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You Can’t Stop the Hackery, You Can Only Hope to Contain It


Glenn Reynolds wants you to know that when it comes to secession, bothsidesdoit:

Since the election, we’ve seen more interest in secession. Hundreds of thousands Americans in all 50 states have petitioned to secede. Is the United States breaking up?

Nope. No more than in 2004, when disappointed Democrats were talking about secession…

Oddly, the cites are omitted. He does mention that “Jesusland” map, which while in all honesty pretty dumb was not actually a call for secession. I’m inclined to think that this was because the only Democrats talking about secession were in Glenn Reynolds’s head, although admittedly I do live in the kind of liberal cocoon that can’t see Mitt Romney’s inevitable victories in Pennsylvania and Minnesota.

(As an aside, Kindly Old Ron Paul, who liberals really should have taken much more seriously during the primaries, says that secession is a “deeply American principle.” Jeff Goldstein finds these ideas intriguing and would like to subscribe to his newsletter.)

Anyway, this is just garden-variety high broderism. What makes Reynolds special is this kind of thing, which he works into his argument that when parties he oppose win elections it’s bad if they can do things:

America has an unfortunate history with secession, which led to the bloodiest war in our history and divisions that persist to this day. But, in general, the causes of secession are pretty standard around the world: Too much power in the central government, too much resentment in the unhappy provinces.

Yes, clearly the American civil war was about the highly principled Confederate belief that the central government was too powerful. This is why South Carolina seceded as soon as Congress squinted hard and found the power to pass a new Fugitive Slave Act in Article IV. And who can forget Breckenridge and his followers leaving the Democratic convention after Douglas called for a federal slave code?

Somebody who can pack so many bad ideas into columns he has a chance to think about and edit probably shouldn’t go anywhere near twitter, and sure enough:

First of all, hardee har har — ol’ “More Rubble Less Trouble” still finds massive bombing campaigns hye-larious. And second, as BT says I must have missed the American campaigns against Sweden and Denmark. You have to be worried about far around the bend Reynolds will do if the defense cuts in the sequester go through.

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  • Jeff Goldstein finds these ideas intriguing and would like to subscribe to his newsletter.

    I don’t care how intriguing you find Ron Paul’s ideas; you don’t want to do that.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Oh, I think he’d find it quite congenial.

      • timb


        I was about to point out, his latest iteration is one which would start at Bell Curve racism and devolve into burning crosses pretty quickly.

        Dude is a negative. Whatever the people he hates believe; he believes the opposite, because he never, ever forgot they wouldn’t give him a gig

        • Malaclypse

          I would like to remind Jeff Goldstein, and JenBob as well, that liberals really, really don’t think people should ever, ever drink Drano.

          Also, motorcycle helmets. And Carbon Monoxide detectors.

          • rea

            I, for one, am totally opposed to drinking motor cycle helmets.

            • timb

              Nanny stater

          • DrDick

            I for one am horrified at the idea that someone would chug a fifth of Wild Turkey with a Draino chaser and then ride a motorcycle at 90 miles an hour through a residential area without a helmet.

            • Holden Pattern

              …through a residential area gated golf course community


              • DrDick

                LOL. Does improve it greatly.

            • Pestilence

              So you dont visit Arkansas, then?

              • DrDick

                Not any more than I can avoid. I grew up in NE Oklahoma (Bartlesville) and went to college in Tahlequah.

  • Murc

    I recall Democrats talking about moving to Canada. Maybe Glenn meant to make a snide joke about self-deporting and got his wires crossed?

    Also, I don’t recall a lot of instances of secession around the world. Maybe Glenn could point some out to us? I can think of plenty of instances in which a violent civil war or insurrection led to a country being partitioned or subjugated colonies gaining independence, but those can’t really be characterized as ‘secession.’

    Secession would be something like the rest of Canada and Quebec agreeing to legally separate. And that just doesn’t happen very often.

    • Craigo

      As far as peaceful separations go, the only non-Warsaw Pact example I can think of is Sweden and Norway.

      • rea

        The Czech Republic and Slovakia

        • Craigo

          Well, that’s the Warsaw Pact example I had in mind. But that is another one, and you could make the argument that the secession of the non-Russian Soviet republics was relatively non-violent – there was unrest in many of them, but it never dissolved into civil war. Even the coup attempt was mostly a Russian thing.

      • ploeg

        And in the case of Sweden and Norway, the union was only a personal union under a common monarch, which is somewhat simpler to dissolve.

      • McKingford

        Singapore & Malaysia.

      • Pseudonym

        Serbia and Montenegro

    • Mudge

      It was never secession after 2004, it was expulsion of certain states that was proposed. The anti-secession.

    • laslo

      Slovenia and Yugoslavia. Only six died in the separation. Sort of like a Newt Gingrich divorce.

    • Walt

      Egypt and Syria, though that was only a three year union.

  • rea

    He does mention that “Jesusland” map, which while in all honesty pretty dumb was not actually a call for secession

    You trace back the links, and he got the map from a blog called ‘Chicago boyz,’ which seems rather rightwing, and which in turn got it from that well-known lefty, Donald Luskin.

    • Scott Lemieux

      In fairness, I do think that got a little play in the left-wing blogosphere, but since it isn’t actually a call for secession it’s neither here nor there.

