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Soft Secession

Soft Secession
How a “national divorce” can get underway from the FBI to the IRS to the EPA.
By Daniel Greenfield

California began a soft secession when it banned cooperation with immigration authorities. Since then other states run by Democrats, including Colorado, Illinois and New Jersey, have declared war on ICE. The movement to make it impossible for ICE, an arm of the federal government, to operate in Democrat states has largely been successful.

Some Republican states, like Tennessee, Texas and Florida, have responded by ordering law enforcement to cooperate with ICE. And while this is important in limiting the spread of illegal aliens in their states, it may also be time for them to consider their own forms of soft secession.

Democrat states targeted ICE, Republican states could single out other arms of the federal government that are ideologically alien and hostile to conservative areas for a policy of non-cooperation. Obvious examples are the Department of Education, the EPA and the IRS.

The Department of Education is being used to investigate schools that don’t expose their students to pornographic LGBTQ materials depicting sex acts by 10-year-olds. The EPA targets homeowners if they have a puddle on their land and the IRS is being ramped up to wage war on everyone from waiters to mothers reselling their children’s used clothes on eBay.

The EPA depends heavily on state cooperation. Its armed raids on everything from mining towns in Alaska to high-performance car shops in Pennsylvania have ushered in a reign of terror nationwide. Congressional legislation to stop the EPA’s goon squads will be permanently stalled under a Democrat Senate and may not even get past a future Republican Senate.

States however can take action by passing legislation to end all cooperation with the EPA and to cut off any state business to any company providing services to the EPA.

Nixon, who bears a good deal of responsibility for this disaster, claimed that the “spirit of cooperation between EPA and state governments is not new. In fact, it was imbedded into the very founding of the Agency.” That spirit of cooperation is the spirit of tyranny. It should end.

The Inflation Increase Act massively boosted both inflation and the size of the IRS. A newly ‘roided’ IRS is preparing to aggressively target the middle class to fund the corrupt inflationary spending sprees of the Biden administration. While states can’t get rid of the IRS, they can use Democrat state actions against ICE as a model for making it difficult for it to operate.

The IRS’s Office of Governmental Liaison maintains partnerships with states to share taxpayer data. Conservative states could end their partnerships with the IRS and also ban municipalities from participating in the IRS’s Municipal Agency Program. Deprived of local information, the IRS would need to dedicate far more resources to gaining data and would have less resources to devote to harassing taxpayers. States will however be reluctant to do this because they will lose out on the IRS information that allows them to pursue taxpayers for their own revenue collection, but they would need to prioritize values over collaborating for cash.

The Bureau of Land Management is equally loathed by the ranchers it terrorizes in the west. Its aggressive new former eco-terrorist boss is preparing to further weaponize it. Western states can and should legislatively take action against the other BLM to restrict cooperation with it.

And then, of course, there is the FBI.

In the wake of the growing politicization of the Bureau, states should rethink on what terms they want to continue cooperating with the FBI and with local federal prosecutors. Especially as they target conservatives while giving leftists a pass. Should states really cooperate with a system that sends armed SWAT teams to arrest non-violent pro-life activists while refusing to take action against the pro-abortion domestic terrorists operating under the name Jane’s Revenge.

The most pernicious components of the federal government are those dedicated to diversity, equity and inclusion, and any component of civil rights law.

The Black Lives Matter race riots which devastated the country have their origins in the crucial backing that the Ferguson race riots administration received from the Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service. The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights is targeting schools that refuse to expose students to LGBTQ pornographic books.

These are only two examples of how the social justice organizations embedded within nearly every federal agency spread misery and destruction across the country. Ending cooperation with any social justice arm of a federal agency, as Democrat states ended cooperation with ICE, would help prevent future race riots and limit their ability to cause harm to local communities.

While states could not stop them from entering localities, conducting investigations and persecuting ordinary Americans, they could terminate partnerships and force local companies that they contract with to choose between doing business with the state or a D.C. office.

States can’t shut down federal agencies, but California Democrats have shown how they can starve them of resources, cut them off from cooperation with local law enforcement and make it difficult for them to operate on the ground.

Republican state governments are even now trying to apply some of the anti-ICE lessons to coping with the coyotes of HHS’ Office of Refugee Resettlement. While crippling ORR should be a major priority for any Republican majority of administration, there is a lot states can do. Texas’ pressure on the Refugee Services of Texas, the state’s biggest refugee resettler, helped force it to shut down last month, but its ability to unilaterally stop resettlers from smuggling in illegal aliens for the federal government has run up against legal obstacles. That’s where legislative fixes come in.

Cutting ties with federal agencies isn’t just the right thing to do on principle, but can benefit states. While the federal government bribes states and localities for cooperation, the long term costs of that cooperation are ultimately higher than any of the short term financial incentives.

Soft secession can make the people living in states happier, safer and better off.

National divorce, an idea growing in popularity, along with various forms of secession have been seen as all or nothing ventures, but soft secession shows that it does not need to be.

States can begin reevaluating the terms on which they want a relationship with the federal government. This is not a new process, but one that has defined the nature of federalism. Rather than a radical break, soft secession tests the waters by reducing the negative impact of federal authority on a state level while allowing states to relearn how to do things themselves.

Soft secession rolls back the scope of federal authority while envisioning a more constitutional nation, one in which states have more authority rather than being cogs in a federal machine. Not a national divorce, but an open marriage, soft secession makes the more onerous parts of federal rule more expensive and difficult. And conservative and leftist states will have the ability to pick and choose which parts of the federal government they want to cooperate with.

And which parts they don’t.

Soft secession can be a healthy alternative to a national conflict. By democratizing federalism, they create channels for dissent and limit the power of the administrative state. They also show how states can reclaim the authority they have given up to make local power more meaningful.

Federalization has accelerated America’s crackup. Elections have become national zero sum games. The more everything local has been nationalized, the more explosive politics has become. Soft secession may be the one thing that can save America from coming apart.

And it can begin right now.

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