Principalities & Powers

Secessionist Fantasies

Throughout the first half of the present year, "secession" became the new watchword for a growing number of people on the American right. Economist Walter Williams has written at least two newspaper columns openly advocating secession. Jeffrey Tucker of the Ludwig von Mises Institute describes secession as "the cutting-edge issue that defines today's anti-statism," and Tom Bethell in the American Spectator writes that "secession" is "the counterrevolutionary word that I have begun to hear from some of my conservative friends." Of course, if the word were uttered only by conservatives, the normal folk of the country would never hear anything sensible about it, and what makes the revival of secessionism interesting if not yet important is precisely the fact that a good many nonconservatives are starting to bat it back and forth, occasionally even in public.

There is, for example, a movement in the Northwestern United States and Western Canada to promote at least a more autonomous regional identity for, if not actual political separation of, the area called "Cascadia"—based mainly on what are taken to be the region's distinctive economic interests and the constraints that membership in Canada and the United States place on the pursuit of such interests. Then there was the effort of Staten Island to secede from New York last year and a similar effort by the Eastern...

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