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Secession, or at least the threat of secession, has a long and often checkered history in these United States.  Following the 2004 election there were several, perhaps only half serious, proposals for the blue states to form their own country.  Of course some might want to argue that America is purple and good Democrats wouldn't want to just abandon our brothers and sisters in the red states.  And following the Civil War most talk of secession hasn't been taken seriously.  But I wanted to take a quick look at the history of secession and hold a serious discussion on if secession should be taken as a serious option.  

Rumblings on the Right

Right now most members of the DKos community have most likely heard of the Christian conservative secession movement called Christian Exodus.  Since Kos first talked about them on the main page they've settled on South Carolina as their focus point, showing the old saying is still true: "South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum."  Sorry Alabama and Mississippi, you just weren't nutjob enough.

Their goal is to create a Christian government in South Carolina, with secession as a final option if the national government blocks their attempts.  While I disagree with their views, I do have two kind things to say about them.  First, I find their attempt to move to one location in order to create a state government that reflects their views is a lot less threatening to me than trying to create a national government that reflects their views and bosses me around.  Second, I find the outline of South Carolina with the blue square in the corner with the red cross very artistically appealing.

The idea of moving along with like minded individuals to a state so it can better reflect your political views is very similar to another group that's on the other end of the conservative spectrum, the libertarian Free State Project.  I followed the FSP during the time period in which they were selecting a state and I was impressed with what I say as a very deliberate attempt to weigh the pros and cons of the potential states.  The selection of South Carolina for Christian Exodus struck me as somewhat arbitrary, but I'm not a 'Christian constitutionalist' so what do I know.

The FSP feels like it can move 20,000 libertarians into New Hampshire to shift the state toward them, and they selected New Hampshire specifically because of its small size, libertarian tilt, and many other factors such as sea coast and an international border, which they feel is important as they too are keeping secession as an option.  The Christian Exodus goal, according to one article, is 50,000 'Christian constitutionalists.'  

Interestingly, former Republican Governor Craig Benson was a big supporter of getting the FSP to pick New Hampshire.  We all know how popular he was and went on to a second term, right?  Another libertarian-conservative governor, Mark Sanford of South Carolina, seems to be so incredibly popular he's going to be challenged in the Republican Primary.

A Silent Left?

What was interesting to me was that despite the triumph of the Republican Party nationally, the two major secession movements I could find were conservative in nature.  No one seems to have started to talk seriously about a liberal secession movement.  But I did stumble on some interesting finds, like secession Meetups a Hawaii secession movement that seems to be tied more toward the rights of the Native Hawaiians than liberalism, and the Second Vermont Republic right next door to the FSP in New Hampshire.  The latter is perhaps the closet to a liberal secession movement, but it seems based more on Vermont's independent past and less on political ideology.

A Brief History

New England in general, not just Vermont and New Hampshire, was home to one of the first secession movements in these United States: the Hartford Convention.  At the time of the country was fighting the War of 1812, which was very unpopular among the New England states, and many of them felt that the country was being dominated by the South, Virginia in particular.  They also came up with several amendments to address other problems they had with the status quo.  Following the conclusion of peace talks and Jackson's smashing victory in New Orleans the talk of secession was quickly dropped, but many viewed New England and the Federalist Party with distrust.  Ironically however when secession would actually occur it would pit New England against secession and the South, the region that previously had brought New England to the brink of secession, as the seceding region.

Legitimacy

Now there is a lot of revisionist/Neo-Confederate literature out there attempting to justify Southern secession, typically by authors that also feel that FDR's New Deal was a disaster for these United States.  Perhaps one reason why there appears to be stronger/larger secessionist movements on the right is that many of their members feel that the Southern States were justified, while liberals typically have more difficulty justifying a secessionist movement because they feel like the Southern States were morally wrong.  Some of the smarter pro-secession intellectuals I've read correctly point out that the Civil War was a major blow to the legitimacy of secession not because of the result of the war (which certainly was a set back), but because it forever linked slavery and secession in the minds of most people.  

One of the questions needing to be answered concerns the legitimacy of secession.  Very often a legitimate tool or option may be used for immoral, perhaps downright evil, ends.  As many Republicans pointed out during the fight over judicial filibusters the filibuster was often used by Southern Democrats to block civil rights legislation.  Yet this does not make the filibuster inherently immoral or wrong, simply wrong when used for the wrong ends.  Is secession similar?  Is it a legitimate tool, but misused by the South in order to protect slavery?