      • tt

        Are there any people with actual power or influence on the right, other than Paul, who have said anything positive about secession? It’s the least surprising thing in the world that the white house petition site has been taking over by internet people, and therefore reflects the concerns of internet people, most importantly pot but also gold and secession. But I’m not sure it says anything bigger about the conservative movement.

        • catclub

          Prick ‘Goodhair’ Erry,

          • tt

            “Gov. [Rick] Perry believes in the greatness of our Union and nothing should be done to change it,” his press secretary Catherine Frazier wrote in a statement. “But he also shares the frustrations many Americans have with our federal government.”

            So, no?

            • catclub

              And why was that statement by his press secretary made at all? He just woke up one morning and decided he had to let the world know how he felt about ‘our Union’?

              Something about a dog that didn’t bark.

              Ronald Reagan probably said nothing about States Rights in Philadelphia, Mississippi, but somehow a message got through.

              So, yes.

              • Malaclypse

                Ronald Reagan probably said nothing about States Rights in Philadelphia, Mississippi, but somehow a message got through.

                I believe in state’s rights; I believe in people doing as much as they can for themselves at the community level and at the private level. And I believe that we’ve distorted the balance of our government today by giving powers that were never intended in the constitution to that federal establishment. And if I do get the job I’m looking for, I’m going to devote myself to trying to reorder those priorities and to restore to the states and local communities those functions which properly belong there.

                Emphasis needlessly added.

              • tt

                It was in response to a specific question.

            • Walt

              What? He flirted with it last year, which is why he had to explicitly repudiate it now.

        • I think yes.

          Rep. Zack Wamp (R-Tenn.), in an interview with Hotline on Call, was the latest to raise the idea. “I hope that the American people will go to the ballot box in 2010 and 2012 so that states are not forced to consider separation from this government,” he said.

          Wamp, who is running in a three-way primary race to replace Tenn. Gov. Phil Bredesen (D), blamed the government for putting voters and state legislatures in a difficult spot and praised Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), who raised the topic of session in 2009 after an anti-tax tea party rally.

          So Rick was flirting with it it before he was against it:

          “My hope is that America and Washington in particular pays attention,” he said. “We’ve got a great union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we’re a pretty independent lot to boot.”

          • The only dem named is O’Donnell.

            • Note that this doesn’t say much. That Perry made some sympathy noises and some random congresswanker spotted off isn’t all that.

          • Stag Party Palin

            We’ve got a great union.

            Shame if anything should, like, happen to it.

  • Johnny Sack

    I remember being dejected as all hell when OH was called for Kerry. I don’t remember, however, a single Democrat/liberal/pinko I knew or knew of calling for secession. Nor do I remember any petitions. But Reynolds is clearly a Very Serious Person and Deep Thinker, so who am I to argue?

    • Johnny Sack

      Whoops when OH was called for Bush. Wishful thinking I guess.

      • Scott Lemieux

        Well, you were never the same after Carmine failed to make the insult to Ginny right.

        • Johnny Sack

          He violated my wife’s honor!

    • catclub

      The you have never been to Vermont. I think it was around 1987 when the Fourth Vermont Republic(?) was being pushed (yes, at the Bread and Puppet Resurrection Circus, Glover [go find it on the map] VT, but it was being pushed.)

      They also had a puppet show featuring General SomeotherBozo

      As far as I know, the Vermont Fourth Republic folks are as active as the Alaska separatists.

      • catclub


      • Johnny Sack

        Yeah but that doesn’t count. Those are isolated group of weirdos, in a single state and it wasn’t in the context of a single election.

  • Steve H

    To be (unjustifiably) fair to Reynolds, I remember grumbling about secession after the 2004 Kerry loss. But it was mostly in the sense of wanting a do-over on the Civil War, and feeling that if the Southern states wanted to secede again, I’d be happy to see them go.

    • howard

      steveh, if someone else hadn’t made this point, i was going to: any confederate state that wants to secede has my blessing and encouragement.

      • John

        That would rather suck for the 30% or so of the population in those states that is not white.

        • Walt

          We’ll do what the American government always does when we don’t like the government in another country — we’ll finance an armed insurrection.

  • tonycpsu

    The “deeply American principle” argument is my favorite recent example of how our conservatives isn’t learning. Why, I totally remembered that voluntary compact we entered into with the Brits that we then seceded from!

    • Craigo

      The inability to understand the difference between full Congressional representation of the Southern states and no representation in Parliament at all for the American colonies is absurd. Americans didn’t try to take their ball and go home because they lost – they weren’t allowed to play the game at all.

      • The game being getting free seed and property… Moochers.

      • timb

        Now, be historical….the South enjoyed greatly enhanced representation in the Congress. Including the bonus all small state get by having their two Senators, they also counted part of their slaves, which made their proportional representation in Congress and the Electoral College larger than it should have.

        Bad people look at a deal which gives them 65% of the pie and immediately start negotiating about what section of the 35% you need to give them in the name of fairness. That was the antebellum South

        • Holden Pattern

          And today’s movement conservatives. Do we have to trot out the Cooper Union speech yet again?

