To The Un-American Secessionists

Led by Texans, the White House is being deluged with petitions from all around the nation asking that various states be allowed to secede from the U.S. because the prospect of another four years of President Obama is so heinous. My immediate reaction is that this proves that conservatives are lazier than progressives, whose solution to a similar disappointment with parties reversed in 2004 was to pack up and move to Canada, or at least to make noises about it.  Conservatives apparently want to stay at home and leave the U.S.too. How convenient.

In 2004, when liberals and Democrats were acting like spoiled brats, I posted the following essay entitled “Escape to Canada and the Ethics of Democracy.” I think it is instructive to re-publish this post unedited to clarify what is wrong with the conservative tantrum of 2012. Oh, I could have changed “left” to “right,” Canada to Texas and Bush to Obama and Alec Baldwin to Ted Nugent, but it hardly seemed necessary, for my diagnosis and conclusions are exactly the same, just with a different group. It also seems prudent to leave the essay in its original form to remind smug liberals like Jon Stewart, now having a ball mocking Republicans, that Democrats disgraced themselves in a similar manner not that long ago. Being a hysteric, an alarmist, a bad citizen and a poor loser isn’t confined to members of one partisan group—it just seems that way at the moment. Now the conservatives are the silly people who are rejecting the principles of self-government that they were fervently  lecturing us about, because, you see, those principles didn’t work out their way…this time.

Here is “Escape to Canada and the Ethics of Democracy,” from The Ethics Scoreboard on November 17, 2004:

In the wake of President Bush’s re-election, there has been an avalanche of curses, accusations and dire warnings from mourning Kerry supporters, many of them angrily impugning the intelligence, motives, or sanity of the 51% of the country who passed on the opportunity to put their champion in the White House. This sort of intemperate venting is traditional after hard-fought national elections, and is usually harmless at worst, providing that the venters return to rationality once they have let off steam.

But this election has also spawned more than the usual number of citizens who are proclaiming that “they have had enough.” The choice of the majority is so offensive to them and so ominous in its implications that they are moving to Canada. Here I am not talking about the empty bravado of movie actors like Alec Baldwin, who made this “threat” four years ago and yet still managed to hang around and torture the rest of us with movies like “The Cat in the Hat.” No, Canada is beckoning typical American citizens, if indeed we can call typical voters whose response to losing a civic debate about national policy is to take their marbles and go north.

Such a decision seems to be viewed in dark corners of the media and the left as romantic and inspiring, a demonstration of true passion and commitment. It is not. It is, rather, the conduct of those who neither comprehend the American political culture nor respect its philosophy and institutions.

Democracy is based on belief in the wisdom of the people when those people constitute an informed electorate. Interestingly, recent research has begun to show that such a belief is based on more than ideological optimism. In James Surowiecki’s fascinating book, “The Wisdom of Crowds,” the author describes many case studies that strongly suggest that large groups are often capable of making better decisions than any one member of the group alone. Why? The primary reason seems to be that when each member of a group views a choice or a problem from a slightly different perspective, the cumulative effect of their judgements, though each by itself may be inadequate or flawed, is deep and perceptive. That conclusion is consistent with the history of democracy in this country, which in two centuries of being guided by majority vote has reached levels of achievement that no other system has matched.

But democracy requires that each citizen taking part in the process believe in and respect it. Even when one is shocked by an election’s outcome, a voter must be able to acknowledge, with no small investment of faith, that the majority’s decision may contain wisdom that the individual might have missed. This is critical to the strength of our institutions, as America always must balance its celebration of individualism with its recognition that even the most independent among us must make concessions to the welfare of the community. The citizens who react to the election of someone other than their favored candidate with an abandonment of the community have signaled their breach of a promise. For just as your political opponents take part in an election agreeing to abide by the wisdom of the majority, so must you. To expect them to abide by your will if it prevails while being unwilling to reciprocate in kind is both unfair and dishonest, and is evidence of an unwillingness to commit to democracy as a either a concept or as a governing tool.

If you only support democracy when it supports you, then your version of it differs little from the “democracy” practiced by Stalin, Saddam Hussein, and other despots, who received overwhelming majorities in elections because the electorate knew that no contrary vote would be tolerated…or survived.

The discouraged Kerry supporter, Andrew Veal, who recently killed himself in despair at Ground Zero, constructed his own fantasy totalitarian American state that punished him for opposing the majority. But of course, the state that took his life existed only in his mind. In America we honor and encourage an election’s minority, because we know that it may well contain the seeds of the next majority given the intervention of time, history, and consideration. After the 25 year old’s body was discovered, Jeffim Kuznetsov, a student friend of Veal’s, said, “This election is devastating to all who believe in democracy.” And he was completely wrong.

If you believe in American democracy, then the election cannot be “devastating.” Disappointing, puzzling perhaps, but not devastating. America, as it has in the past, has just observed two competing candidates for the highest American office and made a judgement…passionately, peacefully, and finally. The continuation of the process is for all sides to accept the outcome, hope fervently that the winner does well for the country and the world, and pledge their assistance when it is needed. Blowing yourself to Kingdom Come, or, slightly less desperately, exiling yourself to the Great White North, is both a rejection of democracy and an effort to undermine it.

Ah, but some of our aspiring Canadians cite survival as their true motive. The policies of President Bush, they say, portend disaster, eventual annihilation by the Muslim zealots whose hatred we have fanned into fury. How can one question an action taken for self-preservation?

Easily, and the argument does not even have to dismantle the highly dubious logic behind an aspiring emigrant’s fears. America and Americans have benefited greatly from the country’s natural advantages, one of which has been its geographical removal from the epicenter of most of the world’s wars. With the help of those advantages, the country has had the chance to carry out a risky 200 year experiment in freedom, and through its results has become the most productive, creative, comfortable, rich and powerful nation on earth. Correctly and ethically, the country has not chosen to isolate itself and hoard its blessings, but has been willing to risk lives and resources on behalf of the cause of freedom worldwide. Success and visibility now has made America the prime target of cultures and organizations that see us as symbolic of all that is wrong with their world, and for the first time, American citizens must live with the same risk of potential harm that European civilians have lived with for centuries. Now, after absorbing all of America’s benefits in relative safety, we have come to a time when we each need to take a more active part in the support of American principles, and be willing to face potential danger in the process.

