The Prospects for Soft Secession in America

Article author: 
Jeff Deist
Article publisher: 
Mises Institute
Article date: 
September 23, 2021
Article category: 
Our American Future
Medium
Article Body: 

... A few years ago, on a panel discussion at an event in Vienna, Dr. Hans-Hermann Hoppe made an offhand remark I found very interesting. Paraphrasing him, he said that nationalist movements in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were largely centralizing while the nationalist movements of the twenty-first century were largely decentralist in character—breakaway movements represented by Brexit, Taiwan, Scotland, Catalonia, and others. Donald Trump also represented a breakaway movement of sorts, away from DC, but of course this possibility went totally unfulfilled.

This strikes me as an important insight. What we know as today’s map of Europe is really countries cobbled together from principalities, city-states, kingdoms, dukedoms. And the EU seeks, but has not achieved, total dominion over them as a supranational government. What we think of as the US is really an incredibly disparate set of regions which became fifty states over which the US federal government asserts almost total control. And in both cases, cities became politically, economically, and culturally dominant....

What if this century is not about ideology, but about separation and location? And what if covid has dramatically laid bare this possibility?...

Empires desperately fear losing control over their provinces, and exactly that appears to be happening in the US. Those of us on the anti-interventionist right sometimes forget that DC is very much an imperial power with respect to the fifty states, not just in the Middle East. So any discussion of soft secession and its prospects in the US begins with identifying domestic pushback against this empire....

So by soft secession we mean a counterrevolution within the form: aggressive federalism, regionalism, localism, and an aggressive subsidiarity principle, operating in de facto opposition to the federal state—or at least sidestepping it.... Hard secession, by contrast, means an outright division of the US into two or more new political entities...

We need to understand that America is less a country than an economic arrangement. It’s an arrangement about land and jobs and capital....

Covid has given us a great gift, the gift of clarity. Over eighteen months we've learned that all crises are local. For eighteen months it has mattered very much whether you live in Florida or New York, whether you live in Sweden or Australia....

A kind of centrifugal force is at work. Here in the US, people are self-segregating—both ideologically and geographically—this is part and parcel of any soft secession....

I’ll close with this: the pushback we are witnessing in America and across the West is directly proportional to the speed and ferocity with which progressives have advanced their agenda in the past five years....