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Secession Week 2010: Independence is Better Than Revolution

June 28, 2010

(this post is part of Secession Week 2010)

Welcome to Let A Thousand Nations Bloom’s second annual Secession Week! This is our way of celebrating Independence Day and pointing out that the revolution was based on the idea that it is often reasonable to seek the dissolution of a political community:
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
Last year’s event produced some very interesting material here and elsewhere, starting with an introduction to secession (which new readers may want to check out now!), and then exploring the topics of American secession movements, secession versus revolution, federalism (secession lite), non-territorial secession, and the American Revolution. We’re hoping this year will be even better!

We noted last year that secession was becoming a more polite topic of conversation in the US, with the Wall Street Journal publishing an article suggesting that the U.S. as it currently exists might not be viable, and the large number of secessionist movements around the country.  As Bill Miller points out in his guest post today, the idea of secession is being criticized more heavily by some while being recognized as a viable option by others as power becomes more centralized in DC.

Organizations such as Tenth Amendment Center want power taken from the federal government and given back to the states or the people. Nullification is one way of doing this, and many pieces of federal legislation are being challenged.

There are also many explicitly secessionist movements in the North America and around the world. This is not surprising, since the world contains many unrepresented nations and peoples.

The Middlebury institute is devoted to the study of secession, and their website contains some very good material. For regular updates on secession-related topics, two good sources are Secession News and DumpDC.

Our own Patri Friedman brings the economics-based perspective to secession with his post Secession as Startup: Providing Examples & Competition, which explores the ways in which secession positively influences other countries, not just the newly independent state.

We’ll be looking at secession from a range of perspectives during the week. Below is a list of topics we’re hoping to cover. We’ll be updating this post and our shorter index post throughout the week with links so stay tuned.

Today, we encourage bloggers to post about anything secession-related and anyone without a blog but with something interesting to say to email us your contribution.

Tuesday: The size of nations. Obviously, if there are going to be a thousand nations (and that is likely a conservative estimate), they’ll each have to be smaller. What general factors should we consider in thinking about the optimal size of nations? How is the size of nations determined in reality?

Wednesday: Culture and secession. At this blog we generally take an economic approach to understanding the benefits of regional autonomy. Most secession movements around the world, though, base their arguments on group identities. Cultural factors such as this are important and make the case for a world of more nations much stronger. How do the myriad of cultures and values erode centralizing tendencies in governance?

Thursday: Economic Secession, from Agorism to tax havens. Brad Taylor recently wrote here about how government services crowd out the private provision of similar services. But what are the ways market-based, voluntary institutions can pave the way for incremental secession from political institutions? For example, how can monetary secession protect wealth from predatory confiscation? We’ll explore.

Friday: Is it possible for a state to secede from U.S.? Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has written that, if any constitutional issue was resolved by the Civil War, it’s that there’s no right to secede. Is the U.S. forever to be, as the Pledge of Allegiance has it, “one nation, indivisible”?

Saturday: the American Revolution–Bryan Caplan says the U.S. didn’t gain all that much from revolution. We’ll don our counterfactual hats to discuss the possibilities prompted by Caplan’s skepticism. Was the US constitution a mistake? Would the Articles of Confederation have been a better constitution and were the Anti-Federalists on to something?  Would not revolting have been even better?

Sunday: We’ll circle wagons, round up the action, and launch of few final squibs and fireworks.

Link to us, tweet us, facebook us, pick sides like fanatics, and argue like philosophers–It’s all good!


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  1. Independence Day Round Up « Let A Thousand Nations Bloom
  2. Secession Week 2010: Independence Beats Revolution « Secession and Nullification — News & Information
  3. Secession Week « Brad Taylor’s Blog
  4. Secession As Startup: Providing Examples & Competition « Let A Thousand Nations Bloom
  5. Upcoming: Secession Week Blogging 2010! « Let A Thousand Nations Bloom

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