Tenth Amendment Showdown: La Boétie vs. Machiavelli

May 16, 2009

By John Bowman

One of the very few things that virtually everyone in America will agree on is a substantial degree of dissatisfaction with the state of political affairs. In particular, I think everyone understands that we, as a nation, somehow got on the wrong track, even without an understanding of why that is, or, worse, if one believes or repeats the perceived reasons from major political party mouthpieces. On the other hand, many of us earnestly believe the primary reason for this dissatisfaction is that government no longer adheres to the binding rules set forth in the Constitution. And, let’s face it, everyone, even illiterates, knows that’s true. At the same time, there is a set of well-intentioned people who have utter faith in the Constitution, yet have no idea why it is that federal government can so easily ignore it. God bless public education, because I was erroneously taught in grade school that an intricate set of “checks and balances” was established by our Founders so that the courts would protect our liberties from one or both the Congress or the President. In fact, the original and only conceivable “checks” on federal government are/were the States, which makes the Tenth Amendment ground zero for anyone who desires to fix modern problems of leviathan government. But as a result of a bloody and vicious military coup fought 150 years ago on American soil, the Tenth Amendment has been ever since comatose. There’s the answer, really, why the government can so easily ignore the Constitution. Without the Tenth Amendment, or rather the clear allocation of powers it reaffirms, the Constitution can guarantee nothing but it’s own eventual demise.

The very recent revival of the Tenth Amendment on both popular and political landscapes has underscored the ever-present demarcation between liberty and statism. It has also brought to light an interesting demarcation within the group of liberty-minded anti-statists. In my own State of Washington, HJM 4009 has been introduced and has had its first reading. It is very tame when compared to some other State sovereignty bills, essentially merely reminding the federal government that the Tenth Amendment exists and what can be read on its face. I cannot imagine an excuse politicians – notably ones who have sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution – could have to willfully, via active vote, reject this bill that merely reaffirms a particular portion of the Constitution. I could not imagine it, that is, until the Oklahoma fiasco. As most know, the House and Senate of the State of Oklahoma passed a resolution claiming sovereignty only to have it vetoed by governor Henry with scarcely any rational defense for said action other than not wasting precious legislative time (laugh all you want, that’s what he said) or belatedly the far more palatable argument that it might jeopardize federal funds that are dispersed to Oklahoma. After overriding the veto, by a two-thirds majority in the House (and a belief that the Senate will do the same), Republicans soothed constituents that this resolution would not jeopardize federal funds.

My question is this: Do the fools not realize that they are merely recovering a portion of their own property, and that these federal funds could not be given them without having first been taken from them? It really isn’t my question alone, but one penned, virtually verbatim, almost 500 years ago by a revolutionary philosopher in the realm of natural rights (and peaceful resistance) named, Étienne de la Boétie.

To illustrate how timely and relevant was la Boétie’s eloquence, consider the full passage from The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude:

“[Roman] Tyrants would distribute largess, a bushel of wheat, a gallon of wine, and a sesterce: and then everybody would shamelessly cry, “Long live the King!” The fools did not realize that they were merely recovering a portion of their own property, and that their ruler could not have given them what they were receiving without having first taken it from them. A man might one day be presented with a sesterce and gorge himself at the public feast, lauding Tiberius and Nero for handsome liberality, who on the morrow, would be forced to abandon his property to their avarice, his children to their lust, his very blood to the cruelty of these magnificent emperors, without offering any more resistance than a stone or a tree stump. The mob has always behaved in this way – eagerly open to bribes that cannot be honorably accepted, and dissolutely callous to degradation and insult that cannot be honorably endured.”

For myself, I first learned of la Boétie only recently, when I stumbled upon the following quote by him:

“The fundamental political question is why do people obey a government. The answer is that they tend to enslave themselves, to let themselves be governed by tyrants. Freedom from servitude comes not from violent action, but from the refusal to serve. Tyrants fall when the people withdraw their support.”

