Secession lagniappe

Needed a week off after Scotland, but we’re back and more seditious than ever. For starters, if you haven’t read this, do:

Devolution—meaning the decentralization of power—is the geopolitical equivalent of the second law of thermodynamics: inexorable, universal entropy. Today’s nationalism and tribalism across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East represent the continued push for either greater autonomy within states or total independence from what some view as legacy colonial structures. Whether these movements are for devolution, federalism, or secession, they all to varying degrees advocate the same thing: greater self-rule.

In addition to the traditional forces of anti-colonialism and ethnic grievance, the newer realities of weak and over-populated states, struggles to control natural resources, accelerated economic competition, and even the rise of big data and climate change all point to more devolution in the future rather than less. Surprisingly, this could be a good thing, both for America and the world.

Adam Gurri’s on pluralism is a good companion piece to it. Honestly it’s a bit unsettling to see someone as unflappably congenial as Gurri get this pessimistic:

Pluralism is a state of ceasefire across communities which allows the number of communities and conceptions of the good to multiply as their members strive to find answers. The pessimist will see in this nothing but the breakdown in moral order. The optimist will see a broadening of perspectives, of available ground level knowledge, of the stock of stories and ideas available within our common culture. The optimist believes that conceptions of the good which can persist over time are bounded by human nature and by history, but that these bounds are actually quite large, and that exploring them morally enriches us all. …

All caveats aside, I consider myself a partisan on behalf of pluralism. I can see practical value in it. I also believe there is a moral value, and dignity, in conferring the freedom and the responsibility on every citizen to find their own way. But I fear that the historically contingent political ceasefire that makes it possible is necessarily a tense one, and that the boiling over of hostilities into active bloodshed is unavoidable. The only question is how long a timeframe peace and a liberal order can be maintained over, a question I’m not sure there can be an answer for.


Ron Paul: More secession movements please; they’re as american as apple pie.

Dan McCarthy attaches a cautionary note to Ron Paul’s cri de coeur, noting it’s not necessarily a libertarian idea (a point this blog has been making for a long time):

The specifically libertarian case for secessionism is manifold: in fact, it’s several cases for different things that may not add up to a coherent whole. First, there is theradical theory that secessionism in principle leads to free-market anarchism—that is, secessionist reduction of states to ever smaller units ends with reduction of the state to the individual. Second, there is the historical claim that smaller states tend to be freer and more prosperous. Third is the matter of self-determination, which is actually a democratic or nationalistic idea rather than a classically liberal one but historically has been admixed with liberalisms of various kinds. What it means is that “a people” has “a right” to exit a state along with its territory and create a new state.

A fourth consideration is that suppressing secession may require coercion. And finally there is the pragmatic idea that secession is the best way to dismantle the U.S. federal government, the summum malum for some libertarians. (As an addendum, one can mention the claim that the U.S. Constitution in particulartacitly approves secessionism, but that’s a separate argument from cheering for secession more generally.)

It should be obvious that the first and third claims negate one another, and in practice the third overrules the first: real-world secession never leads to individualist anarchism but only to the creation of two or more states where formerly there was one. The abstract claim that every minority within the newly formed states should then be allowed to secede doesn’t translate into anyone’s policy: instead, formerly united states that are now distinct security competitors tend to consider the residual minorities who belong to the other bloc to be internal security threats. These populations left behind by secessionism may or may not be disloyal, but they are readily used as pretexts for aggressive state actions: either for the stronger state to dismember or intimidate the weaker one in the name of protecting minorities or for either state to persecute minorities and build an internal security apparatus to suppress the (possibly imaginary) enemy within. Needless to say, none of this is particularly good for liberty.

Similar thoughts on the Daily Paul

Two Bryn Mawr students displaying the Confederate flag incites the usual sackcloth-and-ashes routine

Danville Museum of Fine Arts asks the city to remove its Confederate flag

OC Register dissents from the CA Confederate flag ban

VA won’t fix a misnamed Confederate grave in New York

Where did this billboard come from?

NH state rep. Dan Itse says secession is an option. I’ve met Itse once, nice guy, and friendly with the Free Staters. Also supports an Article V convention.

Interview on Hawaiian sovereignty

War crimes being committed in Hawaii?

More legislators coming out for a constitutional convention

Jim Bovard on Yankee atrocities in the Shenandoah

Local secession in New Jersey

Throw California out of the Union


Secession movements in Africa (via Reddit):


Malawi considering federalization; also considering banning parties that support secession

Dalai Lama calls out Jacob Zuma for selling South Africa’s sovereignty to China

Anthony Akinola on what Scotland means for Nigeria

200 people in DC rally for Hong Kong

Nationalia on Hong Kong

You figure it out

Scotland on Kashmir?

Pimp my ride, Peshmerga edition

Cops in Sabah really want to know who’s been inciting secessionism

St. Kitts and Nevis administration: removing the secession clause from the Constitution is a matter for the people to decide


Catalonian referendum set for November 9

35,000 have joined the SNP since the Scottish referendum

Scottish secession hits the markets

Financial Times urges Madrid to make concessions to Catalonia

Sweden recognizes Palestine

Revolutionary Irish republicans seem influenced by the Scotland vote too.  Michael Brendan Dougherty had a column on this not too long ago

Cornish nationalist party reforms

Photos: Crimea — faces of secession

Australian movie set for 2016 release called “The Secession of Shearwater Island

Vatican responds to the United Nations’ absurd demand that the Church enforce the Convention on the Rights of the Child


Nassim Taleb on how exit enhances voice, via Facebook:

Another attribute of small is beautiful: (what we call) democracy.

The idea of democracy is to take the citizens’ location as fixed, and the identity of those in government as variable, the “representatives” matching the preferences of the people. But you can get similar results of representation, even under dictatorships, by varying the people’s location instead.

Assuming you are able to move to the canton or municipality where you feel the dictators represent your tastes & beliefs, such competition would put pressure on local municipal dictators to please taxpaying constituents so they stick around.

So the smaller the size of political units (and the larger their number), the more democracy we get in the system.

John Glanton on how separation is unifying:

decentralization—or some similar process of fragmentation, of Balkanization, of the devolvement of federal powers to more disparate sites—is key to almost every proposed program of the genuine right. And I think that’s true. Conservatives have long (and admittedly without too much to show for it) hammered “state’s rights.” Neoreactionaries stress “exit.” Identitarians of all stripes emphasize more organic, tribal bonds than the sort that jury rig the chimeras of modern nation states together. Even dyed-in-the-wool monarchists seem to think in terms of particular kingdoms and dynastic lines rather than simply installing a golden throne in the Oval Office. It’s common conceptual ground for all of us.

Peter Lawler on Peter Thiel

You should be reading everything James Bamford writes.

BHL wets its pants over Hoppe

The unhelpfulness of “arcs of instability”

Conrad Black against the world

New books:

On self-determination and secession in Africa

Out Monday, on royalism and the American founding

On Hawaiian sovereignty

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