Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

"Observe that the 'haves' are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the 'have-nots' have not." Ayn Rand

"The virtue involved in helping those one loves is not 'selflessness' or 'sacrifice', but integrity." Ayn Rand

18 November 2012

Secession and the Consent of the Governed

There are many people talking about secession of their states from the United States of America following the re-election of Obama to the presidency and renewed control of the Senate by the lawbreaking Democrat Socialist Party.  Though Obama won handily in the electoral vote and pretty handily in the popular vote, he did not carry a single county in the three states of Utah, Oklahoma, and West Virginia.  Romney won 72.8% of the vote in Utah, 69.3% in Wyoming, 66.8% in Oklahoma, and 64.5% in Idaho.  Obama failed to earn even 40% of the vote in 13 states: The five mentioned and Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky.  Many Americans believe that Obama and the Democrat Socialist Party are highly guilty of repeated constitutional violations of the limits of government power.  The manner in which the unpopular ObamaCare program was pushed through the Congress is still highly resented, though it was not much of a presidential election issue because of Romney's compromised position with the Massachusetts individual mandate health insurance law.

When the American colonies rebelled against King George III and the Parliament of Great Britain and seceded from their union with them, they had a real problem with replacing the once colonial governments with self-rule state governance.  They wanted representation in their own government, but they needed to establish legitimate governments to replace the governance of Great Britain, which the Declaration of Independence had declared illegitimate because it had violated the sovereign and equal rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  The Americans needed to establish governments with the consent of the governed and which protected and did not violate individual rights.  They assigned an essential role in the process of doing this to the making and acceptance of constitutions.  They created constitutions at the state level and at the federal government level.  The constitutions were needed to provide for a limited scope of government to which the people would readily give their assent to be governed.  Only a fool would consent to be governed by a government claiming unlimited powers or even just powers that violated individual rights.  Early Americans were not inclined to be such fools.

Good government must be highly limited government, if the highly varied character and interests of the people are not to be damaged by government.  Good government protects the people's right not to be coerced, so that they have a rich choice of options in a robust and free private sector to pursue their self-chosen values.  It protects them from coercion by other individuals, by gangs, by associations, and by anything more than legitimate and essential coercion by government itself.  Of course, government is used solely for coercion, but that use of coercion must be strictly limited by well-agreed principles so that government is not worse than thugs operating on their own out of avarice.  In such a society with such a limited government, individuals are free to exercise the many opportunities presented by a broad freedom of association with other individuals of their choice in the pursuit of values of their own choosing in voluntary cooperation.  State and Federal government constitutions were used by Americans to provide this wonderful society maximizing voluntary cooperation.  To such constitutionally limited governments, nearly everyone gave their consent to be governed.  This was the American Principle of government and society.

When this American Principle of government is violated by the government, any individual and any combination of them, have the right to secede.  No one is morally obliged to give up their sovereign individual rights to an unconstitutional, power-lusting government.  In practice, an individual can as yet leave the country as a form of secession.  But, there is no moral reason why an individual wanting to be free of government coercion in violation of his individual rights must leave his family, friends, and property behind in order to have the freedom that is his by right.  There is no moral reason why any size territory in which most of the people want to secede in order to constitute a legitimate government, as defined in the Declaration of Independence, cannot do so.

The American Principle has long been violated and the extent of its violation has accelerated and been maximized under the Obama regime.  There has long been a failure to understand that democracy coupled with a government with few limits, is simply another form of tyranny and one which is inherently unstable.  For a time, the common sense of the people may keep a democracy from being as bad as an out and out dictatorship or totalitarian government, but the common sense of the people degrades with time and their understanding of what the government is doing does also.  Soon, big government is simply too big for the people to manage it or even for the politicians they choose to manage it competently.  Worse, special interests with time and money on their hands, take over the controls of the government.  Under the Obama regime, the federal government has reached an apogee of power-lust, pretentiousness of knowledge and morality, corruption, and incompetence.  The federal government is very tyrannical in its abuse of our equal, sovereign individual rights.  This Obama regime ignores the law, including the Supreme Law of the Land, the Constitution.  It is clearly a highly illegitimate government as defined by own Declaration of Independence.  It is certainly not a government that seeks the nearly uniform consent of the governed.  It is a government that is eager to do harm to many Americans so that it may steal their wealth and redistribute it to the poor and to the unethical such as labor unions and campaign contributors operating flimsy green energy companies with no real markets.

