No, Nigel, Vexit Is Not a Good Idea

Nigel Farage (center) speaks at Liberty University with Jerry Falwell Jr. (left) and David Nasser (right).

by James A. Bacon

I’ve been a Nigel Farage fan since I first viewed him on YouTube years ago. I cackled as the obscure British representative to the European Parliament hilariously skewered the bureaucratic officiousness of EU executives. Farage went on to become an international phenomenon, championing the Brexit movement, building the conservative UK Independence Party (UKIP) into a major political force, and challenging the sanctimony of British elites. His populist politics are similar to those of President Trump, although his personality, unlike the president’s, is tempered by amiability and wit. In other words, his demeanor is an asset, not a liability. I’ve often thought, if only Farage were American, we might have elected a different president. As it is, he makes periodic forays into England’s former colonies, including, most recently, Virginia, and shares his thinking in his own inimitable way.

Appearing at Liberty University yesterday, Farage made the case for “Vexit” — or the right of citizens of Virginia counties discontented with the direction of state government to break away and join West Virginia. “When local people want to make changes and change their structure of government, they should be able to do so,” he said at Liberty’s convocation, as reported by the News & Advance,

Farage’s comments followed the headline-grabbing offer by West Virginia Governor Jim Justice for Virginia localities to switch states. Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. became the first prominent Virginian to endorse the idea. I initially thought Falwell was just engaging in political theater, but after Farage’s comments, I’m not so sure.

At the convocation, during which he was given an honorary degree, Farage drew parallels between the populist movements that led to Brexit in the UK and the election of President Trump. Both movements, he said, were driven by ordinary citizens fed up with government overreach. He went on, according to the News & Advance, to urge Liberty students to prioritize protecting civil liberties and other freedoms over chasing high-paying careers.

“If you want to be free people, if you want to be able to live in liberty, if you want to be able to determine your own futures, you cannot take these freedoms for granted,” he said. “You have to fight for these freedoms and fight for them every day of your lives.”

It’s not clear from the article how serious Farage was about Vexit. Was he just pandering to his audience, or was he really serious? I don’t know. Whatever the case, Farage’s remarks bring visibility to an idea that no one was taking seriously a week ago. But now, it appears, the Vexit idea is showing signs of gaining momentum. Reports the News & Advance:

In Campbell County, Rick Boyer, a conservative activist attorney and former local elected official, is working to bring the issue to local lawmakers.

Under the plan proposed by Vexit advocates, localities interested in joining West Virginia would hold non-binding referendums on secession in November. If the referendums succeed, Falwell has argued, it will put pressure on state legislators to allow those counties and cities to separate from the state.

No one saw the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement coming, but it boiled over almost overnight and swept much of the state. It will be fascinating to see if the emotional energy from that movement spills into a serious Vexit movement. Farage had one piece of advice for Vexit supporters, though: “It’s very easy to start exit campaigns, but they often take a bit longer than you think they’re going to.”

Bacon’s bottom line: I, for one, don’t take our freedoms and liberties for granted. And I’m sympathetic to the idea, at least in the abstract, that people should be free to secede from one state and join another — what a great way to hold political elites accountable. If your state sucks, pick a different state! But the practical problems are complex beyond measure.

Say you’re Alleghany County or Buchanan County, and you decide to hitch up with West Virginia. You’ll get to keep your guns unmolested, but you’ll have to change all your laws, radically restructure your local government, and adopt an entirely new system of state/local taxation. You’ll also have to resolve issues like shouldering your fair share (however you define “fair”) of the state debt, public-employee pension obligations, and other liabilities. And at the end of the day, you’ll have traded a set of idiots in Richmond for a set of morons in Charleston! (Governor Ralph Northam ought to ask West Virginians if they’d like to rejoin Virginia. A lot of them, I’d bet, would love to live in a wealthier, more economically dynamic state.)

