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I wish that such an approach was used more, but I guess that where this is not the case (say Russia and Chechnya) the head honchos does not really believe that belonging to their state is a net gain for the secessionist.

Then I ask myself why they presume that they have the right to govern the would-be secessionists in the first place? Is the legitimacy of government not derived from the consent of the governed, after all?

OK, I'll stop smoking pot now and get back to the real world.

But is the right to seceed based on property?

Well, no, of course not. In fact, finding the right way to draw post-secession borders is arguably the big headache. And I don't claim to have an instant solution. On the one hand, there are strong pragmatic arguments against shuffling too much land and property around during a secession. On the other hand, there are strong principled arguments in favour of not permitting people to take unfairly acquired property with them if they wish to secede.

I guess my answer to your question would be that you get to secede your back yard and not your neighbour's because you happen to live in your back yard, and your neighbour does not live in your back yard. Of course, if you imagine for fun and profit that there was a trail through your back yard that had hævd, you'd get into all sorts of hilarious complications - your neighbour would be permitted to demand a corridor through your country which must then be secured against smuggling, etc. (a la Kaliningrad).

I guess what I'm saying is that I support the right of an area to secede if the area is big enough that secession is practical, and I support aggressive intervention to prevent flag-of-convenience countries. The latter really follows from the former: If you allow Bill Gates to secede from the US, then the US should be allowed to make sure that he still pays taxes - otherwise secession would just become a tool for rich tax cheats rather than people who have legitimate grievances with their governments.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Feb 20th, 2008 at 02:07:20 PM EST
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