Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dumbass Idea of the Century: Secession Edition

In a little known conflict known as the American Civil War, several states in the South seceeded from the Union.  What ensued was an incredibly bloody conflict that claimed the lives of over 600,000 Americans.

What's so wrong with secession?  Apparently, there's some people in a bunch of states that signed petitions asking for the federal government to allow their states to peacefully seceed from the Union.  Kind of ironic seeing as how the first real secession crisis came on the heels of a presidential election.  So if a bunch of people want to do it, it must be okay, right?


Many people have accused Lincoln of being a tyrant, of denying the natural right of popular sovereignty.  Well, they're wrong, too.  Lincoln's whole basis for secession was actually based on . . . wait for it . . . the constitution.

Secession is unconstitutional.  The secessionists states in the 19th century claimed that the constitution was a contract entered into by the states, and if a state decided it wanted out, then that state should be allowed to exit the contract.  The problem with that is that the preamble of the constitution--the first three words--nullifies that entire argument.  For those of you who have never read the Constitution, here's how the preamble reads:

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Note the underlined and bolded part.  "We the people . . ."  It doesn't read, "We the States."  The Constitution was not a contract entered by states, it was created by the people and for the people.  A state cannot legally seceed from the Union, because the Constitution is a document that binds the states to the law of the land.  The states are bound to the Constitution by the will of the people.

So it's fairly stupid to continue on with this whole secession idea.  Not only is it insanely stupid and indicative of a historically retarded populace, but it's ridiculously childish.  What, because you can't have your way, you're going to take your toys and go home?

Grow up, dream on, and get over it.


Silverfiddle said...

As a philosophical natural law matter, you are wrong.

The Constitution is a contract, and when one party wants out of a contract, it is no longer valid. The mechanics of it are legally messy, and given Lincoln's precedent, as a matter of actual law, you are probably correct, but my issue is how you glossed over the larger point.

Now, as for the petitions. People are blowing off steam. Big deal. Nobody is going to grab muskets and attack Harper's Ferry, so you're working yourself into a state of high dudgeon over nothing.

What I think could work would be for 30 or more states to band together and legally challenge the federal government on various issues and put its serial malfeasance on trial and essentially force a legal and constitutional crisis.

I am against violence, but I think the states could provoke a crisis that would have to be dealt with in our legislatures and courts.

Jersey McJones said...


The sorts of states that would engage in such a venture are exactly the most abusive and corrupt with the lowest standards of living and the highest rate of social ills.


Silverfiddle said...

Abusive and corrupt? You mean like the federal government?

Joe Markowitz said...

Leaving aside the philosophical and natural law arguments, I will answer Silverfiddle's argument about contract law. It is just not true that if one party wants out of a contract it is no longer valid. If I decide it is too burdensome to perform my end of a contract, for example if I can't afford to pay somebody what I agreed to pay, I can't just tear up the contract. I am liable for breach. To terminate or modify a contract, you generally need mutual consent. And frequently contracts have a termination clause that spells out exactly how the contract may be terminated. In the case of the Constitution, I can assure you that I have read it from beginning to end, and have not found any termination clause. If it were possible for a state to secede from the union as a matter of constitutional interpretation, you would expect to find some means for how to do it. Would it require a vote by the majority of the state legislature? or maybe a 2/3 majority vote? or maybe a referendum of the people of the state? And could they change their minds in the next election and re-join? None of that is spelled out in the Constitution, which means that there is no legally permissible way for a state to secede unless we amend the Constitution (there is a process spelled out for that in the document). And if my legal arguments do not settle the matter, the Civil War settled it definitively.

Anonymous said...

Jackie, Joe:

The states being legally able to withdraw from the union due to the constitution is a moot point when the federal government is the one breaking the fucking law. The federal government has control of the constitution and they still skirt it when it suits them and only them.

If the law can't stop them, it can't stop us from rebellion. The only difference is this time we would be bringing firecrackers to a show at the nevada test site.

The defense budget for 2 decades has been less about one-upping the competition and more about one-upping ourselves, its madness.

FreeThinke said...