I feel that the liberal idea of self determination would give strength to the idea of the legitimacy of secession.  From Jefferson's Declaration of Independence to Wilson's Fourteen Points liberals and Democrats have typically supported the idea of people to break away from governments they felt were not responding to their wishes.  Sure both of them were hypocrites, Jefferson ignoring the rights of slaves and Indians, Wilson ignoring the Vietnamese and other non-European ethnic groups, but the principles they put forth seem to be persuasive in favor of secession.

Strategy

As I said above, I was very impressed with the deliberations that went into the decision by the FSP in selecting a state.  Knowing that libertarianism is a relatively small movement, they set their membership goal at a reasonable 20,000 and this in turn influenced their decision to focus on small states, typically those with one or two Congressmen.  Even Christian Exodus seems to have focused in on smaller Southern states like Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina, as opposed to say Texas.

Obvious Idea One: Work your base.  Christian Exodus didn't pick Massachusetts, and early on FSP eliminated Hawaii from consideration.  Obviously a blue state would be the focus of a liberal secession movement.

Idea Two: Keep it small.  A blue state secession movement would most likely want to rule out larger states like California, New York, and Illinois, and focus in on smaller states.  I'm going to go with an arbitrary number to start, but I'm open to suggestions on how best to refine the search, of 10 Congressmen or less.

The combination of the above two ideas, focusing narrowly on the states that went blue each time in 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004, we come up with:

Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine.

Perhaps by accident or design the Christian Exodus movement's choice of South Carolina met another factor important to the FSP: a seacoast and/or an international border.  This was because it secession did become an option it was thought to make the state/nation more viable and less dependent on the US for trade.  

Idea Three: While this hampered some libertarian hotspots like Wyoming, blue state America is surprisingly well situated on the borders.  Several have seacoasts and international borders.  Perhaps one could make a correlation between exposure to trade and communications with the rest of the world and liberalism, but I won't go there.

Despite the Great Lakes, I'm going to drop Wisconsin, and note that Vermont and Minnesota are in a precarious position by only having an international border with Canada.  They can be called second tier, perhaps they have other attributes that would bring them back up if we expanded our criteria.

When thinking about secession as an option one realizes that Maryland in particular would have some problems because of the large number of federal employees living in Maryland.  Secession would put their livelihood in danger and I'd expect strong opposition to secession in the state out of economic self interest.

Another interesting argument among the FSP was the idea of a ripple or domino effect.  One libertarian state, in their mind, would encourage the neighboring states to take a more libertarian direction.  Their search focused on smaller states, and they noted that New Hampshire was close to Vermont and Maine.  Despite their blue state nature several activists believed that shifting New Hampshire in a libertarian direction could, over time, also influence these states.  On the other hand a state like Delaware, squeezed both larger states, might not have the ability to impact neighboring states, and the work of liberty activists could be undermined by the neighbors.

A liberal perspective is a bit different.  We might want to pick a state that's surrounded by several small red states, with the idea that the blue state would be able to influence them, and not vice versa.  This idea is actually different than a simple secession movement.  The goal isn't to secede, it's to maximize a group's influence by moving to a single state, and if that doesn't work secession is an option.  I believe that many liberals who dislike secession may still like a movement that attempts to settle in one state to maximize our ability to shift the state toward a more liberal and Democratic direction.

This might be a persuasive case for Minnesota, which could influence neighboring purple Iowa and the red Dakotas.  However for the most part the blue states are lumped together, primarily in New England, and the likelihood instead is that if one were to secede you'd have pressure on the others to join as well.  This might make the case for Massachusetts; with Boston's media market is could influence other states as well as its role as an economic hub.

We might want to pick the bluest of the blue.  Washington, for example, has two Democratic Governors, a Democratic state legislatures, and a Congressional delegation that is 6-3 in our favor (but could even be improved to 7-2).  But it was also home to a very, very, very, very close Gubernatorial election in 2004, just going to show that even the bluest of the blue isn't always going to be blue.

Perhaps if the goal is to move to a state to make it more liberal, we might want to pick a blue state that's not consistently blue.  Maine with two Republican senators or Connecticut with a 3-2 Congressional delegation in favor of the Republicans and a questionable Democratic Senator.

