Avoiding Secession: A Modest Proposal For Our “Progressive” Blue State Friends

We have a lot of site traffic due to Joe’s posts on secession and the petitions now filed from 30 different states. I agree with the sentiments and would certainly support such a thing but I am with secession as I am with a creating a third party, I’m really hung up on the mechanics over how it gets done.

There is even a new petition on the White House site to strip all citizens who have signed one of those petitions of their rights and exile them (I guess it is “us” because I signed the Florida one. Oh, well, I AM already in Scotland – it is a short trip to secession for me)…these liberals are all about tolerance and brotherhood, aren’t they?

I am witnessing a similar situation in Scotland right now as the Scottish National Party works to separate Scotland from the UK. For those who don’t know, the United Kingdom is not one country, it is made up of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, each with varying degrees of autonomy.

Scotland became part of the United Kingdom in 1706, with the signing of the Treaty of Union and the subsequent ratification of that treaty by the governments of Scotland and England in the following year.

There is a move for Scotland to return to self government as an independent country with a vote scheduled for 2014 or 2015. I can tell you that it is a complicated thing to try to unwind something that has been intertwined for over 300 years and they only have two small countries to deal with – Scotland is roughly the size of South Carolina and England is about the same area as Alabama.

Imagine trying to unwind 25-30 individual states from the Union. It is a practical impossibility.

You “blue staters” ought to be all over this since you think the red states are nothing but Neanderthal leeches, what with all of our bitter clinging to guns and religion. You mock our values, you oppose capital punishment because you are “enlightened” and think our belief that killing babies in the womb is just so provincial (even though executions are only carried out after 100% proof of guilt and the victims of abortion are all 100% innocent), you condescend to us about our universities and societal organizations and you already think we are the Republic of Jesusland. You also forget that when Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, he only freed the slaves in the South/Confederate territories and slavery was undisturbed in the North. Slavery was not totally abolished everywhere in the U.S.until the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified in December 1865, three full years later. Chew on that one, blue boys and girls.

Since we are such a burden, I would think you would be glad to be rid of us.

What is a practical possibility is a return to federalism because that only takes three things.

I’ve said it before but I will say it again, I honestly believe that true reform is rooted in the following:

  • Legal respect for the Tenth Amendment:
    • “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
  • Repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment and reverting to Article I, Section 3:
    • Current: “The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.
    • Former: Article I, Section 3: The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.
  • Repeal of the Current Tax Payment Act of 1943
    • This Act mandated automatic withholding of federal income tax, effectively making private employers the agents of the IRS.

These three actions, perhaps more than any others, would return the power of government to the people through decentralization of government, ending the hegemony of lobbyists in D.C., devolving the centralized socialist planning philosophy of Washington, making elections on a state level relevant to national government (it would matter who controls state legislatures due to the appointment of Senators by those respective bodies) and returning the power of the purse to the people. I maintain that having to plan for and pay taxes directly out of your bank account creates a greater degree of sensitivity for how much money government spends and why.

I’ll also state again that it is my firm belief that this revolution must start at the local and state level for it to be successful. If we really want to return the country to a true representative republic based on constitutional principles, it begins with us.

Federalism gets everybody what they want without secession. This idiotic attempt to govern a country of 312,000,000 people with a inefficient, ineffective and unresponsive central government run from Washington is the idea that is unworkable and is the problem, the Constitution is the solution.

Back in July, I proposed this:

To our Marxist (we have at least one), “progressive”, left leaning and Democrat friends (you know you read this blog, go ahead and comment, we won’t tell your friends at HuffPo, MMFA and Kos, we promise): I would like to make a proposal that will end this internecine conflict we prosecute on a day to day basis.

A modest proposal, this… one that is actually nothing new but something that hasn’t been tried in a very, very long time.

I’m willing to stipulate that there is no answer to our current political conflict because our side isn’t going to yield and apparently yours isn’t either. We both believe that our ideology and philosophies are the correct paths to walk and each try to create a nation of like believers…but all that has produced is gridlock, anger and as much pent up frustration as I feel when I look at Kate Upton (or Kells).

Locke and Hobbes can never be construed to agree. Oil and water and all that rot.

Here’s my proposal.

What do you say we give true federalism a whirl?

You know federalism, it’s established by that dusty old document that you think stops America from becoming a collectivist nirvana (the Constitution); it is what all those papers were written about in the late 1700’s by those old, white, Christian men.

