Recently, Donald Livingston of the Abbeville Institute appeared on the Tom Woods Show to discuss secession and the Southern tradition. You can listen to it here.
Professor Livingston frequently writes and speaks about a topic that is heavily emphasized at The New Polis: the concept of human scale. We believe the political order in the United States (as well as most of the world) exists at a dysfunctionally large scale, where individuals claiming to have political authority over the intimate details of our lives have essentially no accountability to us. Jackson and I have mentioned several examples of how more localized decision making would provide more accountable governance, including the effect the federal government has had on the militarization of the police, the EPA’s lack of understanding of local issues, and how it would be extremely unlikely for Butch Otter to spy on our emails.
Note: This article is the fourth of a series on the political concept of secession. The series will explore some historical aspects, and we certainly welcome comments on the historical record. But it will largely focus on contemporary questions of a theoretical and practical nature, striving to shed light on how the principle of secession relates to political life today.
Blue counties have every right to protect their inherited values and way of life through secession.
Secessionist of all stripes – yes, they exist across the entire political continuum – are sometimes thought of as (or accused of) having a “secessionist ideology.” But to defend secession in principle and to hold a secessionist ideology are two very different things. Principles are the reasonable, meaningful general ideas that guide action, but ideologies should be recognized as corrupted principles detached from reality.
The distinction is a meaningful one. Principle and ideology are meaningfully distinguished, and we ignore the difference at our own political peril. Continue reading
Note: This article is the third of a series on the political concept of secession. The series will explore some historical aspects, and we certainly welcome comments on the historical record. But it will largely focus on contemporary questions of a theoretical and practical nature, striving to shed light on how the principle of secession relates to political life today.
In the first two articles on secession, we tackled some basic myths and took on the Hobbesian theory of political association. Having freed ourselves from these unjustified prejudices against peaceful political separation, the next reasonable question is “When is secession possible?” A seceding polity must be able to demonstrate its viability as an independent, self-governing society, and it is on precisely this question that some commentators scoff at the possibility of increasing the number of countries on the North American continent.
As a disclaimer, I am not concerned now with the legal question of whether any state could secede, only the practical question of viability. The legality of secession is not a trivial question in its own right, and perhaps I will take it up in the future. There is, however, a deep-seated and morally blinding hypocrisy in those who claim secession cannot be considered because it is “unconstitutional.” There are entire departments of the federal government whose very existence is an affront to the constitution. The implicit view of such constitutionalists-by-opportunity is that the constitution may be ignored by the feds but not the states – a legal theory that, fortunately, I’ve never met anyone so insane as to openly defend. Continue reading
In the first part of our series on secession, I made a couple of references to the political doctrine of Thomas Hobbes without providing much detail. In this article, I’d like to explore this most important of modern political theorists and what his thinking means for secession and localizing/decentralizing political societies. Doing so will require a somewhat specialized discussion in political theory, but this is absolutely necessary if we are to achieve a clear, accurate picture of secession itself. Continue reading
Note: This article is the first of a series on the political concept of secession. The series will explore some historical aspects, and we certainly welcome comments on the historical record. But it will largely focus on contemporary questions of a theoretical and practical nature, striving to shed light on how the principle of secession relates to political life today.
Despite the fact that peaceful secessions have taken place continually throughout human history, mainstream media have convinced many Americans that any secession is an ignoble or even dangerous act. The most common misconception sees a necessary connection between secession and slavery, as if a single historical event in a single country has somehow forged the two concepts together for all time. But this is akin to believing that vegetarianism expresses approval of Hitler, since Nazi propaganda portrayed him as abstaining from meat. Thoughtful citizens cannot take such “arguments” seriously. What, then, are we to make of the naked principle of secession? To begin cutting through the fog and distortion, here is a brief look at five myths about secession we can safely lay to rest. Continue reading