Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Grey Lady Stirs Up the Dregs

On 23 November, the New York Times published a brief article describing how unhappy Republicans have piled onto the secession bandwagon like the a mob of political lemmings in the aftermath of Obama's re-election.

We probably wouldn't have known or cared, but because they included a live link to the TexasSecede website, we received a smattering of good old yankee hate mail, dripping with profanity, abuse and all-around contempt — but (surprise!) reflecting little or no knowledge of history, law or America's tradition of secession.

The article observes that "Few of the public calls for secession have addressed the messy details, like what would happen to the state’s many federal courthouses, prisons, military bases and parklands." But there's no reason to believe those 'messy details' couldn't be resolved in the same manner sought by the seceding states in 1860: They simply offered to compensate the federal government for any property within their borders to which it had lawful claim.

Likewise, Manny Fernandez, the article's author says "no one has asked the Texas residents who received tens of millions of dollars in federal aid after destructive wildfires last year." But why should they? Mr. Fernandez appears to be unaware that the Texas economy is one of the largest and most rapidly growing economies in the US, yielding the second highest gross state national product out of all fifty [source]. As of 2005 Texans were receiving 94¢ in federal "aid" for every $1.00 they paid in federal taxes. A separate Texas would appear destined to suffer little in the absence of that federal "aid" trade-off.

Like so many fans of American statism, Fernandez and the gaggle of Texas haters his article drew from the woodwork seem oblivious to the real world logistical and economical plausibility of an independent Texas. Sure, it's easy to mock and ask 'hard questions', but these folks seem conspicuously silent (or downright absent) in the face of sound, thoughtful answers. (And they say Texans are hard to take seriously.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Petition? Really?

Three days after Obama was elected to his second term in office as president, one Micah H. from Arlington started a petition on the White House website. In less than five days (at this writing), nearly 100,000 people had signed it.

Critics have rightly pointed out that the petition has no legal power, and that a proper secession would require a formal declaration issued by convention and approval of the citizens of Texas (which today appears even less outside the realm of possibilities than it did a week ago).

The White House petition's lack of legal teeth notwithstanding, it serves as a useful indicator of public sentiment — both within and outside of Texas — towards the federal government and the union it presumes to rule. Formed voluntarily some 225 years ago and — 81 years later — arbitrarily rendered "perpetual" and "indissoluble" except through "consent of the States" by an unaccountable, unelected body of prejudiced jurists, said union appears to have worn out its welcome for a growing number of Americans (Texas is only one of several states with such a petition).

Despite the negative, often ignorant (and sometimes downright hostile), reaction from certain self-styled 'patriotic' quarters, the many thousands of people signing the petitions are representative of a general consensus displeasure with what the federal behemoth has become. Their voices have resonated with a fair amount of feedback we've received from people outside of Texas, who — whether rightly or wrongly — see Texas as a test case: Should Texas withdraw from the union, they're either hopeful that their states will follow, or would soon make Texas their new home.

A 'critical mass' secession movement in Texas may not be right around the corner, and the White House petition, like its counterparts from other states, may well be effectively ignored by Washington. But the growing discontent isn't likely to go away, as long as Washington's politicians and bureaucrats continue with their current policy trends. And if they refuse to change course, it may well be just a matter of time before Texans invoke a declaration instead of a petition.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election 2012: What Now, Texas?

The results of election night 2008 (four years ago) caused an unexpected spike in Texas 'Secede' bumper sticker sales. Back then I got an email notification for every order (they were handled by an on-line shopping cart at the time). As the evening wore on, my Inbox filled up — which was my first clue as to how the election was turning out.

Neither Party nor Candidate Matters

Now, I don't know how many Texans really thought McCain/Palin were anything but 100% status quo ruling class in 2008, and I don't know how many Texans really thought Romney/Ryan were anything but 100% status quo ruling class in 2012. I certainly expected nothing but business-as-usual, regardless of which party controlled the White House or either house of Congress.

But as long as there are only spikes in Texans' secessionist sentiment when the Republicans lose a race for the White House, the Texas secessionist movement will remain not-ready-for-primetime. It will take more Texans realizing that there's no essential difference between the "two parties" before public awareness can reach a "critical mass" eager to be rid of the US status quo political regime.

A Solid Motive is Critical

Seceding because the "lesser-of-two-evils" didn't win is a petty and naïve motive, and guaranteed to fail. But seceding because the whole US political system is corrupt, because both parties have historically perpetuated the same harmful core policies both at home and abroad, and because those policies have only served to strengthen the US State (and it political class) at the expense of the liberty and property of The People — well that's a solid motive that could rally a broad enough base to get some traction.

A separate Texas that isn't based on principles of personal liberty and responsibility, as well as limited government, is not a big enough dream to truly inspire Texas' population, no matter how disgruntled they might be about some election results. Enough Texans need to recognize that the whole so-called "democratic" system of US politics is a fraud before they'll rise to support an independence unencumbered by such external baggage, knowing that things like the ever-increasing national debt have been part and parcel of an overall agenda with minimal concern for the well-being of the ruled.

A Texas so informed could very well make its way to a successful and beneficial separation from Washington's rule. And that could well be peacefully achieved, as it has been elsewhere in the world at various times. Let's retain that hope, and wait patiently — for one never knows...

We Get Comments... (#2) "Racists?"

A few readers have pointed out that many Texans favored secession in 1861 because of racist sentiments — that is, their motivation, at least in part, was to keep blacks "in their place" as subservient to whites.

While it cannot be denied that such sentiment existed among some (perhaps many) Texans in 1861, it bears mentioning that such sentiment was by no means limited to Texas — nor to the South. Racism peppered the social landscape throughout the entire U.S. and remained so long after the Lincoln's war.

More importantly, the racist views of some Texans in 1861 are simply no basis for presuming to project the same views onto secession proponents today. Yet incredibly, that's exactly what some folks have suggested — that those Texans who favor secession today want to reinstate slavery as an institution(!).

We find no empirical basis for such a notion. Nor, we suspect, can any of our accusers.

What we find perhaps more disturbing is the fact that some of our fellow Texans who favor secession seem motivated, at least in part, by another flavor of racism.

These Texans begin by complaining about "illegal aliens" (which is really just one symptom of a much more serious problem in the entire U.S.), inevitably making comments about the "prevailing [meaning white?] culture and society."

What these people apparently fail to realize is that the Texas of today is more multicultural than it has ever been, and there is no "prevailing culture and society," except in the minds of those who fancy themselves as members of some exclusive "prevailing culture and society."

The Texas Secession movement will not succeed if it tolerates an attitude of superiority on the basis of skin color or ethnic heritage.