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines federalism as:

Federalism is the theory or advocacy of federal principles for dividing powers between member units and common institutions. Unlike in a unitary state, sovereignty in federal political orders is non-centralized, often constitutionally, between at least two levels so that units at each level have final authority and can be self-governing in some issue area. Citizens thus have political obligations to, or have their rights secured by, two authorities. The division of power between the member unit and center may vary, typically the center has powers regarding defense and foreign policy, but member units may also have international roles. The decision-making bodies of member units may also participate in central decision-making bodies. Much recent philosophical attention is spurred by renewed political interest in federalism, coupled with empirical findings concerning the requisite and legitimate basis for stability and trust among citizens in federal political orders. Philosophical contributions have addressed the dilemmas and opportunities facing Canada, Australia, Europe, Russia, Iraq, Nepal and Nigeria, to mention just a few areas where federal arrangements are seen as interesting solutions to accommodate differences among populations divided by ethnic or cultural cleavages yet seeking a common, often democratic, political order.

So what do you say that we work the original plan and throttle the national government back to its enumerated powers, put the Commerce Clause genie back in the bottle, reduce the power of the Congress, SCOTUS and the Executive to matters of true national import like defense, protection of our borders, a common currency and interstate highways and utilities? We then restore the power of the states and allow them to decide just exactly what their people want them to be…MassCare – totally cool – if that’s what Massachusetts folk want. Vermont wants to go full-on Marxist, there you go. New Hampshire votes for pure capitalism, OK by me. New Yorkers want state funded abortion on demand – killer idea (pun intended), if that’s what all the feminists want. Mississippi wants the Christian faith taught in schools – hallelujah! The people of Texas want every citizen to carry a side-arm, no problem. California wants a 75% tax on the “rich” and Utah wants to abolish taxes altogether? I smell a referendum coming.

What do you say?

At least that way, people have a choice. If they want something that their state doesn’t offer, they can relocate. Similarly, if they object to something, they can leave or work to change it. When controversial programs like O-Care are passed at a national level, people who disagree are just stuck.

See – this was the wisdom of the Founders that was destroyed by the Civil War. The original 13 colonies were settled by people from common heritages and cultures and as such there was a wide variation from the fishing and whaling seafaring societies of the northeast to the agrarian societies of the southern colonies – the founders recognized this diversity (don’t you think diversity is a good thing?) and allowed a mechanism for dealing with it. Autonomy at a state level – smaller segments of the population are more likely to share common ideas and to be able to gain continuity in governing themselves.

My take is this: the problems with our political discourses today are that the concepts being debated at a national level are just too big and complex to expect the entire nation to agree on them…and having an idea forced on half of the national population does not generate goodwill and trust. Refusing to deal with a national problem, such as illegal immigration, when the Border States are suffering the effects causes significant discord.

Federalism. This one concept is the answer to our political stalemate and for both of us to have what we want and expect out of America.

If you are so confident in your ideology and you don’t need us dumb, gun-totin’, NASCAR watching hicks, you should be all-in on this…you get to central plan your own state level Utopias.

Then 20 years from now, lets look back and see which states are prosperous and which are sucking wind.

Let me know how that works for you.

Cheers.

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36 thoughts on “Avoiding Secession: A Modest Proposal For Our “Progressive” Blue State Friends

  1. You have been learnin’… : )
    Unfortunately, the Statists, will never allow it as they know they will have nothing left. The Statists are about exercising POWER over people, not about improving any one’s lot in life.
    The Statists have not one, NOT ONE, real world example of a society that has implemented their ideas and ideals, and succeeded in their “advertised” agenda. WHY? Because their advertised agenda is nothing more than “smoke and mirrors”.

    I suggest to everyone, if you really want to know what the Statist’ endgame is, merely look to the last 150+ years of history and examine their real world examples. Where do you wanna start?

    B, would I be out of line suggesting we start with France, the guillotine, and her Revolution of 1789?

    • In January, I wrote:

      Our Constitution is designed for doing a very limited number of things and doing them well:

      * to form a more perfect Union [more effective than the Articles of Confederation],
      * establish Justice [via assuring that each person is treated equally by government],
      * insure domestic Tranquility [provide a platform for a stable society],
      * provide for the common defence [protect the sovereignty of the nation],
      * promote the general Welfare [PROMOTE, not provide], and
      * secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity [assure the longevity of our nation]…

      It is not designed to be the arbiter of success or to redistribute income and wealth in the Marxist ideal of “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need”.