  • Derelict

    Professor Corncob gives me great hope that I, too, can attain a high-paying tenured position at a state university without having to demonstrate anything approximating knowledge or even reasoning ability.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      Does he get any points for ceaseless hackery? I mean it’s easy to be as ignorant and stupid as the Ol’ Perfesser. It’s hard getting to be so influential.

  • ploeg

    You have to be worried about far around the bend Reynolds will do if the defense cuts in the sequester go through.

    That would obviously be an impeachable offense.

  • Incontinentia Buttocks

    I remember two things from 2004: 1) people threatening to move to Canada; 2) people comparing the US in 2004 to the US in 1860 (i.e. that the divide between the two sides was both rigidly geographic and utterly irreconcilable).

    Both of these lines of reasoning were pretty damn stupid. And I said as much at the time. Neither of them, however, constituted calls for secession.

    I have also seen, then and now, the occasional liberal fantasies that we’d be better off today if the U.S. had just let the South secede in 1861. I think this is also stupid. But it, too, does not constitute a threat to secede today.

    • rea

      Yeah the threat is never, “we’ll seceed.” It’s always, “we’ll let you seceed.” (which I’ve never agreed with by the way–it’s all our country, and they have no right to take any of it away.)

  • Jesse Levine

    Does he actually teach courses? If so,which ones?

    • DrDick

      Constitutional Law, believe it or not.

      • tejanarusa

        I’m trying to think of a response to that, and am failing. “shudder” is, I guess, the only appropriate one.

        But I recall surprisingly fondly my rather conservative ConLaw professor…Roe was recent then, and he was clearly appalled at the Court’s reasoning. But his goal was to teach us to think for ourselves – but like lawyers – and he achieved it.

        I cannot imagine what benefit students of G Reynolds possibly can rationalize as worthwhile.

  • Observer

    1) There is no constitutional prohibition of secession. And as we all know, all powers not enumerated are reserved to the states and to the people.
    2) Without the ability to secede, what “checks and balances” do the states have against tyranny?

    And really, who in their right mind would join a club that they believed they could never leave?

    I thin Ron Paul is correct.

    • A. Lincoln

      I hold that in contemplation of universal law and of the Constitution the Union of these States is perpetual. Perpetuity is implied, if not expressed, in the fundamental law of all national governments. It is safe to assert that no government proper ever had a provision in its organic law for its own termination. Continue to execute all the express provisions of our National Constitution, and the Union will endure forever, it being impossible to destroy it except by some action not provided for in the instrument itself.
      Again: If the United States be not a government proper, but an association of States in the nature of contract merely, can it, as a contract, be peaceably unmade by less than all the parties who made it? One party to a contract may violate it—break it, so to speak—but does it not require all to lawfully rescind it?
      Descending from these general principles, we find the proposition that in legal contemplation the Union is perpetual confirmed by the history of the Union itself. The Union is much older than the Constitution. It was formed, in fact, by the Articles of Association in 1774. It was matured and continued by the Declaration of Independence in 1776. It was further matured, and the faith of all the then thirteen States expressly plighted and engaged that it should be perpetual, by the Articles of Confederation in 1778. And finally, in 1787, one of the declared objects for ordaining and establishing the Constitution was “to form a more perfect Union.”
      But if destruction of the Union by one or by a part only of the States be lawfully possible, the Union is less perfect than before the Constitution, having lost the vital element of perpetuity.
      It follows from these views that no State upon its own mere motion can lawfully get out of the Union; that resolves and ordinances to that effect are legally void, and that acts of violence within any State or States against the authority of the United States are insurrectionary or revolutionary, according to circumstances.

      • Observer

        Yeah, it was a great apology, but his assertions don’t mean he was right.

        The Southern States wanted to withdraw and form their own nation. If Lincoln had followed the constitution closer and allowed them to secede, it would have saved about 800,000 lives.

        And before anyone starts whining about how it was “necessary” to kill about 10% of the population off, slavery was on its way out worldwide…mostly because of new technology.

        Other nations removed slavery without the mass murder of its own citizens. The war was a poor, poor choice.

        • Malaclypse

          The war was a poor, poor choice.

          Agreed. South Carolina made a big fucking judgement error when they fired on Fort Sumter.

          Or are you so fucking stupid you don’t know how the war actually started?

          • Observer

            South Carolina made a big fucking judgement error when they fired on Fort Sumter.

            South Carolina had already declared their independence and yet, there were the Union soldiers….occupying South Carolina sovereign soil.

            Lincoln could have avoided the war entirely. It was, indeed, his choice to prosecute the war. Left alone, the CSA would not have continued to fight.

            • Stag Party Palin

              his assertions don’t mean he was right.

              South Carolina had already declared their independence and yet, there were the Union soldiers….occupying South Carolina sovereign soil.

              I’m over here, hiding behind the stove in case your head esplodes.

            • Malaclypse

              Just so we agree you fucking useless dimwitted traitors shot first, before getting your collective asses handed to you.

            • Walt

              So in your day-to-day life you advocate giving Guantanamo Bay back to Cuba? Intriguing.

          • Full of Woe

            Hey, now, clearly South Carolina had to open fire. God only knows how much danger Charleston was in from the one hundred and twenty-seven Union soldiers stationed at Fort Sumter.

