T Nation

State Secession Thought Experiment?

Anyone have any interest in a state/group of states secession thought experiment? It’s not quite as much fun as a zombie apocalypse, but still.

I’m firmly in the camp that a state seceeding would lead to the immediate downfall of that newly formed country.

Edit: would also be down to discussion revolution/rebellion/civil war etc of America

If I wasn’t on vacation this could be a fun experiment. I actually think non-landlocked states would have a pretty decent chance to exist on their own now.


I think it’s more likely that states will split into multiple states, though.

1 Like

Yeah I was thinking about that last night. I think a level 1 requirement of a state/group trying to secede would be having a port. Being landlocked with a potentially hostile neighbor would be a logistical nightmare

Doesn’t California have the world’s 6th largest economy all on it’s own? If anyone could secede, they could. Hell if Trump gets to replace RGB and wins 2020 they just might leave in two years.

One point from the other thread where I thought you didn’t quite think it through. There are nuclear silos in many states. If say the rebels seize just a couple silos in their state, there’s your mutually assured destruction checkmate. No war, drones etc… Silos are run by airforce personnel IIRC correctly. Those guys are all residents of their state as well as the US. All you have to do is flip a dozen guys.

California has enough arable land to feed themselves, has some of the largest ports and airports on earth. If they actually tap their aquafers the water situation would be okay. Could always use nuclear energy to desalinate the Pacific water. If they go full Venezuelan socialism day 1 (like they say they want to) it should be an amazing flameout.

1 Like

Well I think the inevitable result of any state seceeding is its economy will immediately be tanked.

You don’t have a currency anymore, you don’t have NAFTA level trade agreements, you need a standing military, border control, non US subsidized entitlements, etc.

What would CAs economy look like post secession? Every US based company (thinking people like Apple, Facebook, Google) would have to relocate away from California.

And what? Launch them with a laptop? I don’t think states (especially rebels) would be privy to the nuclear codes. I also think taking nukes by force would inhibit a very very strong response from the rest of the world.

I mean it would be stealing nukes after all.

Do these people have the ability to launch them? It was my understanding that do not. So now you just have nuclear reactors that could wipe entire areas if attacked (and the other guy knows exactly where they are to hit)

1 Like

It would be interesting to see the flux of people going in to live the dream and others fleeing the nightmare. I’d bet that a great number of businesses and the very wealthy that make up that economy would be running like their ass was on fire.


As an armchair political junkie, I’m not privy to how they’re launched. But if the Chinese can hack brand new tech, I’m fairly certain silicon valley could hack 1960’s missile security.

The reasons for secession would have to be enough for people to risk losing 50% of their economy at least. If Trump is ‘literally Hitler’ isn’t it worth it?

You don’t think NATO, China, Russia and the UN wouldn’t embrace a breakaway state that weakens the US? They could cut trade deals with a future president Chelsea Clinton.

The US Dollar is backed by absolute nothing. Why couldn’t the NCR (New California Republic) create a central bank with a fiat dollar to. There’s nothing to prevent them from keeping the USD as their currency either.

It could actually work in the real world, the question is would Californians be willing to sacrifice enough to get away.

The rich don’t pay their fair share anyway. Let them leave. The lefty’s can finally practice what they preach on all the topics that matter to them.

Eh. Guess there’s no way to really know.

For the sake of discussion though, I don’t forsee a world where any state can seceede and steal Americans nukes without becoming an immediate enemy. So now you’ve made the strongest enemy on the planet that has enough pull to stop other nations from working with you

In context, this breakaway state would be crippling the dollar and entire US economy, including the stock market. Foreign leaders 401ks are just as reliant on us as we are.

The USD is backed by the thought that the American govt will continue to exist. The same probably wouldn’t be said of a breakaway state in its infancy.

Sure there is. Global trade means your cash will leave the country. Not having the Fed to print more means you run into a cash shortage almost immediately.

Plus I can’t imagine a world where the US allows any breakaway state to continue to use its currency as its standard.

Let’s try to keep this about the concept instead of lefty right lol.

1 Like

Sorry man. I was trying to think of the only state that could survive leaving and actually have the will to do it. The “will to do it” means they’re politically opposed to the US somehow. Not trying to make rancor.

The USD is the world’s reserve currency. It’s used by lots of smaller countries that can’t have their own currency and in most black markets. I seriously think China and Russia would absolutely loan the NCR money to be a thorn in America’s side.

There is a non violent option as well. California could do a legal “Cal-exit”. I could see the political will for that. No bloodshed, and citizens can choose to leave or stay before the break.

Maybe the NCR could be a trade zone or “US light”, like an independent merchant republic in the middle ages or like Hong Kong used to be.

Sall good. Personally I think secession would come from whomever has minority populace. Imo it would be the right. The left is too reliant on a big federal govt.

And every printed dollar comes from the Fed, right?

But we’re not talking about a small country. We’re talking about the world’s 6th largest economy.

Russia I could get on board with. But I’m not sure why China would be interested in further destabilizing their biggest client.

Does the Constitution allow for a legal secession? I’ve seen back and forth on it but I’ve never seen anything conclusive

California’s constitution does, it also allows for breaking up the state. There’s people who want to split the red and blue areas of the state and have proposed bills to that effect in the state house.

There’s a constitutional process for adding states for sure.

Looks like SCOTUS ruled you can’t secede without a successful revolution given the current constitution. It would take another amendment, or a successful bloody revolution. I’m with you that the amendment has a far better chance than a state “winning” vs the feds.

1 Like

I think that would be an interesting turn of events tbh. Where are they trying to draw lines IRT the big cities?

I doubt an amendment would get traction with any of the other states. They’d basically be voting to hamstring their entire country just so X state could go fuck things up on their own

It’s not apples to apples, but I think Brexit will tell us a lot about how a potential secession would go.


I think it’ll definitely tell us a little bit. Probably mostly around whether or not the populace has regrets.

Given the nature of UK -> EU is VASTLY different than state -> USA I don’t think it’ll tell us a whole lot. The large majority of woes a state would have to go through don’t apply to brexit

1 Like

Wouldn’t it be wild if one day Great Britain defeats and reclaims the United States, then rules the U.S. never really existed separate from England?

1 Like

Antonio Scalia felt the war in the 1860s decided that question: “To begin with, the answer is clear. If there was any constitutional issue resolved by the Civil War, it is that there is no right to secede."

Kind of a funny way to resolve a legal issue, but there was his opinion.

1 Like
1 Like

What good would that do, when just about everything falls under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government?

Heck, even if the taxpayers of a state just want a tiny bit more say than they have now; well, they would already control their State if they had enough votes to win a referendum on splitting.

1 Like