Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Libertarians Going Statist

At the post, Once Again on Secession, I continue to see arguments in favor of supporting secession under all conditions. Many of this support appears to amount to advocacy for more coercion if it brings about a smaller state, no matter how brutal the smaller state.

One commenter writes:

Yes, but if rump Spain is actually freer than Catalonia, freedom seeking current Catalonians can also vote with feet and move away.
But isn't this what Democrats and Republicans tell libertarians all the time when we complain about interventions in the US, "If you don't like it leave"? The point is that when two options are available, libertarians should advocate for the one that provides the most freedom. Not demand that those who want more freedom move.

Then there is this:
Anyway, I don't deny that the Catalonian state is full of local would-be tyrants. I was simply pointing out that the only fundamental change resulting from secession is that the Spanish national state authorities would be stripped of their perceived legitimacy. 
And putting in its place the perceived legitimacy of a more thuggish secessionist state?

And this:
This strikes me as being little different from the argument that government police ought to continue operating because they protect the citizens from criminals. But as libertarians we know well that the state is NOT an effective protector of its subjects, and so it seems paradoxical to declare that they would be worse off as a result of the withdrawal of a state agency.
No, it is not about the argument about the withdrawal of the government police agency--or a state agency in general. States agencies will operate under both options. It is about under what ruling body the operating state will bring about the least oppressive environment.
And finally:
  "Individuals have the right, under the NAP, to form covenant communities - even covenant communities that embrace communism. Libertarians who say "you are not free enough" are central planners; I have no other term to use to describe this situation.
For those in Catalina who do not want secession, the answer for libertarians is to support the next secession."
Again, there is confusion here. Suppose there are people in a region that don't want to "embrace communism," will they be forced to because of majority rule? How can a libertarian support this move toward less freedom? It has nothing to do with further secession. Communist communities are known for their brutality in preventing dissenters and secession in their areas of rule.



  1. "Actually freer" is the operative term. I have a hard time believing Spain, with or without Catalonia, is a paragon of freedom and peace. The only evidence I have of Spain being pro freedom and peace are its cop thugs beating up old women voting to divorce from it.

  2. So you're arguing that a generally good thing---secession---should not be encouraged because in some cases it is abused. I disagree. It is acknowledged that secession facilitates smaller states, and concomitantly, greater power is wielded by each individual voter who is closer to the presumably responsive electorate. If secession is a generally-valued practice in a community, then those who are dissatisfied with a secessionary movement can thereafter secede themselves and rejoin the former confederation, nation-state, whatever. But to oppose secession because in rare instances it is abused and manipulated, is akin to opposing gun rights or freedom of assembly because sometimes people abuse those rights and harm others.

  3. I've been thinking about this more this morning (after my initial, knee-jerk comment). So, at its core, your beef is more with the process of how secession is accomplished---the process that involves democracy, voting, majority rule---than with the secession itself? As practiced today, secession does, to be sure, utilize an imperfect procedure (democracy) when striving to "alter or abolish governments that become destructive of unalienable rights." But unless the cherished right of self-determination is to never extend beyond 2 people, how do we expunge the tyranny of the majority from the process?
    OK, I'm just riffing here, and drawing upon stale, cob-webby knowledge from long-ago law school: Perhaps the solution lies somewhere in the property right concept of "land covenants" that "run with the land." I.e. just as nowadays you can attach conditions to a deed when selling property, and which conditions can be made to "run with the land" i.e. forever limit, constrain or regulate how the property is used. E.g., I sell Green Acre to Bob, but the deed specifies the land may never be subdivided; When Bob sells Green Acre 50 years later, that covenant remains in the deed as a constraint upon the next buyer, and so on. Maybe whole swaths of land used by a community and its individual land owners would operate this way, where covenants allowing or prohibiting secession ("subdividing") are guaranteed to "run with the land" forever, and thereby operating as a check on the tyranny of the majority who vote for secession.
    I've thought about covenants before, as solutions to property use "problems", e.g. the "problem" of selling the Grand Canyon to pay down the national debt, but preventing unscrupulous developers from turning it into a giant super-mall, or casino...or dotting the landscape with billboards, etc. Covenants!---which run with the land, and are mutually agreed to by buyer and seller. Maybe it can be applied to secession and self-determination too.

    1. Maybe Wenzel is saying that this case is not merely about secession, but about secession plus the creation of a whole new Statist apparatus. This particular secession+power_grab is not a Pareto-optimal move that automatically demands support from libertarians.

    2. True. Secession is not necessarily, by dint that it is happening, ipso facto a good thing; Without knowledge of the circumstances under which it is happening---"circumstances on the ground"---one can't confidently say whether it's a positive or negative development. Sort of like State Nullification (of bad Federal law), where a state government ignores and refuses to enforce Federal law ostensibly in the name of justice: It can be utilized for good (e.g. where northern states refused to enforce the Fugitive Slave Law), or for bad (e.g. if a state refused to, say, abide by the 19th Amendment or women's suffrage laws. Weak example I know...).

    3. Yep, and as a fellow attorney, the only evidence we have is that Madrid sends people to beat up Catalonians. Maybe I will change my view if the opposite occurs.

      Eric Morris

  4. So you can't beat a big state (Spain) And it turns out you can't beat a small state recently formed either according to Bob.

    1. And accepting stolen funds as salary and voting for laws that will require violating the NAP are okay so long as your last name is Paul. Get with the times.

  5. Deeds that run with the land amount to deeds themselves owning land. Ownership is for people.

  6. The alternative is forced union.

  7. Daniel Lacalle's article on the subject:

    Catalonia’s Independence Threat Is Bad for Spain (And Catalonia)

  8. Mises, Rothbard and Catalonia
    by David Gordon

  9. The difference between big-state and small-state is simply size, not in the ability to oppress. North Korea is quite small, yet is able to oppress like few other states in history.

    If Catalonia left Spain and moved an inch in the direction of NK, then this is a loss, isn't it?

    Perhaps secession isn't all it's cracked up to be. But how is an anarchist "zone" supposed to be established without secession?

    Does anarchism require a land mass to inhabit? Why not voluntary societies alongside the other criminal gangs (government bodies, mafia, Bloods).

    Why is the wine gone?