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Old June 8th, 2009 #1
Alex Linder
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Join Date: Nov 2003
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Alex Linder
Default General articles on secession/gov't breakdown

The Empire Strikes Back: Preparing for the Worst

by William Buppert

"The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive."

~ Thomas Jefferson

The American government will be soundly defeated if a civil war ever erupts in the continental US. Not only will a single incident have a ripple effect that will spark the awakening of thousands of insurgencies but the violent over-reaction and clumsy attempts at propaganda by the American media complex in the thrall of Mordor on the Potomac will wholly exacerbate the conflicts to levels of mayhem and insurrection that will startle the normal American. There is a huge simmering and angry underbelly to the American polity that the Tea Parties are only a slight indication of. Citizens have had long and growing resentment toward the creeping socialism and incompetent central planning they have labored under for over a century.

Not only will violence be spiked in the Great Wide-Open between the Marxist coastlines but massive tax revolts, burgeoning black markets, Gandhian non-compliance and active shunning of government entities will rear their heads. I think it will take one bold move from the government during the coming bad times of hyperinflation and the employment of government sponsored paramilitary operations against the wrong group to strike the match. The government is much like a swimmer at midnight in a pool of gasoline that lights a match to see where he is going.

All the necessary measures to forestall or prevent this from happening are long past. The central planners will not reduce regulation. They will not cut taxes and spending. They will not respect states rights. They will not contain the unlimited power of the robed government employees. They will not leave the world alone and insist on making war on every corner of the globe with no restraint nor reason. They violate the most basic right that inspired a flag: the Gadsden "Don’t Tread on Me" banner.

Obamunism is a seamless transition from GWB and the Busheviks: the policy differences are hard to discern. These two rulers were simply the logical extension of the Grand Imperial experiment that America embarked on with increasing speed since the regrettable conclusion of the War of Northern Aggression in 1860–65. Whatever history you learned in the government reeducation camps was no less than a sophisticated stream of fabrications and exaggerations to convince the student only larger government has the answer to every problem he faces. It is interesting to note that the year’s top Presidential picks are unswervingly devoted to using the Constitution as toilet paper and made war on some unfortunates in our land or a foreign nation.

A question surfaces: how could the most powerful and technologically sophisticated military force the world has ever seen in recorded history be defeated by a non-peer military competitor who has no navy, air force, artillery, armor or structured ground forces? I defer to Bill Lind for the deeper and more subtle reasons which are legion why America will meet defeat in Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW).

We are presently shifting our main military effort from Iraq to Afghanistan and not because we have declared victory, for the countless numbers of insurgents are alive and well in Iraq, but because the war is lost and we know it. The war in Afghanistan has managed to sap the US armed forces of vital strength in force fatigue and exhaustion, break the back of the British Army (again), strengthen the Taliban to unprecedented levels and move the hands of the clock closer to midnight for a localized (?) nuclear confrontation between Pakistan and India. That is quite an accomplishment in less than a decade. It took almost twice as long to destabilize Europe prior to the First World War to make the world safer for big government, communism and bureaucratized slaughter. We have had a hell of a time pacifying and taming the more "Wild West" sectors of Iraq not to mention the number of insurgencies alive and well in the cities. While one can suppose that most sects of Islam are rather militant and preserve a warrior ethos in the male adherents, the Afghan fighters are a different breed altogether. They are like a modern-day Sparta and they dig fighting. The surge in Afghanistan will meet with the same stunning successes we have experienced in Iraq. The death toll will be higher especially for the indigenous population with the requisite number of women and children maimed and killed by our wonder weapons with widowed men and the fathers of dead sons left to seek their pound of flesh from the invaders. In short, yet another military quagmire will emerge wherever we should fear to tread.

So what does this have to do with the original observation of the present American government losing its grip and losing a conflict with brother Americans on our own soil? We face conditions much different and much worse than our predecessors in terms of national debt, fiscal obligations, cultural fissures, government corruption and the precipice of totalitarian temptation are balanced on. Inevitably, when the aforementioned unpleasantness emerges, the state and federal governments will exhaust law enforcement assets and be forced to rely on military means to quell the disturbances and insurrections that will emerge. Posse Commitatus will be suspended and Northern Command will activate National Guard, Reserve and Active Duty armed forces will be unleashed on the targeted groups and forces that contest the state’s supremacy in the continental united States. They will face the inevitable resistance of a number of their own troops to make war on fellow Americans and the inherent risk of sleepers in the ranks who will maintain a communications link with emerging resistance forces. The government will be fighting a foe that will have a hometown advantage, levels of support & assistance from the mass base in the communities and the military forces will be surprised by the small arms expertise they will encounter the farther west they are deployed in these united States.

The Central Government forces will face a military conundrum: the harder they hit and fight with the inevitable collateral damage the more the mass base will shift support and allegiance to local forces fighting the invaders. In an insurgency, the force ratio numbers are extraordinary: at their peak the post-WWII Irish Republican Army fielded 500 paramilitary "trigger men" against the UK forces numbering close to 42,000.

As the current fight in Iraq and Afghanistan has shown, the force ratios remain incredibly imbalanced and the successful counterinsurgency (COIN) in the history tomes is bookended by dozens of successful insurgencies. Here is a pop quiz: how many Muslim insurgencies have been defeated since the end of WWII? Zero. Neocon chicken-hawks are fond of saying that Pershing’s defeat of the Muslims in the Philippines at the turn of the 20th century was a template for success. If it was so successful, what is causing the ruckus in Mindanao as we speak?

The Central Government forces will face a foe that will run circles around them in the information conflict just as the Middle East antagonists have proven out. Prisoners of War will follow the cues of the Irish Republican Army and organize and stage riots and hunger strikes in the prison system. Supply lines for government forces will constantly be in the hazard. Foreign commentary on the conflict and the recognition of the embattled regions as legitimates nation-states would further complicate matters as Geneva and Hague conventions would be observed in protocol. We have to remember that the USSR recognized the state of Israel before the US did. Stranger things have happened. Read the newspaper debates between Mill and Dickens during the War of Northern Aggression. As I have inferred before, America will look quite a bit different in ten years time.

The hope is that all of this can be avoided and those communities, states and entities that wish to leave in peace from an increasingly belligerent alien entity on the Potomac, may do so. I am saddened for my children by the inevitability of the coming strife but the central planners seem intent on creating a Rising. I am pessimistic and think that the same form of intellectual bankruptcy that informs what passes for government economic policy will be the same kind of impaired thinking that leads to the next calamity in these united States. War is coming home.

"Deputies have spoken about whether dead men would approve of it, and they have spoken whether children yet unborn would approve it, but few have spoken of whether the living approve it."

~ Michael Collins, Dáil debate, Christmas 1921

June 8, 2009

William Buppert [send him mail] and his homeschooled family live in the high desert in the American Southwest.

[many links in original]
http://lewrockwell.com/buppert/buppert25.1.html
 
Old June 15th, 2009 #2
Alex Linder
Administrator
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 40,513
Blog Entries: 25
Alex Linder
Default


Divided We Stand


What would California look like broken in three? Or a Republic of New England? With the federal government reaching for ever more power, redrawing the map is enticing, says Paul Starobin

By PAUL STAROBIN

Remember that classic Beatles riff of the 1960s: “You say you want a revolution?” Imagine this instead: a devolution. Picture an America that is run not, as now, by a top-heavy Washington autocracy but, in freewheeling style, by an assemblage of largely autonomous regional republics reflecting the eclectic economic and cultural character of the society.

There might be an austere Republic of New England, with a natural strength in higher education and technology; a Caribbean-flavored city-state Republic of Greater Miami, with an anchor in the Latin American economy; and maybe even a Republic of Las Vegas with unfettered license to pursue its ambitions as a global gambling, entertainment and conventioneer destination. California? America’s broke, ill-governed and way-too-big nation-like state might be saved, truly saved, not by an emergency federal bailout, but by a merciful carve-up into a trio of republics that would rely on their own ingenuity in making their connections to the wider world. And while we’re at it, let’s make this project bi-national—economic logic suggests a natural multilingual combination between Greater San Diego and Mexico’s Northern Baja, and, to the Pacific north, between Seattle and Vancouver in a megaregion already dubbed “Cascadia” by economic cartographers.

Devolved America is a vision faithful both to certain postindustrial realities as well as to the pluralistic heart of the American political tradition—a tradition that has been betrayed by the creeping centralization of power in Washington over the decades but may yet reassert itself as an animating spirit for the future. Consider this proposition: America of the 21st century, propelled by currents of modernity that tend to favor the little over the big, may trace a long circle back to the original small-government ideas of the American experiment. The present-day American Goliath may turn out to be a freak of a waning age of politics and economics as conducted on a super-sized scale—too large to make any rational sense in an emerging age of personal empowerment that harks back to the era of the yeoman farmer of America’s early days. The society may find blessed new life, as paradoxical as this may sound, in a return to a smaller form.

This perspective may seem especially fanciful at a time when the political tides all seem to be running in the opposite direction. In the midst of economic troubles, an aggrandizing Washington is gathering even more power in its hands. The Obama Administration, while considering replacing top executives at Citigroup, is newly appointing a “compensation czar” with powers to determine the retirement packages of executives at firms accepting federal financial bailout funds. President Obama has deemed it wise for the U.S. Treasury to take a majority ownership stake in General Motors in a last-ditch effort to revive this Industrial Age brontosaurus. Even the Supreme Court is getting in on the act: A ruling this past week awarded federal judges powers to set the standards by which judges for state courts may recuse themselves from cases.

All of this adds up to a federal power grab that might make even FDR’s New Dealers blush. But that’s just the point: Not surprisingly, a lot of folks in the land of Jefferson are taking a stand against an approach that stands to make an indebted citizenry yet more dependent on an already immense federal power. The backlash, already under way, is a prime stimulus for a neo-secessionist movement, the most extreme manifestation of a broader push for some form of devolution. In April, at an anti-tax “tea party” held in Austin, Governor Rick Perry of Texas had his speech interrupted by cries of “secede.” The Governor did not sound inclined to disagree. “Texas is a unique place,” he later told reporters attending the rally. “When we came into the Union in 1845, one of the issues was that we would be able to leave if we decided to do that.”


Thousands of Texans hold a ‘Tea Party’ in downtown San Antonio in April protesting federal bailouts.

Such sentiments resonate beyond the libertarian fringe. The Daily Kos, a liberal Web site, recently asked Perry’s fellow Texas Republicans, “Do you think Texas would be better off as an independent nation or as part of the United States of America? It was an even split: 48% for the U.S., 48% for a sovereign Texas, 4% not sure. Amongst all Texans, more than a third—35%—said an independent Texas would be better. The Texas Nationalist Movement claims that over 250,000 Texans have signed a form affirming the organization’s goal of a Texas nation.

Secessionist feelings also percolate in Alaska, where Todd Palin, husband of Governor Sarah Palin, was once a registered member of the Alaska Independence Party. But it is not as if the Right has a lock on this issue: Vermont, the seat of one of the most vibrant secessionist movements, is among the country’s most politically-liberal places. Vermonters are especially upset about imperial America’s foreign excursions in hazardous places like Iraq. The philosophical tie that binds these otherwise odd bedfellows is belief in the birthright of Americans to run their own affairs, free from centralized control. Their hallowed parchment is Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, on behalf of the original 13 British colonies, penned in 1776, 11 years before the framers of the Constitution gathered for their convention in Philadelphia. “The right of secession precedes the Constitution—the United States was born out of secession,” Daniel Miller, leader of the Texas Nationalist Movement, put it to me. Take that, King Obama.

Today’s devolutionists, of all stripes, can trace their pedigree to the “anti-federalists” who opposed the compact that came out of Philadelphia as a bad bargain that gave too much power to the center at the expense of the limbs. Some of America’s most vigorous and learned minds were in the anti-federalist camp; their ranks included Virginia’s Patrick Henry, of “give me liberty or give me death” renown. The sainted Jefferson, who was serving as a diplomat in Paris during the convention, is these days claimed by secessionists as a kindred anti-federal spirit, even if he did go on to serve two terms as president.

The anti-federalists lost their battle, but history, in certain respects, has redeemed their vision, for they anticipated how many Americans have come to feel about their nation’s seat of federal power. “This city, and the government of it, must indubitably take their tone from the character of the men, who from the nature of its situation and institution, must collect there,” the anti-federalist pamphleteer known only as the Federal Farmer wrote. “If we expect it will have any sincere attachments to simple and frugal republicanism, to that liberty and mild government, which is dear to the laborious part of a free people, we most assuredly deceive ourselves.”

In the mid-19th century, the anti-federalist impulse took a dark turn, attaching itself to the cause of the Confederacy, which was formed by the unilateral secession of 13 southern states over the bloody issue of slavery. Lincoln had no choice but to go to war to preserve the Union—and ever since, anti-federalism, in almost any guise, has had to defend itself from the charge of being anti-modern and indeed retrograde.


The U.S., as envisioned by some percolating secessionist movements.


But nearly a century and a half has passed since Johnny Rebel whooped for the last time. Slavery is dead, and so too is the large-scale industrial economy that the Yankees embraced as their path to victory over the South and to global prosperity. The model lasted a long time, to be sure, surviving all the way through the New Deal and the first several decades of the post-World War II era, coming a cropper at the tail end of the 1960s, just as the economist John Kenneth Galbraith was holding out “The New Industrial State,” the master-planned economy, as a seemingly permanent condition of modern life.

Not quite. In a globalized economy transformed by technological innovations hatched by happily-unguided entrepreneurs, history seems to be driving one nail after another into the coffin of the big, which is why the Obama planners and their ilk, even if they now ride high, may be doomed to fail. No one anymore expects the best ideas to come from the biggest actors in the economy, so should anyone expect the best thinking to be done by the whales of the political world?

A notable prophet for a coming age of smallness was the diplomat and historian George Kennan, a steward of the American Century with an uncanny ability to see past the seemingly-frozen geopolitical arrangements of the day. Kennan always believed that Soviet power would “run its course,” as he predicted back in 1951, just as the Cold War was getting under way, and again shortly after the Soviet Union collapsed, he suggested that a similar fate might await the United States. America has become a “monster country,” afflicted by a swollen bureaucracy and “the hubris of inordinate size,” he wrote in his 1993 book, “Around the Cragged Hill: A Personal and Political Philosophy.” Things might work better, he suggested, if the nation was “decentralized into something like a dozen constituent republics, absorbing not only the powers of the existing states but a considerable part of those of the present federal establishment.”

Kennan’s genius was to foresee that matters might take on an organic, a bottom-up, life of their own, especially in a society as dynamic and as creative as America. His spirit, the spirit of an anti-federalist modernist, can be glimpsed in an intriguing “mega-region” initiative encompassing greater San Diego County, next-door Imperial County and, to the immediate south of the U.S. border, Northern Baja, Mexico. Elected officials representing all three participating areas recently unveiled “Cali Baja, a Bi-National Mega-Region,” as the “international marketing brand” for the project.

The idea is to create a global economic powerhouse by combining San Diego’s proven abilities in scientific research and development with Imperial County’s abundance of inexpensive land and availability of water rights and Northern Baja’s manufacturing base, low labor costs and ability to supply the San Diego area with electricity during peak-use terms. Bilingualism, too, is a key—with the aim for all children on both sides of the border to be fluent in both English and Spanish. The project director is Christina Luhn, a Kansas native, historian and former staffer on the National Security Council in Ronald Reagan’s White House in the mid-1980s. Contemporary America as a unit of governance may be too big, even the perpetually-troubled state of California may be too big, she told me, by way of saying that the political and economic future may belong to the megaregions of the planet. Her conviction is that large systems tend not to endure—“they break apart, there’s chaos, and at some point, new things form,” she said.