We owe our country that much, and more. Fleeing to Canada is an arrogant and ignorant act, and it is also profoundly cowardly. John Kerry isn’t taking his millions and flying off to a life as a professional wind-surfer in Pago-Pago; he’s going to stay in Washington D.C. and work for America. He believes in democracy, and just as he has before, he is willing to risk his safety on her behalf. In his quintessentially American commitment to our institutions and values, Kerry has antecedents going all the way back to the founding of the United States, when Pennsylvania’s John Dickenson, the Continental Congress’s most eloquent and passionate voice against American severance from the British Empire, refused to vote for ratification of the Declaration of Independence. Then, still convinced that the Revolution was folly and would lead to disaster, he joined the army and fought for the fledgling United States of America.

Canada is a wonderful country, but its aspirations, values and influence on the world are profoundly different from those of its flamboyant southern neighbor. Being an American has always meant more than simply living in America. It signifies traits of character and idealism, including perseverance, respect, determination, responsibility, citizenship, sacrifice, risk-taking, and courage. Abandoning America when the majority opposed them was not in the repertoire of John Adams, or Abraham Lincoln, or Frederick Douglass, or Susan B. Anthony, or Samuel Gompers, or Martin Luther King, or Ralph Nader. It is the impulse of Thomas Paine’s “summer soldier,” who doesn’t understand that the rights and benefits of freedom carry responsibilities as well, one of which is to stay and fight for what you believe. So, sadly, this leaves only one thing to say to the distraught Kerry supporters on their way to Canada.



Graphic: Dallas Voice

170 thoughts on “To The Un-American Secessionists

  1. Personally leaving a country is not the same as seceding. Depending on the circumstances, personally leaving can be okay. For instance, if Romney had won, people with preexisting health conditions would be justified in worrying that their healthcare would be terminated. They, though, still wouldn’t be justified in seceding.

    • Equivocation. Social Security is retirement income that was paid for by the employees. If you call that a welfare benefit, are congressional salaries also welfare? What about private retirement funds? Welfare, right?

      There are legitimate reasons to distrust the wisdom of the country as a whole, but your attempted example isn’t one of them.

      • No, Hard fact. When people become dependent on government for their livelihood, that government controls them. The purpose of the Constitution was to maintain a closely strictured federal government that would not intrude on the necessary independence of free citizens. Through our neglect, those restrictions have failed. Thus, we are now faced with a federal entity that knows no limits and recognizes none for the future. Congress has little authority, the federal courts disdain the Constitution and the president ignores it completely, ruling virtually by edict. This is no longer a constitutional republic… and it will only get worse when Obama’s engineered failure of the economy commences. The issue is not so much that of out and out secession. As the sponsors will tell you, those petitions are intended merely to send a message. State sovereignty under the Constitution is the prime goal. Secession will follow, though, when Obama’s enforcers try to reduce all Americans under his despotism. This action is the only way now to preserve our national heritage and liberties. We don’t abandon America. Hardly! We abandon an ilicit federal government which has, in turn, abandoned all virtue.

        • I have no idea where the “No, hard fact” part comes into play, and I don’t see anything afterwards to redeem it. The comment about “Obama’s enforcers”, though, is highly entertaining. As is complaining that a duly elected official is an “illicit federal government”

          • “Duly elected”? I think not. Not ever in Obama’s life, actually. The enforcers can be found in the ranks of many of the hundreds of federal enforcement and investigative agencies- a number of which not only have paramilitary arms, but have flamboyantly exercised that power as they will. It didn’t start in Waco, nor has it ended there by any means. Yesterday, the first cadres of what Obama first called the National Civilian Defense Force completed their training under FEMA. There are too many events coming together along lines that have grim parallels in the 20th Century alone. The situation is plain enough when you aren’t in denial… or ideologically in league with the oppressors.

            • “Duly elected”? I think not. Not ever in Obama’s life, actually Do you have evidence that Obama was not elected? I won’t hold my breath.

              The rest is pure conspiracy theory of shady programs. There is no National Civilian Defense Force.

              • When has Obama ever won an election without fraud, deceit and slander? Even against fellow Democrats! And we still don’t have hard evidence of his actual citizenship.

                I only wish it was “conspiracy theory”. BATFE and its list of outrages is real. The FBI is no longer anything like the bureau that once defended America. The TSA is expanding. Agency after agency. Your claim that the NCDF doesn’t exist is, at best, wishful thinking. It’s forming even now. And it has a purpose in mind. Some of us haven’t forgotten the Cultural Revolution.

                • Again, no evidence of anything to invalidate the election (or any of Obama’s elections). Throw in a red herring about deceit and slander (I can’t name a single Republican or Democratic nominated presidential candidate in my lifetime who didn’t use some deceit and slander) and add a dash of birtherism for taste.

                  The NCDF is forming now, but there isn’t a single mention of it on google since July, and less than a dozen in the last year? If a class of these enforcers just graduated, you’d think that there’d be some evidence of this somewhere.

      • Whether or not you consider it a welfare program politicians will still buy votes by promising to increase it or at least not cut it. Eventually we’re going to end up with a situation where the people who work for a living are outweighed by the people who vote for a living and at that point the wisdom of the crowd will be a laughable concept. Democracy will be a joke too when China rolls us like a 3am drunk and there is nothing we can do about it.

        • Fulfilling contracts is now “vote buying”. Nice.

          Vote for a living? Seriously? You think older people who paid into social security for years “vote for a living”?

