Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

A Right To Secession?

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

States and countries don't really have any rights in the sense that individuals do.

Laws allowing a state to leave a country could be good law if formulated properly...I do not think this is the case in any existing country.

As for whether it is right for a state to secede -- it depends. If the state secedes to gain more rights for individuals, that is good. If it secedes to deny rights to individuals, that is bad.

Link to post
Share on other sites

a state has the right to secede just as the nation has the right to fight to keep it in the union. also portions of a state have the right to disagree and be broken up (ex. west virginia). if the popular vote in an area is that the people wish to leave then it is their right to do so. However the government still has the right to claim the land as its own. this is obviously how the civil war began.

Link to post
Share on other sites
a state has the right to secede just as the nation has the right to fight to keep it in the union. also portions of a state have the right to disagree and  be broken up (ex. west virginia). if the popular vote in an area is that the people wish to leave then it is their right to do so. However the government still has the right to claim the land as its own. this is obviously how the civil war began.

If people in a state have the right to secede while the government of the larger nation has the right to prevent them from seceding, then two parties have the right to the same thing in the same respect at the same time. This would violate the law of non-contradiction and therefore must be considered false.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I speak for myself (as I hope is always understood).

I do not think that states should have any ability to secede. There is strength in unity, and giving the states the ability to secede gives states the ability to tear apart and weaken the national government.

This actually has its roots on something called the Federalist vs. the Anti-Federalist at the foundation of the United States. You should look at your local bookstore for The Federalist Papers to help you understand more the great battle between-that which has more power: states or union.

Link to post
Share on other sites
If people in a state have the right to secede while the government of the larger nation has the right to prevent them from seceding, then two parties have the right to the same thing in the same respect at the same time.  This would violate the law of non-contradiction and therefore must be considered false.

explain to me why states dont have the right to secede or explain to me why the government doesnt have the right to force them to stay, because both happened. states seceded and the government forced them to stay.

Link to post
Share on other sites
explain to me why states dont have the right to secede or explain to me why the government doesnt have the right to force them to stay . . .

Since it is *not* my position that states (or rather the people therein) *don't* have the right to secede, I can't explain or defend that argument. I *can* defend the position that government does *not* have the right to force a peaceful people into a political union that they don't want, on the grounds that no government may ethically initiate force.

because both happened. states seceded and the government forced them to stay.

Well, the fact that a certain thing occurred in history does not mean that the action is ethically right. I come from the position, ariticulated by Rand among others, that man has an inalienable right to his life, to the products of his labor and to the defense of his life and property against aggressors. Now we cannot say that two men have an equally valid right to the same thing in the same place at the same time. Such a claim would be self-contradictory and therefore false. That is why we must judge as false your claim that a state has the right to secede and the central government has an equal right to use force to prevent its secession.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I do not think that states should have any ability to secede.  There is strength in unity, and giving the states the ability to secede gives states the ability to tear apart and weaken the national government.

I suppose it is refreshing to hear someone worry about the weakening of the national government. Let's be clear on how far you would go. Do you favor the immediate re-unification of Taiwan and mainland China? Obviously, Taiwan's separation weakens the People's Republic of China. Now, if your answer is that we don't want to strengthen any central government that violates individual rights, on what basis would you oppose the secession of a part of the United States that aims to restore government to its scope and size of 1787? If those in the separating territory gain a marked increase in their liberty, by what right do you declare their secession invalid? The right of the strong over the weak? The many over the few? The unfree over the free?

This actually has its roots on something called the Federalist vs. the Anti-Federalist at the foundation of the United States.  You should look at your local bookstore for The Federalist Papers to help you understand more the great battle between-that which has more power: states or union.

False. Nothing in the U.S. Constitution or the Federalist Papers endorses holding a state captive within the union. James Madison wrote in Federalist #39 that each state was “a sovereign body” only “bound by its voluntary act.” And in Federalist #46, Madison wrote that a standing army “entirely at the devotion of the federal government” could be opposed and defeated by local and state militias “fighting for their common liberties.” Even the arch-centralist Alexander Hamilton said that the central government could never make war against an American state: “To coerce a state would be one of the maddest projects ever devised. No state would ever suffer itself to be used as the instrument of coercing another.”

Link to post
Share on other sites
That is why we must judge as false your claim that a state has the right to secede and the central government has an equal right to use force to prevent its secession.

this is just a thought. in the case of the civil war wouldnt the federal government have had legal rights over the land that the states were seceding with? not to mention military bases and other federally owned facilities that would basically be lost once the state seceded, the financial loss would be astounding (though not as great as fighting a massive war). my point is that the states seceding would be stealing from the federal government. that would be justification for the government to take back their property. some might also argue that when they signed the constitution it was a binding agreement and they could not ever withdraw.

Link to post
Share on other sites

NO!!!! It was the state's property first. The way things worked out with England, each state received individual charters: no land was given to an entity called The United States of America. The states agreed to enter a CONTRACT called the Constitution. Some states thought that the federal government's end of the deal was not being properly carried out, so they decided to get out of the contract. The federal government forced them to remain in the contract.