            Sorry, one hundred and fourteen, unless you really want to count the thirteen musicians.

        • DrDick

          There is absolutely nothing in the Constitution which allows for secession, and a large body of evidence that the framers believed the union to be forever.

          • rea

            A point made by Lincoln is that before the Constitution came the Articles of Confederation, in which the colonies joining expressly agreed to a perpetual union (together with the mechanism by which the Constitution was later adopted).

            • Observer

              Gee, Marriage is also assumed to be forever until death. Perhaps you would also like to see divorce eliminated?

              Look, things change…and things changed. It wasn’t just one or two states that wanted to leave. It was a good chunk of the citizenry.

              We can argue about the effects, but the simple fact that so many wanted out tells me that not all citizens felt it was perpetual.

              • DrDick

                Yeah, what changed is you lunatic rightards did not get your way (indeed, had your asses handed to you, much like the South). Get a grip on it. You lost the election and will continue to loose elections because real America (not the simulacrum in your pointy little heads) hates you. Also, threatening secession has a name, it is treason.

        • Angry Geometer

          Dude, you’re getting your TIDOS talking points messed up. “Slavery was already on its way out” is about 10 years out of date. The new hotness is that “slaves were better off under slavery”.

          Get with the fucking times, wankstain.

    • Craigo

      “Checks and balances,” along with the power to secede, do not appear anywhere in the Constitution that conservatives love but don’t bother to read.

    • DrDick

      Yes, you would, which of course proves just how insane and idiotic this idea is. Please feel free, however, to move to the third world hellhole of your choice. I hear Somalia is lovely this time of year.

      • Thlayli

        Haiti is much closer. And hurricane season is just about over.

        • DrDick

          But they have some minor semblance of civilization and rule of law.

          • Angry Geometer

            Western Sahara would be my recommended Gulch of Galtiness — it hasn’t been under any sort of central government since 1975. It’s also basically completely barren of people, infrastructure and natural resources, so it really would be starting from scratch — no mooching off of anything existing!

            I have in good faith offered to cover one way travel expenses to Western Sahara to around a half dozen different libertarians over the years. Nobody has ever taken the bait.

            I’m willing to bet that there are more 2 year olds who have successfully gotten what they wanted by holding their breaths till they pass out than grown adults who have actually gone Galt. It is a think that only lazy cowards talk about doing.

            • rea

              Well, if you read the book, going Gault only worked because he’d invented a perpetual motion machine.

              • spencer

                Interesting how the Randroids seem not to remember that bit.

              • The fact that the US Patent Office refuses to consider perpetual motion machines submitted to them is more proof of the big nanny state poopiheadedness.

                • Hogan

                  In this country we obey the laws of thermodynamics!

            • DrDick

              Awesome! I like the way you think.

          • greylocks
    • Matt McKeon

      It’s not a club, its a country.

      And the tyranny of the federal government was A-OK with the secessionists as long as it protected and extended slavery.

      And the tyranny of the federal government in 1860 was electing a president would have prevented the extension of slavery into the western territories, not interfered with South Carolina, or other slave states in raping, whipping and working enslaved people like animals.

      And the tyranny of the federal government in 2012 is apparently because the majority of voters chose a Democrat as president.

    • Sly

      1) Texas v. White. That there is no legal avenue for secession isn’t just an unwritten agreement.

      2) The protection they have is that the Federal legislature is organized almost exclusively around the states, not just in terms of the Senate but the House of Representatives as well, so that state interests very often supersede national ambitions.

      And the great difficulty in enacting a national progressive agenda has always been that certain states feel perfectly fine with keeping their citizens in squalor and ignorance. A capsule explanation of American political history is that one section of the country has dragged another section of the country kicking and screaming into the civilized world for over two centuries, and the political elite in the section being dragged telling their chattel how awful those other Americans are for wanting to make their lives less shitty.

      • Matt

        And the great difficulty in enacting a national progressive agenda has always been that certain states have an immense boner for keeping their citizens in squalor and ignorance

        Fixed that for you. It’s not merely a lack of will to do something, it’s an active PREFERENCE for keeping people poor and stupid – a devil’s brew of equal parts longing for the days of a *really* captive labor force and belief that suffering is a path to holiness (but not for the people in charge).

    • Murc

      There is no constitutional prohibition of secession. And as we all know, all powers not enumerated are reserved to the states and to the people.

      Even assuming you were correct, by this logic individual people could choose to secede and take their property with them.

      Which is something I think you’d support, despite it clearly being batshit insane.

      Without the ability to secede, what “checks and balances” do the states have against tyranny?

      Violent revolution.

      I’m dead serious here, by the way. There is no legal justification for unilateral dissolution of the Union, but there could, potentially, be moral ones. There are circumstances in which it would be morally correct for violent revolution to occur. That’s unilateral check any state (or group of people) have against tyranny.

      Having said that, there’s a perfectly legal way for secession to happen. It’s called the amendment process. You can make literally anything legal if you enshrine it into the Constitution that way. If certain geographic locales are really serious about wanting out of the Union, they can introduce such an amendment. I can’t say that I’d be inclined to vote against it, depending on the specifics.

      • Holden Pattern

        Which is something I think you’d support, despite it clearly being batshit insane.