          • Call it whatever you want but the fact remains that a large segment of the population has been given a financial incentive to vote a certain way. I think you would have to be fairly obtuse not to consider that a form of vote buying. This isn’t just about social security either there are plenty of other groups who have similar incentives.

            • So, if something is financially beneficial to you, that something is vote buying? Romney’s plan to cut investment income must have been vote buying. A plan to improve infrastructure is vote buying. A plan to increase the military is vote buying. A plan to reduce regulation is vote buying.

              You’ve defined vote buying out of having any meaning.

              • There are going to be winners and losers anytime the government spends money so I accept that you can’t totally prevent the government from producing perverse incentives for voters. However when it comes to social security and welfare I couldn’t design a better system for buying a large block of loyal voters. I think the number of people who support military spending, infrastructure spending or investment income tax cuts simply because they stand to benefit personally from it is small compared to the number of people who will vote on those issues. The number of voters influenced by government spending on entitlements on the other hand is a significant portion of the total voters.

                    • Don’t need to here. You’re the one making a conclusion about the reasoning and cause and claim this situation is different from other situations. That means the onus is on you. All you’ve said is that you think A, B, and C, but you haven’t given any reasons to believe A, B, and C.

                      You don’t need to go into geology to point out that my statement that the moon is made of green cheese is silly and unsupported. My statement uses the same lack of logic as yours. Denying my statement invalidates your logic. It’s pretty simple stuff.

                  • Stupid, unsupported,and biased. Your ego the size of that green cheese moon? Start your own blog and spend hours and hours arguing with yourself. This “quote and comment” style of yours is boring in the extreme, and maybe you have the time to do it, but many others have more important things to do than read your screeds… You could call it “tgt’”

                  • “And I think the moon is made of green cheese. That doesn’t make it true.”

                    Cite your evidence for your belief, TGT. Give me at least ten links to someone other than Chris Matthews and Noam Chompsky. Don’t bother with Scientology, Wicca, GLSEN, the White House or Gaea the Earth Goddess, either. Then deliver to me at least five pounds of the solid lactic substance in question (Fed Ex) with an authenticity statement from Buzz Aldrin. And if you answer me with a straw man or a red herring, I’ll scream, cry and jump down a manhole.

                    There. I feel better for that.

          • I think people who paid into SS for years were sold a bill of goods. Because I understand basic math, I also know that the majority of recipients receive benefits far in excess of what they have paid in. Further, the whole mess is actuarially unsound. So yeah, it’s welfare, and many vote with an eye to continuing it. Also, it’s a screw job for employers, encourages intergenerational strife and saps ambition and the urge to save for oneself. Further, it’s an unkeepable promise as structured, has been repeatedly robbed by our leaders, and has been politicized to the point that people like you respond like Pavlov’s dog at it’s mention: spewing political talking points all over this nice blog.
            Please respond by listing 15 or 20 questions/links/talking points that are only tentatively connected to anything I said here. If possible, write a long post recapping the argument to date, with particular emphasis on those points that you feel you won. In short, just do the usual…

            • Because I understand basic math, I also know that the majority of recipients receive benefits far in excess of what they have paid in.

              I’d like to see this basic math. The normal knock is that people receive less. Also, there’s this thing called interest…

              Further, the whole mess is actuarially unsound.


              Also, it’s a screw job for employers, encourages intergenerational strife and saps ambition and the urge to save for oneself.

              How does it cause intergenerational strife?

              Where’s the sap of ambition?

              What’s your evidence that the urge to save for oneself is affected. My understanding is that nonsavers are nonsavers with and without social security.

              Further, it’s an unkeepable promise as structured,


              has been repeatedly robbed by our leaders

              True, but irrelevant

              and has been politicized to the point that people like you respond like Pavlov’s dog at it’s mention: spewing political talking points all over this nice blog.

              What political talking points have I “spewed” here? I agree that Social Security has been politicized, but that’s not a reason to get rid of Social Security.

              Please respond by listing 15 or 20 questions/links/talking points that are only tentatively connected to anything I said here. If possible, write a long post recapping the argument to date, with particular emphasis on those points that you feel you won. In short, just do the usual…

              Citation needed.

              • “There you go again.” — Ronald Reagan. Really,I’d like to see something better in this dialogue. I would skip your comments but they’re just so incredibly egotistical, and smug that I sometimes I can’t help myself. You’re using Jack’s blog as your own… I think he should put a word limit on comments. Again, if you’re so brilliant, start your own blog and stop using Jack’s as your own.

              • Look out, Joe. Tiggy wants another citation! Probably a presidential one, but it’ll likely turn out a municiple one for not using biodegradable trash bags.

                No one wants to get rid of SS- mainly because too many have been forced to invest too much for too long. That their “investment” was promptly stolen by the government for other dependency programs is now incidental perforce. But it can be privatized and young people given an opt-out until we CAN divest outselves out of something that was inherently unconstitutional from the get-go.

                Unfortunately, the economic collapse that Obama has rigged will likely make all that academic.

                • Tiggie (I love it) and his citations. Sick to death of these requests. Why does he even believe half of HIS own “citations?” Besides, people are afraid, and that’s not easy to measure. Citations be damned. I used to believe that the US government would continue in its inexorable, three branch system, regardless of who was president. Now I don’t. Experience does teach.

                  • The separation of powers was intended not only to keep too much power out of one branch, but to guard against one going out of control. The framers knew, however, that too many checks would render the government terminally ineffective. They struck a good balance. The bottom line, however, always has to be enough good people who not only understand the concept, but are willing to defend it; both elected officials and the electorate itself. The concept was excellent. There were just too many foolish, evil and ambitious people in our time to sustain it. This is what Franklin meant by, “A republic… if you can keep it”.

