unintended consequences of secession

If you are a sworn member of the United States military (and thus subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice) or have to maintain a security clearance with any branch or department of the United States federal government, signing those ill-conceived and ultimately futile "petitions" to secede from the Union is a Very Bad Idea™.

Likewise, if you ever want to honestly answer question 11. j. on any future ATF Form 4473s ("Have you ever renounced your United States citizenship?") in the negative (like you are supposed to), you might want to refrain from signing those petitions as well.

And, really, if you are going to secede, just do it; asking permission from the government from which you want to secede just seems… silly. Do you honestly believe the answer will be, "Yes"?

Looking at the situation academically, however, it is interesting to see how many people are willing to put their names, however meaninglessly, on a document that goes a bit past merely skirting treason. I seriously doubt anything will come of this, but there are some seriously unhappy – and tremendously short-sighted – folks out there these days.

10 thoughts on “unintended consequences of secession”

  1. I think that while some actually do want to secede, I think it’s more of a statement. There was similar talk from liberals in 04 when Bush was reelected. I think people are more interested in the response they should be getting from the WH when their petitions break 25k.

  2. “…on a document that goes a bit past merely skirting treason.”

    How is secession anything like Treason? I think secession is stupid, ill-thought, and would be the end of Liberty, but Treasonous?


  3. Excellent points. We doubt we agree on very many points but you mentioned a facet of the secession petitions that I had not thought of. Thumbs up.

  4. ISTR a buncha people signing a document announcing their intention to secede and form a new government. They weren’t asking “let us go”, but rather “see ya”.

  5. Secession = divorce. Do we really want a “till death does us part” relationship with an abusive federal spouse? The option of secession should always be on the table, in my view.

  6. @ Holocryptic: Oh, I feel certain you are right – people are doing it as a gesture, and, as gestures go, it is about as stupid as those liberals you mentioned promising to go to Canada… and then somehow never getting around to it.

    As for a response from the White House… what response? They are under no obligation to provide one, and have ignored petitions in the past.

    @ Kerodin: How could it be anything but?

    @ DPS: It is a shame you could not hold your own on Twitter… I would fisk your lie-riddled post we were discussing, but that would honestly give you more attention than you deserve.

    @ Rob Crawford: That is great and all, except I do not see any state legislatures anywhere actually drawing up the documentation to execute such a plan. Nor, for that matter, do I see any groups of individuals pulling together and doing something similar.

    In other words, so much political masturbation.

    @ Oleg Volk: No, emigrating from the US and getting citizenship somewhere else = divorce. Secession is, by its very nature, a group activity.

    As for the option, of course it is always there, but that does not prevent it from being treasonous. At least if you lose.

  7. @ Linoge:

    @ Kerodin: How could it be anything but?

    Because it doesn’t meet the Constitutional definition of treason.

    Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.

    Secession doesn’t become treason until the fed.gov decides to forcefully object and the shooting starts. Merely petitioning for secession, even successfully (i.e., getting the state.gov to formally withdraw from the Union) cannot, by itself, be treason.

    That being said, I agree that it’s nothing more than “political masturbation”, especially in the current form of so-called “petitions” addressed to someone who would have no place in initiating any theoretical secession process to begin with. But, apparently, this has happened after pretty much every election since ’96, and I bet it happened before then and just didn’t reach this level of scope or publicity before the internet hit its stride.

    In other words, we’re just seeing the MSM picking up on internet amplified political noise.

  8. I did not say “petitionining for secession”. I said “secession”, outright, the action itself.

    And if you honestly believe that such an action would be undertaken without hostilities being expressed on both sides, you are, quite frankly, deluding yourself. Those hostilities alone make the event, as I already expressed, treasonous.

  9. @ Linoge:
    Honestly? I seriously doubt any state would be allowed to secede without hostilities, but given the quality and fortitude (moral and intestinal) of “leadership” in Mordor-on-the-Potomac today, I would also be only mildly surprised if they did let it happen. After much hand-wringing and backside-covering, of course. But I probably have a better chance of winning the lottery.*

    In which case, from a practical, ethical, and moral standpoint**, it would be treason, because the fighting would inevitably follow. But legally, only forcibly resisting the inevitable “no” would be treason, and only because our Constitution defines “treason” so extremely narrowly. I understand why, but occasionally I find myself thinking that the Founding Fathers may have overshot the mark a bit on that one.

    * I don’t play the lottery.
    ** The time when it becomes justified from a practical, ethical, and moral standpoint is NOT here yet, and I hope it never comes. But if it ever does, I don’t know if it could be called “treason” in any sense but the legal one at that point.

  10. The problem is that “treason”, in and of itself, is nothing but a legal construct. To be certain, betrayal, lying, and various other moral concepts are generally wrapped up in the entire action, but something can be the morally correct thing to do, but still legally treason.

    For instance, the founding of our nation.

    Which, in turn, leads to the interesting question as to whether or not the Supreme Court has ever ruled secession itself a “treasonous” activity, given that doing so would legally invalidate the Revolution, even though actually doing so would be rather impossible at this point…

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