This is the first of 3 parts on the principles of secession. This deals with the most difficult aspect of "allowing" secession to very small groups, or what is an "allowable reason" to secede. The short answer is that there cannot be "moral limits" or a need to justify secession to the ruler you are divorcing. There are, however, practical considerations and philosophical outlooks societies can make that promote cohesion and membership. So it is the moral right to self determination of every individual as long as there is practical consideration of his neighbour's rights.
An outlaw is someone who has been determined to be outside the law, and most relevantly outside of any due process considerations. The default state of an individual's secession is that of outlaw. The outlaw is solely responsible for his own protection. There is no crime in harming an outlaw. This is a fundamentally negative life state in that there is vulnerability to extortion and accusations of an offense by anyone in the surrounding society, and so even if you spend substantial resources to be able to fend off a sizable militia or armed gang, you can not protect yourself against the power of national armies, and if any member of society can invoke the wrath of the state against you, and you lack due process recourse, then you will lose. There is furthermore a likelihood that the state has political leanings in favour of persecuting those that would declare themselves outlaws against the state.
The lack of due process (equality of rights between incumbent society members and the seceded/outlaw) is the impracticality of individual secession. The fairly simple solution is to subscribe to a due-process-service. Quite possibly even the incumbent state's due process service.
I define an inlaw as a seceded person who retains equal due process and state-granted-human rights to the people around him. To secede inlaw with Canada means to subscribe to its body-of-law-with-provable-harm-to-a-victim-other-than-the-perpatrator (excludes criminalization of self-victimization such as watching bad tv, masturbation or drug use, and excludes presumptive victimization (victim cannot prove harm, but political forces treat victim as child incapable of agency) such as child labour, prostitution, polygammy, and minor interpersonal conflicts). The seceded inlaw group is free to differ in criminalization of activities involving non-provable harm. The purpose of the subscription is to protect the seceded inlaw from victimization by the rest of society, and similarly protect society from the inlaws, through due process mechanisms rather than vigilantism and war. It should be possible to subscribe to alternate sentencing guidelines (for example victim/social compensation instead of incarceration).
Paying for the subscription to due process has many options. The first step is finding out how much it costs. Education and welfare have a portion of their costs attributable to crime prevention benefits to society and the inlaw. The entirety of police, judicial, and incarceration cost system per capita should be chargeable to the inlaw. The inlaw's property value could influence the cost and terms of his due process protections, in the sense that someone with more value to protect would pay more for the protection component of due process services.
Paying for due process rights of accused can be on a separate basis than paying for the privilege of invoking judicial protection of the inlaw's rights. A per-capita levy, and/or income tax can pay for due process jurisdiction over the inlaw. Usage fees or wealth tax are an option in paying for part of the costs involved in seeking judicial assistance to protect the inlaw.
Inlaw secession is thus a negotiation between the incumbent society and the divorce applicant. Payment principles are to be cost based. The incumbent society likely has a power advantage in the negotiation to select the type of cost basis that advantages it most, but mediation can assure that the payment formulas remain cost based.
One petty reason to secede is to continue enjoying the benefits of a civilized society while trying to avoid paying for them: A tax avoidance argument for secession. While excessive military and police spending, irresponsible debt, and crony-plutarchist alliances and dominance of a nation are perfectly reasonable grounds for secession, tax avoidance (while retaining social advantages) is not. Natural tax policy provides fair taxation principles to incumbent societies, and further provides practical disincentives to secede based purely on tax arbitrage.
Natural tax policy has 3 core components. It equalizes taxation of investment and employment income; It serves as a progressive consumption tax; and it taxes income (or more accurately, cashflow) in the jurisdiction where it is earned rather than the jurisdiction where the earner resides. This last feature is the key to permitting fair principled secession. Business income taxes can be viewed instead of a tax on profit, as a tax on revenue and tax credits on expenses. Natural tax policy replaces revenue taxes with cash inflow taxes, and expense credits with cash outflow credits. Taxes and tax credits can be incurred in different jurisdictions. The net effect of these tax policies is that imports (products or employment labour) are taxed the same as domestic purchases, and exports from a jurisdiciton become tax-subsidized by that jurisdiction. In the relationship between a seceded inlaw and the incumbent society, his employment and business income from that society remains taxed by the society. Since seceded-inlaws or other nations' imports bring in tax revenue but don't result in social service outlays, there is a social profit obtained by allowing the formation of peaceful seceded inlaws and trading with them. It prevents the formation of seceded inlaws for the purpose of leeching from established society.
It is society's fundamental right to tax income within its borders. A free man is free to not earn income from outside his borders, and free to not trade. There is voluntary relationship between societies/inlaws. Natural taxation policy and subscriptions to due process provide social cohesiveness that discourage secession based on purely economic grounds, as the inlaw may continue to pay a substantial share of social costs while losing some of its benefits. However, natural taxation policy and due process subscriptions remove all moral basis for the state to object to secession of individuals or groups. There is no economic disadvantage to the state of secession. If an individual or group has a philosophical objection to continued participation in the state, and agrees to the state's right to natural taxation and sharing the costs of due process systems to resolve conflicts between their populations, then the only basis for the state to object to their secession, is a claim of privilege for continued ownership/enslavement and continued rulership, and therefore obvious tyranny.
Modern secessionist movements have mostly been based on distinct society arguments: That a common people deserve self rule. We all deserve self rule. Democratic contests where the winner rules over the losers must be through the consent of the losers. Otherwise they are violent, even if the losers are too powerless to oppose the rule, and no actual violence is observable. That our societies have increasingly vitriolic opposition of philosophies should allow the political losers to discuss secession, even if the only purpose/outcome is to limit corruption and tyranny of the political winners through compromise to retain rulership over the opposition's followers. With a small number of political parties, there is no guarantee that each party's leadership is free of corruption, or that every citizen perfectly identifies with one of the party platforms. The right of secession must thus be extended to small groups and individuals. Even if political disappointment does not necessarily lead to political violence, political disappointment is disappointing. There is no justification for forcing disappointment on people.
Quebec has had its secessionist movement framed as a distinct society argument. The argument never resonated with me when it was in the context of seceding from a liberal Canada. The cultural divide seemed irrelevant in the context of general philosophical compatibility. In
Peaceful secession as outlined in this paper has reasonable expectations to remain peaceful. Refusal to be ruled by a group has no expectation to lead to refusal to trade with them. A country that allows you to secede should not cause either party to harbour ill feelings. Natural governance allows societies to cooperate more broadly than due process subscriptions/agreements. They can share regulatory and social support frameworks, so secession doesn't have to imply full separation of sovereign hierarchical frameworks.