Freedom from Federal Over-Reach, and Preserve the Bill of Rights

At the time of this writing, there are a large number of Americans (in a majority of the 50 states) who speak openly about "secession" or "seceding from the Union". However, as we all know, secession was previously attempted from 1861-1865, and a total of 625,000 lives were lost, North and South. In this screed, I simply wish to offer a viable process for achieving States Rights.

As a competitive idea to forming a Compact of States, many of us hear the cry for a Second Constitutional Convention. However, until we regain control of America, I would not encourage an Article V Constitutional Convention, for these reasons:

• Too Dangerous - - There is no legal mechanism for preserving the Bill of Rights (the first Ten Amendments) while changing only some or all of the other 17 Amendments.

• Too Slow - - It's taken too many years to get to where we are now in calling for an Article V Convention. Thus far, after many years, 28 States have called for a second Constitutional Convention, which would supposedly be limited to a Balanced Budget Amendment. It takes 34 States to call, and 38 States to ratify. In today's America, I doubt that 38 of the 50 States would agree on anything.

• Not Competitive - - As a political or legal mechanism, finding 38 States, which will agree on fundamental changes, is probably impossible. Conversely, forming a Compact between 5, or 10, or 30 States could happen almost immediately.

Freedom from Federal Repression, but without Secession:

1.) Purpose: Create what will functionally be an "American Constitutional Homeland", and do so by avoiding secession, so that the Union remains whole, if at all possible.

2.) Concept: Member "Free States" in a "Compact of States" must defend the principle of "Constitutional Sanctuaries", in order to protect their citizens' rights, especially their 1st, 2nd, and 4th Amendment rights. Start with a small group of States, and make it grow.

This concept is based simply on "strength in numbers" and the assumption of a political posture less threatening than secession. For example, if an individual state attempted to secede, it would be the target for violent pushback from the Federal Government. Conversely, many states could easily join together in a non-violent "Compact of States". The "Compact" could be the first step. From there, and only if necessary, it's not that large of step forward to form a "Semi-Autonomous Republic".

3.) Three Possible Outcomes - - I strongly believe that we must avoid an 1861-style secession. That being said, if the Federal government invades the Free States, then quite simply, we must defend ourselves. I believe that a "worst-case" progression of events might feature these three steps - -

a.) Compact of States - - It will all go well, in my opinion, unless we lose a 10th versus 14th Amendment SCOTUS battle.

b.) Semi-Autonomous Republic - - If the Compact of States loses a few battles at SCOTUS, then the next step is to form a Semi-Autonomous Republic ("SAR"). An SAR is almost like secession, but not quite. The Free States of the SAR would still have representation in the U.S. Congress, but 10th Amendment rights (and the entire Bill of Rights) would be rigorously defended in every Free State.

c.) Secession - - If Federal Troops invade the SAR, then all bets are off, the Union is broken, and then secession becomes the last resort. However, we don't intend to let that happen.

Each State's Right of Self-Determination:

4.) Unlike the unpleasantries which began on 12-April-1861, when Confederate guns opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor, I will never advocate a violent secession, and we don't need to go toe-to-toe with Federal forces. "Self-Determination" does not equal "Total Separation".

5.) The basic plan that I propose is totally legal, very simple, and could be implemented immediately. Several American States should join together, not in a "Confederacy", but in a simple "Compact of States". The initial group of Free States will continuously attract other States to join.

6.) Some Candidates for the first few States to become "Free States" - -

a.) First group of Free States - - Perhaps Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming - - These 3 states could easily be the catalyst. ( a Google search for the "American Redoubt".)

b.) Second Group of Free States - - Kansas? Oklahoma? Texas? Florida? Alaska? Utah? Iowa? Taken together, these states have agriculture, forestry, oil, and more ocean access. (Alaska gives the Free States indirect access to the Pacific Ocean, and Texas will give the Free States unlimited direct access to the Atlantic Ocean.) (I would actually expect Texas and Florida to join the Compact of States very early, along with the "American Redoubt")

c.) Third group of Free States - - Perhaps North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska.

d.) New Political Boundaries - - Regrettably, this currently requires acts of Congress, but I believe it will eventually happen - - There are counties on the east side of both Washington and Oregon states which have expressed an interest in breaking away from those two states and joining Idaho. Likewise, there are counties in northern Colorado, which have expressed an interest in joining Wyoming.

