Secession is an American Principle

In his latest column Ron Paul explains that secession is a valid principle and the last resort of states whose sovereignty is over-ridden by an overreaching federal government. If one party to a contract unilaterally changes the terms of the contract, the other party is well within its right to terminate the relationship. It’s like a free market in sovereignty: states, just like individuals, can make rational choices as to which alliances and memberships best suit their interests. Patriotism is not an axiom of state-worshipping adulation that cannot be questioned; on the contrary, true patriotism means being loyal to American values and principles, not to voracious government officials that try to enslave, tax and control the populace.

Download the column as an MP3 file here (3:31 minutes).

Secession: the Ultimate States’ Right

by Ron Paul

Last week the governor of Texas ignited a media firestorm for his remarks involving the idea of secession. He did not call for Texas to secede from the United States. He merely pointed out that the federal government was treading heavily on the sovereignty of the states and that this can not continue indefinitely without a breaking point.

The reaction to Governor Perry’s statements has been nothing short of hysterical. He has been called treasonous for making this obvious point and opening up a discussion. I am not calling for secession either, however there is nothing wrong with a healthy and open discussion of this issue.

America was born from an act of secession. When King George’s rule trampled on the rights of the colonies, we successfully seceded from England. It took a war, but we were well within our rights. We applauded when former soviet states seceded from the USSR and declared their sovereignty. And hopefully the United States will eventually secede from the United Nations. We pay most of the bills of the UN, yet do not have the commensurate votes, so someday we will wake up and realize that membership, for these and other reasons, does not serve our interests.

On a personal level, contracts you enter into can be terminated if one side unilaterally changes the terms. If a credit card company jacks up your interest rate, you have every right to fulfill your obligations and close the account. Imagine if you were forced to stay with a credit card company forever no matter what just because you previously signed up! The principle of self-determination applies to political unions as well. In the cases I mentioned above, governing organizations transformed into much more overbearing entities than originally agreed upon. Several state constitutions originally had clauses explicitly allowing them to opt out of the Union down the road if they so chose. I doubt our country would have ever come together if this were not the case. Just because the north successfully kept the union together by force with the Civil War does not mean that enslaving the states is a legitimate alternative.

Secession is the last resort of states whose sovereignty is over-ridden by an overreaching federal government. The federal government has only itself to blame for this talk. Recently, some states have enacted laws allowing for the medicinal use of marijuana, yet these laws are basically voided by the continuing raids by the DEA, sanctioned by the administration. The federal government is also strong-arming states with stimulus money, forcing them to expand programs they know they will not be able to afford in the future, at a time when many states’ budgets are already in the red. This is not a new problem. No Child Left Behind burdened the states’ education systems and forced them through many hoops designed by federal bureaucrats in distant Washington DC rather than allowing communities to tailor education to their children’s unique needs. There are numerous other examples of the erosion of state sovereignty and many governors are frustrated, not just ours in Texas. Without the right to secede, state’s rights are meaningless.

A republican form of government should also be as close to the people as possible, which means the decisions of local governing bodies must be respected. Where the decisions of local governments are disregarded, the voice of the people is also disregarded. The more that happens, the more frustrated and angry the people will become.


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  • State sovereighty protects rights of law abiding people against tyranny laws.

    • Larry Vandewalle

      Perhaps it’s time for a “New Confederacy”. One dedicated to State’s Rights as means to protecting individual rights (as opposed to the last “Old” Confederacy which promoted States Rights as a means to subjugating individual rights). I doubt that the cowards in Congress/Washington would have much of an appetite for another Civil War with them as targets.

  • Katrina

    What a sad situation, that our constitution is so far removed from practice that instead of the sovereignty promised, we find ourselves in the grip of a corrupt, greedy, and cannibalistic government that to avoid being consumed, we must seek secession.
    I had greater faith in decency of humans.

  • longshotlouie

    –Dr. Ron Paul For President–
    In The Great Republic Of Texas

  • Dfens

    The intention is to destroy the principal of the freedom of space and replace it by giving sovereignty over space to the international community in the form of the UN. In some ways this can be seen as a back door way to get the US to agree to the 1979 Moon Treaty, which it has so far refused to accept.

    By allowing the UN to grab control of space activities and to impose limits on who can and cannot operate in space, the French government is simply continuing its policy of trying to degrade America’s space advantage. This policy backfired badly during the attempt to overlay Galileo’s operating frequencies onto those of GPS. This effort may do even more harm to French-American relations and eventually to the UN itself.

    Within the next decade it will probably be possible for Americans and other to set up privately-owned facilities in orbit and perhaps elsewhere in the Earth-Moon system. These could include space habitats as well as space solar power satellites. If the UN tries to impose heavy-handed regulations on these enterprises they will simply find ways to avoid UN control and taxation. Alternatively, it may be that these businesses will never come into existence due to the legal risks involved.

    The Law of the Sea Treaty has effectively killed most seabed mining projects. A “Space Sustainability Agreement” could do the same for most off-Earth economic activities. The result will be a poorer, hungrier, more violent world. Those who want to constrain American power in the name of peace should think about this. – The Space Review

    Sure, let’s have the UN control the undersea resources. That’s 2/3rds of the Earth’s surface. Then let’s give them control of the Moon’s resources. The Chinese will love that.

  • Dfens

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. – Declaration of Independence

    Our government puts our health and safety at risk by refusing to close our border with Mexico despite the outbreak of swine flu down there. They put the interest of multi-national corporations above those of the citizens of this nation. They sign treaties that send our jobs and livelihoods overseas and invite illegal aliens to come and take whatever few jobs are left. They take 1/3rd of what we earn. The federal government makes King George seem like a saint by comparison.