Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Secession or not?

Rasmussen polls has asked the American public what they think of the right of states to secede from the union and whether they would support their state doing so. I was a bit surprised, to be honest. Support for secession was higher than I had anticipated——although it was still relatively low.

Eleven percent of the public said they would support their state leaving the union. I wonder what percentage would support other states leaving the union? One of my regrets about Norther victory in the Civil War is that it kept the Southern states in the union. In my opinion, looking at history since the end of the war to today, the American nation would have been much better off without the South. Historically it has been an economic drag. It has been a hot-bed of oppression and a cultural wasteland. Certainly it has been the main center against extending equality of rights to the various races, to women and to gay people. On balance I think the rest of the union would have been better off without the South dragging the country down in almost every sense of the word. (None of which means I have any admiration for Lincoln, I don't.)

Of course, six percent of the public has no idea what they think. And 83 percent say they would support secession.

Whether or not I'd support secession depends entirely on which state I'm living in. For my current state of abode I would support secession. Getting out of the US would be a good thing here. If I lived in the American South (God forbid!) I would oppose it. The union civilizes the South. Left to its own devices it would be a theocratic cesspool.

Texas were more supportive of secession with 18 percent wanted to leave the union. In light of the silly theocratic laws the Southern Baptists have inflicted on Texas, and in light of their contributions of Lydon Johnson and George W. Bush, Jr. to the White House, I regret them ever joining the union.

But then I think that the growth of the United States, into the gigantic country it has become, has been one of the main reasons that government has become so intrusive and oppressive. The more distant government becomes from the people the worse off we are. Ever since the Progressives rigged the Constitution with the 17th Amendment power has become more and more centralized in Washington—and that has been almost wholly a negative.

My guess would be that we'd be better off with around ten or twelve separate nations provided they had a free trade zone. I personally think Texas, California and Alaska would be best off as independent nations, and Hawaii as well. Places like Oregon, Washington and Idaho might be better off together. The rest of the West might make a good separate nation though I'm not sure what to do with Utah. The idea of having a border crossing making it harder for Mormons to spread around does have some appeal.

The Midwest would make sense as their own nation though I suspect that places like Minnesota and Wisconsin may merge separately having their own rather unique political views over the years. New England would be a separate nation in my world but without New York State. If they allowed New York in they would be dominated completely and New York would use its power to plunder the other states for their benefit.

Generally I think each individual nation would have been freer than they are today with the probably exception of the South, which clearly would be more oppressive. It is hard to judge what Texas would be like. The main detrimental influence in Texas is the moronic Southern Baptist Church which gained influence in Texas because of the migration of Southerners to Texas. Had Texas retained independent status it is hard to predict whether Southerners would have migrated there as easily.

California, I suspect, would not be freer than today, but then neither do I think it would be any more oppressive. It would probably be pretty similar to what it is now. But, in general, I think most regions would be better off in terms of individual rights, economic freedom and limited government.

The most libertarian regions, I suspect, would be New England and the Western region. Alaska would probably be fairly free as well. Texas, absent the negative influence of fundamentalism, would probably be quite free. But if they had become infested with the born again crowd then chances are fairly good it would be socially oppressive.

I personally doubt that there would have been a culture war had the US developed in several nations instead of one monolithic monstrosity. Most the culture war was American fundamentalist versus everybody else and fundamentalism was primarily a Southern phenomenon. Unfortunately for the rest of us, the poverty in the South forced many of these fundamentalist yokels into migrating to the civilized parts of the nation to seek employment and prosperity. To the detriment of everyone else and liberty, they brought their backwater religious values with them.

While 11 percent of the public prefers that their state secede from the union the numbers who believe states have that right is even higher (22 percent). What is interesting is that political independents are more pro-secession than Republicans and Democrats. Democrats love centralized power, 72 percent say "states do not have the right leave the United States" while only 54 percent of Republicans are so imperialistic. Among independents 50% are so inclined.

This continues an interesting trend that I have noticed. Independent voters seem to be more libertarian inclined than either Democrats or Republicans. The Democrats would destroy economic freedom while Republicans never met a civil liberty that they didn't despise. Independents seem to do better across the board. Ninety percent of Democrats would support their state staying in the union while 83 percent of Republicans would and 72 percent of independents would.

Meanwhile, concern about the growth of the Federal Leviathan is growing rapidly. Rasmussen also found that 52 percent of all Americans feel the federal government is doing too much. Rasmussen says this is "up from 50% a month ago and 43% in mid-February." Those who think the government will do too little stands at 31 percent.

I should mention one previous Rasmussen poll which showed support for capitalism, as being better than socialism, at only 53 percent. An amazing 27 percent of the public had no opinion. Rasmussen, however, notes that previous surveys they have done show much higher support (70 percent) for free markets. I can understand this completely. State capitalism is not about free markets but about regulated markets to redistribute wealth to the businesses associated with the political class. Libertarians have been noting the evil alliance of big business and the political classes for a very, very long time. Amazingly socialists still quite stupidly refer to libertarianism as being the philosophy of big business -- when in practice big business has embraced regulated markets, as pushed by the socialists, repeatedly.

Rasmussen says that their polls show "skepticism about whether capitalism in the United States today relies on free markets." They write:

Rather than seeing large corporations as committed to free markets, two-out-of-three Americans believe that big government and big business often work together in ways that hurt consumers and investors. Only 15 percent prefer "a government-managed economy."

I am convinced that there is a much stronger sentiment for libertarianism among the American public than at any time in recent history. Unfortunately the Libertarian Party is almost totally useless at taping that sentiment and the political system is rigged against them. Ron Paul almost tapped into that sentiment. He'd attract people with his libertarian ideas and then run off into loony land with his John Birch Society conspiracy theories and obsessions. That turned off a lot of people who found him attractive. And if that wasn't enough, then Paul would leap into his anti-libertarian positions on social issues to complete the turn-off process. Even those Rondroids who stayed with Paul to the bitter end tended to be more libertarian than their guru.

I also suspect that the party faithful within the Democrats and Republicans are more libertarian than either of their parties. The Republican Party leadership is beholden to the American Taliban while the Democratic Party is controlled by people who are practically fascists in economic theory. One party promises to plunder your wallet and the other to police your bedroom. Each of those parties is dominated hard-core statists with anti-freedom agendas and their idea of choice is picking between a theocracy and socialism. No wonder record numbers of Americas don't affiliate with either party.

The Libertarians still have options but I suspect the LP is too dominated by closet conservatives to be of any fucking use at all. The recruiting of Bob Barr and Wayne Allen Root into the party shows how strong the anti-libertarian caucus of the Libertarian Party is. The so-called moderates in the party thought that gutting the platform would be the solution for the party, all it did was make it easier for the likes of Barr and Root to infest libertarianism with another version of right-wing populism.

I believe that a Democratic candidate who pushes hard for things like gay marriage and legalization of marijuana, while supporting cutting taxes and flattening the tax system, could go far. I believe the same is true for a Republican doing the same thing. I doubt that voters are ready for a candidate who tries to market a pure libertarian platform but candidates who push in that direction, and can do so without looking like religious-lunatics or Bircher crazies, would go a lot farther than they think.

For Democrats who think in pro-freedom direction I would recommend Freedom Democrats. For libertarian inclined Republicans, I'm not so sure. So-called "libertarian" Republicans tend to be conservatives not libertarians. I'm not sure the Republican Party has any hope as long as they remained chained to the Theopublican Right.

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