Concerning Scott P. Richert’s reservations about secession, as expressed in the October Rockford Files (“To Secede or Succeed?”): Maybe “many proponents of secession seem reluctant to consider” some of the alleged drawbacks of secession. There certainly are risks. The architects of unitary nationalism weren’t dummies. The grants economy, the safety net, Social Security, and the ever-present threat-to-our-national-security warmongering have effectively precluded any mass clamoring for secession.
The calculated risks of military action from the Beltway-bound miasma should be duly noted. Lincoln didn’t hesitate, and it’s part of the central state’s arsenal to bludgeon its recalcitrant wards into involuntary subservience to its will. The internal (and external) loosing of its terrible swift sword at the drop of a hat is indeed a pox. We’ve been co-opted by the disasters endemic to the idolatry of glorifying the coming of a false god which doesn’t care upon whom its phalanxes of pecksniffs and pettifogs trample. Nonetheless, it’s time to give the central government a “time out.” The nation is divisible, and that by (let’s pick a number out of the air) 50. The analogies of unfit commanders, pilots, captains, leaders, etc., and their removals for the safety of those aboard must command our attention.
When the evils endemic to unified nationalism are listed parallel to Richert’s concerns, then a clearer picture of the requisite action emerges unless a frank audit of our courage index nixes the whole thing anyway. What we’re doing now isn’t working. And really, what do we have to lose?
To me, on all these accounts, the iron is hot, and we should strike now. No one is secure with Social Security. And our federal troops are already stretched in the “Crap-istan” quagmires.
Prudent considerations should take note of the administration’s reaction to the attempts of some states to defend themselves by various Tenth Amendment ploys. Also, states should make sure they do not land-lock themselves and get boxed in by pro-union states and uncooperative Canadian/Mexican borders.
Richert’s “just relax and enjoy it” is one of the formulas I’ve heard advised for women in the process of being raped. Was this intentional? His centralization-is-inevitable game plan soporifics sound like something out of the pulpit and have some merit, but we’re doing these things already. Is he aware of a biblically irrefutable sermon on “The Christian Prayer Meeting and the Grants Economy?” How does one practice charity responsibly in a welfare society? Why do I get a better sermon at times from reading Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams (who also advocates secession) than I do from the pulpit? What does “give us this day our daily bread” mean with the advent of the safety net?
Secession together with the requisite faith and repentance would make life livable again. I was overjoyed when I received the October issue of Chronicles and saw the front cover (“Leaving the State”). Thank you.
Mr. Richert Replies:
I cannot quite decide whether Mr. Sheldon has badly misunderstood the point of my column or whether his passion for secession has led him to misrepresent what I wrote. In recalling the advice one-time Texas gubernatorial candidate Clayton Williams offered to rape victims, I specifically rejected taking the attitude of “just relax and enjoy it” toward centralization. Nor did I suggest that “centralization is inevitable”; in fact, I specifically recommended actions that the average person can take to oppose it.
But for Mr. Sheldon, any effort to oppose centralization that falls short of secession is apparently the same as giving in to the centralized regime.
What Mr. Sheldon does not do at any point in his lengthy letter is address the central question of my column, the question that “many proponents of secession seem reluctant to consider”: Is political secession possible today, given the level of economic and cultural centralization in the United States? I think the answer is almost certainly no, for reasons I discussed in my column. But that means that anyone who cares, as I do, about political decentralization must first begin the much harder work of economic and cultural decentralization.
To do otherwise is to doom any secessionist movement to failure. Even historians friendly to the South have noted that the dependence of Southern states on external trade in 1860 put those states at a disadvantage that they were never able to overcome during the Late Unpleasantness. And yet those states look like shining examples of self-sufficiency, especially in foodstuffs and other agricultural products, compared with any state in the United States today.
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