Secession, Succession, and Concession

Majority rule depends upon a certain kind of unanimity. In order to have differences of opinion on political matters that can be decided on the basis of a majority opinion, it is first necessary to have common opinions that permit the entire society to unite behind the decision of a majority.

In the absence of such opinions, majoritarian politics fails. This is the basic meaning of the Gettysburg Address. In it, Abraham Lincoln says “we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived can long endure.”

The cause of the American Civil War was the inability of the Southern states to accept a constitutional majority’s election of Abraham Lincoln. The Southern states rejected the constitutional majority and voted by extra-constitutional majorities to “de-ratify” and leave the United States.

A nation dedicated to a principle of equality—and all democratic republics in one form or another are so dedicated—in the absence of an unspoken unanimity, tends to resolve fundamental political differences not by majoritarian politics but by separation, by secession. Remember that Wilsonian notions of plebiscite were used to divide Europe in the 1930s before it was conquered in the 1940s.

Today, most important regimes are conspicuously—if in some cases only superficially—liberal democracies. Exceptions to this are few in number: China, North Korea, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, and the lesser Arabian states, to name several. As a result today comparisons of regime type are difficult.

But in Lincoln’s time, the United States was the world’s only democratic republic, and it was failing spectacularly. The alternative form of government was kingship, and based on the violent failures in the United States and the Republic of France, kingship was seen to have some rather obvious advantages.

The fundamental problem of kingship is not secession but succession. In a kingship, sovereignty resides in a single person and the transmission of sovereignty is determined by hereditary rules. In a democratic republic, on the other hand, sovereignty is somewhat ambiguously resident in a people.

Here lies a fundamental problem of unity. You may be familiar with the joke about end-stage Communism: You have one cow. The state shoots your cow.

Given the rise of Marxist elements in the Democratic Party, it is not that funny.

What follows is not a joke. If you have one cow and cut that cow in two, you do not have two cows. As Louis XVI of France could attest, kings, unlike peoples, cannot be divided into two parts. There is never an issue of divided sovereignty in a kingship. There are only issues of usurpation. But this generally is not true of a democratic republic.

As I noted, in a democratic republic sovereignty resides ambiguously in a people. But what makes that people one people? The word “nation” comes from birth. The root of nation is the Latin nasci or nat, meaning born. The word “country” comes from the Latin contra meaning against, originating in the idea that the land was the opposite of the city, like people refer to Connecticut as “the country” as distinct from New York City, “the city.” The word country thus identifies political unity with land or geography. The word “patriot” comes from the Greek patrios meaning of one’s fathers.

In America, we once shared a land (stolen land!) and once shared fictional fathers, Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, Lincoln, identified in the Gettysburg Address as “our forefathers.” But we were never actually related to “our forefathers.” Rather, the unity of the people of the United States depends on the opinions of the Americans.

We are passing through an election in which a principal theme of the Democratic Party’s campaign has been to cast an incumbent president and his 70 million supporters as alien. Not as part of one people, hotly contesting ruling and being ruled in turn, but as a malignancy. Trump and his followers have been maligned by Democrats as Russian assets, akin to Hitler, fascists, racists, white supremacists, all deplorable and irredeemable. Our common forefather’s images have been desecrated with Democrats’ implicit support.

The frightening thing is the depraved sincerity of the Left. Robert Reich suggested that a “truth and reconciliation” committee be formed to reeducate Trump’s key supporters. Representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortes (D–N.Y.) asked over Twitter “Is anyone archiving these Trump sycophants for when they try to downplay their complicity in the future?” Twitter answered back, Yes, we are. Democrats do not intend to rule and be ruled in turn. They intend—with stunning candor—to master their fellow countrymen.

In The Laws, Plato notes that there are some things the city must sing with one voice. There must be common agreement as to what it means to be an American, to have a deliberative politics, and to maintain a free nation. People cannot trust their lives, their families, and their welfare to majoritarian politics without unanimity as to their character as one people. Democrats have all but abandoned that understanding. 

When that is abandoned, majoritarian politics becomes at best a pursuit of selfish interests, and at worst, the politics of revenge.  

As part of effecting their revenge, Democrats, together with the tech monopolies and the media, have declared their candidate the winner in advance of any common agreement, concession by their opponent, or by the constitutional process of certifying and counting electoral votes in Congress is completed. Had they waited for one or the other (the former only coming after the latter in this mail-in tainted election) they could have appealed to the unanimity necessary for republican government.

