Monday, April 20, 2009

Ron Paul Discusses Secession

Dana Garrett sent me this video and we agree that he makes strong points.

The option of secession, while attacked by those with grand unitary government tendencies and recently exploited by an opportunistic Texas Governor (a bit of a redundancy, no?), is nonetheless a legitimate and valid means for a state ultimately to divorce itself completely from collectivist policies that have been dragging the Great Republic down increasingly dangerous paths of unchecked, highly-concentrated power.

Obviously secession would be an extreme measure under extreme circumstances, not easily accomplished by any state. But it should remain an option of last resort, as a real check on excess federal unitary power, especially in waging undeclared wars in the name of the United States, for example.

It is kind of interesting if people should begin thinking of our nation's name as what it means : The United States of America...a collection of constituent states united, rather than the federal-centric monolith that has become implicit in this term.

As I noted to Dana, the talk of secession in Texas puts them at least a couple of years behind a group of citizens in a state that couldn't be more culturally and politically different. Secession, or its threat, is hardly just a creature of "red" states.


Anonymous said...

"it is very American to talk about secession. That’s how we came in being. Thirteen colonies seceded from the British and established a new country. So secession is a very much American principle."

And the British were so happy, they just let us go, right? It wasn't a revolution, it was a secession!

And, of course, there is no chance a seceded state would take away any freedoms currently guaranteed by the Federal Constitution, right Tyler?

What a whack job Ron Paul is. You're smarter than that, Mr. Nixon.


Hube said...

While this topic is interesting to discuss, Tyler, didn't a certain 16th president already settle the matter of whether states can secede from the Union or not?

Tyler Nixon said...

I believed he settled the dispute by eventually extinguishing an armed revolt by a 'confederacy' of states looking to form a separate nation, operating as a whole, not merely as individual states.

I don't know that Abe altered the Constitutional principle of which Ron Paul speaks. I also don't know that Abe Lincoln is exactly the best president to cite in terms of adherence to constitutional principles vis a vis the states versus federal power.

Ultimately, the power of a massive collectivist national government, dictating from on high, will likely never be halted, curbed, or rolled back by the process of federal elections and federal officeholders, much less by direct individual citizen initiative.

It will have to come through the state's asserting themselves in a more balanced version of federalism than the mutated unitary government that has developed (and been pushed by national statists) over the last 75 or so years. Such a balance is something only the states can demand and enforce, at least power and resource-wise.

As I said, it is an extreme position to secede, but the principle is pretty much unassailable, except by armed Lincoln demonstrated.

The underlying principle provides leverage for the states to begin doing what they should have been doing for years...getting off the damn federal breast and out from under the federal boot.

We are seeing glimmers of this emerging against the federal "drug war" - which has been nothing less than a sustained decades-long assault on individual medical, health, and lifestyle freedoms, as well as a concerted narrowing and erosion of individual protections in the bill of rights.

tom said...

"..., didn't a certain 16th president already settle the matter of whether states can secede from the Union or not?"

The President has neither the power to alter the Constitution, nor make rulings as to its meaning.

Secession is mentioned nowhere in the Constitution, therefore it is a power of the several States or of the People, as guaranteed by the 10th Amendment.

This was not in any way changed by the Civil War or any of the amendments that were ratified after it.

Hube said...

tom: That's my personal view (what you state), but the point is that Lincoln's actions irrevocably changed how the country (most of it, anyway) views "secession." It would be viewed as an "insurrection" if anything, and like what Lincoln did it'd be quickly extinguished. (Tyler's distinction notwithstanding; the Confederacy, 'tho a unit, all the Confed states first seceded as separate states.)

a most peculiar nature said...

Fascinating topic.

In looking into it, it seems that some think the decision in Texas v. White (1869) put an end to the question of whether or not states could secede. The case wasn’t specifically about secession itself, but in the decision the Ordinances of Secession were declared to be “null and void”. When Texas decided to become a part of the United States, it was an “indissoluble relation” and it was “final”.

As far as I know, this is the only Supreme Court case that even touched on the issue of secession (I could be wrong).

Others maintain that Texas v. White provided an out. In stating that the union between Texas and the United States was “indissoluble”, the decision went on to say:

“There was no place for reconsideration or revocation, except through revolution or through consent of the States.

I don't think Texas or any other State is going to secede or even have a revolution, except in the sense to flex their States rights' muscles (which all states sorely need to do).

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