Wednesday, February 22, 2017

California Republic

EDIT: Through a combination of spellcheck and being foolish, I originally wrote "succession" in many (all?) places I should have written "secession." Thanks to longtime reader Richard for pointing this out. I've fixed them now (at least spellcheck TELLS me I did).

Here's a question no one's asking me: what do I think of the California secession proposal?

Generally, I'm in favor of self-determination, and I don't think we should be beholden to the political structure our ancestors determined to use. I believe our Founding Fathers would agree with me, which is why they supported independence and they left us with a constitution that allows for amendments. This is why the Confederacy thought they'd have the Founding Fathers on their side.

However, I also understand that the Constitution makes no allowance for secession, so joining the Union is a forever-after thing. Maybe that shouldn't be the case, but the way to go about it is by constitutional amendment, not unilateral withdrawal. The uncertainty that would result from states entering and exiting the Union in response to every political change would be destabilizing and invite foreign meddling.

So I think California should have a right to independence, but they currently don't have one.

More practically, what would an actual attempt at California secession be like? Well, I don't see Donald Trump as a states-rights guy. A President Ron Paul would be cool with it, but no one else in national politics. I think the Federales would use budgeting means to strangle the state into submission. If that didn't work, the U.S. has a military and California does not. What's more, military-minded Californians are politically more conservative than the average Californian, so they are less likely to support secession. California liberals would declare their independence and then ask their conservative compatriots to protect them from federal troops. And why? So California liberals can more-easily subject their conservative compatriots to their progressive Utopian schemes. I don't see military-minded Californians helping out with that one.

What if it somehow happened anyway, if Trump was so crazy or destabilizing that the Federales couldn't even exercise their authority over California even with no Californian military to overcome? Well, large, geographically-contiguous regions of California are filled with people who detest California liberals and their plans. I cannot see a world where an independent California maintains its present borders. If the governing liberals were willing to respect the political rights of the minority conservatives with some sort of constitutional limitations on the power of the state, then maybe, but why go to the effort of seceding to just keep things exactly the same? If you're going to have a revolution, HAVE a revolution. I see the final border of Independent California being much closer to the coast, and Rump California (they would probably want a better name than that, but you would have thought the same about "West Virginia," right?) remaining in the Union as either a state of its own or an addition to Nevada.

I can't decide where San Diego, the Inland Empire, and Crescent City wind up.

Of course, Independent California would have a lot of people and industry and very little agricultural base, so they would need to maintain good relations with the Union. Again, this undermines the reasoning for going alone. Placate the Union too much and what's the point of independence? And I've already said that California's best chances of independence are tied to Union destabilization. But if for some reason the Union was glad to show Independent California to the door, then we could have a divorce so amicable that better border hashing would be possible, with non-contiguous parcels under each authority. I could see the Federales demanding oversight of California's defense (because otherwise it would take about four days for China to colonize the place) and maintaining all defense land, like Vandenberg and Pendleton. The map would look like central Germany under the Holy Roman Empire.

Ultimately, I think absolutely nothing will come of this.


Richard Strang said...

I think you mean secession, not succession.

The Man Your Husband Is Worried About said...

Well, that's super-embarrassing. Thanks for the help. I've fixed it now, and added a note so it doesn't look like I'm trying to pretend I had it right all along. Thanks!