        I support it for Observer. Sure, secede. And we’ll cut off every service that runs to your house (Have fun exporting/importing water, food and propane, and I wonder what you’re going to do with your trash and human wasted, because we’re not taking it.), require you to get a work visa to leave your house for work (Would you qualify for any of the exceptions that allow a work visa? I’m betting not.), check you and your car in and out of your driveway (Remember, there is no 4th Amendment at the Border.), tax the income you generate in our country at the standard rate but not provide you with any services (Do you have the power to negotiate a bilateral tax treaty with Treasury? I think not.), and remember, you better have your papers with you at all times, amigo.

        Also, I hope you have someone who can watch your kids full time, because we’re not educating them any more. That’s now the job of Observerlandia.

        • Observer

          Texas was it’s own nation at one time.

          Of all the states, I think Texas would be the most successful.

          High Tech

          Texas is one of the few states that has its own energy grid. And let’s be clear, it’s a two way street of dependency. “Cutting off” Texas would not be feasible, especially if you like gasoline and other handy products.

          • Holden Pattern


            If Texas seceded, and we pulled out all of our military and all of the defense spending in Texas, Texas would be just another oilarchy like any other, we would continue to buy our oil on the global markets, and we would just police the border a few hundred miles north.

            Also if, Texas went away, it would be MUCH EASIER for the United States to switch to a renewable energy economy, which idiot Texas Republicans help block, which would actually reduce the value of the oil reserves in Texas.

            • Observer

              Gee that’s great.

              But if you want the oil to be refined….well, that’s another story. Texas refines about 41% of the nation’s gasoline (dumbass).

              All of this, however, is a distraction. The issue, and the reason for Scott’s post, is that there are a record number of Americans that are asking to secede. Not that they have any chance of it, but for every one of them, there are many, many behind them. It’s enough to get Scott to write this post.

              Why are so many citizens that unhappy with the current government?

              • Malaclypse

                Texas refines about 41% of the nation’s gasoline (dumbass).

                And keeping volatile compounds stored and unsold out of spite seems a brilliant plan for economic self-sufficiency.

                Truly, you are one smart dude. Hard to believe you grace us with your wisdom. You should be, like, selling your ideas.

                • Observer

                  These petitions are a form of protest. The left loves protest. It’s democracy, right?

                  Let’s face it, the petitions and the protest is represents is an embarrassment for this administration.

                  I’m guessing that’s why you’re so angry about them and cannot discuss them calmly and rationally.

                • Malaclypse

                  These petitions are a form of protest.

                  Lord knows that was the first thing in my mind when I signed Texas’ petition.

                • DrDick

                  I have some matches, so we could solve that problem for them. As a native Okie (and a socialist), I would love to burn the fucker down.

                • Walt

                  Do you really think it’s an embarrassment? True story: the rest of the country thinks it’s fucking hilarious. This is a super-dated reference, but Texans talking about seceding is like watching Redd Foxx faking a heart attack. “You hear that, Elizabeth? I’m coming home!”

                • Texas? Texas? Didn’t Eli buy the fucking thing in the S&L bailout?

              • Murc

                The issue, and the reason for Scott’s post, is that there are a record number of Americans that are asking to secede

                Citation needed.

                Also, record number in terms of absolute numbers means nothing. More people live in my greater metropolitan area than lived in some entire states of the old Confederacy. Give me percentages of the population and then we’ll talk.

                • Let’s face it, the petitions and the protest ist represents is an embarrassment for this administration.

                  Observer, I believe you are misunderstanding something here.

                  Which, given the content of your other posts, is no surprise.

          • Malaclypse

            Of all the states, I think Texas would be the most successful.

            Wonder why they keep ranking in the bottom 45 on pretty much everything now then?

            • Holden Pattern

              “Successful” for a certain value of “success” which has as its core value upper class whites being able to hire lots of domestic staff.

          • Late to the party, but let me point out a couple things.

            First, Texas will be a blue state in 10-20 years. Only way to prevent that would be to restrict voting rights to white Texans (a popular choice for Rethugs) or to wipe out all non-white Texans (also a popular choice for Rethugs). But in both cases, unlikely and almost certainly unsuccessful. Attempting it would be a pretty good way to get both the US and Mexico to invade, beat the shit out of the secessionists, and drag the state off one direction or the other.

            At any rate, you’d have a liberal, Hispanic-dominated nation in about two decades, and then President-for-Life Rick Perry ends his life as the center of attention in a hard humming chair.

            The second thing to remember: the secessionists in Texas are, even now, even with a Republican majority almost everywhere, a tiny minority. Most Texans, Republicans and Democrats, celebrate the Fourth of July with a hell of a lot more enthusiasm than they do Texas Independence Day (March 2, by the way).

            If Rick Perry declared the state secession, it would likely end five minutes later when the Texas Rangers (not the baseball team) arrested Perry and put him in jail. In any case, it wouldn’t be a matter of Texas seceding and becoming their own country — it would be a matter of a few hundred dumbfucks trying to wage a guerrilla war on everyone else in the state.

            Best case scenario for Texas secessionists? The 1997 standoff. Worst case? You get to become the new Branch Davidians.

