30 May 2010

Dividing the Nation: Going Galt vs. Government a la Carte

When most Americans think of secession, they imagine maps of a divided America such as the one above. Most of us learned in history class what happened the last time a group of states decided to secede from the Union. Very few people want a repeat of the War Between the States. Therefore, a far more popular form of secession -- personal secession -- is gaining more modern adherents. Personal secession is a more finely grained form of secession than regional, state, or county secession -- it is secession on the individual level.

Have you seriously thought about seceding from the monstrous beast that the US government (or any central government) has become? First you have to consider all the things that governments provide. Police, fire departments, water, sewer, medical care, national defense, schools, roads, licensing, environmental regulation, protection from fraud and abuse, and so on . . .
"Personal secession ....things like homeschooling, house churches, home gardening, home-based economics, just regaining privacy and a sense of community rather than worrying about what's going on in Washington, D.C... What's the latest thing from the Supreme Court? _CNN
The quote above comes from the leader of a group of christian secessionists. But it could as easily come from a group of libertarian or communist or hindu secessionists. Personal secessionists may "go Galt", or do most essential things for themselves. It is possible to do that, but a division of labour in society provides for more leisure, and more choices in products and services.

How can you non-violently secede from an idiocracy without having to do everything for yourself and your family? Call it "virtual secession" or non-territorial secession.
The problem with physical secession is that it is very difficult to achieve critical mass. There is probably not much overlap between the people you want to live with and the people who want to choose your particular form of government. The vast majority of us put up with government we dislike in order to live in proximity to people with whom we want to work and play.

With virtual secession, you could still live in San Francisco or Manhattan or Silver Spring while seceding from much of the government at the city, state, and Federal level. You and your next-door neighbor might belong to very different governmental units. _ArnoldKling
Patri Friedman runs a blog called A Thousand Nations, which looks at increasing personal freedom through new nation formation. This post from A Thousand Nations looks specifically at "virtual secession" or "non-territorial secession." And Cato Unbound devoted a special issue to the topic of "self-governance" or personal secession.

Libertarians and other informed malcontents have been thinking and writing about secession for well over a century. And with the coming of the uber-statist Obama Pelosi regime, the idea is likely to come to the surface more and more often. People who believe that they can work within the system to make it more rational, may get involved in the "You Cut" movement, where citizens work with legislators to cut the least useful and most destructive government programs. But for many persons, government has gone much too far off the deep end of totalitarianism for such "trimming about the edges" to work.
Today, our government interacts with us as subjects and children. It takes money from the productive and responsible and uses it to pay for the consequences of the people who are irresponsible and unproductive. As long as bad behavior is subsidized two things will be true. The irresponsible will not make responsible choices unless they are forced. The second is that the government will continue to assert its right to regulate all our behavior on the grounds that it is paying the bills, even though it is with our money. If we choose to interact with our government as children, expecting it to meet our every need, then it will fill the role of parent and will exercise legitimate control as a consequence of that occupation.

The fix to this is simple. Remove the government safety net. For one hundred and fifty years of our history we got by just fine without it. There was no FDA, no welfare checks, no illegal drugs, no government health insurance or Social Security. Somehow, without the government intervening, the American citizen built this country from a few colonies on the eastern seaboard to a world power, economically and militarily. Somehow, hard drinking settlers tamed the west. Without government regulation, we all had food to eat and water to drink and roofs over our heads, and that food and shelter was considerably better than that in the Old World. If you engaged in negative behavior you bore the consequences. If you lost your job you found something else or you depended on your family or neighbors and they determined your “recovery” or the worth of putting their time and money into your life based on your cooperation. If you resorted to crime to support bad habits, justice was swift and harsh. Morality, justice and community were essential in such an environment and that is exactly the way it should be. _SecessionUniversity
You will find a lot of reading material pertaining to such topics at the Mises Online Library, and at the Library of Liberty Online.

