|January 14th, 2010||#1|
9 Vt. state office candidates favor secession
Peter Garritano thinks it's time for Vermont to call it quits with America.
The way the 54-year-old automobile salesman sees it, the "empire" is about to implode and tiny Vermont can lead the way by becoming its own independent republic. So he's running for lieutenant governor, topping a slate of secession-minded candidates seeking statewide offices this year.
Their name: Vermont Independence Day.
"The only hope is to just say, 'Look, this isn't working for us. We want to start fresh again, with a real democracy,'" Garritano said. "I think that's the answer. Hopefully, it won't take another horrible economic breakdown to realize that the people running things don't look out for the little guy, or us, or the soldiers. It's all about profit and getting the last drops of oil on Earth and trampling people's rights."
Garritano, gubernatorial candidate Dennis P. Steele and seven candidates for state Senate seats plan to declare their candidacies Friday.
Their cause isn't new: It's the latest incarnation of a movement that's bubbled in Vermont and elsewhere for years. Alaska, Hawaii, New Hampshire and Texas all have made noise about seceding, to no avail.
Their method is: Organizers say it's the first time since the Civil War that a secession movement has fielded a slate of candidates for statewide office, although individual pro-secession candidates have run before.
Few political observers give them much hope of winning, even in a left-leaning state where the popular Republican governor's decision not to seek re-election has touched off a scramble among would-be successors, with five Democrats and a Republican in a wide-open race for the seat headed to the Nov. 2 election.
Unlikelier still is the idea that, if elected, the candidates could accomplish their goal, critics say.
"This is the triumph of hope over reality," said Garrison Nelson, a political science professor at the University of Vermont and a longtime observer of the state's political scene. "The whole movement was spawned by having George W. Bush as president. My guess is that with (Barack) Obama as president and this being Obama's second-best state, the wind has been taken out of their sails."
In fact, Obama's failure to close the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has fueled some of the candidates' positions.
Long on outrage about the status quo but short on details about the new order they envision, they say Vermont could establish its own Social Security system, tend to health care and maintain roads using the billions of dollars in taxes it could save by not paying federal taxes.
Steele, a U.S. Army veteran, says if elected he'll call a statewide convention to consider articles of political independence and try to get Vermont National Guard troops returned home from the wars.
But as Dartmouth College professor of government Linda Fowler says, "The problem (with secession) always is the one the framers pointed out: Governmental units that are so small end up being vulnerable to their neighbors, in all kinds of ways."
For now, the focus is on the campaign in Vermont, where the secession candidates — on a shoestring budget — plan a largely Internet-based campaign. As of Wednesday, they hadn't launched a dedicated Web site, though one is planned.
Garritano, a Shelburne independent who's never run for office before, promised his wife the campaign wouldn't cost them much money. He's sticking to that: So far, he's spent $20 on business cards.
Come November, he won't be identified as a "secession" candidate on the ballot; it will just say "independent."
"If somehow, miraculously, I got elected lieutenant governor, I'd make an effort to get back some of our rights — right to freedom of speech, freedom of association and other Constitution-Bill of Rights things that have been taken away from us," Garritano said.
Steele, a 44-year-old political neophyte from Kirby who owns Internet radio station Free Vermont Radio, says he'll take a grassroots approach to campaigning — traversing the state in a recreational vehicle with his wife, 5-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son.
"The plan is to travel around the state with my family, try to make it a fun thing," he said. "Go out, do some live broadcasts, pound some doors and then come back to the campground with my family in the RV."
Former Gov. Thomas Salmon is among those who doubt Vermont will ever break its ties with Washington, D.C.
"Do I think Vermont has a realistic chance of seceding in the near-term, midterm or long-term future? No, I don't," said Salmon, who served in the 1970s. "We did our time as an independent Republic, from 1777 to 1791. I think one time as an independent republic is enough."
|January 22nd, 2010||#2|
Leaving a bruise
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Land o' Bears, PA
Car salesman Garritano's obviously not a Constitutionalist: "We want to start fresh again, with a real democracy". Moving from a republic to direct mob rule with every idiot "entitled" to vote is a large part of what went wrong with the U.S.
That said, while I support secession by the States, Vermont isn't going anywhere. Like the other 49, their government is tightly latched onto the Federal teat.
This message is hidden because Dan_O is on your ignore list.
This message is hidden because N.M. Valdez is on your ignore list.
|February 1st, 2010||#3|
Join Date: Aug 2009
Vermont Secession Is Leftist
I get the impression the Vermont secession movement is a bunch of left-wing and Jewish academics in turtle-neck sweaters sipping Chardonnay at little intellectual drinky-dos at art galleries and university cocktail parties.
|May 14th, 2012||#5|
[have bolded naylor and also my own comments interpolated]
Thomas H. Naylor on Leviathan, Secession and Vermont's Small Nation Dream
by Anthony Wile
The Daily Bell
Introduction: Thomas H. Naylor, Professor Emeritus of Economics at Duke University, is a writer and a political activist who has taught at Middlebury College and the University of Vermont. For 30 years he taught economics, management science and computer science at Duke. As an international management consultant specializing in strategic management, Dr. Naylor has advised major corporations and governments in over 30 countries. During the 1970s he was President of SIMPLAN Systems, a 50-person computer software firm whose clients were Fortune 500 companies in the US and abroad. Recognizing that the United States had become more like its former nemesis the Soviet Union than most Americans care to admit, in 2003 he founded the Second Vermont Republic, a nonviolent citizens network and think tank opposed to the tyranny of corporate America and the US government and committed to the return of Vermont to its status as an independent republic. Ode Magazine editor Jay Walljasper dubbed him, “Tom Paine for the 21st century.” The New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Adbusters, Christian Science Monitor, The Nation, and Business Week have published his articles. For additional information, visit www.vermontrepublic.org.
