the first to invoke secessionist pretensesrnon the eve of the unpopular War ofrn1812, and Abolitionists, always a sourrncrew, later proposed secession because byrntheir own admission they were just toornmorally pure to remain part of a Republicrnthat also harbored such knaves asrnslaveowners. As with the Southern secessionistsrnof the 1850’s and 1860, thesernearlier apostles of separation were losers,rnparties unable to persuade the rest ofrnthe country to follow the courses theyrndemanded and unwilling to travel thernroute the rest of the country wanted tornadopt. Probably no one has ever advocatedrnsecession, let alone been willing torndie for it, simply on its own merits; almostrnevery secessionist has chosen it because,rnat the time he did, there simplyrnwas nothing else for him to choose, shortrnof the unpalatable path of abiding byrnthe rules of the political game and shuttingrnup.rnAnd so it is today. The reason secessionrnis being bruited about in the darkrncorners of the land, from Alaska to Annapolisrnand from Staten Island to SanrnDiego, is that its partisans have simplyrnlost all serious hope of gaining victory forrntheir particular causes. Those mutteringrnabout secession for regional economicrnreasons know very well, at least as well asrnDeep South slaveowners in 1860 knew,rnthat their particular interests are not sufficientlyrnsignificant to other people inrnthe nation ever to gain the satisfactionrnthey want and need, so that leaving thernlarger national political unit and formingrna smaller unit that they can more easilyrndominate is the obvious course to take.rnThere is no reason to be too cynicalrnabout such naked attempts to fracturernthe nation for the purpose of servingrnparticular (and often private) economicrninterests. The fact is that such movementsrnare commonplace throughout history,rnand there is no right or wrong tornthem. Those interests strong enough tornsustain secession or independence getrnaway with it; the others go down in historyrnas scoundrels or as foolish romanticsrnwho bucked history’s tides.rnBut, precisely because some evolvingrnregional economic interests are beginningrnto find they can no longer gain satisfactionrnby remaining in the presentrnAmerican nation-state, there is also beginningrnto be some ideological flutterrnabout secession on the right. Here againrnsecession is a game for losers. Those onrnthe political right who have expressedrnsympathy for secession are among thernbest, the smartest, and the most principledrnconservatives and libertarians in therncountry, but their problem is that they,rntoo, have basically lost. Unable to gainrnsufficient political support for their beliefsrnin the existing nation-state, theyrnfind themselves doomed to a lingeringrnextinction if they remain within its politicalrnboundaries. The only path openrnto them now is secession, or at least sornthey imagine.rnMy own ‘iew is that secession—or regionalismrnor separatism or whatever wernwant to call it—is actually not a pathrnthat is open to us. It is quite true that werncould conceivably succeed in musteringrna movement somewhere in the UnitedrnStates to pull off an act of secession,rnthough it is not at all clear who “we” arernor what the seceding units might be. Assumingrn”we” eventually figure out whorn”we” are and what exactly is going to se-rnAMERICAN Ini.NiriY: EXPLORING iiij-: CULIURAI,rnBASISOFAFRI’I; Socii IA”rnAnnual Meeting, October 21-23rnCrystal City Marriott, Arlington, VirginiarnThis year the partisans of liberty and tradition will discuss the Old Republic, democraticrnglobalism, multiculturalism, and whether America is still a Christian nation. Speakersrninclude Thomas Fleming, E. Christian Kopff, Llewellyn Rockwell, Samuel Francis,rnMurray Rothbard, Allan Cadson, and Paul Gottfried, among others.rnThe Conference includes a reception on Friday evening as well as breakfast, lunch, and dinnerrnon Saturday. An eariy-bird registration fee of $225 is available to those who pay by September 30.rnRegistration after September 30 will cost $250. Checks should be made payable to the JohnrnRandolph Club and mailed to Burt Blumert; Center for Libertarian Studies; Crown Building;rn875 Mahler Road, Suite 150; Burlingame, CA 94010. A limited number of rooms are available atrna special rate of S85 a night, single or double occupancy. Room reservations can be made byrncalling (800)228-9290.rnE ^ ^rnlO/CHRONICLESrnrnrn