This came out over on Freethepeople.org a little over a week ago, but I took a little time to absorb it: The Rules of Politics Don’t Matter Anymore. Timely, indeed. Excerpts, with my comments, follow.
When Virginia decided to secede from the Union, 50 counties in the western part of the state were generally in disagreement with that decision. They formed their own government and held votes to create their own state. They were admitted into the Union in June of 1863 by the vote of Congress. The challenging part of this is that the Constitution in Article IV, Section 3, Clause 1 states the following:
“New states may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new state shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state; nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states, or parts of states, without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned as well as of the Congress.”
Legally, if Virginia had seceded and was not a part of the Union, then the congressional vote to admit it was void because the government established in West Virginia was make-believe. Virginia was part of a different country and therefore the West Virginian contingent was as phony as wax fruit. The Confederacy hadn’t given West Virginia permission to secede from the Confederacy. If, as Lincoln claimed, the state of Virginia was in rebellion, then the state still bound by the Union had not given its permission as required by the Constitution. Either way, the state was formed illegally and should not have been admitted into the Union.
Now this is an interesting bit. Author
Here is the basic problem with those of us who still want to play by the rules of the Constitution… We still want to play by the rules. When courts say we can’t secede any longer, we accept our medicine and say it isn’t a workable idea because it would break the rules. Last I checked, the advancement of most social changes in the United States were not because we changed the Constitution (like the rules say we should). Instead, they have come by executive order, Congressional law, or judicial fiat. As rule followers, we scream and holler that the other ideologues are “not playing by the rules.” Still, the advancements keep coming and the government gets larger and more out of control. We get on our blogs and talk radio and yell about how the progressives are destroying our country! We insist they play by the rules of the Constitution, and we watch the world shift underneath our feet. We keep hoping they will play the game we want to play, by the rules we think we all should play by—instead they show up ready to do whatever it takes to win; the rules be damned.
So why haven’t the political right learned to do the same thing? And if we do, how then are we any better than the left, who set this standard? What price political victory?
If that is the game we are playing, why not take a page from West Virginia? What if, in this era of larger and more overwhelmingly authoritarian government, we decided to do what West Virginia did and just break apart regardless of the rules? What would stop Morgan county in Colorado from just becoming its own country or state? They can’t do it because the Constitution says so? Since when has that mattered to those on the other side of the ideological spectrum? Wouldn’t these places be wise to become defiant and say “We are leaving”? A better question still is, who will stop them? Will the federal government really send the troops in to preserve the Union? I have a hard time imagining tanks rolling through the middle of Eureka, California to make sure they stay beholden to Sacramento let alone Washington D.C. Most of the people in San Francisco would be glad to see those people leave. They generally frustrate their utopian ideals and stop them from creating their socialist paradise. I struggle to see the cafe and croissant crowd demanding that Morgan County in Colorado remain a part of the state. I see no moral imperative to holding this massive country together any longer. There isn’t a crusade that anyone can rally behind with enough energy to stop the departure of places that are insignificant to the elites.
This is a sentiment that you see kicked around a lot right now. I think it’s largely an expression of frustration, especially after the shenanigans surrounding the recent elections, but there’s always the possibility it could become more than that; there’s a trip wire that could be crossed. The article here concludes:
We used to have an “invisible fence” for our dog. For years the dog was trained through its own trial and error that it could go no farther than a certain point in our yard or it would get shocked. A few years into having the system, the wire was severed and the line stopped working. However our dog had become so accustom to being shocked in the past that it never crossed the line—even though the system was useless. I wonder if we, as Constitutionally-minded people, aren’t in the same predicament as my dog? So afraid to change because we want to obey. But if we take these thoughts from Jefferson to heart, perhaps it is our right, if not our duty to start the breakup.
Ay, there’s the rub.
Even now, after this sullied election, with the growing urban/rural divide, the United States is one nation. But the bounds of this nation are like the invisible fence that Mr. Everitt used as a metaphor, and there’s another phenomenon that may lead to us ignoring that fence, that being a preference cascade, one that leads us to break the bonds.
And once that’s done, there’s no going back. The only question will be whether America remains, afterwards, in any recognizable form.