The Benefits of Secession Are Becoming Increasingly Obvious
If it seems like the topic of secession is increasingly in the media in recent years, it’s not just your imagination. From “Calexit,” to Brexit, to Catalonia, and to Scottish independence, the topic of breaking up nation-states into smaller pieces has increasingly forced itself into the foreground.
In the United States, the discussion has become muted in the past two years—but has not disappeared—as activists on both left and right have decided to wait and see how the next election turns out. But expect a resurgence of secession talk from the side that loses the presidency, once the race is over.
But thanks to relentless growth in federal power over American states and American communities, this issue is unlikely to go away. It appears that Americans are increasingly fearful that national majorities and national political institutions can be used to attack the culture, legal rights, and lifestyles of those who might find themselves as part of a national majority.
Unless these powers are scaled back, it is increasingly likely that secession or some other form of national disunion will become the last option for many who fear the destruction of self-rule and self-determination within the United States.
“A Secessionist Moment”
These trends have certainly not gone unnoticed by longtime observers of American politics and law.
In his new book American Secession: The Looming Threat of a National Breakup, legal scholar F.H. Buckley suggests “[w]e’re now living in a secessionist moment in world history,” which is paving the way for dissenters both in the United States and elsewhere to move their nations toward a secessionist future.
Buckley outlines three larger historical factors behind current realities. The first is the decolonization trend that began in the mid twentieth century. Buckley notes “Like the American Revolution, the grant of independence [to colonies] was a form of secession form the colonial power.”
The second reason is the end of the Cold War. It’s been thirty years since the Berlin Wall came down and nearly 30 years since the Soviet Union collapsed. But political trends have a way of taking decades to become apparent. As the entire system of Western and Soviet alignment disintegrated following the end of the Cold War, twenty-four new countries emerged. The lack of a Soviet threat, and the greater flexibility offered to small nations in a post-Soviet world encouraged secessionists to push their cause.
The third factor is the increase in international trade and the relative decline of trade barriers in recent decades. In a world where even small nations can access international markets with relative ease, the relative cost of leaving a large nation-state declines.
Article from Mises Wire