If, at first, you don’t secede…

In Editorial on November 20, 2012 at 10:11 am

It is traditional for virtually every (American) newspaper and magazine editor (or pamphleteer and blog writer) to offer up a soppy tribute to Thanksgiving. The Phyne Dyner has restrained himself from doing so. Because he gives formal thanks to his Creator up to four times per day (every day), he sees it as inane to gather around the carcass of an immense bird to do so because an official edict was issued declaring the last Thursday of November as “A National Day of Thanksgiving”.

This Thanksgiving, a growing number of Americans are telling Uncle Sam to go get stuffed.

Secession is all the rage in recent days. The concept of states leaving the ‘Union’ has probably not enjoyed as much discussion by Americans for over 150 years. Nearly every state now has its own petition pending in the White House, signed by citizens wanting to part company with the US of A.

What it isn’t…

Despite the crowings of the immaculately coiffed newscaster caste, the petitions to secede hold no legal weight beyond requiring the current occupant of the White House to respond formally (if the petition raises 25,000 signers in 30 days). It is my understanding that no state legislature has served the central state with a formal notice of their intended departure.

Therefore, it will take less time than it takes a Pentagon paper-pusher to spend a dollar for the White House to respond to the petitions with, “Yeah, right. Like that’s gonna happen.”

That is not to say that the current secession movement is unimportant. It is of moderate importance to those of us who yearn for individual rights and it is moderately encouraging to those of us looking for evidence of life in the American people.

The mainstream press and late night pundits have had a field day with the latest secessionist movement. They have almost universally portrayed the petitioners as trailer-trash ignoramuses, barely able to spell secede. All-knowing journalists dismiss the movement as a sub-population springing from the combination of sour grapes Romney-ites and slack-jawed anti-government bumpkins.

To some extent, the journalists are quite correct.

If secession was important to many of the signers of these petitions, the petitions would have originated before the re-enthronement of our Dear Leader, Barack Obama.

Better late than never.

What it is…

The petitions are visible evidence that people are talking about individual and states rights. More than anything, the petitions are a symptom betraying how sick the American nation has become. Far from a fever, the petitions are the hint of illness; that scratchy throat a few days before the full-blown symptoms of the flu emerge.

People are, at last, considering their options when it comes to casting off the central state. This time, the discussion is unclouded by the issue of slavery. This is not a small point.

Generations of Americans have been thoroughly indoctrinated to believe secessionism and slavery were joined by one manacle. This time, there are no kidnapped Africans who are part of the equation and the absence of slavery today defuses those who reflexively insist that all secessionists are motivated by a deep devotion to racism.

There is only the growing discussion about individual (and state) freedoms and the assertion that citizens can, at a time of their choosing, peacefully dissolve the ties that bind them to their government.

A collateral part of the discussion is about a growing interest in libertarianism. People who have been unaware of libertarianism or even outwardly hostile to it are giving it a looking over.

That worries the state and its sycophants.


The statists, those self-described People of Peace and Tolerance, immediately retrieved the only tool they know how to use…the hammer.

Responses to the secession petitions were met by demands by some that those responsible for them (or even those who signed them) be rounded up and forcibly deported and then strip the traitors of their citizenship. At the ‘gentler’ end of suggested state responses were suggestions to allow states to secede if they liked, but to confiscate any federal ‘wealth’ from those states and destroy any federally built infrastructure before the parting.

Notice the violent language in those responses? Violence is all they know. To the hammer, everything looks like a nail.

There has been a more cerebral response to the growing interest in secession and libertarianism.

In as many days, I’ve seen at least two televised tributes to central state planning and concomitant fear mongering about the dangers of libertarianism or a free market economy.

Ken Burns is arguably one of America’s most loved filmmakers. While I found his epic Civil War series somewhat balanced, his latest works are much more solicitous of the central state and pandering to the official, yet mythical, versions of American history.

Since Burns takes much of his feed from the public trough, I will credit him that he is bright enough not to shit where he eats.

Therefore, it was no surprise that his documentary, The Dust Bowl, beat two drums simultaneously. One: The Dust Bowl resulted from the unrestrained, free market. Two: Collectivism and the central state aborted the tragedy via the state socialism within the New Deal.

The second tribute to the central state came from film documentarian, Alex Gibney in his PBS Independent Lens offering, Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream.

Gibney took off like an Occupier on fire by (correctly) indicting virtually all of the billionaire residents of 740 Park Avenue as the corporatist puppeteers who really run America.

So far, so good.

Then, an astounding display of chutzpah: Gibney detailed how the ultra-wealthy manipulate the strings of government to favor their own empire building and fortune amassing. Then, he has the audacity to decry those manipulations as the inherent danger within free markets.

Since few of Gibney’s viewers have any idea about what a free market is, he simply renamed fascism “the free market”. Since fewer of his regular viewers have the remotest idea what ‘libertarianism’ is, he offered up the Koch brothers as examples of libertarians.

Who knew?

Gibney’s propaganda was immaculate and slick. Even Goebbels didn’t have the balls to put a tallis (prayer shawl) on Hitler and call him ‘Jewish’.

Gibney also leveled his sights on the high priestess of individualism, Ayn Rand. He did so by pulling sound bites from a 1959 interview Mike Wallace conducted with the author and founder of the school of thought known as ‘objectivism’. The narrator solemnly intoned, “Rand’s philosophy has a remarkable similarity to the ‘greed is good’ philosophy of Gordon Gecko in the movie Wall Street.

It was magical and I half expected the closing credits to play over footage of libertarians delightfully chowing down on a banquet of dead children.

All of this blowback is good news for libertarians of any stripe. It is proof that the state sees libertarianism as a viable threat to its existence.

With today’s secession movement completely absent of damning ties to racism, the state’s apologists needed some boogeyman with which to frighten away timid Americans who are curious about liberty and the free market concept. The state needed something to wave in front of these easily cowed people who were now taking notice of libertarianism to show them how dangerous freedom could be. Burns and Gibney supplied the fear by yelling “fire” in a flooding theater.

That’s a good thing.

You know that a concept has legs if someone takes the time to vilify it with lies.

Is there good news?

Yes, indeed.

The secession movement, while ultimately doomed, is tangible evidence that a lot of people are questioning the authority of the central state to keep citizens bound to it.

People are showing an interest in libertarianism and free markets. The state sees the threat those interests pose to the state and its minions have embarked upon repackaging and renaming fascism as the danger inherent within them.

So, yes, there is good news.

People are listening to the libertarian message. A few are responding to it. But better, a lot of people are talking about freedom from the state.

That’s something to be thankful for.


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