Complete with empanadas and thousands of people kissing the cheeks of others underneath an obelisk, this weekend showed the festivities of the 200th anniversary of Argentine independence, the “Bicentenario,” in Buenos Aires. A celebration of their collective political separation from Spain as led by their legendary founding fathers José de San Martín, Manuel Belgrano, and Juan José Castelli, the Bicentenario is ostensibly as much of a celebration of the right to secede from oppressive political relationships as America´s July 4th, Independence Day, and the American Bicentennial in 1976.
This meaning I’m sure is lost though on the majority of Argentines, as it is certainly lost on Americans. Like Christians with the Age of Miracles, the right to withdraw one´s consent from being governed is an anachronism and is not applicable in present time.
If Argentines respect and openly celebrate the action of their historical secession from Spain, they should also respect the current right of the region of Tierra Del Fuego to secede from Argentina if it ever chose to. Consistent respect for this principle also demands that one permit the individual towns to secede from the region, and then to permit individual people to secede from their local political relationships. The logical result of the rigorous application of secession is a world of purely voluntary association and statelessness.
I recently began to think in these terms once more after reading Dr. Thomas DiLorenzo’s “The Real Lincoln” while on vacation in South America, but Murray Rothbard illustrated this concept years ago:
“Once one concedes that a single world government is not necessary, then where does one logically stop at the permissibility of separate states? If Canada and the United States can be separate nations without being denounced as being in a state of impermissible ´anarchy´ why may not the South secede from the United States? New York State from the Union? New York City from the state? Why may not Manhattan secede? Each neighborhood? Each block? Each house? Each person? But, of course, if each person may secede from government, we have virtually arrived at the purely free society, where defense is supplied along with all other services by the free market and where the invasive State has ceased to exist.”
The true philosophical divide between people, which happens to fit rather snugly on top of the individualist and collectivist axes, is whether one supports world government or statelessness. The Marxists I know are consistent in this regard. They do not acknowledge the right of any individual to secede from a Marxist state and would use force to prevent it. Conversely, the pseudo-liberal states of today run the hypocritical ground of being originally secessionist but have now become the oppressors they had once escaped from. This “meet the new boss, same as the old boss” mentality leads to ironic gotchas when upset individuals petition their ruling states.
Ho Chi Minh quoted the American Declaration of Independence in the Declaration of Vietnamese Independence in 1945. The Black Panthers did the same thing in their Ten Point Program. The majority of inhabitants in these post-secessionist states have psychologically and philosophically adopted the behavior of those that their nations’ founders had originally sought to secede from while simultaneously celebrating historical secessionism. This is as true in Argentina as it is in America.
Something however did give me hope at the Bicentenario. Complete with circle A´s was a phrase I took a picture of. It was sprayed onto a concrete parking divide and read “Argentina Trabaja Para Cuando?” In English it asks “Argentina Works for How Many?” There are always those who peer through the silliness. The Age of Secession is not but a memory of epochs past. Still today revolutionaries may send fancy pieces of parchment to their oppressors and state their intent to venture their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor in the struggles for their sovereignty.
If one can successfully illustrate the absurdity of an ‘occasional’ or strictly historical right to secede, a rational person must then either approve of the right of secession for people at the current moment or should begin clamoring for world government. They cannot reasonably believe in the right of historical actors to secede but not of people now living, or those who will live in the future. They will then become secessionists or join their statist brethren in true and consistent form and openly embrace the philosophy of world government which they have been unknowingly espousing.