Another idea is that an equivalent liberal movement to FSP/Christian Exodus may be better off picking a small purple state and moving it into the solidly blue category?  Say Montana?  Or perhaps one of the Dakotas, where the combination of a growing American Indian population and an influx of liberals could turn the state blue in a few decades?

First off, what do you think of the idea of a 'Liberal Exodus?'

Originally posted to LoganFerree on Fri Jun 03, 2005 at 02:56 PM PDT.

Poll

What Do You Think of a 'Liberal Exodus'?

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| 393 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thoughts? (4.00)
    Let me know what you think.  Worthy?

    Socially Just, Fiscally Responsible: FreedomDemocrats

    by LoganFerree on Fri Jun 03, 2005 at 02:57:18 PM PDT

  •  re (none)
    Silly rabbits.

    Don't they know one partisan secretary of state can undo all their work?!

    Trix are for kids!

    Steve Holt! is not a Popinjay!

    by cookiesandmilk on Fri Jun 03, 2005 at 03:02:05 PM PDT

  •  Given the electoral balance... (4.00)
    I think the most productive thing for liberals to do would be to support the Christian Exodus movement, and then force them to take the secession option -- and then let them go without any resistance (so long as they let anyone who wants to leave do so, and we'll -- the remaining USA -- even be generous and provide the emigrants transitional assistance to help them out).

    We lose right-wing voters from all over the country and an already bright-red state with its Senate and House seats and electoral votes, and they get South Carolina as the new Fundamentalist Republic of Talibaptistland.

    Frankly, I think its well worth the price.

    •  We'll need (4.00)
      a security "fence" around the shape previously known as South Carolina of course.

      Somewhere around 2001, Mr. Spock grew a beard.

      by Olds88 on Fri Jun 03, 2005 at 03:16:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, I'm not a big fan... (none)
        ...of fortified borders, but that would have to be one. The whole durn Talibaptist Empire would be like one great big millenialist cult compound.
        •  Please... (none)
          Just fence of most of Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson, Oconee, and Lexington Counties.  We can even call them reservations or something.  But the mountains are too beautiful and the rest of the people are too nice (even the conservative ones!) to turn SC into another North Korea.
          •  Well, if you can talk them into taking... (none)
            ...a smaller chunk of the state, that certainly makes things easier.
            •  That shouldn't be difficult. (none)
              I know a town councilman in Laurens County who is a communist for goodness' sake.  Enough statistical outliers like that will convince the menfolk to stay close to their armed compound in Greenville where the womenfolk won't have to get their lace collars mussed.
      •  Yes!! (none)
        And we need to make it electric, and 20 feet tall and with that coiled barbed/razor wire on top.  And then a mote filled with great white sharks that are never fed.  And then a field of pitch which can be set on fire at a moments notice.  Just to be on the safe side we might want to include another barrier, a human barrier of volunteers, of course.  True people of faith, married gay couples, kids who are receiving a true liberal arts education, not just job skills, people of every color and race who enjoy the benefits of a democratic society, environmentalists, humanists, liberals, lions and tigers and bears.

        I think I need another glass of wine.  

        I say let them have their own country.  Good fucking riddance.

    •  Or, to put it another way (none)
      I'd happily lose a handful of districts 99%-1% if it meant being viable almost everywhere else.

      PS.  I'm from SC, and it's bad, but it's getting to the point where even some very conservative people are scratching their heads at some of the stuff they're being asked to do.  Note also that the new Speaker of the House of SC is from the Lowcountry, which may dilute the political influence of all those fundies living in the suburbs of Greenville (home of Bob Jones ... and me!) who don't understand why coastal roads wear out more quickly than their cul-de-sacs.

      PPS.  I have no problem with devout Christians, btw, but I do have a problem with devout Christians who try to take over government rather than seeing to their own spiritual purity before God.

    •  See, here's da ting (none)
      In the 2004 election, over 40% (41? 42? something) voted for Kerry in SC, so we are certainly not the most red of red states (that title goes to Utah).  There are areas that are fairly blue - we do have 2 dem congressmen, afterall.

      I think the reason Christian Exodus chose SC was twofold: one, the purvasive influence of Bob Jones U. and like minded jeebus freaks over the northern upstate area, and two, the fact that even compared to other southern states, SC is kind of a backwater (hell, even other southern states make fun of SC).

