In advance of July 4, Patri Friedman and co-bloggers are discussing secession (remember, we call it the American revolution they call it secession) at Let a Thousand Nations Bloom.  Here is Patri on secession as a startup

America did not merely secede and copy the governing documents or style of the United Kingdom. Rather, it innovated, creating a system based on the English Common Law, yet different, one with explicit checks and balances to restrain government, and with no place for a monarch. It was an experiment with a more radical form of democracy than existed anywhere in the 18th-century world.

And it was an incredibly successful experiment, as the combination of that innovative rule-set and the empty frontier resulted in America growing rapidly in population, wealth, and influence. During the open immigration periods of the 19th century, some years saw over a million new immigrants arrive “yearning to breathe free”. As a result, the new American state had influence far beyond its shores.

This influence occured in two major ways. First, America served as a test of the brand-new American Constitution, and the Founding Fathers’ philosophy about the role of government. By showing that it worked well in practice, political philosophers, politicians, voters, and revolutionaries around the world were (slowly) convinced that this was the best government technology to be had. Second, America dramatically outcompeted existing states, based on the simple metric of net migration. Those million+ people a year who went to America can be thought of as customers of government services voting with their feet, which means that other countries were losing market share.

You may not be used to thinking of government in this sort of economic and business framework, but it is a core part of our philosophy here at Let A Thousand Nations Bloom, and we find it provides a unique and refreshing angle on government. In this case, it shows us the invisible, long-term effects of the American Revolution.

They are covering a lot of other related material such as the optimal size and number of nations this week as well.  Here is a guide.  On a related point, I argued earlier for The Great State of Northern Virginia.

Finally, don’t forget: If at first you don’t secede, try, try again.


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