Saturday, August 12, 2017


The State of California, still upset over the results of the last Presidential election, is making secession noises.  Simultaneously, a group of unlike-minded folk in northern California, including a few counties in Oregon, are making secession noises of their own: they want to secede from California.

Opinions on the issue vary wildly.  Some, mostly mid-westerners, can hardly wait for The Republic of California to be a reality.  Others see the loss of 55 reliably-Democratic electoral votes as a certain death warrant for their party.  In the middle is a group that asks "didn't we settle this issue in 1865?".

As a matter of fact, no, we did not settle this issue in 1865.  The American Civil War is still being fought today, but with far fewer casualties.  As time goes by, the drawbacks of a policy that forces two or more irreconcilable groups to live in community grow daily more obvious.  Forcibly joining groups that will never agree is like putting out an anchor to windward: it stops movement in the face of looming disaster — sometimes.  Sometimes, it merely delays the inevitable.

For a very long time, I have held the opinion that secession is a good thing, not a bad thing.  If two (or more) groups of people have decided in their hearts that they can no longer peacefully coexist with each other, keeping them joined against their better judgement is foolish and dangerous.  Recall John F. Kennedy's admonition that those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable.  Forced union is asking for trouble, and it's almost certainly inefficient.  Those who are (in their view) held captive against their will will never work with enthusiasm for the benefit of their 'captors'.  They will always be a drag on the economy.

And if your response to that is that we are all supposed to be brothers, then it's fair to ask why you do not wish your brothers the freedom to chart their own course through life.  Or are they only permitted to travel on the course you have charted for them?

I believe CalExit would be a catastrophe for California and Californians, but I could be wrong.  Whatever my personal opinion on the matter, it remains true that Californians ought to decide for themselves without asking me for permission to do so.

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