Secession, States Rights, and Constitutional Conservatives

Since the election last week, there has been a lot of handwringing among conservatives. Many believe that the United States has descended into a new phase of dependency, where too many citizens and crony corporatists are wedded to DC largesse. Some think this and the cultural decline is irreversible, that America is headed for the abyss.

So how do they react to what they perceive as the “new normal”? Increasing numbers of news reports suggest that at least a few disgruntled Americans see the dissolution of the United States as a viable option. The word “secession” is cropping up in the blogosphere like never before.

Consistent with this, most Restoring Liberty readers have likely seen at least one or two articles on the White House citizen petitions relating to secession. You may have also seen Ron Paul’s recent comments on the subject. Even Justice Scalia has weighed in on the topic.

Given the history of the Alaska Independence Party (we actually had a governor elected from the AIP ticket), you probably won’t be surprised to hear that Alaska hasn’t been immune to this. Several days ago, there was an attempt to pull me directly into a resurgent secessionist debate in Alaska. Emails began to circulate including one suggesting that “the only alternative for the survival of any form of government that was intended by our founding fathers is secession from the union and a declaration of independence of Alaska.”

I fundamentally disagree with this approach. As I noted last week in my post-election breakdown, our country still has hope.

Admittedly, we have widely divergent views on the role and scope of government. I am equally certain that we are becoming increasingly divided on many cultural issues.

These divides were reflected by the startling 40% swing between a number of states in votes for Romney as opposed to Obama (e.g., Utah 73% Romney, Hawaii 70% Obama, Wyoming 69% Romney, Vermont 67% Obama, etc.). Some believe this degree of polarization hasn’t been seen since the Civil War.

Many of our differences seem insurmountable.

But within the context of the state’s rights model – directly patterned off of what the Founders originally intended – these intractable differences can reside quite well together, albeit in different states.

The Founders intended that the states retain a great deal of autonomy. The central government was severely limited, granted only those powers specifically enumerated in the Constitution.

By legal malfeasance, we’ve now ginned up a myriad of powers that the drafters never intended the Constitution to confer upon our national government. That has straight-jacketed the states into a homogenous mass of laws and regulations that were never intended. Rather, the states were intended to be the ultimate legal arbiter in most areas.

As we continue to spend trillions we don’t have, DC will inevitably lose financial power. The country will inevitably face serious economic pain. And the nation will inevitably look for solutions from outside of the narrow parameters set and enforced by the Establishment.

The solution of getting back to an honest interpretation and application of the Constitution with respect to the respective powers of the federal and state governments will allow our increasingly diverse peoples in this country to apply their expectations of government at the state level.

Liberals, conservatives, libertarians, socialists, the religious, and the secularists can all embrace this approach. Fight your fights in the state of your choice. Set your own education policy. Establish your own regulatory schemes. Permit natural resource extraction as you see fit, all without interference from the feds. Abandon the sinking ship of DC dominance.

So if you are an advocate for secession, please reconsider and redirect your energies toward a real solution that will restore liberty and can accommodate the “new normal” of the United States.

  • Noah

    Sesession and with like minded states banning together is at least a plan that is currently in operation. What steps do you suggest, that can move any faster, than the ones that might bring about sesession, and that can work as well?

  • rfw

    Look beyond the curtain and see the real truth. Its about Good vs Evil. God & Satan are involved in the struggle for souls. The battle is being waged in courts, media, schools, banks, military, churches, and in our government. These are our last days. “Brotherhood of Darkness” by Dr. Stanley Monteith

  • Elegy

    I’d like to think the states could and would fight off the federal gov’t, seeing that they Constitutionally have more power than the federal gov’t. I just have no hope or respect for 99% of elected office holders from the state level up. How many times is Gov. Parnell going to complain about the Dep’t of the Interior and EPA when he can just nullify their attempts to stifle our economy? I’m all for secession, this nation is too polarized. When half of this nation are lazy, immoral leeches, it’s going to be darn near impossible to get them to vote any other way that the party who adopted Romans 1 as their party platform.

