Thursday, November 15, 2012

Some Thoughts On Texas Secession

So Texans are getting semi-serious about secession. I've started wondering what would happen if they got really serious and began voting on it. How far would the Federals go this time to prevent a breakup of the Union?

In Chechnya, they wanted to secede, but the Russians didn't want to let that happen. The Russians went in and flattened the place. Can you imagine Barack Obama ordering that under any circumstances? Can you imagine any president ordering it? Wouldn't it be more likely that the rest of us would want to get back to our bongs and gay pride parades and let them leave?

I'm guessing we wouldn't be willing to go this far.
Second, if things got out of hand and there were some accidental massacres of innocents, imagine what Texan secessionists might be able to do to Federal infrastructure outside of Texas. Aqueducts, train tracks, SAM attacks on jetliners, freeway bridges over canyons, there's a lot of indefensible stuff out there and weapons favor insurgencies now much more than they did in the 1860s.

Third, how would you move your troops and how many of them would fight? The states surrounding Texas are pretty sympathetic to the cause and the military is disproportionately Southern in demographics. There aren't many Berkeley socialists' kids picking up rifles and shovels these days.

The red-blue county map from the election. That's a lot of hostile red territory right there. Supply lines would be threatened at all points.
Finally, what would be the Federals' rallying cry? Here are some options:
  • Save Dodd-Frank!
  • Gay marriage or death!
  • Make them pay their fair share!
  • Keep Church and State perfectly separate everywhere!
Therein lies the biggest problem for the Federals. When the rebellion is against shapeless, all-enveloping statism, there's not much to rally public opinion behind what would be a very nasty war. There would be no simplifying cause like slavery this time. It would just be an attempt to save a ginormous, sightless, all-consuming grub of Federal regulations and taxes.

Would you be willing to let your child die for that?


Jeff Burton said...

It would be cast as rescuing all the oppressed women and minorities under the thumb of a cruel theocratic patriarchy. The secessionists would be portrayed as terrorists. A few drone strikes in some Dallas suburbs and it would be all over.

tim eisele said...

"I'm guessing we wouldn't be willing to go this far."

See, that's what worries me when people talk about secession. The Confederacy thought they had all the best soldiers, and didn't think the Union was going to go that far, either. Their entire strategy was founded on the idea that the Union wouldn't go that far. For that matter, I don't think the *Union* thought that they were going to go anywhere near that far when the war started. I think both sides expected to have a few border skirmishes and then negotiate a settlement. And we all saw how *that* ended up.

The big problem with war is that people lie to themselves about how it's likely to go. You start with both sides thinking that they'll win because the other side is meek little sheep who will just roll over and give up after they get their nose bloodied a bit. And next thing you know, both sides are wading up to their knees in blood wondering what happened, and why won't the other guys be sensible and give up?

Anonymous said...

Tim reminded me of a quote from General Sherman.

"You people of the South don't know what you are doing. This country will be drenched in blood, and God only knows how it will end. It is all folly, madness, a crime against civilization! You people speak so lightly of war; you don't know what you're talking about. War is a terrible thing! You mistake, too, the people of the North. They are a peaceable people but an earnest people, and they will fight, too. They are not going to let this country be destroyed without a mighty effort to save it… Besides, where are your men and appliances of war to contend against them? The North can make a steam engine, locomotive, or railway car; hardly a yard of cloth or pair of shoes can you make. You are rushing into war with one of the most powerful, ingeniously mechanical, and determined people on Earth — right at your doors. You are bound to fail. Only in your spirit and determination are you prepared for war. In all else you are totally unprepared, with a bad cause to start with. At first you will make headway, but as your limited resources begin to fail, shut out from the markets of Europe as you will be, your cause will begin to wane. If your people will but stop and think, they must see in the end that you will surely fail. "

K T Cat said...

Anon, that was a different time and a different cause. Do you think that blue state parents would be eager to see their kids die for 2000-page bills that no one can comprehend?

K T Cat said...

Tim, I don't think there'd be a war. I think that if they pushed hard enough, we'd let them go out of sheer ennui.

If we're culturally atomized at the personal level - everyone should be allowed and enabled to do whatever they want - how far up the organizational scale do you have to go before you're willing to draw a hard line in blood?

K T Cat said...

Jeff, the drone strikes would be great until you realized you didn't get them all and there's now a bunch of them loose in the interior of the country.

That's where the General Sherman quote falls apart. Modern wars aren't fought with steam engines and tanks. If they were, we'd have won in Afghanistan in 6 months instead of losing over many years.

tim eisele said...

"I think that if they pushed hard enough, we'd let them go out of sheer ennui."

But that's my point. Even if both sides *expect* it to go peaceably, that "push hard enough" thing is a knife-edge. They'd have to push just hard enough to make it appealing to let them go, without pushing *too* hard and rousing a thirst for revenge.

All it would take is a couple of Texans with more enthusiasm than sense to, say, bomb a building and kill a bunch of people, and the howls for vengeance would be deafening. And once a reprisal was launched, next thing you know we'd have our war, without anybody really wanting it.

K T Cat said...

