Secession, Revolution… are they the end game of a deck stacked against freedom?

By 7 Comments 1,446 views

I’ve argued for many years that the United States is the greatest nation in the history of the world. From driving prosperity to winning two world wars to putting a man on the moon to ensuring individual liberty the United States is unlike any other country in history. And it has nothing to do with DNA. Indeed, some of America’s greatest men came from elsewhere… Alexander Hamilton was born on St. Kitts. Andrew Carnegie was born in Scotland. Albert Einstein was born in Germany. Leo Baekeland – the man who brought us plastic – was from Hungary. Nikola Tesla – the man responsible for the current running in your house – was born in Croatia.

It’s not the blood that makes the United States great, it is the Constitution. The US Constitution was the first document in history to form a government based on the principals of individual freedom, private property, limited / representative government and the rule of law. None of the things in the Constitution were completely unique. The Greeks had representative government and the Magna Carta put limitations on the Crown after all. What made the Constitution unique was the combination of those factors and the fact that the power resided in the hands of common citizens.

That could, frankly, have only occurred in the United States… because it was a new and free nation. Because of that youth, the colonies did not have vested interests sufficiently powerful to mold the formation of the government to benefit themselves. And as a result, the power resided in the hands of common men, the citizens. Not in the hands of an aristocracy. Not in the hands of the church. Not in the hands of some bourgeoisie merchants. No, in the United States the power to govern was put in the hands of regular citizens. There were power centers of course, but none – such as the northern states who still had debts to be paid from the Revolutionary War and the southern states who wanted low or no import tariffs – had the power to dictate the language of the Constitution. (To the degree that there was one vested interest powerful enough to make such a demand it was the slave states and the result was the most anti-freedom part of a document built on freedom.)

But why Philadelphia and not London or Paris? Both the British and the French had access to the same writings our Founding Fathers did – from Plato to the Old Testament to the Magna Carta to John Locke and Adam Smith and William Blackstone and Edmond Burke – but they did not create anything like US Constitution. Indeed, France, whose revolution followed the American revolution by a mere decade, spiraled into bloody chaos and brought about a dictatorship. The reason is because both France and England had strong vested interests loathe to give up their power and privileges, and as a result, neither laid the foundations for lasting prosperity that the US Constitution did.

And that prosperity was enormous and far reaching. By 1950 the United States economy was more dominant on the world stage than any economy in history. The US commanded fully 40% of the world’s GDP with less than 5% of its population. While both China and India had achieved that same 40% mark centuries before, they accomplished it with 35% & 30% of the world’s population respectively.

And that economic prosperity ushers in many benefits that are not measured in dollars like life expectancy increases, leisure time growth and dramatically safer employment conditions. Another measure of the impact of that prosperity is the Nobel Prize. Since the American economic heyday of the 1950’s, Americans have won over 50% of the Nobel Prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Medicine and Economics. Interestingly, 1/3 of those winners were immigrants who chose to come to the United States in pursuit of success, often because they didn’t feel they could do so at home. America is increasingly the epicenter of research of all sorts. Unfortunately however, it is not research that drives prosperity, it is economics and increasingly the United States is falling behind.

The freedom that drove the United States to become the most influential economic juggernaut in history no longer exists.  Today American GDP is 23% of the world’s.  While we are still experiencing advances in technology and medicine, increasingly the United States is becoming an economic morass. Although we see companies like Apple, Facebook and Google creating millionaires and billionaires by giving citizens great products, the chasm between the ultra rich and the middle class and poor is growing. An example is that can be seen in the data since the recession of 2007 & 2008. According to the Wall Street Journal:

“All told, average inflation-adjusted income per family climbed 6% between 2009 and 2012, the first years of the economic recovery. During that period, the top 1% saw their incomes climb 31.4% — or, 95% of the total gain — while the bottom 99% saw growth of 0.4%.”

But it’s broader than that. American incomes have been declining for over a decade, from a high of $56,080 in 1999 (inflation adjusted) to $51,017 in 2012, a drop of almost 10%, a decline unprecedented since the Great Depression – another government induced disaster. But it didn’t need to be this way. Had our economy had been as productive over the last twenty years as it was in the 1950’s and 60’s the average American family would today have an income in excess of $120,000 per year. At the same time, and not coincidentally, the rate of employment in the United States has plummeted, with the labor force participation rate at its lowest level since 1978 and disability claims skyrocketing.

All of this, and much more, are the consequence of the United States abandoning the very things that caused it to be great in the first place: limited government and individual liberty. Just as the British and the French were straight jacketed by their vested interests the United States is straight jacketed today. And that vested interest is government.

