One in Four Acknowledge Right to Secede
Twenty-four percent of Americans, basically one-in-four given the margin of error, believe that states should be able to withdraw from the United States to form their own country, if they want. 59% disagree and 16% are undecided on the question. This according to a recent survey conducted by Rasmussen. While this number is still a relatively small minority, the percentage of Americans who believe states have a right to secede has more than doubled in only two years- the number was only 10% as recently as 2010. At this rate of growth, a majority of Americans would believe that a state had the right to secede by 2014.
I think anyone who reads and believes the Declaration of Independence understands that governments derive "their just powers from the consent of the governed." Further that governments are instituted to protect God-given rights, and that when "any Form of government becomes destructive of these ends it is it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it." It is pretty hard to reconcile that with the idea that a political union is like a Roach Motel (they get in, but they can't get out).
Of course, that does not mean they believe that secession is a good idea. I don't. We are better off together, but with each state giving the others wide latitude in setting its own laws and conducting its own business. The problem is, the feds are undermining the union with their policies. They want all policy decisions in a vast nation of 315 million people to by made by the residents of one city - Washington D.C. That's unsustainable, especially given the poor reputation and track record of that one city which wants all the real power.
A prime example of this elitist attitude is the Supreme Court, whose members are appointed for life. At one time there were a lot of cases that the courts would not take on the basis that the federal government did not have any authority over the question. As they assume authority over almost every question, such prudence is more rare. No wonder that the U.S. Supreme Court has a low approval rating - 44%. This is even worse than Obama, but still better than Congress.
I regret this low rating, because I believe we need a judicial branch strong enough to stand up to an executive branch which exceeds its legitimate authority. Unfortunately today's courts seem to be largely squandering their credibility by meddling in social policy in the various states. These are issues that the courts a century ago would have said were none of their business. Back then they spent more time restraining the other two branches of government and less time meddling in the affairs of the states and the people. They were both better loved and more respected when they so confined themselves.
That same city is loading the nation with debt that is unsustainable. Alexander Hamilton wanted national debt as a glue to bind the states together, but my fear is that there is a point at which it has the opposite effect. That is, escaping the debt run up by the central government can become a motivation to leave a union. At the least, at some point they are going to break the dollar with all this spending, and then all that love they have been buying with checks will go away. That kind of love will turn to anger pretty quickly. Again, this is an unsustainable federal policy which will in the long run undermine national unity.
The survey also asked whether the federal government is a protector or a threat to individual rights. It does not surprise me that an absolute majority of 51% said that the federal government was a threat to individual rights. You know, like the rights the Declaration said it was the government's purpose to protect. It added that when government became destructive of those ends then the people had a right to alter or abolish it. Only 34% of Americans in the poll saw the federal government as protectors of those rights.
I see a very dangerous situation here where the federal government abandons its responsibility to protect our rights and focuses almost exclusively on its goal of physical security. Locking people in a cage under guard may keep them safer than letting them walk about on their own, but at some point people will choose to be less safe and more free. Especially when the surveillance state seems all out of proportion to the threat from "terrorists."
Secession is a terrible idea. I can think of few options that are worse, but one of them is remaining in a bankrupt police-state where all meaningful policy decisions must be made and/or approved in one distant and deeply corrupt city.