State Secession Petitions: Why Hundreds of Thousands of Americans Want Out of the Union

In the wake of the presidential elections, petitions have been circulated on the Whitehouse.gov website advocating for the peaceful secession of numerous states. Texas seems to have the most signers at the moment, with nearly 80,000 signatures at the time of this writing. Given that secession is making headlines again, I suppose it is worth going over the philosophy of secession in order to head off some misconceptions about it.

Whenever a secessionist movement reaches the media headlines, it is virtually always associated with the U.S. Civil War. In the minds of most people, advocating for secession is akin to advocating for slavery. Nothing could be further from the truth. A case in point being the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration of Independence is a document of secession, whereby the U.S. states decided that they did not want to live under rule of the British Crown. Without secession, the U.S. federal state wouldn’t even be around today.

Typically secession occurs between state actors, but the principles behind it aren’t limited to just state actors. Individuals can also decide that they don’t want to abide by the dictates of people that others have appointed to rule them. Of course, when individuals decide that they don’t want their lives to be controlled by mob elected rulers, it typically results in them being caged for tax evasion, refusal to obtain permits and licenses, drug law violations, along with a host of other victimless crimes that states create to control the resources of their citizens.

Secessionist movements virtually always aim to achieve greater local control of governance, along with an increase of individual freedoms. Likewise, secessionist movements are virtually always opposed by those who stand to benefit the most from the redistribution of resources that results from a larger state apparatus. Even in the Civil War, the Southern states weren’t upset enough to go to war over the North’s abolition of slavery, but they were upset enough to secede from the Union because they didn’t feel they should have to pay taxes or abide by Northern tariffs when the North wasn’t holding up its constitutional obligations to catch run-away slaves.

Lincoln was quite clear about his reasons for invading the South when he wrote, “What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union …”  From which it should be clear that Lincoln’s priority wasn’t about freeing slaves, but rather making sure his political power and federal tax base remained intact.

Today, we have a similar situation arising with many individual citizens. As the petitions clearly demonstrate, there are a great many people who feel that the amount of money, resources and liberties that the federal government is taking from them greatly outweigh any possible benefits that they may be deriving from the federal state. From their perspective, it would be better to have more accountable local governments control those resources, rather than some bloated and distant federal bureaucracy.  Are those people any different from the people who advocated secession from the British monarchy? I think not.

At their core, articles of secession are articles begging for peace. Petitions for secession are petitions for the federal state to stop pointing its guns at its own citizens. "Please Mr. IRS Agent, stop threatening me. Please Mr. DEA Agent, stop pointing that gun to my head. Please Mr. FDA Regulator, let me drink my raw milk in peace." That’s what articles of secession are really all about – peace, and the right to be left alone.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Michael Suede

Michael Suede is an Austrian economist and author who holds a business degree from the University of Wisconsin. Michael's articles have appeared in numerous economics publications. Michael is also one of the few economists who is well versed in the economics of voluntary crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin. Michael is a veteran of the US Navy and an advocate of voluntarism. Michael authorizes the use of all his content under Public Domain copyright. Any organization or individual may freely republish, edit, modify and distribute Michael's works without restrictions.

MORE FROM

France convenes youngest, most diverse Parliament in its history. Is this the future of Europe?

Thanks to Emmanuel Macron's newly formed party, the French government is more diverse than ever before.

Kremlin slams White House's warning of potential chemical attack in Syria

The U.S. and Russia continue to spar over Syria.

EU slaps Google with a record 2.42 billion euro fine

The tech giant has a hefty fine in its future.

Detroit judge halts deportation of 1,400 Iraqi nationals living in US

Many of the Iraqis are Chaldean Christians who reportedly voted for Trump.

'Hot Mic' podcast: Travel ban ruling, Health care opposition, Castile family settlement

All the important stories to get you caught up for Tuesday.

White House says it knows of potential Syrian chemical attack, warns Assad of "heavy price"

The Trump administration did not provide any evidence backing the threat.

France convenes youngest, most diverse Parliament in its history. Is this the future of Europe?

Thanks to Emmanuel Macron's newly formed party, the French government is more diverse than ever before.

Kremlin slams White House's warning of potential chemical attack in Syria

The U.S. and Russia continue to spar over Syria.

EU slaps Google with a record 2.42 billion euro fine

The tech giant has a hefty fine in its future.

Detroit judge halts deportation of 1,400 Iraqi nationals living in US

Many of the Iraqis are Chaldean Christians who reportedly voted for Trump.

'Hot Mic' podcast: Travel ban ruling, Health care opposition, Castile family settlement

All the important stories to get you caught up for Tuesday.

White House says it knows of potential Syrian chemical attack, warns Assad of "heavy price"

The Trump administration did not provide any evidence backing the threat.