Secede over pot and Obamacare? You’re nuts

Ron Paul

Did you know that there are public petitions in all 50 states in support of secession? I didn’t, but former presidential candidate Ron Paul knows. He likes the idea that states should secede from the Union. He says he’s taking his cue from our Founding Fathers and argues that:

Secession is a deeply American principle…There is nothing treasonous or unpatriotic about wanting a federal government that is more responsive to the people it represents.

Paul goes on to say that the successful state ballot measures about marijuana will test federal powers and could lead to secession. He says the same thing about Obamacare and Medicaid expansion – even though the United States Supreme Court has already ruled against such federal powers. He says, “If a people cannot secede from an oppressive government, they cannot truly be considered free.”

I think we can all agree that the Declaration of Independence is the American argument for justifiable secession. It reads, in part, “When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another … a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the questions.”

So Ron Paul’s compelling causes are his support for marijuana and his loathing of Obamacare. The Declaration of Independence also includes this instruction, “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes…” I’d say smoking dope and government health care, while great issues to debate, are far from the kinds of causes our founders were referring to when they agreed to revolution.

My libertarian and secessionist friends should read the “long train of abuses and usurpations” reported in the Declaration, then compare their complaints today with what our Founders were enduring and then give us a call.

The Declaration states, “…whenever any form of government becomes destructive to [life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness], it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it…” You know, I can make a pretty good case that Ron Paul’s libertarian policies fit that category, so it’s a good thing few people listen to him.

Folks, the colonies seceded from England because their freedom was all but nonexistent. America’s southern states sought to secede over slavery in the name of states’ rights and economic freedom. Our Founding Fathers were morally justified; the southern states were not. And if anyone today thinks secession is justified because of pot smoking and Obamacare, they’re nuts.

Do states have a legal and moral right to secede under justifiable conditions? Of course they do. But what are those justifiable conditions? Are they when tax rates hit 50 percent, 70 percent or 90 percent? If so, Americans should have seceded a long time ago, but we didn’t. Why? Why haven’t we seceded from the Union over all of the growth in governmental powers in the last century?

The answer is because the American people are still the captains of their own fate. No foreign power is imposing its will upon us. And I hate to break the news to my libertarian friends, but our own federal government is not a foreign power – that it feels like it sometimes doesn’t make it so. Americans still have the power to alter our governments. When that power goes away, we can talk about abolishing what has worked so well for over 200 years.

Without justifiable cause, secession talk is nonsense and not unpredictably part of the pathology of selfishness at the heart of libertarian thinking. If we chose to deny secession over slavery, what makes any rational human being think Americans will allow it over pot smoking?

Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Franklin were right and the Loyalists were wrong. Lincoln was right and the South was wrong. America is in deep trouble today, but talk of secession is wrong.

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  • William N. Grigg

    “Folks, the colonies seceded from England because their freedom was all but nonexistent. America’s southern states sought to secede over slavery in the name of states’ rights and economic freedom. Our Founding Fathers were morally justified; the southern states were not.”

    First of all, the colonists were NEVER as oppressed by King George as Americans are by Washington today.

    Secondly, the Bazooka Joe comic strip-version of U.S. history this guy studied omits the fact that secession was often discussed prior to 1861, and that abolitionists were among those who suggested that course of action.

    Third, the moral (and constitutional) question is not “What right did the South have to leave a voluntary union over slavery?” but rather “By what right did Washington *forbid* them to leave?”

  • Believe All Things

    Can you please provide a link to Congressman Paul’s statement? The link presently attempts to open up a web app. Thank you.

  • Dan Fisher

    Paul I feel you are becoming increasingly disingenuous in your analysis of history and those who would promote individual liberty over state-mediated central planning. Nowhere did Ron Paul suggest that we should secede over marijuana or Obamacare, and to write an article that makes such an assertion is intellectually dishonest.

    Further you suggest that the reasons the individual states choose not to secede from the federal union is becuase Americans are still the captains of their own fate – I would venture to say that most Americans don’t even know what the word means because they are too busy watching American Idol and posting new updates on Facebook.

    I tire of your rants on libertarianism, and long for sound, honest, logical, and historically accurate discusions on specific issues that can be discussed in a non-threatening environment (i.e. I don’t generally continue to participate with organizations when I am refered to as selfish and labeled as “nuts”).