Many other changes could follow - - The State of Jefferson, which was supposed to have been carved out of Northern California and Lower Oregon in 1941, could finally be created. (With the addition of the State of Jefferson, the northern part of the Free States would not be landlocked, and they could then directly access the Pacific Ocean.)

e.) The Old Confederacy and Southern Border States - - Presented with the opportunity, I believe those states would eventually join the SAR.

f.) The "Rust Belt" and the "Blue Wall" - - If any of the States ever needed Self-Determination, then surely Ohio, Indiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania are candidates.

g.) What about Northern States? - - It wouldn't surprise me if New Hampshire joined the Compact of States.

h.) What about Canadian Provinces? Alberta has a healthy secessionist movement, and perhaps they could at least "partner" with an American Compact of States.

7.) So, what do we immediately get out of this?

(a.) Well, for example, the Keystone XL Pipeline - - This pipeline should be the business of the affected States, and not the business of the Federal government. If the Free States within the Compact are willing to defend the pipeline, then the project can be restored, jobs will be saved, and fuel prices will be kept in check. Having abundant fuel at a fair price allows the trucks to roll and helps the farmers. For example, almost all lands in the USA require fertilizer to create quick growth and high yields. Almost all fertilizer is made synthetically, and requires natural gas as the primary feedstock.

The Keystone Pipeline

(b.) The Bill of Rights - - If it's legal for liberal states like California to openly harbor illegal aliens, and establish designated "Sanctuary Cities", then it should be legal for the Free States within the Compact to exist as "Constitutional Sanctuaries", and ignore unconstitutional Federal controls.

(c.) Voting Security - - The Compact will preserve or enact voter I.D. Laws within each Free State. Only real citizens with verifiable identity will vote in any Local, State, or Federal Election in the Free States.

(d.) Defense of Individuals and Businesses - - Haven't we had enough of certain states suing the NRA, and ambulance-chasing attorneys suing gun manufacturers, and etc.? If we promise protection from external threats, then the Free States of the Compact will reap rewards when major industry and commerce relocate to the Free States.

8.) These are a few of the key legal issues, which will keep the Free States of the Compact as nominally part of the USA, but still with a good degree of autonomy - -

a.) Begin as a simple "Compact of States" - - Which will defend the member States from the Federal Government on specific issues and in order to preserve specific rights. In the broader view, this may become a 10th versus 14th Amendment argument. At the time of this writing, we have a favorable selection of judges on the high court (SCOTUS) and I sincerely hope for a pro-tenth amendment ruling.

b.) Compact Agreement - - In its first Convention of States, The Compact of States should adopt only the First Ten Amendments of the US Constitution (the Bill of Rights) as part of its statement of unity and principles. No other US Amendments, Laws, Rules, or Regulations would be initially adopted, if ever.

c.) Taxes - - This is perhaps "future tense", but in an idealized eventual outcome, each Free State in the Compact would set a sales tax, and meet it's own needs. Citizens of the SAR should eventually pay no income taxes to anyone (State or Federal) and no property taxes, and no school taxes, etc., etc., only a "Sales" or "VAT" tax. The Free States would then pay a portion of the VAT collected to the Federal government, solely for providing for the common defense. (Actually, if you read the Federalist Papers, circa 1776, this is what the Founding Fathers had in mind.)

d.) Free State Land Control - - With exception to US military bases and test ranges, the SAR and its member states would seek to control all lands within their state borders, including former Federal Parks, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Lands. The US would continue to maintain Federal Interstate Highways, and perhaps pay taxes or fees to the SAR for the use of existing military bases and test ranges.

e.) US Federal Agents (except for US regular troops in transit) would be allowed to come into the SAR only with prior notice and as permitted.

f.) Transportation - - Travel from the East coast through the SAR to the West Coast via existing Rail, Highways, and Air Flights would remain essentially unchanged.

9.) In the short term, there could be some problems if the Compact becomes an SAR - -

a.) Migration - - "Bad Apples" wanted by states back east (or on US Federal warrants) would undoubtedly try to escape to the SAR. This issue will be not unlike the larger problem that America has now, so controlling immigration would be very important.

