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Thread: Right to Secede

  1. #61
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    Re: Right to Secede

    This is the idea to which I was objecting:

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347
    I would have to disagree with number 1 however.
    Number 1 was: "Several states reserved the right to abrogate the contract in their ratification decisions."

    So you're disagreeing with the claim that several states reserved the right to abrogate the contract in thier ratification decisions, right?

    Okay, so let's back up a bit, and let me ask you a clarifying question. In the Declaration of Independence it's states the following principle of the sovereignty of the people:

    "When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

    I understand this as a declaration of the right of any people to "dissolve the political bands which have connected them" whenever "it becomes necessary" to restore "the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them"? Do we agree on this understanding of this text?

  2. #62
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    Re: Right to Secede

    I'm not sure I completely understand the intention of the OP.

    Do the People have the Right to secede? Sure. Why the hell not? You wouldn't have any problem doing it today if you could get 100% of the Citizens of any State to agree with doing so.

    It made me laugh when Citizens from every single one of the 50 States posted a petition to secede on whitehouse.gov and managed to get enough signatures in each case to prompt a response from the Administration as per the guidelines (20,000 signatures = a guaranteed response).

    Those petitions were declined, of course. That's a sad fact, imo. I think it would have been good fun had the White House gone ahead and allowed every single State to secede.

    I mean, the whole point of secession is to break from the existing legal structure and create a new one (or a lack of one for those Voluntaryists among us), right? So if you've already got a good enough reason to say that the existing structure is broken, why would you search within its laws to determine your Rights?

    If the OP means to ask if the Constitution grants the States the Right to secede, then the answer is an unequivocal "no." The Constitution doesn't give you any Rights. Its purpose is to protect them, not to grant them. They exist with or without the Constitution (or so goes the line of thought which formed the Constitution).

    If the OP means to ask if any Citizen retains the Right to break from his society, then yes, he certainly does. If that's the case, then if 100% of the Citizens of one State want to secede, how're you going to stop them? You can't get the other 49 States to agree to fire upon them, but considering how intertwined America's production and distribution centers are, I wouldn't imagine the Legislators of any single American State being willing to vote to risk those economic interests for any reason other than bona fide tyranny. Neither would the Citizens of any single State be willing to create the economic uncertainty by leaving the Union. 'At least, not at 100%. So, speaking of Rights, what would the States do about their traitorous anti-traitors? There's bound to be a few of them.

    Anyway, to answer what I think the OP's question is, yes, the States have the Right to secede. Their Citizens also have the Right to jam small toys up their nether regions. I don't recommend either course.

    (Note: There are caveats with regard to history that I would have mentioned, here, but the OP specifically stated that historical precedent is to be disregarded. I have guided my response thus.)

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    Re: Right to Secede

    Quote Originally Posted by libre View Post
    I think you are trying to make a lot more out of my comment than necessary.
    I think there was a confusion around your use of the word "right" in an earlier post. Indicating that the government would need the "Right" to violate the Constitution. What I think you mean was ability or willingness to violate.

    Really I think your argument is one of practicality rather than law. Which I understand. This thread is more about the hypothetical right the state might have rather than the practical matter of suppression of rights.

    I think the latter suffers from too little context to really be an answerable matter. The assumption of the military's support is hardly a clear assumption in certain scenarios, economic problems could become a huge deal depending on the state alignment, etc.

    [quote=libre]1) Any one state could probably easily be forced back into the union if the government tried to do it.[quote] Again, the situation is pretty important, that force could compel a larger break. It might be easier for the Federal Government to allow a state to go rather than press the issue and isolate itself further.

    ---------- Post added at 07:54 AM ---------- Previous post was at 06:18 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by cstamford View Post
    So you're disagreeing with the claim that several states reserved the right to abrogate the contract in thier ratification decisions, right?
    Not with the claim that they did so, only with the idea that it is in anyway relevant to either the legal or moral matter of their secession.