Daily Bell: Can you give us some background on yourself?
Thomas H. Naylor: I grew up in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1950s where my father admonished me to "be cautious" and always be concerned about "what people will think." I was never very cautious nor very concerned about what people thought. I used to refuse to stand when Dixie was played at Ole Miss football games, and I understood fully the significance of that decision.
After three years at Millsaps College I moved to the Great Satan, New York City, and entered Columbia University where I earned a B.S. in Industrial Engineering. Two years later I received my M.B.A. from Indiana University. Summer jobs at International Paper Company, Sun Oil and Dow Chemical convinced me that Corporate America was not for me. At I.U. I became interested in computers, which played an important role in my life for the next 20 years.
In 1961 I began teaching management science at Tulane University while working on my Ph.D. in Economics. Upon completing my Ph.D. I joined the faculty of Duke University where I taught economics, management science and computer science for 30 years. For 6 years I taught all of the courses in Corporate Strategy at Duke's Fuqua School of Business.
In 1969 I co-founded the L.Q.C. Lamar Society, an organization of progressive young Southerners committed to the premise, ironically, that the South should return to the Union, get off the race kick and start solving its own problems. By 1972 literally all of the important progressive political leaders in the South, black and white, were members of the Lamar Society. Some of them included Jimmy Carter, Winthrop Rockefeller, Terry Sanford, Julian Bond, Maynard Jackson and Andrew Young.
During the 1970s I was president of SIMPLAN Systems, a 50-person computer software firm whose clients included Fortune 500 companies such as General Motors, United Air Lines, McDonald's, IBM, Shell Oil, Texaco, Monsanto, Pacific Gas & Electric and Kuwait International Petroleum. I was a strategic management consultant to major corporations and governments in over 30 countries. The happiest day of my life was when I sold the company to a bunch of Germans for a profit in 1979.
As a result of the fact that the Russians illegally published one of my books on computer based planning models and free market models, in the Soviet Union in 1974, I received a steady flow of Soviet and Eastern European visitors to Duke until 1991. This gave rise to a 1982 visit to Moscow for a preview of perestroika three years before Gorbachev came to power. My book was being used to build computer simulation models to evaluate the effects of introducing free market capitalism into the Soviet economy. Throughout the 1980s I made frequent visits to the Soviet Union, Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. In 1985 I married a Polish psychiatrist. My life would never be the same.
Between 1982 and 1991 I became a self-appointed, unpaid, cheerleader for Gorbachev, whom I considered to be the greatest political leader of the 20th century. During this period The N.Y. Times published several of my pieces about the Soviet Union.
On the evening of January 16, 1991, ten minutes before the bombing began in Baghdad, William H. Willimon, Dean of the Duke Chapel, and I launched a freshman seminar on "The Search for Meaning." Three years later Willimon, my wife Magdalena and I published a book bearing the same title. This was the first of five books Willimon and I would co-author, the last of which was Downsizing the USA in 1997.
In 1993, my wife, son Alexander and I moved to Vermont in search of community. We found it. Vermont is different – very different. It is all about the politics of human scale – small towns, small businesses, small schools and small churches.
Vermont provides a communitarian alternative to the dehumanized, mass-production, mass-consumption, overregulated, narcissistic lifestyle which pervades most of America – an alternative to the politics of money, power, speed, greed, gridlock and fear of terrorism.
Recognizing that the United States had become more like its former nemesis the Soviet Union than most Americans care to admit, in 2003 I founded the Second Vermont Republic, a nonviolent citizens network and think tank opposed to the tyranny of Corporate America and the US government and committed to the return of Vermont to its status as an independent republic, as it had been between 1777 and 1791.
Daily Bell: How did you come to be involved in the Vermont secessionist movement?
Thomas H. Naylor: Nearly three years before I moved to Vermont, on October 9, 1990, The Bennington Banner published my article entitled "Should the U.S. Be Downsized?" Four years later in Challenge (Nov.-Dec. 1994) I wrote, "The time has come both for the individual states and the federal government to begin planning the rational downsizing of America." Continuing, I suggested that Vermont might lead the way by helping "save our nation from the debilitating effects of big government and big business" and by "providing an independent role model for the other states to follow."
In 1997 William H. Willimon and I published Downsizing the U.S.A., which not only called for Vermont independence, but the peaceful dissolution of the American Empire. We argued that the US government had become too big, too centralized, too powerful, too undemocratic, too militaristic, too imperialistic, too materialistic and too unresponsive to the needs of individual citizens and small communities. However, since we were in the midst of the greatest economic boom in history, few Americans were interested in downsizing anything. The name of the game was "up, up and away." Only bigger and faster were thought to be better.
For the most part, before September 11, 2001, my call for Vermont independence and the dissolution of the Empire fell on deaf ears. It was as though I were speaking to an audience of one, namely myself. But a year or so after 9/11 that gradually began to change. On March 5, 2003, two weeks before the second war with Iraq began, I spoke at an anti-war rally at Johnson State College and decided to test-market the idea of an independent Vermont.
Basically, my pitch to the students was, "If you want to prevent future wars in places such as Afghanistan and Iraq, we have no choice but to break up the United States into smaller regions and that process should begin with Vermont declaring its independence from the United States." They were stunned, but they got it. Their positive response literally provided the energy to launch the Second Vermont Republic.