The notion that small is better and even inevitable no doubt has some flavor of romance—even amounting to a kind of modern secular faith, girded by a raft of multi-disciplinary literature that may or may not be relevant. Luhn takes her philosophical cue not only from Kennan but also from the science writer and physicist M. Mitchell Waldrop, author of “Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos.”

Even for the hard-edged secessionist crowd, with their rapt attentiveness to America’s roots, popular texts in the future-trend genre mingle in their minds with the yellowed scrolls of the anti-federalists. “The cornerstone of my thought,” Daniel Miller of the Texas Nationalist Movement told me, is John Naisbitt’s 1995 best seller, “Global Paradox,” which celebrates the entrepreneurial ethos in positing that “the bigger the world economy, the more powerful its smallest players.”

More convincingly, the proposition that small trumps big is passing tests in real-life political and economic laboratories. For example, the U.S. ranked eighth in a survey of global innovation leadership released in March by the Boston Consulting Group and the National Association of Manufacturers—with the top rankings dominated by small countries led by the city-state republic of Singapore. The Thunderbird School of Global Management, based in Arizona, has called Singapore “the most future-oriented country in the world.” Historians can point to the spectacularly inventive city-states of Renaissance Italy as an example of the small truly making the beautiful.

How, though, to get from big to small? Secessionists like Texas’ Miller pledge a commitment to peaceful methods. History suggests skepticism on this score: Even the American republic was born in a violent revolution. These days, the Russian professor Igor Panarin, a former KGB analyst, has snagged publicity with his dystopian prediction of civil strife in a dismembered America whose jagged parts fall prey to foreign powers including Canada, Mexico and, in the case of Alaska, Russia, naturally.

Still, the precedent for any breakup of today’s America is not necessarily the one set by the musket-bearing colonists’ demanded departure from the British crown in the late 18th century or by the crisis-ridden dissolution of the U.S.S.R. at the end of the 20th century. Every empire, every too-big thing, fragments or shrinks according to its own unique character and to the age of history to which it belongs.

The most hopeful prospect for the USA, should the decentralization impulse prove irresistible, is for Americans to draw on their natural inventiveness and democratic tradition by patenting a formula for getting the job done in a gradual and cooperative way. In so doing, geopolitical history, and perhaps even a path for others, might be made, for the problem of bigness vexes political leviathans everywhere. In India, with its 1.2 billion people, there is an active discussion of whether things might work better if the nation-state was chopped up into 10 or so large city-states with broad writs of autonomy from New Delhi. Devolution may likewise be the future for the European continent—think Catalonia—and for the British Isles. Scotland, a leading source of Enlightenment ideas for America’s founding fathers, now has its own flourishing independence movement. Even China, held together by an aging autocracy, may not be able to resist the drift towards the smaller.

So why not America as the global leader of a devolution? America’s return to its origins—to its type—could turn out to be an act of creative political destruction, with “we the people” the better for it.
—Paul Starobin is the author of After America: Narratives for the Next Global Age, recently published by Viking, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...708759806.html

[sidebar to the above article]

Fighting to Secede

From Texas to Hawaii, these groups are fighting to secede

American secessionist groups today range from small startups with a few laptop computers to organized movements with meetings of delegates from several states.

The Middlebury Institute, a group that studies and supports the general cause of separatism and secessionism in the U.S., has held three Secession Congresses since its founding in 2004.

At the most recent gathering, held in New Hampshire last November, one discussion focused on creating a new federation potentially to be called “Novacadia,” consisting of present-day New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. An article highlighted on the group’s Web site describes Denmark as a role-model for the potential country. In the months following the convention, the idea “did not actually evolve into very much,” says Kirkpatrick Sale, the institute’s director.

Below the Mason-Dixon Line, groups like the League of the South and Southern National Congress hold meetings of delegates. They discuss secession as a way of accomplishing goals like protecting the right to bear arms and tighter immigration policies. The Texas Nationalist Movement claims that over 250,000 Texans have signed a form affirming the organization’s goal of a Texas nation.

A religious group, Christian Exodus, formed in 2003 with the purpose of transforming what is today South Carolina into a sovereign, Christian-run state. According to a statement on its Web site, the group still supports the idea, but has learned that “the chains of our slavery and dependence on Godless government have more of a hold on us than can be broken by simply moving to another state.”

On the West Coast, elected officials representing greater San Diego County, Imperial County and Northern Baja, Mexico, have proposed creating a “mega-region” of the three areas called “Cali Baja, a Bi-National Mega-Region.”

Hawaii is home to numerous groups that work toward the goal of sovereignty, including Nation of Hawaii. The group argues that native Hawaiians were colonized and forced into statehood against their will and without fair process, and therefore have the right to decide how to govern themselves today. In Alaska, the Alaska Independence Party advocates for the state’s independence.

There is also a Web site for a group called North Star Republic, with a mission to establish a socialist republic in what today is Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.

A group of American Indians led by activist Russell Means is working to establish the Republic of Lakotah, which would cover parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and Nebraska. In 2007, the Republic presented the U.S. State Department with a notice of withdrawal.
 
Old June 15th, 2009 #3
Alex Linder
Administrator
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 40,513
Blog Entries: 25
Alex Linder
Default


Divided We Stand


What would California look like broken in three? Or a Republic of New England? With the federal government reaching for ever more power, redrawing the map is enticing, says Paul Starobin

By PAUL STAROBIN

Remember that classic Beatles riff of the 1960s: “You say you want a revolution?” Imagine this instead: a devolution. Picture an America that is run not, as now, by a top-heavy Washington autocracy but, in freewheeling style, by an assemblage of largely autonomous regional republics reflecting the eclectic economic and cultural character of the society.

There might be an austere Republic of New England, with a natural strength in higher education and technology; a Caribbean-flavored city-state Republic of Greater Miami, with an anchor in the Latin American economy; and maybe even a Republic of Las Vegas with unfettered license to pursue its ambitions as a global gambling, entertainment and conventioneer destination. California? America’s broke, ill-governed and way-too-big nation-like state might be saved, truly saved, not by an emergency federal bailout, but by a merciful carve-up into a trio of republics that would rely on their own ingenuity in making their connections to the wider world. And while we’re at it, let’s make this project bi-national—economic logic suggests a natural multilingual combination between Greater San Diego and Mexico’s Northern Baja, and, to the Pacific north, between Seattle and Vancouver in a megaregion already dubbed “Cascadia” by economic cartographers.

Devolved America is a vision faithful both to certain postindustrial realities as well as to the pluralistic heart of the American political tradition—a tradition that has been betrayed by the creeping centralization of power in Washington over the decades but may yet reassert itself as an animating spirit for the future. Consider this proposition: America of the 21st century, propelled by currents of modernity that tend to favor the little over the big, may trace a long circle back to the original small-government ideas of the American experiment. The present-day American Goliath may turn out to be a freak of a waning age of politics and economics as conducted on a super-sized scale—too large to make any rational sense in an emerging age of personal empowerment that harks back to the era of the yeoman farmer of America’s early days. The society may find blessed new life, as paradoxical as this may sound, in a return to a smaller form.

This perspective may seem especially fanciful at a time when the political tides all seem to be running in the opposite direction. In the midst of economic troubles, an aggrandizing Washington is gathering even more power in its hands. The Obama Administration, while considering replacing top executives at Citigroup, is newly appointing a “compensation czar” with powers to determine the retirement packages of executives at firms accepting federal financial bailout funds. President Obama has deemed it wise for the U.S. Treasury to take a majority ownership stake in General Motors in a last-ditch effort to revive this Industrial Age brontosaurus. Even the Supreme Court is getting in on the act: A ruling this past week awarded federal judges powers to set the standards by which judges for state courts may recuse themselves from cases.

All of this adds up to a federal power grab that might make even FDR’s New Dealers blush. But that’s just the point: Not surprisingly, a lot of folks in the land of Jefferson are taking a stand against an approach that stands to make an indebted citizenry yet more dependent on an already immense federal power. The backlash, already under way, is a prime stimulus for a neo-secessionist movement, the most extreme manifestation of a broader push for some form of devolution. In April, at an anti-tax “tea party” held in Austin, Governor Rick Perry of Texas had his speech interrupted by cries of “secede.” The Governor did not sound inclined to disagree. “Texas is a unique place,” he later told reporters attending the rally. “When we came into the Union in 1845, one of the issues was that we would be able to leave if we decided to do that.”


Thousands of Texans hold a ‘Tea Party’ in downtown San Antonio in April protesting federal bailouts.

Such sentiments resonate beyond the libertarian fringe. The Daily Kos, a liberal Web site, recently asked Perry’s fellow Texas Republicans, “Do you think Texas would be better off as an independent nation or as part of the United States of America? It was an even split: 48% for the U.S., 48% for a sovereign Texas, 4% not sure. Amongst all Texans, more than a third—35%—said an independent Texas would be better. The Texas Nationalist Movement claims that over 250,000 Texans have signed a form affirming the organization’s goal of a Texas nation.

Secessionist feelings also percolate in Alaska, where Todd Palin, husband of Governor Sarah Palin, was once a registered member of the Alaska Independence Party. But it is not as if the Right has a lock on this issue: Vermont, the seat of one of the most vibrant secessionist movements, is among the country’s most politically-liberal places. Vermonters are especially upset about imperial America’s foreign excursions in hazardous places like Iraq. The philosophical tie that binds these otherwise odd bedfellows is belief in the birthright of Americans to run their own affairs, free from centralized control. Their hallowed parchment is Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, on behalf of the original 13 British colonies, penned in 1776, 11 years before the framers of the Constitution gathered for their convention in Philadelphia. “The right of secession precedes the Constitution—the United States was born out of secession,” Daniel Miller, leader of the Texas Nationalist Movement, put it to me. Take that, King Obama.

Today’s devolutionists, of all stripes, can trace their pedigree to the “anti-federalists” who opposed the compact that came out of Philadelphia as a bad bargain that gave too much power to the center at the expense of the limbs. Some of America’s most vigorous and learned minds were in the anti-federalist camp; their ranks included Virginia’s Patrick Henry, of “give me liberty or give me death” renown. The sainted Jefferson, who was serving as a diplomat in Paris during the convention, is these days claimed by secessionists as a kindred anti-federal spirit, even if he did go on to serve two terms as president.

The anti-federalists lost their battle, but history, in certain respects, has redeemed their vision, for they anticipated how many Americans have come to feel about their nation’s seat of federal power. “This city, and the government of it, must indubitably take their tone from the character of the men, who from the nature of its situation and institution, must collect there,” the anti-federalist pamphleteer known only as the Federal Farmer wrote. “If we expect it will have any sincere attachments to simple and frugal republicanism, to that liberty and mild government, which is dear to the laborious part of a free people, we most assuredly deceive ourselves.”

In the mid-19th century, the anti-federalist impulse took a dark turn, attaching itself to the cause of the Confederacy, which was formed by the unilateral secession of 13 southern states over the bloody issue of slavery. Lincoln had no choice but to go to war to preserve the Union—and ever since, anti-federalism, in almost any guise, has had to defend itself from the charge of being anti-modern and indeed retrograde.


The U.S., as envisioned by some percolating secessionist movements.


But nearly a century and a half has passed since Johnny Rebel whooped for the last time. Slavery is dead, and so too is the large-scale industrial economy that the Yankees embraced as their path to victory over the South and to global prosperity. The model lasted a long time, to be sure, surviving all the way through the New Deal and the first several decades of the post-World War II era, coming a cropper at the tail end of the 1960s, just as the economist John Kenneth Galbraith was holding out “The New Industrial State,” the master-planned economy, as a seemingly permanent condition of modern life.

Not quite. In a globalized economy transformed by technological innovations hatched by happily-unguided entrepreneurs, history seems to be driving one nail after another into the coffin of the big, which is why the Obama planners and their ilk, even if they now ride high, may be doomed to fail. No one anymore expects the best ideas to come from the biggest actors in the economy, so should anyone expect the best thinking to be done by the whales of the political world?

A notable prophet for a coming age of smallness was the diplomat and historian George Kennan, a steward of the American Century with an uncanny ability to see past the seemingly-frozen geopolitical arrangements of the day. Kennan always believed that Soviet power would “run its course,” as he predicted back in 1951, just as the Cold War was getting under way, and again shortly after the Soviet Union collapsed, he suggested that a similar fate might await the United States. America has become a “monster country,” afflicted by a swollen bureaucracy and “the hubris of inordinate size,” he wrote in his 1993 book, “Around the Cragged Hill: A Personal and Political Philosophy.” Things might work better, he suggested, if the nation was “decentralized into something like a dozen constituent republics, absorbing not only the powers of the existing states but a considerable part of those of the present federal establishment.”

Kennan’s genius was to foresee that matters might take on an organic, a bottom-up, life of their own, especially in a society as dynamic and as creative as America. His spirit, the spirit of an anti-federalist modernist, can be glimpsed in an intriguing “mega-region” initiative encompassing greater San Diego County, next-door Imperial County and, to the immediate south of the U.S. border, Northern Baja, Mexico. Elected officials representing all three participating areas recently unveiled “Cali Baja, a Bi-National Mega-Region,” as the “international marketing brand” for the project.

The idea is to create a global economic powerhouse by combining San Diego’s proven abilities in scientific research and development with Imperial County’s abundance of inexpensive land and availability of water rights and Northern Baja’s manufacturing base, low labor costs and ability to supply the San Diego area with electricity during peak-use terms. Bilingualism, too, is a key—with the aim for all children on both sides of the border to be fluent in both English and Spanish. The project director is Christina Luhn, a Kansas native, historian and former staffer on the National Security Council in Ronald Reagan’s White House in the mid-1980s. Contemporary America as a unit of governance may be too big, even the perpetually-troubled state of California may be too big, she told me, by way of saying that the political and economic future may belong to the megaregions of the planet. Her conviction is that large systems tend not to endure—“they break apart, there’s chaos, and at some point, new things form,” she said.

The notion that small is better and even inevitable no doubt has some flavor of romance—even amounting to a kind of modern secular faith, girded by a raft of multi-disciplinary literature that may or may not be relevant. Luhn takes her philosophical cue not only from Kennan but also from the science writer and physicist M. Mitchell Waldrop, author of “Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos.”

Even for the hard-edged secessionist crowd, with their rapt attentiveness to America’s roots, popular texts in the future-trend genre mingle in their minds with the yellowed scrolls of the anti-federalists. “The cornerstone of my thought,” Daniel Miller of the Texas Nationalist Movement told me, is John Naisbitt’s 1995 best seller, “Global Paradox,” which celebrates the entrepreneurial ethos in positing that “the bigger the world economy, the more powerful its smallest players.”

More convincingly, the proposition that small trumps big is passing tests in real-life political and economic laboratories. For example, the U.S. ranked eighth in a survey of global innovation leadership released in March by the Boston Consulting Group and the National Association of Manufacturers—with the top rankings dominated by small countries led by the city-state republic of Singapore. The Thunderbird School of Global Management, based in Arizona, has called Singapore “the most future-oriented country in the world.” Historians can point to the spectacularly inventive city-states of Renaissance Italy as an example of the small truly making the beautiful.

How, though, to get from big to small? Secessionists like Texas’ Miller pledge a commitment to peaceful methods. History suggests skepticism on this score: Even the American republic was born in a violent revolution. These days, the Russian professor Igor Panarin, a former KGB analyst, has snagged publicity with his dystopian prediction of civil strife in a dismembered America whose jagged parts fall prey to foreign powers including Canada, Mexico and, in the case of Alaska, Russia, naturally.

Still, the precedent for any breakup of today’s America is not necessarily the one set by the musket-bearing colonists’ demanded departure from the British crown in the late 18th century or by the crisis-ridden dissolution of the U.S.S.R. at the end of the 20th century. Every empire, every too-big thing, fragments or shrinks according to its own unique character and to the age of history to which it belongs.