                • Tiggs is either transcendantly obtuse or a very funny satirist. All current evidence points to the former, sadly. I’ve told him that he’s tiresome, ‘Elizabeth I’ has told him he’s boring. I believe that he takes these comments to mean that his superior arguments have whipped us into submission; he seems unable to grasp the reality that he is, in fact, tiresome and boring. Concise, punchy and brief: to Tiggs, these are just words to be looked up in order to challenge how they were used in someones argument.

                  • He can be a decent enough guy, Joe. I don’t hate him, even though our arguments get a little heated at times. But he does resort to sophistry and pettyfogging a bit too much. His unrelenting disdain for Christianity tends to color his outlook. Understand, too, what it is he feels he must otherwise defend! Yet, we’ve found ourselves in agreement at times, despite being poles apart in our basic worldviews. I guess we’re a case study in contrasts. We probably make Jack’s day when we get into an extended row!

                    • Tiggie is BORING because he can’t make his case in less than 5,000 words, doesn’t want a dialogue, only a rant, and has serious ego problems.

                    • But he does resort to sophistry and pettyfogging a bit too much.

                      Citation needed. I know you’re partially defending me here from an invalid attack, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to let general accusations go.

                      His unrelenting disdain for Christianity tends to color his outlook.

                      I have a disdain for false belief and irrationality. That’s considered healthy by most people. Even you, I suspect! Most people, though, tend not to understand that their pet religion is just as invalid as all the other religions and unfounded beliefs. For instance, I thought Hinduism was ridiculous when I was a kid, and I was a good, practicing Catholic. That I don’t hold christian religions as special is more a coloring of my belief than the fact that I don’t see oak trees as special.

                      Understand, too, what it is he feels he must otherwise defend!

                      I don’t understand this. Am I missing a reference?

                      Yet, we’ve found ourselves in agreement at times, despite being poles apart in our basic worldviews. I guess we’re a case study in contrasts. We probably make Jack’s day when we get into an extended row!

                      Absolutely. When we play in shared reality, we tend to get to the same conclusions. The problems come when religion and faith are introduced. Despite being completely invalid, you give them a special standing of truth, and our disagreements tend to terminate in circular renditions of me calling for logic and evidence and you calling for faith.

                      We’re representative of sides that have been at war for thousands of years. Some people put faith and certainty foremost, while others point out that certainty can be a great negative when you are incorrect, and without evidence and logic, there’s no way to determine whether or not you are correct.

                      For those who subscribe to faith, my arguments will fall on deaf ears, no matter how valid they are. For those who subscribe to logic, your arguments grate.

                      That though, is a simplification. Even the devout still grab an umbrella or a raincoat when the weatherman says there’s a 100% chance of rain. And even I, someone who champions logic above all, continue to find out that beliefs I’ve held are unsupported.

                      The fight between logic and faith is timeless and ongoing. There are significant benefits to blind belief, so I suspect it isn’t going anywhere. Still, I find it right and just to fight against it. You, believing in your faith wholeheartedly, find it right and just to fight for it.

                      Seeing 2 intelligent true believers fight for there cause? Until we get to the circles, I’d say that’s wildly entertaining.

                    • @Elizabeth I

                      Tiggie is BORING because he can’t make his case in less than 5,000 words, doesn’t want a dialogue, only a rant, and has serious ego problems.

                      That my arguments take multiple words may be boring, but it doesn’t make them invalid.

                      I’m all for dialogue. See all my calls for evidence? If I’m wrong and you’re right, I want to be corrected. If I’m the one making a claim, ask me for evidence for positions you don’t agree with and then show me where my logic is faulty. If you’re the one making a claim that I don’t believe, show me the evidence.

                      I’m completely open. You’re confusing strident with closed-minded and long with invalid.

                      As for ego? Yes, I have a large ego when it comes to rational thought, and I’m sure it comes through in my writing. While that might be offputting, it doesn’t invalidate what I say. If the only thing in my arguments you can attack is my tone, then you’ve lost the war.

                  • Being called tiresome and boring is not refutation.

                    Reality is ugly and messy, so short statements are often impossible. That you do not like my style does not suggest that a single word I have written is false or that one you have written is true.

                    • That’s it? No way. Why…it’s, it’s…so short. Here, let me help:
                      Try, “Calling one” instead of “Being called”. The level of pedantry we all know you can achieve requires being a stickler for grammar and spelling. Get on that, would you?
                      “Reality is ugly and messy”, hmmm…I’m gonna need a citation or two on that. Frankly, that’s simply your unsupported opinion. I find reality to be beautiful and orderly. You saying it is not does not make it otherwise.
                      “short statements are often impossible.” No they’re not. See?
                      That I do not like your style suggests that your presentation is so bad that any sane human will disregard what you say as too tiresome, boring, confrontational and pedantic to bother with attempting to discern whether it contains any meaningful thought.
                      Every single word you’ve written is false, including ‘and’ and ‘the’. (Thanks Dorothy Parker!). Also, everything you know is wrong. (Thanks Firesign Theater!) Seriously, can’t you find something to teach at a community college or something? Bore those poor kids. They may mistake your laborious hectoring for thoroughness.

                    • Joe,

                      Yes, my claim that reality is ugly and messy is something I’d have to support if you disagree. You actually attacked something properly and directly there! Congrats. The rest fails, but that one statement (while I don’t think you believe it for a second) is something I could be called on.

