Secession? Matthews sounds off, appropriately

All that talk about secession, and nullification, and states’ rights? Matthews calls it for what it is.

Maybe we should say he calls it out for what it is.

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It’s time to stop the talk of tearing our nation apart. If you’ve been talking this smack, stop it.

Santayana’s Ghost keeps a wary eye on all such discussion.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Mike Heath sitting in for Ed Brayton at Dispatches from the Culture Wars.

9 Responses to Secession? Matthews sounds off, appropriately

  1. […] Mashey’s suggestion, Roxanna, and start running the numbers.  It will help you avoid disappointment soon, in the […]


  2. Nick K says:

    I wrote:
    And what you want would cause the United States to more then likely disintegrate. And yet you say you don’t want that? Ok..then if you don’t want that…then shut up.

    My apologies for that being a bit harsher then I should have ben. So I’m going to edit that so the last sentence is “Ok…then if you don’t want that…then you might want to reconsider your position and think through the ramifications.”

    The #1 ramification being all the small states going mad and suddenly having a very good reason to be extremely pissed off at the US government and California.

    Sorry, John, your right to fair representation doesn’t entitle you to screw my rights to it.


  3. Nick K says:

    And again, John, for the state of California to be somehow being screwed out of Senators because of Californias massive population the # of Senators would have to be decided by population in the bloody first place.

    Since they’re have no claim. Your state is not being deprived of anything its entitled to have. Your state has the same number of Senators as every other state in the Union. Do I get to argue that California should be screwed out of Representatives because your state has way more of them then my state?
    After all…if you want to change the way the number of Senators is decided then I’m entitled to change the way the number of Representatives is decided. Fair is fair right?

    Sorry, the US government does not exist to be California’s *****.

    Your “problem” doesn’t actually exist. It’s a figment of your imagination. The Senate exists to balance against the House. The House is decided on population, the Senate is not. What you want would completely destroy the balance in the US Congress.

    Why should I or anyone else agree to that?


  4. Nick K says:

    Mashey writes:
    6) I simply suggest that the Founders couldn’t have anticipated having some states be so much higher in population than others. Maybe they expected them to split up (as that often happened back then).

    Again, Mashey, the House of Representatives is the one in which the number of members is decided by population. The Senate is decided by the number of states. The only way for the residents of the state of California to get more federal senators…is for California to split into multiple states. That is the only way and kvetching about how california is somehow being not represented enough in the Senate is both 1: foolish and 2: asinine.

    Sorry, your state has at least enough influence in the federal government and some would argue too much. My state nearly lost both a Congressional seat an an vote in the electoral college this last census…and you think you’re going to get anywhere by claiming that California is being victimized by the US Senate?

    It doesn’t matter what the Founding Fathers anticipated….there’s no reason to change the system just to give California, New York, Texas more senators and hence more influence on national elections then they already have.

    What you want, John, is for every small state to be royally screwed when it comes to even having a voice in this government. Sorry, California simply has no need for more Senators and nothing you say changes that fact.

    And any problems in the government isn’t going to be solved by giving California more senators then the two it already has.

    And what you want would cause the United States to more then likely disintegrate. And yet you say you don’t want that? Ok..then if you don’t want that…then shut up.


  5. John Mashey says:

    (sorry, forgot all about this):
    1) I have no interest in CA seceding.

    2) But I simply observe that in the long term, the various levels and structure of government have to *work*, and if they don’t, sooner or later things get so bad that people change them. CA state government is fairly broken, which probably why people voted for certain changes in the last elections. We’ll see.

    3) CA often talks about splitting up, but so far has voted it down.

    4) State populations in 1990 are useful as is Date of joining. VA was the big state @ 747K people, about 13X bigger population than Delaware. (Tenn wasn’t yet a state).

    5) I understand that if you are in a small state, you love the Senate, and I understand perfectly well that the Senate was constructed in part to handle the clear distinct identities of the original colonies.

    6) I simply suggest that the Founders couldn’t have anticipated having some states be so much higher in population than others. Maybe they expected them to split up (as that often happened back then).