The most hopeful prospect for the USA, should the decentralization impulse prove irresistible, is for Americans to draw on their natural inventiveness and democratic tradition by patenting a formula for getting the job done in a gradual and cooperative way. In so doing, geopolitical history, and perhaps even a path for others, might be made, for the problem of bigness vexes political leviathans everywhere. In India, with its 1.2 billion people, there is an active discussion of whether things might work better if the nation-state was chopped up into 10 or so large city-states with broad writs of autonomy from New Delhi. Devolution may likewise be the future for the European continent—think Catalonia—and for the British Isles. Scotland, a leading source of Enlightenment ideas for America’s founding fathers, now has its own flourishing independence movement. Even China, held together by an aging autocracy, may not be able to resist the drift towards the smaller.

So why not America as the global leader of a devolution? America’s return to its origins—to its type—could turn out to be an act of creative political destruction, with “we the people” the better for it.
—Paul Starobin is the author of After America: Narratives for the Next Global Age, recently published by Viking, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...708759806.html

[sidebar to the above article]

Fighting to Secede

From Texas to Hawaii, these groups are fighting to secede

American secessionist groups today range from small startups with a few laptop computers to organized movements with meetings of delegates from several states.

The Middlebury Institute, a group that studies and supports the general cause of separatism and secessionism in the U.S., has held three Secession Congresses since its founding in 2004.

At the most recent gathering, held in New Hampshire last November, one discussion focused on creating a new federation potentially to be called “Novacadia,” consisting of present-day New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. An article highlighted on the group’s Web site describes Denmark as a role-model for the potential country. In the months following the convention, the idea “did not actually evolve into very much,” says Kirkpatrick Sale, the institute’s director.

Below the Mason-Dixon Line, groups like the League of the South and Southern National Congress hold meetings of delegates. They discuss secession as a way of accomplishing goals like protecting the right to bear arms and tighter immigration policies. The Texas Nationalist Movement claims that over 250,000 Texans have signed a form affirming the organization’s goal of a Texas nation.

A religious group, Christian Exodus, formed in 2003 with the purpose of transforming what is today South Carolina into a sovereign, Christian-run state. According to a statement on its Web site, the group still supports the idea, but has learned that “the chains of our slavery and dependence on Godless government have more of a hold on us than can be broken by simply moving to another state.”

On the West Coast, elected officials representing greater San Diego County, Imperial County and Northern Baja, Mexico, have proposed creating a “mega-region” of the three areas called “Cali Baja, a Bi-National Mega-Region.”

Hawaii is home to numerous groups that work toward the goal of sovereignty, including Nation of Hawaii. The group argues that native Hawaiians were colonized and forced into statehood against their will and without fair process, and therefore have the right to decide how to govern themselves today. In Alaska, the Alaska Independence Party advocates for the state’s independence.

There is also a Web site for a group called North Star Republic, with a mission to establish a socialist republic in what today is Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.

A group of American Indians led by activist Russell Means is working to establish the Republic of Lakotah, which would cover parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and Nebraska. In 2007, the Republic presented the U.S. State Department with a notice of withdrawal.
 
Old June 23rd, 2009 #4
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[Extremely long article on decline of the state from Policy Review]


Policy Review

Policy Review No. 154 cover
April & May 2009
Table of Contents

FEATURES:
The Power of Statelessness

By Jakub Grygiel

The withering appeal of governing

Most political groups in modern history have wanted to build and control a state. Whether movements of self-determination in the 19th century, of decolonization in the post–World War II decades, or political parties advocating separatism in several Western states in the 1990s (e.g., Italy and Quebec) — all aimed at one thing: to have a separate state that they could call their own. The means they employed to achieve this end ranged from terrorism and guerilla warfare to political pressure and electoral campaigns, but the ultimate goal was the same — creation of its own state.

It is the ultimate goal no longer, and it is likely to be even less so in the future. Many of today’s nonstate groups do not aspire to have a state. In fact, they are considerably more capable of achieving their objectives and maintaining their social cohesion without a state apparatus. The state is a burden for them, while statelessness is not only very feasible but also a source of enormous power. Modern technologies allow these groups to organize themselves, seek financing, and plan and implement actions against their targets — almost always other states — without ever establishing a state of their own. They seek power without the responsibility of governing. The result is the opposite of what we came to know over the past two or three centuries: Instead of groups seeking statehood through a variety of means, they now pursue a range of objectives while actively avoiding statehood. Statelessness is no longer eschewed as a source of weakness but embraced as an asset.1
Instead of groups seeking statehood through a variety of means, they now actively avoid statehood.

This does not mean that state-seeking groups have receded into history, though. The eruptions of violence in Yugoslavia and Chechnya in the 1990s, as well as the continuing tension in Kosovo and the Caucasus (not to mention the activities of farc in Colombia, Hamas in the Palestinian Territories, ltte in Sri Lanka), are examples of situations in which one group is vying to establish full state sovereignty in opposition to another group or government. These are macabre and violent celebrations of the idea of the nation-state. But these groups are no longer the only sources of security threats; nor, perhaps, are they the main ones.

In fact, statelessness has become increasingly feasible and desirable in order to pursue a broad spectrum of objectives. And it is now a source of power for groups and, consequently, presents serious security challenges to existing countries.

Furthermore, the rise of stateless groups may have an impact on the nature of the state itself. The modern nation-state arose in large measure because it was the most efficient way to provide defense, and other nation-states evolved to defend against those that had already been created. But if the major threat to today’s countries comes not from their neighbors but from internal groups, countries will need to adapt to defend against internal subversion, costly strikes against infrastructure, destabilization of urban areas, and similar low-intensity and diffuse attacks perpetuated by small, decentralized, and mobile groups. The response to the threat of stateless groups may be a trend toward state decentralization. In fact, the most effective way of defending oneself against unpredictable attacks deep inside one’s own territory is a devolution of security tasks to local communities. This may lead to a weakening of the monopoly of violence, which monopoly characterized the modern state. Paradoxically, then, the response to stateless groups may be the rise of more stateless — or sub-state — groups.

Why a state, why statelessness

The past three centuries, but particularly the last 150 years or so, have taught us that to be a stateless group was to be weak. In some cases, such as that of the Jewish population in Europe, statelessness signified discrimination and, under the Nazi regime, extermination. The power of a state easily trumped the power of small groups that, unless they wanted to face forceful submission or even death, had either to acquiesce or migrate. It is unsurprising, therefore, that most ethnic or political minorities that did not exert some control over the actions of the state aspired to establish a state of their own. At the basis of this desire was the belief that the state was the pinnacle of political expression for a group or national minority, which would otherwise have been unable to survive and prosper as a unit. Only the state — the modern, nation-state — could in fact supply the necessary tools to manage the economic and social life of a group, and above all, to provide the indispensable security in a competitive world.

By the late-17th century, the state had become indispensable for survival. A centralized authority, with the right and the capacity to impose and collect taxes as well as gather other resources, was the sole guarantor of independence and security. According to the historian Charles Tilly, “a closely administered territory became an asset worth fighting for, since only such a territory provided the revenues to sustain armed forces.”2 Developing new military technologies, such as artillery, and maintaining standing armies, were endeavors that only centralized nations could manage. The political entities that failed to adjust to these new requirements either disappeared from the international scene or receded to a secondary role, often then surviving only with state support. For instance, commercial city-states began to decline during the 15th century and most were gradually integrated into the countries that surrounded them.3 Similarly, while some nonstate actors, such as pirates or mercenaries, continued to exist well into the 19th century (and some still exist today), they were often just tools of states rather than independent players.4

The state had become the end goal of political aspirations. In order to participate in international institutions, to benefit from international aid or form alliances, to be able to pressure and influence other states — broadly speaking, to be an actor in international relations — a group had to have state power behind it. Statelessness generally meant political and strategic insignificance.

And yet today, there seems to be a marked trend away from the state. The state is no longer the be-all and end-all, and many modern groups prefer to disrupt rather than control political and administrative activities. Broadly, four factors or trends are allowing stateless groups to survive and be effective. The first two point to the feasibility of stateless groups; the second two to their desirability.

* The state is no longer the only way to organize and manage large groups. New technologies impart cohesion and strength to an increasingly larger number of dispersed individuals.

* The proliferation of weapons and dual-use technologies challenges the monopoly of violence of states by allowing individuals or small bands of people to present serious security and strategic challenges.

* The presence today of great powers, and especially of the American preponderance of power, with growing military capabilities to destroy other states, serves as a strong incentive to keep a low, stateless profile: To be stateless is to decrease one’s own footprint, to decrease one’s chance of being a target of retaliation, and thereby to increase one’s odds of survival.

* Many of the modern groups espouse radical ideas, tinted by religious and/or extremist views, making them less interested in the establishment of states. States require some sort of political compromise and, even if they are managed in an authoritarian or totalitarian style, they rarely can match the expectations of extremists who tend to become disappointed in political solutions.

New tools

One of the reasons the modern state became the preeminent form of societal organization was its ability to harness resources and manage large groups of people. This great organizational ability is no longer restricted to the state, however. As in previous periods of dramatic improvements in communications (e.g., print, telegraph, and radio), new technologies are leading to new ways of organizing people. The internet and its applications, but also widely available and relatively cheap tools such as cell phones, can take the place of bureaucracies and institutions. New types of societies, often referred to as virtual networks, are arising outside of state control, across borders, and without the backing of governments. These networked groups are detached from a specific territory and lack the centralized and hierarchical structure typical of modern states.5

This trend is affecting less-developed countries, too. While it is certainly true that there is a technological gap between wealthy nations and poorer ones, even in the poorest countries technologies are rapidly spreading. Simple and common technologies, such as cell phones and digital cameras, played an important role in popularizing the 2007 uprising in Burma, one of the most oppressive, isolated, and destitute countries of the world.6 In Egypt, Facebook, a popular social-network application, is an increasingly important virtual space where tens of thousands individuals are organizing opposition to the government and mobilizing for elections and demonstrations.7

Moreover, modern means of communications connect individuals and small groups that until now had limited contact or even knowledge of each other. A group in Grozny can communicate, and consequently, recruit, coordinate, spread the news, and fundraise, with an individual in a suburb of Paris or Peshawar or Moscow. The factions that arise from these interactions are deterritorialized, being based in what is essentially a virtual world.

Finally, these technologies are also exceptionally democratic. It is very easy to participate in a virtual group, and the main barriers are the availability of the technology and the ability to understand the language used. The lingua franca tends to be English, even on Islamist websites, in large measure because it allows writers to reach an audience that spans the globe. These technologies are also democratic in the sense that every participant can add his or her knowledge, skills, interests, and objectives without a central authority deciding the priorities or the hierarchy of values. The “open-source” nature of these technologies leads to a high level of decentralization of the group that does not possess a central repository of technical skills, ideological principles, or operational objectives.8 As has been observed regarding the Facebook movement in Egypt, “young secular people can communicate, build relationships and express their opinions freely. . . . Every member in the 100,000-strong online community could be, at any given moment, a leader of a movement.”9

Consequently, the growth and the direction of such groups are unpredictable because they do not follow a clear project but turn according to the inputs of all of their members. To use a metaphor adopted to distinguish two different methods of software development, these modern, networked, and stateless groups resemble a “bazaar” — a decentralized, rapid, and seemingly chaotic system — rather than a “cathedral” — a slow, methodical, and planned system.10
New types of societies, often referred to as virtual networks, are arising outside of state control.

The effect of these technologies is to facilitate the rise of political movements that are increasingly capable of playing a strategic role in international relations. Some have called this phenomenon “cyber mobilization” because it allows the rapid emergence of groups that have a widespread reach and ability to inflict damage.11 The state, with its large logistical infrastructure and management capacity, is not only being supplanted by these networked groups but also is unable to control them. It is difficult to extend a centralized control over the internet, and even government attempts to filter or block it are only minimally effective. Moreover, cyber mobilization is leading to the establishment of groups that can be more extremist than in the past. These technologies link together individuals and groups that in fact always existed across states and societies but lacked the capacity to meet and organize.12 Without the ability to “cyber mobilize” they remained on the fringe of various societies; they were the small, oddball, and largely ineffective groups, or solitary individuals with large aspirations but limited power. An extremist individual in one state or one region was unable to participate in a larger group unless he physically joined it. Hence, historically the migration of people to join warrior groups (e.g., the ghazi that assaulted Byzantium starting in the 13th century, or the Crusaders in Europe) was required to produce fearsome stateless actors. But from the 17th century on, only a few, large, and efficient social organizations, such as the modern state, could garner the necessary power to compete in international relations, leaving the disconnected and individually small groups and individuals behind.

Now, technologies are giving power to a mélange of previously irrelevant groups and individuals. Minority interests and passions can find expression, and individuals have greater choices as to what they can support and where they can belong. The logic behind this trend is analogous to what has been defined in business as the “long tail.”13 The many but niche products which previously had a small or no market are now easy to find and can be matched with consumers. The market then may increasingly be composed of many individually small hits — the long tail — and a few great hits. By analogy, the international scene may be characterized by a few states but many small, stateless actors — the long tail of international relations.

Now we know that a few, relatively poor individuals can disrupt the political and economic lifestyle of a major state.

The strength and resilience of networked groups should certainly not be exaggerated. Specifically, there are three broad sets of challenges of statelessness. First, the sheer number of niche groups that arises in a network imparts a high level of instability: Individual groups vie for more attention or seek to achieve their narrow objectives, which may undermine the goals of other groups. Simply put, the long tail may be characterized by a chaotic, highly conflictual group of small, stateless actors that are just as opposed to each other as they are to existing states.

Second, cyber-mobilization that creates networked groups is in a sense very ethereal. The resulting group lacks temporal stability, as individuals and cells come and go. Without a territory that delimits the administrative scope of the organization and a set of institutions that imparts it permanence, these groups can lose their strength as fast as they increase it. The ease with which they can incorporate new individuals is matched by the difficulty of retaining them. And the open nature of these groups also makes them vulnerable to subversion by skillful propaganda or infiltration.14

Finally, the technology upon which these stateless groups are based can be used against them. It is impractical, and most likely impossible, to devise ways of preventing the spread of these technologies and of eliminating them. But these technologies, from the internet to cell phones, are not invulnerable and have as many weak points as they have strong ones. For instance, networks rely on a few, well connected “nodes” or individuals whose elimination can hurt the cohesiveness and effectiveness of the group.15

Being stateless therefore still presents some serious weaknesses. But the technologies that make it feasible are new and are constantly developing, creating novel forms of social interaction and groups. It would be shortsighted to ignore these developments, because they make it possible to establish groups very rapidly, in ways and through venues that are essentially unpredictable.

Diffusion of technology

The second factor that is making stateless actors more feasible and effective is the diffusion of military technology. It is no longer necessary to have a state, or even state support, to attain a degree of lethality that a few decades ago was achievable only by controlling and administering national resources. Now we know that a few, relatively impoverished individuals can disrupt the political and economic lifestyle of a major state, such as the U.S. or more recently India, that by all metrics should be capable of deterring, defeating, or absorbing an attack without too great an effort.

The diffusion of technology is undermining the monopoly of violence once exercised by the modern state. The state is commonly defined by its right and ability to exert domestic control over violence, which then allows it also to be the main actor that can compete internationally. This monopoly of violence has never been complete, of course, and challenges have always been present both internally (e.g., criminal groups, local militias) as well as externally (e.g., piracy, terrorism). Moreover, there have been constant attempts to place the ability of states to wage war within a set of constraints defined by norms, laws, and institutions.16 The ability of a state to have a monopoly on violence was always, and continues to be, a process, rather than a fully attained outcome.

