Calexit – Everyone Has Principles When It Goes Horribly Wrong

Whoever wishes peace among peoples must fight statism” – Ludwig Von Mises

I’ve seen quite a bit of post-election hand-wringing by the California Left over the notion of “Calexit” – California’s proposed secession from the union. We don’t want to harp on the utter unworkability of this plan, as there are deeper issues at play. But for a moment, consider:

  • To be recognized by the US government (i.e., not an act of war) the secession would require a constitutional amendment and ratification of 3/4 of the states (hint: no liberal states/representatives would vote for the plan as it would put them in the continual minority)
  • Succession of a state likely sparks a run – why would Texas, New Hampshire, or South Carolina stick around if breaking away were this easy? Would 3/4 of the states grant the “black swan” moment of the union?
  • Much of California (especially southern California) is dependent on water that comes from rivers in the rest of the United States (which could quite easily be cut off in the event of a secession)

These are just a few of the practical issues. I for one am more interested in what the urge for Calexit means in regards to a democracy.

It has been noted in times past that people are generally OK with tyranny, as long as the tyrant acts and thinks like them. In the case of Calexit, the California Left was fine with imposition of liberal will on conservatives and conservative states. But, as soon as the role is reversed (not that I think Donald Trump to be a conservative), they start to wonder why they have to put up with it.

Why should Californians have the “majority rule” (or “majority of electoral college rule”) of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin forced on them? Of course, when the roles were reversed, why should South Carolina, Alabama, and Utah have the “majority rule” of New York and Washington forced on them?

It’s not just Calexit, of course. My liberal friends all seemed to accept majority rule when Obama was in power and the House & Senate were held by Democrats. (“It’s majority rule and we can’t make everyone happy” – direct quote.) But now that Republicans will soon control the White House and both houses of Congress they have suddenly discovered their love for individual liberties.

My conservative friends, of course, played the game with exactly reversed roles. Individual liberties were all the rage when one-party rule by Democrats was the way of things. Now they seem to be fine with Donald Trump’s day-by-day decision to browbeat otherwise free companies into staying in the US or get “punished” for going overseas.

It seems folks have principles – a deep seeded belief in individual liberty and the rights of man – when those rights are threatened by democracy. But, alas, when it is democracy that is oppressing the “other” – the “deplorable” – the one with whom we most disagree – then, well, that’s just fine … perhaps even good.

For my part, I hold that individual liberty is the very expression of the Golden Rule acting within a democracy. For me to enforce on you anything more than collective defense of individual rights (e.g., the democratically enacted law prevents you from stealing or killing) is for me to say that you, though created in the image of God, are not entitled to fully exercise your humanity. That you, though created in the image of God, are somehow rightly subjugated to me if I can convince others to join me in the vote. That you, though created in the image of God, have no right to live your own life, to love who you will, to fail as you will, to seek out your own salvation with fear and trembling  – even though He gave you every right to make your own choices and your own mistakes in life.

Your love of Him is of little value if you did not choose it freely. And nothing can be taken as more trustworthy, than that the majority of fallen men will reject God, and therefore should be limited in their power over others as much as possible.

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