      Frankly, if more "yoked" jeebus people show up, they will probably move to the Greenville area, and it will be hard to tell if they would make any sort of impact - it's difficult to imagine Greenville getting more jeebusy.

      Big Media is hated by the GOP because they sometimes tell the truth. We should hate Big Media for the other 97 percent of the time when they don't.

      by Ugluks Flea on Fri Jun 03, 2005 at 03:20:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I know that SC isn't the most Red state... (none)
        ...but we probably can't trick them into targeting Utah instead. Which is why I think the rest of us -- if they want to pull that trick -- should support them, and provide transitional assistance to get people unhappy with the switch out. Yeah, it'd be expensive. Yeah, the US would lose SC's industry and economic power. It would be a cost. But its a cost I think is worth paying.
        •  Well (none)
          Yeah, the US would lose SC's industry and economic power.

          NAFTA kinda did that already.

          Big Media is hated by the GOP because they sometimes tell the truth. We should hate Big Media for the other 97 percent of the time when they don't.

          by Ugluks Flea on Fri Jun 03, 2005 at 03:27:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Seceding From Secession (none)
        Given the example of West Virginia leaving Virginia after Virginia left the United States, I think one of the requirements of a South Carolina secession would be to allow counties within South Carolina to secede from South Carolina.  If not, I agree with you, abandoning the 40% of so of South Carolinians who are Democrats would not be wise.

        What do you think of a liberal exodus idea with its goal not secession, but making a state bluer and more Democratic?

        Socially Just, Fiscally Responsible: FreedomDemocrats

        by LoganFerree on Fri Jun 03, 2005 at 04:28:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think its kind of pointless... (none)
          ...to try to move around to shift demographics that way. You need to organize a large number of people to make a difference, and unless you correctly predict other partisan shifts and demographic trends, you are quite likely to have the whole plan backfire.

          OTOH, if you work in the existing system to get a Democratic majority in Congress, and then try to get large Democratic states to break up into smaller majority-Democratic states, that might be useful, especially if the states have different majority-Democratic fragments they could break up into that have diverse enough local interests that it makes sense other than as a political power maximizing move.

          One of the Republicans big advantages -- both in the Senate and Presidential elections -- is that they rule the small states.

          •  Good Point . . . (none)
            In how the Republican domination of the small states translates into a big advantage in the Senate and Presidential Elections.

            As far as the small states go, the Free State Project thinks that with 20,000 activists it can make New Hampshire a more libertarian state.  That's hardly a congressional district, that's a drop in the bucket in my mind, but I'm also willing to beleive that 20,000 activists can make a difference.  After all, Daschle lost by only 4,508 votes.  If you can get 20,000 activists into a small red state, I think they could make the state purple or blue.  It's one thought.

            Splitting up Democratic states into smaller Democratic states may also be a thought, California might be one idea.  Just be careful that you don't split them up so much they turn purple.  I think a simple split into Northern and Southern California could keep them both Democratic.  Or a NYC and the rest of New York.  But I think it's a bit more outlandish than recruiting 20,000 activists.

            Socially Just, Fiscally Responsible: FreedomDemocrats

            by LoganFerree on Fri Jun 03, 2005 at 04:48:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Fictional example (none)
      This happened in James Morrow's "Only Begotten Daughter". The fundies took over New Jersey and seceded. Very shortly they began slaughtering their dissidents and remaining liberals in huge, televised rallies. Some beheaded, some burned at the stake. Oh, and they also sponsored terrorist acts in New York.

      I'm all for letting the wingnuts go, but I'd be scared for any of our people who couldn't get out in time.

      (Good book, by the way. A screamingly funny satire about the coming of the Daughter of God. She's born in Atlantic City to a celibate Jewish man named Murray with the help of an artificial womb. I keep waiting for it to inspire some kind of insane Satanic Verses-type backlash from the right.)

    •  Seccesion? (none)
      I tend to take a similar approach, of the nutjobs want to go, let them go.  Further it makes sense that if a state can secede, counties can secede from states if they disagree with the state's secession.  That's what created West Virginia, after all.  I realize that there's a sizable Democratic population in South Carolina, specifically in the 6th and 5th Districts, and I would think that there'd be plenty of them that would want to leave and form . . . New Carolina?  New South Carolina?  Or perhaps, since it's most likely a state with a black majority, give it a name like Lincoln to drive the Neoconfederates crazy.