I was amazed at how advanced one’s philosophical framework must be in order to construct the above statement in the 1550’s, as it encompasses much of the beloved Lockean natural rights tenets. Sure enough, a quick search revealed an essay devoted entirely to la Boétie by none other than Murray Rothbard (full article here). Rothbard concludes that while many commentators of the past have illustrated great faith in central governments,

“It is hard to think of anyone having such unexamined faith in government today. In such an age as ours, thinkers like Étienne de La Boétie have become far more relevant, far more genuinely modern, than they have been for over a century.”

But I can think of a set of actors who will happily propound unexamined faith in government: the government itself, such as elected politicians or appointed bureaucrats. However, given that the present sovereignty movement is still in its infancy, there has not been much response from the leviathan as yet, other than that from Obama’s acceptance speech, uttered before the movement began in earnest, in which the president-elect claimed in classic non-speak of the politician where abstractions, not logic or truth, are all the supporting evidence one needs, and further without any apparent understanding that it was a brazen lie: that we have never been a collection of individuals or a collection of red States and blue States, rather, we are, and always will be the USA. Worse yet, he made these remarks in the context of a question of whether or not the dream of our Founders is still alive, no less. But then again, it really was not a declaration by Obama alone, but the same lies Dishonest Abe directed to a previous generation of Americans and to (posthumously) sovereign South Carolina’s patriot, John C. Calhoun.

It remains to be seen whether the present administration, like Lincoln in his day, will attempt to stamp out the ideas of our Founders by employing force against those who, despite other flaws (real or perceived), still hold these ideas dear. And it’s no great leap to realize that if such were to occur with Obama heading the executive, as with Lincoln, it would be quite consistent with the advice penned by Machiavelli, also about 500 years ago, only a few decades before la Boétie. According to Machiavelli, when subjecting a State that is accustomed to principles of freedom or liberty (even the mere belief of freedom by Lysander Spooner’s “dupes” if not its actual presence), the Prince essentially must destroy that State (or alternatively live among them).

The ultimate reasons behind America’s War between the States can be condensed to a single issue, which is the very one that is resurfacing today: The Tenth Amendment. So, while post-Lincoln era statists might previously have thought they had settled this issue by using the first plank of advice Machiavelli offered – destruction by attack – they have not, it would seem. One can fill the Grand Canyon and then some with verbal acrobats, tortured logic, propaganda, and deception of those who make claims similar to Obama’s acceptance speech, but every bit of it is nonsense. The Tenth Amendment exists, and it actually means what it says. Of course States are sovereign. Of course States can ignore edicts not among the few and enumerated powers of the subservient (not master) federal government; or even, if the People of a State so choose, leave the voluntary union when the benefits of union are found to be outweighed by onerous detriments. That’s what all the States and ‘The People’ thought they were getting when they ratified the Constitution. And any with doubts, need only look to the very first sentence of Jefferson’s Kentucky Resolve, or to Madison’s counterpart Virginia Resolve, which address these very issues when related questions arose for the first time in our nation’s history.

La Boétie clearly believed violence was not necessary to overthrow the tyranny of government. Rather, the people need only, as Rothbard summarizes, stop supplying the government with the instruments of their own oppression.

Wrote la Boétie,

“Poor, wretched, and stupid peoples, nations determined on your own misfortune and blind to your own good! You let yourselves be deprived before your own eyes of the best part of your revenues; your fields are plundered, your homes robbed, your family heirlooms taken away. You live in such a way that you cannot claim a single thing as your own; and it would seem that you consider yourselves lucky to be loaned your property, your families, and your very lives. All this havoc, this misfortune, this ruin, descends upon you not from alien foes, but from the one enemy whom you yourselves render as powerful as he is, for whom you go bravely to war, for whose greatness you do not refuse to offer your own bodies unto death. He who thus domineers over you has only two eyes, only two hands, only one body, no more than is possessed by the least man among the infinite numbers dwelling in your cities; he has indeed nothing more than the power that you confer upon him to destroy you.