Entrepreneurship has been the life’s blood of American prosperity and today it’s on the ropes. While Silicon Valley venture capitalists throw money at high tech startups the rest of the country has seen regulation strangle entrepreneurs in their cribs. Government regulations, particularly federal regulations, have strangled small businesses in America. For the last 40 years the gap between the rate of companies starting to rate of those failing has been getting smaller. The bigger the gap (Companies started – companies failed) the better for the economy because it means more companies are surviving and creating jobs and value. In 2009 the lines crossed and today there are more companies failing than are started annually. The result less prosperity as small businesses are the golden goose of the American economy, generating 65% of all new jobs.

What we have today as a result are fewer, bigger companies that are increasingly turning to the government to hinder competition. From Wal-Mart supporting Obamacare to steel companies seeking import tariffs to General Electric pursuing Export / Import Bank subsidies to Wall Street banks lobbying for low interest rates to the Chamber of Commerce advocating for open borders, big companies are increasingly looking for government to protect them from the vagaries and verities of the competitive markets that helped create American prosperity in the first place. They are willing to trade higher taxes and endure more regulation for a playing field that is tilted in their favor… that is of course until when the taxes become too high and the regulation becomes too onerous, then they simply relocate outside the country.

In America in 2014 we have the opposite of the recipe for prosperity. We have a ruling class that has no desire to give up its power and privileges and a business class willing bend to that power and fund those privileges in the name of fattening their bottom lines. In this case the ruling class is the federal government. The power is demonstrated by the fact that the federal government has its claws in virtually every aspect of American life… from what you can do with your land to what your kids can bake for a bake sale at school to the healthcare you have to the kinds of light bulbs you can buy. At the same time they are writing thousand page laws – which generate tens of thousands of pages of regulations – the government is taking ever greater amounts of money from taxpayers for its redistribution schemes. From a sixth of the population on food stamps to taxing the lunch your boss provides, the ruling class of government seeks to control virtually every aspect of American life.

And being in power has its privileges. Federal workers have achieved for themselves that $120,000 average income (including benefits) while the average private sector employee gets by with less than half that. Seven out of the country’s ten richest counties – out of over 3,000 – surround Washington, D.C. And of course government employees enjoy almost guaranteed lifetime employment. And those at the upper echelons enjoy even better privileges, taking advantage of the revolving door of power. When their party is out of power the revolving door turns and the regulators simply join the regulated class or their lobbyists, at even higher salaries, until their party returns to power and the cycle starts over again.

Perhaps the perfect example of how America used to be a place where things could get done, where private enterprise could achieve great things was the Empire State Building. Started in 1929, it took 14 months to complete – four months ahead of schedule – what would be the tallest building in the world for the next 40 years. Today, 13 years after the destruction of the towers that took that tallest designation from it, the World Trade Center complex is still not complete. Only within the last year did the first of the towers open that would replace the destroyed complex and pieces of it are not expected to be completed before 2020… 19 years after the complex was destroyed. And it may well be the most expensive building project in American history. Was it technical capabilities that kept the complex from being replaced? Had Americans suddenly become too stupid to understand how to build buildings? No. It was bureaucracy. It was regulations. It was lawsuits and political interference. In other words it was government and government empowered chaos.

Which brings us back to the beginning. The United States was at one time the single greatest economic power in human history. As a result of that prosperity it has had more of a positive impact on the condition of man than any force in history. But that was an America where citizens had big ideas and big dreams, and the freedom to build on the first to achieve the second. Today that America doesn’t exist and a tyranny of the vested interests has replaced it. From government bureaucracy to crony capitalists to politicians who use the government purse as a vote buying scheme, America is no longer the bastion of freedom and prosperity that it once was. It is no longer the shining city on a hill. It is no longer the place where anyone can pull themselves up by their bootstraps by sheer will and hard work. And as guilty as the Democrats are in this, there are many big government Republicans who are just as much to blame.

Is it any wonder that 25% of Americans would consider secession? No. I count myself among them.  What about a revolution? Yes, I’d consider that too, but not the violent kind in either case. When faced with the same kind of vested interests that kept the British or the French from doing what our Founding Fathers did, what can be done? The real question isn’t whether the gift that James Madison, George Mason, John Hancock and Sam Adams gave us can be saved? The answer to that is yes. The real question is, how…

The product of a military family, growing up in Naples, Italy and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and being stationed in Germany for two years while in the Army, Vince spent half of his first quarter century seeing the US from outside of its own borders. That perspective, along with a French wife and two decades as a struggling entrepreneur have only fueled an appreciation for freedom and the fundamental greatness of the gifts our forefathers left us.