Now, however, it is a process that is becoming increasingly difficult to pursue as the state is no longer the exclusive source of tools of violence. Recently, a lot of attention has been devoted to the rise of “private military contractors,” who are to a degree privatizing the essential function of the state: its ability to conduct a war.17 But the trend is wider than this, and it is deeply embedded in the nature of modern technological development. Technological advances are creating weapons that are more lethal while also being cheaper and more widely available. Throughout modern history, this was not so: Lethality required wealth and resources, and therefore access to it was restricted to well organized and managed (and to a certain degree, territorially large or at least resource-rich) states. The examples that are most often adduced are artillery (the “gunpowder revolution”), airpower, and nuclear weapons combined with missile technology.18 In all of these cases, larger, wealthier, and better-administered states tended to have an advantage over actors that did not possess the resources and organization necessary to develop, acquire, and use increasingly more expensive and complex weapons.

The diffusion of technology has three features that are empowering stateless actors. First, most technologies can be used in multiple ways: Civilian airplanes can be turned into guided missiles, cars can be transformed into bombs, and computers and cell phones can be used to disrupt the economic and political life of a society. These tools are readily available, especially in developed countries, which can as a result be more vulnerable. The more technologically advanced the society, the easier it is to find technologies that can be used against it. As an article in Wired put it, insurgents in Iraq “cherry-pick the best U.S. tech: disposable email addresses, anonymous internet accounts, the latest radios. . . . And every American-financed move to reinforce Iraq’s civilian infrastructure only makes it easier for the insurgents to operate. Every new internet café is a center for insurgent operations. Every new cell tower means a hundred new nodes on the insurgent network.”19 With relatively limited resources and know-how, a small group can find the most effective technologies to inflict serious costs on a state.20

Second, it’s true that military technological advances are undoubtedly increasing the power of states by giving them greater firepower, longer reach, more precise and timely information, and in some cases stealth.21 Yet, history seems to indicate that for every technological advance there is a corresponding advance in the tools and skills to counteract its effect. For every new weapon, sooner or later there is an instrument or behavior that minimizes its power and usefulness. In many cases, it seems that the response to the new technological development is cheaper and quicker to build and implement. A telling example is the widespread availability of relatively cheap and easy-to-use ieds in Iraq, adopted by insurgents to inflict serious costs on U.S. forces. Expensive vehicles, often heavily armored, can be seriously damaged by these homemade bombs.22 The cheapness of these countermeasures has again the effect of empowering individuals and groups that with few resources can make expensive, state-built platforms vulnerable and perhaps even useless in the field.
For every new weapon, sooner or later there is an instrument or behavior that minimizes its power and usefulness.

Finally, there is a wide availability of weapons. In part, this is made possible by stocks of mothballed Cold War arsenals that can be easily purchased from states. But in part, the flow of weapons is facilitated by the weakening of states, which in some regions are increasingly losing control over their territories. As a result, it is relatively easy to acquire a vast array of munitions, including some, such as portable surface-to-air missiles or sophisticated anti-tank mines and missiles, that require the backing of a state’s industrial resources to design and produce.23

The result of this diffusion of technology is a proliferation of violence. Smaller and poorer — and stateless — groups can achieve more lethal results than they could just a few decades ago. Globalization, understood here as the spread of technology and know-how, leads to the splintering of the world, and it may generate the seeds of its own demise by undermining the authority and power of states. It is true that the technologies at the disposal of stateless groups are rarely of the same caliber in terms of lethality and complexity as those wielded by states. But they do not need to be, because they are themselves sufficient to inflict serious costs and damages on states, likely resulting in a change of countries’ domestic and foreign policies.24 Moreover, as the underlying argument of this article posits, the objective of many of these stateless groups is not to replace a state; they do not have the capabilities to lead a frontal assault on the state, nor, once destroyed, to rebuild and administer a state. Their objective is to weaken, disrupt, and delegitimize the state, thereby creating the space for themselves to function and gain authority.25

Statelessness as a strategy of survival

The third factor behind the rise of stateless groups is that it is becoming highly desirable not to have a state. A state is a target that can be threatened, and hence pressured, deterred and, if necessary, destroyed. The greater the capability of nations to destroy one another, and of the great powers in particular, the more dangerous it is to have a state, especially for groups whose goal is to challenge the existing powers. The state becomes a burden because it has to be defended, a difficult task when, as today, world power is unbalanced.

The advantages of being stateless, therefore, increase when there is a state, or empire, that has clear military superiority.26 To put it differently, for a great power the price of military supremacy is the rise of an enemy that tries to avoid presenting a target by maximizing his ability to seek cover, to conceal, and to disperse.27 The best way to do so is by avoiding the institutions and territory that, combined with the responsibility to protect and organize a society as well as the industrial and economic infrastructure, come with a state. Unlike a modern state, a decentralized, dispersed, and stateless actor is better suited to act without the danger of retaliation. The rise of terrorist networks associated with al Qaeda, therefore, can be seen as a response to the clear supremacy enjoyed by the U.S. in the last two decades of the 20th century.

The desire to avoid the burden of the state is noticeable among even the most powerful and effective groups. For instance, though probably capable of taking over the weak central government of Lebanon, Hezbollah has preferred to maintain its sub-state role, thereby limiting its responsibility and hence its vulnerability to attacks. The group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, said in May 2008, “We don’t want authority in Lebanon. . . . We don’t want to control Lebanon.”28 Having a state would most likely weaken the ability of Hezbollah to attack Israel, whose military forces could find easy targets. As it is, Hezbollah can fade away when necessary, leaving Israel to choose whether to punish the country of Lebanon and its people or try to find the concealed and dispersed Hezbollah fighters. In brief, it is difficult to bomb, and thus coerce and deter, stateless actors. Statelessness provides impunity from the retaliatory actions of a powerful state.

Extreme goals and absolute ideas

The fourth reason why so many groups prefer to be stateless is that the goals they pursue often tend to be absolute, inspired by religious zeal or ideological extremism. Controlling a nation will not satisfy those objectives because it almost always requires political compromises. No country can ever attain the perfection of the ideal, and all countries are certainly limited in their ability to implement religious or other absolute ideas. The state is therefore a source of deep dissatisfaction to those who want to use it as a means to pursue their extremist goals. Islamic fundamentalists, according to Olivier Roy, “distrust the state. Their quest for a strict implementation of sharia with no concession to man-made law pushes them to reject the modern state in favour of a kind of ‘libertarian’ view of the state: the state is a lesser evil but is not the tool for implementing Islam.”29 The disappointment with political Islam leads them to the search for a globalized umma, a stateless community of believers.30 Moreover, this process of rejecting the state starts a cycle of radicalization: Because a radical idea can never be fully implemented through the state, the group that believes in it will globalize its efforts (and become deterritorialized and stateless), and in turn it can become even more radical because it does not need to compromise its goals.

Furthermore, the zeal that characterizes extremists is not a substitute for administrative skills. The everyday functioning of a state requires managers, not charismatic advocates for a millenarian cause that can perhaps move a mass of people in the pursuit of a distant and thrilling objective but cannot motivate people to work in a bureaucracy. An analogous situation arises in business settings when innovators need to implement their concepts by seeking financing, new markets, and production processes. Start-ups then often have to search for seasoned managers to administer their rise because innovators have lots of ideas but not always the experience or interest necessary to turn them into a working reality.

Finally, a state is not a good fit for those who pursue niche, narrow objectives. The technologies mentioned above allow the formation of groups that are held together by an often very narrow concern (ranging from worries about carbon footprints to human rights to anti-American sentiments, etc.). Such groups have no interest in establishing a state not only because their members are most likely to be geographically dispersed but also because no larger idea (whether ethnic or cultural similarity, or broader political or social aspirations) unites the various members.

The reluctance of these groups to seek a state of their own is surprising to us. Our modern mindset, shaped by the often tragic experiences of stateless groups of the past two or three centuries, assumes that the highest political objective — and the best tool to achieve anything else — is the state. This is no longer the case. Establishing a state would weaken these groups, diminish their appeal and ideological purity, and create serious vulnerabilities for them. Statelessness is a form of power.

Whither the state?

The appeal of statelessness will, I believe, continue to increase. It is a long-term trend that cannot be easily reversed or arrested. Hence, states should be prepared for continued and ever more numerous challenges coming from stateless actors. The question, then, is how to respond to these threats. Several suggestions have been put forth in recent years. For instance, many of these groups rely on extensive and complicated networks of financial sources, often based in the criminal world.31 By curbing groups’ ability to finance their activities, states can weaken them. Another strategy is to contain, as much as is feasible, the spread of technologies that empower stateless groups. A clear example of this is the Proliferation Security Initiative, in which almost 80 states participate in activities to limit the spread of weapons of mass destruction.32 Moreover, because stateless actors often function within their target states, a durable strategy to defeat them is for nations to contain, disrupt, and dissuade the members and leaders of these groups — a strategy of “countersubversion.”33

I think it is also worth considering a more defensive strategy, one that may be pursued as a policy by states but may arise, too, as a natural response to protracted attacks by these networked, decentralized, and stateless groups. Broadly, it would result in the decentralization of the state. Centralization of a country’s efforts and resources made sense when the enemy was another country. Now, however, nations face enemies that do not have to mass their resources and forces to have an impact; the new enemies are dispersed and unpredictable. An effective response to such a threat does not require a continued centralization of organization and massing of resources and forces. In fact, such centralization may weaken the state, because it gives the enemy an easier target, without giving the state a comparable advantage. Moreover, centralization means uniformity of methods and procedures, whereas the enemy will seek diverse venues for its attacks and adopt multiple tactics. The enemy will be unpredictable because each stateless group will pursue different methods and procedures, and it is impossible to establish procedures to deal with every potential attack. A centralized response to the stateless threat is, therefore, likely to be ineffective.

Decentralization is a form of defense because it can help to contain the damage inflicted by an attack. For instance, a segmented infrastructure is more likely to survive an attack than one that is dependent on the effective functioning of several central stations. The electrical grid, for example, is heavily reliant on a few nodes that would most likely be overwhelmed by a surge of electricity caused by the destruction of a line. The most effective, if extreme, solution to such a threat is to develop off-the-grid capabilities for cities (or, alternatively, to build regional grids) and even on a smaller level such as for neighborhoods and possibly individual houses. Then, in order to shut down the supply of electricity to a region or city, an attack would have to be directed against individual generators or the local grids.34 While certainly not impossible, such an attack would require a level of coordination and effort not readily available to stateless groups. By analogy, a state whose main functions, from political decision-making to the management of social and economic activities, are decentralized and spread out may be more capable of withstanding dispersed, small attacks. To put it starkly, a state without a capital is more resilient than one with all of its functions concentrated in one place.

Furthermore, cities are extremely vulnerable to disruptions in large measure because of their reliance on transportation infrastructures that supply them with energy and food.35 It is instructive to look at what happens in French or Italian cities when trucking unions go on strike or disgruntled farmers block highways: Those nations’ governments are often forced to submit to the strikers’ demands. The large number of urban areas makes it impossible to devise effective defensive measures for them. And there are simply too many potential targets within them that demand attention, and their identification, however difficult, is not a guarantee that an appropriate defense can be established. For instance, in 2006, the Department of Homeland Security made public that its list of potential domestic targets of terrorist groups increased from 160 in 2003 to 28,000 in 2004 and to 77,069 in 2006.36

Given that it is impossible to protect such a number of widely different targets, a state may have to abandon some of its key characteristics in order to defend itself from stateless actors. A diffuse threat requires a diffuse security system. Massed defensive forces are useless if they are not where the attack may occur. Hence, states may need to devolve their security frameworks by giving regions and cities greater authority and capabilities to prevent and, if necessary, respond to terrorist attacks. The establishment of counterterrorism centers in New York City and Los Angeles, which have their own intelligence and analytical units and rapid response forces, is a good start.37 A parallel can be made with counterinsurgency tactics. An army that wants to fight against an insurgency effectively needs to devolve its decisions to the lowest level possible (e.g., platoon-level or even squad-level).38 As armies have learned how to fight small wars at the level of platoons, characterized by small clashes and constant patrols, so states may have to learn to decentralize their control over security.

Such devolution of power is not unprecedented in history. The rise of a very complex, decentralized political system in the Middle Ages was in part the result of continued attacks by tribal forces from the fourth century on. The inability of the central government, in this case the Roman Empire, to protect either the frontier or central regions from these attacks, forced local populations to rely on the military power of local leaders.39 As political scientist John Herz put it in 1957, “Throughout history, that unit which affords protection and security to human beings has tended to become the basic political unit; people, in the long run, will recognize that authority, any authority, which possesses the power of protection.”40

The devolution of state power is not without risks. The weakening of the state’s monopoly of violence may lead to the “Somalization” of the country in question: Local authorities rely on private actors to provide the needed protection and security, who then assert their own authority, becoming warlords of a sort. It is much easier to establish local security providers, such as militias or private armies, than to control them, or, if the situation changes, to demilitarize them. Furthermore, threats from stateless actors are arising at the same time as states maintain the ability to inflict enormous damage on each other and new powers are acquiring nuclear capabilities. Militias may be better suited to protect from, and respond to, small, local attacks, but they are less effective in deterring and defeating an industrial power, especially if the potential conflict will be for control of the sea (as in the case of a U.S.-China rivalry in the Pacific Ocean).

The question therefore is one of balance: How much will states have to decentralize in order to withstand potential disruptive attacks from stateless actors, while at the same time maintaining a level of centralization and power necessary to deter and, if necessary, defeat peer competitors? To put it differently, will the state’s perfect defensive measures against stateless actors — pervasive devolution of power, development of small and localized security providers — result in considerable weakening of that state relative to its neighbors? I do not offer an answer to this very important question. But the problem of nonstate actors will not go away. The trends underlying their resurgence are strong and outside of the control of a single nation or even a community of concerned nations. And given the inherent difficulties of implementing both offensive and defensive strategies to cope with these actors, we ought to be prepared for a prolonged period of constant conflict which may lead, as suggested here, to a change in the very nature of the state as we know it.
Jakub Grygiel is the George H. W. Bush Associate Professor of International Relations at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of The Johns Hopkins University. His latest book is Great Powers and Geopolitical Change (Johns Hopkins, 2006). The author acknowledges the support of the Earhart Foundation, which funded part of the research for this article.

1 To a degree, this is not a novel trend. Many have noticed the rise of nonstate groups and their growing influence in international relations, but most often this trend has been seen as a beneficial development leading to the rise of a global civil society, pressuring states to behave in a more appropriate way. As Jessica T. Matthews observed ten years ago, “A world that is more adaptable and in which power is more diffuse could mean more peace, justice, and capacity to manage the burgeoning list of humankind’s interconnected problems.” Jessica T. Matthews, “Power Shift,” Foreign Affairs> (January/February 1997).

2 Charles Tilly, Coercion, Capital, and European States, AD 990–1992 (Blackwell, 1992), 29–30

3 Hendrik Spruyt, The Sovereign State and Its Competitors(Princeton University Press, 1996).

4 Janice Thomson, Mercenaries, Pirates, and Sovereigns (Princeton University Press, 1996).

5 On the rise of networks as effective forms of social organizations and their impact on war, see John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt, The Advent of Netwar (rand, mr-789-osd, 1996); John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt, eds., Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror, Crime, and Militancy (rand, mr-1382-osd, 2001). On how new technologies will (or should) impact U.S. war-fighting, see Vice Admiral Arthur K. Cebrowski and John J. Garstka, “Network-Centric Warfare: Its Origin and Future,” Proceedings (January 1998); Thomas Rid, “War 2.0,” Policy Review (Web Special, February 2007), available at http://www.hoover.org/publications/p...w/5956806.html. This and all subsequent online citations accessed March 6, 2009).

6 Geoffrey A. Fowler, “‘Citizen Journalists’ Evade Blackout on Myanmar News,” Wall Street Journal (September 28, 2007); Ben Arnoldy, “Downloading the Burma Uprising: Did It Help?,” Christian Science Monitor (October 3 2007).