Ten days after the bombing began in Baghdad on March 19, 2003, we held the first of four monthly meetings at the Village Cup in Jericho to discuss how such a movement might evolve. These meetings were attended by only a handful of people. Early on we decided not to become a political party but rather a civic club. The name "Second Vermont Republic" was proposed by Jeffersonville high school student Walker Brook and registered with the Secretary of State on June 19, 2003.
Over lunch in the backyard of the Bread & Puppet Theater Museum in Glover, Vermont on July 18, 2003, the puppeteers, under the leadership of Peter Schumann, agreed to cooperate with the Second Vermont Republic to promote Vermont independence.
In conjunction with the release of my book The Vermont Manifesto on October 11, 2003, the first statewide meeting of the Second Vermont Republic was held in the New Building of Bread & Puppet Theater in Glover. The daylong meeting was attended by around 50 people.
During the two preceding years I received a dozen or so letters from Ambassador George F. Kennan and Harvard economist John Kenneth Galbraith voicing their support for a Second Vermont Republic. About the idea of Vermont independence, Kennan said, "I see nothing fanciful, and nothing towards the realization of which the efforts of enlightened people might not be usefully directed." Galbraith added, "I must assure you of my pleasure in, and approval of, your views of the Second Vermont Republic."
Daily Bell: Tell us more about the movement itself. How has it unfolded and where it is going?
Thomas H. Naylor: The Second Vermont Republic is a nonviolent citizens' network and think tank committed to: (1) the peaceful breakup of meganations such as the United States, Russia and China; (2) the political independence of breakaway states such as Quebec, Scotland and Vermont; and (3) a strategic alliance with other small, democratic, nonviolent, affluent, socially responsible, cooperative, egalitarian, sustainable, ecofriendly nations such as Austria, Finland and Switzerland which share a high degree of environmental integrity and a strong sense of community.
Supporters of the Second Vermont Republic subscribe to the following set of principles:
- Political Independence
- Human Scale
- Economic Solidarity
- Power Sharing
- Equal Opportunity
- Tension Reduction
October 11, 2003 – SVR holds first statewide meeting at Bread & Puppet Theater in Glover, VT.
June 19, 2004 – Parade in downtown Montpelier with Bread & Puppet followed by State House rally attended by 350 people. Vermont declares independence.
November 5-7, 2004 – SVR and the Fourth World sponsor an international conference on "After the Fall of America, Then What?" The Middlebury Institute is launched.
January 15, 2005 – SVR celebrates Vermont Independence Day at the Langdon Street Café in Montpelier.
March 4, 2005 – SVR holds a memorial service to commemorate the day in 1791 when Vermont joined the Union.
April 22, 2005 – Award-winning journal Vermont Commons is launched.
April 2005 – Vermont Legislature adopts resolution naming January as Vermont History and Independence month.
June 3-5, 2005 – SVR officially represented at the fifteenth national Congress of the Parti Québécois in Quebec City.
October 28, 2005 – SVR holds first statewide convention on secession in the US since 1861. The event takes place in the House Chamber of the State House and is attended by 300 people.
November 3-5, 2006 – Middlebury Institute holds First North American Secessionist Convention in Burlington, VT. The convention attracts delegates from 16 secessionist organizations in 18 states.
April 12, 2007 – UVM Center for Rural Studies releases results of its annual "Vermonter Poll" showing that thirteen percent of eligible voters in Vermont support secession, up from eight percent a year earlier.
June 3, 2007 – Associated Press releases a piece entitled "In Vermont, Nascent Secession Movement Gains Traction." Article is run worldwide by hundreds of newspapers, websites, radio stations and TV stations.
June 4-5, 2007 – SVR founder Thomas H. Naylor is interviewed by Fox News three separate times including The O'Reilly Factor.
October 3-4, 2007 – Second North American Secessionist Convention takes place in Chattanooga, TN. Representatives from thirty states attend. It too receives worldwide media attention.
November 7, 2008 – Second Statewide Convention on Vermont Independence in the House Chamber of the State House in Montpelier.
November 14-16, 2008 – Third North American Secession Convention in Manchester, NH.
May 22, 2009 – Dennis Steele launches Radio Free Vermont, a Vermont based music Internet station.
October 6, 2009 – SVR issues Scott Nearing 50 clover silver token.
January 15, 2010 – Ten secessionists announce their candidacy for the November 2nd election including candidates for Governor and Lt. Governor, seven Senate seats and one House seat.
January 10, 2011 – SVR named one of the "Top 10 Aspiring Nations" in the world by Time magazine.
September 14, 2012 – Third Statewide Convention on Vermont Independence in the House Chamber of the State House in Montpelier. Keynote speakers: Morris Berman and Lierre Keith.
Daily Bell: It is not so much in the news these days. Is it less of a force?
Thomas H. Naylor: Three events put SVR on the political radar screen so to speak: (1) George W. Bush's response to 9/11 – the war on terror; (2) the 2003 war in Iraq; and (3) the 2004 re-election of Bush. Bush was probably the movement's greatest asset.
Vermont is perhaps the most left-wing state in the nation. Two-thirds of the voters supported Barack Obama in his 2008 election bid. To the political left in Vermont, led by Senator Bernie Sanders, Obama represented the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. After three years some Vermonters on the political left have finally figured out that Obama does not walk on water and is merely a smirk-free George W. Bush. But because he is smarter, more articulate and more charismatic than Bush, he is much more dangerous. Secession is a very tough sell in Vermont as well as elsewhere. In January of 2009 it became a much tougher sell.