“Where has he acquired enough eyes to spy upon you, if you do not provide them yourselves? How can he have so many arms to beat you with, if he does not borrow them from you? The feet that trample down your cities, where does he get them if they are not your own? How does he have any power over you except through you? How would he dare assail you if he had no cooperation from you? What could he do to you if you yourselves did not connive with the thief who plunders you, if you were not accomplices of the murderer who kills you, if you were not traitors to yourselves? You sow your crops in order that he may ravage them, you install and furnish your homes to give him goods to pillage; you rear your daughters that he may gratify his lust; you bring up your children in order that he may confer upon them the greatest privilege he knows – to be led into his battles, to be delivered to butchery, to be made the servants of his greed and the instruments of his vengeance; you yield your bodies unto hard labor in order that he may indulge in his delights and wallow in his filthy pleasures; you weaken yourselves in order to make him the stronger and the mightier to hold you in check. From all these indignities, such as the very beasts of the field would not endure, you can deliver yourselves if you try, not by taking action, but merely by willing to be free.

“Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break into pieces.”

So la Boétie describes what would happen if we simply stop supplying the instruments of our own oppression to the oppressive government. Namely, if we ended the Federal Reserve, ended the IRS, and for good measure repealed the Sixteenth Amendment. Then the great Colossus would tumble and shatter. All already assume none of those things are achievable at the federal level. And therein lies the essence of the demarcation between the otherwise unified anti-statists: some feel it can be achieved peaceably, while others are resigned to or at least expect violence. After all, said, JFK: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

But imagine if a single State asserted its Constitutional rights and followed its own charters and mandates to protect its own citizens who empower it from theft and fraud. Imagine if that single State refused to collect oppressive taxes from its own people to ship off to DC, which DC in turn dishonorably doles out as largess to the most supplicant. Imagine if that single State called on its own militia or a temporary posse, comprised of volunteers, to expel any federal tax collector from its borders. Every other State in the union would be forced to follow suit, if not by the power of The People directly, then by rapid and unanimous exodus of individuals and businesses eager to relocate to the nearest “free” State. That is a peaceful solution worthy of la Boétie, and why I strongly support any quest for State sovereignty or Tenth Amendment affirmations as well as ideas like freestateproject.org. The fear then is, will it be met by a Machiavellian response, like was the case in 1860? It won’t if we have an educated, peaceful society, which is a goal all Americans, I think, can agree.

May 16, 2009

John Bowman [send him mail] lives in Washington State.

Copyright © 2009 by LewRockwell.com.

Personal Sovereignty?

May 16, 2009

By Larry L. Beane II

A lot of folks may not be aware of it, but there are more nations in North America than the Big Three (and I don’t mean the beggars of the soon-to-be nationalized American junk producers in Detroit).

For example, there are the various Indian nations. If you drive between New York and Québec, you may well enter the Mohawk nation, a place that is technically neither the U.S. nor Canada. Although it seems that this has now been changed, it was the case in the 1980s that gasoline and tobacco products were much cheaper there than in the U.S. and Canada, because there were no American or Canadian federal taxes levied in that nation. The Mohawk Nation is also free (more or less) from federal and state gambling restrictions.

There are also two small islands off the coast of Newfoundland: St. Pierre and Miquelon – which form an overseas territory of France. These Islands are in no way American or Canadian. In fact, they send representatives to the French legislature and are not part of the various North American treaty and trade organizations. Politically speaking, these islands are part of Europe, and yet, North Americans can get there by ferry.

And then there are other “micronations,” such as the Republic of Molossia, which is completely surrounded by the State of Nevada. Molossia is a tongue-in-cheek self-described “third-world country” that claims sovereignty under international law. Since 1977, Molossia has had its own currency, stamps, system of weights and measures, and flag. The good-humored and photogenic president will even stamp the passports of tourists. Molossian currency (the valora) is pegged to Pillsbury cookie dough (which, of course, gives it more commodity backing than the free-floating and free-falling U.S. dollar).