7 Maria Fam, “Egyptian Political Dissent Unites Through Facebook,” Wall Street Journal (May 5, 2008).

8 On the “open-source” nature of terrorism and insurgency, see John Robb, “The Open-Source War,” New York Times (October 15, 2005); John Robb, Brave New War (Wiley, 2007).

9 Sherif Mansour, “Egypt’s Facebook Showdown,” Los Angeles Times (June 2, 2008).

10 See Eric S. Raymond, The Cathedral and the Bazaar: Musings on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary (O’Reilly Media, 2001); Steven Weber, The Success of Open Source (Harvard University Press, 2004).

11 Audrey Kurth Cronin, “Cyber-Mobilization: The New Levée en Masse,” Parameters (Summer 2006); Timothy L. Thomas, “Cyber Mobilization: A Growing Counterinsurgency Campaign,” IOSphere (Summer 2006), available at http://leav-www.army.mil/fmso/docume...bilization.pdf

12 See also, Madeleine Gruen, “Online social networks expand a sense of community among members and supporters of extremists groups” (June 9, 2008), available at http://counterterrorismblog.org/2008...rks_expand.php

13 Chris Anderson, “The Long Tail,” Wired, 12:10 (October 2004), available at http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.10/tail.html

14 Egyptian authorities, for instance, had most likely infiltrated the Facebook group of activists, many of whom were arrested and intimidated. See Ellen Knickmeyer, “Fledgling Rebellion on Facebook is Struck Down by Force in Egypt,” Washington Post (May 18, 2008).

15 Bruce W. Don, et al., “Network Technologies for Networked Terrorists” (rand, 2007), Chapter 3, 49–64, and 66.

16 See, for instance, K.J. Holsti, Taming the Sovereigns (Cambridge University Press, 2004).

17 Deborah Avant, The Market for Force (Cambridge University Press, 2005); P.W. Singer, Corporate Warriors (Cornell University Press, 2007).

18 For good histories of these developments, see William McNeill, The Pursuit of Power (University of Chicago Press, 1982); Geoffrey Parker, The Military Revolution (Cambridge University Press, 1988); Macgregor Knox and Williamson Murray, eds., The Dynamics of Military Revolution, 1300-2050 (Cambridge University Press, 2001). A good recent book is Max Boot, War Made New (Gotham Books, 2006).

19 Noah Shachtman, “How Technology Almost Lost the War: In Iraq, the Critical Networks Are Social — Not Electronic,” Wired15:12(November 27, 2007), available at http://www.wired.com/politics/securi...2/ff_futurewar .

20 For instance, uavs (unmanned aerial vehicles) have received great attention in the past few years, as they are deployed by the U.S. in Afghanistan and Iraq with increasingly greater effectiveness and lethality. Yet, some of these platforms can be built with off-the-shelf material and can be used by individuals with little training. See the site diydrones at http://diydrones.com/.

21 As the U.S. military calls it, “full spectrum dominance” is based on “dominant maneuver,” “precision engagement,” “focused logistics,” and “full dimensional protection,” all of which require investment in new state-of-art technologies. The assumption behind this vision seems to be that a) it is possible to achieve clear and unchallenged superiority (or even dominance) over potential enemies, and b) this can be attained only by a state with massive resources, such as the U.S. See U.S. Department of Defense, Joint Vision2020 (2000), available at http://www.dtic.mil/jointvision/jvpub2.htm.

22 Rick Atkinson, “Left of Boom,” Washington Post (September 30–October 3, 2007), available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv...oom/index.html .

23 This is particularly the case for small arms, which are widely available. As a rand monograph observes, maritime piracy is on the rise because, among other reasons, “the global proliferation of small arms has provided pirates (as well as terrorists and other criminal elements) with an enhanced means to operate on a more destructive and sophisticated level.” Peter Chalk, “The maritime dimension of international security: terrorism, piracy, and challenges for the United States,” rand Monograph 697 (2008), xii. Available online at http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG697/. On modern piracy, see also Gal Luft and Anne Korin, “Terrorism Goes to Sea,” Foreign Affairs 83:6 (November/December 2004); Martin Murphy, “Contemporary Piracy and Maritime Terrorism,” Adelphi Paper388 (International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2007); Martin Murphy, “Suppression of Piracy and Maritime Terrorism,” Naval War College Review60:3 (Summer 2007).

24 As some have observed, a further goal of these groups, as in the case of Al-Qaeda, is perhaps to spur the target state to react (or rather, overreact) to an attack in a way that would lead to its weakening. See James Fallows, “Declaring Victory,” Atlantic Monthly (September 2006).

25 As David Kilcullen points out, in many cases, especially in Europe, the objective of terrorist groups is subversion, an early stage in the struggle between extremists and states. See David Kilcullen, “Subversion and Countersubversion in the Campaign against Terrorism in Europe,” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism30 (2007).

26 It has been often observed that asymmetric war and terrorism are tools of the poor. This is true on the tactical as well as the larger, strategic level. Statelessness is an asset of those who cannot, or do not want to, challenge directly a great power.

27 On the tactics of “cover, conceal, and disperse,” see also Stephen Biddle, “The Past as Prologue: Assessing Theories of Future Warfare,” Security Studies, 8:1 (Autumn 1998).

28 Robert F. Worth, “Hezbollah Leader Plays Down Group’s Political Aims in Lebanon,” New York Times (May 27, 2008).

29 Olivier Roy, Globalized Islam (Columbia University Press, 2004), 281.

30 Arguably, taking control over states (Russia, East European states, and so on) was the worst development for communism. The reality could never approach the ideal no matter how much violence was used, and disillusionment was inevitable. It is perhaps not coincidental that communist ideals fared better on the Left Bank of Paris or parts of Italy, for example, where communists could not rule a state.

31 See Moises Naim, Illicit (Anchor Books, span class="smallcaps">2005); Max G. Manwaring, A Contemporary Challenge to State Sovereignty: Gangs and Other Illicit Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs) in Central America, El Salvador, Mexico, Jamaica, and Brazil (U.S. Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute, January 2008).

32 Mark Valencia, “The Proliferation Security Initiative: Making Waves in Asia,” Adelphi Paper376 (iiss, 2005); Andrew Winner, “The Proliferation Security Initiative: The New Face of Interdiction,” Washington Quarterly, 28:2 (Spring 2005).

33 See Kilcullen, “Subversion and Countersubversion in the Campaign against Terrorism in Europe.”

34 A clear example, on a small scale, is the installation of solar-powered street lights in Fallujah in late 2007. This had the effect not only of freeing electricity for individual houses but also, most importantly, of making it difficult for the insurgents to turn the streets dark at night.

35 On the role of cities as ungovernable spaces and thus sources of instability, see Phil Williams, From The New Middles Ages to A New Dark Age: The Decline of The State and U.S. Strategy (U.S. Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute, June 2008), 21–27.

36 Spencer S. Hsu, “U.S. Struggles to Rank Potential Terror Targets,” Washington Post (July 16, 2006).

37 Judith Miller, “On the Front Line in the War on Terrorism,” City Journal (Summer 2007), available at http://www.city-journal.org/html/17_...terrorism.html

38 A Concept for Distributed Operations (usmc, April 25, 2005), I; David Ucko, “Countering Insurgents through Distributed Operations: Insights from Malaya 1948–1960,” Journal of Strategic Studies30:1 (February 2007).

39 Marc Bloch, for instance, describes how the clergy armed itself against warrior groups that arose in the Middle Ages. Marc Bloch, Feudal Society (University of Chicago, 1964). See also Henri Pirenne, Medieval Cities (Princeton University Press, 1969), 66–70.

40 John H. Herz, “Rise and Demise of the Territorial State,” World Politics9:4 (July 1957).


http://www.hoover.org/publications/p.../41708942.html

Last edited by Alex Linder; June 23rd, 2009 at 05:07 PM.
 
Old June 23rd, 2009 #5
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The Antifederalists Were Right

Mises Daily by Gary Galles | Posted on 9/27/2006 12:00:00 AM

September 27 marks the anniversary of the publication of the first of the Antifederalist Papers in 1789. The Antifederalists were opponents of ratifying the US Constitution. They feared that it would create an overbearing central government, while the Constitution's proponents promised that this would not happen. As the losers in that debate, they are largely overlooked today. But that does not mean they were wrong or that we are not indebted to them.

In many ways, the group has been misnamed. Federalism refers to the system of decentralized government. This group defended states rights — the very essence of federalism — against the Federalists, who would have been more accurately described as Nationalists. Nonetheless, what the so-called Antifederalists predicted would be the results of the Constitution turned out to be true in most every respect.

The Antifederalists warned us that the cost Americans would bear in both liberty and resources for the government that would evolve under the Constitution would rise sharply. That is why their objections led to the Bill of Rights, to limit that tendency (though with far too little success that has survived to the present).

Antifederalists opposed the Constitution on the grounds that its checks on federal power would be undermined by expansive interpretations of promoting the "general welfare" (which would be claimed for every law) and the "all laws necessary and proper" clause (which would be used to override limits on delegated federal powers), creating a federal government with unwarranted and undelegated powers that were bound to be abused.

One could quibble with the mechanisms the Antifederalists predicted would lead to constitutional tyranny. For instance, they did not foresee that the Commerce Clause would come to be called "the everything clause" in law schools, used by centralizers to justify almost any conceivable federal intervention. The 20th-century distortion of the clause's original meaning was so great even the vigilant Antifederalists could never have imagined the government getting away with it.

And they could not have foreseen how the Fourteenth Amendment and its interpretation would extend federal domination over the states after the Civil War. But it is very difficult to argue with their conclusions from the current reach of our government, not just to forcibly intrude upon, but often to overwhelm Americans today.

Therefore, it merits remembering the Antifederalists' prescient arguments and how unfortunate is the virtual absence of modern Americans who share their concerns.

One of the most insightful of the Antifederalists was Robert Yates, a New York judge who, as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, withdrew because the convention was exceeding its instructions. Yates wrote as Brutus in the debates over the Constitution. Given his experience as a judge, his claim that the Supreme Court would become a source of almost unlimited federal over-reaching was particularly insightful.

Brutus asserted that the Supreme Court envisioned under the Constitution would become a source of massive abuse because they were beyond the control "both of the people and the legislature," and not subject to being "corrected by any power above them." As a result, he objected to the fact that its provisions justifying the removal of judges didn't include making rulings that went beyond their constitutional authority, which would lead to judicial tyranny.

Brutus argued that when constitutional grounds for making rulings were absent, the Court would create grounds "by their own decisions." He thought that the power it would command would be so irresistible that the judiciary would use it to make law, manipulating the meanings of arguably vague clauses to justify it.

The Supreme Court would interpret the Constitution according to its alleged "spirit", rather than being restricted to just the "letter" of its written words (as the doctrine of enumerated rights, spelled out in the Tenth Amendment, would require).

Further, rulings derived from whatever the court decided its spirit was would effectively "have the force of law," due to the absence of constitutional means to "control their adjudications" and "correct their errors". This constitutional failing would compound over time in a "silent and imperceptible manner", through precedents that built on one another.

Expanded judicial power would empower justices to shape the federal government however they desired, because the Supreme Court's constitutional interpretations would control the effective power vested in government and its different branches. That would hand the Supreme Court ever-increasing power, in direct contradiction to Alexander Hamilton's argument in Federalist 78 that the Supreme Court would be "the least dangerous branch."

Brutus predicted that the Supreme Court would adopt "very liberal" principles of interpreting the Constitution. He argued that there had never in history been a court with such power and with so few checks upon it, giving the Supreme Court "immense powers" that were not only unprecedented, but perilous for a nation founded on the principle of consent of the governed. Given the extent to which citizens' power to effectively withhold their consent from federal actions has been eviscerated, it is hard to argue with Brutus's conclusion.

He further warned that the new government would not be restricted in its taxing power, and that the legislatures war power was highly dangerous: "the power in the federal legislative, to raise and support armies at pleasure, as well in peace as in war, and their controul over the militia, tend, not only to a consolidation of the government, but the destruction of liberty."

He also objected to the very notion that a republican form of government can work well over such a vast territory, even the relatively small terrority as compared with today's US:

History furnishes no example of a free republic, anything like the extent of the United States. The Grecian republics were of small extent; so also was that of the Romans. Both of these, it is true, in process of time, extended their conquests over large territories of country; and the consequence was, that their governments were changed from that of free governments to those of the most tyrannical that ever existed in the world. What you think you know might not be true


Brutus accurately described both the cause (the absence of sufficient enforceable restraints on the size and scope of the federal government) and the consequences (expanding burdens and increasing invasions of liberty) of what would become the expansive federal powers we now see all around us.

But today, Brutus would conclude that he had been far too optimistic. The federal government has grown orders of magnitudes larger than he could ever have imagined (in part because he was writing when only indirect taxes and the small federal government they could finance were possible, before the 16th Amendment opened the way for a federal income tax in 1913), far exceeding its constitutionally enumerated powers, despite the constraints of the Bill of Rights. The result burdens citizens beyond his worst nightmare.

The judicial tyranny that was accurately and unambiguously predicted by Brutus and other Antifederalists shows that in essential ways, they were right and that modern Americans still have a lot to learn from them. We need to understand their arguments and take them seriously now, if there is to be any hope of restraining the federal government to the limited powers it was actually granted in the Constitution, or even anything close to them, given its current tendency to accelerate its growth beyond them.

Gary M. Galles is a professor of economics at Pepperdine University. Send him mail. See his archive. Discuss this article on the blog.
 
Old July 8th, 2009 #6
Alex Linder
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Activists on both the left and the right spotlight a broken federal government

By Claire Wolfe

On October 28, 2005, 400 citizens of Vermont met amid the pomp of their capitol building and voted to secede from the Union. The media, to say the least, was surprised. Those who noticed (which included CBS News and the Christian Science Monitor) treated the story as a novelty, only slightly more serious than the latest sighting of the Virgin Mary’s face in a Texas taco. But the vote was the first rumble of what could become a political and cultural earthquake. And Vermont isn’t the only state on the fault line. Other secessionist or state sovereignty movements are building from Hawaii to New Hampshire.

Millions of Americans perceive that the federal government is broken and might not be fixable. They view centralized power as heavy-handed, intrusive—and yet useless when it’s called upon for help, as in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Right or wrong, like them or not, state sovereignty activists say, “We have a solution.”

Their solution is radical local activism to restore power to citizens at the state level. They aim to make state laws that counteract federal ones. They hope to preserve local or regional cultures against homogenization. They’re all aiming for their idea of freedom—although often their concepts of freedom are diverse, to say the least.

Watch them: They may be the vanguard of a much larger movement of frustrated citizens who feel helpless to achieve their aims at the federal level but who aren’t willing to accept the status quo.

The Vermont meeting was a gathering of activists, not a session of the state legislature, so the secession vote has no legal force. The members of the Second Vermont Republic (SVR) consider it simply the first of many planned steps.

The SVR is “left-wing.” In addition to opposing big government, it also opposes “big business, big markets, and big agriculture” and what members see as a dreary, institutional sameness being imposed on the entire world.

But secession isn’t inherently left-wing. Secession is simply the separation of one political entity from another. And it’s just one of a number of related ideas now being actively promoted.

Next door to Vermont, for instance, the libertarian Free State Project (FSP) aims to encourage enough activists to move to New Hampshire to permanently alter that state’s politics. They want smaller government, a free-market economy, and the ability to “just say no” to the worst federal laws and bureaucratic policies. The FSP has already signed up 7,000 of a hoped-for 20,000 activists.

The FSP and the SVR arise from opposite ends of the political spectrum. They differ in tactics and goals. The FSP is not secessionist. But both groups share that key central concept: local activism to achieve aims that can’t be achieved at the federal level.

Other sovereignty movements have arisen in Hawaii, Wyoming, Montana, and Alaska, among other places. The group, Christian Exodus, aims to spark an en masse move to South Carolina. There, they hope to gain control of the legislature and run state government on religious principles.