Abraham Lincoln really did a number on us 150 years ago. He convinced most Americans on the political Right as well as the Left that secession is a complete anathema. Secession is thought by most to be immoral, illegal and unconstitutional. Never mind the Declaration of Independence, the fact that the United States was born out of secession from England, the tenth amendment to the Constitution and the escape clauses which three of the original thirteen states had built into their respective constitutions. Secession immediately conjures up images of slavery, the Civil War, racism and violence. Many otherwise intelligent Americans neither know how to pronounce or spell the word secession. More often than not it is pronounced as though the correct spelling were s-u-c-c-e-s-s-i-o-n.
Because of the perceived absurdity of tiny Vermont confronting the most powerful empire of all-time, the Second Vermont Republic has arguably attracted more attention outside of Vermont than within. It's classic David and Goliath.
Since its inception SVR has employed two quite different parallel strategies in its efforts to promote secession – a hard sell approach and a soft sell approach. Neither has proven to be particularly effective.
The hard sell paradigm confronts the issue head-on. Because of its size, the United States government has become unmanageable and unfixable. Our nation has lost its moral authority and is unsustainable. A state such as Vermont either goes down with the Titanic or seeks other options. Secession is one such option. But because of its association with the Civil War, secession is toxic as hell. The mere mention of the word brings forth the charges of racism from the political left. It is virtually impossible to have an intelligent conversation about the subject with a liberal ideologue.
The alternative paradigm speaks of political independence as though it were some desired state of being achievable in the future only after a state such as Vermont achieves economic, energy and agricultural independence. Middlebury College environmentalist Bill McKibben has wrongheadedly convinced many Vermonters that political independence is an impossible dream without food and energy independence. McKibben is apparently unaware of the fact that Japan, the third largest economy in the world, imports every drop of oil that it consumes as well as most of its food. Secession is not a synonym for economic isolationism.
The problem with the soft sell paradigm is that its supporters are so busy planting organic gardens, building root cellars, cutting their own wood, acquiring solar panels and driving their Priuses that they don't even notice the nine hundred pound gorilla in the room, namely, the American Empire. So benign is the soft sell approach that is adherents never get around to talking about political independence.
Nine years of experience with the Second Vermont Republic have convinced me that the real issue is neither Vermont, states' rights, secession, political independence, energy independence, agricultural independence, nor economic independence but rather the American Empire itself. In the words of economist Paul Craig Roberts, "The United States is an immoral country, with an immoral people and an immoral government. Americans no longer have a moral conscience. They have gone over to the Dark Side."
There is no longer any moral justification whatsoever for the existence of the United States. The only morally defensible alternative to empire is peaceful dissolution.
So long as the Empire remains intact, there will be no end to all of the nasty little wars, corporate personhood, Wall Street dominance and our unconditional support for the Israeli military machine. These are all gifts from the Empire.
Peaceful dissolution could be initiated at the state, regional or national level through some combination of demonstrations, strikes, protests, tax revolts, civil disobedience and eventually secession. The US Congress could even initiate dissolution but don't hold your breath over that option.
Since dissolution would be nationwide in scope, it would arguably be less self-centered and less ethnocentric than if a single state such as Alaska, Texas, or Vermont tries to go it alone. Everyone has skin in the game so to speak. The primary focus would not be on "What's in it for my state?" but rather on ending global dominance and military madness, stopping the exploitation of the poor and the middle class by the superrich, curbing the use of fossil fuels and other natural resources, curtailing the dependence on economic growth at any cost, reining in corruption and deceit and ending the suppression of civil liberties.
Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, for example, might join the four Atlantic provinces of Canada to create a little country the size of Denmark and call it New Acadia. Upstate New York and New York City might split into two separate countries. Chicago and Los Angeles could become independent city-states. Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Florida and Texas might go it alone with South Texas and South Florida splitting off separately. It's not hard to imagine California being divided into three countries and Washington, Oregon and British Columbia evolving into Cascadia. A New South and a Rocky Mountain Republic also seem like likely possibilities.
We have no illusion that a large number of Americans will embrace dissolution any time soon. Our problems will have to become a lot worse before that happens. But the time to start the conversation is now! How many people predicted the 1991 implosion of the Soviet Union? Planned, orderly dissolution is surely preferable to unexpected collapse and utter chaos.
If the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street eventually figure out that the US government is unfixable, then they may both turn to peaceful dissolution as the only game in town.
Daily Bell: Tell us about the books you have written on secession and how you came to focus so forcefully on this issue.
Thomas H. Naylor: I have published three books on secession: Downsizing the USA (with William Willimon, 1997), The Vermont Manifesto (2003), and Secession (2008). Given the level of ignorance about secession in the United States, the degree to which it has been demonizedand the fact that there were virtually no books on the subject, I decided to take a shot at it.
Daily Bell: What are you doing now? How do you make a living? Are you switching careers in a sense?
Thomas H. Naylor: I spend most of my time writing about Vermont independence and the peaceful dissolution of the American Empire. I write for the SVR website as well as Counter Punch.
My personal income comes from my Duke retirement, book royalties, speaking fees and investments in gold. My wife has a real job.
As my friend, Yale economist Martin Shubik, used to say, the Second Vermont Republic keeps me out of the pool halls.
Daily Bell: It is interesting that you have degrees in science and industrial engineering. You also received a Masters in Business from Indiana University in 1961 and a Doctor of Philosophy in Economics from Tulane University in 1964. How did you become so motivated to learn so much?
Thomas H. Naylor: Mathematics, computers and economic theory provide the underlying linkages connecting my academic disciplines. These tools are also useful for conceptualizing complex socio-economic, political problems. As for motivation, if one grew up in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1950s, one couldn't avoid being imbued with a heavy dose of the Protestant ethic and an intense desire to get out of Dodge.
Daily Bell: Did you intend to become a kind of Renaissance man?