Link to post
Share on other sites
NO!!!! It was the state's property first.  The way things worked out with England, each state received individual charters: no land was given to an entity called The United States of America.  The states agreed to enter a CONTRACT called the Constitution.  Some states thought that the federal government's end of the deal was not being properly carried out, so they decided to get out of the contract.  The federal government forced them to remain in the contract.

the united states did buy land that states occupied the civil war. the only states you speak of were the thirteen colonies and there were more than thirteen states involved in the civil war. most notably states created from the louisiana purchase.

also

when did the eminent domain law come about?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Now, if your answer is that we don't want to strengthen any central government that violates individual rights, on what basis would you oppose the secession of a part of the United States that aims to restore government to its scope and size of 1787?
As to this part, I believe that though the United States Federal government has become too large and too intrusive, I think that at the core the United States is still an individual-rights loving nation, and that as long as the United States upholds individual rights, especially the Bill of Rights, then it is within our parameters to fix through our political system (though of course, this all relies upon the dominance of an Aristotilean philosophy again into the culture). Secession would only do damage, especially when we are involved in a global war on terrorism that needs all the support we can get.

False. Nothing in the U.S. Constitution or the Federalist Papers endorses holding a state captive within the union. James Madison wrote in Federalist #39 that each state was “a sovereign body” only “bound by its voluntary act.” And in Federalist #46, Madison wrote that a standing army “entirely at the devotion of the federal government” could be opposed and defeated by local and state militias “fighting for their common liberties.” Even the arch-centralist Alexander Hamilton said that the central government could never make war against an American state: “To coerce a state would be one of the maddest projects ever devised. No state would ever suffer itself to be used as the instrument of coercing another.”

My entire purpose for speaking about the Federalist Papers was to reduce this to the argument of which should have more power, the State or the Nation. That is why I made a reference to the Federalist Papers. Also, you put words in my mouth. I never said that the Union could hold states captive.

Link to post
Share on other sites
this is just a thought. in the case of the civil war wouldnt the federal government have had legal rights over the land that the states were seceding with? not to mention military bases and other federally owned facilities that would basically be lost once the state seceded, the financial loss would be astounding (though not as great as fighting a massive war).

In 1861, virtually the only land in the Southern states that the federal government held title to were military forts, post offices and custom houses. Prior to the firing on Ft. Sumter in April, 1861, the Confederacy had sent a delegation to Washington to negotiate the peaceful transfer (with compensation) for said federal properties to the CSA, but was refused an audience with the Lincoln administration. If your point is that the federal government was the one and true owner of *all* property in the South -- even that held in private hands -- what part of the Constitution supports this claim?

my point is that the states seceding would be stealing from the federal government. that would be justification for the government to take back their property.

Unless one accepts the silly Georgist notion that all real estate properly belongs to the government and that individuals merely occupy it, there is no basis for suggesting that an individual landowner who refuses to pay taxes or allegiance to a certain gang of men calling themselves “government” has committed an act of theft.

some might also argue that when they signed the constitution it was a binding agreement and they could not ever withdraw.

1. No part of the U.S. Constitution binds any of its signatories to perpetual union.

2. As I have stated elsewhere, even the Federalists who argued for a *stronger* union than was provided for in the Articles of Confederation insisted that the union outlined in the proposed Constitution was entirely dependent on the voluntary participation of the separate states.

3. Any contractual promise signed by a member of one generation is not binding on successive generations. If my father is a member of the Rotary, am I bound to be a member of the Rotary and pay regular dues to it?

Link to post
Share on other sites
As to this part, I believe that though the United States Federal government has become too large and too intrusive, I think that at the core the United States is still an individual-rights loving nation, and that as long as the United States upholds individual rights, especially the Bill of Rights, then it is within our parameters to fix through our political system (though of course, this all relies upon the dominance of an Aristotilean philosophy again into the culture).

Actually, it is quite clear from the Brady Bill, McCain-Feingold, the Patriot Act and the other “one thousand commandments” that the federal government has placed a very low priority on upholding the Bill of Rights. "Fixing" bad laws in a democracy that regularly ignores its Constitution is a fool's errand. As long as "the final arbiter" of interpretation (the Supreme Court) is the indirect product of the popular will and not objective law, individual rights will get no fairer a hearing than in the Supreme Soviet.

Secession would only do damage, especially when we are involved in a global war on terrorism that needs all the support we can get.

So if the residents of, say New Hampshire, seceded and got the right to own weapons, support anyone’s political campaign without restriction, and not pay any income taxes to anyone, anywhere -- exactly WHOM would be damaged?

My entire purpose for speaking about the Federalist Papers was to reduce this to the argument of which should have more power, the State or the Nation.  That is why I made a reference to the Federalist Papers.  Also, you put words in my mouth.  I never said that the Union could hold states captive.

Great. The Federalist Papers say nothing about forcing a state to remain in the union. And you don’t either. So we agree. When a state declares its independence, we should let it go.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 years later...
States and countries don't really have any rights in the sense that individuals do.

Laws allowing a state to leave a country could be good law if formulated properly...I do not think this is the case in any existing country.

As for whether it is right for a state to secede -- it depends. If the state secedes to gain more rights for individuals, that is good. If it secedes to deny rights to individuals, that is bad.

The power to secede comes from the barrel of a gun. The 13 colonies seceded by force of arms from the British Empire. It was a successful secession. Hooray! We celebrate it every July 4. The Southern States attempted to secede from the Union by force of arms. A long war resulted, some 620,000 Americans died and a million and half were maimed. The secession failed. We don't celebrate this, but we do mark the date (some of us do) that Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox. In some Southern States this date is considered a dark and unhappy date.

Bob Kolker

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...