During the 2015 NH Liberty Forum, the NH Liberty Party held its third annual convention. The NH Liberty Party is an avowed pro-secessionist party with a 5 plank platform that can not be changed “except by 100% of voting members at the annual convention.” Of course, secession is only 1 plank in the platform, with the party also taking a staunch libertarian position on Self-determination, Non-aggression, Crime, and Voluntary Interaction. The reason for these libertarian planks, according to Ian Freeman, party co-founder and co-chair, is to exclude the bigots and xenophobes who may wish to seceded to then implement their bigotry.
Many people who advocate for secession will not use the word, seeing it as a third rail, of sorts. The Foundation for New Hampshire Independence, for example, talks about an independent New Hampshire, without using the dreaded “s-word,” instead stating, “The Foundation for New Hampshire Independence believes that our state’s future can be assured only by reclaiming our rightful status as a sovereign and independent nation. We seek to promote New Hampshire’s peaceful separation from the United States through educational initiatives and the fostering of conversations between all New Hampshire citizens with an interest in freedom from the Federal government.”
Some people who may be open to the concept of independence, may then be opposed to the idea of secession. This can partly be attributed to the pre-judgemental attitudes that are associated with certain words. For many, the word “secession” invokes thoughts of Southern plantation owners claiming the right to own another human being.
In practice, there is no difference between a declaration of independence, and a declaration of secession. In fact, the word secession is defined by Merriam Webster’s as meaning “the act of separating from a nation or state and becoming independent.” And independence is defined as either “freedom from outside control or support” or “the time when a country or region gains political freedom from outside control.” Which essentially means that when John Hancock, Thomas Jefferson and 54 other men signed the Declaration of Independence, they were making a statement that the 13 American colonies were seceding from the British Empire. If July 4 were referred to as “Secession Day,” it is possible that the negative connotations connected to the word would be diminished.
Regardless of the baggage associated with the word, I believe that everyone who claims to support personal liberty, should also support the concept of secession – even if the person does not believe that the concept of a nation-state should exist. People who believe in personal liberty should “support individuals declaring independence from the… ‘United States’ and any other aggressive organizations,” and the belief that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, and have unalienable rights to life, liberty & pursuit of happiness.”