Secession And Enforcement

Rad Geek:

People have this idea nowadays that secession is just inconceivable, and sure to be followed by massive reprisal, in light of the Civil War. But it’s easy to forget how close a call the Civil War was — there was an awful lot of Northern opposition to it, especially prior to the battle at Fort Sumter. Even those who profoundly disagreed with secessionism as a matter of legal principle were often very uncomfortable with the idea of suppressing it by force. And all of this was for quite natural reasons, many of which still persist — bayonet-point Unionism is really a hard thing to defend, when put to it, and it’s also really hard to blind people to the ruinous and murderous nature of war when the war would be happening without the numbing distance of geographical, cultural, linguistic, racial, or religious differences.

[Emphasis mine]

What better time to revive secessionism than when the system is headed toward collapse?

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Yeah, let Manhattan

Yeah, let Manhattan secede.
Oh, wait.

Let's not fire on Sumter just yet.

1. Back then, there was a really sexy topic that motivated people. What's the candidate nowadays? Religion? Eh, not so much. Race? Bigotry's on the way out. Ethnic enclaves are rarer and less tightly knit, particularly in the West. Abortion might do it, but consider number two.

2. Because of the fondness of cotton for certain climates, those with different views on that topic tended to be geographically distinct. A natural recipe for secession, I'd say. Is there any other issue that divides people similarly today?

3. My guess is, given Lee's refusal to fight against his home state, that the allegiance of people at the time tended more towards their states than the federal government. This is no longer the case.

I agree secession isn't inconceivable, but is it probable? Some young upstarts in the Caucaususes have been giving it a go, but they at least have some sort of ethnic identity to bind them together. We don't have that (would we want to live under the resulting republic if we did?).

Secede before the creditors come knocking

I think a good time to secede would be before the creditors come knocking at Uncle Sam's door. It would be grand if the debt that the federal government owed - and which comes, I think, to thousands per citizen - were paid, not by my seceded state, but by the suckers who stayed loyal to the federal government.

Now there's an idea.

Now there's an idea.

31 thousand dollars

According to Wikipedia:

As of September 2008, the total U.S. federal debt was approximately $9.7 trillion, about $31,700 per capita (that is, per U.S. resident)

If my state secedes successfully, then we're 31 thousand dollars richer on net per person. If that's not a strong reason to get out of the union, I don't know what is.

Can we adjust that to take

Can we adjust that to take into account the progressivity of the tax rates?

Still comes to the same thing

Suppose that you and I will each make 31 thousand if we rebel.

Suppose, alternatively, that I will make 10 thousand and you will make 52 thousand.

It is not obvious that a rebellion is any less likely in the latter case. On the contrary, it might be more likely, because concentrating the benefit of an action can help to solve the public goods problem and also the coordination problem.