Secession Rumors

Apparently the White House is getting flooded with secession petitions, and this is making its way around the boomersphere (those long e-mail chains you get from your parents). It made its way onto a private group I’m in on Facebook. I find this rather disappointing, not because I don’t think the discussion needs to be had, but because I’d rather these people putting energy into petitioning their state legislatures (who can do something to this effect) rather than petitioning Obama (who can do nothing even if he wanted to, which he does not).

I don’t think the time for breaking up the United States is here right now, but I think it’s healthy for the discussion to happen. Here’s a map of places one candidate or another carried the vote by 20% or more.

20% or More Counties

Can a house so divided stand?

42 thoughts on “Secession Rumors”

  1. I’m not buying this. I’ll bet it’s a few fringe persons and it’s being blown up pro-Obama forces.

  2. If anything, the US will expand its territory and claim ever more powers as time goes on. We all know what would happen if any of the states actually tried to leave peacefully…..

  3. Can a house so divided stand?

    Yes, I think so. And the reason I think so is that I don’t think it really is that divided, at least not as much as these sorts of maps suggest. I think the maps are misleading because they represent 2 choices as wildly different. If you look at the issues where the parties agree (which are rarely talked about), you should realize that the map should be a slightly reddish purple and a slightly blueish purple.

    The beauty of the two party system, at least for those in power and want to stay in power, is that you can magnify small party differences into major issues while ignoring the actual major issues. The public is distracted by a “war on women” or Obama’s birth certificate, and major issues where the parties agree like waging war without declaring war, use of drones to impose our will wherever we want, the war on terror, the war on drugs, and spending the country into oblivion go unnoticed.

      1. Presumably you’re referring to Gary Johnson, who near as I can tell got 0.98% of the national popular vote. I don’t believe I mentioned him.

        It is unfortunate that so much of the electorate is so easily distracted. For example, most don’t realize that simply paying the interest on our national debt requires almost a quarter of all tax revenue. For me, that’s a much bigger issue than who pays for my wife’s birth control.

        1. I agree that it is important. Unfortunately, you can’t seem to persuade 51% of voters of this. One of the strongest arguments for limited government is that most people aren’t paying enough attention to vote sensibly.

      2. So you believe that just because there are 2 major parties, we have only those to choose from?
        Choosing between syphilis and gonorrhea again.

        1. In a parliamentary system with proportional representation, you can coalition within the structure of the government. Our system encourages, actually pretty much requires, coalitions to occur privately. Because the system also is a first-past-the-post-wins type system, that’s going to tend to support a two party system.

          The reason you hate both parties is because they are a result of compromises that have to be made in coalitions. In our system, the major parties are never going to be that remarkably different. You could try to replace one of them, but in order to do that, you have to either be willing to never win an election, or making compromises with other people until you reach a winning majority.

          If you can’t compromise, politics really isn’t the game for you. You’ll never get everything you want. If you want to argue you get nothing from the GOP, I can sympathize, but that’s largely because liberty minded people don’t play well with others. Actually, for the most part, they don’t play. If you’re an individualistic kind of person, politics is deeply unsatisfying. I find it to be. But it’s the game, and if you don’t play, you lose for sure. That’s what’s happening with libertarian thought right now.

          1. “You could try to replace one of them, but in order to do that, you have to either be willing to never win an election”

            Isn’t that what the Republican party is pretty much doing now???

            An replacement party couldn’t do a whole lot worse……

      3. I don’t know the reliability of any of the data I’ve found, but it appears Gary Johnson got about 1.1 million votes, the most any LP candidate ever got, with the expenditure of only $1 million; about $0.90 a vote. (How much was spent for each major party vote?)

        Green Jill Stein got something like 300,000+ votes, and bible-thumper (aka “Constitutional Party”) Virgil Goode something over 100,000.

        It seems possible (though I’m not going to spend too much time on it) that the spread in the popular vote could be in the ballpark of the number of votes alternative candidates got. Say what you will about alternative votes, the fact remains those are votes the major parties bent over backward to get, and failed.

