Secession has been in the news lately. Well, not the mainstream news, for the most part, but local, Internet and alternative news outlets have been reporting a growing number of signatures added to secession petitions submitted to Washington (one has it at over 750,000 signatures). This began almost immediately after President Obama’s reelection, and while no one really expects this particular movement to go anywhere, people on both sides of our political divide take it somewhat seriously as a sign of how polarized and unstable our situation has become.
I’m going to tell you what I think about secession, and my hope is that readers will find it somewhat reasonable. In short, I reject the absolutely hysterical and frothing narrative that comes from some leftist quarters about the evil of secession. I don’t much appreciate the haughty dismissal and contempt that comes from some on both the left and the right, as if only a mental patient would want to secede from what America has become. Lastly, I don’t agree with the secessionists, but it has nothing to do with any sort of moral or philosophical objection to the principle of secession (I don’t think it is racist or crazy, in other words). Now to the meat and bones.
There’s been some buzz lately about states kicking the idea of nullification around. State legislators in Nebraska have been circulating a little tome by Thomas Woods on the subject, and there’s been some news reports of states considering the idea with regards to health care. Before conservatives go trumpeting this idea as some way of saving the republic, let’s keep in mind something: it’s a bad idea that happens to be unconstitutional.
Whenever the idea of nullification comes up we inevitably hear about Thomas Jefferson’s Kentucky Resolution and James Madison’s Virginia Resolution. They were penned in response to the passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. The key passages from Jefferson’s resolution is as follows: Continue reading