  • Kirk Van Allen

    “My libertarian and secessionist friends should read the “long train of abuses and usurpations” reported in the Declaration, then compare their complaints today with what our Founders were enduring and then give us a call.”

    complaints for today’s abuses, they include income tax (which the founders opposed), NDAA act of 2011-2012, bailouts of corporations, taxpayer funded abortion, establishment of a the Federal Reserve, unwarranted surveillance and searches as ordered by the Patriot Act, road pit stops to check for citizenship (Arizona), mandated health insurance, mandated redistribution of wealth (social security, Medicaid, Medicare), fixing prices (post office, minimum wage), Undeclared wars in Afghanistan, Libya, Uganda, Iraq, Vietnam, etc., presidential kill lists and drone strikes, government takeover of student loans, the massive decrease of state sovereignty with the 17th amendment, unfettered government spending that has wiped out savings and decreased the dollar’s value by 75%, massive amounts of money being made of insider trading within the government, Agenda 21, The heaps of regulations on businesses, FCC attack on the internet.

    Should I keep going? I don’t think we should secede either, but to consider our situation any less serious than that of the founders is absurd. Secession and the abolition of a government should always be considered. Especially when a tyrannical government reigns.

  • Ammon Nelson

    Yep, Sutherland institute is an example of intellectual honesty and right thinking principles. (not). I used to look to you guys for reasoned and unbiased analysis. No more. You’ve become an outlet for Mainstream party politics.

    • Ammon Nelson

      I agree that the current secession talk is nonsense, but that is beside the point.

  • Michael Burgess Black

    you start your post with a false sentence why on earth should someone continue reading. “He likes the idea that states should secede from the Union.” if you replaced should with could you would be a little closer. I finished the article and it was a waste of time. you obviously don’t know what libertarians actually believe. if you think its pot and healthcare ppl are upset over your to busy watching american idol. how about the right to habeas corpus. or maybe the fact we count every male adult in a drone strike as a target instead of “calatoral damage” or what is now the law of the land that we can be taxed on anything. the idea that ppl want to secede over Obama care is a maybe a few sore loosers do, but those are repubs. some libertarians want to secede but not over pot alone.

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  • David

    Wow, this analysis amazes me. Under the limited grounds that you provide for reason for session, I would have to agree with you. However, there are many more reasons than simply pot and Obamacare that makes your argument seem somewhat ridiculous. Just as taxes (among other things) may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back in the days of the American Revolution, it would seem that Obamacare (among other things) may be the last straw today. Are you not aware of the other reasons that many people and states are giving for secession that are a build up of over 100 years? Reasons such as the Federal Reserve, The Income Tax, The FDA, The Dept of Education, The Endangered Species Act, Limitless Wars on Foreign Soil, and my list could go on and on. All of these items have come into existence in the last 100 years and many argue would not have been constitutional in the eyes of most of the founders.

    The Declaration of Independence states many of the reasons the founders felt justified in breaking off from England and I find it interesting that we are seeing many of the same reasons coming up today. We live in a different age so things are certainly different, but let us not be so quick to judge others by calling them unjustified and irrational. The Union was originally designed to allow the states to run things the way they wanted to while the Federal Government would provide for the common defense and interstate transaction. Is it any wonder that people are getting upset when they are told they have to do things by a Government that is so far disconnected from their local needs? I could give numerous examples of this, but at this point I will refrain.

    I am not calling for secession as I do feel there is reasonable enough representation that if people really wanted to fight for certain things they still could within the existing system (for now), but I am calling for reasonable and civil conversation on the subject. If some members of the union are feeling like they do not have adequate representation for their level of taxation or feel that they are being oppressed in some ways, maybe we should listen.

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  • doug

    I don’t even know where to begin! You demonstrate a deep and overwhelming ignorance of the subject you write about. There is an old saying “It is better to remain silent and thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt”

    If the Declaration of Independence were written today, the list of “abuses and usurpations” would fill volumes, Obamacare, NDAA, ADA, Executive Orders, Gun Control, just being a few of them. The only Amendments that the Federal Government does not violate on a daily basis are the ones that enslave us.