Thomas H. Naylor: One of the advantages of teaching at Duke University was that it afforded me the opportunity and the freedom to reinvent myself every few years. By that I mean the freedom to go into some totally unrelated field about which I knew nothing. Although I began my career as an econometric model builder in 1964, I became actively involved in Southern politics in 1969 and also launched a ten-year career in corporate simulation model building that year. SIMPLAN Systems was started in 1971. During the 1980s I did a lot of consulting for major companies in strategic planning. Beginning in 1982 and continuing until the Soviet Union imploded in 1991, the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe were my passions. Then in 1991 I turned to the search for meaning and French writer Albert Camus. Today I am at work on a philosophy of peaceful rebellion against the human condition – separation, meaninglessness, powerlessness and death.
Daily Bell: You taught at Duke, which is known as a communally oriented academy. Did you absorb this ethos?
Thomas H. Naylor: Clearly, I benefited from the sense of community at Duke University. However, my interest in community took a quantum leap forward in 1992 while my wife and I were working on "The Search for Meaning." We decided to take a family vacation in Switzerland, Austria and Northern Italy to see if life in Alpine villages was all that it was cracked up to be. We wrote about this in our book and moved to Vermont in search of community.
Daily Bell: Do you consider yourself a socialist? A progressive? How would you peg yourself?
Thomas H. Naylor: I am a left-leaning libertarian with strong anarchist tendencies. This means that I believe there are two enemies, the US government and Corporate America, the latter of which owns the former.
Although I voted for Nixon in 1960, Kennedy had won me over by 1962. I remained a liberal Democrat until the early 1990s when slick Willie Clinton pushed me over the brink. In addition to being a pathological liar, Clinton was a conservative Republican disguised as a liberal Democrat. He gave the Republicans their every wish. He made me realize that there is absolutely no difference between the Democratic and Republican parties. They are both corrupt to the core.
Daily Bell: You taught economics. Are you a Keynesian? An Austrian?
Thomas H. Naylor: I am mostly a pragmatic eclectic. Every time I was being considered for promotion (twice) at Duke there was only one issue. "Is Naylor a real economist or not?" It was probably the right question.
Basically, I am favorably disposed towards markets. I am also a gold bug. Does that make me an Austrian? On the other hand I am not averse to the use of government spending to stimulate the economy. Does that make me a Keynesian?
Two of my favorite economists were Joan Robinson, a Marxist, and Leopold Kohr, an Austrian.
Daily Bell: Can you give us a critique of why Austrian economics has expanded so fast? Coincidence? Internet?
Thomas H. Naylor: I believe Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher did about as much for Chicago and Austrian economics as anything else.
Daily Bell: What kind of impact has the Internet had on the world and your movement?
Thomas H. Naylor: The Vermont independence network has no doubt benefited from the Internet. We have four websites and most of our supporters communicate via e-mail. However, I am not nearly so sanguine about the Internet as most. It may be one of the most anti-intellectual, anti-educational, anti-creative, anti-social devices ever invented – capable of destroying community, undermining democracy, creating a spiritual vacuum, inducing emotional instability and downloading the human mind.
[ridiculous. smacks of trying to attract attention by making outrageous statement. there is a downside to the internet but it's not the bad stuff he points to]
My view of the Internet is similar to Henry David Thoreau's view of the magnetic telegraph. "We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas, but Maine and Texas may have nothing important to communicate. We are eager to tunnel the Atlantic and bring the Old World nearer the New, but perchance the first news that will leak through into the broad, flapping American ear will be that Princess Adelaide has the whooping cough."
Microsoft's Bill Gates and others claim that the Internet leads to empowerment and enhanced democracy. But who is being empowered by whom? As e-mania has exploded, voter turnout has declined, as well as every other form of civic participation including involvement in religious groups, town meetings, local school activities, civic clubs, union meetings and political organizations. People transfixed by PCs and cell phones have little time to participate in anything and are a threat to no one.
If one surfs the Internet one can find hundreds, if not thousands, of Web sites espousing every conceivable political philosophy. There are endless blogs and chat rooms devoted to the discussion of politics. But is anyone really listening to all of this electronic chatter? Above all, what the Net does extremely well is keep us busy – distracted from noticing what the cipherpriests are doing to us in the name of freedom and democracy. Social networks like Facebook are more of the same.
While individual Internet junkies pretend to be doing their own thing, in reality they are insignificant pawns in a vast global experiment in commercially controlled anarchy. They are, in fact, doing precisely what the high priests would have them do.
Daily Bell: Is the Internet a kind of modern Gutenberg Press?
Thomas H. Naylor: I believe I have already answered this question. I have no e-mail address, no cell phone and no telephone answering machine but I do have a copy machine.
Daily Bell: You were president in the 1970s of a 50-person computer software firm with Fortune 500 clients worldwide. You were also an international management consultant advising major corporations and governments in over thirty countries. What do you think of corporate America? Is it a problem?
Thomas H. Naylor: I have the same problem with Corporate America that I do with the US government – size! Many American corporations, banks and other financial institutions, just like the federal government, are simply too big. In the words of Leopold Kohr:
There seems only one cause behind all forms of social misery: bigness. It appears to be the one and only problem permeating all creation. Wherever something is wrong, something is too big.
[it's more centralization than bigness]
Daily Bell: Are modern corporations a problem? Do you they need to be further regulated?
Thomas H. Naylor: Big corporations are a problem. Small ones are not.
If Vermont had been an independent republic ten years or so ago, it could have kept Wal-Mart out. However, the US Constitution makes it virtually impossible to do so. Wal-Mart is the Great Satan of Corporate America.
I am against all forms of bigness – big government, big business, big cities, big farms, big schools, big universities, big buildings, big churches, big military and big social welfare.
