The right to secede


I’ve been reading in Thomas DiLorenzo’s 2012 hardback from the Ludwig von Mises Institute, “Organized Crime: The Unvarnished Truth About Government.” The book features brief summary chapters, with useful references, from the Loyola University economics professor, Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, and member of the Mont Pelerin Society, weighing in on such topics as Our Totalitarian Regulatory Bureaucracy; Socialized Health Care vs. the Laws of Economics; Distorting History in the Service of the State; Central Banking as an Engine of Corruption; How the Fed Creates Unemployment; The Inherent Violence of Unions; The Myth of Government Job Creation; The Myth of the Male/Female Wage Gap, etc.

Of course, Professor DiLorenzo is best known as the dedicated debunker of the myth of “Honest Abe the Rail-Splitter.” In his books “The Real Lincoln” (2002) and “Lincoln Unmasked” (2007) he challenges the astounding and ongoing effort to paint as a saint America’s first great tyrant, the railroad lawyer who caused the unnecessary deaths of 600,000 of this nation’s citizens, meanwhile jailing scores of opposition newspaper editors IN THE NORTH for opposing his illegal war, the astonishing character who arrested and jailed in military prisons without trial newly elected members of the Maryland state Legislature whom he suspected of harboring secessionist tendencies, under whom a Northern Virginia preacher was punished for failing to include a prayer for the President of the United States in his Sunday sermon as required by law, and under whose authority a resident of the city of New Orleans was EXECUTED for merely taking down an American flag.


I happened to check the good professor’s profile on Wikipedia, which only managed to remind me how unreliable that source can be if you’re seeking balanced information. The discussion of DiLorenzo’s work there is constructed as an organized, straightforward attack on his scholarship and attempt to rebut his findings: it contains not a single citation in support of the value of his groundbreaking work.

You’d never guess DiLorenzo’s books have been praised by Walter Williams, Joseph Sobran, Paul Craig Roberts, and other nationally syndicated columnists, that Donald Livingston, professor of Philosophy at Emory University, agrees with him that “A peacefully negotiated secession was the best way to handle all the problems facing Americans in 1860. A war of coercion was Lincoln’s creation. It sometimes takes a century or more to bring an important historical event into perspective. This study does just that and leaves the reader asking, ‘Why didn’t we know this before?’”

Perhaps the most disingenuous and slimy criticism of DiLorenzo’s work by the massive Lincoln Cult is that “There’s nothing new here, Lincoln scholars have known all this stuff for a long time.”


Really? Then how come I was never taught any of it in public school? These “Lincoln scholars” sure have been doing a mighty good job of keeping their mouths shut. In fact, I doubt any inmate of America’s government run “public schools,” even today, is being taught anything but the old “Saint Lincoln Freed the Slaves, Hallelujah!” claptrap. (The Emancipation Proclamation freed not a single slave. It was wartime propaganda measure crafted to supposedly free slaves only in Confederate territories where Lincoln had no authority, while carefully leaving the Union to continue using black “former” slave labor to harvest cotton in the occupied South.

(Economic historian Eugene Dattel reports escaped “former” slaves were placed on abandoned plantations and supposedly paid $10 a month to work 10-hour days. But “If a laborer missed two hours of work a day, he lost one-half of his day’s pay. The former slaves were not allowed to leave the plantation without a pass. The white Northern lessees of the plantations were generally driven by money. As many as two-thirds of the labor force was thought to have been ‘defrauded of their wages in 1864.’” ( .)


At the heart of the “Let’s Get DiLorenzo” movement, though, is something that his critics mention only in passing – that the good professor seems to have been led astray into all his errors by a first and fundamental weird and aberrant belief: Professor DiLorenzo, they state with a flourish as though producing an X-ray that proves he’s an alien reptile encased in human skin — believes that states have a right to secede from the union, a belief “put to rest by the Civil War.”

What an interesting construction. Let’s see if we can come up with a parallel construction, chosen to emphasize the logical flaw. How would we respond if someone today stated “People once believed that Jews had a right to live among us in peace, a belief put to rest by the German Holocaust”?

Certainly the Germans in the early 1940s VIOLATED and SUPPRESSED the right of European Jews to live in peace – heck, to live at all. When you mobilize the enormous military might of a modern police state with the goal of exterminating — of murdering — every member of a given ethnic or religious group, it turns out you can accomplish quite a lot. But did the Germans of the 1930s and ‘40s (I do not say just “the Nazis,” since Nazi party members never made up more than 7 percent of the German population – they needed a lot of help) ever “eliminate” or “nullify” or “debunk” or “put to rest” the notion that there exists a God-given human right of the Jewish (or Slavic, or Gypsy, or homosexual) people to life itself? Of course not!


And while the tyrant Lincoln certainly VIOLATED and SUPPRESSED the right of secession from 1861 to 1865, there is no way that – through mere brute force – he could or can have ended, terminated, eliminated, annulled or nullified that right, which was pre-existing, which was successfully invoked by our ancestors from 1775-1783, and which remains part of our heritage and the birthright of all mankind.

Where in the U.S. Constitution is the power granted to the President, the Congress, or anyone else to invade the territory of any state or states or cities or counties that choose to secede from the union, and there use military force to burn or otherwise kill as many of the inhabitants – in arms or otherwise – as necessary to get them to surrender and again submit to the central authority?



