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Loose Talk

April 16th, 2009 by Myrhaf · 13 Comments · Politics

As fast as Obama is moving America toward fascism, the opposition is moving just as fast. The Tea Party movement has taken off, Atlas Shrugged recently hit #1 at amazon, and yesterday, for the first time in memory a governor talked about… seceding from the union.

Wha…? Seceding from the union? Is this a joke?

Governor Rick Perry of Texas said his state can leave the Union if it wants to.

I’m dubious. A governor should not say something like this unless he is serious. How serious is Perry?

A lot of questions should be answered before a responsible politician even mentions the possibility of something as radical as leaving the USA and founding a separate nation. At the very least, a referendum of the people should be taken to see just how strong support for secession is.

Do Texans understand they will lose social security money if they secede? Do Texan farmers understand they will fall off the Department of Agriculture gravy train? Are all those union members ready to work in a rather right-wing country without federal laws protecting unions, and without OSHA? Do environmentalists support a nation without an EPA? What happens to Texan postal workers?

These are just the questions that pop into my head at first thought of this idea of secession. Doubtless there are many more.

States should not think of separating from a free country. I know that the federal government is expanding like some monster in a bad 1950’s science fiction movie, but America still has free speech, free elections and a (hampered) free market with a system of prices for making economic calculations. The task before us at the moment is to use our free speech to move America in the right direction.

But free speech does not mean you can say anything, however wild, without being judged for it.

Is Governor Perry prepared to go to the mattresses, as they say in The Godfather? Is he ready to go to jail for his beliefs? Are Texans ready to go to war with the USA?

If he is not ready for all that, then the Governor is all hat and no cattle, as a Texan might put it. Rick Perry should shut up.

13 Comments so far ↓

  • dismuke

    It is loose talk – but it is definitely a sentiment many Texans do hold on a strictly EMOTIONAL level.

    The reason I live here despite finding other parts of the country to be more interesting in certain respects is the fact that the people here tend to be far more SANE, or more precisely, LESS INSANE than elsewhere. And, from an economic standpoint, Texas generally does MUCH better than the rest of the country. Texas was one of the very last states to fall into the current recession and its impact here is MUCH less than it is elsewhere – as has been the case with previous recessions and even the Great Depression. A great many Texans STRONGLY resent the imposition of policies from the Federal government that simply WOULD NOT stand a chance of being in place if it were entirely up to Texas voters. They feel that we would be better off and more prosperous without interference from Washington – and they are right. And Texans do NOT like to be TOLD what they have to do. There is a certain truth to the Texas “cowboy” stereotype – and I mean that in a very GOOD way.

    When I was a kid, in junior high everyone had to take a Texas history course. And, in my class, we actually were taught that, because Texas was an independent country, when it entered the US it retained the right to succeed from the Union. I have since wondered if that was actually true and, if so, would the readmission of Texas after the Civil War have changed anything in that regard.

    I agree it is kind of nutty talk AT THIS STAGE OF THE GAME. But sometime down the line if things continue on their present course downward – well, why not? Texas used to be a Mexican state and fought a bloody war of independence because the country had lapsed into a dictatorship and citizens’ constitutional rights were not being respected. I would be all for doing it again should similar circumstances arise and if it were being done for the same purpose that it was the first time around.

    But the key point is that we are nowhere near such a point yet in terms of anything beyond a wishful fantasy. But as a fantasy – well, it does have an appeal. And if California and the Northeast decided that they wished to succeed and become little Peoples’ Republics unto themselves, my emotional response would be: please do so, and fast.

    As for the other things you mention – outside of Austin, which is a Leftist backwater, most Texans I think would be VERY happy to do without the EPA and most farmers here would probably happily go for a free market rather than being under the DOA thumb. Texas is a right to work state – so unions are very weak here and are held in contempt even by most blue collar workers. The issue of social security and government pensions people have paid into is a VERY valid point – but that will become pretty meaningless when both systems either completely collapse or the payouts are rendered worthless by inflation, which is only a matter of when and not if.

    As for Perry – one thing that is helpful to keep in mind is that Senator Kay Bailey Hutcheson wants his job and there is likely to be a VERY nasty primary battle. He HAS been very good about standing up to Obama in terms of refusing to take stimulus money with VERY nasty strings attached to it. But the cynic in me suspects that he might be jumping on the Tea Party bandwagon with an eye towards the upcoming primary. I don’t think there is anybody beyond a few kooks in Texas who takes succession SERIOUSLY. But the subject definitely strikes an emotional chord and I think Perry is trying to capitalize on it.

  • TW

    “Do Texans understand they will lose social security money if they secede? Do Texan farmers understand they will fall off the Department of Agriculture gravy train?”

    Yes, and yes. So, not much real secession talk here.

    “Are all those union members ready to work in a rather right-wing country without federal laws protecting unions, and without OSHA?”

    We don’t have the huge union constituency down here that you have up north. They are not that much of a factor here (comparatively).