7 Responses to “Secession, Revolution… are they the end game of a deck stacked against freedom?”

  1. 1

    why zee

    great post 🙂

    my minor quibble – USA greatest nation history of the world

    yes but you forgot to add the very important phrase “so far”

    history as may note is littered with previous “greatest nations” who at their time clearly ruled the planet but for many various reasons then declined and the next “greatest nation” came along. good example is UK

    for the next “great” nation to rule planet earth i think a good thing to look at is demographics. how many chinese and/or indians are there ? in the billions yes ? assuming those economies are unleashed then how exactly will USA complete with only 350 or so million people ?

    of course something horrible could happen like an airborne ebola mutation that wipes out 40% humanity, astertoid strike, nutcake islamo nuclearism etc etc

  2. 2

    Bobachek

    Secession and states rights died at the hands of Abraham Lincoln…

    “When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

    We are there boys and girls….The man knew what was coming….

  3. 3

    Aqua

    And as guilty as the Democrats are in this, there are many big government Republicans who are just as much to blame.

    The real problem is 95% (and I think I’m being generous) of the people in elected office are only out for themselves. They get on TV and talk about the middle class and the little people, but they could care less about anyone unless it serves their personal interest.
    Our Constitution is supposed to prevent this, but if no one pays it any heed it becomes useless. You can count me in the secession crowd. If we followed the guidelines that were established by our Constitution, we wouldn’t need to even consider secession. Each State would be sovereign the way it was intended. But like Bobachek said, that all died with Lincoln.

  4. 4

    Marla Hughes

    One little teeny quibble. The real danger is not from politicians but from the tens of thousands of bureaucrats who really run the government. That’s where the regulations come from and where the politicians get their ‘expert’ advice. Instead of condemning either all politicians or all lobbyists, we should be thanking God we have them as bulwarks between legions of bureaucrats and legislation. Remember, it’s not smaller government we seek, but a more limited one. One that has a limited number of bureaucrats as well as a limited need for lobbyists to tell our elected representatives what experts say.

  5. 5

    Michael

    Does anyone really think that a “Peaceful” secession or revolution could be possible today? I think not! The southern states thought that they could leave the union peacefully and we see how that turned out!

  6. 6

    Aqua

    @Marla Hughes:

    The real danger is not from politicians but from the tens of thousands of bureaucrats who really run the government.

    I’ll agree with that. Although the problem with bureaucrats can be traced back to congress relinquishing their responsibilities to the bureaucrats they created. Every bureaucrat is DC can be shut down with one vote.

  7. 7

    Ditto

    This is not just an American issue. There is growing opposition to the elite’s plans for globalism amongst the citizenry in many of the advanced nations of the world. That is in part why Scotland was considering independence:.

    Scotland’s Independence Vote Shows a Global Crisis of the Elites

    Scotland’s push for independence is driven by a conviction — one not ungrounded in reality — that the British ruling class has blundered through the last couple of decades. The same discontent applies to varying degrees in the United States and, especially, the eurozone. It is, in many ways, a defining feature of our time.

    The rise of Catalan would-be secessionists in Spain, the rise of parties of the far right in European countries as diverse as Greece and Sweden, and the Tea Party in the United States are all rooted in a sense that, having been granted vast control over the levers of power, the political elite across the advanced world have made a mess of things.

    Catalans defy Spanish court in independence duel

    Catalan leaders forged ahead for a vote on independence, defying a court challenge by the national government in their bid to redraw the map of Spain.

    Spain’s Constitutional Court had provisionally blocked their plan for the vote, but parties in the northeastern region opted to launch a legal gamble.

    “We have agreed to maintain the election decree so that citizens can exercise their right to vote on November 9,” the Catalan regional government spokesman Francesc Homs told reporters in Barcelona.

    Catalan pro-independence parties declared they were “united” on the issue to the press, after holding meetings to forge a common front in the tense standoff, which threatens to trigger Spain’s biggest constitutional crisis in decades.

    The central government has vowed to keep Spain whole against the drive for independence for Catalonia.

    But, fired up by last month’s independence referendum in Scotland — although voters there rejected independence — hundreds of thousands of Catalans have protested in the streets in recent weeks, demanding their own vote.

    Secession Rising: Welcome To The Old World Order

    One trend is clear: the so-called New World Order, in which national boundaries disappear in favor of global consensus on important issues, is no more. Fragmentation is the order of the day. That’s because the internationalism of the socialistic left was bound to fail, and the internationalism of the capitalistic right underestimated the socialistic left.

    In many ways, today’s global order strongly resembles the global order after World War I; after the war, Woodrow Wilson, an idealistic president convinced that war is passé and that socialistic internationalism is rising, pushed for a new international order.