        1. “the spread in the popular vote could be in the ballpark of the number of votes alternative candidates got.”

          Depends what you mean by ballpark.

          The spread in the major party popular vote right now appears to have been 3,305,710. Alternative candidates appear to have received in the neighborhood of 1,750,000 votes.

        2. How much effort did the major parties make to get Green or LP votes? LP votes were clearly not going to vote for Romney, and any LP votes that went for Obama would need their heads examined.

  4. In recent years I have been reflecting on, that when I was kid, anyone (outside a handful in the Deep South) who advocated for the dissolution of the United States would have been accused of being a front for the Soviet Union and the Communist Party. If I had it in me to write a future-fiction novel, it would be about how very slowly the Communists maneuvered our Patriots into doing their work for them — while all the time the Patriots were screeching about Communists and Socialists behind every tree and every program.

    I have a theory that much of the secessionist/revolutionary sentiment we encounter is deliberately promoted by elements that know they have almost no chance of seeing their agenda prevailing by constitutional means, so want to break off pieces of the country where they can impose their own power without such bothersome constraints. For example, I think the repeated (and apparently multiplying) revisiting of long-settled constitutional questions regarding separation of church and state — fed by revisionist historians making up phony history — are not done with any hopes of success, but for the purpose of agitating an element of society every time state or federal courts decide exactly as they have in the past. But each loss is used to amplify a sense of victimization, that in turn is used to feed secessionist sentiments.

    And I say that as an until-very-recently fan of secessionist and revolutionary thought. Then, I started to understand that I was probably the dupe I never thought I was back in the days when we thought only Leninists wearing pince-nez glasses could be behind anti-American conspiracies.

    1. FWIW, I’m a few weeks too old to be a Boomer, but otherwise grew up with the advanced guard of that generation. I’m not sure where I sit in Sebastian’s “Boomersphere.” ;-)

    2. “For example, I think the repeated (and apparently multiplying) revisiting of long-settled constitutional questions regarding separation of church and state — fed by revisionist historians making up phony history…”

      By “long-settled” you mean, “since 1948.” The cases before that on which these decisions are based, such as Reynolds v. U.S. (1878) upheld laws that prohibited polygamy in federal territories.

      1. I’m thinking we should modify Tom Wolfe’s “The dark night of fascism is always descending in the United States and yet lands only in Europe” to religion and for Europe substitute Muslim lands….

        And I find new respect for Carter, if I twist his infamous pre-Afganistan invasion quote into something like “I hope we will become confident of our own future, we are now free of that inordinate fear of religion which once led us to embrace any Democrat who joined us in that fear.”

        1. Oops, mismatched tenses; let’s try it for a bright, shining future when we can say it in the present tense:

          Being confident of our own future, we are now free of that inordinate fear of religion which once led us to embrace any Democrat who joined us in that fear.

      2. Maybe I’m just feeling a little stiff and achy today, but since I was three years old in 1948, I’d say it was effectively a lifetime ago. So yes, long-settled. More so than say, the decisions of the civil rights era.

      3. Concur.

        Also, Murphy v. Ramsey (1885) which declared marriage “a union for life of one man and one woman in holy matrimony.”

        As far as my limited knowledge goes, that is the latest and only supreme Court ruling on the issue and therefore current supreme Court precedent (and in agreement with the present law of the land – the Defense of Marriage Act).

        Again, I may be ignorant of intervening cases on the issue, and am open to correction.

        Respectfully, Arnie

  5. When you consider that outside of the United States, you really can’t find a free country that you can move to when tyranny strikes. It makes complete sense to consider that secession might be the only solution available… Obama’s re-election is the first significant salvo shot by the socialists in Blue America. This election proves America is divided between big government socialism and libertarian conservatives, between a culture that celebrates dependency, anti-colonialism, open borders, racial hatred, homosexuality and the other that celebrates God, hard work, personal responsibility and ingenuity. It might be time for freedom loving Americans to regroup and try to save at least some territory in this country. States rights have never been more paramount as now. There should be every attempt to separate by legal means if necessary…if not, a new Declaration of Independence will need to be crafted.

