I had the following letter printed in the Wall Street Journal yesterday and it was given top billing on the opinion page. It was my response to a long article in the WSJ stating that the current violations by our central government in D.C. could be alleviated or fixed by simply allowing states to secede and letting "regions" be autonomous, thereby allegedly catering to a more local populous.
With "Divided We Stand" (Weekend Journal, June 13) the Journal again bravely broaches a subject that few, if any, other major publication have attempted. However, the two main points of Paul Starobin's article concerning self-determination and "size matters" are right and wrong, respectively. Yes, regions wish to govern themselves, free of a national government. No, this hasn't historically been precipitated primarily by overcentralization.
The primary cause of the downfall of republics is the betrayal of individual rights. In a true land of liberty, no region has cause for rational separation -- though some, such as the South, will find cause for irrational separation. When liberty is honored, the central government stays out of people's business, allowing them complete autonomy over their households and business. There is no cause for bloodless or bloody rebellion.
The beginnings of the betrayal in contemporary America lie in President Abraham Lincoln's many violations of rights during the Civil War, continuing with the "progressive" movement of the late 1800s and the follow-up garroting of the Constitution by the Sherman Antitrust Act, the creation of the Federal Reserve, the 16th Amendment, President Franklin Roosevelt's abhorrent New Deal, the abolition of the gold standard, the institution and expansion of "welfare" programs under President Lyndon Johnson, the aggrandizement of eminent domain by the feckless Supreme Court, the immense grand larceny of the current administration, a perennially corrupt Congress and much more.
If we were to grant Mr. Starobin the conceit of "size matters," then we must carry it to its logical conclusion: Every region would itself eventually be a "central government" with factions (regions) wishing to opt out ad infinitum, as we have seen countless times. The only solution to avoid this is a Constitution that clearly defines individual and property rights, ensuring that our relatives in Texas remain our compatriots.