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Tyler Cowen

Want to Secede? First, Take This Test

How libertarians can separate some independence movements from others.
Dawn in Catalonia isn't so clear.

Dawn in Catalonia isn't so clear.

Credit: MafrMcfca/Getty Images

As the issue of Catalonian secession comes to the fore once again, and with America’s celebration of its independence immediately behind us, it is worth pondering when secession makes sense as a political principle. Many observers judge particular cases of potential secession in terms of their cultural loyalties: The typical American, for instance, favors the War of Independence, but would be upset if a current state wanted to leave the Union. 

So what more general principles might govern when secession is a good idea?