If the Majority Votes to Secede — What About the Minority?

If the Majority Votes to Secede — What About the Minority? by  – Mises

In recent years, left-wing groups have often been the driving force behind secession movements. This has been the case in Scotland, in Catalonia, and in California.

In each case, the secession movements have been initiated in part to forward left-wing goals, such as the creation of a larger welfare state or to escape limitations imposed by political interest groups and institutions deemed to be too right-wing.

Within the American context, the loudest calls for secession right now are coming from California where leftists are eager to assert their independence from the Trump administration in Washington.

Generally speaking, these California secessionists want single-payer health care, an even larger welfare state, confiscation of private firearms, and an ever larger environmental “protection” bureaucracy. That is, they want a European-style welfare state.

California as Case Study

This case presents Americans — and especially libertarian-minded Americans — with a question that continues to come up in recent years on secession matters: should they support a left-wing secession movement?

Is it right or moral to support a secession movement that, in the short- and medium- terms is almost guaranteed to adopt policies that are counter to the cause of freedom and free markets?

The answer must first and foremost be compared against the reality of forcing political union on a separatist region. That is, the cost of allowing a region to separate must be compared to the cost of keeping it in — i.e., military invasion, occupation, mass arrests, government surveillance, martial law, and worse.

Not surprisingly, we’re forced to conclude the answer is the same whether we’re talking about secession in Scotland, in California, or in Catalonia: the answer is yes.

What About the Minority Interests?

Often, the immediate retort to this position is to point to those groups in the minority who are left stuck in the seceding territories.

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