    I’m a life-long Texan myself, and I am sure Perry does not mean a word of it. He would be the last person to want to secede from the Union. The truth is, he wants to be a presidential candidate one day. His talk yesterday was just his usual opportunistic rhetoric. He says what he thinks most people want to hear, and he was at a tea party rally.

    When I heard Perry showed up at that tea party, my first thought was “Stay away! You are a big part of the problem, and you don’t belong at a grass-roots protest.”

    Many Texans might have a sentimental attachment to the idea of being an independent republic, as we once briefly were, but I don’t know anyone personally who would really go for that idea in reality.

    Now, as for the farmers, dismuke, I have to disagree with you about them wanting a free market. I would love to think that, but they basically live on government subsidies where I come from.

  • dismuke

    TW – where in Texas are you?

    Possible about the farmers. Most I know are from Kansas – and at least they HATE the DOA and regard the subsidies and loans as evils that have been shoved on them and wish it were viable to get away from them. Not sure how widespread their views are – I just assumed that it would be more widespread here than there.

    Regarding Perry – that is one of the reasons I went to the Dallas tea party rather than the one in my hometown of Fort Worth. Not only was the Dallas one more convenient for me to attend geographically, I read that the Fort Worth one was being organized by the Tarrant County GOP and that Perry would be there. The Dallas one was more grass roots. And one of the speakers specifically mentioned that they had several requests by politicians to speak and that they were all refused on grounds that Republican politicians need to LISTEN.

  • Natasha Hale

    I don’t live in Texas, I’ve never even been there, but I know his type. Seems to me he’s just talking big so Washington will give him what he wants, using something a lot of Texans feel strongly about. This always seems to happen with those types whenever an election is around the corner.

    Over here in Florida the most prominent of those is T.K. Wetherell, President of FSU. Every year he pulls some stunt. Last year it was not admitting a single student “because the budget was to low”, this year it’s closing the Panama City campus for the same reason. Everyone gets into an uproar about it so the state senate gives him more money.

    I don’t know enough about Perry to know if he’s made other statements like this before, but sooner or later people will catch on to the game and not pay attention to him anymore.

  • Myrhaf

    “…most farmers here would probably happily go for a free market rather than being under the DOA thumb.”

    I remember during the militia controversy in the early ’90s that one of those buffoons was receiving checks from the DOA all the while he was dressing in cammies and playing soldier on the weekend.

  • TW

    dismuke, I’m currently living in Austin (which, as you know, is nothing like the rest of Texas). I grew up in the Abilene area, about three hours west of Fort Worth.

    “Most I know are from Kansas – and at least they HATE the DOA and regard the subsidies and loans as evils that have been shoved on them and wish it were viable to get away from them.”

    That may be true of Texas farmers too. They may just be in an impossible situation. From what I hear, many are being paid, with subsidies, *not* to grow crops. Surely they’d prefer to actually grow crops and maybe bring in an actual profit. I think there’s just so much corporatism in U.S. agriculture, and it may be an addictive safety net that farmers fear to leave.

  • Burgess Laughlin

    > “. . . there’s just so much corporatism in U.S. agriculture . . .”

    What is “corporatism”?

  • madmax

    I think corporatism really is nothing more than government business collusion, what should be called fascism. Its the fascist version of socialism or socialism on the German model as Von Mises would say.

  • Joe Zoch

    “At the very least, a referendum of the people should be taken to see just how strong support for secession is.”

    Very astute Myrhaf, it appears Texans don’t really want to secede from the Union by an overwhelming majority: http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/states_general/texas/in_texas_31_say_state_has_right_to_secede_from_u_s_but_75_opt_to_stay

  • Doug

    Myrhaf,

    I respectfully disagree. I think Perry is right to challenge the enormous and oppressive expansion of the federal government and to imply that it is possible for Texas to secede. He was not proposing it formally, merely intimating secession as a possibilty if trends continue. As long as he challenges the federal government for the proper reasons, i.e., continues to focus on the abrogation of individual rights, I believe he is right to question the continuance of statehood. If he meant that Texas would secede in order to implement or perpetuate a violation of rights, e.g., as Texas did in 1861 when it seceded in order to continue slavery, I would oppose him vehemently. However, in this context, I agree with him and would urge other state governors to forcefully condemn the expansion of the federal government and to affirm a state’s right to secede from the union if the federal government were to radically step beyond its enumerated powers as set forth in the U.S. Constitution or to flagrantly violate the Bill of Rights. I agree that such a statement should not be made lightly but if put into the proper context I think it is reasonable to do so.

  • Myrhaf

    Thanks for your response, Doug. If Rick Perry had said what you write here, I might have given him the benefit of the doubt — but he did not say all that. I regard talk of secession as comparable to the militia movement or talk of revolution. If you’re going to talk about anything involving armed resistance to the state, then you had better be prepared for the consequences, otherwise you will look stupid when you back down from the state’s slightest persecution of you.

  • EdMcGon

    Myrhaf, some Texans won’t miss Social Security. Galveston opted out of the Social Security plan back in 1981:
    http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/ssb/v62n1/v62n1p47.pdf