Kevin Williamson of National Review Online probes the campaign to help California exit from the United States.

“When I talk to people about California independence, they always say: ‘Well, what would you do if China invades?’” says Yes California president Louis Marinelli from his home in . . . Yekaterinburg, formerly Sverdlovsk (city motto: Don’t call us Siberia), an industrial center on the edge of the Ural Mountains in Russia. “Seriously,” he asks, “when’s the last time China invaded another country?” I mention the obvious ones: Tibet, India, and the Soviet Union. There’s Vietnam and Korea. Marinelli is a young man; perhaps much of this seems like ancient history to him. It does not to the Indians, or the Russians, or the Vietnamese, or many others. “No, I mean: When’s the last time China crossed an ocean to invade another country?” he clarifies. “Only the United States does that.”


The American war machine must surely be of some intense concern to California’s would-be Jefferson Davis, inasmuch as there is no legal or constitutional process for a state’s separating from the Union, a question that was settled definitively if not in court then just outside the courthouse at Appomattox. …

… The secession talk, she says, is a waste of time and — more objectionable, in her view — a waste of money that might be better used elsewhere. She insists that she’s “not the best-informed person,” but her concerns are the concerns of people who are paying attention, e.g., California’s grossly wasteful duplication of administrative jobs in education, something Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger promised to address but failed to deliver on. That’s the stuff out of which actual governance is made, and it isn’t very exciting.

Redrawing the map is exciting. It is so exciting that Yes California not only isn’t the only secessionist movement under way in the United States, it isn’t even the only active campaign to redraw the map in California. Former UK Independence party leader Nigel Farage, of all people, is involved in a project to split the state into a western and an eastern California, liberating the more conservative and agrarian half of the state from the half of the state where the money and the people are. And there is the longstanding dream of Jefferson, a proposed state that would strip away several of California’s northernmost counties (the proposed capital is Yreka) and some of southern Oregon’s to form a new state — one with a very high regard for the Tenth Amendment.