Secession: What’s In a Name?

“A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. …We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” (Italics added)

Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968) “Letter From a Birmingham Jail

“Where a people contend not for glory or conquest; where they take every method to avoid an alternative so disagreeable; yet where they cannot preserve their lives, their liberties, their estates and their religion, without “resisting unto blood,” they are to do so. If they do not, they offend against GOD, and voluntarily sacrifice the birthright which He has given them.”

Peter Thatcher (1752-1802) “A Sermon Preached Before the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company” June 3, 1793

“Lincoln said he had taken an oath to preserve the Union, but he was mistaken. He had taken not an oath to preserve the Union, but rather an oath to preserve the Constitution, and the Constitution did not in 1861, and does not now, prohibit the secession of an American state.”
Donald W. Livingston “The Secession Tradition In America

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) “Romeo and Juliet” Act II. Scene II. http://www.enotes.com/shakespeare-quotes/what-s-name-that-which-we-call-rose

I am still not convinced that secession is the best remedy for what ails us, but I have been doing some thinking along those lines, and in this article I will share some of my thoughts with you. Secession is not my idea of a good time, but there it is, and here we are.

Right down the line I have advocated measures that would put the USA back on the track toward being a free republic — short of a bloody civil war. It may well be that secession is the last chance “we the people” have for avoiding such a catastrophic outcome.

Some people shy away from the notion of secession because “it will divide people.” In case you haven’t noticed, permit me to point out that we are alreadya house divided,” and the divisions to all appearances are irreconcilable.

Other people oppose secession because “it would mean the end of the United States.” Here is where the above quote by Shakespeare comes in. It is from the play “Romeo and Juliet,” and has Juliet telling Romeo that she loves him, not his name — that she is interested in who he is, not what label he goes under.

As Juliet puts it, a rose would be a rose no matter what you name it. Conversely, just because you label something a certain way does not change its reality. For example, one might call the malodorous carrion plant amorphophallus perrieri “The Pink Rose of Madagascar,” but it will nonetheless still stink of rotting meat and feces. Certainly it will not “smell as sweet” simply because it has been labeled “a rose.”

All of which is by way of leading up to the fact that the name the “United States of America,” or the acronym “USA,” are just labels, and do not necessarily reflect the reality behind them — or rather, the reality that should be behind them; the reality that was originally handed down to us by those who fought, bled and died in the “Revolutionary War.”

The name “United States of America” no longer stands for what it once did. It no longer stands for liberty, free enterprise, American exceptionalism, and God — it now stands for welfare, lawfare, warfare, Godlessness, and globalism. It stands for an ever-dwindling middle-class and an oligarchy of overlord elites. It stands for an arrogant and bloated bureaucracy lording it over “we the people” with blatant disdain and disregard for rules of law and liberty. The name, the label, “USA” no longer represents anything worth fighting for. FREEDOM is worth fighting for, not outdated labels.

The United States did not exist as such when the “Declaration of Independence” was written — nor was there any Washington DC, or US Constitution. The Founders made it up as they went along. They did not fight and die for the United States — there was no United States — they fought and died for freedom. They did not put their lives and fortunes on the line for the “USA” — they did so for liberty. They did what they did so that they could shatter the shackles of tyranny and live as free men and women. “Live free or die” — ring any bells?

I mention all this because I can envisage an argument starting over who has the rights to the name “USA.” Let the liberals keep the name if they want, and the welfare, warfare, and lawfare for which it stands — and we’ll keep the values and principles which it used to represent.

Any new republic that is to rise from the ashes of the old must be founded in liberty, and led by men and women of courage, wisdom, foresight, and vision. They must, like the original Founders, be able to think outside the box, yet have the wisdom to retain that which is time-tested and valuable from our past. Personally, I would recommend taking the “Declaration of Independence” and “US Constitution” along on any new endeavor.

I do not mean to make light of the topic — secession is a serious matter. Thomas Jefferson noted that “Prudence…will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.” (Italics added) http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html

To frame Jefferson’s words in modern language — you had better have some darn good reasons for dissolving the bonds with your existing form of government. People will put up with a lot of aggravation before bestirring themselves to take to the streets, because throwing off the chains of tyranny is a major undertaking. It took the colonists untold hardships and eight long years to throw of their shackles. God knows how long it would take us. Longer? Shorter? I have no idea.