Well, this is where Pete Stark's assertion falls flat. The government can do anything it wants until it goes too far. After that, unless it can raise the dead, it discovers the limits of its powers pretty quickly. Elsewhere on the web, I saw an assertion that the threat of secession is the final limit to the Federal government's quest for power.

Anonymous said...

Divided we fall.

K T Cat said...

More to your point, Tim, in comment threads elsewhere, there's a strong feeling that Texans are too stupid to pull it off and if they did, they'd find out how horrible living without Dodd-Frank or Glass-Steagall or ObamaCare would really be. There's a theme that the Federal way is the only way and only a nut would object to it. A stupid nut, a redneck nut, an incompetent nut. I agree that the thing could blow up unintentionally, but closer than the violence is the thing blowing up from total cultural imperialism.

See also: Catalonia, independence movement of

K T Cat said...

Anon, there's the problem with letting Texas secede. Once they go, what's to stop other states from leaving, too?

Kelly the little black dog said...

you're just being silly. The country didn't fight the south in the civil war because of support for the Federal government, it was just as Tim says, for revenge. If Texans were to start a campaign of terror within the borders, you'd see exactly willing the rest of the country was to fight.

And in the case of Texas, rest of the country wouldn't need to spill load of blood. Just put up a fence around Texas. Pull out all Federal dollars flowing in there. Close down all the military bases. Cut off the oil and gas flow to their refineries and blockade their ports. And just let them stew. Their economy would collapse.

Too much of the high tech and energy industry of that state is completely reliant on the rest of the country.

Kelly the little black dog said...

By the way, this is much more realistic view of the divided country. Texas and the south don't look so starkly red in reality.

K T Cat said...

Blockade their ports? Really? Are you willing to shoot violators? If not, you don't have a blockade. As for putting up a fence, who's going to pay for that? How long would it take to do it?

I'd bet that in the end, we'd just let them walk off.

By the way, they've got a long border with Mexico and Mexico does whatever it wants. For some profits on the oil money, I'm sure that border would be wide open to Texas.

K T Cat said...

The economic reliance works both ways. The big companies wouldn't be all that excited about disrupting their logistics chains just so we could enforce mountains of inscrutable regulations.

That's the real question. What is it you would be fighting for?

One more thing: a Federally deregulated Texas would be even more enticing to business than it is now. Big business supporting a blockade on Texas? Hardly.

Anonymous said...

"Plainly, the central idea of secession is the essence of anarchy. A majority, held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinins and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people. Whoever rejects it does of necessity fly to anarchy or despotism. Unanimity is impossible; the rule of a minority, as a permanent arrangement, is wholly inadmissible; so that, rejecting the majority principle, anarchy or despotism in some form is all that is left." Abraham Lincoln

K T Cat said...

"the central idea of secession is the essence of anarchy"

Really? George Washington, anarchist?

Anonymous said...

Apples and oranges, George Washington had no appeal to the ballot, there is another quote from Lincoln about there being no appeal from the 'ballot to the bullet.' The first thing the colonists asked for was representation, it was only after that was denied that they started the revolution and they knew full well it was treason.

But consider Texas, what happens when San Antonio wishes to secede? Will Texas allow it? What if I want to secede and be a nation unto myself? There is no logical end once it has started, that is Lincoln's point. If a minority can hold the majority hostage any time an election doesn't go its way, the government is powerless.

K T Cat said...

The purpose of secession is not anarchy, but autonomy. Your example parallels the George Washington analogy. Many locales wanted to remain British subjects.

Doo Doo Econ said...

Reminder, Texas joined as the union through annexation as a nation without being a territory.

Texas already seceded from Mexico.

Texas did not have to surrender its public lands to the federal government when it became a state.

The U.S. military is apparently building up around Denver. Including an armored division [tanks]. ( )

There are rumors of a military coup since President Obama has recently relieved a top Admiral, a top Marine General, a top Army General and the CIA director just stepped down.

This is an interesting intellectual discussion, but there is reason to be concerned. Lets hope for the best!

Anonymous said...

Washington did not have representation, his rights were abridged; that was the battle cry, taxation without representation. He asserted a right to revolution because of a long train of abuses. But by your reasoning, shouldn't the loyalists have been able to secede from the nascent US in any district they held a majority? If Washington believed in secession at will, why did the Articles of Confederation refer to a "Perpetual Union?"

K T Cat said...

I didn't say secession was legal. I just wonder if we would care enough to do something about it. After all, if that's what turns them on, why not let them do it? Who are we to say that it's wrong?

Shane Atwell said...

Everyone's leaving out the media and education system. Would anyone outside of Texas hear an iota of information that would make them sympathetic to Texas. No. It would be the civilized U.S. against the whacko KKK Texans.

K T Cat said...

So therein lies the problem, Shane. What percentage of the population wouldn't mind if the racist, redneck, bible thumpers from Texas left? Wouldn't we be better off without them? Heck, let them go. It's not worth blowing things up. War isn't the answer, man.

drozz said...

Jeff: texas already figured out how to spoof drones:

however, i don't think the regime would back down. texas is full of christians, not muslims.