      Socially Just, Fiscally Responsible: FreedomDemocrats

      by LoganFerree on Fri Jun 03, 2005 at 04:17:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  WTF? (none)
    Since when was Vermont an independent republic at any time?

    I always thought that Vermont was part of NY until 1791, when it became a state.

    At least that's how they taught it in school.

    [Sorry, not to get too off track here, I'm just having trouble focusing on the actual substance of your diary - which is very interesting by the way - because of this historical dissonance going on in my head.]

    •  Republic of Vermont (none)
      Where did you go to school, in New York?  It seems to me that it would make sense that New York would teach that Vermont was part of NY until 1791.  I grew up in the South and you still get a lot of the Lost Clause/South Was Right taught in schools.

      New York claimed Vermont, New Hampshire claimed Vermont, and the people of Vermont claimed independence on January 18, 1777 and called itself New Connecticut.  I like the name Vermont better, glad they later changed it.  Until 1791 it generally governed itself as an independent nation, from my understanding it even signed a separate peace treaty earlier than the rest of the colonies.

      Socially Just, Fiscally Responsible: FreedomDemocrats

      by LoganFerree on Fri Jun 03, 2005 at 04:24:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Secession (none)
    I was born in South Carolina so I have some understanding of what is going on there.  I don't think this Texas-based bunch of entrepreneurial nutcakes is going to be appreciated much there.

    Now about Secession.  Secession quite literally means the end of the US Constitution and anyone who believes otherwise is terribly naive.

    A "Liberal Exodus" will require a constitution, and everyone is going to want to make improvements; the result will look like the ill-fated European Constitution.

    This idea was talked about during the Vietnam war and inspired bunches of "hippies" to relocate to all over.  Some of those folks are actually still liberal Democrats, some still socialist.  But by the 1980s, one heck of a lot of them weren't interested in the simple life anymore; they wanted the "American dream". And in the aughties, the are some of biggest defenders of the Shrub.

    It is an attempt to escape what really must be done.  Build the progressive liberal Democratic wing of the Democratic Party in each of the 3300 counties in the US.

    There is no easy way out.

    The revolution starts now--in your own back yard, in your own home town

    by TarheelDem on Fri Jun 03, 2005 at 03:22:22 PM PDT

    •  Aughties? (none)
      You mean the Zeroes? (zero is the best and really only way to refer to this sad joke of a decade)

      I think states can come up with their own constitutions at secession, just as the 13 colonies did in 1776-80. The Constitution is still silent on the secession issue, and it all depends on the will of the federal government to enforce its interpretation. If enough folks decide to break up the union, it will indeed happen.

      I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

      by eugene on Fri Jun 03, 2005 at 03:25:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  State constitutions (none)
        Right, states can come up with their own constitutions, but what sort of constitutions are they likely to come up with?

        It is a sorry state right now that we are discussing this instead of doing what needs to be done.

        Only in a minority of cases, such as Czechoslovakia, is secession peaceful.  There is controversy in a territory that is looking at secession; there was in South Carolina in the 1850s.  Frequently, that controversy becomes violent even before secession can be decided.

        I think that this is a bad idea that should be laid to rest very quickly.

        Just because four Texans and a web site think they can take over South Carolina doesn't mean that it is going to happen.

        The the resistance to a parallel "Liberal Exodus" would be significant, even in a "blue" state.

        The revolution starts now--in your own back yard, in your own home town

        by TarheelDem on Fri Jun 03, 2005 at 03:33:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And just because... (none)
          ...something happened a certain way in 1860 doesn't mean it necessarily will happen again like that in 2005.

          I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

          by eugene on Fri Jun 03, 2005 at 03:51:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Show me one county that is uniform (none)
            Show me one county in which you would not have opposition, no matter how small.  Let alone a state.  People just don't like the idea of outsiders moving in to make a political change.  Not in South Carolina, not in Vermont, and not in California.

            It's not because that's the way it happened in 1860.

            It is a general pattern with secessions.

            The revolution starts now--in your own back yard, in your own home town

            by TarheelDem on Fri Jun 03, 2005 at 04:08:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  No no no! (none)
        How many times to I have to say this... We're living in the Naughties.