    Quote Originally Posted by cstam
    I understand this as a declaration of the right of any people to "dissolve the political bands which have connected them" whenever "it becomes necessary" to restore "the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them"? Do we agree on this understanding of this text?
    I believe we do, and if you review the thread you will see that I don't disagree that secession is a perfectly valid action (hence why I agreed with your number 2 rationale). What I disagree with is the idea that the State's "reservation" of that ability in their ratification documents is the vehicle that makes that action moral or legal.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mordecai View Post
    I'm not sure I completely understand the intention of the OP.
    I think the OP might have been asking (and if not, I'm interested in your response) whether the Constitution as a mutual agreement between the states prevents them from backing out of that agreement later.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions. -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


  4. #64
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    Re: Right to Secede

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    I think the OP might have been asking (and if not, I'm interested in your response) whether the Constitution as a mutual agreement between the states prevents them from backing out of that agreement later.


    It's probably implied that if the Federal government no longer governs with the consent of the governed, it wouldn't really matter if it's constitutional. No rebellion in history has ever been stopped by a man pointing at a piece of paper and saying "but you promised!"

    That aside, I think the answer is "no," it's not constitutional.

    I noticed from my read-through that the specific clauses which even vaguely speak to secession have already been mentioned in this thread. I also notice that the Founders did not reject the use of force to ensure a measure of submission. President Washington rode out from time to time to put down rebellions about the Whiskey Tax, IIRC. The Constitution, itself, required less than unanimous consent to become ratified, so I doubt they felt strongly that anybody should be able to just opt out.

    Then again, if you've already seceded, then the question of its constitutionality is moot. You'd basically be searching for a pat on the back. You don't refer to another nation's Constitution to determine the legality of your actions. Well, I can't speak for you. I know I wouldn't.

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    Re: Right to Secede

    [QUOTE=Squatch347;518518]I think there was a confusion around your use of the word "right" in an earlier post. Indicating that the government would need the "Right" to violate the Constitution. What I think you mean was ability or willingness to violate.

    Really I think your argument is one of practicality rather than law. Which I understand. This thread is more about the hypothetical right the state might have rather than the practical matter of suppression of rights.

    I think the latter suffers from too little context to really be an answerable matter. The assumption of the military's support is hardly a clear assumption in certain scenarios, economic problems could become a huge deal depending on the state alignment, etc.

    [quote=libre]1) Any one state could probably easily be forced back into the union if the government tried to do it.
    Again, the situation is pretty important, that force could compel a larger break. It might be easier for the Federal Government to allow a state to go rather than press the issue and isolate itself further.[COLOR="Silver"]
    You're kidding me, right? Sorry, I thought it was clear in my first post on this (post 43) that I was talking from a practical standpoint? I mean, I started it right off with:

    "In this scenario would it even matter if the state has the right to secede?"

    And I said even more in that and other posts that I thought made that clear.

    Anyway, sorry if I didn't make it clear enough. And just in case I'm still not being clear... yes, I'm talking from a practical standpoint.

    That was the point. As I have said multiple times now... all I was doing was trying to point out that I thought his argument would be even more productive if he could show an actual plausible scenario where he felt the state had the reason, right AND ability to secede. I get that 2 out of 3 would technically meet the requirement of the OP. I just think 3 out of 3 would be even better since it would be more compelling to most... since those listening to his argument might think... "Good point... and I could see that actually happening also."

    Anyway, I think this horse is more than dead.

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    Re: Right to Secede

    Quote Originally Posted by libre View Post
    You're kidding me, right? Sorry, I thought it was clear in my first post on this (post 43) that I was talking from a practical standpoint? I mean, I started it right off with:

    "In this scenario would it even matter if the state has the right to secede?"
    And my response to you was to point out that this wasn't a question of practical application, but of moral standing. Hence why the thread is called "Right to Secede" not "Ability to Secede."

    You then went on to make the statement: " So, for my logic to be off one would have to show that the government has the right to violate the Constitution."

    Which is a seeming non sequitor unless you replace the word "right" here with "ability." I asked you to clarify if that is what you meant initially and you failed to do so, so I took you at your literal word and attempted to respond. The word "right" would imply a moral, not practical discussion.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions. -G.K. Chesterton
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    Re: Right to Secede

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    I believe we do, and if you review the thread you will see that I don't disagree that secession is a perfectly valid action (hence why I agreed with your number 2 rationale). What I disagree with is the idea that the State's "reservation" of that ability in their ratification documents is the vehicle that makes that action moral or legal.
    Then I'm not sure there's much left to debate between our two positions. But just to be sure, let me ask you one final question:

    In my opinion, after some very limited and scattered research, our Founders were steeped in Burkean and Lockean philosophy, and were fresh from declaring that any people have the "right" according to the "laws of Nature and Nature's God" (nice amalgamation there between Deism and Theism!) to break the bands that unite them. The constitutions of the various states echo this philosophical commitment to popular sovereignty. Would you accept that one of those "bands" includes legally being part of a national government or a Union of States?