The basic idea is the formation of organisations that operate in parallel to the government, to provide essential goods and services which persons cannot reasonably provide for themselves. In such a system, bad choices will lead to unpleasant consequences. That means that persons who are particularly stupid or impulsive will not do well in such a system unless they are surrounded by a close-knit society of friends, relatives, co-religionists, etc. who are standing by to help them through the rough spots.

Systems of self-governance will tend to promote and unleash persons who are intelligent, disciplined, competent, and forward thinking. That is exactly the type of person the future will demand, to meet the type of challenges that wait for us.

In the US, society has been engaged in the dumbing down and handicapping of generations of its citizens -- at least since the 1950s. That process of induced helplessness and dependency received a turbo-boost from the election of the Obama-Pelosi regime. But the final destination of selectively breeding for incompetence in the face of hopeless economic and demographic challenge, is utter calamity.

Unless thoughtful persons are willing to try another approach, they are dooming future generations to a society of certain collapse from debt and demography -- the very problems that are doing in Europe, Japan, and Russia in real time.

This is not a flush of oil a mile deep, 100 miles offshore from a lazy big easy. This is a river of destruction flowing down on all of us from the source -- Washington DC. What are you going to do?

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Blogger okjohn said...

When something can't go on it won't. With that said things can go a lot longer then you ever thought and it is hard to time a future breakdown. Not enough people realize how badly they are being robbed and it is not only the normal people it is a lot of the more intellegent that are on the wrong path and promote bad thinking.

I ran across this from another post at zero hedge and thought it was a joke but I believe this is what is being taught to kids in college and if so we will keep going until the systems crashes of its own weight.


If you can read that and not cry you don't get whats happening out there.

Sunday, 30 May, 2010  
Blogger al fin said...

True. It is depressing, but such atrocious simplification of economics allows a lot of government and central bank officials to sleep at night. At least until the house of cards collapses.

Sunday, 30 May, 2010  
Blogger Hell_Is_Like_Newark said...


Myth #5: The government must tax or borrow to get money to spend.
Reality: Government spending is not constrained by revenue.

I stopped reading after that one.. its too painful. The entire blog post pushes some nonsense that the govt. creates wealth and prosperity by printing money. Its economic policy without a modicum of critical thinking.

Sunday, 30 May, 2010  
Blogger George said...

I'm not sure that I agree with that map.

After the collapse of the economy and the Federal government the civil war will split the U.S. into 5 parts.

The Northeast, the midwest extending down as far a Georgia, the western Pacific states and Texas.

Just these odd dreams I've been having.

Oh and Russia thru Cuba will invade and over take Florida.

My issue is I live 60 miles from nowhere and 6 feet from Hell in the Mojave desert but just 1 mile from the California border.

We can grow some food but water is life out here. Several years ago I discovered a natural spring about a mile from our compound ( we are on 2 fenced acres).

The important thing is to prep and when you prep think about everything you use and keep toilet paper in mind along with Beans, bullets and anything you can barter with.

When this goes down it will be a jungle out there and only the strong and prepared will survive.

Sunday, 30 May, 2010  
Blogger George said...

Ayn Rand was a visionary writer.

Sunday, 30 May, 2010  
Blogger gtg723y said...

okjohn: You are very correct most schools teach supply side economics, this is also the school of thought the current administration is trying to follow.

Some schools still teach demand driven economics, where saving is good, where demand drives cost and where wealth cannot be fabricated by a printing press. Another even scarier economic philosophy is 0 growth economics, where one person truly does have to get poorer for another to get richer, personally I'd much rather us get richer together.... But it is unfortunately the latest craze in Europe, which means it won't be long 'till it gets here.

Tuesday, 01 June, 2010  
Blogger al fin said...

gtg723y: I hadn't realised how popular zero growth economics had become until I did a search.

I suspect that the current administration is trying to convert the US economy to zero growth econ under the table, by default. Certainly the "energy starvation" policies of Obama Pelosi are consistent with no-growth aims.

Supply side economics as Reagan promoted it didn't have much to do with Obama Pelosi policies of 2010.

Tuesday, 01 June, 2010  

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