                      So, why do I say reality is ugly and messy? We’ll start with a simple forest ecosystem. There’s likely tens of thousands of species of animals, plants, bacteria, and viruses all interconnected. Changing over time, but generally stable. I find that beautiful. I find that orderly as well…but only on the grand scale. There are young creatures constantly dying. Species preying upon each other. Sometimes there are interworkings for mutual benefit, like bees pollinating plants while the plants provide sustenance for the bees, but there are also situations where conflict and cheating is to great benefit, like plants that mimic the sustenance providing plants while not actually provide sustenance. The ugly conflicts abound: parasites, mimicry, predators, competition for mates, etc… A fox killing a rabbit is both beautiful and horrible in the same instant. It’s perfectly orderly while life is ripped into meat. And it’s not just for food (which is messy enough). Even well fed domestic cats, the kind the curl up in your lap and go into purr mode, are likely killing animals for fun ( The world is brutal. It’s complicated as well. If wolves are roaming into towns and killing livestock, we could just kill the wolves. That’ll solve our problem. But then the deer population explodes, and the deer demolish certain plant populations, which throw entire sub ecosystems of insects and small lizards and rodents into chaos, which feed back into the larger animals and plants. Killing wolves could create a desert…or a tropical paradise…or anything in between. We can come up with a catchy slogan for why wolves are bad or wolves are good, but neither will accurately reflect the wolves place.

                      Do I need to go into more situations? The demonstrable counterintuitive behaviors of humans? Unnecessarily complex and ridiculous features of anatomy? I can if necessary.

                      As for your other statements, making fun of my word choices doesn’t say anything about my content, showing examples of good short statements doesn’t mean that short statements can be used in all situations, attacking my style continues to say nothing of the substance, that you do not like my style does not suggest that others will find it impossible to slog through (the no true scotsman you threw in there will at least make Jack happy), your quote of an emotionally powerful and funny attack line doesn’t make it valid, and your final complaint about my style still says nothing of my substance.


                      I will say that if my style is off putting, constructive criticism would be greatly appreciated. Saying that I go on to long and that I’m boring isn’t helpful. Maybe “you used synonymous adjectives” or “I’d find the third paragraph more persuasive if it was in the third person and used X as an example instead of Y.”

                    • Let me nutshell my position thus;
                      In the music business, there are performers who are known to be unpleasant. Some are tolerated better than others. It comes down to ability. The common saying is: “he doesn’t play well enough to be such an asshole!”
                      I don’t think you play very well at all, tgt..

                    • Sure Joe, but that you don’t think I play well at all isn’t evidence that I didn’t play well. Unless you point out where I’m offbeat or missing notes, your comment is worthless.

                • What’s the benefit of privatizing social security? The whole point of it was that people don’t save in general and that leads to issues later. If you allow an opt out, there’s no point in doing it at all. A privatized social security (moving forward) with an opt out is just a suggested IRA. Why have it at all.

                  The economic collapse occurred pre-Obama. The economy has actually gotten better by, well, EVERY margin since Obama took office.

  2. Last I heard all but 2 states petitioned for secession. I’m thinking this is unprecedented. Personally,I think GW and Obama were and are dangerous. I remember Bush saying he would like to have a dictatorship in this country…as long as he was the dictator. Not funny.

        • All 50 states, now. And the number of petitioners is swelling dramatically. As the economy nears the brink in January and as the evidence of massive voter fraud continues to come forth, the more people will look to their own states for redress. There is none forthcoming from Washington, which is the ultimate source of the troubles we face.

            • I’ve been reading a lot of sources, including cases already confirmed in a local court right here in Houston. Of course, as the judge was a Democrat, the Harris DP got away with an admonition. Fraudulent voting has been essentially decriminalized.

                • All over the place, TGT. And more keep coming all the time. Hell, I’m not wading back through all that. Access my Facebook page and you’ll find some. From there, you’ll find more. I don’t have the time to be your librarian.

                  • In my experience, without exception,those without enough time to give evidence don’t want that evidence – even if it exists – examined too closely..

                    For a full rebuttal of every link on your FB page, see my own. Sauce for the goose etc.

                    Here’s a start:

                    Explained by voters being given two cards to vote with. Three in some counties. Easily checkable. See the comments.

                    The Ohio precinct with 100% voter turnout, 100% Obama votes? Two voters there. Both voted.

                    • If you sayyy so, Zoe. Please check out my link that lists two dozen instances. And that’s just for starters. BTW: Don’t give me that off hand accusation of deceptivity. That’s what your side does for a living. I’ve seen enough evidence of leftist electoral malfeasance right here in Houston… and over time. Your side isn’t big into ethics, freedom or America, so these stories came as no surprise to me. Only the extent.

                    • Karla,

                      Did you see Zoe’s takedown of some of SMP’s examples? There’s no question there’s no evidence of voter fraud in either of them, but SMP tries to skirt the clear refutation with sarcasm.

                      Why do you think voter fraud is real?

                    • Obama won the Black vote 93%-6% and, by all estimates, the poor black vote by considerably more than that. Throw in that people with like views tend to clump together and Obama winning entire precincts of black voters is LIKELY.

                      Cuyahoga county has election results going back to 2000 online: The votes for Obama this year don’t look out of step from 4 years ago.

                      Funny how that’s not mentioned in the link.

                      Hell, Bush got single digit votes in many of those districts (and zero in a couple), and Obama won considerably more of the black vote nationally than Kerry.

                      That’s not mentioned in the link either.


                      The partial evidence looks damning, but in context, it’s what a statistician would expect.

                    • Nice try, TGT. But the point, if you read more carefully, is of THAT many unanswered votes in THAT many precincts and THOSE areas of cities that are no less corrupt than Chicago. Even in the “blackest” areas of Houston, Republicans pick up some votes. Allowing for there being some precincts that are in mental lockstep, the sheer bulk of them in a single area- and in those numbers of votes (some well in excess of the number of registered voters) is, by itself, indicative of organized fraud to any reasonable person.

                    • SMP,

                      Nice try, TGT. But the point, if you read more carefully, is of THAT many unanswered votes in THAT many precincts and THOSE areas of cities that are no less corrupt than Chicago.

                      The corruption charge is a circular argument and invalid. As noted already, the results match generally expected behavior. They aren’t out of step with past votes and follow from the general statistics. You might think it’s odd that there were a couple dozen precincts with no Romney votes, but that doesn’t mean it actually is odd. I find it odd that anyone would vote for Romney, but it’s not actually odd.