  • gracentruth

    When Barry ordered Israel to return to 1967 borders, he doomed our nation to division. Alaska, even by our geographical position, should be a separate country – or part of Canada. We support Israel. That will be our survival. Please consider signing the petition to leave the bankrupt USA. Peace,

  • Akjustice

    Joe, I have to disagree with you on this one. I say sign the petition. For clarity, the petition is for the ability to vote on our Alaska status. According to history we have not had the chance or choice to decide on whether we want to be a common wealth, state or territory. Let’s vote on it!

  • Robert Hauser

    If I can find Cally’s secession petition anywhere on the net, I will sure as Hell sign it. I have absolutely zero faith whatsoever in the current misregime of Barry Soetoro, the Manchurian candidate from Kenya by way of Tel Aviv and Wall Street

  • BO and the Communists plan to crash America’s dollar, industry, and constitution. How long that will take is unknown. At least some like Ron Paul are thinking about where we go from there. It is nice to know someone out there with legislative experience is wise enough to consider possibilities.

  • farrightextreme

    Sorry Joe, you are wrong. It will get worse.

  • StingraySFO

    Secession may work for Alaska, but it would leave the continental states in a position of having their borders with non-seceded states sealed from the numerous infrastructures that are depended upon, such as energy, fuel, food, and transportation as if to be a foreign country, with border check points and duty fees. Don’t think the feds wouldn’t do that, they most certainly would to punish those states.

    The alternative, researched and explained in depth with a model included in the text is Publius Huldah’s post ‘How Thomas Jefferson would get rid of obamacare!’ found at ‏

  • Vincent

    Thanks Joe, this is a real solution. Truth is, even if every conservative in the state jumped on the secession bandwagon, it wouldn’t happen. Obama would crush the dissenters just like Lincoln crushed the South. We need to be talking serious solutions.
    Right now DC is so divided that if anything gets done it will have something to do with top-down control. The fact that Congress is so dysfunctional is opening the door for Obama to fill a leadership vacuum and do things he would never be able to do otherwise. But if Congress could take a step back and punt on a few powers that are not enumerated, it would provide the baseline for a Union that could endure.
    A greater degree of federalism is something that both sides might to be able to strike a reasonable compromise on, especially as the federal government moves closer insolvency and inevitable austerity measures. In the meantime, let’s just not do something stupid.

  • Disgusted

    I agree that secession is the answer. I would like it otherwise, but it is not to be so.

  • CSN

    I don’t see this as a possibility for the State of Oregon, since it is controlled by Liberals and there doesn’t seem to be any way out of it at this point. Abortion is permitted in all the States and was implemented by the Supreme Court and not by the people of the USA, but now they have become addicted to it as though without it they cannot function in their world of “CONVENIENCE WITHOUT CONSEQUENCES.” Any State which separates from the Union would get themselves out of the Fiscal Cliff, could promote sound money, and increase jobs and stability as well as distance themselves from EPA and FDA which are very overreaching. You’ve already pointed out that 70% of the people in Hawaii want the Liberal Agenda while 70% of the people in Utah as well as Idaho voted Romney. Those are huge differences. We are a people divided and I cannot see making a difference except through Evangelization. Are people going to come back to God and the Ten Commandments? Those were the Principles set forth in the Bill of Rights which was formulated by James Madison and the founding Fathers. How to do that in a world gone mad with self gratification is going to take a nuclear explosion in the change of heart sphere. I think Secession is a good idea, but has to be thought through to make it work. It is now the Divided States of America, unless we all go the way of the Tower of Babel.

