Secession or Reform
A major debate among Southerners who love liberty and who realize that liberty is all but dead under the present system is whether their lost liberty can best be regained by reforming the present union or seceding from it. The following describes the various positions Southerners take on this question and the effectiveness and economy of secession over reform.
IIf Southerners wish to regain their lost liberties and retard the erosion of their culture and heritage, they have but two choices. They can reform the present government of the United States, or they can secede.
If they bother to think about the loss of their liberty at all, most people would shy away from secession. Instead they would prefer to reform the present government of the United States. They erroneously perceive this as being easier and less radical. They fool themselves into believing that reform can be achieved without violence and bloodshed. Most of them have the idea — a false idea — that secession would lead to civil war. But is secession really more difficult, more radical, or more violent than reform?
Those who think that a decadent despotic democracy can be reformed deceive themselves. Despots do not willingly yield their power. Democratic despotism is much worse. At least with an autocrat, assassination may lessen the tyranny. But how does one assassinate the majority? Civil war!
The reformers face almost insurmountable obstacles. The United States have degenerated to the point of no return in the life of a democracy. The people have learned how to vote themselves booty from the public treasury. They are federal-handout junkies who are addicted to (perceived) “free” money. If the United Statue remain intact, nothing short of Divine intervention, conquest by a foreign power, or civil war will prevent the United States from completing their evolution into an autocratic presidency or judicial oligarchy within the next generation or two.
The reformers may occasionally win on an issue. But they lose more often than they win, and their victories are usually short-lived. Their only hope is to replace, i. e., overthrow, the rulers, the government. This means civil war — more violent and bloodier than any successful secession movement. If the reformers lose, the result is even greater tyranny.
Secession may also lead to war although war in this case is not as certain as it is in the case of the reformers. A successful war of secession would be less destructive and violent than the civil war of the reformers. If the secession movement fails, the result would be about the same as if the reformers were to lose their civil war — ever more tyranny.
A secession movement has one major advantage over a political reform movement. The secessionists do not seek to overthrow any government. They do not seek to rule the others. The secessionists seek only to prevent the others from ruling them.
The reform movement suffers the disadvantage of having to overthrow a government. The reformers seek not just to prevent the others from ruling them but also to rule the others.
Paradoxically, secession can be achieved more easily and with less violence than reform, especially during the latter parts of the democratic despotic stage. Apparently, the degenerative effects of democracy and despotism destroys the will to resist almost anything that does not directly interfere with the grants of special privileges that the politically powerful special interest groups have and “free” money from the public treasury. By the time the oligarchic or autocratic stage is fully realized, change almost always requires bloodshed. The time to strike for independence is now!
The reformers set out to abolish the grants of special privileges and “free” money from the public treasury and, therefore, run into stiff resistance. The secessionists set out to abolish these only in a limited geographical area. Therefore, resistance is limited. The secessionists face much less resistance than do the reformers and, thus, have a much better chance of success.
Secessionist do face one problem that the reformers face. That is to persuade enough people in the equity of their cause so that they have an adequate base for the movement to succeed. However, by operating in a limited geographical area, the secessionist does not have to convert as many people. The reformers need converts all across the country. Also, to proselyte people within a limited geographical area with similar culture, heritage, religion, philosophy, etc. is easier than to proselyte a population as diverse as that of all the United States.
There is another paradox of the reform movement. Not only do reform movements usually lead to more tyranny when they fail, they usually lead to more tyranny when successful. Secession movements do not suffer this paradox. When they succeed, the result is usually more freedom. When they fail, the result is usually more tyranny.
Secessionists do tend to be more radical than reformers. Secession is not for conservatives since it requires breaking free from the established order. However, when liberty is on the deathbed, radical action is often demanded.
Reformers seek to pass a few laws, to repeal a few laws, or to attach an amendment or two to the constitution. They fail to realize that the government of the United States is no longer a government of law. It is, like all democracies, a government of men. The constitution is now a meaningless piece of ancient paper. The reformers must destroy the institutions that they seek to preserve and reform if their reforms are to have a chance to live. This is yet another paradox the reformers must face.
The secessionists are not concerned with preserving or destroying political institutions. Of necessity they must form a new government and new political institutions. Their constitution and government may be radically different from the present constitution and government of the United States. (They should because obviously the present constitution is a failure in that it does not have enough chains to bind the government of the United States.) However, their constitution and government will have what the present constitution and government of the United States no longer have. They will be possessed by the spirit of the founding fathers. Now that is radical!
