Walter Williams: An Unlikely Proponent of Secession

Source: Mises Wire.

I was skeptical of the federal authority in my long-haired youth, but grew to appreciate it as I matured and began learning how the world works. Now that my hair is gray, I am again skeptical of the federal authority. I am convinced that it has become irredeemably corrupt in almost every way.

So, I am not as averse to secession as I once was.

I blame two main forces for the corruption: complexity and cronyism. It is almost a law of nature that when systems grow sufficiently complex they become both fragile and ungovernable. It may also be almost a law of nature that any stable social system is eventually destroyed by cronyism (or faction as the Founders put it), if it isn’t destroyed by some other more dramatic occurrence. The antidote for both ills is decentralization.

Walter Williams apparently held that the Constitution implies a right of secession. In 2015 he wrote, “The 1783 Treaty of Paris ended the war between the colonies and Great Britain. Its first article declared the 13 colonies ‘to be free, sovereign and independent states.’ These 13 sovereign nations came together in 1787 as principals and created the federal government as their agent. Principals have always held the right to fire agents. In other words, states held a right to withdraw from the pact—secede.”

I agree with this view, and I think we have reached a time when the corruption of the federal authority and that of not a few of the individual states makes the issue of secession real again.

6 thoughts on “Walter Williams: An Unlikely Proponent of Secession

  1. “Article 1st:
    His Brittanic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz., New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be free sovereign and Independent States; that he treats with them as such, and for himself his Heirs & Successors, relinquishes all claims to the Government, Propriety, and Territorial Rights of the same and every Part thereof.”

    I am not sure that can be used to establish 13 independent states or rather that the United States, viz (namely) a listing of what constitutes the new nation. We are not governed by what other nations perceive us to be, but rather a Constitution that was agreed to by 13 states “…to form a more perfect Union…”.

    Furthermore, the second article is very detailed as to what constitutes the United States as a nation:

    “Article 2d:
    And that all Disputes which might arise in future on the subject of the Boundaries of the said United States may be prevented, it is hereby agreed and declared, that the following are and shall be their Boundaries,…”

    That large, populous nations might be ungovernable by the size limitations of representation as we have now is not a flawed premise. In my view, however, secession is not the solution. A larger Congress, regional governing units and perhaps several executive officers rather than a single president might be worth consideration.

    Jefferson famously compared the clothing worn as a child would not be expected to clothe the man with a Constitution for a new 13 state nation being not suitable for eternity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. RE: “I am not sure that can be used to establish 13 independent states or rather that the United States, viz (namely) a listing of what constitutes the new nation.”

      There was no new nation until the 13 colonies created one via the Constitution.

      Like

      1. Well, that may make my point even better. That the Constitution changed the status of states as inseparable parts of a whole.

        Secessionist and tax protesters are of the same cloth.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. RE: “That the Constitution changed the status of states as inseparable parts of a whole.”

          Williams makes the point that Constitution doesn’t make the states “inseparable.”

          Like

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