        :)

      •  Articles of Confederation (none)
        The Union of the States was declared to be perpetual. The articles were replaced but not explicitly repealed by the present constitution, so I see no reason why the perpetual nature of the Union is not still good law. This is the legal argument both President Buchanan and President Lincoln used against secession.

        If the principle is considered to remain valid, then the only legal way to secede is to amend the US Constitution.

        There is no man alive who is sufficiently good to rule the life of the man next door to him. Sir Rhys Hopkin Morris, M.P.

        by Gary J on Fri Jun 03, 2005 at 03:50:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Secession sounds good to me (none)
    For the life of me, I don't see any good reason for the US to remain together. Let the states go their separate ways and the populations will balance themselves out ideologically. Everyone's happy.

    I still think that CA should become an independent nation, and that BC, WA, and OR should unite to form a nation of its own. Aside from that I'm not sure I much care.

    I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

    by eugene on Fri Jun 03, 2005 at 03:23:25 PM PDT

    •  The problem... (none)
      ...is that not everyone can afford to move, and that not every newly independent state would necessarily be inclined to allow people to emigrate freely.
      •  Ask the Loyalists? (none)
        Didn't the American revolution cause a lot of problems for the Loyalists?  A lot of them ended up leaving for Canada, but certainly some of the poorer ones couldn't move.  It seems to me that if you recognize the validity of the American Revolution, you have to recognize the validity of secession.

        Socially Just, Fiscally Responsible: FreedomDemocrats

        by LoganFerree on Fri Jun 03, 2005 at 04:52:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Your argument works... (none)
          ...if you believe that "validity" is a question purely of process and not of motivation, purpose, etc.

          Sure, in that case, the secessionists of Confederate States in the 1860s were arguably no different than the secessionists of the North American colonies of the 1770s, and secession is generally valid, in and of itself.

          Of course, the secessionists of the 1770s thought -- and I agree -- that purpose was important.

          Anyway, my point wasn't about "validity" in some kind of abstract sense, my point was about the desirability of fragmenting the country into a variety of independent states, and the idea that populations would ideologically sort things out in ways which would be happy for all involved.

          That is, quite simply, magical thinking with as much basis in reality as the Bush Administration's postwar planning for Iraq.

          •  Makes Sense (none)
            You're right, the secessionists of the 1770s thought that the purpose was important:

            Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

            The Southern States left after the guy they didn't like won the Presidential election.  Prudent they were not.

            Socially Just, Fiscally Responsible: FreedomDemocrats

            by LoganFerree on Fri Jun 03, 2005 at 05:10:42 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I'm staying in KY to kick the GOP's ass... (none)
    Nothing is permanent and as red as KY is now I want to be here to change it for the good and make it an example for Southern Democrats.  If the national party doesn't want to help then we'll do it ourselves.  

    Never have so few taken so much from so many for so long.

    by mapKY on Fri Jun 03, 2005 at 03:33:22 PM PDT

    •  What Do You Like About Kentucky? (none)
      I'm often interested in what keeps a Red State Democrat going.  I live in Virginia, which hopefully is trending blue, but sometimes I can get very cynical.  I stay because I'm still going to college.  But what keeps you in KY?  Any particular reason?  I just finished reading Richard Florida's "The Rise of the Creative Class" and he talks a lot about how more people are picking where they want to live first, and jobs are following them, and many focus on tolerant and creative communities to move to.  That's a boon for the blue, I'd say.

      Socially Just, Fiscally Responsible: FreedomDemocrats

      by LoganFerree on Fri Jun 03, 2005 at 05:33:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What keeps me going is fighting Republicans (none)
        I refuse to let them destroy my state and this country.  I love Kentucky and I don't want to see it go further red.  Kentuckians can't afford GOP rule  whether they realize it or not.  I am here to fight as long as it takes.

