See other readings first, this is fourth in the line, November 5, 2008
Robert, F. Hawes
If you have not already, start your reading program on secession by seeking out, free online, Allen Buchanan's lovely essay on Secession in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Then buy and read Thomas Naylor's 2008 Secession: How Vermont and All the Other States Can Save Themselves from the Empire, and if you want the best over-all detailed review, also buy and read Albert Bledsoe's 1866 (eighteen sixty six) book, Is Secession Treason?. I have summarized both in earlier reviews.
This book is a solid recommended fourth reading. It replicates and complements Bledsoe's book, which the author draws on with respect while digging down to the primary sources himself.. The two books dovetail perfectly with three bottom lines:
1) The Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Paris, and the Constitution are all compacts among STATES, and the Union is a plurality of STATES, not a unity of one people.
2) Secession is not treason; secession is in fact the only moral legal option open to any state when the federal government becomes both lunatic and pathologically dangerous to the well-being of the citizens that each state represents.
3) The federal government is an administrative entity created primarily to help the STATES be competitive in commerce, and was never intended to be a “national” government with authority over the states. The author cites Thomas Jefferson on more than one occasion reiterating that the federal government is in no way its own “decider” and is always the creature of the states, in no way superior over any of them.
I am enchanted to find that the Canadian Supreme Court has ruled that Quebec does have the right to secede, something I expect to happen one day, in part because Quebec is sitting on one of two long-term sources of clean water (Scotland has the other). If that happens, Canada will logically divide in three–the eastern portion joining New England in New Arcadia, and the Western portion joining the Pacific Northwest to create Ecotopia. See Joel Garreau's The Nine Nations of North America, still the best rational study of the distinct character of each of these nine constituencies.
The author recommends Harvest Of Rage: Why Oklahoma City Is Only The Beginning and I am ordering that tonight, The federal government is not just dead, it is rotten to the core (not the good people, but the bad system), and as much as I respect President-elect Obama as an individual, I am quite certain that he will find himself neutered by the Democratic machine, as Wall Street intended when they drafted the screenplay for Election 2008: Lipstick on the Pig (Substance of Governance; Legitimate Grievances; Candidates on the Issues; Balanced Budget 101; Call to Arms: Fund We Not Them; Annotated Bibliography).
The author slams Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party that Bush-Cheney have been so fond of, pointing out that it was not secession that destroyed the Southern economy, but rather the northern attacks and the post-war “reconstruction” (carpetbagging, a precursor to Exxon and Wal-Mart). The litany of crimes against the public interest committed by Lincoln is quite fascinating, and my first exposure apart from Bledsoe to Southern revisionist history, a history I find morally compelling. I wrote a not-so-brilliant paper on the causes of the Civil War in high school (as I supposed all Advanced Placement students did), and I learn for the first time that the real cause of the war was Lincoln's desire to impose Northern values and controls over the varied territories being acquired to the West. The author points out that the Emancipation Proclamation did not free slaves in the northern or border states, and was a military act, nothing more.
The book has two special values as the fourth recommended item:
First, it is a reader with key appendices including recommended amendments to the Constitution that I do not agree with (all we need is Electoral, Governance, Intelligence, and National Security Reform, OR a dismantling of the Union which is too big, too corrupt, and too stupid to survive as is).
Second, its third part explores “modern” (that is to say, current as of 2006) arguments against secession, and as the author intends, leaves the reader quite satisfied that the USA is no less open to secession than was the Soviet Union.
He cites Patrick Buchanan's The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilization, which I also recommend as a book-end to Thomas Naylor's first book, The Vermont Manifesto along with Kirkpatrick Sale's Human Scale.
Toward the end the author provides completely new information to me on the 1993 official apology of the US Congress to the citizens of Hawaii, an apology whose language both certifies the illegality of the US overthrow of the islands, and sets the stage for Hawaii's eventual secession from the United STATES of America.
For my own inquiry, in preparation for a brief presentation on 15 November to the secessionist conference in Manchester, New Hampshire, on page 62 the author provides a valuable quote from the Constitution, Article 3, Section 3, defining Treason:
“Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against THEM, or in adhering to THEIR enemies.”
The emphasis on them and their was in the author's original rendition as italics.
I am satisfied that secession is not treason, that it is legal, and that it is moral. However, I also like the United States of America as an entity, so I am going to start looking for Governors interested in forming a Council on Nullification and Secession that will educate the public and strive to break the backs of the two criminal parties that now violate the Constitution with impunity while shutting out Independents, Libertarians, Greens, Reforms, and others. We need to achieve the four reforms, or break up the United STATES of America.
President-elect Obama is either the last act in the theater of the macabre sponsored by Wall Street, or the first act in creating a Second American Republic. We can help him out-grow the first and nurture the second.