The reformers are doomed to failure. They face only despair, defeat, violence and more tyranny. Reform offers the South little hope. Liberty can only be found in secession.
Now is the time for Southerners to regain their liberties through secession. Democracy in the United States has degenerated to the point where independence can be achieved with little or no bloodshed. Independence must be achieved before the judicial oligarchy or autocratic presidency is firmly established. If this opportunity is lost, independence can then only be achieved by a long bloody conflict.
IIContending for the Southern mind are the advocates of the status quo, which is nothing more than fascism American style, i.e., democratic fascism; the false reformers, who agree with the advocates of the status quo in principle but disagree with them on emphasis; the false secessionists, who seek an authoritarian or soviet state where they shall rule; the apathetic, who could care less about what happens, or if he cares, he does not care enough to act; and the true reformers and true secessionists, both of whom seek liberty but disagree on the approach to use in achieving this goal.
The apathetic is the largest group. The apathetic generally flow with the current no matter where the current takes him. If forced to choose, he usually chooses the status quo because that is the course of least resistance.
The advocates of the status quo support the present system, which is democratic fascism. (Under fascism most property remains privately own at least in name. However, the government controls the property and tells the owner what he may and may not do with his property. The government controls the economy by granting special privileges and subsidies to its favorites at the expense of the politically weak. In social matters, the government attempts to establish social equality by regimenting the population into an homogenized oneness.) The governments of the United States, States, and most of the counties and cities are controlled by the advocates of the status quo.
There are two types of reformers: false reformers and true reformers. False reformers believe in the welfare state. Their argument with the advocates of the status quo is over emphasis, not over philosophy. Most establishment conservatives, such as Reagan, Will, and Buckley, are false reformers, if they are reformers at all, as are all liberal and socialist reformers. (If one hears a conservative who says that government should help the truly needy, who talks about improving public education [government schools] instead of abandoning it, who favors granting special economic privileges to certain classes, such as farm subsidies and protective tariffs, or who advocate foreign intervention and militarism, he should beware, for most likely he is listening to a false reformer.) False reformers should really be considered a subset of the advocates of the status quo. On the other hand, true reformers believe that the primary purpose of government is to protect life and property. Government should be minimal. They advocate returning to the basic principles upon which the United States were founded. Among the true reformers are libertarians for the most part, most John Birchers, many of the extreme right-wing of the Republican Party, and most of the other so-called right-wing extremist. (The various Nazi and fascist groups and perhaps some Klan groups should really be considered part of the radical left, for that is where their philosophical kindred is.) False reformers are more numerous than true reformers. Almost all reform programs that have been implemented have come from the false reformers. Few, if any, of the programs of the true reformers have ever been implemented.
Like reformers there are two types of secessionists: true secessionists and false secessionists. Like false reformers, the disagreement that false secessionists have with the advocates of the status quo is not so much one of philosophy as it is one of who rules, who decides what statist programs are to be implemented, and who implements them. False secessionist believe that they are locked out of the present system, and, therefore, they seek to secede from it and establish a new country with a new government where they will be the gerents. Obviously, all left-wing secessionists are false secessionists. Unfortunately, so are many right-wing secessionists. On the other hand, true secessionists like true reformers desire to regain the basic principles upon which the United States were founded. Their basic disagreement with the true reformers is that they believe as George Washington believed in 1776 that the system cannot be reformed in the direction of liberty. The only hope for freedom lies in secession. True secessionists desire liberty while false secessionist desire to rule.
In summary, Southerners tend to fall into one of these groups: the apathetic, advocates of the status quo, false reformers, true reformers, false secessionists, and true secessionists.
IIISoutherners who love liberty tend to belong to one of two categories: those who believe that the system can be reformed and those who believe that the system cannot be reformed. The latter are secessionists and the former are reformers. The best hope that Southerners have to regain their lost liberties is through secession not reform. If history is any predictor of the future, reform is almost certain to fail.
As difficult as the task is for the secessionists to achieve their goals, it is much more so for the reformers. The secessionists need only to persuade a significant number of people in one region of the rightfulness of their cause. The reformers must persuade a significant number of people throughout the entire country.
