In our forums, a member asks Brion McClanahan, a faculty member at Liberty Classroom:
Watching your lectures at Tom Woods’ Liberty Classroom and am seeking other examples of sovereign political bodies forced to remain in a union. Khrushchev forced Hungary to remain in USSR in 1956 so I often ask others if he shouldn’t be heralded as a hero too, along with Lincoln, given that Lincoln’s stated purpose was to maintain the Union, not abolish slavery. A war waged by the U.N. to keep a departing member in that body is another (hypothetical) example. Are there any other examples you know of that might also help me make this point?Here is Prof. McClanahan’s reply:
There are countless historical examples of “sovereign political bodies forced to remain in a union.” Too often Americans think that the only instances of forced centralization are found in the nineteenth-century United States and in twentieth-century Europe, but the general trend of history has been one of centralization and tyranny under a strict definition, meaning the arrogation of power to an individual or central entity. This could be classified as imperialism, be it economic, political, or cultural. Individual liberty and decentralization have been fleeting concepts in human history and are typically made possible only through dedicated efforts on the part of vigilant defenders, often at great cost. Centralization and its evil step-child nationalism tend to conserve the imperial culture at the expense of tradition. This is why the founding generation, a group of men well versed in the classics, understood that their political experiment—a decentralized federal republic—would quickly descend into monarchy unless Americans firmly embraced both republicanism and a dedication to the preservation of life, liberty, and property, and why no American should champion imperialism at home or abroad. Simply put, imperialism and centralization are un-American.
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