by Robert Eschauzier
(Editor’s Note: This is a reprint from November 2009. The Austrian solutions do not address some situations, like performing all these solutions after the economic collapse. But the principles are solid and a new nation based in Austrian principles would be the freest place on earth.)
At the core of Mises’, Hayek’s, Rothbard’s and, more recently, Hoppe’s work lies the recognition that governance of markets and societies is a spontaneous and civilizing force far too complex to be “managed” by any form of monopolistic government. For this reason I will attempt to address the pitfall and opportunity which secession from the Federal leviathan might present from the Austrian perspective, especially as so brilliantly outlined by Hans-Hermann Hoppe is his most recent book Democracy: The God That Failed. Since there has been a flurry of essays about Texas secession recently, I will use that State as an example even though the principles discussed apply to all attempts at secession.
There is only one problem with formal secession by one of the States, but it is a big one. If it is organized by a group of individuals under the color of “The State of Texas” and presented as a formal declaration by them as coming from “Texas,” then no substantive change will have been achieved. Separating Texas from the USA does little more than ease the burden of (Federal) taxation and regulation, while leaving the principle of institutional monopoly government and its modern version of “Democracy” completely unchallenged. It is only the scale of government which is being addressed, not its criminal and cancerous nature. Smaller than the Federal monster, the newly seceded State’s government will nevertheless continue to metastasize as its parasitic nature demands.
Secession, from an Austrian perspective, offers an opportunity to completely repudiate the very concept of institutional monopoly government no matter what label (democracy, republic, constitutional etc.) is put on it. To achieve this, requires first of all that a group of incorruptible individuals wrest control of the existing State government apparatus from the current group of “business as usual” politicians. That this may be so impossible to achieve as to render useless anything I write from here on may be true. I will nevertheless take the optimistic view in an attempt to come up with a set of practical steps which such a group might undertake to achieve a truly Austrian and lasting secession which results in complete abolition of Government.
1. Declaration of Secession: (The need for this first step is primarily to deny those who run the Federal Government and opportunity to “come to the rescue” with its military forces if the State were abolished a priori.)A formal Declaration of Independence and Secession would have to be written and ratified, likely by the legislature and signed by the Governor. A date for publication in all Media has to be chosen. Formal presentation to (and therefore recognition of) the Government of the US or the United Nations should not be attempted as a matter of principle. One cannot claim that Mr. Obama has no right to (forcefully) impose his dictates on others while then behaving towards him as if he does. If military intervention ensues anyway, then all bets are off in the short term even as the true tyrannical nature of government becomes exposed for all to see.
2. Dissolution of State Government: Once State secession has been achieved, a proclamation must be issued, disbanding all forms of monopolist government, including the formal disbanding of the existing State legislature and resignations of its members and the Governor. All existing “elected” politicians will be encouraged to seek suitable employment in the market. “Lower” levels of government (county, city etc.) should be encouraged (but must never be forced) to follow suit.
3. State “Services”: A planned conversion of all existing State Government Agencies to non-monopoly services must be initiated. This must be executed in a humane manner so as not to unreasonably punish workers and others (“clients”) who currently depend on these agencies.
4. Currency: Monetary policy is the preferred tool of monopoly governments for political market manipulation. The creation of currencies is a competitive function of the market just like any other economic activity. It must never be allowed to be subject to political fiat.
5. Dispute Resolution: Government courts must be abandoned, to be replaced by competing arbitration services, many of which already operate successfully today.
6. Taxation: With the dissolution of the State Government all forms of State taxation or tariffs become a non-issue.
7. Government Land: Land “owned” by the Texas government must be returned to private ownership. Hoppe elaborates on methodology for this at length, so I will refrain from doing so here. Ownership of Federal lands would initially have to remain unchallenged or at least approached very carefully so as not to give those who run the Federal Government an excuse to initiate military action “to protect its legitimate interests,” in mind. In the mean time, any individual or groups who after secession wish to acquire such lands may negotiate with the bureaucrats and politicians in Washington to their heart’s content.
8. Immigration: In a system where ALL land and infrastructure (except initially, Federal) is privately owned, all individuals, regardless of their origin, are trespassing if they access a property without permission of its owner(s). Except for Federal lands, would-be immigrants would therefore have to seek those owners’ permission and, if allowed access, become that owners’ responsibility. Migration therefore becomes just another self-regulating activity.
9. Social Services: Millions of individuals presently receive Federal or State benefits of some sort. Those who wish to continue receiving Federal hand-outs, would be free to do so and, if necessary, migrate to any region still associated with and subject to the dictates of the Federal government. Those who wish to throw off this yoke of slavery, will no doubt find many neighbors (now freed of tax burdens) and local church and other volunteer organizations willing to help any who are in genuine need of assistance.
10. Law Enforcement: Laws are just political opinions “enforced” by (the threat of) violence. Those currently engaged in the practice of “Law Enforcement” may be encouraged to find employment and retraining with non-monopoly security services or to move to regions where their skills at terrorizing innocent people may still be in demand.
11. Crime Prevention: Protection from criminals and other (statist) invaders will most likely be offered by insurance companies who contract for these services with companies skilled in such matters such as possibly some existing mercenary outfits which seek to enjoy the moral high ground of serving a willing client instead of a terrorist monopoly government. The market will govern spontaneously which insurers will thrive and which will fail.
12. Health Care: Healthcare will be provided by practitioners and organizations on a competitive basis. Private, competitive insurance plans will no doubt proliferate. Similarly, quality assurance/monitoring will be offered by these insurance providers and “accreditation services” through regular quality audit procedures. Private charity, both intra- and extra-family, will take the place of Medicare and similar “services.” The need for such charity will be magnitudes reduced, because both medical services companies and their clients will operate in a market environment free of government taxation and regulation.
13. Financial Services: Caveat emptor! Private rating services together with liability insurers will audit those engaged in issuance and trading of all financial instruments. Any financial service which fails such audits has little to no chance of surviving for more than a few days or weeks.
14. Environment: First and foremost, pollution will be a matter of (encroachment on) private property rights and must be addressed as such by the parties in question. Preservationists will be free to use their own funds to buy any property they wish to protect. They can also use their wealth to try and encourage voluntary conservation activities by third-party property owners.
15. Education: Schooling will be offered by competing entities, funded commercially as well as by various volunteer religious and other special interest groups. Teachers will be welcomed and employed based on their qualifications. Note also that home schooling is very much alive, especially in Texas.
That it would take years to bring a plan such as outlined above to a successful conclusion is obvious. With the newly emerging strength of the secessionist movement, Austrian economists and thinkers may have a real chance at seizing the reigns of civilization from the statist tyrants. Let’s hope we do.
Robert Eschauzier is a dual citizen of Canada and The Netherlands. A life-long entrepreneur, he considers himself an arch “autarchist,” meaning that he views society/nature as a self (auto) regulated arrangement, rather than a non (ana-) regulated one. He currently lives and works in Chicago.