The question we all have to ask ourselves is this: how seriously do we take the right of self-determination, and what are we willing to do in our personal lives to assert it?
It’s tempting, and entirely human, to close our eyes tight and resist radical change — to live in America’s past.
But to borrow a line from the novelist L.P. Hartley, “The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there.” The America we thought we knew is a mirage; a memory, a foreign country.
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And that, ladies and gentlemen, is precisely why we should take secession seriously, both conceptually — as consistent with libertarianism — and as a real alternative for the future.
Does anyone really believe that a physically vast, multicultural, social democratic welfare state of 330 million people, with hugely diverse economic, social, and cultural interests, can be commanded from DC indefinitely without intense conflict and economic strife?
Does anyone really believe that we can unite under a state that endlessly divides us? Rich vs. poor, black vs. white, Hispanic vs. Anglo, men vs. women, old vs. young, secularists vs. Christians, gays vs. traditionalists, taxpayers vs. entitlement recipients, urban vs. rural, red state vs. blue state, and the political class vs. everybody?
Frankly it seems clear the federal government is hell-bent on Balkanizing America anyway. So why not seek out ways to split apart rationally and nonviolently? Why dismiss secession, the pragmatic alternative that’s staring us in the face?
Since most of us in the room are Americans, my focus today is on the political and cultural situation here at home. But the same principles of self-ownership, self-determination, and decentralization apply universally — whether we’re considering Texas independence or dozens of active breakaway movements in places like Venice, Catalonia, Scotland, and Belgium.
I truly believe secession movements represent the last best hope for reclaiming our birthright: the great classical liberal tradition and the civilization it made possible. In a world gone mad with state power, secession offers hope that truly liberal societies, organized around civil society and markets rather than central governments, can still exist.
THERE IS FAR MORE TO THIS ARTICLE IN ITS ENTIRETY, BUT HERE IS THE CONCLUSION:
So in closing, let me make a few humble suggestions for beginning a journey of personal secession. Not all of these may apply to your personal circumstances; no one but you can decide what’s best for you and your family. But all of us can play a role in a bottom-up revolution by doing everything in our power to withdraw our consent from the state:
- Secede from intellectual isolation. Talk to like-minded friends, family, and neighbors — whether physically or virtually — to spread liberty and cultivate relationships and alliances. The state prefers to have us atomized, without a strong family structure or social network;
- secede from dependency. Become as self-sufficient as possible with regard to food, water, fuel, cash, firearms, and physical security at home. Resist being reliant on government in the event of a natural disaster, bank crisis, or the like;
- secede from mainstream media, which promotes the state in a million different ways. Ditch cable, ditch CNN, ditch the major newspapers, and find your own sources of information in this internet age. Take advantage of a luxury previous generations did not enjoy;
- secede from state control of your children by homeschooling or unschooling them;
- secede from college by rejecting mainstream academia and its student loan trap. Educate yourself using online learning platforms, obtaining technical credentials, or simply by reading as much as you can;
- secede from the US dollar by owning physical precious metals, by owning assets denominated in foreign currencies, and by owning assets abroad;
- secede from the federal tax and regulatory regimes by organizing your business and personal affairs to be as tax efficient and unobtrusive as possible;
- secede from the legal system, by legally protecting your assets from rapacious lawsuits and probate courts as much as possible;
- secede from the state healthcare racket by taking control of your health, and questioning medical orthodoxy;
- secede from your state by moving to another with a better tax and regulatory environment, better homeschooling laws, better gun laws, or just one with more liberty-minded people;
- secede from political uncertainly in the US by obtaining a second passport; or
- secede from the US altogether by expatriating.
- Most of all, secede from the mindset that government is all-powerful or too formidable an opponent to be overcome. The state is nothing more than Bastiat’s great fiction, or Murray’s gang of thieves writ large. Let’s not give it the power to make us unhappy or pessimistic.
All of us, regardless of ideological bent and regardless of whether we know it or not, are married to a very violent, abusive spendthrift. It’s time, ladies and gentlemen, to get a divorce from DC.