                      Even in the “blackest” areas of Houston, Republicans pick up some votes. Allowing for there being some precincts that are in mental lockstep, the sheer bulk of them in a single area- and in those numbers of votes (some well in excess of the number of registered voters) is, by itself, indicative of organized fraud to any reasonable person.

                      Again statistics. That there are some areas in lockstep is to be expected. That other areas are not is also to be expected. It’s standard variation. Houston and Ohio have surface level similarities, but the details aren’t the same. Philadelphia had the same pattern of voting as Cleveland and South Central LA had the same pattern as Houston. This is normal and natural variation.

                      The claim that there were move votes than registered voters was not brought up in that article, so it’s irrelevant here. It’s also a false claim, but we don’t need to get into that.

    • It’s not funny NOW, Karla. We didn’t have to worry about Bush pursuing such a goal. Obama IS. Technically, TGT is right when he says that no STATE has filed for secession, but that’s misleading. If a state government decides to secede, it would merely say so and do it… as before. This is a matter of citizens. But what is a nation (even now) BUT citizens. As Daniel Miller (Texas Nationalists) said last night on Fox, no one presenting these petitions expects them to do a bit of good. It’s a matter of making a public statement. And not just to White House, but to the nation and, particularly, to their individual states. BTW: There are now petitions (sometimes more than one) from every state, now. Vermont was the last!

        • He also unwittingly created what is likely the chief instrument by which Obama will impose actual, forceful tyranny- The Deptartment of Homeland Security. Admittedly, he was under much pressure to do so, but he should have forseen the consequences of such measures in the hands of others less nobly inclined.

          “Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it.”- Milton Friedman

        • People are afraid and Monday Morning Quarterbackingis rampant.. Did Truman think the Hiroshima/Nagasaki bomb would usher in 50 years of an arms race? No, He wanted to save about 800,000 American soldiers’ lives if we didn’t have to invade Japan? Law of unintended consequences. How could Bush have known that the Patriot Act and Homeland Security would later be used by others as a weapon against their own citizens? Both Truman and Bush acted “in the moment,” never a good idea (I’ll never understand the Nagasaki bombing so soon after Hiroshima, e.g.) but neither did the Founders expect that the “right” to “privacy” would institutionalize abortion in this country either. A lot of sensible people are right to be afraid of a second four years of Obama, considering his performance over the first four, and I’m one of them. Threatening to secede is simply a demonstration of that fear, and Texas has a right to express it.

      • They have a right — and the experience for four years — of the coming four, and we’re on our way to tyranny. It’s not a temper tantrum, it’s (as stated before) an expression of real fear about what the next four years will bring.

  3. While I agree that the strength of Democracy lies in accepting its results as they are handed down, the difficulty this time – and in recent elections, as well as elections to come – is the growing sense that the federal government has slipped its moorings. We are supposed to maintain control over it via elections, but faith in the electoral process, the voting process, the accountability process, and the judical process are being rapidly eroded from multiple directions. When you have faith that the break is there when you need it, you can rest easy if your car starts to slide out of control. If you begin to wonder if the brake pedal is actually connected to anything, your only options are seek proof that it is connected, or get a new car. For those who were waiting for this election to see if the brakes were still connected, they received little reassurance.

    Secession is not the answer – or, if it is, it is as much of one as Obamacare: the problems it will create will FAR outweigh the problems it solves. As none of this legally binding, right now I’m classifying it under grumbling and making displeasure felt, all of which are still good things when it comes to the government/citizen relationship. When they start passing bills, then I’ll worry about it. Unfortunately however, the grumbling – and the fighting, and the distrust, and the riots are going to get worse until we take steps to reinforce the American people’s faith that the system is still working – and both parties, every office position, and the media are going to have to work together to fix it. Or at least stop trying to tear it down in exchange for a handful of votes and a better shot at getting ‘their guy’ to the top of the totem pole.

      • I hear what you say, Aaron. But, as you also say, the federal system is also broken and corrupted in too many ways. I’m sure that most of the petitioners hope that the threat alone will help. I fear, though, that that hope is in vain. That’s because I’m convinced that all this is not the result of simple corruption and/or ineptitude, but a plan in effect. And if we wait for the collapse, the unrest and the federal enforcers that will follow, it’ll be too late to derail that plan- the goal of which is “progressive” domination under an unfettered central government. The only hope of avoiding this appears to be an alternate union of states to eventually bring the leftist cabal to heel.

  4. 40% of the public wasn’t concerned enough to vote. Silence means consent. 72% of the public is either happy with Obama or not worried enough to get off its ass and do something to effect change. The losers always think things are going to hell—you’re deluded if you think this is any different than 2004, 2000, 1996, 1972, 1968, 1964, 1936, or 1932,

    • Jack, I do think now is very different from all those other times. I’m not for secession, or emigration; I agree largely with Aaron.

      I am convinced that the country is in the opposite circumstances of those where the thesis of “The Wisdom of Crowds” is validated. Two major political parties – for many generations up to now, each sufficiently strong within themselves to sustain healthy, “bipartisan” competitions for power – now seem to be capitalizing the most upon (and thus are most dependent upon) irrationality and lack of independence of thought (if I am understanding chief causes of “unwise crowds” correctly).

      In regard to ethics, it seems that enough Americans have crossed a Rubicon to the neglect of an effectively functioning democratic form of government – a government sustained by individuals’ sovereignty over property and even, over their own behavior (let alone property which individuals have produced solely by their own efforts) – that “democracy” is now a sham. Greed, envy, and probably more motives of unethical behavior have poisoned a prevailing notion among the people that individuals’ sovereignty over property is a worthy (or trustworthy) basis for sustaining a society, let alone a basis for sustaining a just form of government.