If you think that the UK’s exit from the EU raised a host of prickly issues, that’s nothing compared to what Vexit would entail. State/local governments in Virginia are far more tightly integrated than the UK was with the European Union. So, as much as I enjoy listening to Nigel Farage, Vexit makes no sense to me whatsoever. If Virginians want to preserve their liberties, they need to stand and fight… here in Virginia.

Update: The Tazewell County Board of Supervisors heard public input and shared thoughts on Vexit yesterday. Reports the Bluefield Daily Telegraph:

Tom Lester, Western District Tazewell County supervisor, said prior to Tuesday’s meeting that he asked for the issue to be put on the agenda because he has received phone calls and emails from residents wanting to know if the county was going to “take a stand” on Vexit.

Lester said at Tuesday’s meeting that he was intrigued by Vexit, but believed it could be “highly impractical.” Virginia and West Virginia have different systems for addressing roads, school systems and other items impacted by the government.

I don’t see how this idea can get as much traction as the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement. But, hey, I didn’t think the sanctuary movement would go as far as it did, so what do I know?

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25 responses to “No, Nigel, Vexit Is Not a Good Idea

  1. I sent three children to really good Virginia universities getting state subsidized tuition at UVA, Virginia Tech, and JMU. Wonderful. Under Vexit, residents who move to the Mountain State can get subsidized tuition at WVU, Marshall, and uh what else. Not a great tradeoff if you’re looking for higher education to help advance one’s lot in life.

  2. My old man always said West Virginia was a great place to be from. He never considered going back.

  3. “I’ve been a Nigel Farage fan since I first viewed him on YouTube years ago.”

    No reason to change your views on Nigel now Jim. In fact its time to double down on Nigel’s well founded principals of liberty, and the right to free oneself from a tyrannical majority that is now actively engaged in destroying your rights (both natural and constitutional), and from a state that is also trying to destroy your your culture – whether it be Judaeo/ Christian, or otherwise via the American heritage and experience – erasing all your traditions and legacies, so that your children will not be taught them, and hence they too for all time, will lose their ability to defend themselves against their enemies, being left altogether ignorant of what they have lost, leaving them vulnerable, adrift in terrible storms.

    Here, for example is my earlier observation as to what the state is doing to these folks:

    “Plus, when you tote up all the harms, costs, real grievances, and lost opportunities that Northam’s fantastic cocktail of new bills and proposals will suddenly inflict on real working people – the middle class in Virginia of all ages and everywhere (but even more so those in long suffering and stagnant rural and small metro Virginia) – the set backs and losses they’ll suffer by state action, and the ruination of their future that now is otherwise brighter than its been for generations, a likely renaissance of whole regions now within their sight and grasp,

    All this wreckage now threatened them (their livelihoods, lives and family, wage, income, job, property, culture and spirit) shocks the conscience, and the threat astounds. And Why? For what ends? For what purpose?”

    As stated, most damaging of all will be their children’s loss of their parents’ great culture, the collective Judaeo/ Christian tradition, and the whole of Western Civilization gathered and preserved until now from the times of the earliest Greeks and Romans, down to our Founders, and what is left of those traditions down to today.

    What are those irreplaceable traditions and wisdom, and practices? Here is for another example from an earlier comment this blog:

    reed fawell III | November 30, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Reply

    “In 50 BC the Roman Sullust stepped back from Roman politics to consider its unscrupulous conduct that was leading the Roman Republic to its own destruction, its inevitable slide into tyranny. But Cicero stepped forward, trying to reverse the slide into corrupt usurpation. The Roman Constitution – its senate, its consuls, its plebeians working in counterpoised checks and balances of power – was at risk. Cicero knew this. And he believed that the grand task of its restoration required the restoration of the civic virtue, most particularly by the restoration of the integrity of government officials.

    Here Cicero elaborated. A government’s legitimacy rested on its respect for the personal sphere of the individual Roman citizen. This private sphere of each Roman citizen encompassed the responsibilities of each citizen to this kith and kin, his home, his family, his friends and his private property.

