Here is an interesting interview with Professor Donald Livingston about the now-frequently heard word, ‘secession.’ There is a lot of discussion around the Internet about the subject, unfortunately including a lot of ill-informed and biased ‘information’ coming from opponents of the idea.
Professor Livingston says:
Republican government is government where the people make the laws they live under. They have to know each other. There has to be a limit to how large a polity can be and still claim to be representative government. It’s a very simple notion. The republican tradition for over 2,000 years has maintained that a small scale is necessary and the size is determined by the function of government. Representative government needs a small scale. We can talk about what that size would be but that’s the basic idea.”
This country is now too big, too heavily populated, and too heterogeneous for a relative handful of representatives in a far-off city to truly represent everyone and for everyone’s interests to be served.
One thing you can see is the framers, one of the ideas they had was there should be one representative for every 30,000 people. When you consider that males are the ones voting and that sort of thing, you have a human scale representation. If we had that ratio today, there would be something like 10,000 members in the House of Representatives. That would just be too large for a lawmaking body. That would be more like a little town than a legislative body. If we had the founders’ ratio of 1:30,000, that’s what we would have. Put another way, our ratio is something like 1:720,000 people. If that ratio existed at the first Congress, there would have been only five members in the House of Representatives. You see scale matters in representation. Would the founders have tolerated a House of Representatives with only five members? No. “
The Founding Fathers believed strongly that the ‘will of the majority’ was the sine qua non for legitimacy. Once a government abrogated the will of the majority, and lacked the ‘consent of the governed’ it was no longer a legitimate government — per the Founders.
I realize I am probably preaching to the converted here but maybe there is someone who chances across this page who may find some food for thought on the subject of state’s rights and secession. Just for the record, I have been blogging about this subject almost since the inception of my original blog, 7 or 8 years ago. I’m not just now discovering the subject, but then I grew up in a world in which it was a given that the cause of the South was not ‘lost’ but simply dormant until such a time as events would force it to the forefront again.
Some who strongly oppose the idea of dissolving the ‘Union’ (which is currently anything but ‘united’) insist that ‘they’ would never allow a dissolution of the union, implying that we as citizens must obtain permission from those in power. Did our forefathers imagine that George III would give us permission for our secession from Britain? And failing to get his blessing, did they give up and resign themselves to the status quo?