When the word secession rears its head, most Americans conjure up bloody images of the American Civil War. For the only time in the country’s history, one nation became two.
The movements currently advocating secession in states such as Texas, La., Fla., N.C., Ala., Ga., and Tenn., are just that – movements – and are not official declarations by any means. Secession is a peaceful action; when the government being seceded from engages in initiatory violence to maintain or regain control of the lost territory, it is doing just that, initiating completely avoidable violence. Let us remember the Civil War is the bloodiest war in our nation’s history.
Another reason for every state to secede, according to Hans Hermann-Hoppe, is that “secession promotes economic integration and development.”
The smaller the physical territory ruled by any given government, the easier it is for a citizen to leave it (emigrate). This being the case, the governments of smaller territories have a greater interest in allowing its citizens to live relatively freer by minimizing its own use of exploitative powers such as taxation, price-fixing, protectionist policies, and regulation.
Incentive for free trade increases as territorial size decreases. The United States for instance, can produce prodigious amounts of goods and services domestically, so the incentive for government to implement protectionist policies increases. Protectionist policies inherently limit the amount of trading that can be done between one country and all the others.
Sticking with the U.S., our citizens wouldn’t notice the effects of this as much as the citizens of a smaller country like Liechtenstein. If the U.S. and Liechtenstein both eliminated all protectionist policies, the U.S. would have more trade opportunities because of our diverse array of domestically produced goods, but via protectionism, of which the likelihood increases with territorial size, it is possible for the U.S. to experience less economic integration with the rest of the world than a small, free-trade oriented country.
Furthermore, protectionism is a facet of command economies, which have proven over and over to be ineffective in calculating the necessary amounts of imports and exports. When the calculations are off in the direction of importing too little food, it is outright dangerous and has killed millions. The Soviet famine of 1932-33 is one example.
Cultural diversity and harmony would improve and increase with secession. Johann von Goethe explains this point well while talking about the potential unification of the Germany he lived in called the German Confederation which was established in 1815 and consisted of 39 independent states, “What makes Germany great is her admirable popular culture, which has penetrated all parts of the Empire evenly.”
Instead of increasing social, racial, and ethnic tension as political centralization does by forcing people of all backgrounds and cultures into obeying rules and regulations which are incompatible with their ideals and desires, secession will increase healthy competition and natural social, racial, and ethnic cooperation.
Prior to the Civil War, we see that four states seceded only after Lincoln called for 75,000 militiamen to occupy the “rebel” states (after the victimless Battle of Fort Sumter; there were officially two deaths, but these came during the 100-gun salute after the actual fighting stopped); these four states seceded because of the madness that was Lincoln’s decision to use military force against the states that had already seceded.
Thomas Jefferson wrote that we should “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.” Ever since the Civil War, we were shown our government no longer respects the ideal of self-government, and it has shown us through taxation, expropriation, and regulation that it has never regained the respect for self-government that is necessary for our country to be the land of liberty it could be.