(Mises Wire) – Those of us who think that there should be no state at all, or at most a very limited one, must view all existing states with dissatisfaction, though some are better than others. In assessing how good or bad a state is, does the extent of the territory it controls matter? Offhand, you might think it doesn’t. Isn’t the only relevant dimension by which to judge states the nature and degree of control they have over their people? The United States in the nineteenth century was far better than Cambodia under Pol Pot, though vastly larger. In his superb new book, the gifted historian Ryan McMaken argues that the size of a state does indeed matter, and he makes a powerful case for secession from existing states and for decentralization within them.
It’s much harder, he says, to establish totalitarian rule in a small state than in a large one, because it is easier for people to leave.
Because of their physical size, large states are able to exercise more state-like power than geographically smaller states—and thus exercise a greater deal of control over residents. This is in part because larger states benefit…Secession: Coming to a State Near You? | Mises Wire