      Perhaps ironically as a result, tyrants and their tyranny are ascendant as never before, as governments, whether federal, state or local, utterly fail at self-restraint in governance, and show no other trait more unmistakably than an insatiable appetite for commitment of ever more resources (call that “spending”) plus institutionalization of ever more controls and control mechanisms (call those “regulation”) to pacification of the people, ostensibly according to their most urgent interests. However, only tyrants chiefly benefit from such an appetite; and yet, that is the state of America that most Americans seem to want.

      Oh, well: Tyrants, it seems according to history, inevitably gain the upper hand. Thus America’s democratic institutions, individuals’ sovereignty over property, and largely unregulated capitalism have merely delayed the onset of tyranny; they have proved ultimately unsuccessful at immunizing the society against the onset of tyranny, and at aborting the ascendance of tyrants.

      I have tried to say in at least one other comment that I do not see a civil way forward to an American society that is more universally/pervasively, constantly, and sustainably prosperous. I would so love to live long enough to know that I simply failed to see that civil way forward. But I do not believe there is, or ever will be, a single generation that will be capable of restoring or preserving a republic, like America has been in its most prosperous and promising (bygone) days, and capable of doing that preservation in spite of the profligacy of so many preceding generations as has afflicted the United States.

    • “40% of the public wasn’t concerned enough to vote. Silence means consent. 72% of the public is either happy with Obama or not worried enough to get off its ass and do something to effect change.”

      Jack, be careful. Rape of a sleeping woman is still rape, i.e. non-consensual.

    • You forgot 1960, Jack. That was the year that massive voter fraud may first have swung a presidential election. The Daley Machine in Chicago was the key player in that one. Now, half a century later, they’ve perfected the technique with one of their own as beneficiary.

    • Actually, the best way to avoid secession would be to make November “Civil War History Month”. Only an idiot thinks they could secede without military intervention.

      The Constitution only defines one penalty for treason.

      • Actually, the best way to avoid secession would be to make November “Civil War History Month”. Only an idiot thinks they could secede without military intervention.

        How will the military pay its troops if the dollar collapses?

      • The treason comes when a party seeped and founded in treason seeks the demise of the very document that defines America- the US Constitution. What can be more hypocritical than the Democrats accusing ANYONE of treason?

  5. The United states as a nation was founded on secession from Britain, as a response to “a history of repeated injuries and usurpations”. It is absurd to maintain that those very states whose secession is celebrated every July 7th – and those who joined them by conquest and by purchase – do not have themselves the right to further secede from the United States if they should in their turn be subjected to “a history of repeated injuries and usurpations”.

    Everyone must judge for themselves whether the actions of the Federal government include “injuries and usurpations”, and if they judge that they do, they must then judge at what level of injury and usurpation ‘enough becomes enough’.

    I take it as a given that many people will consider that, amongst some or all of the Federal governments actions in warrantless wire-taps, drone killings, intrusive TSA searches, opposition to voter id laws, gun-walking, medical marjuana raids, regime-change operations, bail-outs, the GM bankruptcy case, prohibition of exploitation of oil and gas reserves, gutting of past welfare reforms, half-baked healthcare reforms, deep deficits, massive federal debt, unconstrained entitlement costs, interest rate manipulation, selective waivers, crony capitalism, FEMA failures, whatever: amongst these are a number of injuries and usurpations.

    The point at issue, for an individual is, is this situation tolerable, and if so, is it likely to remain so in my future and my family’s ? Or if it is not tolerable now, is it likely to be become tolerable in my future and my family’s by dint of my own and others’ political activism ?

    If one finds the current situation intolerable, and likely to remain so, then the right action depends on what others believe. If one lives in a state where a large number of the neighbours seem to share the same view that ‘enough is enough’ right now, then to seek secession of the state is in no way unethical, it is rather a duty in that doing so may preserve and enhance for everyone such liberties as remain after 200+ years of politics and warfare, both being corrosive to actual liberty and to the US constitution as guarantor, through the judiciary, of liberties.

    If one lives in a state where the prevailing opinion is that ‘there is no problem’ or that ‘things are not so bad right now’ then clearly moving to another state or another country is not only a reasonable thing to do, it is pretty much a duty to oneself and ones family. The argument that it is unethical to emigrate from a nation populated by emigrants is absurd on its face.

    You state that “Being an American has always meant more than simply living in America. It signifies traits of character and idealism, including perseverance, respect, determination, responsibility, citizenship, sacrifice, risk-taking, and courage. ”

    Are you saying that, if for example Texas secedes, Texans, by dint of ceasing to be Americans, will cease to have those traits ? Or if an individual American makes a new home in, for example Switzerland, that he will cease to have those traits ? Or that there is an ethical duty placed on Americans by dint of being Americans to use those traits in the service of America, even if America appears in opposition to his own life, liberty and happiness ? In my view Americans do not exist to serve America – America exists to serve Americans. And when America fails to do so, both secession and emigration are very reasonable alternatives.

    The significance of the recent election is that many who view the current situation as intolerable were hoping that Romney would win and roll back at least some of the recent usurpations. They have been disappointed, just as were those who in 2008 hoped that Obama would roll back some of the usurpations of Bush – in some cases the very same individuals. It is no surprise to me that secession is being discussed by some 000’s of people now.

    • This is blather.

      1. The American revolution is irrelevant to secession: the colonists were not accorded their rights a British citizens, had no self-determination as far as the sovereign was concerned, and were subjects of a monarchy, not participation in a democracy.
      2. What “many people” think is irrelevant. The majority of those who chose to vote decided that the current government was acceptable to them. Almost as many chose to shrug the whole thing off because it wasn’t important enough to them to vote. Nobody held a gun to anyone’s head. Nothing stopped the current leaders from being thrown out except that fact that those citizens who chose to be responsible voted to keep them.
      3. Those are the rules. Americans who don’t want to abide by them are by definition in-American, which figures, since they want to leave America.
      4. Your list is different but the subtext is the same. You know better than the majority. Too bad. That’s not democracy.
      5. I’m saying that Texans who seek to secede may think they have those traits, but in truth they do not believe in democracy, support American ideals, or embrace the traditions and culture of America…and are sore losers. By definition.
      6. It is no surprise to me that there are a lot of people that don’t comprehend, much less live by, basic ethical principles like citizenship, integrity, fairness, proportion, responsibility, accountability and respect. That’s why I have a job.