Others would like to unite Canada’s western plains provinces to the USA’s western mountain states, pointing out that they have more in common with each other than with their respective eastern urban centers.

Some groups, like the FSP, are determined to work within the system. Even the most radical secessionist groups hope to “go in peace.” They want no trouble, just to be left alone.

“But isn’t secession illegal?” some object.

Actually, probably not.

The U.S. Constitution is silent on secession. But the 9th and 10th amendments make it clear that states have higher authority than the federal government in all but a few specified areas. Those same amendments proclaim that the people have rights, while the central government has only limited powers delegated to it by the states and the people. In other words, since the Constitution doesn’t say that states can’t secede, then naturally, say the organizers of the SVR and other secessionist groups, they can.

But of course, theory and practice are two different things. The last time American states tried to act on such a claim, the federal government overpowered them, with catastrophic loss of life on both sides.

Will the Second Vermont Republic—or any other regional independence movement—succeed? The example of 1861 sets a disastrous precedent for those who want the most radical solutions. On the other hand, the former Soviet republics more recently separated from Russia without war. And historically the boundaries of countries are ever-shifting.

It’s probably a long way to the first true secessionist vote. Possibly no such vote will ever be taken. But even if these projects don’t achieve their ultimate aims, they do succeed in bringing activists together. They shine much-needed light on deep national problems. They get people to think “outside the box.” Organizations like the SVR and the FSP could renew the cultural climate of their states and restore an independent spirit to parts of North America. That alone could be a worthy goal.

For more information:

* The Second Vermont Republic, PO Box 1093, Montpelier, VT 05601, www.vermontrepublic.org
* The Free State Project, PO Box 1684, Keene, NH 03431, 1-888-532-4604, www.freestateproject.org
* The American Secession Project, www.secessionist.us (This is a web-only listing of many secession and free state projects.)

http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/wolfe97.html
 
Old July 14th, 2009 #7
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Tenth Amendment Talking Points

1. The People created the federal government to be their agent for certain enumerated purposes only. The Constitutional ratifying structure was created so it would be clear that it was the People, and not the States, that were doing the ratifying.

2. The Tenth Amendment defines the total scope of federal power as being that which has been delegated by the people to the federal government, and also that which is absolutely necessary to advancing those powers specifically enumerated in the Constitution of the United States. The rest is to be handled by the state governments, or locally, by the people themselves.

3. The Constitution does not include a congressional power to override state laws. It does not give the judicial branch unlimited jurisdiction over all matters. It does not provide Congress with the power to legislate over everything. This is verified by the simple fact that attempts to make these principles part of the Constitution were soundly rejected by its signers.

4. If the Congress had been intended to carry out anything they claim would promote the “general welfare,” what would be the point of listing its specific powers in Article I, Section 8, since these would’ve already been covered?

5. James Madison, during the Constitutional ratification process, drafted the “Virginia Plan” to give Congress general legislative authority and to empower the national judiciary to hear any case that might cause friction among the states, to give the congress a veto over state laws, to empower the national government to use the military against the states, and to eliminate the states’ accustomed role in selecting members of Congress. Each one of these proposals was soundly defeated. In fact, Madison made many more attempts to authorize a national veto over state laws, and these were repeatedly defeated as well.

6. The Tenth Amendment was adopted after the Constitutional ratification process to emphasize the fact that the states remained individual and unique sovereignties; that they were empowered in areas that the Constitution did not delegate to the federal government. With this in mind, any federal attempt to legislate beyond the Constitutional limits of Congress’ authority is a usurpation of state sovereignty - and unconstitutional.

7. Tragically, the Tenth Amendment has become almost a nullity at this point in our history, but there are a great many reasons to bring it to the forefront. Most importantly, though, we must keep in mind that the Founders envisioned a loose confederation of states – not a one-size-fits-all solution for everything that could arise. Why? The simple answer lies in the fact that they had just escaped the tyranny of a king who thought he knew best how to govern everything – including local colonies from across an ocean.

8. Governments and political leaders are best held accountable to the will of the people when government is local. Second, the people of a state know what is best for them; they do not need bureaucrats, potentially thousands of miles away, governing their lives. Think about it. If Hitler had ruled just Berlin and Stalin had ruled just Moscow, the whole world might be a different place today.

9. A constitution which does not provide strict limits is just the thing any government would be thrilled to have, for, as Lord Acton once said, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

10. We agree with historian Kevin Gutzman, who has said that those who would give us a “living” Constitution are actually giving us a dead one, since such a thing is completely unable to protect us against the encroachments of government power.

http://www.tenthamendmentcenter.com/...alking-points/
 
Old July 14th, 2009 #8
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To take secession to another level: invent a language for your new country.
 
Old July 14th, 2009 #9
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long Reason article on seasteading

http://www.reason.com/news/show/133865.html
 
Old July 15th, 2009 #10
Alex Linder
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Jul 13, 2009

REVOLUTION: Jersey Shore Street Secedes From Town

Bay Beach Way Jumps Ship, Leaves Toms River For Lavallette

LAVALLETTE, N.J. (CBS) ―

A victory was achieved Monday for residents of one small street in New Jersey when a court ruled in favor of their effort to secede from Toms River and join Lavallette.

The residents are thrilled, but one town's gain is another's loss.

The revolution happened on quiet Bay Beach Way in Toms River, where homeowners are thrilled to have won their battle to leave Toms River and become part of neighboring Lavallette.

"We thought we were going to win," resident Frank Michenfelder says. "the big thing we wanted: that unanimous decision, and we got that."

The revolt had its roots in a February 2003 snowstorm. Residents were furious at town officials when streets remained unplowed for three days, leaving them stranded. The experience still rankles residents on the street.

"Well, we did our best to get them over here – couldn't seem to raise them on the phone," resident Dan Russell says. "Finally, they came. But it was three days later."

Residents on the block say they only turned to secession after failing to have their needs met through regular channels. They shay they've complained for years about snow plowing and irregular garbage pick-up, complaints they say were ignored.

Lavallette Mayor Walter La Cicero says he's happy to have new constituents.

"We're gonna get a substantial amount of tax revenue from that, and we will not have to hire anybody to provide the services that are gonna be necessary here," La Cicero says.

But Toms River Mayor Tom Kelaher says that lack of resources are not the real reason the residents want out. He says homeowners just want to take advantage of Lavallette's lower tax rates.

"One of the people said that his taxes would go down a couple thousand dollars if they're in Lavallette," Kelaher says. "That's really not a valid reason for granting the relief hey got in this case."

Bay Beach Way homeowners say the move just makes official what is already unofficially the case. After all, the block's mailing address is Lavallette, and Lavallette provides water, electric, and cable service.

The secession is not a done deal yet, though. On Tuesday night, Toms River officials will decide whether or not they will appeal the ruling.

http://wcbstv.com/watercooler/street...2.1084084.html
 
Old July 20th, 2009 #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Ronsavelle View Post
The Antifederalists Were Right
Um, as were the Confederates.

Seriously, minus all of the libertarian hooliganism, secession is coming. The USA is about to crumble to pieces. The Jews will bail out. No more threats from Hymie. A lot more violence. Yep, as predicted by both Henry and Dabney. If y'all thought that revisionism was a heroic struggle of truth against tyranny, wait'll ya have to reconquer North America. I only hope to live long enough to see the flags come down.
 
Old July 24th, 2009 #12
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Secession Is the Future
Kirkpatrick Sale Talks To Iranians About the Death of Empires
by Kirkpatrick Sale


Email a link to this articleEmail a link to this article Printer-friendly version of this articlePrinter-friendly version of this article

The following interview with Middlebury Institute director Kirkpatrick Sale appeared in the Kayhan International newspaper of Tehran, Iran on July 21, 2009, and in the Persian language Kayhan News the same day. The interviewer was Seyed Yasser Jebraily.

You have argued that the major theme of contemporary history is the break-up of great empires. Would you elaborate on this and also evaluate the current status of U.S. Empire, I mean its failures and successes?

It is important to realize that the separatist and self-determination movement is actually the most important and most widespread political force in the world today and has been for the last half-century, during which time the United Nations, for example, has grown from 51 nations in 1945 to 193 nations in 2009. The break-up of the Soviet Union and the former Yugoslavia are recent manifestations of the separatist trend, and there are separatist movements in more than two dozen countries at this time, including such well-known ones as in Catalonia, Scotland, Wales, Lapland, Sardinia, Sicily, Sudan, Congo, Kashmir, Chechnya, Kurdistan, Quebec, British Columbia, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.

I believe the American empire is succumbing to these same pressures. It has grown too large and distended to maintain its political and military hold over the world, or even to control its own economy. It is unable to wage war anywhere, despite piling on huge resources and tons of money, and as it does so it creates enmity in most of the world and unpopularity at home. It is corrupted by corporate interests to the core, and is inept and inefficient, unable to solve the myriad problems its oversize and overstretch have created, including its enormous debt, its out-of-control health system, its failing public school system, its unregulated financial sector, its dependency on foreign oil and other resources, and its significant contribution to global warming.

In 1995 you predicted that by the year 2020, there would be a convergence of three disasters: Global currency collapse, significant warfare between rich and poor, and environmental disaster. It seems that these are happening. What was the basis of these predictions?

They are happening, and sooner than I expected. My hope now is that by the time the worst of it occurs I will no longer be around to observe it. But I don’t think it took any genius to see that this would occur. Anyone could see back then that all systems and institutions, domestic and global, had grown too big and complex to control, or even to understand, and that was before the impact of the internet and the dominance of cyberspace in our lives. Anyone who could understand that everything had grown way beyond the ability of humans to cope with it, and with the technological superapparatuses that have been created to advance global capitalism, could have made the same prediction.

In 2004 you founded Middlebury Institute. What do you do there and what have been your achievements? We do not have so much information about the secessionist movement in the U.S., can you tell us about these movements?

The Middlebury institute is devoted to the study and encouragement of separatism, secession, and self-determination. We have built up a body of literature showing the legitimacy and value of secession in the United States (on our website, MiddleburyInstitute.org) and we have held three North American Secessionist Congresses that have brought together the thirty or so secessionist organizations on the continent.

At this time there is more attention being paid to secession than any time since 1865, when the Federal forces finally won in the War of Southern Secession (miscalled the Civil War).


$40 $30


Here in Iran we think that it is not easy to change the current system of government in the U.S. Do you think it is possible? How? How much secessionists have proceeded?

It will not be easy, but the point is that it is the ONLY possible way to bring about serious change and survive the collapse of the empire – to survive the sinking of the Titanic by creating lifeboats now. There is no future in party politics in a corrupt system, no future in revolution when they hold all the power, so all that’s left is the solution that the original Founding Fathers came up with in 1776 – "when any form of government is destructive of … rights, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it’ (Declaration of Independence). In other words, secession just as they did against Britain

What do you think about the coming years?

I see a real possibility that three or four states will hold conventions on secession or elect a majority of secession-minded people to state legislatures where the debate on secession can begin. I think Vermont, Texas, Hawaii, and Alaska are likely places, but there is also strong ferment in the South and the Northwest. I would predict that one of the American states will vote for its independence in the next 10 years.

Your country, U.S., has been extremely hostile to Iran. Western media are lying day and night about Iran. Iran has not ever invaded any country; it has proved that it is looking for a peaceful nuclear energy. What are reasons behind U.S. aggressiveness?

U.S. foreign policy has been effectively hi-jacked by Israel and the Jewish lobby since 1948, and especially since the rise of the neoconservatives in the Bush years. The Israelis figured out how to get us to invade Iraq, a thorn in its side, and now they are trying to get us to do the same to you. It’s quite simple, but of course the bulk of the American public does not understand it.

U.S. condemns its opponent countries for human rights abuses, for repressing speech freedom, and for not being democratic. Can you tell us about freedom, human rights and democracy in U.S.?

The U.S. is a reasonably free country, if you talk about speech and religious freedoms and not about drugs, though the speech is allowed because there’s not much it could do to change the power structure in place. It is reasonably free of human-rights abuses, except for portions of the underclass, particularly in the cities, and the majority of people know the limits. There is no democracy at the national level, of course, and there cannot be with 300 million people; it calls itself a representative republic, but the party figures do not represent anything but corporate interests, as all the laws (and the "stimulus package") attest. There is often some democracy at a local (town, village, city) level, although the two-party system has such a stranglehold on most electoral systems that even there it is a struggle.

It is important though, that America formulated and holds out to the world the essence of democracy, even if it never fully practiced it itself and has now in the last half-century abandoned it. It is an ideal worth struggling for, because it is the only way that the people’s will and wants can be fully expressed, which is the only kind of government humans should live under. And also because it is the most corruption-free and efficient form that humans have been able to devise.

Anything you want to add…

I hope the Iranian people get the government that the majority of its people want. But I think the last election exposed some very deep fissures in the country that suggest there are at least two strongly opposed camps. I would suggest that a devolution of power and the possibility of autonomous regions be explored, so that different people can live under differing systems more to their liking, instead of thinking there has to be one set of principles and beliefs imposed upon all.

Good luck. Thank you.

July 24, 2009

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig10/sale1.1.1.html
 
Old July 24th, 2009 #13
Alex Linder
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Secession Is the Future
Kirkpatrick Sale Talks To Iranians About the Death of Empires
by Kirkpatrick Sale


Email a link to this articleEmail a link to this article Printer-friendly version of this articlePrinter-friendly version of this article

The following interview with Middlebury Institute director Kirkpatrick Sale appeared in the Kayhan International newspaper of Tehran, Iran on July 21, 2009, and in the Persian language Kayhan News the same day. The interviewer was Seyed Yasser Jebraily.

You have argued that the major theme of contemporary history is the break-up of great empires. Would you elaborate on this and also evaluate the current status of U.S. Empire, I mean its failures and successes?

It is important to realize that the separatist and self-determination movement is actually the most important and most widespread political force in the world today and has been for the last half-century, during which time the United Nations, for example, has grown from 51 nations in 1945 to 193 nations in 2009. The break-up of the Soviet Union and the former Yugoslavia are recent manifestations of the separatist trend, and there are separatist movements in more than two dozen countries at this time, including such well-known ones as in Catalonia, Scotland, Wales, Lapland, Sardinia, Sicily, Sudan, Congo, Kashmir, Chechnya, Kurdistan, Quebec, British Columbia, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.

I believe the American empire is succumbing to these same pressures. It has grown too large and distended to maintain its political and military hold over the world, or even to control its own economy. It is unable to wage war anywhere, despite piling on huge resources and tons of money, and as it does so it creates enmity in most of the world and unpopularity at home. It is corrupted by corporate interests to the core, and is inept and inefficient, unable to solve the myriad problems its oversize and overstretch have created, including its enormous debt, its out-of-control health system, its failing public school system, its unregulated financial sector, its dependency on foreign oil and other resources, and its significant contribution to global warming.

In 1995 you predicted that by the year 2020, there would be a convergence of three disasters: Global currency collapse, significant warfare between rich and poor, and environmental disaster. It seems that these are happening. What was the basis of these predictions?

They are happening, and sooner than I expected. My hope now is that by the time the worst of it occurs I will no longer be around to observe it. But I don’t think it took any genius to see that this would occur. Anyone could see back then that all systems and institutions, domestic and global, had grown too big and complex to control, or even to understand, and that was before the impact of the internet and the dominance of cyberspace in our lives. Anyone who could understand that everything had grown way beyond the ability of humans to cope with it, and with the technological superapparatuses that have been created to advance global capitalism, could have made the same prediction.

In 2004 you founded Middlebury Institute. What do you do there and what have been your achievements? We do not have so much information about the secessionist movement in the U.S., can you tell us about these movements?

The Middlebury institute is devoted to the study and encouragement of separatism, secession, and self-determination. We have built up a body of literature showing the legitimacy and value of secession in the United States (on our website, MiddleburyInstitute.org) and we have held three North American Secessionist Congresses that have brought together the thirty or so secessionist organizations on the continent.