Daily Bell: Your articles have appeared in so many publications. What is your main message?
Thomas H. Naylor: The American Empire is a metaphor for the human condition – separation, meaninglessness, powerlessness and death. Peacefully rebel against the money, power, speed, greed and size of the icons of the Empire – the White House, the Congress, the Pentagon, Wall Street, the Internet, Fox News, Wal-Mart, McDonald's, as well as the churches, schools and universities which try to appease them. Live life to the fullest and try to die happy.
Daily Bell: Why did you move to Vermont? Was your activism mostly as a result of the increased activity of the US military industrial complex?
Thomas H. Naylor: During my last four years at Duke we actually lived in Richmond, Virginia where I commuted back to Duke weekly. Unfortunately, Richmond was going to hell in a hand basket. There were 160 homicides for 200,000 people during our last year. In a big year Vermont experiences a dozen murders for a population of 625,000 people. My wife had three personal friends independently murdered in Richmond.
[remember - this is the guy who founded a 'progressive' southern society urging the South to 'get off the race kick.' Naylor is looking less impressive the longer he runs his mouth. as though race is a matter of attitude rather than reality.]
The move to Vermont was motivated by a longing for community and the search for a proxy for an Alpine village. Vermont is neat, clean, rural, green, democratic, nonviolent, safe, noncommercial, egalitarian and humane. It is a mirror image of the way
America once was, but no longer knows how to be.
[just as he can't see that race is what's wrong with richmond, he can't see that it's what's right about vermont. god knows it's not the politics. even crazy leftists make livable environments - if they dont have any muds around to play with and inflict on their saner white neighbors. this guy is a racist without being conscious of the fact. or, thinks he's anti-racist, but his own life actions belie that. you would think someone as high-IQ as he is would at some point bring the contradictions to the surface and ponder them honestly. i mean, he's at pains to portray himself the bold rebel, and if that's the case, why is he afraid to depart from the Regime's dictated philosophy on race? humans, rather than bring their beliefs into line with reality-slash-race (another way the internet is useful, the url slashy way of organizing things), prefer the self-flattering view that their beliefs or politics or religion is more important than basic biology, which can be brought to heel through dogma or by simply ignoring it, as Naylor does here.]
Supporters of the Second Vermont Republic would like to free themselves from a government which condones illegal wars with Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Pakistan, unconditional support for the Israeli military machine, a foreign policy based on full-spectrum dominance and imperial overstretch, multitrillion dollar budget deficits, endless Wall Street bailouts, corporate greed and fraud, environmental degradation, dependence on imported oil and a culture of deceit.
Daily Bell: Should the US cut back on welfare as well as the military-industrial complex, or should the US aggressively provide more military aid to countries that have been apparently identified as potentially in danger of "terrorist" destabilization?
Thomas H. Naylor: There is no such thing as a just war. Wars are about money, power, wealth, size and greed. Wars are fought not to achieve social justice, but to serve the interests of political elites pretending to be patriots, who demonize their alleged enemies so as to manipulate their minions into sacrificing their lives for false ideals.
The threat of Islamic terrorism is a problem of our government's own making. It is grounded in American arrogance, ignorance, racism, imperialism and support for the terrorist state of Israel. President Bush's so-called war on terror was an insidious campaign to create fear and hatred among Americans and Europeans towards Muslims so as to rationalize a foreign policy aimed at doing whatever is necessary to control their oil in the Middle East. Under President Obama it's more of the same. Plus the threat of terrorism helps justify trillion-dollar plus defense budgets, 1.6 million American troops stationed in 1,000 bases in over 153 countries, special operations strike forces in 120 countries and pilotless drone aircraft operating worldwide.
Daily Bell: You were involved in the 2004 "radical consultation" among various grass roots secessionist groups in Middlebury, Vermont, which resulted in the creation of the Middlebury Institute. Tell us about that.
Thomas H. Naylor: November 5-7, 2004, forty people from eleven states and England attended a conference at the Middlebury Inn co-sponsored by SVR and the Fourth World of Wessex, England entitled "After the Fall of America, Then What?" The Fourth World, which published The Fourth World Review, a periodical inspired by Leopold Kohr and Fritz Schumacher, was committed to small nations, small communities, small farms, small shops, the human scale and the inalienable sovereignty of the human spirit. Speakers included Kirkpatrick Sale, Robert Allio, Frank Bryan and Thomas H. Naylor.
The underlying premise of the conference was that the United States had become unsustainable, ungovernable and unfixable. If that were indeed the case, then do we go down with the Titanic or seek other alternatives? Among the options discussed at Middlebury were denial, compliance and political reform, proven to be dead-ends; revolution, rebellion and implosion, equally problematic; and decentralization, devolution and peaceful dissolution. The conference also included a mock town meeting.
At the close of the meeting over half of the delegates signed The Middlebury Declaration, which called for the creation of a movement that would "place secession on the national agenda, encourage secessionist organizations, develop communication among existing and future secessionist groups and create a body of scholarship to examine and promote the ideas and principles of secessionism." The Middlebury Institute headed by Kirkpatrick Sale is now engaged in the pursuit of these goals. The Middlebury Institute sponsored three North American Secession Conventions in Burlington, VT (2006), Chattanooga, TN (2007) and Manchester, NH (2008).
Daily Bell: You were criticized when it was alleged that some advisory board members had affiliations with Neo-Confederate groups, such as the League of the South (LOS). Can you tell us how that happened and what was your rebuttal?