      America doesn’t need a new governmental system. What we absolutely don’t need is the socialism of the Obama administration, the Marxism of the Occupy Wall Street “movement” or the communism of the columnists of the New York Times. Our Constitution (and the governance that flows from it) was never designed to operate under such circumstances. What we are doing today just as ineffective as trying to change a flat tire with a frying pan or to fry an egg with a lug wrench. Our government isn’t working, not because it isn’t the right system, it is because the things that it is being driven to do were never part of its scope. It didn’t leave us, we left it.

  2. Our “grandfather’s and great grandfathers” left it. But not purposefully. They were defrauded, or maybe defeated in the “war of northern aggression”. We are trying to breath new life into her. I hope, like B’s post on Marxism posits, that the “spirit of liberty” is not dead, and that “we” might bring her back to life. Not for us, but for our children and our children’s children.

  3. Since most red states get more back from federal taxes than they pay, while most of us blue states pay out more than we get back, I’lI vote for your plan, Utah–especially since more and more of those expensive old folks are moving to warm southern states.

    The only problem is that when those “dumb, gun-totin’, NASCAR watching hicks” start “sucking wind,” to use your terms, they’d start invading the blue states. And then I guess we’d have to build a dang fence. :-)

    • You are right on the fact that “red” states do get more back per capita than they pay in as far as you go – just like being wrong that spending isn’t the problem, we just need to tax more, you have it backwards. Economist Veronique de Rugy found that one major driver was this:

      Political scientists have been wrestling with this apparent paradox for years. One explanation sometimes offered is that the red states, on average, have smaller populations. In “Political Determinants of Federal Expenditure at the State Level,” published by the journal Public Choice in 2005, two University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa economists, Gary Hoover and Paul Pecorino, note that residents of low-population states have more per capita representation in Congress, since every state, regardless of population, has two senators. That edge, Hoover and Pecorino argue, translates into more federal handouts. The results are conspicuous in the case of homeland security grants, where small, rural, relatively low-risk states get much more money per capita than urban states that face bigger terrorist threats.

      But red-state lawmakers’ ability to bring home the bacon isn’t the main reason for the paradox. Red states, on average, are also lower-income states. Because of the progressive federal income tax, states with higher incomes pay vastly higher federal taxes. These payments are unlikely to be matched by federal spending directed back into those states.

      This transfer of tax dollars from the states to the federal government is net of tax deductions, including deductions for state taxes ($50 billion in fiscal year 2012) and mortgage interest ($100 billion). As the former U.S. Treasury economist Martin Sullivan showed in the March issue of Tax Notes, the mortgage interest deduction overwhelmingly benefits high-income states. If it weren’t for that deduction, blue states would be even bigger net payers than they are today.

      Blue states simply pay more in taxes due to the progressive tax system.

      • Thanks for sharing that info; it makes sense. I suspect that both reasons play a part.

        Also, with the blue states having more population, presumably they also have more people paying taxes but proportionally don’t need as many services. A hundred miles of highway or sewer lines in a blue state will serve a lot more folks than the same line in a red state. Put another way, you have to have a lot more infrastructure to serve 1,000 people in a rural area than in an urban one.

        • Not necessarily James. A lot of people in Rural areas don’t make use of sewer and water. Most people put in septic tanks for sewage and drill wells for water. And as cable companies don’t serve rural areas unless they have a certain number of customers, most ruralites use satellite TV or a big ass antenna. The roads…they’re going to be there anyway. Shortest line between two points and all that.

          • True enough about sewer and water (having been on a well and septic system, I should have thought of that). A better example might have been electric lines or police and fire protection. There’s a reason that the Postal Service would cut service to rural areas first. As for roads, that’s a mixed bag. If we were just going from city to city, we wouldn’t need so many. And a bridge that serves a hundred people a day might cost as much as one that serves thousands–ask Sarah Palin. :-) Thanks.

            • Power lines and telephone were in place before a lot of county and state roads were put in place. Straight line and all that. All counties have a Sheriff’s department and most towns have a police force, but not more than they can afford. My town has three police officers. We also have what’s called a “volunteer” fire department in every district. (Their areas of responsibility overlap so it’s not uncommon to find two or three different departments at a fire.)