            In any case, fuck off, Observer, you traitorous, America-hating sack of shit. I look forward to the various pieces of your body eventually being buried at sea.

            • tejanarusa

              Man, you covered it all, even the ’90’s Republic of Texas! The only small ommission might be that many of us remaining whites not to mention Hispanics would flee the state immediately, and they’d have to figure out an H1-B-like process to replace all those skilled workers.
              Texas would also have to break down and institute an income tax, since there’d be no more federal tax money coming in.
              No, even Texas, for all our “WE used to be an independent country!!” braggadocio, would do poorly on our own.

      • Even assuming you were correct, by this logic individual people could choose to secede and take their property with them.

        Sovereign Citizens, bit-chezz!!

        • DrDick

          Don’t get me started on those loons. We have a quantum assload of them up here in Montana (that I would be delighted to send down to Texas).

          • tejanarusa

            No, no, Dr. Dick! We can barely manage our own!

    • witless chum

      The states have the Bill of Rights and the Civil War amendments. They can also propose an amendment to the constitution laying out a peaceful procedure for secession.

      I fat Ron Paul is wrong.

      • catclub

        Wasn’t Lo Fat a villain on Hawaii Five O?

        • greylocks

          That’s Wo Fat. Lo Fat is a villain on the Food Network.

          • Just one more reason LGM has the best comment threads anywhere on the intertubes.

    • Major Kong

      It’s worth noting that there was no provision for Confederate states to ever secede from the Confederate States of America.

      Apparently secession was only one per customer.

    • James Madison

      Montpellier, Decr 23, 1832.

      Dr. Sir I have received yours of the 19th, inclosing some of the South Carolina papers. There are in one of them some interesting views of the doctrine of secession; one that had occurred to me, and which for the first time I have seen in print; namely that if one State can at will withdraw from the others, the others can at will withdraw from her, and turn her, nolentem, volentem, out of the union. Until of late, there is not a State that would have abhorred such a doctrine more than South Carolina, or more dreaded an application of it to herself. The same may be said of the doctrine of nullification, which she now preaches as the only faith by which the Union can be saved.

      I partake of the wonder that the men you name should view secession in the light mentioned. The essential difference between a free Government and Governments not free, is that the former is founded in compact, the parties to which are mutually and equally bound by it. Neither of them therefore can have a greater fight to break off from the bargain, than the other or others have to hold them to it. And certainly there is nothing in the Virginia resolutions of –98, adverse to this principle, which is that of common sense and common justice. The fallacy which draws a different conclusion from them lies in confounding a single party, with the parties to the Constitutional compact of the United States. The latter having made the compact may do what they will with it. The former as one only of the parties, owes fidelity to it, till released by consent, or absolved by an intolerable abuse of the power created. In the Virginia Resolutions and Report the plural number, States, is in every instance used where reference is made to the authority which presided over the Government. As I am now known to have drawn those documents, I may say as I do with a distinct recollection, that the distinction was intentional. It was in fact required by the course of reasoning employed on the occasion. The Kentucky resolutions being less guarded have been more easily perverted. The pretext for the liberty taken with those of Virginia is the word respective, prefixed to the “rights” &c to be secured within the States. Could the abuse of the expression have been foreseen or suspected, the form of it would doubtless have been varied. But what can be more consistent with common sense, than that all having the same rights &c, should unite in contending for the security of them to each.

      It is remarkable how closely the nullifiers who make the name of Mr. Jefferson the pedestal for their colossal heresy, shut their eyes and lips, whenever his authority is ever so clearly and emphatically against them. You have noticed what he says in his letters to Monroe & Carrington Pages 43 & 203, vol. 2,1 with respect to the powers of the old Congress to coerce delinquent States, and his reasons for preferring for the purpose a naval to a military force; and moreover that it was not necessary to find a right to coerce in the Federal Articles, that being inherent in the nature of a compact. It is high time that the claim to secede at will should be put down by the public opinion; and I shall be glad to see the task commenced by one who understands the subject.

      I know nothing of what is passing at Richmond, more than what is seen in the newspapers. You were right in your foresight of the effect of the passages in the late Proclamation. They have proved a leaven for much fermentation there, and created an alarm against the danger of consolidation, balancing that of disunion. I wish with you the Legislature may not seriously injure itself by assuming the high character of mediator. They will certainly do so if they forget that their real influence will be in the inverse ratio of a boastful interposition of it.

      If you can fix, and will name the day of your arrival at Orange Court House, we will have a horse there for you; and if you have more baggage than can be otherwise brought than on wheels, we will send such a vehicle for it. Such is the state of the roads produced by the wagons hurrying flour to market, that it may be impossible to send our carriage which would answer both purposes.

      In brief, sirs, JenBob is dumber than a box of rocks.

      • Unless, that is, one construes the re-election of one B. Hussein Obama to be an “intolerable abuse of the power created.”

        Plus, if JenBob is dumber than a box of rocks, then just how smart can Ron Paul be?

        • Malaclypse

          Plus, if JenBob is dumber than a box of rocks, then just how smart can Ron Paul be?

          I have it on good authority that the esteemed Mr. Madison believes Ron Paul to be every bit as smart as two boxes of rocks.