Thomas H. Naylor: From the outset we expected to be attacked by right-wing, flag-waving, superpatriots, since we were calling for the peaceful dissolution of the American Empire. What we had not expected was that beginning in February 2007, we would become the target of a vicious five-year smear campaign spearheaded by the cash cow of the civil rights movement, the hate-mongering, witch-hunting, left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center accusing SVR and its founders of racism. In 2008 they issued a so-called "Intelligence Report" on SVR which read like a government document written by either the CIA, the FBI, or the Israeli Mossad. In reality these charges had absolutely nothing to do with racism. They were, in fact, payback for the articles which I had written criticizing the US government for its unconditional support of the apartheid state of Israel which routinely engages in genocide and ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians.
Daily Bell: We have identified a lot of Green influences on the Vermont secession movement. Are you behind a carbon tax agenda?
Thomas H. Naylor: I think it is safe to say that there is a strong green influence in the Vermont independence movement. Although Vermont Commons, the multi-media voice of Vermont independence has most likely published some pieces about the carbon tax, it is not one of our passions. Remember, we are more interested in dissolving the Empire rather than fixing it.
Daily Bell: Is the world running out of oil?
Thomas H. Naylor: Although a geologist I am not, I tend to agree with James Howard Kunstler that the world is most likely running out of oil. Kunstler was the keynote speaker for both our 2005 and 2008 statewide conventions.
If one looks closely at all of the wars the US is engaged in, hegemony of the supply of crude oil appears to be the common subtext, not freedom and democracy. I think they are all about oil.
Daily Bell: Does the world need a UN style carbon solution – carbon tax, etc?
Thomas H. Naylor: I'm not a big fan of the UN, just one of many international organizations which is too big to manage. Others include the World Bank, IMF, NATO and the EU. The UN is merely a front organization for the US State Department.
Daily Bell: Are you pro Smart Meter in order to track and tax people's carbon usage?
Thomas H. Naylor: I am unconditionally opposed to the so-called smart meters. Big Brother lives on.
Daily Bell: Is the Vermont secessionist movement formally Green, as the Huffington Post suggested?
Thomas H. Naylor: The SVR mission statement says:
Sustainability: We celebrate and support Vermont's small, clean, green, sustainable, socially responsible towns, farms, businesses, schools, and churches. We encourage family-owned farms and businesses to produce innovative, premium-quality, healthy products. We also believe that energy independence is an essential goal towards which to strive.
Daily Bell: The New Hampshire secessionist movement is not Green. Is this why you have not made common cause with them?
Thomas H. Naylor: I am assuming you are referring to the New Hampshire Free State Project. It is not a secession movement. Its primary aim seems to be to abolish the government of New Hampshire and create a state that has no government and no taxes. SVR is not in that business.
Also, a couple of years ago I spoke at the Free State's annual convention. Half of the people there were actually carrying loaded weapons, as if to say "Mine is bigger than yours." Vermont has no gun control laws, but you will not find people at the SVR statewide convention walking around with loaded weapons. Frankly, I thought it looked pretty stupid!
Daily Bell: Where do you stand on Ron Paul? Will you vote for him? Will your movement endorse him? Why or why not? Is he a friend of secessionism?
Thomas H. Naylor: I like Ron Paul a lot. After all he is a graduate of the Duke University Medical School, just like my wife. Ironically, I met him in 1995 at a secession conference sponsored by the Von Mises Institute in Charleston, SC. It may have been the most interesting conference I ever attended.
I find myself in complete agreement with his positions on foreign policy, reduced military spending, Israel and the Federal Reserve. But in his heart of hearts, Ron Paul seems to believe that the US government is still fixable. All we need do is return to the Constitution and everything will be just fine. But it will never happen. Our Congress is owned, operated and controlled by Wall Street and Corporate America. They like the way the Constitution is being interpreted and will see to it that nothing changes.
In the end, Ron Paul, not unlike the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street, is just another distraction preventing the American people from seeing that America is in a death spiral. We will not be able to reform our way out. This is the endgame! The vast majority of Americans are in a complete state of denial. Congressman Paul, the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street are there to make sure we don't wake up.
Daily Bell: Where do you stand generally on the US as empire? Ron Paul disagrees with this sort of Leviathan.
Thomas H. Naylor: A nation that has nearly 1,000 military bases in 153 countries, by definition, cannot be anything other than an empire.
President Obama's 2012 "Proud to be an American" State of the Union address was little more than a collection of narcissistic American clichés aggrandizing our military prowess and hyping war with Iran. Among the Republican candidates for president, only Ron Paul has not engaged in this form of demagogic drivel. As today's most war-like nation, America's penchant for trying to solve complex geopolitical problems with simplistically violent and destructive military solutions goes virtually unchallenged.
Unfortunately, there is absolutely nothing new about the notion of American exceptionalism. Its historical origins can be traced back to the concept of "Manifest Destiny" or "God's will" to justify our annihilation of Native Americans starting in the 16th century. Although our nation was founded on the principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the story of how Native Americans were relentlessly forced to abandon their homes and lands and move into Indian territories to make room for American states is one of arrogance, greed and raw military power.
The barbaric conquest of Native Americans continued for several hundred years and involved many of our most cherished national heroes, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe and Andrew Jackson, to mention only a few. Adding insult to injury, the US government has violated over 300 treaties, which were signed to protect the rights of the American Indians.
In over 200 years, the North American continent has never been attacked – nor even seriously threatened with invasion by Japan, Germany, the Soviet Union, or anyone else. Despite this fact, over a million Americans have been killed in wars and trillions of dollars have been spent by the military – $13 trillion on the Cold War alone.
