I am sorry about all the reruns lately. But regarding the vote in Scotland to not secede from U.K. rule, I wrote this article on secession in 2010. I know, some prefer “unalienable,” rather than “inalienable,” but really they mean the same thing. This article originally appeared on LewRockwell.com.
February 1, 2010
During the time of President Obama’s State of the Union address, it was noted that HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan was Obama’s “Designated Survivor.” This is a perfect example of how a government-monopolized defense system is actually a threat to the security of all Americans. If a catastrophe occurs in Washington, panic and vulnerability would spread across America, a result of an entire population compelled by force to be dependent on a centralized authority for their protection. Another catastrophe is the economic one that Americans have been suffering, due to the federal government’s monopoly in the production and distribution of money, thanks to President Abraham Lincoln and his War on Independence.
Within the inalienable rights to life and liberty, as recognized in the Declaration of Independence, is the right to independence. People have a right not to be compelled to be dependent on the federal government’s monopoly of territorial protection and jurisdiction. If people within a particular territory have a right of independence and a right of self-determination, then they have a right to secede from the federal “union.” This is reinforced by the Declaration of Independence, which states that “it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.” And Thomas Jefferson later noted, “…If any state in the Union will declare that it prefers separation….to a continuance in the union….I have no hesitation in saying, ‘let us separate’…”
While some say there is no such constitutional right to secede or nullify federal law, and others argue that the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the US Constitution protect such states’ and individuals’ rights, there is a higher law that takes precedence over Constitutional law, namely Natural Law, which governs our natural, inherent rights as human beings, as noted in the Declaration of Independence.
Further, given that the US Constitution is a “contract,” its terms are legally binding to all who reside within the US territories whether or not they voluntarily consented to participate in such a contract. 19th-century entrepreneur Lysander Spooner observed that the Constitution’s contractual obligations are to those who signed such a document, and applied to the people living at the time, and cannot possibly apply to people living in future generations. And, Spooner notes,
…. only a small portion even of the people then existing were consulted on the subject, or asked, or permitted to express either their consent or dissent in any formal manner. Those persons, if any, who did give their consent formally, are all dead now…. It is not only plainly impossible…. that they Could bind their posterity, but they did not even attempt to bind them…. the language neither expresses nor implies that they had any right or power, to bind their “posterity” to live under it. It does not say that their “posterity” will, shall, or must live under it. It only says, in effect, that their hopes and motives in adopting it were that it might prove useful to their posterity….
The mid-19th-century war waged by President Abraham Lincoln against the peacefully seceding Southern States was an important time. However, it is necessary to rectify the myths associated with that war, such as Lincoln’s purpose being to “end slavery.” In fact, an important motivation behind the Southern States’ peaceful secession was Lincoln’s tariffs against the South that protected Northern industries, and Lincoln’s main concerns were not freeing slaves, but his protectionist tariffs and, more importantly, to force the Southern States back into the “union.” Further, Lincoln expanded the government’s monopolies upon which all Americans were compelled to be dependent, such as replacing hard money with fiat paper money, something against which Thomas Jefferson and others had warned, and driving a stake into the heart of banking competition.
Much of America’s current economic slavery and depression are tied to Lincoln’s actions. To Lincoln, expanding the size and power of the federal government and further handcuffing the masses was worth the clinging US government’s campaign of violence and barbarism against civilians that contradicted internationally recognized mores. While the Founding Fathers were forced to use war to secede from tyrannical British rule, Lincoln used war for the opposite purpose.
Besides his oppressive use of taxation, Lincoln’s other economic achievement–and it’s also not a good one–initiated the monetary bondage of the citizens by the federal government, violating the people’s right of free exchange and trade, which includes the right to choose one’s means of exchange that isn’t monopolistically produced and distributed by the government. Not only should Americans secede from the federal government, but they should secede from invasive, dictatorial federal monetary policy. (US Rep. Ron Paul’s bill to repeal the legal tender laws and allow for competing currencies begins to correct this.)
Economist Murray Rothbard is quite blunt about the true nature of taxation and the government’s constitutionally assigned compulsory territorial monopoly:
Taxation is theft, purely and simply….and is therefore indistinguishable from theft, it follows that the State, which subsists on taxation, is a vast criminal organization far more formidable and successful than any “private” Mafia in history…. (the State) prohibits the free competition of defense and decision-making agencies within a given territorial area – prohibiting the voluntary purchase and sale of defense and judicial services… the State is an inherently illegitimate institution of organized aggression, of organized and regularized crime against the persons and properties of its subjects. Rather than necessary to society, it is a profoundly antisocial institution which lives parasitically off of the productive activities of private citizens…
Within our inalienable rights to life and liberty is the God-given right of self-defense. However, a centralized federal government which monopolizes territorial defense is a violation of the peoples’ right of self-defense. People have a right of self-defense and a right to not be held in bondage by the state for their protection or for any reason.
Besides the states seceding and providing their own defenses, another alternative is a privatized, free market in defense that would allow competition among defense agencies, especially in the context of totally repealed weapons laws. The quality and efficiency in defense services would go up and the price would come down, as in any endeavor in any free, civilized society. For example, after 9/11, the people of Manhattan or indeed the owners of the World Trade Center would exercise their right to contract private agencies and private warriors to investigate, retaliate against and eliminate Al Qaeda at its roots, including involving specialized risks in foreign territories. Assuming there would be no invasive, dictatorial US governmental restrictions interfering with such efforts, the private contractors would probably have done the job more quickly and efficiently than the government, which not only still hasn’t done the job, but has only made things worse. Had the government been a private agency, its contract would have been terminated years ago, and many of its authorities would now be in jail.
As economist Gustave de Molinari noted,
…(the consumers of competitive protection agencies) “would be careful not to allow themselves to be protected by men who would unscrupulously attack the persons and property of their rivals…. Just as war is the natural consequence of monopoly, peace is the natural consequence of liberty.”
The nation states of the Soviet Union learned their lesson, that central planning and government monopolies violate individual rights and cause dysfunction, economic stagnation and corruption. Either the US states ought to secede from the federal government’s control, or we ought to consider eliminating the federal government altogether and let the people have their freedom and independence. It is the people’s inalienable right to secede, just as it was the Founders’ inalienable right to secede from British rule.
Copyright © 2010 by LewRockwell.com