    1. I don’t think the election proved anything other than in a contest between two like-minded candidates, the incumbent will prevail. I’d say there is a lot less ideology in the numbers.

    2. The first real shot I anticipate would be if Team Obama’s EPA really does try to shut down all the nation’s coal fired power plants, since that will disproportionately hit Red states.

      1. But since Obama is said to be controlled by labor unions, that can’t happen, right?

    3. Angel, I agree, except that I think the old Declaration, with just a few name changes, will suffice.

  6. I’ve gotta buy some property down south. This time around, I don’t see the sissy north winning the fight.

    Just think, it was only 20 years ago that the mighty, one time foe, USSR broke up. Things get strange pretty quickly.

  7. The “high value” parts of our economy are concentrated in the blue counties in that picture.

  8. In high value I presume you are including food production and resource extraction. You might want to recheck your assumptions. They might just bite you in the posterior.

  9. It is a mathematical certainty that this country is going to collapse. When it comes, the collapse will occur blindingly quickly.
    The interest on the debt, Social Security, and Medicare currently require 100% of tax revenue, plus another $300 billion in deficit spending. The remainder of government: the military, foreign aid, welfare, the courts, food stamps, all of the alphabet agencies, and everything else the feds do, is another trillion in deficit spending.
    There is no possibility of cutting enough to balance the budget. It is only a matter of time and mathematics. The fall is coming, and I believe that it will be in less than 20 years. Possibly less than 10.

    1. I agree with you. There was some chance that Romney might have stopped the car before it reached the cliff. I am increasingly skeptical that anything can stop it now. I have some ambitions to try and turn the popular culture around, but people that are willing to spend hundreds of millions on political campaigns that fail won’t spend a few million on under the radar cultural subversion efforts.

      1. Stop the car now? Hell Barry is about to hit the nitrous!

        Romney was the only real hope of even slowing it down, I too am unsure if it can be stopped by anyone now.

  10. It’s amazing to me that whenever the right is in power, any questioning of the government is shouted down as treason; but when the right is out of power, that’s the only time we start to hear this secessionist talk. Politics is a process with no end and having your side lose an election is not equivalent to the breaking of the 7th seal. This kind of histrionics from the right has a lot to do with last Tuesday’s results, IMHO. Beyond that, the US is united by a lot more than politics.

    1. > the US is united by a lot more than politics.

      Like what? Certainly not things like religion, language, and culture. At best we are talking college/NFL football and American Idol.

      1. Well there you go–football got much higher ratings than the debates.

    2. I’m just thinking out loud, but, the right dedicated four years to histrionics. Some of it may even have been justified. It paid off after two years, in 2010, but by 2012 it may have been an overdose.

  11. Is that map really correct?
    Did Obama actually win big in a huge geographic area of Alaska? How can that be?

  12. Secession — even peaceful, “erring sisters, depart in peace” secession — would be a serious mistake. Tariff barriers alone would be a serious problem — and without tariffs, such secession would actually be federalism, with states allowed to make their own laws, instead of Washington directing everything.

    1. I think it would be a disaster for the country. The question is whether it would be a greater disaster than what is likely coming.

      1. Sir, I believe you are correct on both counts.

        Personally, I believe the disaster we know will be worse than the disaster we know not.

        Both will be horribly painful, but with secession, at least I’ll be free from federal slavery. (I must disclaim – I may be a bit more prepared for this than most. I’ve been preparing for a break up since y2k – blush.)

  13. I don’t see where secession would fix anything. The majority of “old US” debt might be discharged one way or another, but that would just mean a clean slate without accountability for all the various actors who created the problem in the first place. Each of the post-US states would arrive back to the same bad situation eventually.

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