    This respect by the government of the citizen was sacred. The Roman’s called it Libertas, the liberty reserved to each individual Roman citizen. The demanded respect and restraint here by Government was the “seedbed of the state,” the base on its legitimacy rested. All obligation of the citizen to this government rested on his governments respect of his Libertas. Without it, the government’s right to govern him floundered and collapsed.

    Cicero’s central insight was so admired by our founders that they laid it down into a central cornerstone of our Federal Constitution. And they never tired of reminding themselves that what they’d built required the steadfast virtue of its citizens and their eternal vigilance. “Yes, Madam,” Benjamin Franklin explained, “you have a Republic if you can keep it.”

    And again, Cicero was the founders guide as to the essential virtue of government officials and those exercising high political power by rhetoric. Central to those obligations was the demand that the politician confront and deal truthfully with the particular facts of the issue at hand, instead of mouthing universal propositions. And these politicians in their Rhetoric had to deal with future probabilities of a proposed act or law rather than abstract numbers and certainties as if politics were science, which it is not.

    Thus the honest politician had to explain by logic organized on facts, while excluding altogether false reasoning, tawdry emotion, sentimentality, scare tactics, falsehoods, and other cheap psychological and emotional tricks that diverted his audience from the truth that grounded the matter at issue. To do otherwise was to undermine the very foundation of government itself.

    Why? Because only the well organized presentation of facts allows the citizen the means to reach his own informed judgement. Only then can he rightfully participate in and reap the fruits of his own aspirations in government. Only then can he cast his vote or give informed consent to a law or act that achieves the good as he envisions it. Only then can he avoid evil as he envisions it being foisted on him by the deceit of another.

    So this truth telling by politicians in government is absolutely critical. A politician’s lies steal government from it rightful owners, the citizens. A politician’s lies erode and destroy the bedrock of representative government, namely its laws, and the irrefutable legitimacy of those laws.”

    Enough is enough. Now is the time to act.

    For more see:

  4. The west virginia town where i partly grew up was a crumbling coal and glass place. Long after i left it got really propped. Why? The late sen byrd got the FBI to locate its fingerprint operations there. Very much like virginia. Federal spending

  5. My Brit cousin of advanced age thinks that Nigel is the devil incarnate, which means he’s probably okay… Nigel that is.

    The West Virginia idea brings to mind a study from at least 15 or 20 years ago that examined the American cultural and political landscape and concluded that the country could/will she got Brock was go out would likely divide into eight or so different countries. I won’t remember them correctly, but it went something like 1 the Left Coast, 2. The Rocky Mountains; 3. The Southwest; 4. The deep South, 5. The mid-Atlantic and Northeast. 6. The northern and middle plains 7. the mid-Midwest (Ohio Michigan Illinois Wisconsin Minnesota).

    I probably have it all wrong but the point of the study was that there were surely a number of regions or states, whether California or South Carolina, that would be so upset at what the central government was doing that they would make every effort to go on their own. On the current path, I’m not sure they were wrong. It would seem to me not to be contrary to historical precedent for republics such as ours.

  6. The fellas down at the Frost Diner love talking about Vexit. The conversation on this topic seems to help lower blood pressure. It might even help lower cholesterol too!

  7. The good folks who govern Fairfax County, and some of their citizens, were always complaining that their county subsidized most of the rest of the state outside of the “Golden Crescent”. When asked to prove it, they pointed to the fact that the county paid more in taxes to the state than they got back in aid from the Commonwealth. Fairfax might be glad to see those “deadbeats” leave for West Virginia. Bosun

    • There Bosun, you told the truth. Thus, you defined the great problem and who’s at fault. And its not those living in rural and smaller metro areas in Virginia. The losers in the end will be those living in Fairfax. In fact, they have been losers since 2000 at least, and they and their attitude has caused much of the dysfunction within the entire DC region, plus all those trying to pass through Fairfax. So your attitude perfectly distills the long term dysfunction in Fairfax, and how it poisons those who touch it.

