and it has nothing to do with what a lot of Corporate Media outlets are feeding you. It’s interesting to see the Ron Paul hate whenever his farewell speech to the house is currently far more to the left than the current darling of the Democratic Party, Barack Obama. The man who murdered an unarmed 16 year old American Citizen without due process of Law who’s only crime was that his father was a terrorists, loved Harry Potter, and listened to Hip Hop records. The man who has secret kill lists, who is expanding the surveillance state further and further to the right beyond the wildest fascist dreams of Bush and Cheney, who loves the NDAA, indefinite detention, a man who is lecturing Palestine for rocketing Israel as we order illegal drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan. Yep. The President who never brought the evil doers of the banks to justice and helped the banksters fleece the general public for a job well done in thieving our money and throwing us out on our ass. The man who has Goldman Sachs and Lehmann Brothers stooges and executives just lining his cabinet like no tomorrow. Yep. The Monstanto stooge.

    A lot of us want OUT of that reality and frankly, when it comes to secession, we don’t need the f**king Supreme Court’s permission. Did we really seek King George’s permission when we seceded from the Crown? No, we did it anyway. We have a history of getting out of situations that we don’t want to be in. Now is definitely one of them.

    Seriously, this Red State/Blue State argument is ridiculous. They’re BOTH tools of the Corporate State. Stop trying to be “cool” and wise up.

    • emperorreagan | Nov 20, 2012 at 4:59 pm |

      You need the supreme court or a constitutional amendment/convention/whatever if you don’t want to go to war for secession. Or perhaps you forgot how the government tends to deal with separatists?

      Where is the history of getting out of situations we don’t want to be in? All of your examples point to otherwise, so there’s certainly no recent examples. Sounds like the hole is just getting deeper.

      • No, you really don’t need a Constitutional Amendment or a convention. Let them send in the federal troops and murder everyone and see who winds up having the good PR campaign. I haven’t forgotten how the government deals with Separatists, I’m very aware. It’s met with great violence, always has been and always will be. But here’s the deal: If we don’t want to be here, why do you want us to stay? The history I was referring to was the War of Independence against the Crown of King George. Sounds like someone doesn’t want to be taken seriously with their snark-y tone and doesn’t understand the meaning of “civil discourse”.

        • emperorreagan | Nov 20, 2012 at 9:30 pm |

          So you’re saying civil war. Which media outlet is going to give you good PR? Which patron country is going to protect the Texas insurrectionists, or are you counting on the military turning on its master?

          • War is probably the only path that would lead to the federal government giving up a portion of the country they see as their’s. Not though legal or peaceful means would any entity give up control of their seat of power or allow it diminished. Especially one that works against the interest of the people.

        • Calypso_1 | Nov 20, 2012 at 10:29 pm |

          You haven’t been hanging out here for very long if you think that was snark.

    • PossiblyMaybe | Nov 20, 2012 at 9:49 pm |

      Like you, I am no fan of Oh-Bomb-Ya. But I am torn when it comes to the issue of secession. It is kind of funny, though, when you realize just how polarizing he is: there are hardcore conservatives who want to secede because they think he is a Muslim socialist, and then there are progressives who think he is a conniving war criminal. So I suppose we could split the country up into like-minded chunks and see what happens. But I still have not given up hope that we might be able to nominate a purple candidate: someone who could bridge the gap between red and blue by running on ALL of the issues which both Obama and Romney agree. In order for such a candidate to succeed, we would have to get rid of the Electoral College once and for all. I am also fond of compulsory voting, although that is admittedly a tougher sell. If such a candidate were to fail in his/her attempts to bridge the divide, then perhaps I would finally be ready to contemplate secession…

  7. jimbo jones | Nov 20, 2012 at 11:52 pm |

    Mr Paul is talking treason. Though to be fair to him, Puerto Rico can probably claim it’s taxed without representation. But it has no army so the problem is moot. And Paul (who, some say, is a bit of a racist) isn’t talking about Puerto Rico anyway.
    If this Paul is such a hater of big gubment how come he served in it half his life and how come his gubment-hating Rand-loving son is a Senator? What a load of baloney. His gold standard malarkey is also absurd – gold standard + fractional reserve banking = money out of thin air. Full-blown gold-money = there just isn’t enough gold in the world. As a matter of fact, America was founded on… Paper money. The godfather of the founding fathers, Franklin, was a paper money fanatic (partly because he was in the printing business, hehe, old Ben sure got around). You think Roosevelt and Nixon dumped the gold standard because they wanted to? They had to, or the US economy would have imploded!

    I still can’t believe this guy managed to generate such a cult following. But then, if people like Joseph Smith, L. Ron Hubbard, and Ayn Rand had cults, why not Paul… Plus he does say some sensible things once in a while.

  8. Roger Mexico | Nov 22, 2012 at 5:33 am |

    For the record, I’m filing this secession stuff right up there next to the Great Liberal Exodus to Canada that we all remember from 2004 when… What? Oh, right, none of us remembers that because it was all a bunch of self-righteous hot air.

  9. does this mean I’m being deported to Connecticut??

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