On the positive side of the "migration problem", you can expect good, honest, hard-working real Americans to migrate from less-free Federal states to the SAR. Likewise, if federally-dependent persons are denied access to welfare programs in the SAR, then you can expect them to migrate out of the SAR, and go to California, or Illinois, or New York. This would surely be a win-win for all parties.

b.) Currency/Monetary issues - - Initially, the SAR would be on the US Dollar, but if the USD eventually crashes, then the SAR must develop its own currency.

c.) If there is ever total separation, then some substitute for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid would have to be worked out. I see this as a stopgap need for only 1 or 2 generations, until traditional extended families become the norm, again.

d.) Services - - For example, if the SAR is ever totally separated from the Union, there might not be any Federal post offices in the SAR, but that service can be replaced locally with courier services like UPS, etc. Also, if most people are billed electronically, and pay electronically, then there becomes less and less need to replace the US Postal Service.

e.) Home Guard - - Each State's US National Guard becomes that state's militia. The Free States should recognize civilian Local and "Free Militias".

10.) Near-Term Catalyst

Joe Biden was either legally or illegally elected on 03-November-2020, and regardless of legalities, we're already collectively having one big nightmare when we imagine that everything will become even worse, when Kamala Harris takes power some day. Surely we are already at the point where the motivation to form a Compact of Free States is becoming very strong.

11.) How can we make this idea quickly become a reality?

a.) Research - - Everyone should research all aspects of this idea, including any points that I've surely forgotten. Organize your research and share points and counter-points on this and other forums.

b.) Get the word out - - Make contact with existing "wannabe secessionists" in any American State, and help them wrap their heads around an alternative "Compact of States" concept versus secession. Share this piece with all the "talking heads" who have video blogs on YouTube, or where ever. Make it go "viral" as soon as possible.

c.) Politics - - If you're politically connected, then please directly contact politicians in places where they are always talking about secession, and explain to them that the Compact is a better way, with a better long-term outcome. I believe that the idea sells itself as a method of "political migration" and "escaping Federal controls" (e.g., contact persons like Senator Tom Cotton in Arkansas, and Governor DeSantis in Florida, and Governor Greg Abbott in Texas, and Senator Tom Cruz in Texas, and Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, and Senator Rick Scott of Florida, and etc., etc.)

d.) Ultimate goal - - within as little as one generation - - Jealousy and envy will kick in, and the remaining Federal States will beg to join our renewed American Republic. Imagine a new lean and limited Federal Government, which provides only for the Common Defense, and looks a lot like pre-16th Amendment America, circa 1913.

Map: Candidates for Future "Free States" and realigned counties

Legend: "Red" = Proposed Free States in the Compact or the SAR.

"Orange" = Realigned political subdivisions

12.) What about the inevitable pushback from the Feds? Consider the natural stages of the SAR's independence:

(a.) As a "Compact of States", defending just a few issues, the Compact won't be seen as an existential threat to the DC Swamp. So in the first phase, pushback will be mostly political, with a very low threat of Federal troops actually invading the Compact.

(b.) If the Free States ever declare themselves a "Semi-Autonomous Republic", then you can expect a tug-of-war, which I believe the SAR will easily win. How might the Feds try to harm the emerging SAR?

• Electricity Grids and Energy Distribution - - The SAR wins that battle, since most of the reliable oil, coal, nuclear, hydro, and natural gas power generation is already in the Free States. Likewise, much of America's coal mining, and oil and natural gas drilling and fracking production activities are in the Free States. It's unlikely that the Federal states will be able to disconnect from the SAR's electrical grids.

• Food Production and Distribution - - Just like energy production, the Free States are the main producers and net exporters of all agricultural products. The Federal states would only starve themselves if they set up barriers to free trade and commerce.

• Banking and Payment Platforms - - This is where the Free States are vulnerable, and as early as possible, independent State Banks should find a parallel alternative to CHIPS and especially FedWire. Ideally, the local State chartered Banks should become members of the international banking community and establish their own unique SWIFT codes and/or join the IBAN system. If the Feds start trying to freeze local accounts, that's when the SAR's banks must pull the plug on FedWire, and operate only on account numbers plus SWIFT codes, and/or use the IBAN system.

13.) Legal References:
Definition - - "An interstate compact is an agreement between two or more states of the United States that is approved by those states' respective legislatures, and, if required based on the subject matter of the compact, consented to by the US Congress. Compacts that receive congressional consent become federal law".

14.) Just for fun, what do the "experts" say about how to "divide" America?

Respectfully submitted,
Mr. Common Sense

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