Secession seems to be back in vogue these days. Last January a referendum was held in southern Sudan asking whether citizens in the strife-torn region wanted to remain part of their native country or form their own sovereign state. Multiculturalism never quite caught on in Sudan — millions of people have been killed in several decades of ethnic conflict between the predominantly Muslim north and the Animist and Christian south, in addition to the humanitarian crisis in the western region of Darfur. 98.83% of the southerners opted for secession, and on Saturday July 9 the Republic of South Sudan will be born.
The Sudan split-up may give encouragement to other separatist movements, such as in Scotland, Belgium, or even the United States. Last week Riverside County California Supervisor Jeff Stone proposed that 13 southern counties secede and form the new state of South California. “Our taxes are too high,” he said, “our schools don’t educate our children well enough, unions and other special interests have more clout in the Legislature than the general public.” Priorities for the new state would include balanced budgets, economic development and, naturally, border security. This follows the launch of a petition drive last May in neighboring Arizona seeking a November 2012 ballot initiative to split off Pima County, which includes Tucson, to form the new southern state of Baja Arizona. (Hey why is it always the south that wants to secede?) Liberal Democratic politicians in Pima feel alienated from the state’s conservative majority and their disaffection peaked during the recent controversy over Arizona’s new immigration law. Presumably Baja Arizona would be a safe haven for illegals and they would be presented with gift baskets on their arrival.
The California and Arizona proposals are further indications of the depth of the ideological divide in the United States. In both cases political minorities have become so frustrated with their states’ majorities that they feel impelled, in the words of Thomas Jefferson, “to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.” But why stop there? Why not let liberals and conservatives go their separate ways in every state, each to follow the social and economic models that best suit them? Think of it — no more arguments, no more vitriol, just a reenergized laboratory of democracy and healthy competition between divergent worldviews. And if utopian liberal separatists want to implement economic policies in their states that will rocket them to a North Korean-style standard of living, who are we to stand in their way?