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Monday, June 6, 2011

Personal Secession – The Way to Freedom

Lew Rockwell

by Michael S. Rozeff
Certain people and groups in California want to ban male circumcision, and they are getting measures placed on local ballots for voting.
In Louisiana, there is some sort of law about the teaching of the creation of man in the public schools that has people who dislike that law all riled up and seeking repeal.

Women in Egypt are bitterly divided between those who favor sharia law for Egypt and those who favor secular law.
The State of Arizona has a law that legalizes medical marijuana. The Governor is suing the State of Arizona against this law because it conflicts with federal law.

President Bush "launched missiles and bombs at targets in Iraq" in March of 2003, an action of which 25 percent of Americans disapproved at the time. That figure rose to 53 percent within 8 months.

What do the above items have in common?
They all involve laws approved of by some and disapproved of by others. In all cases, there are winners and losers. The winners get their favorite laws passed. The losers have to obey.
In all cases, the losers have no choice.

You can’t smoke in a bar. You must use a bicycle helmet. You cannot use an incandescent light bulb. You cannot place phosphates in soap. You must use a front-loading washing machine. Your shower cannot pump at above a specified rate. Your toilet cannot go above a specified number of gallons. You must pay taxes for government programs. You must accept Federal Reserve Notes in payments. A bank must report cash transactions over a specified size. You cannot buy marijuana. You cannot simply buy a gun.

If circumcision is banned in San Francisco, those who want to circumcise their babies will have to go elsewhere. In Louisiana, the public schools, and maybe even private schools who can’t find an exemption on some grounds, will teach what the legislature tells them to teach. In Egypt, either sharia law will be in or it will be out, for everyone. In the individual states, either they will be allowed to pass medical marijuana laws or else the federal law will be the rule. Clinton, Bush, and Obama and the Congress will launch their missiles wherever they please even if large numbers of Americans disapprove, and they will extract the resources to do this in the form of taxes whether you like it or not.

These examples all involve voting and democracies, but the same division between winners and losers occurs in other forms of government such as monarchies and dictatorships.

They all have in common that there are always groups of people who want to impose their views on everyone. They all have in common that every such group aims to use government as the instrument to fulfill their ardent desires.

I feel sorry for the human race. The thinking and emotional makeup of most people are so impoverished that they cannot find a way to live without imposing their views on as many other people as they can. It is not enough for them to preach their views. They feel they have to pass a law or somehow use the government to make everyone else conform to their wishes.

I felt sadness when I read about the woman pushing for a circumcision law. It doesn’t matter what her reasons are. Everyone always comes up with reasons. Bush had his reasons. Obama has his reasons. The Louisiana legislators had their reasons. I’m not debating the reasons or the substance of any of these many debates. I’m not interested in choosing up sides.

I feel sad because the desire to pass a law and impose one’s own views on everyone else is, to my way of thinking, so stupid, so ignorant, so limited in vision, so immoral, so anti-human, so devoid of understanding, so unloving, so distorted, so anti-freedom, so anti-voluntaristic, so anti-individual, so unreasonable, so intolerant, and so against the person.

Government in its present condition is a factory that constantly manufactures new kinds of ropes, manacles, gags, and handcuffs with which it binds everyone. This is what most people accept.

I am amazed, totally amazed, that people do not see or admit the contradiction between the American rhetoric of freedom and what actually goes down, and between that rhetoric and their own attempts to vote in the candidates of their choice and impose their programs on everyone else!

Through the instrument of government, there are countless groups and political parties organized with the sole purpose of making slaves out of everyone. Is this not a self-evident truth? No, it is not, because every such group and party attempts to provide reasons why its program is a good thing. They would bitterly dispute my contention that their aim is to impose slavery on everyone.

One government for all cannot coexist with freedom. They are mutually exclusive.

Let those who wish to build missiles and shoot them into Tripoli do so at their own cost and risk and for themselves only. Let those who wish to form and pay for a military that trains every nation on earth how to interdict drugs do so at their own cost and risk and for themselves only. Let those who wish to form a legislature that enacts their version of religion do so at their own cost and risk and for themselves only. Let those who wish to pass a law that forbids drug use do so for themselves only. Let those who wish to pass a law that forbids circumcision do so for themselves only. Let those who wish to tax themselves and give the proceeds away to those in need do so for themselves only. Let those who wish to guarantee medical care for all those in their group do so at their own cost and risk and for themselves only.