However, regarding this claim to sovereignty, there is no hysteria over “extremism,” no fears of an “armed compound,” or charges of treason levied against the president of the Republic of Molossia. Nor is this a scheme to avoid paying U.S. taxes (though in fact, President Kevin Baugh (depicted above) explains that he actually doesn’t pay U.S. taxes, but rather sends voluntary “foreign aid” of the equivalent amount to the U.S. out of pity for the state of our roads – and he has a very good point there!).

It goes without saying that Molossia, which started off as a boyhood lark, is a joke. And yet, at the same time, it isn’t.

In a real way, our homes are true micronations. We used to hear the expression: “A man’s home is his castle” more often than we do today, but even in the current paradigm, there is a sense of sovereignty (however weakened in these days of state-worship) that every person exercises in his own home. And yes, I know the state can send in thugs and goons for pretty much any reason to harass us, and of course, all of the products we use in our homes are heavily regulated, taxed, and monitored by government at various levels – but there is still an undeniable vestige of freedom and sovereignty in our homes.

As a kid, I remember shooting “plinkers” out of 22-rifles and handguns with my dad in the basement of our suburban home. My father was teaching me to shoot and to do so safely. It was fun, and I’m quite sure it was also technically illegal (discharging a firearm in city limits), but we were in our basement, none of our neighbors could hear, and we weren’t bothering anyone. In that sense, my dad’s home was his castle. And as long as he minded his own business and didn’t hurt anyone, what went on inside his castle was his business. He made and enforced the laws in his house – not the city, county, state, or federal government.

For people who see their homes as their castles, their rules often supersede all other laws. In fact, this understanding of “home rule” often takes the form of nullification at the most local level of all.

By way of example, the United States federal government has not only sanctioned and legalized infanticide, but by virtue of an over-extended judiciary and a milquetoast legislative branch that refuses to do its constitutional duty to rein in the judiaciary, it also compels the states to legalize abortion on demand in the form of for-profit “clinics” in every state. Although my house may be “in” a state of the American union, it “isn’t” a state in the American union. And in my house, my rules apply. Under my roof, the law is “no abortions.” Under no circumstances are abortions legal in my home, no exceptions. And it makes no difference what the Supreme Court or the U.N. have to say about it. This is an expression of personal sovereignty. In this sense, my home is my castle.

If I wanted to, I could outlaw guns in my house (which essentially means that on my property, the second amendment does not apply to those under my authority). Of course, such personal disarmament would be stupid – but if people want to be stupid, that’s a matter of personal sovereignty as well.

Within the walls of my house, I can fly any flag, say anything I want, associate with anyone I like, regulate speech, and even hold political views that Janet Napolitano thinks are “radical.” I can mandate an official religion, make rules regarding what is to be read in my home, and I can even investigate and punish offenses apart from the American system of jurisprudence. Parents do it all the time. At least they used to.

And, as a bonus, we don’t have to suppress pictures of prisoners being abused for the sake of our international reputation, since in my house, waterboarding and other forms of torture are strictly prohibited. I hope there are some really smart people in the American government who might be able to follow that logic and learn from it.

If I choose, I can mandate that U.S. paper money is no good under the roof of my house (legal tender laws notwithstanding), that only gold and silver (and bamboo chopsticks, if I so decide) are acceptable for monetary transactions. And, I can even declare that my Republican Congressman who gave President Obama an “A” grade no longer represents my household, declare him to be “fired” and replaced by a certain Congressman from Texas who more accurately represents my household’s views with his Congressional votes – all by nothing more than my decree.

So, if you think about it, everyone who exercises personal liberty already lives in a kind of micronation. And the founders of the American government certainly respected the ancient common law right of a man to rule and govern his own property as he saw fit. Republics are based on the premise that a man’s home is his castle. Tyranny rests on the opposite premise.

It is only when two or more different property owners have a dispute that there is any reason at all to involve government – and even then, if the neighbors simply address the issue themselves, they can circumvent government altogether – something Jesus advocates that we do, by the way (Luke 12:57-59). This is not to say that government can’t (or shouldn’t) ever intrude into the private home, such as if a person is being harmed or someone’s inalienable rights are being denied. But apart from that, there is no level of government that has a whole lot of say about what goes on under my roof.