What about working things out through give and take — working with liberals to reach some mutually agreeable compromise? That may have been feasible in the past, but any more the liberal idea of “give and take” is we give and they take. The chasm separating the Makers from the Takers; the moochers from producers, has become too wide for any further meaningful dialogue. It is what it is.

Compromising with Democrats would be like freely choosing to cover your body with blood-sucking leeches, and then leaving them there to feed off you until you die. That may sound like a groovy game plan to some, but count me out.

The problem with any scenario that leaves the Takers in place is that the parasites will still be sucking the life blood from the host. That is, liberals will still be attached to the USA, feeding off it and spreading their infestation. How long before the fiscally responsible states, such as Texas, decide that enough is enough, and refuse to continue to bail out the fiscally irresponsible (i.e. liberal) states with money channeled through the federal government to the various liberal basket-cases? The responsible conservative states are being penalized for being economically sound, while liberal spendthrift states are being rewarded for their profligate ways. How much longer is this “robbing Peter to pay Paul” manipulation going to be allowed to continue?

Sometimes with serious infections the only sure remedy is amputation, and in order for freedom to survive it may be necessary to amputate some of the more seriously infected limbs (states) from the body of the USA. The purpose of amputating a diseased limb is to keep the healthy part of the body from getting sick. It will not be a pain-free process.

The infected areas of the USA will, of course, not leave voluntarily (would a leech drop off your body while it was still feeding?). So it is up to “we the people” to start (and finish) the process — which is where secession comes into play. If the diseased areas of the United States will not leave us, then we must leave them. How many states will wish to maintain, or regain, their health is yet to be seen.

This might be a good time to briefly touch on the difference between secession and revolution. In a nutshell, revolutions are concerned with overthrowing existing governments, while secession is concerned with escaping from existing governments. Revolutionaries say “You’re going!,” while secessionists say “We’re leaving!” The “Revolutionary War” is actually mislabeled, as it was a war of secession, rather than a revolution. That is, the Founders had no interest whatsoever in overthrowing the existing British government, they simply wanted to be left alone to do their own thing.

All the little piggies feeding at the trough kept filled by “we the people” will start squealing their heads off at any move made to limit their food supply — and it goes without saying that the federal government, the “Boss Hog,” is not going to take such things laying down. We are, after all, talking about taking away their food bowl. They will starve without it, and you had better believe they know it, and will fight tooth and nail to keep “we the people” under their thumb and obediently refilling their bowl — like it or not.

What about the military; won’t they side with the federal government? Not necessarily. George Washington fought on the side of the British during the “French and Indian War,” but that did not stop him from fighting against the British when liberty called. As mentioned earlier, there was no United States when Washington first started leading his troops — he called them the Continental Army, not the US Army. They fought for freedom, not the United States.

Robert E. Lee was a Union officer of some renown and former head of West Point before he followed his conscience and sided with the Confederacy when his home state of Virginia seceded from the Union in 1861. Most military officers (at least the junior grades) still realize that devotion to the honored traditions and principles that our country was founded on, supersede blind allegiance to jingoistic propaganda, and that the excuse “I vas just following orders” died at Nuremburg — along with a number of high ranking Germans who vas just following orders. (Although I must admit, the military’s continued refusal to honor their oaths to defend the Constitution has me concerned. I had thought that they were made of sterner stuff).

Be that as it may, I believe that the majority of our military would side with a new republic, if such an endeavor was implemented with honor, integrity, intelligence and alacrity. This is, of course, a topic of great importance and complexity, but I am afraid that the present article is not the place to give it the time it demands, and I must perforce move on to other issues.

I should perhaps mention in passing that I believe that any Canadian provinces/territories that want to join any new republic should IMO be welcomed as a matter of course — any Mexican states as well. Might as well get Ottawa and Mexico City upset with us along with DC — in for a dime, in for a dollar.

Another topic of great importance, one might say supreme importance, is what role religion will play in any new republic. This is no mere thing — the fate of any new republic will hinge upon how honestly and adequately this topic is addressed. I would say that the original Founders got it right, yet again — walking a fine line between a Judeo/Christian theocracy and a free republic. All theological concerns aside, history shows a society based on Judeo/Christian principles to be the best societal template, for pragmatic reasons if no other. There are several Bibles available which include material relating to Christianity and America’s founding. Two of my favorites are the “Founder’s Bible,” and “The American Patriot’s Bible.”
Sans a Christianized culture the only alternative for secular governments is ever more Draconian rules and regulations in ever increasing numbers. I have no interest in debating this with any collectivists — the facts speak for themselves to anyone with an open mind and half a brain. Nor do I wish to debate the point with any Ayn Rand Objectivists or other atheists. I have made my feelings clear about atheism and atheists in several previous articles (e.g. “http://gulagbound.com/12587/atheism-101-trickle-down-poison/#.UKaV_mdVD6M”).