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    Re: Right to Secede

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    And my response to you was to point out that this wasn't a question of practical application, but of moral standing. Hence why the thread is called "Right to Secede" not "Ability to Secede."

    You then went on to make the statement: " So, for my logic to be off one would have to show that the government has the right to violate the Constitution."

    Which is a seeming non sequitor unless you replace the word "right" here with "ability." I asked you to clarify if that is what you meant initially and you failed to do so, so I took you at your literal word and attempted to respond. The word "right" would imply a moral, not practical discussion.
    My comment was in regards to an example. I NEVER said the example did not technically meet the requirement of the OP. I have pointed out several times now that I just thought the example would be even better if it could both meet the OP and be practical at the same time. If you can't get that then there is no point in continuing. Because it is beyond my ability to explain that any simpler than I have.

    If there were other misunderstandings between my original post and now I can only guess it was because I failed to see that you were missing what I thought at the time was an obvious point. So, I clearly must have been thinking you were talking about one thing when you were actually just apparently looking for clarification or something. Anyway, if you don't get it still then fine... I withdraw everything I've said in this thread. There, now don't worry about it anymore. It's all withdrawn... including this very post. Good grief, all I was doing was trying to help him.

  9. #69
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    Re: Right to Secede

    Quote Originally Posted by cstamford View Post
    Then I'm not sure there's much left to debate between our two positions. But just to be sure, let me ask you one final question:

    In my opinion, after some very limited and scattered research, our Founders were steeped in Burkean and Lockean philosophy, and were fresh from declaring that any people have the "right" according to the "laws of Nature and Nature's God" (nice amalgamation there between Deism and Theism!) to break the bands that unite them. The constitutions of the various states echo this philosophical commitment to popular sovereignty. Would you accept that one of those "bands" includes legally being part of a national government or a Union of States?
    Absolutely, and the infringement of natural rights is the mechanism I believe gives the states a moral authority to secede.

    Quote Originally Posted by libre View Post
    Because it is beyond my ability to explain that any simpler than I have.
    My fault, I assumed that your original post was more than just a side comment, I thought it was relevant to the actual question at hand.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
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    Re: Right to Secede

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Absolutely, and the infringement of natural rights is the mechanism I believe gives the states a moral authority to secede.
    I haven't taken the time to go back through all your posts in the thread, but I seem to recall reading one a few days ago in which you made reference to a legal right and a moral right. And , of course, in the above, you grant only the "moral authority to secede" to the states. If memory serves, is your position that the states have a moral, but not a legal right to secede? I ask, because if that is your position (and given the parameters of the OP that there be no reliance on the Civil War or Supreme Court interpretations on the scope of the Tenth Amendment since the CW), then we still have the legal right of the states to secede to debate.

    I take the position that the states had the legal right to secede, supported by the widely held belief, expressed repeatedly in the political literature of the day, that sovereignty remains with the states and the people, and that therefore, any power not specifically granted this new Union government is not legally binding upon either the states or their citizens. I further take the position that the power to preserve the Union by force grants to the Union a power not specifically given it in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights, thereby making any such exercise of any such power by the Union government, extra-constitutional, and therefore illegal.

    Do we still have any substantial debate left?

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    Re: Right to Secede

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    My fault, I assumed that your original post was more than just a side comment, I thought it was relevant to the actual question at hand.
    No problem.

    I was just trying to provide some constructive feedback to a fellow member. Some of us debate on these sites in order to learn not just about topics but about debating. Now, was my feedback good? Lol... that's a whole different question. I just thought a more realistic example would help drive his point home... even if technically a realistic example wasn't required in order to meet the criteria of the thread.

    Anyway, sorry if I wasn't clear enough in my original post. However, I think we can agree that I went well above and beyond to explain the purpose of that comment since then. Why you were refusing to accept the concept that I might just be providing a fellow member some constructive feedback was beyond me. It is good to see that you weren't actually objecting to that... you just failed to grasp that this is what I was doing. In the future when I do this I will try to dumb down my original comment such that it is more clear to everyone that this is my only intent.
    Btw, I want to make it clear that I'm not claiming you are dumb. My guess is that you were actually over thinking it... not under thinking it.