          • arguingwithsignposts

            This is an insult to boxes of rocks!

    • FMguru

      The Constitution provides gives the Federal government the power to suppress rebellion, and it has considerable language describing how new states can join the union but is entirely silent about providing any method for states to leave the union. It’s pretty clear the founders made no provision for states to seceed.

      Well, there is one provision – the Constitution could always be amended to provide a mechanism for states to depart.

      • Observer

        The simple fact that we are even discussing this, and so many are unhappy, demonstrates how the federal government is not serving the people.

        • Malaclypse

          The simple fact that we are even discussing this, and so many are unhappy, demonstrates how the federal government is not serving the people.

          What are you, some sort of fucking moocher or parasite, that you need to be served? Go fucking Galt, already.

        • DrDick

          No, government is serve most of the people, as evidenced by the fact that most of them voted for Democrats, even for congress. It just does not preserve the unearned privileges assholes like you have gotten used to.

        • Pseudonym

          Last time you losers seceded because you wanted to keep black people enslaved. This time you want to secede because you want to prevent people of color from exercising power through voting. Your unhappiness does not trump people’s rights. Get over it.

        • The fact that our side is stomping it’s feet really, REALLY hard after losing this time means you guys are wrong. Let’s compromise, and do whatever I want.

        • Holden Pattern

          Actually, it demonstrates that you and your fellow whiners are making a spectacle of yourselves. “Discussing” a child’s temper tantrum doesn’t mean that the child has a legitimate claim to be pissy. And that’s what you are — a whiny child.

    • sharculese

      2) Without the ability to secede, what “checks and balances” do the states have against tyranny?

      They could try not throwing a tantrum about ‘tyranny’ every time they don’t get their way?

    • JMP

      Whoa we have a real live Confederate traitor apologist here! Just one question: why do you hate America?

    • wengler

      Your fundamental and primary affiliation is to the United States of America, not to any individual state. To not understand this in 2012 makes you the fringe of the fringe making your own `sovereign citizen’ driver’s licenses.

  • DrDick

    In fairness, the only voices Reynolds ever listens to (and the sole source of all his “data”) are the ones in his head.

  • Bruce Baugh

    Liberal states’ rights: The feds are denying people access to an option they’d otherwise choose for no very compelling reason. Let’s go ahead and allow it, while watching for signs of actual harm.

    Conservative states’ rights: The feds are refusing to let us compel everyone to live the way we profess (whether or not we actually live that way at all). Let’s push and push until we get our way, and never look at consequences, because who cares about that? Others will do the cleaning up.

  • Rob in Buffalo

    If “both sides do it” can Prof. Reynolds please identify a sitting Democratic Governor (of a large state to boot) (1); a sitting Democratic Congressperson (2); and a retiring Congressman (or woman) who received over a million votes in the Democratic Presidential primary (3) who all have endorsed or spoke favorably of secession.

    (1): Rick Perry (and again).

    (2): Zach Wamp (R., Tenn.).

    (3): Ron Paul.

  • The whole “liberals wanting to secede” meme is a pile of strawman crap. I saw some progressives and Dems musing about moving to Canada after 2004, and some hoping that Red States would secede. However, I never saw secession petitions from states with a Democratic majority. Reynolds is suffering from Acute Historical Revisionism. The current secession petition splurge is being driven by libertarians, pissed-off GOP partisans, and miscellaneous residents of Wackadoodledonia.

    • tt

      There was no equivalent website in 2004.

  • Joe

    I don’t remember hundreds of thousands signing petitions but there was some vague “talk” in 2004.


    Without a sense of scale or anything, I guess you can see little difference between the two cases.

  • Caravelle

    Heh. I come from a city that was pretty well destroyed by the US during WWII, and while it is a dynamic, modern city I like a lot (brand new tram inaugurated this summer !), not one of its good points on infrastructure dates back to that 1950s rebuilding period. Quite the opposite actually.

    That Glenn Reynolds thinks European infrastructure is modern because a lot of it had to be rebuilt sixty years ago says it all really.

    • Murc

      Which isn’t even considering that a lot of our infrastructure is even older.

      Significant parts of the grid haven’t been upgraded since the 40s when we were undertaking rural electrification projects.

    • Caravelle

      That said, that article’s description of “Europe”‘s rail system is cute in itself. Europe doesn’t have a single rail system, and not all countries’ rail systems have all the features the article describes.

      Then again I had to laugh at this bit : “The tracks there are so smooth that one could easily carry an open cup of coffee along several cars or work on the computer.”
      From the sentence construction I was expecting some amazing hyperbole; the concept that “one could easily carry an open cup of coffee along several cars or work on the computer” might have been meant as exactly that does more to sell me on the horrors of Amtrak than anything he actually said on the horrors of Amtrak.

  • Manju

    Why are you libtards protesting? Just let ’em do it.

    • Uncle Kvetch

      Dude’s got a point.

      • Manju

        Thanks UK. We can start with Mrs. Sippi, Al, and Georgia. They should be easy enough to trick.

        -6 RWingers off the US Senate, practically a Liberal wetdream.

        • Malaclypse

          Nah, the easy pick is Texas, with its 34 electoral college votes.