Of course, this is not to say that they don’t want to. They are always plotting and sceming, to be sure. Nor does it mean that Big Government isn’t stifling, and even in some cases dangerous and deadly. But our homes can be refuges of liberty over and against the encroachment of the state.

We Americans need to reconnect with this sense of self-ownership and self-government. I think if we all treated our homes and property as micronations, we would have a much greater sense of responsibility and autonomy, not to mention a greater vigilance for protecting our liberty and freedom from government intrusion at all levels. We might begin to see the state as our servant once again, and stop treating it as a nightmarish nanny to be obeyed. If our homes are not to be run by the state, then it follows that our states ought not be bullied by the federal government.

Although it isn’t directly related to the concept of “home and castle” or micronations, I can’t help but reflect on an enlightening weekend I had many years back dog sledding in a tiny village in Québec. The nearest police were 200 miles away. Many of the people there didn’t bother to put license plates on their cars and trucks, and unlicensed snowmobiles were seen everywhere. The village had some 200 residents, and everyone knew everyone else – which is the real deterrent to crime. Even pot smoking was completely tolerated, and was de facto legal in this village. Not that I’m advocating getting stoned, but it has become painfully obvious, even among some leading conservatives, that often the “cure” (prohibition, a.k.a. the “war on drugs”) is more damaging than the “disease” (recreational drug use). Also, the village was evenly split between Anglophones and Francophones, and the notorious Québec “language police” were nowhere to be found. Somehow, the people managed to run their businesses, educate their children, and negotiate their social coexistence without draconian language laws and enforcers. In a free society, people just work these things out for themselves based on common sense without brutish laws, burdensome bureaucracies, and prisons.

I don’t know if this village in Québec still has this kind of delightful, relaxed anarchy or not, but I sure hope so.

Of course, we Americans – especially those of a conservative bent – more often than not take the opposite tack.

We have the highest percentage of our population in prison of any developed country. We put people in jail for driving without license plates or for smoking marijuana. People routinely get “tazed” for non-compliance with officers who in no way feel constrained by the Constitution. We even have people serving years and years of imprisonment for non-violent “crimes” involving the IRS. And yet, I suspect that just about any “law and order” American city has more violent crime per capita in a single day than the above-mentioned small-government Québecois village has in a decade (if not a century). And yes, I realize that there is a world of difference between an urban center and a rural environment – but nevertheless, I’d like to see Americans revert back to the philosophy that “a man’s home is his castle.” From this understanding, it follows that government needs to be limited to enforcing contracts and providing an open and fair criminal justice system that conforms to the Constitution, only stepping in when someone’s rights are violated – and even then, only within its narrow jurisdiction. Other than that, the best thing it can do is leave us the heck alone.

The people and legislature of Montana have courageously made the same point by passing a law nullifying federal firearms laws for guns and ammunition that don’t leave the state. They are telling our nosy and imperious Uncle Sam that he has no business getting involved in Montana’s internal business. Of course, that’s what federalism and the Tenth Amendment are all about.

And if the legislature of Montana understands the principle of limited delegated authority in matters pertaining to the federal government, one could at least hope those same legislators would respect the rights of individuals to be free from Montana’s laws within their own homes.

We Americans generally see sovereignty as a top-down affair, in which the White House dictates to the State Houses, which in turn command our houses. However, upon reflection, I think it makes more sense to view sovereignty, like charity, as something that best begins at home. In any case, I know my wife can run our household’s “national” treasury better than Timothy Geithner can run his, and I can manage the affairs of my “castle” more suitably than any elected or appointed bureaucrat at any level of government, and can do so without handlers, a private jet, and a teleprompter.

