modest proposal of secession
SLevinson at law.utexas.edu
Fri Jan 27 12:31:03 PST 2006
I obviously agree with Eugene that there is no groudswell for secession.
I do wonder, though, if some of the things he mentions would change were
there secession. For example, one of the arguments that Scottish
Nationalists make in favor of seceding from the UK is that no longer
have to be part of it in order to benefit from free trade. In their
case, they are, of course, members of a larger European Union (from
which at least some Brits would like to secede). But consider NAFTA.
Surely the US would quickly enter into a free-trade arrangement with
Pacifica. I also doubt, frankly, that Pacifica would need to fear
attack from either Mexico or Canada, but who knows? (And, of course, it
would be interesting to do an analysis of costs and benefits from DOD
funding. Many bases were originally built, of course, in the "good old
days" when South Carolinian Mendel Rivers or the Georgian Carl Vinson
controlled the House Defense appropriations, and, say, Trent Lott does
everything he can to shovel funds toward Mississippi and Joe Lieberman
to making what most people seem to believe is an unnecessary clas of
submarine in New London. Obviously California has a huge aero-space
industry, but, then, so does Missouri.) All of this assumes, of course,
that the debate about membership in the Union is "rational." It most
certainly is not. For most people, the question is a non-starter not
because they ask themselves about the costs and benefits, but because
they indeed feel, even if they came to the US from the USSR at age 10,
what Lincoln called "the mystic bonds of memory." This is simply part
of the American civil religion.
From: conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu
[mailto:conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu] On Behalf Of Volokh, Eugene
Sent: Friday, January 27, 2006 1:57 PM
To: conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu
Subject: RE: modest proposal of secession
Sandy Levinson writes:
> > It is very clear that the "red states," especially the "ruggedly
> > independent" Rocky Mountain states, are huge beneficiaries of
> > redistributive federal programs financed primarily by the coastal
> > "blue states." I tend to agree with Eugene that secession is a
> > non-starter as a political matter, but I'd be curious as to exactly
> > what he thinks California (or what I sometimes call "Pacifica,"
> > consisting of California, Oregon, and Washington) get out
> of being in
> > the US.
I'm surely no economist, but how about a simple list just off
the top of my head?
1. A 200+-year-old history of free trade in goods and services.
2. A 200+-year-old history of free movement of labor.
3. A 140-year-old history of not needing to invest resources in
military defense against a powerful neighbor, or in other problems
caused by internationa lfriction.
4. An assurance, stemming from that history, that these
conditions are not just newfangled inventions, subject to change with
small changes in political winds. What do you think are the chances
that there'll be serious new trade barriers on trade among European
states, despite whatever EU rules there might be, in the next 20 years?
What do you think are the chances that there'll be serious new trade
barriers on trade among American states in the next 20 years?
My guess is that this is all worth a titch more than whatever
money the blue states -- or, to be precise, those states that have been
blue in the last few elections, since even a young pup like me remembers
1980, 1984, and 1988, when California voted Republican, or for that
matter 1994, when California elected a conservative Republican governor
-- lose in federal subsidies. But, hey, that's just me speaking;
naturally, the many millions of Californians who favor secession (we've
all heard from them, right?) have a different view.
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