  • Barry_Suxx

    Joe, I think we All understand the gravity of what you’re stating; these are dire times; but that’s only because of the Critical Mass caused the Run-A-Muck leftist liberals, ‘loosed’ upon us by our Usurper-n-Chief. And make no mistake, he is a classic living example of ‘Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely’. He has NEVER honored Our Constitution, nor the Legal Limits of his Office. YET all this time, our Congress has remained Toothless and Helpless. This is because our Usurper has made Their Office and Duties completely Obsolete!

    Our Constitution was written to Protect US from the Federal Gov, but NOT for the Fed-Gov to define Power OVER the States and their Citizens. THIS lies at the very heart of the Hatred between the Southern Free States and the Bigoted Hypocrites of the Northern States, who insist on Controlling DOMINION over ALL the other States Rights and Trade.

    These issues came to a Fiery Head with the Civil War, and the same ‘Shape-Shifting Tactics’ were used (“oh look there’s slavery down there”); but these original issues were NEVER resolved.

    (btw: The North had more ‘Slaves’ than the South had at the time).
    (they haven’t changed; they’re still power-mongering hypocrites).

    Unless Congress ‘Grows a Pair’, and takes back Control of our Gvmnt, We’re DOOMED to become another Socialist Link in the World-Gvmnt.
    Kiss our Constitution a complete GoodBye forever!

    I think we ALL realize that these Petitions have zero chance of getting our Usurper to ‘Get OUT Of Our Life’; he’ll simply ignore them like he has ALL other U.S. Laws as well as our Constitution. Even State-Governors are not willing to endorse these. That’s because this scares them %^#-less, and they also get their powers from Fed-association.

    When dealing with an Iron-Fisted Dictatorial Gvmnt: Do you remember what happened when Lech Wałęsa DARED to take-on the mighty Russian Grip? It takes people with cojones like Lech to speak-UP for The People’s Rights. (Their congress ignored them too).

  • Barry_Suxx

    A Note Of Caution to Fellow Constitutional Patriots:

    Enraged? YES we are indeed. We’re in Deep Doodoo because of barry.
    I have to temper my rage with the advice from the wisdom of an Old Friend of mine.

    Yes, we’ve a Right to be Enraged, and to DO something about it. However you need to remember that This particular dictator-n-chief Knows No Limits to Arrogance and Audacity.

    If he should ‘feel’ the need to, for whatever reason of his, he will simply implement Martial Law as a Blanket Answer.

    As such,,,,, if we cannot control our rage to a dignified level somehow, I can easily see how we will Play Right Into His Hand of Taking Absolute Power.

    Please Do be careful out there.
    Remember: His plan has always been to ‘Divide and Cripple Us’.

    I know I’m sounding contradictory, but there’s lots of Grey-Issues here.

  • Joe you can maech to the gas chambers by yourself. This country was formed by secessionist from 13 British Colonies because of over taxation, big gov’t and tyrany. It is time we as Patriots stand up and fight. Set us free peacefully we ask, before we demand forcefully!

  • We sign the petitions as a means of forcing our government to realize the petitions are a vote of NO CONFIDENCE in a government that has become so bloated in the belief it is “above” the people that it is supposed to represent, the people who are true Americans have little choice but to sign our displeasure in as pleasant a way as we can!

    • DOC224

      Verywell said! Thank you.

  • Greg S.

    Lots of homework would need to be done before acting on Secession. Let’s not let emotion drive action, if we do, progressives win. We got thru Wilson, Johnson and others, we’ll get thru this. Education is key. The American people and the US Constitution will prevail if we take a moment to analyze, strategize and employ critical thinking.

  • Rod S

    Secession is not the best answer. Being sure to keep our guns and to organize is the way to beat this cartel of communists. They must first disarm us to have any chance of completing their plan to destroy America. We need only to be sure to resist the all attempts to take our guns with all force necessary. We out number them and our military is on our side, not theirs.

  • Anonymous

    These petitions are impotent. After spending four years getting to know Obama, could you imagine him seeing the secession petitions and saying, “You know, they really have a good point. I’ll fight for the people and their right to secede!” Preposterous!

