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A State of Liberty

Once again, rural California is bustling with chatter about another secession movement. Draconian mandates and hypocrisy continue unabated, animating talks of secession across all of northern California. Yet, just as there are plenty of proponents of secession, there are many doubters.   

The doubters claim that hopes of secession are a pipe dream, that they are unrealistic due to the administrative costs that the "poor country folk" couldn't possibly afford. Fortunately, they're wrong. 

While it may be unlikely, their outlook is purely self-fulfilling: while they claim that secession is unlikely, they're bound to make it so with their complacency. Secession is successful where a people join together to declare their sovereignty and to effect their separation; in many cases, this means positively asserting one's rights, not asking for permission.

Secession, not only an essential course for representative government and developing communities, produced several of America’s states: Franklin (later Tennessee) from North Carolina in 1784, Kentucky from Virginia in 1791, Maine from Massachusetts in 1820, and West Virginia from Virginia in 1863. Interestingly, Leftists are eager to justify statehood for the likes of Puerto Rico and Washington, D. C., but when it comes to the State of Jefferson and other such movements, people like to scoff at the idea. America’s Founding Fathers anticipated secession movements, and they deemed secession essential to representative government, especially in the course of westward expansion.

As far as the costs are concerned, this needn't be a concern at all. On the contrary, the costs of limited government pale in comparison to those attending too little freedom. 

Just as in most of American history, residents are more than capable of defraying the costs of limited government. Those who oppose secession and proper (representative) governance are, in most cases, proponents of big government. 

The essential costs of government, those of firefighting, law enforcement, highway maintenance, the judicial system, et cetera, are more than affordable through property taxes and sales taxes; incidentally, Californians already pay more than the rest of America in terms of total property taxes and sales taxes, and so those receipts would need only to be transferred to those local jurisdictions upon the separation. What’s more, most of that infrastructure is already in place, funded by our forbears and those who’ve long lived and worked in these communities. 

Regrettably, Americans seem to have forgotten that these taxes, along with tariffs, formed the entire basis of federal, state and local governance for virtually all of American history until the development of the welfare state and the military industrial complex. Oddly enough, most of what passes as government today isn’t remotely essential; rather, most of government today amounts to needless bureaucracy and boondoggles designed primarily to serve politicians, their cronies and those uninterested in serving themselves. 

Ironically, even despite the taxes we pay directly, those tax receipts tell only part of the tale. Remember, the cost of government is what it spends, not what it taxes. In this particular regard Americans are poorer today than they otherwise would be, precisely because of their governments’ imposition: at all levels of government, spending exceeds revenue. 

These deficits are managed through the public debt, which leverages the future earnings of younger workers and those who have yet to enter the labor force, including those who haven’t even been born. Meanwhile, the public debt has produced the illusion of viable largesse, but that largesse has come at the expense of the public liberty and a population of people who had no choice in the matter, and who’ll have little choice in defraying those costs: this is truly taxation without representation

While there is precious little representation for those of us who live in rural California, we are nevertheless made accountable to the political whims of politicians and constituents in distant cities, who seldom acknowledge our existence, let alone our preferences for a different kind of lifestyle; of course, when they’re not enjoying our produce, they condescend to consider us “poor bumpkins” of “flyover country”. 

Moreover, many of us who live in the country, who are more self-sufficient and truly rich in the form of resources, have little use for the services routinely exploited by those in the city; moreover, where the costly bureaucracy is of little use to us, it stands merely to animate public opinion to trample our rights, fleece our communities, and bring us all under their control. 

Meanwhile, many of us are still saddled with monthly property taxes approximating $1,000, the lion’s share of which is absorbed by the bureaucracy and seldom returned to the rural taxpayer in any meaningful way. 

The question of secession has little to do with the cost of governance, which Californians across the state are better prepared than ever to manage. The question of secession is rather one of desire and scale: how much government and representation do we want, and how many will reject the more familiar conventions for truly representative governance? 

A renowned nineteenth-century politician once proclaimed, "Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable – a most sacred right – a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world." 

That politician was Abraham Lincoln, speaking on the inviolable right of secession during America’s war with Mexico in 1848. Unfortunately, political ambitions often triumph over truth and wisdom, contradicting our better judgment. 

While most Americans would doubtless agree that a people are better off where they are aptly represented, there are still people who are eager to oppose such movements in favor of more familiar conventions. That is the risk we’ve run in erecting and maintaining such colossal and complicated institutions: the people have grown accustomed to them and yet progressively insensitive to their true costs. Unfortunately, they’ve also grown accustomed to the illusion of “free” stuff at the expense of their own freedom. 