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    Re: Right to Secede

    Quote Originally Posted by libre View Post
    In this scenario would it even matter if the state has the right to secede? In this scenario the law/Constitution has basically be thrown out the window. If the state has the right then the fed gov will just ignore the law/Constitution and try to force them back in. If the state doesn't have the right then the state will ignore the law/Constitution and the gov will try to force them back in.

    So, in the end it would all come down to whether the fed gov would have the physical power to force the state back in.

    Btw, I think it would be easy for the gov to force a state back into the union. All you would have to do is force an embargo on them. The only exception of course would be if multiple states seceded... then you are talking civil war probably. One or two states though... piece of cake. You could do it with virtually no force... other than what is needed to enforce the embargo.
    I think you're putting to much focus on "the gov" as a separate entity here. If one state wanted to secede from the Union, then it would be up to the balance of the states whether or not to force them back in, not the federal government. When the Confederacy seceded they didn't go empty handed. They took with them a significant portion of the Federal government's military might. Federal bases, it should be remembered, mostly exist in states! Who knows how Army and Navy officers from Texas would take their expertise in war making back home, where the Federal government has stockpiles of weapons likely in the hands of the Texas National Guard by the time they got there?

    I believe as a practical matter, no one state would ever secede, but another confederacy of states might. And if the states weren't contiguous, I doubt there would be any war. What would more likely happen would be a special and much easier process by which another Constitutional convention was convened, before any war. After all, just because a state's grievances are serious enough for them to secede, it doesn't mean they can't be worked out so that they will peaceably re-enter the Union. In fact, this is what Lincoln, in my opinion, should have done immediately after the South seceded.

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    Re: Right to Secede

    Quote Originally Posted by cstamford View Post
    I haven't taken the time to go back through all your posts in the thread, but I seem to recall reading one a few days ago in which you made reference to a legal right and a moral right. And , of course, in the above, you grant only the "moral authority to secede" to the states. If memory serves, is your position that the states have a moral, but not a legal right to secede? I ask, because if that is your position (and given the parameters of the OP that there be no reliance on the Civil War or Supreme Court interpretations on the scope of the Tenth Amendment since the CW), then we still have the legal right of the states to secede to debate.
    Ah, I see the confusion I think. I believe the 10th Amendment (I personally think SCOTUS wrong on this issue) and the nature of the Constitution as a compact between the states to create a federal government gives states a legal right to leave that compact. I was simply differing with you on the specific legal mechanism you proposed.

    Quote Originally Posted by libre View Post
    No problem.

    I was just trying to provide some constructive feedback to a fellow member.
    Interesting. Let me remind you of a section of our rules:

    Spamming - Posts that are wholly irrelevant to the issue being discussed or add nothing of substance to the debate are considered spam and not allowed. This includes, but is not limited to: posts that consist solely of side comments, remarks meant to be witty, or presentation of links and/or material that do not sufficiently contribute to the debate. The purpose of the debate threads are to allow and encourage intelligent discourse and debate. ODN holds the position that wasting time/posts by spamming is counter-productive.
    http://www.onlinedebate.net/index.php?page=odnrules

    If you are going to provide off topic feedback for another member, then please do not do so in thread. That is spam.
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    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions. -G.K. Chesterton
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    Re: Right to Secede

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Ah, I see the confusion I think. I believe the 10th Amendment (I personally think SCOTUS wrong on this issue) and the nature of the Constitution as a compact between the states to create a federal government gives states a legal right to leave that compact. I was simply differing with you on the specific legal mechanism you proposed.



    Interesting. Let me remind you of a section of our rules:

    Spamming - Posts that are wholly irrelevant to the issue being discussed or add nothing of substance to the debate are considered spam and not allowed. This includes, but is not limited to: posts that consist solely of side comments, remarks meant to be witty, or presentation of links and/or material that do not sufficiently contribute to the debate. The purpose of the debate threads are to allow and encourage intelligent discourse and debate. ODN holds the position that wasting time/posts by spamming is counter-productive.
    http://www.onlinedebate.net/index.php?page=odnrules

    If you are going to provide off topic feedback for another member, then please do not do so in thread. That is spam.
    The main purpose might have been advice but it was still on topic. Because the advice was about his approach on the topic. Plus, as part of that advice I provided a legit on topic argument of how the example was not practical in a real world example.