At this time there is more attention being paid to secession than any time since 1865, when the Federal forces finally won in the War of Southern Secession (miscalled the Civil War).


$40 $30


Here in Iran we think that it is not easy to change the current system of government in the U.S. Do you think it is possible? How? How much secessionists have proceeded?

It will not be easy, but the point is that it is the ONLY possible way to bring about serious change and survive the collapse of the empire – to survive the sinking of the Titanic by creating lifeboats now. There is no future in party politics in a corrupt system, no future in revolution when they hold all the power, so all that’s left is the solution that the original Founding Fathers came up with in 1776 – "when any form of government is destructive of … rights, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it’ (Declaration of Independence). In other words, secession just as they did against Britain

What do you think about the coming years?

I see a real possibility that three or four states will hold conventions on secession or elect a majority of secession-minded people to state legislatures where the debate on secession can begin. I think Vermont, Texas, Hawaii, and Alaska are likely places, but there is also strong ferment in the South and the Northwest. I would predict that one of the American states will vote for its independence in the next 10 years.

Your country, U.S., has been extremely hostile to Iran. Western media are lying day and night about Iran. Iran has not ever invaded any country; it has proved that it is looking for a peaceful nuclear energy. What are reasons behind U.S. aggressiveness?

U.S. foreign policy has been effectively hi-jacked by Israel and the Jewish lobby since 1948, and especially since the rise of the neoconservatives in the Bush years. The Israelis figured out how to get us to invade Iraq, a thorn in its side, and now they are trying to get us to do the same to you. It’s quite simple, but of course the bulk of the American public does not understand it.

U.S. condemns its opponent countries for human rights abuses, for repressing speech freedom, and for not being democratic. Can you tell us about freedom, human rights and democracy in U.S.?

The U.S. is a reasonably free country, if you talk about speech and religious freedoms and not about drugs, though the speech is allowed because there’s not much it could do to change the power structure in place. It is reasonably free of human-rights abuses, except for portions of the underclass, particularly in the cities, and the majority of people know the limits. There is no democracy at the national level, of course, and there cannot be with 300 million people; it calls itself a representative republic, but the party figures do not represent anything but corporate interests, as all the laws (and the "stimulus package") attest. There is often some democracy at a local (town, village, city) level, although the two-party system has such a stranglehold on most electoral systems that even there it is a struggle.

It is important though, that America formulated and holds out to the world the essence of democracy, even if it never fully practiced it itself and has now in the last half-century abandoned it. It is an ideal worth struggling for, because it is the only way that the people’s will and wants can be fully expressed, which is the only kind of government humans should live under. And also because it is the most corruption-free and efficient form that humans have been able to devise.

Anything you want to add…

I hope the Iranian people get the government that the majority of its people want. But I think the last election exposed some very deep fissures in the country that suggest there are at least two strongly opposed camps. I would suggest that a devolution of power and the possibility of autonomous regions be explored, so that different people can live under differing systems more to their liking, instead of thinking there has to be one set of principles and beliefs imposed upon all.

Good luck. Thank you.

July 24, 2009

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig10/sale1.1.1.html
 
Old October 2nd, 2009 #14
Alex Linder
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Secession movement spreads well beyond Texas
Posted Friday, Oct. 02, 2009 Comments (112) Recommend (33) Print Share Share Buzz up! Reprints

Topics: Texas, United States, Texas Cities, Austin, Independences, Constitutional amendment, U.S. Leaders, Rick Perry, Separatisms, Federal Laws

Tags: Texas, United States, fodder, independence, amendments, lawmakers, Montgomery, separatists, federal laws, economics

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In April, state Rep. Jim Dunnam, D-Waco, foreground, and other lawmakers call on Gov. Rick Perry to clarify remarks in which he hinted that some fed-up Texans might want to pull out of the Union. AP ARCHIVES

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By DAVE MONTGOMERY

[email protected]

AUSTIN — As head of the Texas Nationalist Movement, Daniel Miller of Nederland believes it’s time for the Lone Star State to sever its bond with the United States and return to the days when Texas was an independent republic.

"Independence. In our lifetime," Miller’s organization proclaims on its Web site.

When Gov. Rick Perry suggested that some Texans might want to secede from the Union because they are fed up with the federal government, the remarks drew nationwide news coverage and became fodder for late-night comedians.

But to Texas separatists like Miller and Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Kilgore of Mansfield, secession is no laughing matter. Nor is it exclusive to the nation’s second-largest state.

Fanned by angry contempt for Washington, secession movements have sprouted up in perhaps more than a dozen states in recent years. In Vermont, retired economics professor Thomas Naylor leads the Second Vermont Republic, a self-styled citizens network dedicated to extracting the sparsely populated New England state from "the American Empire."

And on the other side of the continent, Northwestern separatists envision a "Republic of Cascadia" carved out of Oregon, Washington and the Canadian province of British Columbia.

While most Americans dismiss the breakaway sentiments, sociologists and political experts say they are part of a larger anti-Washington wave that is rapidly spreading across the country.

Challenging Washington

More commonplace are states’ rights movements to directly challenge federal laws, a citizen revolt that one scholar says is unparalleled in modern times. Among the actions in which states are thumbing their nose at Washington:

■ Montana and Tennessee have enacted legislation declaring that firearms made and kept within those states are beyond the authority of the federal government. Similar versions of the law, known as the Firearms Freedom Act, have been introduced in at least four other states.

■ Arizona lawmakers will let voters decide a proposed state constitutional amendment that would opt the state out of federal healthcare mandates under consideration in Congress. The amendment will be placed on the November 2010 ballot. State Rep. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix, said five other states considered similar versions of the amendment this year and at least nine others are expected to do so next year.

■ Nearly two dozen states have approved resolutions refusing to participate in the Real ID Act of 2005, which requires that driver’s licenses and state ID cards conform to federal standards. A similar resolution was introduced in the 2009 Texas Legislature but died in committee.

■ A campaign called "Bring the Guard Home" is pushing legislation in 23 states that would empower governors to recall state National Guard units from Iraq on the premise that the federal law authorizing such deployments has expired. "It’s gaining momentum, to say the least," said Jim Draeger, program manager for Peace Action Wisconsin. He said the initiative has a respectable chance of passing the Legislature in his state.

Rising public anger over the way Washington does business has produced a growing outcry for state sovereignty and strict adherence to the 10th Amendment, which says powers not specifically delegated to the federal government by the Constitution belong to the states.

Texas was an epicenter for this year’s "tea party" protests, in which thousands of Americans displayed their contempt for rising taxes and federal intrusion.

'Unprecedented’ defiance

Michael Boldin, founder of the Tenth Amendment Center in Los Angeles, a think tank that monitors states’ rights activity, said defiance of federal policy is "unprecedented" and cuts across the philosophical spectrum, ranging from staunch conservatives to anti-war activists to civil libertarians. Legislatures in 37 states, he said, have introduced state sovereignty resolutions and at least seven have passed.

Perry, who faces a hard-fought Republican primary challenge from U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, has made state sovereignty one of his signature themes. During the 2009 Legislature, he endorsed an unsuccessful resolution supporting the 10th Amendment, asserting that "our federal government has become oppressive in its size, its intrusion into the lives of our citizens, and its interference with the affairs of our state."

After a tea party rally in April, Perry told reporters that secession might be on the minds of some Texans disgusted with the federal government. He later stressed that he wasn’t advocating secession, telling the Star-Telegram, "America is a great country, and Texas wants to stay in that union and help our way out of" the nation’s economic downturn.

But others are advocating secession.

In a poll of 1,209 respondents conducted by Zogby International last year, 22 percent said they believed that "any state or region" has the right to secede and become an independent republic, and 18 percent said they would support a secessionist movement in their state. Conversely, more than 70 percent expressed opposition to secession.

Kirk Sale of Mount Pleasant, S.C., formed the Middlebury Institute in 2004 for the study of "separatism, secession and self-determination." The institute conducted the Third North American Secessionist Convention in New Hampshire in 2008, drawing delegates from about two dozen secessionist organizations in the United States and Canada.

Secessionist organizations are operating at various levels of activity in Texas, Vermont, New Hampshire, Alaska and Hawaii. Breakaway sentiments and anger at Washington also run high within the Southern National Congress, a 14-state organization to "express Southern grievances and promote Southern interests."

Chairman Tom Moore, who lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwest Virginia, says the group is "not explicitly a secessionist organization" although "most of our people probably do favor that option."

For many, the mention of secession brings to mind the most turbulent years in American history, when 13 Southern states broke away from the Union in 1860 and ’61, plunging the country into a Civil War that claimed at least 618,000 lives but put an end to slavery. In contrast, modern-day secessionists stress that they advocate a peaceful departure and emphatically dismiss criticism that their organizations embrace racism and white supremacy.

"We maintain an open-door policy," said Miller, who began forming the Texas Nationalist Movement early in the decade from the remnants of an earlier Texas independence movement. "If you’re about freedom — individual freedom — and liberty and Texas independence, we call you brother or sister."

'Predates Obama’

Miller says the group includes Hispanics, African-Americans, women, lifelong Democrats and union members. "We don’t argue race; we don’t argue Democrat or Republican," he said. The movement also "predates Obama," he said, pointing out that his organization started well before the president took office in January.

Miller, 35, said his involvement comes from a deep-rooted civic responsibility that began when he would accompany his father, a union ironworker, on the picket line. When Miller was 18, he made an unsuccessful run for mayor of White Oak, a small community outside Longview in East Texas. His call for Texas independence, he said, stems from a belief that Washington’s failures are dragging down the Lone Star State. Texas, which outpaces most other states in mineral wealth, agriculture, technology and other sectors, would be far better off as a separate country, he said.

"We currently have one of the strongest economies in the world," said Miller, a Web-based radio entrepreneur who lives in deep Southeast Texas. "We’ve got everything we need to be, not just a viable nation, but a thriving, prosperous nation, except for one thing — independence from the United States."

Kilgore, a telecommunications consultant in Mansfield, has made secession a high-profile theme of his Republican campaign for governor. Though overshadowed by the two dominant Republicans in the race — Perry and Hutchison — Kilgore believes his candidacy is stoking interest in secession, and vice versa. He said he gets at least a half-dozen calls and 15 e-mails each day on the issue, in addition to "all kinds of Facebook hits."

Giving up on feds

"A lot of people have given up on the federal government," Kilgore said. If he becomes governor, he said, he would call a constitutional convention to create a nation of Texas, with voters asked to approve a constitutional amendment to cement the process. Texas emissaries would negotiate with Washington for separation, he said, predicting that the United States and Texas could "still be friends after we split."

From his home in Charlotte, Vt., Naylor said he also believes that his small New England state would fare much better outside what he derisively calls the "empire."

Vermont, which, like Texas, was a republic before achieving statehood, has a population of 625,000, is the nation’s leading supplier of maple syrup and has a vibrant tourism industry. "We would not only survive," he said, "we would thrive."

Naylor, who describes himself as "a professional troublemaker," grew up in Mississippi and taught economics at Duke University in North Carolina for 30 years.

During his years in the South, he said, he was "pretty much a vehement anti-secessionist" and refused to stand whenever Dixie was played. But, after moving to Vermont, he said, he began to rally against the "tyranny" of corporate America and the federal government, although he acknowledges the perceived "absurdity" of tiny Vermont rising up against the most powerful nation in the world.

"The empire has lost its moral authority. It’s unsustainable, ungovernable and unfixable," he said. "We want out."

_____________________________________

Texas as a nation

After declaring independence from Mexico on March 2, 1836, Texas was an independent republic for nearly a decade before being annexed into the United States in 1845. Now some Texas secessionists believe it’s time for the state to once again become its own country. Here’s a sampling of how a modern-day Republic of Texas would compare with the rest of the world.

Population

With 24.3 million residents, Texas would be the 47th-most-populous nation, between Saudi Arabia (25.7 million) and North Korea (24 million). It would be more populous than Greece, Belgium, Portugal and Israel.

Size

With 261,914 square miles, it would be the 40th-largest country, behind Zambia in East Africa (290,585) and ahead of Myanmar (261,228). It would be larger than Afghanistan, France, Iraq, Germany and Vietnam.

Economy

With a gross state product of $1.24 trillion, it would rank 11th or 12th, depending on the survey, behind Canada ($1.56 trillion) and slightly ahead of India ($1.23 trillion). Its economy would be larger than that of Australia, the Netherlands, South Korea, Turkey and Poland. But it would be vastly overshadowed by its huge neighbor, the United States, which has the largest economy in the world, $14.3 trillion.

Environment

Environmental groups say Texas’ record of spewing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere makes it one of the world biggest polluters. Texas leads the nation with 10 percent of the total U.S. emissions and would rank seventh in the world if it were its own country, the Environmental Defense Fund said in a 2008 report.

Executions

Texas, which leads the nation in executions, would likely rank among the top 10 countries in carrying out capital punishment, joining a list that includes Iran and North Korea. The United States is also on the list, primarily because of executions in Texas. In 2008, Texas carried out 18 of the nation’s 37 executions. According to Amnesty International, the United States ranked fourth in worldwide executions in 2008 but was nowhere close to the top three: China (1,718), Iran (346) and Saudi Arabia (102). North Korea’s Stalinist regime carried out at least 15 known executions, but researchers say the number could be far greater.

How it would fare on its own

Texas, now considered one of the most prosperous states in the country, has a broad-based economy that could make it largely self-sufficient, secession advocates say. Its major products include energy, agriculture, high-tech manufacturing and tourism. Assuming friendly relations, the United States presumably would look to Texas for much of its energy needs, since the Lone Star State leads the nation in production of crude oil, natural gas and wind energy. As part of the Union, it has been the top-exporting state and would continue to ship out chemicals, computers, electronics, machinery, petroleum, coal and transportation equipment. At least one big industry — defense — could suffer if the Pentagon adhered to a rigid "buy American" policy and shunned Texas-made defense products.

Newsroom researcher Cathy Belcher contributed to this report.

Sources: CIA World Factbook, Texas Almanac, U.S. census, Amnesty International, United Nations

http://www.star-telegram.com/804/story/1623872-p2.html
 
Old October 2nd, 2009 #15
Alex Linder
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Secession movement spreads well beyond Texas

Posted Friday, Oct. 02, 2009 Comments (112)

By DAVE MONTGOMERY

[email protected]

AUSTIN — As head of the Texas Nationalist Movement, Daniel Miller of Nederland believes it’s time for the Lone Star State to sever its bond with the United States and return to the days when Texas was an independent republic.

"Independence. In our lifetime," Miller’s organization proclaims on its Web site.

When Gov. Rick Perry suggested that some Texans might want to secede from the Union because they are fed up with the federal government, the remarks drew nationwide news coverage and became fodder for late-night comedians.

But to Texas separatists like Miller and Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Kilgore of Mansfield, secession is no laughing matter. Nor is it exclusive to the nation’s second-largest state.

Fanned by angry contempt for Washington, secession movements have sprouted up in perhaps more than a dozen states in recent years. In Vermont, retired economics professor Thomas Naylor leads the Second Vermont Republic, a self-styled citizens network dedicated to extracting the sparsely populated New England state from "the American Empire."

And on the other side of the continent, Northwestern separatists envision a "Republic of Cascadia" carved out of Oregon, Washington and the Canadian province of British Columbia.

While most Americans dismiss the breakaway sentiments, sociologists and political experts say they are part of a larger anti-Washington wave that is rapidly spreading across the country.

Challenging Washington

More commonplace are states’ rights movements to directly challenge federal laws, a citizen revolt that one scholar says is unparalleled in modern times. Among the actions in which states are thumbing their nose at Washington:

■ Montana and Tennessee have enacted legislation declaring that firearms made and kept within those states are beyond the authority of the federal government. Similar versions of the law, known as the Firearms Freedom Act, have been introduced in at least four other states.