          • Manju

            It’s 4 states that are gone: MS, AL, GA, and what’s the fourth one there? Let’s see: MS, AL, GA, aaaaaaand….NY! There you go.

            Wait, No.! We were talking about 4 states seceding. NY is just succeeding; there’s no doubt about that. The 4th state I would do away with is ahhhh, ahhhh…sorry. Oops.

            • The Dark Avenger

              Well, Manju, if Alabama couldn’t bring itself to take all references to segregation out of their Constitution, why would any sensible liberal object to them leaving the union in the first place?

          • Observer

            With all of the complaining about the political climate of the conservative states, it’s really pretty amazing that you *don’t* want them gone.

            So, why force states to remain in the union if 1) they choose not to and 2) It makes your life easier?

            The impediment that you constantly complain about would be gone and those that remain (by choice) could move toward the liberal utopia you envision.

            So why the fight? Is the South and West just that valuable to you?

            • Hogan

              When a state wants to secede, we’ll talk. Right now it’s a few thousand whiners in a country of 300 million. Pointing and laughing is not only appropriate, it’s impossible to resist.

              • Observer

                You’re not answering the question.

                This has already cycled once and the North would not let the South secede. And please don’t hand me the slavery issue as the reason because it wasn’t an issue until late in the war.

                “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery.”
                — A. Lincoln

                If you cannot answer the question raised above….then just say so.

                Again, the question is if the conservative states are so terrible and hinder your big plans over and over…why the fight to keep ’em if it would make your agenda easier? Are they just that valuable?

                • Hogan

                  Because there are people in those states who would fare even worse after secession, and I care about them. I know that’s something you’ve never experienced, but trust me, it’s an actual thing.

                • Malaclypse

                  And please don’t hand me the slavery issue as the reason because it wasn’t an issue until late in the war.

                  4. No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed.

                  Cracker, as they say, please.

                • MAJeff

                  And please don’t hand me the slavery issue as the reason because it wasn’t an issue until late in the war.

                  You’ve not read any of the declarations of secession, have you?

                • Observer

                  You’ve not read any of the declarations of secession, have you?

                  This has nothing to do with any of that.

                  The question again (for those of you apparently on drugs)is why the fight to keep states from seceding if they wanted to…now…in contemporary times.

                  Why would you want to fight it? From your perspective, it would be a Godsend. You bitch time and time again about these same states. Why not?

                  The only answer given so far was from Hogan and his answer boils down to “they can’t govern themselves and need our guiding hand to tell them how to live”.

                  Well, that’s really not good enough.

                  Anyone else?

                  Why complain so loudly about what a bunch of assholes they are and how they stand in your way time and time again….and then say you’d fight to keep them?

                • Hogan

                  “they can’t govern themselves and need our guiding hand to tell them how to live”.

                  They also suck really hard at reading comprehension.

                  But I’ll tell you what: if Texas wants to return or otherwise compensate the rest of us for the national parks and memorials, military bases, federal buildings, and US and interstate highways within their borders, we can probably work out a deal.

    • Matt

      Given the deficit records of the last several GOP presidents and Congresses that the states likely to secede elected, I believe that’s called “sticking the table with the check”.

  • Jon H

    “As an aside, Kindly Old Ron Paul, who liberals really should have taken much more seriously during the primaries, says that secession is a “deeply American principle.””

    Actually, I think it’s more a fundamentalist Protestant thing. Pastor Smith disagrees with Pastor Jones about the appropriate color of culottes for young women to wear; Pastor Smith and his faction leave to found a new church with a stronger moral foundation, and shun the more worldly old church.

  • Edward Furey

    The US (and RAF and Red Army) destroyed European infrastructure 70 years ago. Is the argument that the US infrastructure stopped with FDR? The European kids should be laughing.

    Our technical leadership is collapsing in many ways, some commercial. The U.S. airline fleet is among the oldest, if not the oldest, of all large commercial airlines. U.S. cellphone. etc. service is dated. Almost ten years ago, even in restaurants in St. Malo, to say nothing of Paris, you handed your credit card to a guy with a hand-held receiver. It never leaves your sight and the whole transaction takes about 30 seconds. In the U.S., you still hand the card to waiter and it disappears for 10 minutes. And we wonder credit card fraud.

    • Tucker

      Secession would solve that because if someone held your card too long you could just shoot them. Stand your glass or something like that.

    • tejanarusa

      Hey, we’re catching up! I’ve been in two local (branches of chain) stores lately where that was exactly how I paid. And with an option to get my receipt by email instead of printed (but that’s just a sneaky way to bombard me with their ads).

  • Woodrowfan

    After West Virginia was split off of Virgina during the War to Suppress the Rebellion there was an ongoing long debate over the question of whether West Virginia should assume responsibility of some of the debts accumulated by Virginia before 1860. Eventually the Supreme Court said West Virginia did owe Virginia a bit over 12 million (out of 48 million plus interest). So if Texas left maybe we could charge Texas for the debt racked up by Bushs I and II.

  • Joseph Nobles

    Of course all the stuff is newer and better. We blew all the old stuff up.

    Yes, remember when Eisenhower built the interstate highway system in 1936-38? Good times.

    • Actually, I think FDR wanted to get it going right about then, but something came up that diverted his attention.

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