Blogs > Liberty and Power > Disunion Now

Mar 22, 2004 11:55 am

Disunion Now

[cross-posted at Austro-Athenian Empire]

Now that Israel has blown to bits the leader of Hamas (and various people in his vicinity), Palestinian militants are vowing revenge -- against Israel's enabler, the United States.

O fortunate Spain, which was in the enviable position of being able to sever its ties with the United States'"war on terror," and which has finally, sanely, done so. If only we could do likewise.

Back in the days when Spain's imperialist career was ending and ours beginning, William Graham Sumner defended the virtues of"isolation" in his famous essay The Conquest of the United States by Spain:

When the rest are all in a quiver of anxiety, lest at a day's notice they may be involved in a social cataclysm, who would not be isolated out of reach of the disaster? What we are doing is that we are abandoning this blessed isolation to run after a share in the trouble.
As I argued a year ago, on the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the option that Spain has recently exercised is not strictly closed to us:

Terrorists are, by their nature, collectivist-minded. Only a collectivist would slaughter the innocent members of a group in order to punish the guilty members. The terrorists' quarrel is with a political entity known as the United States of America. Let us withdraw from association with that entity and repudiate the actions of its leaders.

This may sound like an unrealistic proposal right now. Given what it would take to make it a realistic proposal, there's a sense in which I hope it remains unrealistic. But if Bush's war results in the kind of massive wave of terrorism on U.S. soil that I fear is all too likely, we libertarians should stand ready to point to secession as an increasingly viable and attractive solution. ...

In his 1796 Farewell Address, President George Washington asked:"Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, or caprice?" In every region of the U.S., American citizens should now be asking themselves: Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of the United States, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of American ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, or caprice?
A century ago, Sumner warned Americans not to take Spain as our model. Today, I suspect he would be urging the opposite.

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