        Never have so few taken so much from so many for so long.

        by mapKY on Sun Jun 05, 2005 at 12:39:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Secesh (none)
    liberals typically have more difficulty justifying a secessionist movement because they feel like the Southern States were morally wrong.  Some of the smarter pro-secession intellectuals I've read correctly point out that the Civil War was a major blow to the legitimacy of secession not because of the result of the war (which certainly was a set back), but because it forever linked slavery and secession in the minds of most people

       Judgments on Civil War secession can be made on both moral and legal grounds.  The seceding states had a bad motivation: they wanted a slave society that could grow indefinitely, and they had long-term  goals of extending slavery into the southern territories (what's now Arizona and New Mexico), annexing parts of Mexico and extending slavery there.  Their other motivation was political: they were bad losers who couldn't handle the fact that Abraham Lincoln had been elected President (though had they not seceded, they probably could have frustrated him at every point, and history -- and Lincoln's reputation -- would be very much different).
       Secession, by itself, is morally neutral.  However, the way the seceding states chose to go about it -- calling conventions with no legal legitimacy and simply proclaiming themselves out of the Union -- put them altogether on the wrong side of the law.  If they'd had patience, they could have sought to have the Constitution amended to allow for secession by some means or other, and then voted themselves out.  Probably many in the North would have been very happy to see the South go.  
       But the seceding states didn't just want secession, they wanted a war, and went to great lengths to secure one.  The federal government, though it would have been within its rights to raise a militia to put down the rebellion, in fact did nothing until the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter -- a federal installation that was not under state jurisdiction.
       Any serious attempt by a state to secede has to avoid the stupidity of the 1860-1861 seceders.  First, the secession has to be altogether above-ground and legal, and that means amending the Constitution to allow for secession.  I think a reasonable amendment would allow any state to secede following a) assent of the State government and/or a popular vote of the State's citizens, and b) assent of the U.S. Congress, and c) ratification by 3/4 of the remaining states.  I think this is reasonable because any secession would have a definite impact on the economy and security of the other states, and they need a say in whether they're okay with that.  Additional questions, such as the disposition of federal property in the states, would be decided on as part of the process of gaining the assent of Congress, and would be formally stated in a treaty outlining the relationships between the U.S. and the new state.
       It's unlikely, even with a formal process of this sort, that any state would ever actually choose to secede (though some might attempt to use the threat of secession as political leverage).  Much depends, however, on the future economic relations between states.

    •  I'm not sure the Constitution has to be amended... (none)
      ...to allow for secession. Particularly if self-determination is considered to be a retained right under Article IX. Of course, there would need to be some mechanism for determining that a "valid" secession had been made, but I'm not sure that could not, given the Constitution's silence on secession, be acheived by an act of Congress, or even a ratified treaty with the purportedly seceded state.
    •  Good Response (none)
      I very much agree with your points about the moral and political dimensions of the South's secession.  It was not the "Oh, we're just protecting states' rights.  We're innocent." that so many neo-Confederates push.  Their motivation was immoral and I'd say even evil.

      I agree with you, any serious attempt at secession would have to be cool headed and level minded, not a bunch of irrational fire eaters.

      Socially Just, Fiscally Responsible: FreedomDemocrats

      by LoganFerree on Fri Jun 03, 2005 at 04:56:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Already Did It (none)
    We moved from red Christian Ohio to Puget Sound WA where both the sun and the Son shine less than most other places.

    Why not join WA or at least the portion west of the Cascades to Canada?

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

    (Original map.)

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Jun 03, 2005 at 03:43:39 PM PDT

  •  Didn't we already have a war over this? (none)
    Well, actually that was only one of the issues, but I thought the Civil War settled pretty conclusively that we are a UNION and secession is NOT an option.

    When a whole nation is roaring Patriotism at the top of its voice, I am fain to explore the cleanness of its hands and the purity of its heart. - Emerson

    by foolrex on Fri Jun 03, 2005 at 03:45:34 PM PDT

    •  No more than the 1789 revolution... (none)
      ...established that France was a Republic and monarchy was not an option.

      Just because one side wins one war doesn't mean a dispute is settled for all time.

    •  Might Makes Right? (none)
      I'm not so sure that might makes right.

      Let's suppose your wife is a drug addict.  You try to get her to break the habit.  She angrily says she's going to divorce her.  You beat her to within an inch of her life to prevent her.  

      Would you say that the fight settled the question of a divorce?

      Socially Just, Fiscally Responsible: FreedomDemocrats

      by LoganFerree on Fri Jun 03, 2005 at 04:26:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The War of the Slaveholders Rebellion (none)
      settled who won that war.

      However, it is inobvious that an act of Congress could not be used to send people on their way, if they agrees.

      After all, acts of Congress are used to incorporate territory into the country, no Constitutional Amendment needed.