Legalistic thinking, Joe, is what got Jesus Christ nailed to the Cross -- and what keeps society mired in endless, fruitless disputes and deadly feuds over petty trifles. These short-sighted, small-minded considerations exhaustively defend the selfish whims and desires of petulant, grasping individuals or "Identity Groups" who see no higher purpose in Existence beyond defending and aggrandizing what they regard as their own best interests.

Read our Declaration of Independence and at the Preamble to our Constitution.

The right of secession is implicit in the talk of altering or abolishing what a significant element of the population regards as an unjust, unsatisfactory, largely self-serving government is implicit in those documents.

Lincoln in my never humble opinion was DEAD WRONG -- in fact a profoundly EVIL, enormously DESTRUCTIVE figure.

The USA envisioned by the Founders effectively DIED under Lincoln's regime.

Jack says "Grow up, accept reality and move on."

Well, we may in fact have no other choice under present circumstances, but the fact remains that in PRINCIPLE we have taken a long series of wrong turns that have led us to our present lamentable condition.

With conformity to the brand of legalistic thinking that has us all in a death grip the concept of individual freedom has ceased to be an ideal worth striving for, ceased to be an inspiring vision, ceased to be even a dream. Instead it has become a mere word -- part of our once-large, varied, magnificent vocabulary now regrettably regarded officially as obsolete.

~ FreeThinke

FreeThinke said...

And, Anonymous -- Gee I wish you'd call yourself SOMETHING! How about Knickerknotter? ;-) -- you couldn't possibly be MORE correct, God bless you.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where MIGHT does, indeed, MAKE RIGHT and ideals both religious and secular have been relegated to classification as quaint old fairy tales thanks to the machinations of "The Oligarchs" -- a cabal headed and largely controlled by the International Bankers, who control the money supply.

We did it to ourselves with our little hatchets mostly because we have pursued -- and continue to pursue -- purely selfish, egoistic aims without regard to their ramifications.

~ FreeThinke

Jack Camwell said...


Would you prefer that we move towards a society without laws and a legal system? Shall we go to some sort of state of anarchy, where the only rule of law is force?

The states are not allowed to seceed, and there is nothing that implies the right to secession in either the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence.

They are not trying to abolish government and start anew. They don't even have any real justification for what they're trying to do, because their rights are NOT being infringed upon.

Jefferson wrote that when the government fails to protect their rights to life, liberty, and the persuit of happiness, THEN a people have the duty to rebel and abolish the government, replacing it with one that will serve to protect the people.

They're wishing to break free from a contract from which they cannot break free, and what's more, in the process they would be laying claim to land within the borders of the United States. Those days are over, friend.

Lincoln was not a monster. He did what he had to do to preserve the Union. If he had let the states seceed, then we would not be the power we are today. The US would have been cannibalized by the other powers of the time. Without Northern industry, the south would have perished.

It's not like the South even had a legitimate reason for seceeding. They left because of slavery. Even their basic premise was completely flawed.

And AHB:

By seceeding, those states would be breaking the law. There is nothing in the Constitution that says a state is allowed to leave the Union. This isn't like the UN, where the participants can just leave whenever they choose just because they're pissed off at everything being screwed up.

What I find funny about this is that these fools somehow think that things will be BETTER for them should their states seceed. No postal service, no federal unemployment, no utilities. They'd lose every single benefit from any sort of treaty or trade agreement the US has with any other nation on the planet.

And then they would eventually turn out just like the US at-large. The people would give in to corruption, and they'd be stuck right back where they began.

Every man and woman in this country is free to leave. The states are not people, they are structures. If a person no longer wants to be a part of the structure, then he has only to go North or South far enough to get out.

FreeThinke said...

You're much too young too be such an Absolutist, Jack -- or may not yet old enough. ;-)

Let's not start a pissing contest, please. but Silver and I are right, and you are simply the product of an educational system that has indoctrinated you into pattern of conformist thinking that serves the megalomaniacal agenda of The Power Elite. You can't help that. They got you so early you never had a chance to escape the bullshit Ethos they've been promoting since before all of us were born.

You were born in or close to 1984, right?

I was already 43 and worried about aging.