The election—and their uncivil hope for revenge—is complicated by the obvious possibility of fraud. The possibility remains that their narrow and blinkered opinion of their victory will be overturned by the discovery of fraud and a remedy for that fraud through legal processes.

And where do you suppose we will be then?

About Jay Whig

Jay Whig is an adjunct fellow of the Center for American Greatness. Whig practices law in New York and a resides in Connecticut, specializing in insolvency and restructuring. Opinions are his own.

Photo: Pomogayev/Getty Images

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24 responses to “Secession, Succession, and Concession”

  1. You seem to realize why the calls for unity issued by many on the Right are futile. A relative diversity is helpful and necessary in a society. However, a diversity in basic, fundamental beliefs (or worldview questions) is not helpful, but is in fact causative of the dissolution of society, which implies a common bond and pursuit. Northerners and Southerners in 1861 had much more in common than do Right and Left today. Food for thought?

  2. You people are seriously delusional. The facts are wildly distorted, the logic verging on the surreal. You can live on your own planet, though, so good luck with that.

  3. You’ve identified the problem all right. We’re not one people anymore. We’re two groups of people with irreconcilable differences. We need a divorce. As you pointed out, secession is the vulnerability of a democratic republic and that would be a solution but one I can’t see as ever possibly happening (and there may be good reasons why it shouldn’t). We know better than to expect that Democrats will entertain any kind of concession. And if massive voter fraud in the battleground states is proven and victory is snatched out of the premature grasping claws of the Democrats, what can we expect to happen then? Well, I would expect infuriated mob violence far exceeding anything we saw over the summer.

    Personally, I would prefer a peaceful secession, but since that’s probably out of the question, the two remaining choices appear to be a choice of something like a civil war, or the choice of concession on the part of the side that believes in honest and transparent elections. No good choices here. We just have to decide what we want more, peace at any price, or national sovereignty and freedom.

    OTOH, I suppose there is the slim hope that if PDJT prevails in court with irrefutable evidence, most Dems will come to their senses and admit the truth, but I haven’t seen anything to indicate that they’d ever be willing to do that. They’ve already gotten away with so many gargantuan lies (like systemic racism, America is evil, COVID is gonna kill you, men can be women and vice versa, etc.), I just can’t see them suddenly forsaking what has proven up till now so spectacularly successful for them.

  4. The media-propelled, fraudulent Presidential election, putting a corrupt old fool in the White House, will ruin the GOP and means that the Left has conquered America for good. Kamala cometh.

  5. You’ve identified the problem all right. We’re not one people anymore. We’re two groups of people with irreconcilable differences. We need a divorce. As you pointed out, secession is the vulnerability of a democratic republic and that would be a solution but one I can’t see as ever possibly happening (and there may be good reasons why it shouldn’t). We know better than to expect that Democrats will entertain any kind of concession. And if massive voter fraud in the battleground states is proven and victory is snatched out of the prematurely grasping claws of the Democrats, what can we expect to happen then? Well, I would expect infuriated mob violence far exceeding anything we saw over the summer.

    Personally, I would prefer a peaceful secession, but since that’s probably out of the question, the two remaining choices appear to be a choice of something like a civil war, or the choice of concession on the part of the side that believes in honest and transparent elections. No good choices here. We just have to decide what we want more, peace at any price, or national sovereignty and freedom.

    OTOH, I suppose there is the slim hope that if PDJT prevails in court with irrefutable evidence, most Dems will come to their senses and admit the truth, but I haven’t seen anything to indicate that they’d ever be willing to do that. They’ve already gotten away with so many gargantuan lies (like systemic racism, America is evil, COVID is gonna kill you, men can be women and vice versa, etc.), I just can’t see them suddenly forsaking what has proven up till now so spectacularly successful for them.

    • If there was a decent commenting system, I would upvote you but since there isn’t I have to reply. The National Divorce is the only way to do this without bloodshed and wrecking the economy. The surrender monkeys that are starting to pop up think that their way will avoid bloodshed but it will merely delay it and ensure that most of the suffering will be on our side. And then there are the lunatics that revel in thought of war and oppression. Pretty much all of the left and way too many on our side.