■ Arizona lawmakers will let voters decide a proposed state constitutional amendment that would opt the state out of federal healthcare mandates under consideration in Congress. The amendment will be placed on the November 2010 ballot. State Rep. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix, said five other states considered similar versions of the amendment this year and at least nine others are expected to do so next year.

■ Nearly two dozen states have approved resolutions refusing to participate in the Real ID Act of 2005, which requires that driver’s licenses and state ID cards conform to federal standards. A similar resolution was introduced in the 2009 Texas Legislature but died in committee.

■ A campaign called "Bring the Guard Home" is pushing legislation in 23 states that would empower governors to recall state National Guard units from Iraq on the premise that the federal law authorizing such deployments has expired. "It’s gaining momentum, to say the least," said Jim Draeger, program manager for Peace Action Wisconsin. He said the initiative has a respectable chance of passing the Legislature in his state.

Rising public anger over the way Washington does business has produced a growing outcry for state sovereignty and strict adherence to the 10th Amendment, which says powers not specifically delegated to the federal government by the Constitution belong to the states.

Texas was an epicenter for this year’s "tea party" protests, in which thousands of Americans displayed their contempt for rising taxes and federal intrusion.

'Unprecedented’ defiance

Michael Boldin, founder of the Tenth Amendment Center in Los Angeles, a think tank that monitors states’ rights activity, said defiance of federal policy is "unprecedented" and cuts across the philosophical spectrum, ranging from staunch conservatives to anti-war activists to civil libertarians. Legislatures in 37 states, he said, have introduced state sovereignty resolutions and at least seven have passed.

Perry, who faces a hard-fought Republican primary challenge from U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, has made state sovereignty one of his signature themes. During the 2009 Legislature, he endorsed an unsuccessful resolution supporting the 10th Amendment, asserting that "our federal government has become oppressive in its size, its intrusion into the lives of our citizens, and its interference with the affairs of our state."

After a tea party rally in April, Perry told reporters that secession might be on the minds of some Texans disgusted with the federal government. He later stressed that he wasn’t advocating secession, telling the Star-Telegram, "America is a great country, and Texas wants to stay in that union and help our way out of" the nation’s economic downturn.

But others are advocating secession.

In a poll of 1,209 respondents conducted by Zogby International last year, 22 percent said they believed that "any state or region" has the right to secede and become an independent republic, and 18 percent said they would support a secessionist movement in their state. Conversely, more than 70 percent expressed opposition to secession.

Kirk Sale of Mount Pleasant, S.C., formed the Middlebury Institute in 2004 for the study of "separatism, secession and self-determination." The institute conducted the Third North American Secessionist Convention in New Hampshire in 2008, drawing delegates from about two dozen secessionist organizations in the United States and Canada.

Secessionist organizations are operating at various levels of activity in Texas, Vermont, New Hampshire, Alaska and Hawaii. Breakaway sentiments and anger at Washington also run high within the Southern National Congress, a 14-state organization to "express Southern grievances and promote Southern interests."

Chairman Tom Moore, who lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwest Virginia, says the group is "not explicitly a secessionist organization" although "most of our people probably do favor that option."

For many, the mention of secession brings to mind the most turbulent years in American history, when 13 Southern states broke away from the Union in 1860 and ’61, plunging the country into a Civil War that claimed at least 618,000 lives but put an end to slavery. In contrast, modern-day secessionists stress that they advocate a peaceful departure and emphatically dismiss criticism that their organizations embrace racism and white supremacy.

"We maintain an open-door policy," said Miller, who began forming the Texas Nationalist Movement early in the decade from the remnants of an earlier Texas independence movement. "If you’re about freedom — individual freedom — and liberty and Texas independence, we call you brother or sister."

'Predates Obama’

Miller says the group includes Hispanics, African-Americans, women, lifelong Democrats and union members. "We don’t argue race; we don’t argue Democrat or Republican," he said. The movement also "predates Obama," he said, pointing out that his organization started well before the president took office in January.

Miller, 35, said his involvement comes from a deep-rooted civic responsibility that began when he would accompany his father, a union ironworker, on the picket line. When Miller was 18, he made an unsuccessful run for mayor of White Oak, a small community outside Longview in East Texas. His call for Texas independence, he said, stems from a belief that Washington’s failures are dragging down the Lone Star State. Texas, which outpaces most other states in mineral wealth, agriculture, technology and other sectors, would be far better off as a separate country, he said.

"We currently have one of the strongest economies in the world," said Miller, a Web-based radio entrepreneur who lives in deep Southeast Texas. "We’ve got everything we need to be, not just a viable nation, but a thriving, prosperous nation, except for one thing — independence from the United States."

Kilgore, a telecommunications consultant in Mansfield, has made secession a high-profile theme of his Republican campaign for governor. Though overshadowed by the two dominant Republicans in the race — Perry and Hutchison — Kilgore believes his candidacy is stoking interest in secession, and vice versa. He said he gets at least a half-dozen calls and 15 e-mails each day on the issue, in addition to "all kinds of Facebook hits."

Giving up on feds

"A lot of people have given up on the federal government," Kilgore said. If he becomes governor, he said, he would call a constitutional convention to create a nation of Texas, with voters asked to approve a constitutional amendment to cement the process. Texas emissaries would negotiate with Washington for separation, he said, predicting that the United States and Texas could "still be friends after we split."

From his home in Charlotte, Vt., Naylor said he also believes that his small New England state would fare much better outside what he derisively calls the "empire."

Vermont, which, like Texas, was a republic before achieving statehood, has a population of 625,000, is the nation’s leading supplier of maple syrup and has a vibrant tourism industry. "We would not only survive," he said, "we would thrive."

Naylor, who describes himself as "a professional troublemaker," grew up in Mississippi and taught economics at Duke University in North Carolina for 30 years.

During his years in the South, he said, he was "pretty much a vehement anti-secessionist" and refused to stand whenever Dixie was played. But, after moving to Vermont, he said, he began to rally against the "tyranny" of corporate America and the federal government, although he acknowledges the perceived "absurdity" of tiny Vermont rising up against the most powerful nation in the world.

"The empire has lost its moral authority. It’s unsustainable, ungovernable and unfixable," he said. "We want out."

_____________________________________

Texas as a nation

After declaring independence from Mexico on March 2, 1836, Texas was an independent republic for nearly a decade before being annexed into the United States in 1845. Now some Texas secessionists believe it’s time for the state to once again become its own country. Here’s a sampling of how a modern-day Republic of Texas would compare with the rest of the world.

Population

With 24.3 million residents, Texas would be the 47th-most-populous nation, between Saudi Arabia (25.7 million) and North Korea (24 million). It would be more populous than Greece, Belgium, Portugal and Israel.

Size

With 261,914 square miles, it would be the 40th-largest country, behind Zambia in East Africa (290,585) and ahead of Myanmar (261,228). It would be larger than Afghanistan, France, Iraq, Germany and Vietnam.

Economy

With a gross state product of $1.24 trillion, it would rank 11th or 12th, depending on the survey, behind Canada ($1.56 trillion) and slightly ahead of India ($1.23 trillion). Its economy would be larger than that of Australia, the Netherlands, South Korea, Turkey and Poland. But it would be vastly overshadowed by its huge neighbor, the United States, which has the largest economy in the world, $14.3 trillion.

Environment

Environmental groups say Texas’ record of spewing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere makes it one of the world biggest polluters. Texas leads the nation with 10 percent of the total U.S. emissions and would rank seventh in the world if it were its own country, the Environmental Defense Fund said in a 2008 report.

Executions

Texas, which leads the nation in executions, would likely rank among the top 10 countries in carrying out capital punishment, joining a list that includes Iran and North Korea. The United States is also on the list, primarily because of executions in Texas. In 2008, Texas carried out 18 of the nation’s 37 executions. According to Amnesty International, the United States ranked fourth in worldwide executions in 2008 but was nowhere close to the top three: China (1,718), Iran (346) and Saudi Arabia (102). North Korea’s Stalinist regime carried out at least 15 known executions, but researchers say the number could be far greater.

How it would fare on its own

Texas, now considered one of the most prosperous states in the country, has a broad-based economy that could make it largely self-sufficient, secession advocates say. Its major products include energy, agriculture, high-tech manufacturing and tourism. Assuming friendly relations, the United States presumably would look to Texas for much of its energy needs, since the Lone Star State leads the nation in production of crude oil, natural gas and wind energy. As part of the Union, it has been the top-exporting state and would continue to ship out chemicals, computers, electronics, machinery, petroleum, coal and transportation equipment. At least one big industry — defense — could suffer if the Pentagon adhered to a rigid "buy American" policy and shunned Texas-made defense products.

Newsroom researcher Cathy Belcher contributed to this report.

Sources: CIA World Factbook, Texas Almanac, U.S. census, Amnesty International, United Nations

http://www.star-telegram.com/804/story/1623872-p2.html
 
Old October 2nd, 2009 #16
Steve B
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"We maintain an open-door policy," said Miller, who began forming the Texas Nationalist Movement early in the decade from the remnants of an earlier Texas independence movement. "If you’re about freedom — individual freedom — and liberty and Texas independence, we call you brother or sister."

'Predates Obama’

Miller says the group includes Hispanics, African-Americans, women, lifelong Democrats and union members. "We don’t argue race; we don’t argue Democrat or Republican," he said. The movement also "predates Obama," he said, pointing out that his organization started well before the president took office in January.
Fuck Texas. I can honestly say I have never met anyone from Texas that I liked. Blowhards and braggarts always yapping about how great Texas is.
 
Old October 2nd, 2009 #17
Alex Linder
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Fuck Texas. I can honestly say I have never met anyone from Texas that I liked. Blowhards and braggarts always yapping about how great Texas is.
Yeah, that's pretty much true. However, Texas does do and have some good things that other states don't. It kills violent criminals, even more often than Missouri does, altho it should kill even more. It does have a great economy. Parts of the state are very nice, others are awful.

I just like to see the spread of the realization that...we don't need DC for anything.
 
Old October 2nd, 2009 #18
ohgolly
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I just like to see the spread of the realization that...we don't need DC for anything.
Of course we don't need DC, but I think there's another reason WN ought to consider the secession movement. It's a White movement. It's the closest thing to White self-government these people can grab onto and still pretend to follow the PC line. Their adherence to that line will change if their movement gets big enough. Think about that.
 
Old October 3rd, 2009 #19
Steve B
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Yeah, that's pretty much true. However, Texas does do and have some good things that other states don't. It kills violent criminals, even more often than Missouri does, altho it should kill even more. It does have a great economy. Parts of the state are very nice, others are awful.

I just like to see the spread of the realization that...we don't need DC for anything.
"Justice" in Texas.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009...or-perry-texas
 
Old October 22nd, 2009 #20
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Could an independent Texas survive economically? The facts say 'Yes'

October 12, 11:01 AMTexas Nationalist ExaminerDave Mundy

The Texas economy: strong (Photo courtesy Texas State Comptroller's Office)

Many of those who scoff at the notion of Texas independence do so by trying to paint a portrait of a trailer-park redneck republic which slides rapidly into Third World status without the many intricate connections to its sister states fostered by the benevolent government in Washington, D.C.

"...its worth would crater precipitously, after NAFTA rejected it and the United States slapped it with an embargo that would make Cuba look like a free-trade zone," one blogger predicts. "Indeed, Texas would quick become the next North Korea, relying on foreign aid due to its insistence on relying on itself.

"In short: the state of Texas would rapidly become direly impoverished, would need to be heavily armed, and would be wracked with existential domestic and foreign policy threats. It would probably make our failed states list in short order. Probably better to pay the damn taxes."

But is that an accurate portrait -- and are the "damned taxes" the problem? The facts suggest otherwise.

For starters, the Texas economy isn't based on trailer-park economics.

As noted in Wikipedia, the Texas economy is the largest one that's still growing in the U.S., and in 2006 the state was home of six of the top 50 companies on the Fortune 500 list and 58 of the top 500 -- the most of any state. In 2008, the state had a Gross Domestic Product of $1.245 trillion, second-largest in the U.S. and 15th-largest in the world.

Texas currently conducts more than $150 billion a year in trade with other nations; it leads all other states in exports, and has for five consecutive years. In 2005, per-capita domestic production in Texas was $42,975 per person.

Them toothless trailer-park hoochie mommas sure do know how to work, don't they?

Texas has the second-largest workforce in the nation, some 11 million citizen workers, and an unemployment rate among the lowest in the U.S. The reason for that: the state government has made economic development a priority in recent years, and has helped create a favorable business climate for companies looking to relocate. Texas also eschews a state-level income tax on prooductivity and its real-estate prices compared to other states and regions remains largely undervalued.

Moreover, the state's economy is far from the two-dimensional stereotype commonly portrayed. Texas is a lot more than just cattle and oil.

Sure, Texas leads the nation in the production of beef, oil and natural gas. It also leads the nation in both the production of alternative energy and in the construction of new alternative energy productin facilities; an independent Texas would be completely energy-independent and among the world's leading exporters of oil, natural gas and energy products.

Texas also has a thriving lumber industry based in the eastern part of the state, while the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is a key center for the defense industry, a banking center and the information technology industry. Texas is the nation's No.2 manufacturer of computers, components and electronmic equipment.

The Houston/Beaumont area features the world's largest concentration of petrochemical refining and production facilities, and Houston is a major center of medical and biomedical research, aerospace research and shipping. The Port of Houston is the largest port in the nation and sixth-largest in the world.

Texas is also a leader in the production of cement, crushed stone, lime, salt and sand and gravel.

The state is also among the world's leaders in the production of rice and cotton, primarily along the Gulf Coast, and in the production of citrus products in the Rio Grande Valley. Texas features the most farms, both in terms of numbers and in acreage, in the nation.

In addition to cattle, Texas also leads nationally in the production of sheep and goats. The Texas Panhandle and South Plains has also become a major producer of cereal crops.

Texas agricuture is also a leader in the production of greenhouse and nursery products, corn, hay and wheat. The state ranks No.2 in the nation in the production of sorghum. Peanuts and sugar cane are other valuable crops, along with onions, potatoes, watermelons and grapefruit. Texas farmers lead the nation in the production of cabbage.

Texas has another brand of famrer as well: Texas' fishing industry thrives. The state is among the nation's leaders in its annual shrimp catch, and both commercial and sport fishing are major industries. In addition, there is a growing commercial catfish-farming industry.

Despite some setbacks in K-12 education over the last 15 years or so when Texas bcame infected with the failed "New Standards" education "reforms" of former Governor and President George W. Bush, by and large the state retains a solid reputation for its higher education system, from premier universities such as Rice, SMU, Baylor, Texas and Texas A&M to a broad array of junior colleges and trade schools. That has helped create a more adaptable work force which has in turn helped fuel the diversification of the state's economy since the oil bust of the 1970s.

Clearly, Texas features an economy which would enable an independent republic to thrive. The question is whether or not the United States would be vindictive enough to attempt to embargo Texas should it secede--and whether or not that embargo would work.

A peaceful secession process and thoughtful negotiation with the U.S. on a wide range of issues--economic, military, and social--should preclude any vindictiveness on the part of Washington. America would pick up a strong new trading partner and valuable new ally, and even an independnet Texas could not ignore its long-established ties to the remaining states.

Moreover, independence would also enable the new Republic to seek its own markets for its products and new partnerships with other nations, free of the often-contradictory constraints of U.S. foreign policy. Many Texans already reject NAFTA for its favoritism toward other countries, and not being part of NAFTA doesn't mean Texas couldn't still trade with its neighbors in the Western Hemisphere.

It's easy to attempt to belittle the Texas independence movement with stereotypes, but far harder to beat it with facts. And the fact is, a Republic of Texas would be eminently economically healthy.

http://www.examiner.com/x-24030-Texa...-facts-say-Yes
 
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