Was such an enumerated power added – could it be added – merely by Lincoln’s brutal act of launching a war that caused the deaths of 600,000 Americans? (Yes, the South fired first, on a Yankee ship re-supplying a Yankee garrison on their territory, the existence of which threatened their free navigation of one of their own harbors. And the Russians “fired first” when they shot down Francis Gary Powers for overflying THEIR territory in his U-2 spy plane. Was America thus obliged to go to war with the Soviet Union in 1960, likely causing and suffering millions of casualties? Why not? They “fired first,” didn’t they? That left Eisenhower with “no choice” — just as Lincoln had “no choice” but to launch an unlimited war which included the burning of whole cities — right?)

In fact, we can go further. If such a power had even been IMPLIED by the authors of that document, then I submit the current federal union would never have come into existence – no state would have ratified or joined.

The fact is, Professor DiLorenzo’s critics – and the defenders of the “greatness” of Abraham Lincoln (mostly, they’re one and the same) – are statist totalitarians, who LIKE the fact that the tyrant Lincoln established a strong imperial central state whose agents no longer feel any need to acknowledge the limitations of some creaky old “Constitution,” who continue to blithely threaten with death or imprisonment anyone who declines to “get with the program.”


Many may have suffered and died, fighting for the right to live free from the arbitrary dictates of distant tyrants. But far from having the effect of dimming, curtailing, annulling or eliminating that right, their deaths and the suppression of their struggle have never “put to rest” either the desire, or the right, to live in freedom.

All states — all communities that consider themselves large enough to “manage on their own” — have and retain a right to secede. States WILL successfully secede. Attempting to brand anyone who acknowledges this right as a “racist” goes beyond intellectual laziness and dishonesty -– it reveals the artificially blindered and diseased mental processes of an individual who’s been ritually conditioned to chant statist slogans as though such utterances all by themselves can magically defeat facts, evidence, and logic — and that if it doesn’t work the first time, just chanting it again, louder, will surely do the trick.

Do the residents of all the territories once ruled by Rome, or London, still wait for imperial approval from the emperor or empress of those great capitals for anything they want to do in their own territories, down to business licensing or re-routing a road or street? Of course not. Did all those territories secede and establish new governments because their inhabitants “sympathized with the KKK” and “wanted black folk returned to slavery”? Of course not. All empires collapse, under the weight of the greed, avarice, and corruption of the very kind of people who tend to establish and administer empires.

I have no idea what may become of our odd neighbor, the totalitarian state of California, which now seeks to repeal by edict the right to bear arms, the right to barbecue, the right to pan for gold or pick mushrooms out in the woods, even the right to smoke on the beach. I don’t much care; I just avoid the place. But the idea that the other states west of the Rocky Mountains will forever suffer the rule of distant Eastern potentates who seek to impose the edicts and doctrines of the Green Religion by force of arms – forcing productive ranchers, miners, and loggers off the land in favor of maintaining in some mythical, ideal, pristine condition the primeval forest “habitats” of any “threatened” or “endangered,” weed, bug, reptile or slime mold they can identify, is laughable.

The existing imperial empire run out of Washington City and characterized by the ascendancy of such unelected tyrants as the arrogant agents and operatives of the IRS, the DEA, the BATF, the FBI, the TSA, the BLM, the USFS, the FDA, the DOE, the other DOE, and the Federal Reserve may endure in some increasingly ornate and depraved form for another three hundred years, or perhaps for only another 30, I don’t know. But it will collapse. The inevitable progress toward liberty of humankind requires it.

If you want some of the straight dope from Professor DiLorenzo, I suggest Anthony Wile’s interview with him at .

3 Comments to “The right to secede”

  1. Steve Says:

    My family goes way back in this country. We have place holders for a state dinner at the Whitehouse during the Eisenhower administration. We don’t know what he was doing for them.
    We have an admiral who was credited with early camouflage of union warships. He coated them with Mississippi mud (today we call it battleship grey) and early ships armor, using anchor chain to stop the cannon balls. He was a ships engineer who Lincoln promoted to rear admiral. We have the original commission paperwork. Signed by Lincoln.
    We go further back too.
    One of my direct ancestors joined the revolution and fought the British in upstate NY. He was the founder of Champlain NY.
    some of my family call the civil war “The War Of Northern Aggression” while others simply call it the civil war.
    WE have the documentation for all of this and there are even some stories we had to ferret out of our fathers and uncles.
    I even had some people who were up in places in the CIA back in the 60’s.

    I say this because my own family history shows the winners of wars get to write the history and people following those writers have to parse the official words with things others have to say. Somewhere in the middle we find what reality may well have been.
    For instance, the admiral….it was well known commissions were for sale back in those days and the pay was really good too.
    But it is nice to have the history in my blood.

  2. Bob G Says:

    I ask those who aver that the 1861-65 conflict ‘settled’ the question of whether States have the right to secede whether a woman, victim of an abusive spouse, who upon trying to leave him is battered into unconsciousness, forever loses the right to try to leave him again in the future.

  3. Dave Says:

    Isn’t it interesting how hard it is to get the truth in a “free” nation.
    Isn’t all the massive hypocrisy relating to every aspect of this country, interesting.
    Isn’t it interesting how the vast majority of people in the most advanced nation in history can be so easily and thoroughly indoctrinated to believe whatever the the gov’t or MSM (aka Ministry of Propaganda) tells them. Even something so ludicrous as: The Saudis did it so we’re going to attack Afghanistan & Iraq.
    “Everything you every thought you knew, was a lie”. (author unknown)