Fortunately -- or unfortunately-- depending in your point of view -- I actually LIVED before the metaphorical Portcullis slammed down, and effectively walled off future generations from the possibility of gaining knowledge and an independent perspective on the true significance of our past.

Talk about "lawless!" My God! What do you think life was like for the brave souls who came here explorers and later as COLONISTS? What do you think it was like for the PIONEERS? What do you think it was like during the CIVIL WAR?

What do you think it was like before that God-dmaned son-of-a-bitch Woodrow Wilson created the Federal Reserve, the Income Tax, the hideous, pseudo-idealistic concept of One World Government and ALSO deceived us into fighting World War One?

What do you think life was like before the Great Depression that was CREATED by the OLIGARCHS to serve THEIR filthy POWER AGENDA?

The TRUTH is that ever since Sinkin' Lincoln got away with murdering SIX-HUNDRED-THIRTY-FIVE-THOUSAND men, and since The Industrial Revolution gained a full head of steam this country has been slowly-but-surely headed for the rocks -- and ALL of it has been by DESIGN.

What you may have learned at the university is of precious little value in a world governed solely by the dictates of REALPOLITIK.

~ I love ya, but please get your nose out of the world of THEORETICAL knowledge. Get away from the books and study REALITY.

~ FT

Jack Camwell said...


If humans only ever concerned themselves with the reality in front of them, then we wouldn't have anything that we have today.

The theories and ideas are there for a reason. They give us a goal for which to strive.

I'm not advocating conformity on some personal level. What I am advocating, however, is the continued improvement of civilized society.

These people aren't wrong for voicing their opinions, but they're going about it in an entirely counterproductive way. Secession will not solve their problems.

A true sign that I am, in fact, grounded in reality is the fact that I see it's all hopeless anyway. Did I not say that the seceeded states would eventually come to be plagued with the same problems plaguing America?

FreeThinke said...

Yes, Jack, you're right.

As Dr. Seuss put it so simply and succinctly:

No matter where you go -- THERE YOU ARE!

Look at the disgusting mess we've made in a mere five-hundred years after The Great Opportunity that came with discovery of "The New World" became available!

If humanity could be defined with one label I' have to say we are DEGENERATIONISTS by nature.

~ FT

Anonymous said...

Jackie, there's nothing in the constitution that says the federal government has the authority to bankrupt our country either?

It's not the states that will rebel, its the people.

I surmise that if things continue as they are in about 10-15 years you will see the collapse of our economy and shortly thereafter the collapse of our society.

Americans in general are dependent on comfort. It is what drives us as a society beyond all other pursuits.

It's that opium drip of never having to give a second thought to living a painful or abysmal existence.

Once that runs out, it will only be a matter of time.

The way back is simple- stop counterfeiting money, start using something like a federal consumption tax, stop taking money away from people who aren't the problem. Punish those who have gamed the system by deleting a few zeroes off their bank balances.

Once you see that we are the ones paying for all the sins you start to realize that we are the only ones who can fix it, Washington certainly cannot or will not try.

FreeThinke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
FreeThinke said...

Ron Paul: ‘Secession is a deeply American principle’

By KEVIN CIRILLI | 11/19/12 4:43 PM EST

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) said Monday that secession was a “deeply American principle,” amid a growing number of people petitioning the White House to let their states secede from the U.S.

“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,” the former presidential candidate wrote in a post on his House website. “There is nothing treasonous or unpatriotic about wanting a federal government that is more responsive to the people it represents.”

He continued: “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.”

Since President Barack Obama was reelected earlier this month, a flurry of secession petitions from states were created — most notably from Texas, which with more than 115,000 signatures far exceeds the 25,000 signatures needed for an official White House response. Critics have said it’s disgruntled voters upset that former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney lost.

Paul wrote that secession must still be an option to be used as leverage to make sure the government doesn’t “encroach” on Americans’ liberties.

“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.”

Paul wrote that secession is a form of American freedom.

“At what point should the people dissolve the political bands which have connected them with an increasingly tyrannical and oppressive federal government?” Paul wrote.

He added: “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.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1112/84058.html#ixzz2CjBZk7hQ