Editor’s note: Ohio native (and current Nevada resident) James Williamson (one of my younger brothers) is back with another in his “Imminent Rebellion” series, which exams the power struggle between states and the U.S. federal government. This blog article zeros in on the secession petitions forewarded from several states to the U.S. government, but James has been writing about the alienation between states and the federal government for quite some time. The other guest blog articles in the “Imminent Rebellion” series, starting with the oldest one and progressing to the one just prior to this, can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.–DJW
Imminent Rebellion: Rhetoric or Forewarning?
There has been a surge of news regarding the secession petitions filed on the White House’s We the People website. Since I was talking about it over a year ago (you can see my previous blogs on the subject) I’m going to weigh in on the action now that it is coming much closer to front and center.
The latest information that I have is that someone has filed a petition for secession in all 50 states. I will be the first to admit that many of these petitions have insignificant amounts of support and probably do not reflect popular opinion. But is it all just talk? So far. Talk always precedes actions in the political world. Is there enough talk that we should be worried? Worried? Not yet. Concerned? Yes.
There are a few signs that this is no longer just chatter from the fringe elements of society. One of the signs is the fact that the media is responding to it. Another is that there are counter petitions being signed. Another is the fact that several of the states have exceeded the 25,000 signers required to trigger a response from the White House. As of this writing Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Texas, Louisiana all exceeded the 25,000 signature threshold. Texas, of course, is leading the way with just over 105,000 signers and Louisiana a distant second with just under 35,000 petitioners. What is also significant is that the Texas secession petition has more support than any other issue on the “We the People” site. Perhaps the most significant signal that this idea is not as laughable as the pundits would have you believe is the fact that both the governor of Texas and the governor of Alabama have made statements about secession (not in favor of) already.
Support for secession will only grow with time, and it’s not really about Obama. Obama (along with congress) is the symptom not the disease. The cankerous disease that will rip this country in half is the lust for entitlements. What do I mean by that? Everyone wants something without having to pay for it. It can’t continue. When a business gets bloated and can’t pay its bills what does it do? It contracts, gets back to its core lines of business, and sheds unprofitable business activity. When a government gets bloated and can’t pay its bills, what does it do? It spends even more of course. That’s because entitlements are more addicting than drugs. If you don’t believe me look at the news coming out of Greece, Spain, and Italy. Once you are hooked on them you can’t stop . . . mostly because you forget how to get things like food, clothing, and shelter on your own. It spreads like the plague too because once your neighbor figures out you are getting stuff for free they want some too. Eventually the consumers outnumber the producers and the producers get crushed. It’s happened many times already, just not here in the United States. Most people who argue against me on this point out that we haven’t gone bankrupt after nearly 100 years of ever increasing entitlement spending. Study your history. It took hundreds of years for Rome to collapse financially. Rome had “progressed” nearly as far as we have. They didn’t recognize gay marriage but homosexuality was commonplace and so were abortions. Toward the end of the Roman period nearly 1/3 of the empire was on the government payroll and the regulations were so plentiful, they regulated how much weight you could pack on a horse. I wish I could resurrect a few of the Romans from that time so they could warn us. Would we listen?
I digress. Secession: Most of the pundits in the media point out that there is no legal mechanism for secession. Some suggest and some directly say that secession is illegal. That, in and of itself, is a pretty silly observation to make. Of course it’s not legal! Why would the government allow itself to be dissolved? That’s committing suicide. Government will always protect itself. Challenging the authority of any government is the fastest way to get persecuted by it. I would also point out that our declaring independence from Great Britain was not legal either. Secession and revolution are not a matter of law. They are highly extra-legal activities by nature, so declaring them illegal and therefore insisting that such won’t happen is about as naive as it gets.
I don’t know what will happen. I don’t know if Texas will secede. What I do know is this: We don’t live in 1860. Just because it turned out one way the last time doesn’t mean it will end the same a second time.