The secessionists may have to resort to physical conflict in order to achieve their goals. However, war for the secessionists is not nearly as certain as it is for the reformers. The holders of power fight less diligently to retain their colonies than they do to retain their power base. (For example, the War for Texas Independence was less bloody than most Mexican civil wars in which the reformers tried to oust the rulers.) The secessionists seek only to remove themselves from the power base. The reformers seek to overthrow and replace the power base. Hence, the entrenched holders of power will, for self preservation if for no other reason, fight the reformers, who seek to replace them, more tenaciously than they will fight the secessionists, who seek only to withdraw from them.
Throughout the history of America, secession has been much more effective than reform at achieving liberty whereas reform has been much more effective than secession at achieving oppression. There are numerous examples to substantiate this statement. The British colonists gained back the liberties that they had lost and more when they successfully seceded from Great Britain. Just as the Mexicans lived freer after seceding from Spain in 1821 so did the Texans live freer after seceding from the United States of Mexico in 1836. If Southerners had succeed in their secession, they would not have suffered the despotism that they have suffered in the present union. The people of a seceding country have nearly always lived freer than they did before they seceded or would have if they had not seceded. And they continued to live a freer life until they went down the road of reform as did Mexico.
On the other hand, reform has almost always resulted in oppression. The abolitionist reformers have brought about the War Between the States, the Fourteenth Amendment, the Ku Klux Klan, and the present day “civil rights” movement and laws. (Most reform movements in the United States since the 1830s have descended or spun off from the New England abolitionists.) The temperance reformers have brought prohibition, anti-drug laws, and anti-smoking laws. The populist reformers have brought the income tax, many of the alphabet federal agencies whose job is to intervene in the economy and thwart economic progress, and the abandonment of the gold standard and concomitant inflation. The economic reformers have brought the New Deal, the welfare state, and the economic chaos that has become the norm. The cosmopolitan reformers have brought World War I, World War II, and the United Nations. The educational reformers have brought an educational system that indoctrinates and socializes children rather than educates them, thus producing the worse educational system in the Western world and one that ranks behind some third world countries. The political reformers have concentrated nearly all political power in Washington and have diluted the electorate until only the mediocre, who are more easily controlled by the power brokers than are the natural aristocrats (people like Washington, Henry, Randolph, Macon, Calhoun, Stevens, Lee, and Forrest), can be elected to office. The conservative reformers have brought about the largest budget and federal deficit in history, tax reform that increases taxes without simplification, the largest agricultural welfare program perhaps in civilized history, and a host of other programs that makes them indistinguishable from liberal reformers. Throughout the history of the United States the trend for reform has been towards despotism. There have been few, if any, significant reform in the direction of liberty.
Secession is a much more effective, economical, surer, quicker, and peaceful way of achieving liberty than reform. The time has come for reformed minded Southerners to abandon their chimera of reform. The time has come for all Southerners who love liberty to join together and work for a free and independent confederation of free and independent Southern States. Only then will the South be freed from the domination of Yankeedom. Only then can liberty be achieved and preserved.
Secession also has the advantage over reform in that by establishing an independent country, the identity, culture, heritage, etc. of the seceding people are better and more easily protected and preserved. Identifiable political borders aid appreciably in the identity of a people. For example, the Bretons have no independent country or readily identifiable political borders. (Their province was divided into several departments during the French Revolution.) They live under French rule. To most outsiders, they are considered French although they have a different language, history, and culture. On the other hand, Danes do not suffer this identity problem. The Danes have their own country, Denmark, with its identifiable political borders where they can preserve their own language, culture, and way of life,
Secession offers the only chance for the South to ever be free. Reform is a dead end road to nowhere. Secession is the thoroughfare to life and liberty.
In conclusion Southerners tend to belong to one of several groups. The majority are indifferent. Of the remainder most prefer the status quo, which is traveling the road to despotism. Of those who love liberty, some see reform as the solution and others see secession as the solution. History shows that liberty can be more easily gain through secession than reform.
Postscript: For progression towards liberty, secession is part of the natural order whereas reform is contrary to the natural order. One does not reform Satan’s kingdom into Chris’s kingdom; one secedes from Satan’s kingdom into Christ’s kingdom.Copyright © 1983, 1987 by Thomas Coley Allen.
More articles on the South.