More “nations” means more freedom. Maybe we can get people rethinking sovereignty issues by returning to thinking of their homes as their castles. It’s worth a shot, anyway. After all, as the national motto of Molossia says: “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

May 16, 2009

Rev. Larry Beane [send him mail] serves as pastor and teaches junior high Latin and Religion classes at Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church and School in Gretna, LA. Visit his blog.

Copyright © 2009 by LewRockwell.com.

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A Parting of the Ways: Moving Forward to Freedom

May 16, 2009

By William Buppert

“I cannot teach you violence, as I do not myself believe in it. I can only teach you not to bow your heads before any one even at the cost of your life.”

~ Mahatma Gandhi

I often get mail from readers inquiring on what to do to advance the cause of secession in their respective locales. So I’d like to discuss a few ideas on how it has worked in the past and how it may work in the future. I would first dispose of the canard that it is traitorous or unpatriotic to consider this. Do you suppose our rulers in DC abide by the rule of law, see the Constitution (I prefer the DI) as a bedrock document and seek to respect the real diversity in America (not the silly race, class & gender motif)? That diversity is the vast gulf in tolerance for levels of government as opposed to governance. Government is the command and control apparatus to manipulate people through coercion and violence. The distinction is that governance can occur in a minarchist or stateless realm because it runs the gamut from forms of external control to the personal controls of one’s own nature and relationship in society. Positive self-governance is the ability not only to do right by yourself but use your self-interest to serve others e.g., a business or voluntary work in a community and do them no harm. You have to ask whether your own philosophical ideas emanate from law or party; from conviction or the desire to get ahead at other people’s expense. You have to pry out the deeper recesses of who you are to divine what your motivations are in your community. If you conclude that in order for you to get ahead in life, you must use the vicious power of government to achieve this, secession may not fit you. The new regime in town will see that your needs are answered…for awhile. Until they run out of money or create a state so suffocating that 1984 looks like a resort lifestyle.

The first task is to educate yourself on the ideas that would inspire such radical measures as secession. From whence does your conviction come? In a previous essay, I recommended a number of books on the subject. I would also add Thomas Naylor’s thin tome, Secession, as a great primer on the whole notion. There are a rather small number of books that deal directly with the secession issue. Yet, if we look at the vast number of books published since 1750 which deal with the precursors and history of both the First (1775–83) and Second (1860–65) American Revolutions the books start to increase tremendously which tangentially or directly deal with the notion.

Simply the words Declaration of Independence seem rather descriptive now, don’t they? To wit:

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levey war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

We were not asking for a Declaration of Dependence wishing to increase the size and weight of the British yoke, we were putting a petition to the world that we would no longer be shackled like draft animals to a system of government that had become overbearing, tyrannical and cruel in the violence it visited on men who wished to be at the helm of their own destinies.

The Constitution was then penned and approved but it left plenty to be desired in a Founding document. Those who actively engage in Constitution worship may want to turn away from the remainder of this paragraph. The Constitutional Convention was a political coup held in secret behind closed doors. The delegates were sent to amend the Articles of Confederation, not abolish them. The resulting document so terrified the Anti-Federalists that they immediately pressed for the Bill of Rights to put the brakes on what they perceived to be a pernicious concentration of power in the central government. Patrick Henry at the time referred to the Federalists as Consolidationists who wished to turn the states into mere administrative departments of the central government. Alexander Hamilton had managed to consign liberty and freedom to the dustbin of history as soon as the ink was drying on the new documents. So a careful consideration of secession should not be restricted to the primary and secondary source documents for the Constitution but all the literature and actions which took place prior to and after its adoption.

I have mentioned before that a mastery of the logic and rhetoric of the Anti-Federalists is powerful medicine in the coming conflicts. They speak eloquently to the decentralist and devolutionist impulses. I especially enjoy the acid-tongued Brutus.

