Want to Secede? First, Take This Test By Tyler Cowen
it is worth pondering when secession makes sense as a political principle.
One approach to secession is the libertarian notion of self-governance. In this view, secession is a check against potential tyranny
A good example of a relatively libertarian secession was when Estonia left the collapsing Soviet Union in 1991. Today, governance in Estonia is much better than in Russia, and the separation, while perhaps still precarious, has been fully peaceful. When an empire is crumbling, and the rulers are very bad, the libertarian approach to secession makes good sense.
Sometimes a region wants to leave a country because of differences of ethnicity, religion, language or background culture, as is the case with the Scottish independence movement and the Catalonian secessionists. In those instances, it’s not obvious whether a unified or a newly independent government would result in greater liberty and prosperity
nother problem with the libertarian approach to secession is that it doesn’t offer a limiting principle. Say the city of Portland, Oregon, by a margin of 70 percent wanted to leave the Trump-led United States. Few people would regard this as a good reason to allow the separation, and it could lead to the messy fracturing of many larger political units.
PROBLEMI: COME PORRE UN LIMITE?
The conservative (small c) approach to secession tends to oppose the idea, unless there is a clear and overwhelming benefit from a political split, or unless both parties are in calm agreement, as with the separation of Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
PROPOSTA DI MIX CONSERVATORE E LIBERALE
Had America stayed part of the British Empire, taxes would have been fairly low, and perhaps slavery would have been abolished more quickly. Still, it doesn’t seem that British rule could have been stable for much longer from such a distance. The question is then whether 1776 was a relatively propitious time for a separation, and given the quality of American political thought and leadership at the time, one can rationally believe the answer is yes.
IL CASO AMERICANO
Another argument for secession is what economists call “option value.” The real choice isn’t secede vs. don’t secede, but rather secede vs. wait and see if things get better…
LA VERA OPZIONE
In sum, there is wisdom in both the libertarian and conservative approaches to secession, and prudence consists of knowing when to apply each one. And when it comes to Catalonia and Scotland, there is no obvious green light flashing, “Yes, let’s do it.”