Alaskan Independence

As a libertarian, I am no supporter of Sarah Palin. But she and her husband are being attacked–mostly from the left–for what I see as her one redeeming political feature: her support for the concept of Alaskan Independence.

I don’t know very much about the Alaskan Independence Party, so don’t take my support of the idea of secession as an unqualified endorsement of them. But secession is a valid method of reducing the power of the central government in Washington–a government that has brought all fifty states to the brink of economic disaster, and sent thousands of young men to their deaths in foreign wars that have been proved absolutely pointless (Vietnam, Korea, and Iraq lead the list, but there are many others).

So-called “liberals” these days are expressing shock that Palin and her husband should support the idea of secession, which they view as “treason.” Thus both liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, support the idea that, once you’ve entered this house, you can never leave.

American history points out the sheer absurdity of such a position. When the original thirteen colonies decided to break off from the British Empire (that is, to secede from the union), was this an act of treason? Or was it an act of patriotism?

As Jefferson stated in the Declaration of Independence, there come times in history when it is the right and duty of the people to throw off a tyrannical government. I submit that this is the time in American history to do just that.

And secession is one strategy for throwing off the tyranny of Washington.

Does this mean I advocate a futile and hopeless war against the central government? Not at all. I would prefer a Gandhi approach: constant agitation for the right of secession. And above all, point out the tyrannical nature of the central government, and make them show that tyranny quite openly.

Alaska, by its nature, should be an independent country. It is separated from the mainland US by hundreds of miles, and has a distinct culture. I would be in favor of all fifty states becoming independent nations, leaving the little District of Columbia to fend for itself and try to feed itself by issuing proclamations and bureaucratic decrees.

The argument is often made that the Civil War (more properly called the War for Southern Independence) “proved” that Lincoln was right and that secession was treason. Actually, it proved no such thing. The only thing the war proved was that an industrialized North could militarily defeat an agrarian South. So what?

Matters of right and wrong are not proved by who can beat up whom.

Anyone who advocates secession, by the way, will be smeared. The most common smear will be that secessionists are closet racists who want to return to the era of slavery, or at least Jim Crow. Of course, no such movement exists whatsoever, but it makes a nice, hysterical accusation.

Whatever one may think of Sarah Palin (and I, for one, am thoroughly unimpressed), one area in which she may have been correct is secession. I’m sure that now, since she has been absorbed as one of the Washington pod people, she will deny ever supporting secession. But if she and her husband did support secession, they were taking a bold and patriotic stand.