A Succession of Secession Suggestions, But Will They Succeed in Seceding?

 As you may have heard, thousands of people from almost every state in the country have sent petitions to the White House asking for permission to secede from the Union.

 According to the President’s own rules, once a petition garners 25,000 signatures he will automatically “review” the request. Well several of them are over twice that number so it’s time for Barack Obama to put on his stovepipe hat and “review” whether he will let these states leave and do their own thing. I imagine he’ll come to the same conclusion and say the same thing ol’ Abe did: Not only no but HELLS NO FOOL (that’s a direct quote from the Gettysburg Address, look it up).

Some websites have picked up on a letter Justice Scalia apparently wrote to a comedy screenwriter a few years ago when said screenwriter asked him to assess the constitutional legitimacy of the plot of his film treatment centering around a fictional scenario where Maine attempts to secede and join Canada. Or something. Scalia echoed Lincoln’s words, claiming secession is not provided for in the constitution.

Since I now know he will answer these sorts of inquiries, I’m going to write and ask him to investigate the constitutional ramifications of an arachnid-like mutant fighting crime and stringing up purse snatchers on street lamps with no respect for their 4th Amendment protections. Don’t laugh, I hear they’re showing Spiderman in law school these days. (Which is fine, as long it’s not the one where we’re supposed to believe the fate of mankind is threatened by the guy from That 70’s Show.)

Now let me state for the record that I do not personally support any state seceding (yet). I believe the reigns of this nation could still, hypothetically, be seized by a metaphorical army of liberty loving small government constitutionalists. Our problems can still be fixed democratically. I’m not saying they will be, I’m saying they can be. I’m saying our power to vote is still a power the State would fear IF we used it right. I’m saying before we go all Stonewall Jackson on Uncle Sam’s ass we could just, you know, do something REALLY crazy like STOP VOTING FOR ESTABLISHMENT POLITICIANS. I’m saying I find people who are clamoring for revolution a little hard to take seriously if they thought voting for Ron Paul in the primary was too bold a move. That’s like refusing to go on the Ferris wheel with me because you’re afraid of heights, and the next day canceling our lunch because you’re out skydiving.

Let’s try walking up a flight of steps before we take a bite out of Everest. That’s all I’m saying.

With that said, since we’re on the subject – and I think it’s a worthy subject, if only from an academic perspective – I absolutely believe all states have an inherent RIGHT to secede. Many folks on the state’s rights side start by pointing to the 10th Amendment. Fair enough. But I go even further back. Let’s start with the fact that, and I want everyone to concentrate on this next part, OUR COUNTRY WAS FOUNDED ON SECESSION. THE RIGHT TO SELF GOVERNANCE IS THE PHILOSOPHICAL FOUNDATION OF OUR COUNTRY.

Sorry to scream at you.

But really. Our Founders seceded from the British Crown. They had no legal right to do so. They never claimed to have a legal right. They claimed a spiritual right. The concept was highly dogmatic, possibly radical, but it’s the concept that laid the framework for the VOLUNTARY union they formed.

If we don’t have an inherent right to secede then they didn’t have an inherent right to secede and we all owe England a HUGE apology.

From there let’s go to the fact that all of the states entered the union voluntarily. At what point did their freewill in the matter evaporate? Certainly if Virginia had bowed out 4 years after entering nobody would have stopped them. So was it after 10 years that it magically changed from voluntary to compulsory? 20 years? How long? Is this kind of like the “you can’t leave me, we’ve been together since high school and I have all my books at your house” logic? In fact it does strike me as odd that in a nation with a divorce rate pushing 50 percent it’s taken as gospel that unions can’t be dissolved.

Hmmm. So no union can be broken except for the one forged by the vow you made before God and your betrothed? Got it.

Me, I’d think the geo-political unions are soluble whereas the familial unions are unbreakable. But that’s just me.

And even in the case of the marital union, if your wife wants to leave you and the only way you can make her stay is to lock her in the closet, your relationship has quickly transformed from a marriage to a hostage situation.

In other words, if a state wants to secede and only way you can stop them is to suspend the constitution, invade their cities and kill everyone, you have quickly transformed from a “president” to a “dictator”. “But I’m only a dictator because I love you, South Carolina”. Right.

See, not only is a right to secede and a right to self governance inherent to human nature, but unions themselves are only unions as long as they are voluntary. I’ve heard of peace through strength, but this unity through tyranny thing is just too much to swallow. What’s next? Health through Doritos and heroin?

So to review: do we have a right to secede? Yes. Should we? No.

Glad I could clear that up for you guys.

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2 Responses to A Succession of Secession Suggestions, But Will They Succeed in Seceding?

  1. Scyld says:

    Wait a sec, let me get this perfectly straight. Your grasp of the Constitution’s bearing on secession, as of writing this post, amounts to a few vitriolic off-the-cuff pieces of trite pseudophilosophical speculation about the lesson in Freedom we learn from a second-grader’s version of U.S. history and how divorce is a thing that happens (those speculations involving, as a matter of course, about as much basis in any actual reading of the Constitution or acquaintance with its judicial interpretation as the average erotic Homestuck fanfic)… and we’re supposed to believe you’ll make a profoundly better civics instructor than a public high school could provide?

    Good God in saintly heaven am I now depressed. For the love of all that is true, good, and beautiful, please at least make an effort try backing things like this up with something approaching an almost-modicum of nearly halfway decent legal scholarship.

  2. Paul says:

    Threatening to secede from the Union is like a six-year-old threatening to run away from home: they’re just doing it for attention and they’ll be back in an hour.

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