Thursday, October 16, 2014

Where Do You Go To Go Galt?


When Ayn Rand departed her native Russia for the U.S.A. some 90 years ago she, in effect, went Galt.  She, like millions of others, fled socialist, feudalist and totalitarian homelands for the promise of liberty and prosperity in America.

Though millions more continue seek new lives on American soil each and every year, America ain’t quit as free as she once was.  In the most recent edition of the Cato Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World, the good old U.S. of A. has slumped into 12th place.  We are tied with our cultural and political forerunner, the U.K. – the birthplace of classical liberalism.

In its online preface to the report, Cato affirms the truth that, “The foundations of economic freedom are personal choice, voluntary exchange, and open markets. As Adam Smith, Milton Friedman, and Friedrich Hayek have stressed, freedom of exchange and market coordination provide the fuel for economic progress. Without exchange and entrepreneurial activity coordinated through markets, modern living standards would be impossible.” 

America’s index sagged, “Due to a weakening rule of law, increasing regulation, and the ramifications of wars on terrorism and drugs, the United States has seen its economic freedom score plummet in recent years, compared to 2000 when it ranked second globally.”  I don’t see much on the horizon to suggest that things will improve anytime soon.

In fact the freedom index for the world fell a smidge.  It is down to 6.64 from its peak of 6.92 in 2007.  So where does a fella go these days if he wants to go Galt?

Let me propose that he stay put and go nowhere.  That’s right, stay home and go Galt with your family and friends.  Secede!  Secession is going Galt on the group package plan.

A whopping 24% of Americans now believe that State secession is a legitimate remedy to expensive, intrusive and overbearing government.  And why not?  It’s in our DNA.  After all, America is a secessionist creation.  In a recent online posting, Ron Paul explains:

Americans who embrace secession are acting in a grand American tradition. The Declaration of Independence was written to justify secession from Britain. Supporters of liberty should cheer the growth in support for secession, as it is the ultimate rejection of centralized government and the ideologies of Keynesianism, welfarism, and militarism.

The imperial stakeholders in D.C. will argue that secession is illegal, citing the War Between the States as precedent.  However, all that war really proved in that the side with more money, more guns and more young lives to waste will typically defeat an opponent with less of each, particularly in a conventional war.  Writing in the American Conservative, historian Brion McClanahan asserts:

The Union, then, through a declaration of war could attempt to force the seceded States to remain, but even if victorious that would not solve a philosophical issue. War and violence do not and cannot crush the natural right of self-determination. It can muddle the picture and force the vanquished into submission so long as the boot is firmly planted on their collective throats, but a bloody nose and a prostrate people settles nothing.

McClanahan continues by quoting Oliver Ellsworth of Connecticut – Revolutionary patriot, a drafter of the Constitution and the third Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. 

Oliver Ellsworth of Connecticut said in 1788 that he feared a “coercion of arms” in relation to a delinquent state. “This Constitution does not attempt to coerce sovereign bodies, states, in their political capacity. No coercion is applicable to such bodies, but that of an armed force. If we should attempt to execute the laws of the Union by sending an armed force against a delinquent state, it would involve the good and the bad, the innocent and the guilty, in the same calamity.” Ellsworth recognized, as did the majority of the founding generation, that force did not destroy sovereignty. It created artificial supremacy, but sovereignty, the basic tenant of the founding, could not be surrendered in such a manner. Sovereignty, in fact, cannot be surrendered at all; it can be delegated, as in the powers granted to the general government in Article I, but never surrendered.

The key point is that sovereignty resides within each and every free individual.  We can choose to delegate a bit of it to the community in order to procure some limited goals such as collective security.  However, we can always reclaim what we have lent out when it becomes evident that collective in failing in its obligations or even abusing its delegated authority.

Another option is nullification.  Nullification pretty much says, “I can put up with most of this but this one law is really intolerable”.  It is secession on the a la carte menu.  It is going Galt one statute at a time.  Nullification is successfully being accomplished in many states, most notably in the realms of immigration (i.e. sanctuary cities) and pot legalization.  Again, it’s going Galt from the comfort of your recliner.

Let me close with a chant form my college days:

Go GREEN!  Go WHITE!  Go GALT!
(Perhaps I was the only one in East Lansing chanting that.)



For more information on secession please visit the
Middlebury Institute.
For more information on nullification please visit the
Tenth Amendment Center.

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"Half the people are stoned and the other half are waiting for the next election.
Half the people are drowned and the other half are swimming in the wrong direction."  
- Paul Simon