    And the Federal Government IS a foreign power. Foreign to the limits of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Foreign in that our money is controlled by foreign banks – the Federal Reserve.
    Foreign in that there is NO constitutional provision for “foreign aid” or for the U.S. President to be involved in the affairs of any state other than ours.

    And you say that we still have the power to change our government, if you – the head of a Conservative Think Tank, doesn’t get it then what does that say about the masses. It says that we have neither the will or the understanding to do it.

    There is one thing that the Declaration of Independence teaches that few really learn, Mans rights are inalienable. They are not something we have, they cannot be seperated from us – THEY ARE US – WE ARE OUR RIGHTS. Tyranny knows this better than we do. The Government has deceived us into believing that they are taking away our rights. What they are really doing is extorting us to not exercising our rights – we just let them atrophy.

    Secession is one of the ways we stop the atrophy. Possibly one of the only ways at this point.

    I will suggest that you a few long nights in the company of Frederick Bastiat, Cleon Skousen, Hans Verlan Anderson and Gary Allen – get a clue, man


  • Diane Robertson

    I agree with you, Paul. All of these people need to get a hold of some original historical documents and actually read the constitution. The colonists didn’t secede solely over taxes. The colonists were compelled to house British Soldiers, give the soldiers their food, clothes, etc. We have an ancestor who was murdered by British soldiers in his home because he stood up to them for stealing his crops. The colonists were searched and seized without warrants. They were left in prisons and not given trials. The colonists had no representation in the British government. The British government was replacing their local elected officials with men from Britain. The colonists did not have representatives in the British Parliament unlike the British citizens in England. The colonists were being taxed without representation. My Points are in America today 1) No one is breaking into anyone’s home and stealing legally. 2) No one is required by the government to house soldiers 3) No one is murdering without being prosecuted 4) No one has been taxed by without representation. 5) Our elected officials are getting into office by the vote of the majority. 6) law enforcement still has to get a warrant to search some one’s home.

    If people are not happy with the outcome of the election them maybe they should do more: speak out more, lobby more, find new candidates, support them and get ready for the next election– educate more voters. The democratic process in America is not dead. Our president was voted in by the majority of the people– he hasn’t been murdering anyone to gain power. Anyone can say they hate Obama and not face any consequences. We still have free speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of the press. If people are unhappy, then start talking and bring America back to its original greatness. But for goodness sake do not abandon the greatest Constitution ever written and the greatest nation in the world’s history because you don’t like the taxes you have to pay levied by the people the majority voted into office.

  • Believe All Things

    Congressman Paul’s comments need to be taken in context of his past statements about his contention that the federal government is “oppressive”. While the post above suggests that oppression is directly tied to tax rates, it does not define when the author feels that secession is justifiable. Just that it is “wrong”. Additionally, it is stated that “libertarian thinking” is selfishness at heart without providing any facts to support such a contention. Concerning Washington and Colorado passing marijuana laws, Paul points out that although California previously passed similar legislation, “the Feds have been arresting peaceful medical marijuana users and raiding dispensaries that state and local governments have sanctioned. This shouldn’t happen in a free country.” Lastly, the post above questions whether the U.S. is under foreign imposition. Apparently the author is unaware of the private international banking cartel that is behind the Federal Reserve, the continuing debasement of the U.S. dollar, and ongoing international currency wars.

    Unfortunately, it is difficult to take the views presented in this post seriously. “If anyone today thinks secession is justified because of pot smoking and Obamacare, they’re nuts.” Given the level of analysis presented above, who could argue with an oversimplification such as that?

    • Kylasaurus Rex

      He casually disregards the fact that Cannabis is turning out to be a cancer killer. It also reverses symptoms of diabetes mellitus, Chrohn’s disease, and epilepsy and a TON more. It’s the safest drug God has ever given us. Medical cannabis has absolutely nothing to do with SMOKING pot, unless a patient chooses to SMOKE it. Most medical cannabis preparations don’t even get you high at all. When you combine that with 80 years of government abuse, lies, abject stupidity and obstruction of the legislative process required to make it legal, it’s clear to see we have a human rights issue. THIS ALONE is a damn good reason to secede. Anyone who has seen the facts and still denies that cannabis is a medicine is no better than a racist or a holocaust denier. We should have a constitutional right to grow this plant as a medicine, or whatever we want to use it for. Paul Mero makes Utahns look like a bunch of fucking idiots.

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