Secession…an American Tradition

Texas Governor Rick Perry raised a few eyebrows recently when he used the “S” word in public. Secession, he said, was always an option on the political table as far as Texas was concerned.

Secession has been referred to by some political scientists as a “political divorce” of sorts. However, I don’t like to use divorce as a metaphor when discussing secession. When a couple is divorced, a family is destroyed, but when one political jurisdiction decides to break away from another, civil government is not destroyed. In fact, sometimes secession is done to preserve civil government.

Secession has been unpopular in the United States in recent times, because the last time it was attempted, 620,000 Americans were killed. The American “Civil War” was far from civil, and it accomplished little more than growing the federal government to a size that made King George III look like Ron Paul in comparison. Some historians have quipped that Lincoln didn’t free the slaves, but enslaved all Americans under one master in Washington, D.C.

Few governments have been more schizophrenic when it comes to secession. Since suppressing its own secession attempt, the United States has supported dozens and dozens of secession movements around the world.

For instance, when Eastern European countries began breaking away from the former Soviet Union, America cheered, sent foreign aid, and immediately recognized their sovereignty. I doubt that if Alabama or Texas decided to “break away” from the American Union, they would be met with the same support from “Chairman Obama’s” federal government. In fact, some officials and pundits responded to Governor Perry’s remarks by claiming they were treasonous.

It seems self-determination is great for everyone…except Americans.

I seriously doubt we will see any real secession attempts in America in the near future, and I personally question whether there is any state legislature that would offer a real improvement over the current regime in Washington, D.C.

However, the issue of secession should never be out of the question. To do so would be to deny the very origins of the American Republic. It was an act of secession that led to the formation of the United States. No rebel army fought for control of the colonial legislatures. Rather, it was the colonial legislatures that voted for secession.

This is the big difference between a “civil war” and a “war of independence.” A civil war is when two or more parties fight for control of the same government. A war for independence is when one government breaks away from another government. So, the American “Civil War” is technically inaccurate. “War Between the States” is also technically inaccurate, because, although states fought each other, it was under the guise of two national governments: the United States, and the Confederate States of America.

Most propagandists in the North didn’t call it a “Civil War,” but preferring the more condemnatory “War of Rebellion.” It was better PR for President Lincoln to be the aggressor quelling an internal rebellion than one suppressing a war of independence. That is why Lincoln never acknowledged the Confederate States as a nation and used every bit of his military-industrial complex to ensure no other nation recognized it, either.

As an interesting aside, the only organization to officially recognize the Confederacy was the worldwide Anglican Communion, which recognized the consecration of Rev. Richard Wilmer as Bishop of Alabama in 1862.

Although I believe American secession is unlikely in the near future, one thing could change my perspective. That is the rapid collapse of the American economy—particularly the dollar.

The American Empire has amassed an enormous debt, far exceeding $50 TRILLION in unfunded obligations. This debt is so incredibly high, it is mathematically impossible to pay off without either massive taxation or massive inflation—or both.

I have found that people are willing to think outside the box politically when extreme need or hardship gives them no other option. However, such political revolutions can be just as disastrous if they merely replace one “messianic state” with another.

American secession is a history of smaller governments desiring to preserve the endangered rights and liberties of their citizens. Secession to replace one form of government dependence with another is not secession but slavery.

But to those who categorically denounce American secession as treason or anarchy, I simply remind them that what made American great was not because it occupied a particular piece of dirt, but that it supported a unique worldview—a worldview that embraced the notion of God-given rights that are non-negotiable and whose security the civil government must guarantee. When civil government fails to defend these rights, it can—and should—be abolished and replaced by one that can (see the Declaration of Independence). This process might change the geography a bit. It certainly did in 1776.

What troubles me is that there are many so-called conservatives out there who would prefer to retain the present American geography but lose the American worldview. And they believe this is “patriotism,” when nothing could be more un-American.

Political geography may change. In fact, nothing has been more natural in world history. But as long as the American worldview survives, America survives.

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