Friday, July 25, 2008

I’m Out of Here!

In a recent post by Ann Althouse we find the following quote:

"22% of Americans 'believe that any state or region has the right to peaceably secede and become an independent republic.' Middlebury Institute/Zogby poll.”

In casual conversation I would wager you have heard someone say we would be better off if we were not burdened as a country by some state(s) or general area. Some even believe there is a constitutional imperative for such an action. It may appear in their document but I could not find it in my copy.

The confusion may arise from the perception of the people and their misunderstanding of the government. We are bound by more than one set of laws. With the onset of increasing federal power, we have seen a diminished importance for each individual state. The very word government in the mind of the citizens has some vague nebulous identification which escapes the average bear. Keeping up with the latest regulations at the federal, state and local level brings into question the legitimacy of the old expression, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.” It has become so complex that the days of the family lawyer have gone the way of doctor’s house calls.

When I lived in Colorado, every new lawyer “cut his teeth” on water law. In the arid west, sooner or later, every lawyer needed to be well schooled in those statutes. In larger communities, corporate attorneys are prevalent. In other states, labor/management practice is the rule. About the only universal discipline is tax law. Of necessity and a constantly growing body of law, attorneys have nearly all become specialists.

One of the commenters made the following observation: “There is certainly ample reason to think the US government is too large and unwieldy to be responsive to its citizens' interests anymore. In 1790, the population of the entire United States was 3.9 million (smaller than 26 of the current states). There was one representative per 30,000 people, compared to one per 700,000 today, which gives a modern voter 1/23rd the voice of a 1790 voter. At the same time that our say in the federal government has shrunk dramatically, the power and size of the federal government has grown even MORE dramatically.”

Apparently the federal motto, “E pluribus unum” goes untranslated and therefore unknown among the population. I thought this was settled back in 1865 at the conclusion of the Civil War (popularly know by my neighbors in the Ozarks as the “War of Northern Aggression.”) The government schools teach that it was about slavery when in fact it was an exercise in the rights of individual states. In a highly diverse and ever increasing population regional differences become exacerbated and do indeed stimulate the citizens of some areas to wondering why we continue to support and align with the foolishness of folks in _________; you fill in the blank here yourself.

The reason is simple: our strength lies in unity. One need only look at central Europe and the Balkans to see the result of tribal units deciding to nationalize. During WW II, the amalgamation of many of these individual states under a single flag, Yugoslavia, provided sufficient influence to become a thorn in the side of aggressive neighbors. Once the common threat disappeared, the tribal mentality returned and chaos ensued.

The continued break-up of many African states serves to make the point as well. When people’s self interest trumps the greater good, the result is obvious. These smaller units lend themselves to corruption, oppression and the other ills which afflict the mentioned areas.

Being blessed with a Constitution which protects our God given rights demands a cohesive effort on the part of all our people. Once a breakup of any magnitude occurs, then the locals separate themselves from the common goals outlined in that precious document. A hundred thirty five years ago we expended 650,000 dead and countless treasure to secure the concept of union. It was important then and it is even more important today.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

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