If we actually want freedom and not slavery, we cannot have one government for all. Freedom and one government for all are inconsistent with one another. They contradict one another. To have one government and simultaneously to have freedom is an impossibility.

To arrive at greater freedom, one has to have the freedom to remove the manacles imposed by a government that presumes to be the government for all. One has to be able to opt out of government laws. One has to be able to secede personally from a government.

Personal secession manifests one’s personal freedom to choose a government (or no government) of one’s desires, by oneself or in association with other people.

For further reading on personal secession and secession by groups, one can use a search engine. After writing the above, I searched on secession movements. One site that came up was Their statement of principles is well worth reading. They advocate something close to personal secession, namely, community-based secession. The difference between them is trivial.
For example, this site writes
The primary political right of the individual and of political communities must be to secede from any larger political entity, whether they were born into it, were forced to join it, or voluntarily joined it. If one denies or relinquishes that right, one is little more than a slave--and no agreement to become a slave can be legally or morally binding.
 Secession of individuals and communities does not have to mean war and violence. It should be a natural evolutionary feature of all political entities. Communities can form networks or confederations, since secession is accepted by both in principle. However, communities will not form "federations" which by definition do not allow secession. We will suggest practical and nonviolent means by which such separation can occur and the kinds of networks and confederations that could be created to replace oppressive nation states.
In the name of nationalism, religion, ideology, tradition or "the common good," the governments of the world suppress individual liberty and individuals' control of their own communities. Special interest- corporate- state- bureaucratic- military elites worldwide tax, regulate, bully, beat, prosecute, jail and execute citizens into submission. They discriminate against, rob, ethnically cleanse and genocide members of oppressed racial/ethnic/religious/regional groups. Without government control, these elites would have little real power over individuals and communities.
 The concept of individual liberty is simple: individuals should be free to do whatever they please as long as they don't harm others by using force or fraud. This is the basic ethical tenet or "golden rule" of all religions, one corrupted by layers of theology and ritual and centuries of kowtowing to political authority. Individual consent–not some nationalist, racial, religious, tribal or, ideological construct or "social contract"–is the only legitimate basis of any social, economic and political organization. However, supporting the idea and value of individual liberty is not enough to obtain liberty. We must support institutional structures that make it impossible for public or private entities to crush individual liberty.
Contrast personal secession with the U.S. government’s notions of "security" and "democracy" and "welfare" for all of America. The U.S. vision is actually a highly limited vision that pretends to be a universal vision. Its thrust is to the common and general. It is certainly a monopolistic vision. Ultimately, it is a static and one-sided totalitarian vision. A totalitarian vision within the United States is continually being enacted and made real. It is not that of Orwell or Huxley although some of their elements are present. At present it is a suffocating and deadening vision in which political correctness holds sway and in which government makes countless rules that control many aspects of life, while allowing outlets in certain directions that vent the pressures. The government’s vision is of oneness, sameness, monotony, regularity, perfect safety and security, regimentation, and boredom. It crushes the personal and the individual.

The U.S. government is even making strenuous efforts to promote this vision in foreign governments.
Democracy is not freedom. It is the suppression of freedom. This takes different forms in different countries. In America, the current obsession is with security and safety in every aspect of life. The government intrudes everywhere with these as its rationales. This is the American totalitarianism.

Personal secession allows for multiple visions of life and living. It allows for dynamism, creativity, personal development along new lines, invention, discovery, and adventure. It allows for variation and newness. It allows for development along unexpected lines. It allows for mistakes and learning from mistakes, new and untried ventures, new ways, new customs, and new ideas. It allows for personal risk-taking. It emphasizes the personal and individual. It is pluralistic. It is voluntaristic.

Personal secession means freedom and all that freedom entails.

June 6, 2011
Michael S. Rozeff [send him mail] is a retired Professor of Finance living in East Amherst, New York. He is the author of the free e-book Essays on American Empire: Liberty vs. Domination and the free e-book The U.S. Constitution and Money: Corruption and Decline.

Copyright © 2011 by Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.