    • If it is possible for President Trump to save the day by utilizing the courts by proving fraud – which should not be that difficult, then the task of dismantling the power centers of the Left must begin in earnest. Starting with the breaking up of Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Systematically, a plan must be made that will enable leftist universities to be defunded; break up the MSM conglomerates using anti-trust suits.

      The list would go on and on but we must take back the educational system; break up the teacher’s unions; insist that American history be taught; outlaw the 1619 project.

      It wouldn’t happen overnight obviously considering the Left has been actively pursuing this travesty it is now trying to force down our throats illegally for 100 years but it has to begin. Otherwise, all hope is lost.

      Hopefully, it is not too late but my experience with human nature is that because we tend to be lazy about taking action, making substantive changes both personally and government wise until things become so dire that we are forced to wake up and smell the reality roses, perhaps this most egregious flaunting of the law by the Left over the past four years and before may prompt us to take action.

    • Been saying this for YEARS. Amicable divorce or Civil War. It’s one or the other.

  6. The comment and reply section does not work well. This was once a place to find compelling dialogue (albeit with regular trolls polluting the discussions)…

    • I couldn’t agree more with your opinion of this truly stupid – unintuitive – commenting system. Whomever chose to implement it and discard Disqus, frankly, was, made a terrible mistake and also created a dis-incentive to visit the site rather than be drawn to it.

      • Yes, and I’m sorry that my rather long first reply posted twice. Not sure why that happened.

  7. Are we talking here about an actual majority or about a fictitious one manufactured from the counting of ballots?

  8. And where do you suppose we will be then?

    Antifa thugs and BLM Marxists on steroids.
    Individuals defending family, business, property and life without the aid of local government.
    Twitter, Facebook and Google suppressing access to information.
    MSM manufacturing propaganda.
    Long term (permanent?) shortage of ammunition.

    In other words, a continuation of what we already have.

  9. We are going to talk ourselves to death-there is only one solution. Succession for the states that still believe in our nation and its founding principles.
    I have nothing in common with the left when they seem to hate our country.

    The swamp is as nasty as ever. Look at all of the people that broke the law and walked free as a bird. Start with Lois Lerner and go thru the things that followed-Eric Holder-Barrack Obama, Joe, Huner, Jim Biden, Jim Comey and that crowd at FBI, the DOJ start with Bruce Orr and work you way up, the Kavanaugh confirmation had those breaking the law, the Russian Hoax law breakers, the leakers and liars involved in the Ukraine impeachment, throw in a corrupt press, and the censor happy big tech and I find myself asking why bother.

    for me it is a clean split and let the left have their costal cities.

    • Maybe we should have a national referendum on the secession question. Could we trust the results of such a vote? I think most people would be intensely interested in discovering the answer. Secession would entail great losses but sustaining such losses may well be worth it, considering the alternative.

    • The problem with that is even those leftist locations have many consertives living inside them and visa-versa. How would we break up when both sides are marbled in?

      • That was my thought. Marbled-in is a good way to put it. My children are left. My wife and I are right. Someone would have to move out of the state.

  10. I have been a reader of Kurt Schlicter’s series of political novels. They are written well and in a style that reminds me of Tom Clancy novels. I could not put them down, the storylines kept me coming back.
    The scarey thing is how prophetic his storylines actually have become when observing what has happened with this election and leading up to it.
    I am one that would favor a secession. However, from observing and listening to the leaders from the Left, I believe there is no way this would happen without a violent effort on the side of freedom-lovers. The forces that for decades have positions of influence (money) and power across the globe will not ever go silently into the night. The globalist utopia is still an end game for the elite Davos crowd.

  11. The solution is fairly easy. Federalism. Kill off the old and the unborn expensive people in some states. Legalize heroin, shrooms, pot, coke, meth in others. Live out your utopian dreams. Some will be huge successes and the rest of us will be quick to adopt the grand ideas.

    This is shown to work in dry counties for example. Yes, some would cross state lines, and you should let them.

    The problem comes when a majority requires you to adopt their dogma. Why can’t the left let us be free?

  12. These people were never our countrymen. They were seditious traitors that should have been dealt with decades ago, and now they’re stealing our country without a fight

    • The most succinct and to the point sentiments expressed tonight. The corruption, deceit, and fraud is so blatant. The coup is almost complete as we all stand by and watch it happen right in front of our eyes. My daughter earlier this evening told me she feels like she’s presently caught in the middle of a train wreck happening in slow motion and it’s all too clear that things are ending very badly in this one.