So how does the American central government feel about secession? They like it as long as it is happening to other nations. The US State Department is now the champion of a two-state solution in Israel and Palestine and the American government was not shy about the applause it offered the fifteen states that calved from the moribund USSR a generation ago or calls to free Tibet from Chinese occupation but the American state is not at all thrilled at the prospect of its own partition and break-up in the near future. Yet the US State Department has not shied from its positions on other states’ right to secede:

The Secretary and other members of the Administration have expressed concern to Chinese officials that the anti-secession law may be counterproductive”…

Imagine if the Soviet Union had collapsed in 1989-91 and these united States insisted that all fifteen of the states that fell away from and seceded from the USSR had to stay or else. Yet the American government insists that Kosovo secede from Yugoslavia proper protected under NATO’s skirts but South Ossetia better not secede from the American-Israeli satellite of Russian Georgia.

Thomas Franck, one of the five international law experts asked by the Canadian government to consider certain issues regarding a hypothesized secession of Quebec, wrote that:

“It cannot seriously be argued today that international law prohibits secession. It cannot seriously be denied that international law permits secession. There is a privilege of secession recognized in international law and the law imposes no duty on any people not to secede. While international law does not foreclose on the possibility of secession, it does provide a framework within which certain secessions are favored or disfavored, depending on the facts. The key is to assess whether or not Kosovo meets the criteria for the legal privilege of secession.”

A privilege granted by whom? So it appears our rulers are quite conflicted when it comes to the recognition of secession on the world stage. We need to leverage this schizophrenia.

Remember the golden rule when it comes to successful resistance, rebellion and secession: grievances are exploited whether real or perceived. Every state in the increasingly reluctant Union has their own respective beefs with the central government ranging from taxation to the environment to energy policy. In your state or region, the key to successful monkey-wrenching of the system is to start small and witness to friends, family and neighbors of the injustices and inequities you feel the denizens of Mordor are doing to you and yours where you live. For the Austrians among you, witty explanations of the evils of central planning and the ills of government interference in the economy through taxation and regulation will yield great benefits for the right audience. It is your job to awaken folks from their collectivist fever-dreams.

Taxes too high? US Forest Circus wolf reintroduction programs reducing your elk populations? Local timber industry destroyed due to the EPA? Agricultural subsidies destroying farm yields and family farms through perverse pricing schemes? Helium reserves for WWI dirigibles? Insolvency of the Socialist Security System? The list for agitation and substantive reasons to divorce the DC Mob are too numerous to list and I leave it to your imagination. The point is that the nurturing of grievances is an important step in shaping and influencing the way people think in your community. Essentially, no one knows more about your neighborhood and environs than you and the potentates in DC are in this case the ultimate know-nothings. Leverage this cognitive dissonance to your advantage.

Think about the Gandhian-style non-compliance which occurred at Jarbridge, NV in 2000 when a Federal agency tried to ply their mischief. It apparently got to where Federal employees were denied victuals and lodging in local towns. Good old-fashioned shaming and shunning.

By the way, writing letters to your Feral (sic) Congress-critters to beg for the Ninth and Tenth Amendments of the Bill of Rights (among others) to be recognized is a waste of time. They will not yield the benefits they reap as rulers in their nests in DC. Something happens when they are there for more than a year and you will never get the smell out. They will ignore you or worse. Ignore them.

If you see fit to organize local Committees of Correspondence and Safety as our First American Revolutionary forebears did, modern communication techniques and sousveillance will make it very interesting indeed.

Local action is required for local results. I share with Lew Rockwell an increasing skepticism of any political action having a meritorious result in the causes of freedom and liberty but you must take your own counsel.

Isn’t secession the ultimate vote in a supposed democracy?

“They can jail us. They can shoot us. They can even conscript us. They can use us as cannon fodder in the sod. But – But we have a weapon more powerful than any in the whole arsenal of their British Empire – and that weapon is our refusal. Our refusal to bow to any order but our own, any institution but our own.

Our friends in the Royal Irish Constabulary would like to shut me up. Oh yes, jail me again, shoot me, who knows? And I’d like you to send them a message. If they shut me up, who’ll take my place?”

~ Michael Collins

May 16, 2009

William Buppert [send him mail] and his homeschooled family live in the high desert in the American Southwest.

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