09 Dec 2013

Tom Woods on Secession

Politics, Tom Woods 57 Comments

This is really something special. I’ve told Tom for years that he would be a great radio host because he has the right voice and personality for it, but in this episode you remember, “Oh yeah, Tom’s a trained historian.”

Also, his take on Mark Levin at the end is great. Levin has been confidently, shall we say, disagreeing with those (like Tom) who claim that states retain the right of secession. Tom says that OK, maybe someone like Levin disagrees with Tom’s historical analysis, but at best Levin should be bemoaning the depressing fact that states don’t have this tool at their disposal as a bulwark for liberty–yet Levin is celebrating it. “What?!” (Pretty sure that’s the exact transcript.)

57 Responses to “Tom Woods on Secession”

  1. Ken B says:

    Bulwark for liberty? How many times have state legislators voted to secede for “liberty”?

    • Hank says:

      How about when the United States seceded from the British Empire?

      • Ken B says:

        State legislators voted on that? I recall some colonial legislators doing that…

        Woods is taking Levin to task for *secession from the USA*, but nice change of subject play anyway.

        • Matt S says:

          Why does it only have to be “state legislations” ?

          • Ken B says:

            Because the topic is states seceding from the union. The claim Woods made, that Levin implicitly disagreed with, is that a state’s alleged right to seced from the union is a bulwark for liberty. Leven did not argue that the colony of Georgia didn’t have the right to seced from Britain and it’s a good thing too. He argued the STATE of Georgia doesn’t have the right to seced from the union and its a good thing too.

    • Major_Freedom says:

      I guess the next time a battered spouse leaves in order to escape perpetual abuse AND to be able to torture puppies, we should focus on the puppies and claim that is the “real” reason they left, because, after all, she didn’t use the exact term “battered”. She just said beat up…

      • Ken B says:

        I guess that depends on whether she takes the slave with her.

        • Hank says:

          Are you criticizing the slavery part or the secession part?

          • Ken B says:

            How about the secession for slavery part?

            • Hank says:

              Most of the people who fought in the confederacy were not slave owners.

              • Ken B says:

                Most of the Americans who fought in the Pacific were not at Pearl Harbor.

              • Hank says:

                …and most of the Americans who fought in the civil war were not at Fort Sumter.

                You are obviously ignoring the main point on purpose as usual.

      • Rick Hull says:

        Yes, these are state partitions and not necessarily secessions from Uncle Sam. But there is a common thread in terms of exit rather than voice.

        • Ken B says:

          It’s also constitutional.

          • Rick Hull says:

            Taken as fact, would that be as noble as violent gangs apply capital punishment to those who might otherwise exit, more so, or less so?

            • Rick Hull says:

              For the want of an edit button…

              … violent gangs *which* apply …

            • Ken B says:

              Are they taking the slaves with them?

              You’re changing the topic course. The question is is a legend right of the state to secede from the union of bulwark for liberty? Historically it has not been in fact it has been quite the opposite. The debate is not is any secession ever justified. It is not would secession have been a bulwark for liberty in the Soviet Union. In American constitutional history secession has been a bulwark for something but it was not liberty.

              • Rick Hull says:

                Don’t you believe that private enterprise ought to be able to discriminate? That Cristal ought to be able to shun some of its most vocal customers? Isn’t that a form of liberty?

              • Hank says:

                I guess you conveniently leave out the American Revolution then.

                If secession happens in a way Ken B disagrees, it is bad. But if Ken B agrees it’s okay.

              • Ken B says:

                I guess you conveniently left out the discussion of the American Revolution above then.

              • Hank says:

                You don’t want to talk about it. I got that.

              • Ken B says:

                You want to change the subject. The subject is secession of a state from the union whether that is constitutional and whether that is a bulwark for liberty. It’s not a generalized discussion of secession from other countries or other empires. Levin did not dispute the right of the colonies to revolution.

              • Hank says:

                Those are two separate subjects, actually.

              • Ken B says:

                Exactly Hank those ARE seperate subjects. And I am discussing the one Levin, Woods, and Murphy discussed. Nice to see you agree Rick Hull was changing the subject.

  2. Ken B says:

    Hmmm, A boorish joe comment was here just a moment ago …

  3. Ken B says:

    I repeat if secession by a state from the union is a bulwark of liberty please cite to me one example in American history just one where the legislature of the state voted for secession from the union and where that state was not intending to enshrine slavery in the Constitution of its new polity.