  1. I don't know if individual issues 'float your boat' much when we have such an overwhelming volume of oppressive edicts to pick from ; but circumcision is a known reducer of AIDS transmission. As such it should be a legitimate choice as a personal health measure.

  2. BRAVO!!

    Very well said!!!!

  3. I was temporarily in the San Diego public marina preparing my boat to sail to Mexico, drilling a quarter inch hole in the boomkin (made of wood and extends aft over the water). Sawdust was falling from the drill bit. If it had been tobacco it wouldn't have filled a small pipe.

    Two Harbor Police happened to walk by at that very moment and I heard "Hey... keep that in the boat"!

    I replied, as I stopped drilling and turned to look, "Well I thought since it is biodegradable...", but changed tack when I saw the officer's body language change the instant I question his authority. "... but obviously I was wrong."

    "That's littering and I could write you a citation, so just keep it in the boat."

    Americans have the government they deserve, for their complacency, indifference and ignorance. I sailed toward freedom the next day.

  4. There is no freedom anywhere as long as these elitists have their tentacles around planet Earth. You can run but you can't hide, someday we will all have to make the choice, to bow down or stand and resist.

  5. I don't know about personal secession, but I declared peace on the US government some years ago. 1913 finally proved to me there was a coup.

    Declaring peace just means any interaction I have with them is under duress. I am trying to minimize my usury footprint.

    I'm trying to just convince people of no interest, not so far as no government. My old drill instructor said there's always that ten percent. Of course, the military recruits 5x the psychos so his estimate was a little off.

  6. Thanks for posting this, Saladin. It's good to see some kindred spirits.

  7. I think there are more of us then we know m_astera.

  8. Democracy is not freedom. It is the suppression of freedom.

    What are the alternatives?

  9. opit, it's a personal choice, period, although they are making the choice for another human being that can't speak out in opposition. What would you say today if someone wanted to cut the foreskin of your penis off? Probably NO?

  10. Last name, if you really want to know I will comment on the options. A lot of people come here, leave a comment and never come back.

  11. ....and how is democracy 'the suppression of freedom'?

  12. did you read the essay? I think he laid it out very well.
    "If we actually want freedom and not slavery, we cannot have one government for all. Freedom and one government for all are inconsistent with one another. They contradict one another. To have one government and simultaneously to have freedom is an impossibility." That is a very basic truth. The "majority" has no right to impose it's desires on me or anyone else. A good example is when the people of San Francisco voted 51-49% to ban hand guns, by a very tiny margin almost half the people got their opinions and desires crushed my a "majority" vote. How is that fair? Luckily that vote was overturned but many that are just as unfair remain.

  13. Well, aside from noticing that a hand-gun ban is hardly "crushing freedom"......let's put the same conundrum to you, and your supposed alternatives to democracy?

    We have a group of people, split near 50-50 on whether to allow or ban hand-guns.

    Which system other than democracy do you suggest to use to decide the matter? And how does it work?

  14. I didn't say it "crushed freedom" I said half of the people had their choice crushed. For one thing, the second amendment isn't open to a vote, it is part of the law of the land. This is like voting to force schools to teach creationism or to gag the press. You don't get that option. So with the hand gun ban, in a Constitutional Republic, like we are supposed to have, that vote would not have happened. The system I suggest was fully outlined in the essay, and again I ask, did you read it?

  15. I thought you were going to give some alternative to democracy and comment on it.

    It's interesting that whilst you assert individual sovereignty you also assert the constitution.

    How come you claim authority of the Constitution now, after asserting everyone's right to ignore it? According to the argument, better to be without any governance at all, yet you reach for the authority of the Constitution to assert gun rights? Odd, no?

    Why must people respect the Constitution, if they're sovereign individuals?

  16. I refer to it because it has been the law of the land, though ignored, for over 200 years. This is mostly agreed upon. I myself have plenty of issues with the constitution, but that is another subject, I was only answering your question. But you still haven't answered mine, did you read the essay?

  17. Not going very far very quickly, are we?

    Have I read it? Why even ask? I asked for your view about it.

    Have you yet commented on alternatives to democracy? Have you even given any alternatives? No.

    The elitist theory here has always been that it is unfair to require the rich to help the poor, and immoral for government to bring about this end by taxing the rich for the purpose of improving the opportunities available to the poor.