    7) Finally, although this is note a Senate thing, but a Federal government thing, consider CA’s fights with the EPA under Bush:

    a) When the EPA was formed, CA got a magic exception, which is the law. CA can (with minimal review by the EPA), pass stricter emissions control laws.

    b) For sanity, one doesn’t want every state to be different on this, so other states can either stick with EPA rules or copy, exactly CA’s.

    c) The head of the EPA fended off CA’s request (illegally, I think, and against the advice of the staff). Another 16 states had already passed laws or equivalent to follow CA. As a group, they accounted for ~half of the US population, but accounted for ~70% of the money that went to the Federal government but didn’t come back, that is, most of the big “donor” states wanted this.

    d) This combination is broken, although it’s a Federal govt, not a Senate thing. Broken governments don’t last forever, and the conjoined energy+climate issues of this century are going to create a lot of stress, including border issues. I’m no more keener than you having extreme border rules, but for years the Federal government has not seemed to do a good job of realizing that the issues fall heavier on some places than others.

    e) Anyway, I hope the USA is still around in 100 years, but I do think practical changes will have to happen, or big chunks of the country, including some fo those that pay a lot, may decide that they aren’t getting their money’s worth from Federal government. In CA, Prop 13 was an impetus for over-centralizing in Sacramento, and it likely went too far, so Jerry Brown is saying it’s time to undo some of that. We’ll see.


  6. Nick K says:

    Think you missed the point.

    What my point was…rendered your serious points moot. In the sense that the idea of California seceding is not on the table period.

    As for #2: Sorry, as a resident of a smaller state I’m not willing to let California grab more election power then it has already. There is a reason that the Senate has the rule that there can be only 2 senators per state…it’s to balance against the House. Since the Senate isn’t based on population then your observation that California is somehow being cheated by only having two senators is irrelevent because such “cheated” doesn’t actually exist. The only way for California to gain more Senators is for California to be split into more states. Somehow I doubt many Californians would go for that idea. And the small states would throw a fit at the idea.

    Considering that every Presidential candidate has to all but move to California during elections while my state and others get largely ignored you’re not in a position to claim victimhood.

    Now as for the taxes paid to the federal government, you have an argument there. I say this principally because my state is also one that subsidizes other states.

    As for control of the borders, that is a national government responsibility and should remain that way. I’m not willing to give whackos like Arizona’s Republican governor the chance to play “I want to be a junior Nazi” just to give you, in California, more control over your states border.

    To be a bit flippant…I’m not willing to turn the Shadowrun tabletop game into a prophetic thing.


  7. John Mashey says:

    Nick, I know that .
    So why don’t you address the serious points instead if telling me what I knew in high school.
    I am simply pointing out that there us some serious inter-regional areas already there, and it may get much worse, starting with the water wars in the West, which the SouthEast has been learning lately.


  8. Nick K says:

    John, may want to bother to remember the fact that there is no right to secession.

    The US Supreme Court ruled that right simply doesn’t exist in Texas vs White.


  9. John Mashey says:

    Well, actually, it is not at all clear that the US will not split up within he next 100-200 years.

    1) As utterly brilliant as the Founding Fathers were, they couldn’t possibly forsee everything.

    2) As a resident of California, I observe that we are vastly under-represented in the US Senate, given the state populations. I think I understand why this was don e originally, and I don’t mind some of this. I do mind that there is a 50:1 disparity with the smallest states, and that via Senate representation and filibusters, a relatively small fraction of the US population can stop anything from happening. Some disparity seems OK to get geographic representation, but I’m not sure the Founders contemplated a setup in which 12% of the people had 2% of the Senate.

    2) I don ‘t know newer numbers, but ~10 years ago, some states vastly subsidze the Federal government, others are beneficiaries. California was the the biggest subsidizer. Of course, some net subsidy is quite plausible.

    3) CA (and NY and Illinois, etc) subsidize a lot of states that:
    a) Are doing everything they can to do nothing about climate change, or even stop others from trying.
    b) Are going to be really hurting because of it.
    c) And will want help from the Federal government, i.e., from the states that provide a net subsidy.

    SO, for example, how much of CA taxes should go to LA to keep New Orleans there? Or to help FL’s unsound insurance schemes they have because they keep rates low enough to have driven insurance companies out?

    AK depends on cheap oil. How much should CA pay to support AK when there isn’t any more of that? Life will get much rougher up there.

    We subsidized OK, home of Inhofe.
    When OK is drying up, should CA stint on building dikes around the SF Bay Area so it can send more money to OK?

    d) VA got the biggest net subsidy, although it has lots of “small-government” fans like Ken Cuccinelli.

    4) I would certainly not advocate secession by California … and secession makes no sense at all for most states (too small). But CA (37M) or CA+OR+WA (50M) might work. All are net subsidizes of the Federal government. CA has spent a lot of effort suing the Federal government and some people might like to have a bit more control over the borders.

    5) Anyway, I would rather not split up the US, but Nine Nations of North America just might be prophetic of the tensions 50-100 years from now. And it might be a good idea to start heading off the real issues.


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