This is the question that Paul Starobin, writing for the Wall Street Journal, asks.
In the face of a ballooning, irresponsible federal government that seems to defy every principle of republican virtue, this is a question that continues to sound sweet in the longing ears of closet secessionists.
And for the first time since the Civil War, secession is not a word that is equated with ignorance, extremism, and failed causes. It is a word that is beginning to sound more and more apropos as we are both pushed and pulled toward decentralization.
Pushed we are indeed, in the face of mounting debt and government intrusion into our lives – an intrusion that is on the upward trend, made even more heinous by the ever-rising ratio of representative to citizen, as our population grows and the number of our legislators remains forever fixed.
Yet simultaneously, we are pulled by the growth of “mega-regions” – the devolution of the national economy into distinct concentrations of regional economic power and population density.
It is truly as if we are making a revolution on the wheel of governance, and we seem to be near apogee, a lonely satellite of a distant Jeffersonian ideal.
Will we orbit back to such virtues? Will we take our cues from the modern city-states like Singapore and Dubai? Will we allow a devolution of our government into more compact, comprehensive, concentrated regional units of more representative government, where citizens, with the gifts of market integration and globalization, will be able to maximize political freedoms without the expense of lost economic liberty?
As we prepare to pass healthcare reform, as we continue the meteoric growth of the money supply, as we (read: our distant and removed representatives) sow the seeds of fiscal disaster, we must ask ourselves if we are not creating the very conditions for critical mass from which our implosion is inevitable?
Will we one day look back at states like Alaska, Texas, and Vermont, and hail them as the bellwethers of change?
When the Governor of Texas goes beyond the unique but latent sense of nationalism of most Texans and actually suggests to the national press that secession is a rational option; when we read the last works of the visionary of foreign relations George Kennan and come across suggestions of the dissolution of our monstrous nation-state; when individual states are so large and unwieldy themselves, i.e. California, that they are in fiscal straights; when our national government continues to plunge itself into deeper debt and ensures a nasty and brutish existence for future generations under the supreme weight of high taxation and runaway inflation; when articles by well-reputed scholars that legitimately put forth the idea of devolution as a way for American culture and ideals to not just survive, but thrive, get published in America’s top newspapers…
then we know it is time again to think about this seriously. The time of neo-secessionism may finally have arrived.