    I will be curious, however, to hear his response to these petitions. I’m guessing he’ll pull in something about Lincoln, the 1860s, and the “Civil” War. Calling it a “Civil” War was really a misnomer because it was a war between two countries: the United States of America and the Confederate States of America.

  • judyanne

    Obama stole the election. Pray for Allen West. He is a true Patriot.

  • How can anyone think there is hope in Obama? A man who has done nothing but lie and w/hold evidence of his past and seal his records and refuse to verify what he says is alraedy done and yet the proof is; there is fraud in the whole mess! he has taken support from foreigners and other illegal contributors and he has not done anything of what he said he would do! Am I surprised? NOT ONE BIT!! He is all I KNEW he would be….no good for this country! This nation has gotten just what so many have asked for and deservedly so…they will regret it, for the sake of a free phone and food stamps…they will regret it!! make it down!!

  • stevenlehar

    This last election was a triumph of Democracy over the Constitutional Republic. We are now the tyranny of the majority! And there are always at least 51% of the population who are stupid and manipulable. They are our new masters! The constitution has been trashed, and our young people have been propagandized by our public schools and the media, into believing that its OK to violate the constitution as long as you have a majority vote. There’s an insurmountable problem for the Constitutional Republic. We never should have given our schools to the Liberals! Too late! Try again somewhere else. This country has been totally corrupted by hand-outs and give-aways.

  • Eagle

    I am writing from a country that would be absolutely delighted if Alaska would secede from the U.S.A. Many people in this country really believe Alaska was stolen from them and really belongs to them. If you don’t know which country I’m writing from I’ll give two more clues–it’s the biggest on this planet and it would love to have total control of the Arctic Ocean.

    • Dr. Bill

      Want to assist on my paper?

  • gracentruth

    This is what Dr. Ron Paul has been advocating for over 20 years – to no avail. U.S. turns its back on Israel; turns its back on God. So, it is time to come out from among them. Alaska can survive and prosper by becoming our nation under God and supporting Israel. We have the leadership ability. Peace,

  • Actually Joe is correct, the real true answer to our nations woes is not Secession, the real answer would be convincing all of the State Governors and or Legislatures at the State level to Nullify every Federal Law that violates the Rights of the citizens to enjoy their Life, Liberty, Property, and the pursuit of their happiness.
    And to add teeth to these Nullification Laws, that the States could easily enact, there should be an Enacting Clause in the Nullification Laws that simply says any Federal Agent or Employee of the Federal Government or any Contracted Employee of the Federal Government that attempts to enforce any of the Nullified laws will be Arrested, Jailed for 1 year, and Fined $10,000.00 per/incident. The States do have the power and authority to do so this and should do this to protect the citizens of the State from violations to the people of their State from the Federal Government.

  • I disagree on a fundamental level with what you assert. It IS within the legal purview of the SOVEREIGN states to secede if the compact between the State and the Federal Government has been breached by the Federal Government, which is the case, as you so correctly noted in your own phrase concerning ”ginned up” legal malfeasance. Certainly, Alaska, the Dakotas, and Louisiana have the resources (oil, natural gas, etc) to easily be independent nations. Indeed, they have far more to offer than most third world countries. Just imagine if the rest of America had to purchase from the them the enormous oil or natural gas reserves they harbor; this alone would keep them wealthy and healthy for at least a century. Having said all that, the simplest solution would simply be to have states pass nullification laws in every instance that the Feds pass unconstitutional laws, rules, and regualations. Gun control nonsense, or the prohibition of natural resource use on PUBLIC (i..e., the PEOPLE’S) lands.

  • Dr. Bill

    I am giving a paper to the Midwestern Political Science Association on this subject in April — if you have any assistance please post here

  • Dr. Bill

    If anyone would like to review my paper on secession please leave me a note here