      • Jack,we didn’t shrug it off. We simply didn’t see where voting for one candidate over another would make a hell of a lot of difference. What we’re saying is we don’t believe in the system anymore. Those who aren’t looking for any real change stick with the 2 party system,2 sides of the same coin.

        • Give us a break, Karla. If there was ever an election where the parties were not offering the same theories or solutions, this was it. Voting for one candidate over another wouldn’t make a difference? I’m amazed that threadbare rationalization still is kicking around.

      • “5. I’m saying that Texans who seek to secede may think they have those traits, but in truth they do not believe in democracy, support American ideals, or embrace the traditions and culture of America…and are sore losers. By definition.”
        That’s BS,Jack. Not just Texans but scores of people are afraid America is losing those very characteristics you say the secessionists don’t have. This isn’t a tantrum here. There is genuine concern no matter how misplaced you think it is.

      • No, Jack. That presupposes that actual self-determination still exists, that the rules are fairly applied and that the entire federal system is not terminally corrupt. Look again to Jefferson’s words in the Declaration.

        “But when a long train of abuses and usurpatiions, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their DUTY, to throw off such government and to provide new guards for their future security.”

        And Texans… unamerican?? Remember 1835. And remember the words of Sam Houston.

        “Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may.”

        The losers here have been the dedicated free citizens of America and the foundations of the nation. Are we expected, then, to sit back and submit to an evident design for tyranny? Texas, by its size, its location, its economic and military strength and its heritage is the final repository for the ideals of the American Revolution. Those ideals have long since departed from the present federal entity. Nor will we stand alone if we declare for sovereignty.

    • 1) Among other things, the American Civil War settled one question: No thinking person can seriously argue that state(s) can secede from the United States. That is as much a part of our history and heritage now as many other things. Secession talk can be a fun parlor game, but that is about it.

      2) If, on the other hand, you want to start a revolution against the United States, feel free. You will, however, encounter obstacles. One of those would be that probably 99.44% (+?) of Americans don’t want one and, I believe, a significant percentage would be willing to fight against one.

      3) A subtle, but significant, shift occurred after the Civil War in how we refer to ourselves. Previously, we would say ‘The United States are … ” (the British still tend to this usage), but now we say ‘The United States is …” See point 1 above — the U.S. is one country, not just a collection of states.

      • Among other things, the American Civil War settled one question: No thinking person can seriously argue that state(s) can secede from the United States.

        Certainly not while it has sound currency.

    • Well said,Tuonela. And when does “enough is enough” become “the point of no return?” I’m sensing this is much more than a conservative “temper tantrum” no more than the liberals had with Bush. When our rights are being chipped away do we wait until they’re hacked away before we do something? Liberals tried to sound the alarm with Bush to no avail. Those same liberals,some are my friends,are again trying to warn us with Obama at the helm.

        • “Can you name them?”
          Please don’t start the chapter and verse thing. I’ve seen it spread across the net from such places as Alternet but I haven’t got a list with me. And no,I won’t name my Facebook friends for reasons of privacy.

          • The “liberals” sounding alarms about Obama seem to be libertarians on the liberal side of the spectrum. Just like “conservatives” like most of the Volokh Conspiracy sounded alarms about Bush.

            I thought you’d learned about citing general (direction)-wing websites from previous discussions. False impressions are easy to give off and spread.

  6. Well, you have to remember that Texans feel they are different. Since their independent country joined the U.S. by treaty and not by purchase or conquest, they feel they can repeal the treaty and leave the U.S. Unlike the rest of the South, they forget that they are now conquered territory.

      • In Texas history classes when I was growing up, they taught us that in the Treaty of annexation, Texas retained the right to split itself into several different states.

        If you wanted to see a first class constitutional crisis, imagine that Texas attempted to exercise this option. Amongst other things, there is a question as to whether the treaty is still enforceable after secession and readmission.

    • That Texas joined the Union as we did is the reason why the federal government doesn’t own vast swaths of our territory, as it does in so many other western states. That means that we can control our own resources better and, believe me, this has contributed to our prosperity. Of course, now the current administration wants to take it all. We won’t become a “conquered territory” that easily.

  7. Texas is the only state that even has a remote chance of successfully doing so because its access to trade, fuel, its own power grid and robust economy but it is still unlikely as Texas politicians are beholden to Washington in too many ways. The old vote with your feet is becoming meaningless as the federal government has “leveled the playing field” though laws and regulations. Foot voting is (was) American and to say it is not is to ignore history. I do not view Secessionists as Un-American because life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is an American trait. As the US becomes more and more a collection of blue and red states with a handful of purple thrown in the Peoples ability to effectively guide our nation’s future is questionable. The federal government is becoming more powerful and the States less, States rights have been effectively nullified through federal commerce, environmental, judicial and Chief Executive decisions. The only way in which a state may rapidly reverse course is through Secession, it is unlikely, even for such a state as Texas which is the most poised but there may come a time when certain Texan leadership is in place that may sound abandon ship. I have always looked at Texas as being the one state that has a “bugout” plan regardless of how things are going for the US. The more the federal government tries to “level the playing field” and remove our ability to vote with our feet the more likely it is for Secessionist succeed.
    As for military action against Texas it would be very unlikely as the militaries number one state for members is Texas, followed by many states that would be sympathetic. It would be just as unrealistic as Secessionist succeeding.

  8. If the wisdom of the crowds is so trustworthy, then how do you reconcile the fact that somewhere around 75% of the population approves of the use of torture even though you yourself have stated in other articles that torture is never justified?

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