    It might not have added an insane amount of substance to the debate but imo it added a ton more than some do on these boards. I see some who it seems their only purpose is to come into threads, target someone, create endless sidetracks, bait them into arguments, then make false accusations against them. Or at least that is how those posters should be viewed if what I did here is considered a violation of the site.

    And seriously, are you telling everyone that giving on topic debating constructive feedback is unacceptable on a debating web site? Really? I could understand if I was rude to the guy or something like that. But I wasn't.

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    Re: Right to Secede

    Quote Originally Posted by libre View Post
    The main purpose might have been advice but it was still on topic. Because the advice was about his approach on the topic. Plus, as part of that advice I provided a legit on topic argument of how the example was not practical in a real world example.

    It might not have added an insane amount of substance to the debate but imo it added a ton more than some do on these boards. I see some who it seems their only purpose is to come into threads, target someone, create endless sidetracks, bait them into arguments, then make false accusations against them. Or at least that is how those posters should be viewed if what I did here is considered a violation of the site.

    And seriously, are you telling everyone that giving on topic debating constructive feedback is unacceptable on a debating web site? Really? I could understand if I was rude to the guy or something like that. But I wasn't.
    Libre, the public forum is NOT the place to challenge staff decisions. Squatch informed you that you were in violation of a rule with a friendly warning. Whether you were or not is irrelevant. Whether or not you agree with it is irrelevant. The way you went about challenging that decision, however, was relevant to the point I am making now.

    Take note of the rule regarding "Challenging of Staff Decisions". Every non-banned member has a right to do so, but ONLY in the appropriate manner.

    The next reply on this thread needs to be back on topic.


    Quote Originally Posted by rules
    Challenging of Staff Decisions
    Challenging of staff decisions in public is strictly prohibited. Threads of that nature tend to turn into giant flame fests. As such, they are to be handled in the forum "Ask the Staff." Within that forum, members may privately address the staff as a whole. PM's are also allowed if you wish to address a single member of staff.

    The "Site Feedback" forum is only meant to give feedback about the site itself, features, or ask for clarifications of specific policies here on ODN, not to dispute staff decisions
    I will no longer be replying to any post from a Liberal going forward. I will continue, as normal, to discuss topics and engage in intellectual exchanges with non-leftist

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    Re: Right to Secede

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch
    Ah, I see the confusion I think. I believe the 10th Amendment (I personally think SCOTUS wrong on this issue) and the nature of the Constitution as a compact between the states to create a federal government gives states a legal right to leave that compact. I was simply differing with you on the specific legal mechanism you proposed.
    Got it. Then I guess we're finished.

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    Re: Right to Secede

    Quote Originally Posted by cstamford View Post
    Got it. Then I guess we're finished.
    Agreed, I didn't mean it to be a major objection, I think we both agree on the end result (legal and moral secession is permissible), I was disagreeing with the legal mechanism to justify the action.
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    Re: Right to Secede

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Absolutely, and the infringement of natural rights is the mechanism I believe gives the states a moral authority to secede.
    .
    What exactly do you consider "Natural rights" within the context of the debate? How do they differ from inalienable rights?
    I will no longer be replying to any post from a Liberal going forward. I will continue, as normal, to discuss topics and engage in intellectual exchanges with non-leftist

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    Re: Right to Secede

    Quote Originally Posted by Someguy View Post
    What exactly do you consider "Natural rights" within the context of the debate? How do they differ from inalienable rights?
    I don't necessarily see them as two mutually exclusive categories. A natural right, one that is inherent to the person, is likewise defined as inalienable. However an artificial right, ie one created by law, could technically be defined as inalienable in theory as well.
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    Re: Right to Secede

    Do they have the "right" to secede? It really depends on what you mean by "right".

    If you mean heirarchally sponsored priviledges, then no. The Feds wont let the states secede.

    If you mean God-given abilities, which cannot morally be undermined (but may be able to in practice) - then it depends on whether you think States can have those qualities vested in them. If they can, then yes - States have the right to secede. If only people have God-given rights, then no, the state is just an abstraction.
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