    Actually you better have 12 examples ready.

    secession was a bulwark of something. question is what something.

    • Hank says:

      The old constitution also “enshrined” slavery. Lincoln said himself that he would allow the states to keep slavery if they joined the union again.

    • Matt S says:

      So secession in general = ok
      but secession by states in the union = bad because the one time they used it they were still planning to have slaves after they left?

      If state secession was looked it more favorably today would it really be that hard to imagine a scenario in which a state left the union for a a more noble reason? (Income tax, NSA, Obamacare, patriot act, etc )

      • Ken B says:

        No, secession in general = it depends

        Is eating a grapefruit a good idea? Well it might depend on whether it’s poisoned, or if you plucked it from the hands of a starving child, or if you have to release the hand grenade handle to eat it.

        • Matt S says:

          So why is it not logical to say: state secession = it depends as well?

          I’m for the right to state secession and I rather they do it for a noble cause but they may not. So? Same with secession in general.

          There WERE other secession movements in the US that wanted to do it for noble causes but never gained enough steam.

          Should we dismiss the concept because the one time when it did was for a less than a noble cause? I don’t think so.

          • Ken B says:

            “So why is it not logical to say: state secession = it depends as well?”

            Where did I say otherwise? Levin said otherwise, but where did I? How does refuting a claim about being a bulwark even address the question? If Matt S says legalizing drugs would be a great way to preserve circus elephants, and I refute that, why do you assume I either support or oppose drug legalization?

            Several here claim to be experts on my position od secession. It’s possible since on past threads I have been quite explicit on my position on the issue. The odd thing is that nothing the experts say reflects any understanding or awreness of what I wrote. Why it’s like they were just making stuff up.

            • Matt S says:

              OK, then I don’t even see what the argument is even about because I don’t think anyone including Tom Woods would say secession will always be for noble causes but simply that its a tool that states could use for defense of liberty.

              • Dan says:

                Matt, you should just allow yourself to get bogged down debating meaningless points that nobody agrees with.

    • Hank says:

      Key Ken,

      How do you know whether secession would be a bulwark of liberty since there are no examples of any successful secession movements?

      You can’t know since you cannot reproduce the experiment where the South was allowed to secede.

      I believe that’s 2 points for the praxeological method for the social science.

      • Ken B says:

        Right, we agree, the only examples we have are where it was a bulwark for something quite different. But you can’t always judge my experience. (Maybe we should give George W. Bush another crack at the presidency. )So you can’t say for certain that it wouldn’t be a bulwark for liberty next time, On the other hand that’s exactly what in reverse Tom Woods said. You agree that can’t be proven either. Nice to see you agree he’s wrong again.

        • Hank says:

          Hold on Ken. You don’t get off that easy.

          “So you can’t say for certain that it wouldn’t be a bulwark for liberty next time, On the other hand that’s exactly what in reverse Tom Woods said”

          Your proposition is not “exactly what in reverse Tom Woods said”.

          Here would be the exact reverse proposition:
          Secession is NOT a bulwark for liberty.

          Here is what you said:
          “you can’t say for certain”

          These are very different.

          • Ken B says:

            No. The negative of x must be y is x may not be y.
            Ican prove this formally but i think we beat that horse dead enough.
            He didn’t assert secession might be a bulwark, he asserted it would be. If he wanted to say “sure unlike the last 11shameful episodes it might be great this time” I’d have no problem.

            • Major_Freedom says:

              Would the blacks of the South in the 1860s be better off enslaved, or killed by invading Unionists?

              Shameful yes, but blame the people responsible for 600,000 killings, and that wasn’t Wilford Pickford III the plantation owner.

  4. Hank says:

    Here is my prediction for this thread:

    Ken B will NEVER state his opinion on secession as a right in general.

    Instead, he will ONLY express his disagreement about a single historical episode that started in South Carolina.

    In determining whether secession is a “bulwark of liberty” we must only confine ourselves to this one historical episode because Ken B says so.

    • Matt S says:

      Yup, pretty much.

    • Ken B says:

      I have stated my opinion on secession in general.
      We aren’t discussing if secession is a bulwark for liberty. We are discussing if secession by a state from the United States is a bulwark for liberty.
      Look at the post. It’s about American states.

