Revolt is in the air, Fellow Reckoner! You can smell the gunpowder...taste the whiskey...feel the virtual ink blotting dot.gov petition forms.
That a movement is underway, there can be no doubt. But to where will it lead? Our guess is that it will end where all revolutions (by definition) must end...right back at the beginning.
The story, as we are piecing it together, involves a few hundred thousand - perhaps a million? - jilted US citizens.
Vexed and perplexed at President Obama's reelection, a hardscrapple gang of mutinous dissidents took to the Internet in the days following the election, keyboards and mouse pads in hand, to sign petitions requesting that their own states be allowed to secede from the union.
And really, what better way to "stick it to the man" than to visit his website and kindly beg of him permission to do so?
It will come as surprise to few that Texas, a former and one-time sovereign state, is leading the rebellion. The Lone Star State is petitioning the Obama Administration to, "Peacefully grant the State of Texas to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government."
At time of writing, 116,070 individuals had pledged allegiance to the cause. And what a cause it is! Try as we may, we can find no fault in their case:
The US continues to suffer economic difficulties stemming from the federal government's neglect to reform domestic and foreign spending. The citizens of the US suffer from blatant abuses of their rights such as the NDAA, the TSA, etc.
Given that the state of Texas maintains a balanced budget and is the 15th largest economy in the world, it is practically feasible for Texas to withdraw from the union, and to do so would protect its citizens' standard of living and re-secure their rights and liberties in accordance with the original ideas and beliefs of our founding fathers which are no longer being reflected by the federal government.
Similar petitions were filed across the nation. Indeed, within a week of the election, some 675,000 rebels had inked 69 petitions, issuing forth from all fifty currently-united states. Folks from Louisiana, Florida and Georgia were among the most enthused of the seditious lot, garnering 36,738...34,468...and 31,799 signatures respectively.
Tennessee, North Carolina and Alabama all posted more than 30,000 names, a remarkable number when considering that the Obama Administration has promised to grant a generous "review of online proposals" to petitions that attract more than 25,000 names.
Ah...can you smell that freedom?
But before our Fellow Reckoners grab their muskets and go charging off blindly to join the good fight, a little perspective may be in order. 31,799 signatures might seem like a lot of support...but it still lands the Georgian secession petition shy of the 33,869 signatures currently accrued to the petition to "Not Allow The FDA To Regulate Premium Cigars."
Though, to be sure, it did beat out the 31,788 brave and treasonable individuals championing the petition to "Finalize Standards for GLUTEN-FREE Labeling."
Also making the critical "review of online proposal" cut is the people's petition to "Deport Everyone That Signed A Petition To Withdraw Their State From The United States Of America."
But wait...isn't that just what the secessionists want? To be outside of the Federal Government's administrative purview? Sounds a bit like kicking a prisoner out of jail for trying to escape. What kind of secessionist wouldn't like to be relieved of his "right" to pay taxes, to sponsor undesirable and despicable wars and to accrue a national debt he doesn't want and will never be able to repay?
Speaking to that last item, another petition (already with over 18,000 signatures) demands that states be required to pay their portion of the national debt before being allowed to secede. They "should be required to take their own advice about 'personal responsibility,'" the petition's creator explained.
But then, who owns the "national" debt? And what does the concept of The State - a collectivist term - have to do with "personal responsibility" anyway?
One man votes for a handout...a boondoggle...for a charlatan candidate who promises him something for nothing. His neighbor declines the Faustian pact and goes peacefully about his own business.
Eventually, the bill comes due. Now, who owes what?
How, too, are generational differences to be resolved? Should a newborn - or not-yet-born - be on the hook for monies gifted to Congress' buddies on Wall Street? What role did members of a future generation play in the banks' unwavering commitment to ineptitude, cronyism and D.C.-aided graft?
Some say everyone needs to pay a "fair share." But what constitutes "fair"...and who is so wise as to decide? Is it fair, for example, to simply divide the total amount outstanding among 300 million or so individual "Americans"...each of whom happen to have been birthed, through no fault or accomplishment owing to them, on a particular piece of land?
At $16.2 trillion, the national debt comes to roughly $50k per man, woman and child...or nearly three times that much per taxpayer. At current growth rates, that amount will explode to over $22 trillion by the next election, or roughly $70k for each and every beating heart in the union. Who pays what?
To be sure, separation is a tricky business. Rarely does a feuding couple escape the divorce courts with both dignity and solvency intact. It's usually one or the other. What hope, then, does an entire nation of divorcees have of reaching an amicable split? It's not quite as simple as, "You take the silverware, the linens...and everything north of the Mason-Dixon. We'll keep the rest."
But then, the imperial experiment was never meant to work out. The State is always, and has always, been an unworkable delusion. The great empires of history have all gone to ashes in service of precisely that point. Not one has survived the burden of its own aspirations. Each succumbs, in its own good time, to inexorable decay.
for The Daily Reckoning Australia
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About the Author
Joel Bowman is managing editor of The Daily Reckoning. After completing his degree in media communications and journalism in his home country of Australia, Joel moved to Baltimore to join the Agora Financial team. His keen interest in travel and macroeconomics first took him to New York where he regularly reported from Wall Street, and he now writes from and lives all over the world.