It's Time to Vote, With Your Feet

It's that time of year again. How do I know? My sample ballot and voter information pamphlet just arrived in the mail. As soon as it entered my apartment I threw it into the garbage pail where it will remain until it's taken out to the curb with the trash. A most fitting final resting place, don't you think?

As the pundits pontificate and the talking heads blabber, the State is again doing what it always does: attempting to light a fire under a decidedly unenthusiastic and largely non-voting public. Once again it is attempting to convince gullible citizens that voting is not only still tenable, but a sacred civic duty and the patriotic thing to do, especially with another imminent undeclared war. Make no mistake about it, there will soon be another war, but count me out. I want nothing to do with hegemony and Empire whatsoever.

I recently came to my senses and made the transition from Libertarian to paleo-libertarian anarchist. I made the moral decision to stop supporting the illegitimate socialist State as much as possible. Choosing not to vote was step #1.

The good news is that it's easy, free, morally right, and totally an individual decision. Ludwig von Mises would heartily approve. Only individuals make decisions in the marketplace, and this is one of them. Removing yourself from the political marketplace is not only morally right, it is also spiritually and emotionally liberating. Highly recommended. There's no time like the present to join the growing body of former voters who have abandoned the State's support system of feigned legitimacy.

As Election Day draws near again, it is prudent to briefly revisit a libertarian classic, Frank Chodorov's 'Time for Secession.' This influential piece appeared in Human Events on October 15, 1952. As the 50th anniversary of this timeless piece approaches, its message still rings true to those who will take the time to read it.

If I were governor of a state, or even a legislator, I would put my weight behind a secessionist movement; not secession from the Union, but secession from Washington. I would do so exactly because I favor the Union, as originally conceived and my advocacy of secession would be based on the same reasoning that prompted initiation of the Union, namely that divided authority is a good guarantee of freedom.

This will never happen today because individual states are too used to sucking on the federal teat. The states, then, are out of the picture. Instead, citizens who have made the conscious decision to abandon politics (and the voting system that supports it) comprise the new secessionist movement, albeit one still largely out of the public eye.

The first step I would take, if I were governor of a state, would be to require every school child to become familiar with the history and theory of what we call states' rights, but which is really the doctrine of home rule. For, it was precisely the fear of centralization, such as we are now faced with, that prompted the Founding Fathers to write that doctrine into our basic law.

While this makes for a great sound bite today, the truth of the matter is that only lip service is paid to this ideal. The states long ago surrendered their sovereignty by accepting federal funds for anything and everything, making them lackeys of the federal State and frustrating the intent of the Framers in the process.

The early American knew that freedom was nothing more than the absence of external restraint on behavior; the government could not give you freedom, it could only take it away. And he knew from experience, if not from his reading, that when a government is detached from the governed it invariably strives to take it away. Freedom, then, is in better case when the effective government never gets beyond the purview of the town hall meeting.

This utopian scheme was relegated to history books years ago, it isn't even taught in government schools anymore. And why should it be? It is counterproductive to the welfare of the State as God, the real goal of the socialists.

'Political science accepts as an axiom the monopolization of coercion by government; it must have that monopoly, so the axiom runs, in order that it may prevent the indiscriminate use of coercion by citizens. There is no arguing with that point. But, when the individual is free to move from one jurisdiction to another, a limit is put on the extent to which the government may use its monopoly power. Government is held in restraint by the fear of losing its taxpaying citizens, just as loss of customers tends to keep other monopolies from getting too arrogant.

Simply reading the headlines will suffice to convince you that the State today is struggling to maintain its stranglehold on unwilling taxpayers who are questioning the validity of the 16th Amendment and often are even willing to surrender their citizenship to escape the IRS and its draconian taxation schemes.

Socialistic experiments did not originate with the New Deal; state governments had their own laboratories, long before 1932. Many years ago I saw an idle state-owned cement plant in South Dakota, and early in the depression a Wisconsin law made it obligatory for restaurants to serve two ounces of Wisconsin made cheese with every meal, whether the diner wanted it or not. The platform of the Farm-Labor party, which sprang up around 1920, and captured several states, was larded with socialism. However, every state experiment in socialism failed simply because of the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of movement for both labor and capital across state lines. Federal socialism can be made to operate somehow only because there is no escape from its constabulary.

As always, might makes right, but oddly only the federal government is allowed to utter those words. Microsoft is a public scapegoat, yet somehow Leviathan is blameless. The hypocrisy is blatant and incredible.

If for no other reason, personal pride should prompt every governor and state legislator to take a secessionist attitude; they were not elected to be lackeys of the federal bureaucracy.

We are well past that possibility since the states are indeed lackeys of the federal bureaucracy. As such, Chodorov's suggestion is much more appropriate for individual citizens today than governors or state legislators.

There is no end of trouble the states can give the centralizers by merely refusing to cooperate. Such refusal would meet with popular acclaim if it were supplemented with a campaign of education on the meaning of states' rights, in terms of human freedom. In fact, the educational part of such a secessionist movement should be given first importance.

If you substitute citizens for states in the above paragraph, you will understand where I am headed. Since the states have succumbed to sucking on the federal teat, it is now up to individual citizens to take the necessary actions that Chodorov suggests. He speaks of refusal to cooperate with the federal State. It's time to vote, but with your feet instead of a ballot.

And those who are plumping for a 'third party', because both existing parties are centralist in character, would do well to nail to their masthead this banner: Secession of the 48 states from Washington.

Substitute 100 million citizens for 48 states above and there you go: the real third party.

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Joe Blow is a privacy advocate with proven subspecialties in strategic planning.  Note: Pirate Poop is now a free newsletter, available by email only. Send all subscription requests to