    (Snip)

    After the Cold War ended, the world faced a different situation: a new consensus formed that we had reached the end of history, a new international order based on global capitalism. And for some twenty years, trade barriers came down and nationalism waned. But the rise of the socialistic left could not be contained. Organizations originally developed to remove economic barriers instead became excuses for leftist redistributionism. That undermined the internationalism of institutions like the European Union – and so disillusioned socialists turned not to capitalism but to national socialism again, as in Greece or Scotland.

    Barack Obama, like Woodrow Wilson, is behind the times. There is no international order. International socialism has failed, and nationalistic socialism follows in its wake. And as nationalistic socialism fails, nationalistic capitalism will follow in its wake, as in Catalonia, Venice, and Texas.

    Welcome to the Old World Order.


    Coburn: It’s Not GOP vs Dem, It’s Career Politicians vs Non-

    “It’s not Republicans and Democrats, it’s career politicians versus non-,” he said, adding that people should vote Republican “in most instances, not all,” because “most of the time you have fewer careerists on the Republican side.”

    Coburn did not name any specific instances where he believes people should not vote Republican, and stressed the importance of a GOP Senate majority, arguing that “a 51-49 Republican Senate stops the assault on the rule of law through the judges that Obama’s putting on [the bench]” and would result in the Senate being able to pass appropriations bills rather than continuing resolutions.

    Ron Paul Thinks There Should Be More Secessionist Movements in the U.S.

    Fringe groups calling for states and regions to secede from the U.S., such as the Second Vermont Republic and the Alaskan Independence Party, gained more publicity in the weeks leading up to the Scottish referendum. As the outsized federal government continues to encroach on individual rights, Paul said, he thinks there will be a groundswell of these movements.

    “It’s something that I think is going to grow, because the failure of the federal government is going to get much worse,” he said. “When the bankruptcy evolves, and maybe some of these pension funds are confiscated, and the wars never end, and bankruptcy comes forth, people [will say], ‘Hey, we’re getting a bad deal from this. Why don’t we leave?’ ”

    He added: “I think it’s inevitable people wanting to leave will be there, and the numbers will grow.”

    Realistically, though, Paul said he doesn’t think any of these groups could actually succeed. Despite the founders’ own deep belief in secession—they gained America’s independence from Europe, after all—he said the Civil War set the precedent that secession would carry “very, very bad” results.

    “By our history, the heavy hand of the federal government would come down,” Paul told National Journal. “They’d probably shoot ’em.”

    In typical fashion, Paul argued that the principle of secession was more important than what could actually happen in reality. It’s the threat, he said, that’s important to keep the federal government in check.

    While TEA Party groups have not talked much about sessession, it is clear that the movment is against the globalist elite of both parties


    Review: GOP 2016 Discussion Begins with Joel Pollak’s ‘Wacko Birds’

    Pollak observes that “the Tea Party’s obituary has been written many times over–and yet it refuses to die.”

    “To supporters, it is an authentic grass-roots conservative movement restoring the spirit of the U.S. Constitution, restraining a runaway federal government, and bringing power back into the hands of the people, often against the will of an entrenched GOP establishment that prefers power to principle,” Pollak writes. “To opponents, it is a racist mob, funded by shadowy corporate interests and manipulated by populist demagogues, that has blocked nearly everything that President Barack Obama has attempted to achieve, and which has corrupted our democratic system of government.”

    Tea Party opponents are not just found on the left, of course. In fact, their most hostile adversaries may be establishment Republicans, as was made evident in this year’s Mississippi Senate runoff when establishment Republican operatives painted conservatives as racists to lure black Democrats to push Thad Cochran ahead of Chris McDaniel in the GOP race.

    (Snip)

    But if grassroots conservatives become more successful, they will have to try to change Washington without being changed by it, as the saying goes. Advance conservatism from the inside while resisting the temptation to plunge into the Washington cesspool that may now look like jacuzzi. And try to make the prose of governing a bit more poetic.

    But conservatives have to win first, and 2012 showed that Republicans never win national elections if they do not run as conservatives.

    (Snip)

    But it was hardly over for the Tea Party movement, despite all of its critics. And the Tea Party’s greatest test may come when the movement that formed in part because of George W. Bush’s big-government policies ultimately gains more power in D.C. Pollak writes that many “people perceive abuses of power when they feel themselves, or their political loyalties, to be on the receiving end,” yet “few display the same interest in, much less passion about, the importance of opposition once they or their party are in power.” Democrats have folded on issues they supposedly held dear–like privacy–once Obama occupied the White House. And if Tea Party conservatives don’t keep its leaders in line if they assume positions of power, then a new movement will replace it because the love of freedom and keeping government in check is in America’s DNA.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *