Secession Gains Momentum
by Ari Armstrong, December 6, 2000
With my "Freedom Update" of November 30, I reported that the idea of secession was being joked about on late-night television and in the New York Times. With the December 2 update, I cited a serious article from Thomas DiLorenzo of the Ludwig von Mises Institute that praised the right of secession. Today, I found two nationally released articles about the subject at Free Market.Net. It would seem the idea is snowballing.
(The previous Freedom Updates are at http://www.freecolorado.com/2000/12/shorts02.html and http://www.freecolorado.com/2000/11/shorts30.html.)
Jan Cienski wrote an article December 4 for the National Post entitled, "Presidential gridlock cheers secessionists" (http://www.nationalpost.com/search/story.html?f=/stories/20001204/392588.html).
The article focusses on Michael Hill, head of the League of the South. Hill is a conservative: "The Republican regions are culturally conservative, religious, pro-gun and anti-abortion, all characteristics of a reborn Dixieland, Mr. Hill contends."
Mac Watters, head of the League of the South's Florida chapter, adds that neither Democrats or Republicans "are sympathetic to the Southern cause. They both cater to the United Nations, feminist rights groups and pro-abortion groups."
The article concludes, "[A]nti-racism groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center warn that many apostles of secession are also white nationalists. 'That's a red herring that our opponents throw at us,' drawls Mr. Hill."
The charge of racism can be easily dismissed because the other article -- one favorable to secession -- is by Walter Williams, a black university professor. He published an article today at World Net Daily (http://www.worldnetdaily.com/bluesky_williams/20001206_xcwwi_a_nation_p.shtml). Williams writes:
[I]f the election were to be decided by who won the greatest number of the nation's 3,142 counties, Bush would have bested Gore by at least 2,500 counties.
J.J. Johnson, editor of Sierra Times, quotes Hill favorably. (Johnson happens to be black, too.) Johnson writes, "Dr. Michael Hill, President of the League of the South recently wrote how the Florida Legislature should 'take the bulls by the horns' and assert its proper authority under the Constitution. Not only do I agree totally with Dr. Hill, I also believe 49 states should follow" (http://www.sierratimes.com/edjj120600.htm). Johnson doesn't advocate secession: he wants the conservative pro-Bush forces to rally against Gore. Still, his sympathy with Hill indicates secession is NOT about race.
In my last Freedom Update, I noted the problem caused by the old Southern secessionists who held to the evils of slavery. They took the inherently noble concept of secession and drug it through the mud of human bondage. The quote from the National Post indicates just how difficult is our task of washing secessionism clean of those old and horrible sins.
The conservatism of the modern American secessionist movement could prove perilous for libertarians. Today, the forces of leftism and conservatism often keep one another in check. I do not relish the idea of seeing the nation divided into a theocratic state and a "progressive" socialist one. I'm not sure which would be worse to live in. I like the idea of a four-corners federal government, plus perhaps Wyoming and a few other states. That may be the best bet for a libertarian-leaning society.
Williams is also uncomfortable with the conservatism of the modern Southern secessionist movement, but he sees more positives than negatives with secession: "By no means do Americans who voted for Bush enthusiastically and unequivocally support the values expressed in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution, but they are not nearly as parasitic, interventionist and contemptuous of the principles of liberty as Gore supporters."
Williams considers Jefferson's support of secession and notes, "The right of secession was taken for granted in the founding of our country..." He concludes: "Should we Americans continue to forcibly impose our wills and values on one another, or should we part company and be friends?"
Another solution, of course, is merely to return to the federalist system outlined in the Constitution. While not perfect, that system basically allowed the states to govern themselves.