              And for rural areas to get industry to their area to provide jobs…you need good roads and bridges. On one state road, we have a water bottling plant and a stone quarry. Both are at the top of the mountain so the road gets a lot of heavy traffic. Oh, and between the quarry and the water plant, we also have a power company pump storage facility that helps supply the Nuclear power plant down river/lake.

    • We get all the nukes. All the arms. All the fossil fueled and nuclear powered equipment. All the meat and farming and fishing and internal combustion engine powered boats, ships etc.

      After all they are against global warming and we are gonna keep them intellectually honest. (I get to joke every now & then, not)

  4. “go ahead and comment, we won’t tell your friends at HuffPo, MMFA and Kos, we promise”

    That’s OK; you can tell them. See, liberals actually encourage people to read a variety of perpectives.

    • “That’s OK; you can tell them. See, liberals actually encourage people to read a variety of perpectives.”

      Correction for the professor: perspectives. Not to be confused with you, your, and you’re.

      And to the sentence of itself … sure they do. It gives them ammunition to call those people baby killers, grandma killers, racists, and a host of other benevolent titles.

  5. I just gave this post to a political science major. I hope he chimes in. I like the idea, but it’s about as likely to occur as me winning the lottery. (I suppose I would increase my odds if I bought a ticket…..)

  6. Utah, thanks for articulating the position I have been speaking about for some time. Too much governing has been occurring on the Federal level. And I believe it is actually the individual states who are to blame for this. Making deals with the feds for money is not something a state should pursue, and when they do, in trade … they lose control over the state.

    Federalism is just about the only way out of this mess, and the last time I proposed it … I was cited for treason on these very boards.

    • augger: it would be tough for this to be “treason” because, as you know, this is exactly what the Constitution demands. The Federalist Papers are full of reasons why what we have today would not happen – and yet it has. Sure as hell wasn’t because the Constitution did it, it is because of a view that the Constitution is a “living” document. “Progressives” never stop to think that maybe there is a reason why it is silent on most things that they want to do…it is because what they want was delegated to the states to do, not a overweening central government.

    • Augger,

      I agree: federalism is the answer.

      Now, can you tell me how we extricate ourselves from the grasp of the tyrants in Washington — BOTH the Democrat AND Republican tyrants, that is?

      We will need to use some form of force, and trying to take over through a national ballot box is not going to win. They will just kick you out and BOOM! 150% turnout, and 100% for their guy. Tell me how you beat that — especially when all the organs of govt. tasked with overseeing the process and attending to justice are — in some cases — actively helping them cheat?

      On the other hand, if the STATES say bye-bye to the Feds, then they can have a 1000% turnout with 250% going for their guy and it still won’t matter.

      • Joe,

        It begins with (and we are already seeing it happening), state legislators filing lawsuits against federal mandates … both against the individual, and the state itself. (examples: Obamacare, and Federal Highway speeds)

        Through these lawsuits, a clear distinction between general concerns of the nation at large (national government – ie, national defense), and particular concerns of the individual citizen (state government – ie, Welfare, and entitlements among others). State legislators are the tribunes of the people, and Congressional legislators are the tribunes of the states.

        We’ve forgotten these things.

        “Our Country is too large to have all its affairs directed by a single government.”
        —Thomas Jefferson

        States need to stop selling out to the Federal Government — remember how we got that federal mandated 55mph law to begin with? Yep, you guessed it. States accepted federal money for highway maintenance, but at what cost? A federal mandate.

        Additionally, states themselves can move forward with their own agendas through legislation, and these legislators should invite federal officials to appear before them to explain any new regulations or mandates that would effect the state … and it should be done out in the open under the scrutiny of the citizens of that state. Remember, legislation was intended to be slow, and deliberate.

        Cooperation with neighboring states. Regardless of what the big government folks tell you, states can work together for the betterment of all states. That craziness going on between California and Arizona is utterly unnecessary. In diametric opposition to that example, Arizona and Texas are quite cooperative … without a Federal mandate to do so. One area that states can cooperate would be in dealing with the federal governments dumping of thousands of regulations in to the Federal Register for public notice, and commentary. That register in my mind, is no longer the sufficient vehicle for passing mass regulations, and state legislators could, and should cooperate to send that message to Washington.

  7. legal respect for the tenth amendment eh? Then please explain to me the conservative insistence on overriding not only state medical marijuana (and now outright legalization in 2 states) laws, but the Defense of Marriage Act designed to override states acceptance of gay marriage. Where are THESE powers handed to the federal government in the constitution?