Even when operating within the limits of a constitutional and legitimate government, good government does not pass laws on which there is no widespread agreement.  The Obama government recognizes no such wise restraint.  This is not surprising.  Socialism is highly irrational at its core.  It pretends to be concerned and driven by the welfare of the greater number, but it ignores the essential fact of human nature that we are complex and highly differentiated individuals.  Our individual values have complex and highly differentiated hierarchies at any time and these hierarchies change considerably over time.  No government can adequately know and provide for our individual needs and dreams.  We must have the freedom to do so ourselves in a vibrant private sector.  The Obama regime has failed to provide for individual needs in the last four years and will continue to fail on an even grander scale over the next four years.  The long history of socialism has confirmed this inability of socialist government to substitute itself for the role of self-responsible and self-managing individuals operating freely ino the private sector.

Only fools can think that the Obama regime can provide a different outcome.  To date, it has stripped us of many of our liberties, most especially our economic and freedom of association liberties.  It has stripped us of our ownership of our very bodies and minds under ObamaCare.  It has diminished the private sector as the federal government has grown to take 25% of the entire economy in terms of its spending and far more with its regulations.  It is taking over control of huge sectors of the economy such as medical care, health insurance, financial, energy, and auto-making.  It has heavily beaten up employers and made it very difficult for them to generate profits and to hire employees.  This is especially true for many small businesses which do not have the resources to lobby power-hungry politicians and bureaucrats so they will to do them no harm.  As businesses throughout the nation are damaged and their costs of operation increased, consumers have to pay higher prices for the goods and services they want.  Excessive government coercion is lowering our standard of living as people are making less and having to pay more to meet their needs.

It is no surprise that many Americans are now so fed-up with governmental disregard for their individual rights, the limits of the Constitution, and for their General Welfare, that they are now talking about secession.  Much as the heroes of Atlas Shrugged left a socialist, unconstitutional, and unlimited government-dominated society to retire to Galt's Gulch until it collapsed, many now are talking about secession or about the revival of a legitimate government when the present Welfare State and Kleptomaniac Government falls.  Whether it was already too late in this last election to reverse the course of unsustainable government or not, I do not know.  I had hoped it was not.  I strongly suspect that if the American people manage to learn enough from the pain of the next four years added to that of the last four years, that their attempt to reform to prevent governmental collapse will either prove to be too late or little better than actual collapse.

There are well enough managed states that should they secede, they would be able to avoid much of the pain of the collapse of the federal government, not to mention the present harm it does to the People.  One might argue that if a state secedes, its people will lose Medicare and Social Security benefits they have paid for.  This is not a valid argument.  Their money has already been spent and those programs, contrary to a false claim a Democrat made today on Fox News, are already taking money from the general tax revenue bucket as the programs cost more than the payroll taxes dedicated to them provide.  The people of a seceding state with a more limited and more responsible government lose nothing, except a once proud tradition of the United States of America.  But that tradition has been betrayed by a long-time and growing lack of adherence to the American Principle.  That rule of legitimate and good government needs to be revived and if one no longer believes it can be revived throughout the entire nation at a reasonable cost, then secession is a rational choice of action.

Unfortunately, Obama admires Lincoln and it is clear that what he admires is his use of force in a fairly ruthless national purpose.  Obama would unleash the Dogs of War happily to create Civil War to prevent any state or area of the present nation from seceding.  Ayn Rand identified the most functional way to oppose such a tyrannical government: retire or slow down one's economic activity to speed up the collapse of government and await its fall.  That collapse is inevitable unless government undergoes a remarkable transformation toward a much more limited role of protecting individual rights and dismantles the Welfare State and the Kletocracy.

It will not do anything of the sort under Obama.  His call for much higher taxes and spending over the last few days is clear indication that he is true to form.  ObamaCare will speed the collapse greatly, as will Obama's war on fossil fuels, the financial industry, and his determination to suck the profits and cash flow out of companies so that they cannot invest in new equipment, new plants and facilities, the hiring and training of employees, product improvement, and R&D, quality control, and process improvements.  Not only will we see a failure of the economy to expand in the next four years, but we will see more periods of contraction.  The only way the nation was going to be able to sustain Medicare and Social Security programs back in 2008 was if the economy grew rapidly.  Its failure to grow well in the last four years will be added to another four years of no growth, leaving these programs, the added detritus due to ObamaCare, and the backbreaking interest on the national debt without the required funding to meet liabilities.  Obama is bringing his beloved socialist transformation of America to a more rapid failure.  He is quite analogous to President Thompson of Atlas Shrugged, but without even the minimal intelligence to ask John Galt to save the country.

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