Here Thar Be Monsters!

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Join The Club

Groucho Marx famously quipped in his autobiography, with regard to a social club that had made him an honorary member, "Please accept my resignation.  I don't want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as members."

This is rather apropos, since our topic today is exactly that of belonging to clubs and resigning from them.

Suppose you found a club whose stated goals were business networking and mutual support.  You found this a worthwhile cause and paid your dues and got accepted to the membership.  For the first few years, it was peachy keen.  You made a lot of new contacts, and the time you had some legal issues, the members who were adept at such things were able to help you out of a jam free of charge, because you were a fellow member.

The dues were a bit high, but you gladly paid them because you received benefit from the club.  Even when the leadership changed some of the bylaws in ways that you thought were a bit out of line, you continued to be a member, thinking that the next round of would see more level-headed officers sworn in who would fix the offending rules.  Besides, you still received a benefit from membership in the connections and assistance you received from fellow members.  So all was well.  At the same time, the various outreach programs were being cut.

The club used to gather once a month to clean up various neighborhoods as a public service.  You thought that was a great idea and even got the wife and kids involved on those weekends.  Now those kind of things were becoming less and less frequent.

After the next round of officers were seated, things got worse.  They started allowing less desirable folks join without vetting.  Dues started going up exponentially  though there was no increase in benefits.  In fact, the only thing you could see was that the board kept hiking their stipends for sitting on the steering committee.

The sub-committee that was in charge of collecting dues and disbursing funds got taken over by a bunch of unsavory types.  After a while, they simply became a gang of thugs whose job it was to extort dues from members, along with "protection insurance".  If you didn't pay the insurance, bad things mysteriously happened to your business: fires, burglaries, customers getting roughed up.  It didn't take long for your customers to go away when they saw the club's emblem on your business.

Now, instead of fostering business, the club was causing your business to decline.  The dues were becoming outrageous and if you didn't pay, you got way or another.  The folks that used to offer business advice were now nothing more than a gang of blackmailers who investigated members to find dirt on them, and then use it to leverage members for more money and to coerce votes when it came time to elect a new board.

Some of your long-term fellow members were still uncorrupted.  You all began talking quietly about the current situation.  You had to go to great pains to keep your meetings out of sight of the club leaders, or they'd suspect you of undermining the club and come around with thugs to beat the crap out of you.  One member got careless and sent an email to several others grousing about the problems within the club leadership.  He was sent to the hospital and everyone else on the address list was suddenly under being followed everywhere.  They were terrified lest they make some small infraction and be beaten to a pulp, as well.

Finally, you decided that the costs were too high, the benefits too few, and the fear of reprisal for the least little comment was more than you were willing to accept.  You decided to quit the club and look for greener pastures.

You tendered your resignation stating that your years of membership in the club had been wonderful and that you had made some great friends there, but it was time to make a change and try some new things.  Well, that didn't sit well with the leadership.  If they let you go peacefully, then they knew that all the other members would get encouraged and start leaving in droves, and that would end the gravy train for the leaders who had gotten so much money for doing nothing all those years.

You didn't receive an immediate response from the membership sub-committee, so you went about your business thinking everything was alright.  That month, you didn't send in your dues and you stopped going to meetings.  You even scraped the club's emblem off your office door.  You had washed your hands of the matter.

Then one evening, as you locked up and were heading home, you turned to face a group of the meanest, ugliest, nastiest thugs you had ever seen.  They were wearing their nifty club uniforms with club patches all over them, as when you turned, they all pulled their jackets back to reveal their guns.

You looked around and saw that you were at the top of the stair leading into the parking lot, which gave you the high ground.  You felt your belt and found that you had your gun with you, as well.  But, there were six of them and your only had seven shots, so the margin of error was razor thin.  You had to decide if being right was worth the fight, even though you knew that if you capitulated, they were still going to put you in the hospital...or worse.

Being a member of a club normally implies that you have the right to quit the club at any time and for any reason.  It's your right to associate with whoever you choose.  When a club, that you joined freely, no longer serves your needs, you should be able to quit and move on to other things.

Nations are clubs.  Groups of people with cultural ties or similar interests join those clubs and pay dues (taxes) because they think membership will offer them things they couldn't have otherwise, or would come at a cost they couldn't pay unless they shared it with other members.  As with all human endeavors, though, sometimes the leadership of those clubs get complacent and enjoy the perks they give themselves at the expense of the members.  As they get more and more corrupt, the members want to leave, but the lost of dues will negatively impact all the goodies the leadership has enjoyed for doing nothing.

Often times, the clubs will start passing bylaws to protect their positions that are painful to the members, whether physically or financially.  As Mel Brooks said in "History of the World Part 1", "It's good ta be da king!"

To protect their privileged
ged positions, the leadership will stop at nothing to prevent the members from leaving.  They will say it's illegal.  They will threaten, and in many cases initiate physical violence.  They will do whatever it takes to continue taking money from your pocket to finance their perks and privileges.

None of that invalidates the right of members to quit any time they choose.  The right of free association means that the members can keep company with whomever they please.  It's a very old and well established concept.  If you can freely join a group, then you can just as easily leave.  It is a well-established fact that contracts can be cancelled if one party is not receiving the promised performance.  To say that a state can not secede is saying that an abused spouse can not leave the abuser and dissolve the marriage.

There are many groups of people around the world who no longer feel they are receiving a benefit, or worse are being abused, by a relationship with a given government.  Maybe they are being taxed into poverty without any return benefits, or they are being physically assaulted by goons and thugs, or they simply feel no philosophical or emotional bond with the other groups in the club.  They have every right to leave unharassed and unmolested.  At some future point, they may feel like it is to their benefit to re-join.  At that point, the other members can decide whether to allow them back in.  That's a risk any secessionists face.  But just as divorced spouses are free to remarry if they so choose, so to are nations and peoples.

In 1989, the Soviet Union flew apart in a surprisingly fast dissolution of a 75-year long shotgun marriage, yet 20 years on, the former members seem to get along (for the most part) just fine.  Just because somethng ain't what it used to be doesn't mean it can't be something better in a new form.

Any group that feels strongly enough to want to go it alone should be allowed to with minimal fuss.  Sure, it should be a fair and equitable split, but why should they be forced to stay in a rotten marriage?  If later they decide they made a mistake, the other spouse may have found something better and moved on, in which case, tough luck.  That the risk they take.

Parts of the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, and most other places around the globe want to go it alone.  Why are those people abused and slaughtered for wanting to follow their own dreams?  After all, don't we all have the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, even if that involves going your own way in life?

Let them all go.  The only reason to keep them corralled is because the club leadership is living high on the hog on their nickel.  It's exactly the same as if a lazy husband beats his wife senseless because she wants to leave him, but then he'd have to find gainful employment or someone else to suck off of.  Does that make the wife wrong for wanting out?

Let them go.  There is no moral reason to stop groups who want to secede, and there are only immoral and unethical reasons to make them stay.

Let them go.