      Unfortunately too, your attitude has spread to many places nationwide. You know them, the places that are increasingly failing the great majority of people living there, and its reaching crisis proportions now in many of those places, like Fairfax has.

      • Indeed, Bosun, these problems infect most everybody today in the nation, even many of the elite. Most have not figured why yet so we’re anxious, alienated, and far too often angry. Likely it is the very thing, however, that is necessary to start fixing the problem and getting us back on track. Funny how that works.

        For example, compare America in 1936 to America in 1946, how America’s deep ailments got cured so quick, as early as late 1942.

    • Exactly. Just wait until Don the Ripper gets back from overseas and checks on the blog. I expect he, as a Fairfax resident, would be delighted for the western half of the state to secede and stop sucking up NoVa’s money.

      • Yes, Jim, true enough. Don the Ripper’s absence has opened up a rare and blessed opportunity to discuss this issue (an open wound really), in a thoughtful, calm, and contemplative manner. My bet is that all will end well here for all Virginians, and America, and Don too, but like all families, all must work our way through a period perhaps a great readjustment of attitudes, and understandings, before respect, tolerance and appreciation of others be fully restored in a workable way.

    • yup. I expect most of Western Virginia might be invited to head west and don’t let the door whack you on the way out!

    • Mr. Bosun my hope is for a counter revolution on January 15, 2022.

  8. There is this minor obstacle to the notion that a County of Virginia could elect to join another State: “States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.” U.S. Const. Art. IV, sec. 3.

    What exactly does “Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress” require? The Supreme Court took up precisely that question in regard to whether West Virginia’s claim on Berkeley and Jefferson Counties was valid or not. Virginia v. West Virginia, 78 U.S. (11 Wall.) 39 (1871). The case itself makes fascinating reading but, for the ‘Cliff Notes’ version see:

    By the way, I have a map published in the late 1920s by the State of Virginia showing Berkeley and Jefferson Counties as a claimed part of Virginia — the Byrd administration, with Berryville roots nearby, went out of its way not to acknowledge the Supreme Court’s judgment that Virginia had lost the northern tip of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley to the infidels due to wartime chicanery.

    • But Arbar, the situation is reversing now. Soon the infidels will be coming after you and your kind.

      • You see Arbar, when the State and its government run universities, and those who run them deem, those institutions, and their policies and values to be represent God given religious doctrine that must be mandated, enforced and worshiped throughout the realm as such without exception, then the state and its masters claiming divine inspiration and authority, are by definition, and in fact, surrounded by infidels. Americans have typically reacted with vigor against such regimes, once the matter begins to congeal and elite intention becomes plain.

    • Our counties will never leave Virginia: Semper Fideles. Or perhaps more appropriately here, Sic semper Tyrannis.

  9. This is the latest variant of those who say if they are in the minority in a state and can’t abide it – they will “succeed” , or refuse to follow the laws passed and/or get ready for a “revolution”.

    but it’s not really about a particular government. Those folks would soon find other aspects of WVA to be oppressive also.

  10. Maybe Mr. Fawell, III, should get behind the movement to give Arlington, Alexandria AND Fairfax County to DC. I am sure Olde Virginny could do without a county whose budget is larger than several states and whose “central business district,” as defined by the Census, ranks among the top 20 in the nation. If the folks in ROVa do not like the “contamination” of Fairfax, then their localities should pass resolutions to refuse any state dollars from that tainted area that the Commonwealth sends their way. That’ll show those liberals!

    • My folk took Northern Virginia back from DC. The problem is we got this Little Lord Fauntleroy nephew named Fairfax who thinks he is far far bigger than his tight little britches.

      Hence, we got tough love to shrink him back into his proper place.

  11. For now, I’m still here: “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”

    However, if the totalitarian nanny-staters who have taken over the the Commonwealth continue down the road they are on, I could easily end up here: “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”


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