  •  Minnesota... (none)
    Being from Minnesota, we would be waaaay out on our own. There isn't a state around us that would consider seceding even assuming that we would. Even though we backed Democraic presidents since '72, the idea of secession probably would not take. Lutherans (the majority religion here) are not extreme in any way. Still, it is a fun thought.
  •  Libertarians (none)
    are not conservatives.  Any more than they are liberals.

    For example, some conservatives would disagree with:

    In general, the war on drugs does more harm than good, and should be ended.

    Conscription is immoral, and should not be allowed.

    It is none of the government's business whether or not you have an abortion.

    It is none of the government's business whether you do stem cell research, or clone your cat.

    Foreign interventions (dozens of them in recent decades) were basically all wrong.  Ending the warfare state to make foreign invasions largely impossible would be a good thing.  Scrapping all of the country's aircraft carriers might be an effective start.

    It is none of the government's business who marries whom, whether it is Adam and Eve, Adam and State, Eve and Jane, or Adam, Steve, and Jane.

    The National ID card REAL ID program is a step toward creating a police state.

    But these are all sound libertarian stands.

    And with respect to the Slaveholder secession, the problem with them was not that they wanted to go, it was that they demanded that they could choose that their slaves went with them, so they could maintain their supply of 12 year old girls for nefarious purposes.  They were as against secession as the Unionists; they just had a different list of people whose secession they opposed.

  •  Read 'Ecotopia' (none)
    by Ernest Callenbach. A utopian novel where Oregon, Washington, and northern California secede from the U.S. to form a progressive green society. The economy thrives based on exports of produce, wine, timber, and excellent public transit largely replaces private cars. The book is a bit dated now, but it's still delightful to read and dream of how much better we could arrange things.
    •  Or for that matter (none)
      The Nine Nations of North America by Joel Garreau. Very prescient, the book gives some clues about where the fissures will be when things really do fall apart, several decades from now.

      The nine nations are
        - Ecotopia
        - Mexamerica
        - The Empty Quarter
        - The Breadbasket
        - The Foundry
        - New England
        - Quebec
        - Dixie
        - The Islands

      •  The 9 nations (none)
        is a bit dated and, I believe got some details wrongs even for the 1980s. For example, S Ohio definitely is a different culture from N Ohio, although the book explicitly denies this (S Ohio really belongs with "Dixie", along with S Indiana and S Illinois, which the author correctly puts there). Also S Florida does not belong with the "Islands" (the Carribean), a mistake based largely on the Mariel boat lift and the growth of the 80s drug trade. S and cevtral Florida (everything from Tampa and Orlando south) is a tenth "nation" unto itself. Finally the Mexican border region (on both sides) should be calved off into its own (11th) nation, distinct from Mexico just as it is distinct from the rest of the US.
    •  Good Book (none)
      It is dated now, and at times there's a strange sexual tension in the book that seems almost anti-feminist.  But to me it's got a good point, I think secession could be good for the liberal and progressive movement, if done right.

      Socially Just, Fiscally Responsible: FreedomDemocrats

      by LoganFerree on Sat Jun 04, 2005 at 05:51:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  From Our Founding Fathers (none)
    "Our country is too large to have all its affairs directed by a single government. Public servants at such a distance, and from under the eye of their constituents, must, from the circumstance of distance, be unable to administer and overlook all the details necessary for the good government of the citizens, and the same circumstance, by rendering detection impossible to their constituents, will invite the public agents to corruption, plunder and waste. And I do verily believe, that if the principle were to prevail, of a common law being in force in the U.S. (which principle possesses the general government at once of all the powers of the state governments, and reduces us to a single consolidated government), it would become the most corrupt government on the earth."
    -Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Gideon Granger of Connecticut, Aug. 13, 1800

    Food For Thought:

    George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Samuel Adams called for secession from their lawful king and Empire while an estimated two-thirds of the colonial population either was opposed to the action or indifferent to it.

    This talk of secession would not have startled Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson refused to view the American Union as anything more than a utilitarian political arrangement to be judged by the test of time, and he expected it ultimately to devolve into two or three independent confederacies - a development he did not view with any particular dread. He told James Madison that he was "determined...to sever ourselves from the union we so much value rather than give up the rights of self-government...in which alone we see liberty, safety and happiness."

    "We have it in our power to begin the world over again"-Thomas Paine

    Thrive!

    http://newenglandsecession.blogspot.com/

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