    I’m at a loss for your second point. Why on earth should the appointmet of senators be at the hands of the legislature and not the people.

    and finally, again, I am at a loss. Let’s see. Most working americans seem to enjoy getting arefund from their tax withholding. And american business surely loves the spending spree that time of year. So you propose removing withholding…for what purpose? So millions of americans struggling to get by will find themselves unable to pay their taxes and find themselves with increasing fines and potential jail time. Or do you think this will spur a tax revolution? Well- it might- a demand that those who have money to spare actually share the burden. That the military be trimmed. That the billions in subsidies to major corporations end….

    • “Then please explain to me the conservative insistence on overriding not only state medical marijuana (and now outright legalization in 2 states) laws”

      You’re shitting me, right? As if absolutely no Democrat in Congress voted against one these points? What the hell is your position going to be once the Obama administration weighs in negatively about the two recent state laws (which remain banned by Federal law), and does not give them a pass to conduct state level business on the state level?

      Is Obama going to be your golden boy then? When it happens, I expect you to come directly here, and eat your crow.

      • Umm- I did not vote for Obama.

        And let’s just what and see with what happens with the most recent developments. Let’s be clear- unlike the legalization proposition in CA 2 years ago Obamas Eric Holder, and the AG office- did NOT come out against the iniatives in any of the three states this time.

        And WTF are you talking about? There has been no vote in modern history regarding medical marijuana legality. There HAVE been bills introduced to protect dispensaries and users- that have only received support from democrats and libertarians such as ron and Rand Paul.

        And of course- the raids in montanna, CA, Washington have largely been with the cooperation of Republican attorney generals or legislators in the areas. Indeed- despite the criticisms and pressure put on Obama, the word within “the movement” is that Obama has nothing to do with it. He’s too busy with more imprtant matters. And it’s Bush era drug warriors at the higher levels of the federal agencies persuing their own agendas.

        And in numerous states- from Arizona, to montanna, to new mexico to michigan it has been Republican governors and/or legislators who have refused to implement the laws demanded by the people.

  8. Throw in some strengthening to the Second Amendment and you will have what it takes to regain freedom in America. Of course, after all the laziness of the last forty years, laziness that allowed the Left first a foothold, and now a stranglehold on this country, those suggestions (10th Amendment rights, repeal of the 17th Amendment and the Tax Payment Act) will be difficult if not impossible to push through. Secession may be the only way back! http://michigancplblog.wordpress.com/

  9. Easy, @drugs (aka asshat):

    1) Because we have a federal law that trumps state law.
    2) Because that makes the state legislature elections more relevant and the makes the US senators more responsive to state level issues and not national issues, as was intended.
    3) You don’t get a “refund”, you get your money back that you overpaid and the government has used interest free.
    4) There are specific enumerated powers of the federal government and natikonal defense is one of them.

    The founder never intended for the US to be governed by powerful central government – that’s why the Constitution is written as it is. Read the links and educate yourself.

  10. “So millions of americans struggling to get by will find themselves unable to pay their taxes and find themselves with increasing fines and potential jail time.”

    Why would they be unable to pay the taxes that are already being withheld? What would change?

    Do you have any idea how much you payed in taxes last year? Where did the interest for that money go? Was it counted as part of what you pay?
    Tax refunds are like the so called oil “subsidies” where they allow the companies to keep their own money and call it a favor.
    How is a progressive tax fair? It is not fair for me to pay 0% because I am poor and for others to spend 50% because they are not, especially since I have the same opportunities as the rich.
    I want to be rich someday, and I fear I never will be if we steal the money and distribute it “fairly”, how can I earn it if it has already been stolen? I’ve yet to get a job or a paycheck from a poor person…

  11. Utah: “I am with secession as I am with a creating a third party, I’m really hung up on the mechanics over how it gets done.”

    1. Secession: Channel that secessionist enthusiasm into state-by-state efforts to block things like Obamacare and UN intrusion. Look at the states that are leading the way with this, and prepare to put up a legal fight.

    2. Third Parties: Start small, just like how Republicans took over the solid Democrat South. Start with county positions, then statewide, on up to national.

    Respectfully,

    Justin

  12. Pingback: Great Minds | The Rio Norte Line

  13. Pingback: A Helpful Note To President Passerby: Let’s Try A Little Federalism | The Rio Norte Line

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