The Hanging Tree
The election of Obama has made secession a once again popular topic among the fruitcake right. Here is Alex Tabarrok talking it up: http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2010/06/secession.html After a long quote from Patri Friedman, Alex throws in his own suggestion: “Finally, don't forget: If at first you don't secede, try, try again.” May I suggest a historically more plausible slogan? “If at first you don’t secede, enjoy your dance on the hanging tree!” No doubt libertarians would find this punishment a bit harsh, but I don’t really agree. Jefferson, the rebel and revolutionary (or secessionist, if you prefer), was wise and honest enough to note that governments should not be dissolved for “light or transient causes.” Given his position, it’s quite natural that he didn’t want to go into detail, but the reasons are hardly obscure. A nation is an organic whole, and tearing it apart is a traumatic event – frequently as traumatic as ripping off an arm or a leg.