The Secessionist Petitions Are a Terrible Reaction

While I have my own opinions on the legality of the secession of states from the union–and I happen to agree with Mr. Jefferson on this subject–I have to question the usefulness of the exercise; unless these folks are merely releasing the frustrations of the political loss and the vexing nature of their political opposition, this particular bid has very little merit in my eyes…so far.

What I suspect is that they see a government of limitless power in one that is run by Democrats; they see their rights reduced by onerous regulation; they see a government that gains additional power under a tenuous connection to taxation; and they see a future that does not include their point of view. I could not agree more with a number of these suppositions, but do I see a need for secession? If they think the political and economic situation is bad now, then they will recoil in disgust at the results of their attempted revolt.

No, I say we live together and we die together as a union of sovereign states. Not merely bound by documents, but by more important connections: community and family. We cannot base rash decisions on political connections that are easily severed. Political movements and philosophies are cyclical, but one thing is true that we cannot ignore: society is always marching forward, and to suggest otherwise is to disregard history.

Whether that forward movement is ultimately beneficial, however, is another matter.

Update 11/15/2012 Just a few things to note here on the legality of something like secession. Eugene Volokh addresses this whole concept quite nicely in a post at The Volokh Conspiracy, but this point in particular touches on what my thinking on secession was:

3. Is It Legally Possible for States to Secede? Of course, if the rest of the nation sufficiently agrees to this. It’s possible, given the originalist argument in Texas v. White, that Congress and the President can’t accomplish this through the normal federal lawmaking process (plus the consent of the seceding state), though I suspect that ultimately the constitutional question will be seen as a political decision for Congress and the President to make. But even if the Constitution is against this, it can be amended. If 2/3 of Congress, 3/4 of the states, and the seceding state agree to secession, secession will happen, and American legal institutions would view it as entirely legal (and, in my view, correctly so).

Seems right to me, but I’m no economist.