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Secession: Are We Free To Go?

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Published : November 21st, 2012
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( 17 votes, 3.8/5 ) , 4 commentaries
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Category : Editorials





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.

Ron Paul

Full Transcript via Campaign For Liberty

Full video of Paul's address, courtesy of C-SPAN, is posted here:



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Congressman Ron Paul of Texas enjoys a national reputation as the premier advocate for liberty in politics today. Dr. Paul is the leading spokesman in Washington for limited constitutional government, low taxes, free markets, and a return to sound monetary policies based on commodity-backed currency. He is known among both his colleagues in Congress and his constituents for his consistent voting record in the House of Representatives: Dr. Paul never votes for legislation unless the proposed measure is expressly authorized by the Constitution. In the words of former Treasury Secretary William Simon, Dr. Paul is the "one exception to the Gang of 535" on Capitol Hill.
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Are States free to leave a Union/Association that tyrannizes its people? Yes, based on the abuse of individual rights.

Yet Ron Paul, and others (Rockwell, Judge Napalitano), show amazing confusion on the issue. Paul has argued that the South of 1860 had such a right of secession, even though the North showned no such tyranny, and even though the South was the abuser of individual rights via slavery. Clearly, a state has no right of secession if the goal is the preservation of the abuse of individual rights. So, again, a state cannot morally seceede from a union if the goal of that secession is to cement enslavement of people under that state's control.

Another problem: if Ron Paul is arguing secession based on whim then elements (counties, cities, neighborhoods, individuals) within that state may also logicaly secede -- everything devolving into anarchy. If anarchy is Ron Paul's real agenda then his ideas of secession will bring that about.

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Hey Jim. How nice of you to show us once again that you are incapable of reading an article and commenting on its contents. You have yet again tried to smear Ron Paul, the only reason for your post. You’ve done a fine job of putting words in Ron Paul’s mouth and at the same time shown that you are unwilling to accept historical facts. Living in Jimmy world must be wonderful but don’t you get tired of being alone?

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JC consistently accuses RP of being an anarchist, yet, you and i both know that RP is a strict Constitutionalist. I believe that document to be among the most sublime documents created by the mind of man. Others consider this document to be a hindrance to the centralized power structure that seeks to control every aspect of our lives under the guise of "It's for your own good." I can only conclude that JC forms part of that group "others" and therefore regards the Constitution as a document that needs to be shredded and torched along with the American middle class - traditionally the most powerful political class. Once the middle class and the Constitution have been eliminated all resistance to tyranny will evaporate with them, and that is the plan. JC frequents this site to keep an eye on the value of his 30 pieces of silver.
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Again Representative Paul brings up the subject of “force”. Forcing people against their will has been the way of tyrants as long as they have existed. Some believe that this force is necessary because other wise nothing good would come about. That begs the question who is the all knowing person or group who decides what is needed to create good.
Left alone people will, as a whole, choose good and right. My friend the cater of meals for groups as large as five thousand tells me that allowing people to choose their own plate or buffet style requires less food because people only take what they want and nothing more, as a general rule. There are, in every crowd, a few foolish who take more than they need or want, these are the exception. Intelligent people know how to choose rightly without force or extortion. Ignorant and the arrogant believe in force.
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JC consistently accuses RP of being an anarchist, yet, you and i both know that RP is a strict Constitutionalist. I believe that document to be among the most sublime documents created by the mind of man. Others consider this document to be a hindrance t  Read more
Cameron Waugh - 11/22/2012 at 3:01 AM GMT
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