The topic of religion is in many ways a can of worms whose complexity is daunting. Nonetheless, successfully grappling with the issue is a necessary step for any new republic. Regarding the current state of Christianity in America, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote some words that ring as true today as when he first wrote them over forty years ago:

“There was a time when the church was very powerful. …In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being “disturbers of the peace” and “outside agitators.” But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were “a colony of heaven,” called to obey God rather than man. …Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church’s silent — and often even vocal — sanction of things as they are. …If today’s church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning….”

“Not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society” — I love that line. At any rate, the fact that the Takers have historically hated Christianity is enough in itself to incline me to embrace it. But, of course, Christianity is infinitely more than just a way to thumb your nose at arrogant fools.

Like the last subject, religion is much too convoluted and complex to begin to do justice to it in such a short article as this, so I will suffice it to say that I believe it would be better to risk having too much God, than too little in any new republic — although I am adamantly opposed to any sort of theocracy.

Time to finish this up with some last thoughts on secession. I wrote at the beginning of this article that secession is probably our last chance to avoid a bloody civil war. True enough, but I do not mean to imply that secession can be successfully pursued without turmoil and violence. Permit me to briefly dip into the “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” one last time: “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”

Quite right — throughout history the oppressor has never willingly removed their boot from the neck of the oppressed. And make no mistake; “we the people” are oppressed. We are, in fact, the victims of the same sort of onerous taxation and heavy-handed and arrogant tyranny that the original Founders fought against. There really is nothing new here — only the modes and methods have changed. Greedy and unscrupulous people have plotted to steal our freedom and return us to servitude ever since America was founded.

Writing to William Giles in 1826, Thomas Jefferson observed that “I see, as you do, and with the deepest affliction, the rapid strides with which the federal branch of our government is advancing towards the usurpation of all the rights reserved to the States, and the consolidation in itself of all powers, foreign and domestic; and that, too, by constructions which, if legitimate, leave no limits to their power.” The power grab by the feds has been going on for a long time.

Communists, fascists, and other collectivist types have no doubt greatly accelerated the process, but as Jefferson’s letter shows, human nature by itself is more than capable of destroying liberty on its own, thank you very much. Certain types of people find the allure of power intoxicating, and will stop at nothing to acquire it. It says a lot about the power and efficacy of the “Declaration of Independence” and “The US Constitution” that they were able to keep the forces of tyranny at bay for as long as they did.

“We the people” have been repeatedly warned to be on guard against tyranny, and we have been told that “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” Yet we have largely been asleep at the wheel, and have by all appearances let things slide to the point of no return.

I no longer trust our electoral process; I no longer trust our news venues; I no longer trust our entertainment industry, schools or courts, and I darn sure do not trust our federal government. “We the people” are between a rock and a hard place — between submission to collectivist tyranny, or secession from a long-beloved country. Jefferson was of the opinion that we should “separate from our companions only when the sole alternatives left are the dissolution of our Union with them, or submission to a government without limitation of powers.” Are we there — is that our current predicament? It would certainly seem so.

Jefferson went on to conclude: “Between these two evils, when we must make a choice, there can be no hesitation.” Note that he calls secession an “evil” — but one that is preferable to the evil of an out of control central government.

As I stated at the beginning of this article, my jury is still out regarding the wisdom of secession, and there are others avenues of protest against the bloated federal bureaucracy that may be profitably followed: such as giving the 10th Amendment back its teeth, nullification, and defanging the unconstitutional 14th Amendment (which, by the by, is not actually an Amendment, as it was never ratified by Congress — all contrary legalese legerdemain notwithstanding).

The blatant in-your-face stealing of the last election by the Takers, however, leads me to believe that secession may be the only option open to “we the people” for redress of our grievances. As President Kennedy noted, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” I do not believe that revolution per se is the way to go — leave the federal government intact for the Takers to stew in — but secession may well fit the bill. We will be sure to turn out the lights when we leave.

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