      • integral says:

        >We aren’t discussing if secession is a bulwark for liberty. We are discussing if secession by a state from the United States is a bulwark for liberty.

        It is. QED.

        • Ken B says:

          Better than some of the arguments we see here.

          • integral says:

            I agree, it’s better than your arguments.

      • Major_Freedom says:

        Ken B has a point. It is not necessarily true that individual states seceding from the union is a “bulwark of liberty.” This is because it is possible, although unlikely, that an individual state becomes more tyrannical than it is under Union laws and control.

        As a result, it could be the case that the fight for more liberty, and opposed to less liberty, would require the state to not secede.

        For example, suppose the majority of people (not that I am endorsing majority rule here, it’s just for the sake of argument) of Alabama want to secede from the Union, so that they can pass a law that requires all black people to become more pronounced slaves than they (and all other Alabamans) already are under Union laws. (Note that there are degrees of enslavement, depending on such things as the intensity and frequency of violence).

        Here, state secession would not be consistent with a movement towards liberty, but away from it.

        But like I said, this is unlikely. If a state in 2014 decides to secede, it is almost certain that liberty will increase in that state, assuming of course the feds don’t invade the state with armed soldier, turning in into an even more pronounced police state than it already is, the way DK and Ken B like to imagine as just fine and dandy.

      • Major_Freedom says:

        The key idea is that the “secession or no secession” choice is subsumed under the “initiate violence or not initiate violence against others” choice. Opting out of coercive relationships is always a movement towards liberty.

  5. Tel says:

    And as my first act with this new authority, I will create a grand army of the Republic to counter the increasing threats of the Separatists.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

  6. Gamble says:

    Weld County Colorado and 5 other counties tried to become the 51st State. The voter said no.

    What they should of done was simply ask the voter to secede and not become the 51 State.

    What would Weld County have become? Something similar to DC, a stand alone island? How did DC pull that off anyways?

    Maybe a smarter person can chime in.

  7. Tel says:

    The Scottish referendum on independence is coming up September next year. Anyone keeping a book? The land of Adam Smith and Protestant banking, lots of history there. Maybe Tom Woods should cover that as well.

    Also, the UK are finally talking about a referendum on leaving the EU, but that could be years off, maybe never.

    • skylien says:

      I just hope that no one finally tries to secede without permission from Ken B, else nothing is off the table..

      • skylien says:

        Because ultimately only Ken B is a, no THE bulwark for liberty.


        • integral says:

          “Surely the only reason the scots would secede from great glorious empire of britanglisha is because they’re going to institutionalize slavery upon the welsh.”

          -Ken B.

          • Major_Freedom says:

            Surely the only reason the battered spouse would want to secede from the household is because they want to become genocidal maniacs.

  8. George Stilglitz IIIV says:

    Ken B, what aboot the norther States that wanted secession over Lincolns slave catcher act? Theyshould be forced to be made hunters of humans, per honest Abe?

    • Ken B says:

      Well Tex, which slave catcher act do you mean? Not the fugitive salve law because that wasn’t Lincoln’s.

  9. George Stilglitz IIIV says:

    Ken B, what about bulwarkin for “liberty.”

    The US was NOT made the hunting grounds that Abe wanted for the same folks he wanted shipped to foreign lands up until his death bed.

    As X said, the march on D.C. was “run by whites in front of a statue of a president who has been dead for a hundred years and who didn’t like us when he was alive.” Straight Up.

    Dictator psychopath instructs murder, 600,000 die, mostly blacks, and with great opposition from the North, all for “duties and imposts,” as he threatened months before instructing what he threatened would be an occupation and “bloodshed” (his terms). The nationalists power dream started by Alex Hamilton, was bolstered by another federal government employee, John Marshall. Jokers, all. Truth was never on their side.

    Lincoln admits he was guilty of treason, by stating States he attacked, never seceded. He was guilty of a lot more than that, such as inspiring a cohort of excellent preachers of the centralists, one-worlders, commies, and those such as Ken B who advocate violence to suppress those trading southerners movin hella exports oveseas–solo. No inter-state help needed from the federal compact ilk. Greater control over taxes would need to start from consolidation of one nation, rather than 50 States freely forming a federation, a federal Republic.

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