Like many in the Western world, they’ve come to accept that it is the role of government to manage a virtually unlimited array of affairs, whereas private enterprise, if afforded the opportunity, might otherwise manage those affairs more proficiently. Because of that familiarity with those newfound conventions, many reject that possibility altogether. 

It’s in this way that a political bureaucracy, once erected, condemns the people to its institutions; like slaves, they’re progressively brought under its dominion and scolded for questioning it, let alone daring to suggest that their lives might improve with more freedom or better representation. They’re likewise scolded for daring to presume that they, mere plebeians, could even afford the institutions which keep them safe. 

In this way, we are forever deprived of our liberty for the fear that they might be right. They are not. They’ve merely swindled the public into distrusting their own instincts and accepting the status quo, as decided by the powers that be. 

The business of government is limited to the defense of life, liberty and property. Virtually any community can tailor its administration to fit its own respective needs, and no two jurisdictions ought necessarily to quote the same price or offer the same services, except for those which stand manifestly to protect the public’s unalienable rights. 

The United States' Declaration of Independence states, "That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." 

As for the constitutionality of secession, there is no doubt. The Constitution of the United States contains no provision which prohibits any state from renouncing its statehood, let alone any which prohibits any part of it from effecting its own separation. The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution affirms the "numerous and indefinite" powers of the states and the people:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Thus, in the absence of any prohibition against secession, that power is reserved "to the States respectively, or to the people." 

Indeed, even as the subject pertains to the admission of new states, there is no question as to the legality of secession. Per Article IV, Section 3, Clause 1 of the Constitution: 

"New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress." 

There is only the question of the ferocity with which the people, not of the entire state but of this particular region, will assert their will and submit their demands. 

In the case of those foregoing secessions in American history, whether of the states or of the colonies, the people didn’t stage their secessions politely; they rallied around the cause to declare and defend their sovereignty. Secession isn’t just a constitutional right in America; it’s a human right, and an essential one at that. 

Whether any people in America are to secede in or out of accordance with the Constitution, to remain with the Union or declare their independence, they have providence on their side. 

Over the course of a long train of abuses, the Constitution has been mutilated and misconstrued beyond recognition; the compact, for all intents and purposes, has long been nullified. After all, wherever any part of any contract is willfully betrayed or unfulfilled, that contract is null and void. There is little left of the Constitution, in letter or spirit, which has endured intact to the present. 

It is, therefore, at long last that Americans reclaim their rights and their republic; that they reject the unlawful encroachments upon the public liberty; and that they properly restore the Union per the Constitution or otherwise dissolve it in favor of independence. 

Indeed, this was the anticipated course of the American republic, whereby the Founding Fathers expected that a “friendly and commercial intercourse would be maintained” between the states. 

Article IV, Section 3, Clause 1 of the Constitution was determined appropriate only to assure large states and small states alike that neither would grow more numerous or too powerful by their expansion or multiplication. This provision was not intended to curtail or impede the public liberty, nor to preclude the reclamation of rights by the people where their government has become destructive of its ends. 

We must remember that governments are instituted among men to secure our rights, and that they derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. In America, the consent of the governed is broadly assumed, but on the basis of the compact known as the Constitution; that compact, insofar as it carries any merit whatever, remains valid only insofar as each of its provisions is honored. As soon as any part of that compact is betrayed, the entire compact is nullified; those “few and defined” powers are null and void, and the consent of the governed is immediately withdrawn. 

Most of what government does today is strictly unconstitutional, and it continues to usurp power only by our acquiescence, not by our consent. Therefore, as gauged by our forbears, government in America is no longer administered with the consent of the governed; it is now administered by threats of force and coercion. 

So whether secession means statehood within the Union or statehood by other means, the debate which centers on its constitutionality is immaterial. 

The Constitution was neither designed nor ratified to limit the rights of the people, which were decidedly “numerous and indefinite”; it was designed and ratified to limit the powers of government, which were decidedly “few and defined.” 

Where we stand to secede and reclaim the Constitution, I stand in support; where we stand to secede and reclaim our rights, I stand there as well. Wherever secession is feasible, for the sake of liberty, that is where I stand.

This is the fundamental mission of our secession movement, and of those who continue to heed the obligation to defend their principles and to abolish the form of government which has threatened their compact, their property and their rightful way of life. Whether it be the State of Jefferson or any other state, let it be a state of liberty!

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