Far from defending its homeland, Washington has drafted citizens to die in the battlefields of Europe (twice), on tropical Pacific islands and in the jungles of Southeast Asia. On dozens of occasions political leaders have used minor incidents as provocation to justify sending troops to such far-flung places as China, Russia, Egypt, Greenland, Uruguay, the Samoa Islands, Cuba, Mexico, Haiti, Nicaragua, Panama, Grenada, Lebanon and Iraq. Today the United States has a military presence in 153 countries.
Back in the 1980s, even as it was accusing the Soviet Union of excessive military aggression, the Reagan administration was participating in nine known wars – Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Chad, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Morocco and Nicaragua. The US bombed Tripoli after the CIA alleged that Libyan secret forces blew up a nightclub in West Berlin, invaded Grenada and repeatedly attempted to remove Panamanian dictator Manual Noriega.
President Bush I deployed over a half million American troops, 50 warships and over 1,000 warplanes to the Persian Gulf in 1991 at the "invitation of King Fahd of Saudi Arabia to teach Saddam Hussein a lesson." Most Americans proudly supported this little war. President Clinton's repeated bombing of Iraq invoked a similar response, even though the Iraqi people had never inflicted any harm on the United States. It matters not whether we send troops to Haiti, Somalia, Bosnia, or Kosovo or bomb Afghanistan, Pakistan or Libya. America is "exceptional." "We're number one," and might makes right.
And since 9/11 the Bush-Obama war on terror has just been more of the same. Full spectrum dominance and imperial overstretch are the premises on which American foreign policy is based. All of which leads to so-called "smart diplomacy" that means sending in drones, Navy Seals and Delta Force death squads to show who's boss. That's what American exceptionalism is all about – Empire!
Daily Bell: You don't think the US is governable anymore. Do you believe in smaller government?
Thomas H. Naylor: Just as it was impossible to manage 280 million people from one central bureau in Moscow, so too is it impossible to manage 310 million people from Washington. The Soviet Union was too big and contained too many heterogeneous republics, ethnic minorities, religions and nationalities to be run by Kremlin bureaucrats. Why should we be surprised that gridlock is the rule on Capital Hill? What else could we expect from one legislative body trying to represent so many heterogeneous states, ethnic minorities, political ideologies and religious sects? The United States is ungovernable and, therefore, unfixable. It is but one of eleven countries in the world which has a population of over 100 million people, all of which are ungovernable.
I believe the time has come for the smaller nation of the world to confront the meganations and say, "Enough is enough. We refuse to continue condoning your plundering the planet in pursuit of resources and markets to quench your insatiable appetite for consumer goods and services." These small nations should call for the nonviolent breakup of the United States, China, Russia, India, Japan and the other meganations of the world.
A small group of peaceful, sustainable, cooperative, democratic, egalitarian, ecofriendly nations might lead the way. Such a group might include Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.
[all nations conspicuous for their Whiteness, altho Naylor pretends not to notice. talk about implicit Whiteness, he's a perfect example]
What these five European nations have in common is that they are tiny, very affluent, nonviolent, democratic and socially responsible. [really? is that all?] They also have a high degree of environmental integrity and a strong sense of community. [and? and?] Although Denmark and Norway are members of NATO, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland are neutral. Once considered classical European democratic socialist states, the four Nordic states in the group have become much more market-oriented in recent years. Not only is Switzerland the wealthiest of the lot but it is also the most market-oriented country in the world, with the weakest central government, the most decentralized social welfare system and a long tradition of direct democracy. [cuz itz filled with Linders, i might unhumblate] What's more, all of these countries work, and they work very well. Compared to the United States they have fewer big cities, less traffic congestion, less pollution, less poverty, less crime, less drug abuse and fewer social welfare problems. [less niggers, mexes and muslims too]
Three other small countries that might also join the party are environmentally friendly Costa Rica, which has no army, ecovillages pioneer Senegal and the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. Since 1982 the king of Bhutan has been trying to make Gross National Happiness the national priority rather than Gross National Product. Although still a work-in-progress, policies instituted by the king are aimed at ensuring that prosperity is shared across society and that it is balanced against preserving cultural traditions, protecting the environment and maintaining a responsive government. [stinks of throw-in to assuage people realizing all his real examples are the whitest kids in the hall]
This group of small, nonviolent, sustainable countries could evolve into the Small Nations' Alliance. Such an alliance might encourage the nonviolent breakup of meganations, the peaceful coexistence of a community of like-minded, small nations and the independence of small breakaway states such as Quebec, Tibet and Vermont from larger nations. The Small Nations' Alliance could become a sort of international cheerleader supporting breakaway nations.
We do not envision the SNA as an international governing body with the power to impose its collective will on others. Rather we see it as a role model encouraging others to decentralize, downsize, localize, demilitarize, simplify and humanize their lives. Membership in the SNA will be open to those nations who subscribe to the principles of the SNA and are approved for membership by a consensus of SNA members. The only mechanism available for enforcing policies endorsed by the SNA would be expulsion from the organization for noncompliance.
According to Leopold Kohr: "A small-state world would not only solve the problems of social brutality and war; it would solve the problems of oppression and tyranny. It would solve all problems arising from power."
Daily Bell: What should government do?
Thomas H. Naylor:
Power Sharing. Vermont's strong democratic tradition is grounded in its town meetings. We favor devolution of political power from the state back to local communities, making the governing structure for towns, schools, hospitals and social services much like that of Switzerland. Shared power also underlies our approach to international relations.
[just as words in writing must carry their weight, perform their responsibilities, so it is with localism and decentralization - it puts the onus and the freedom where they belong - on the man. we are note just WHITE men, we are white MEN. white antzis don't understand that because they are essentially white niggers who want a system in which they get treated as well as black niggers do in AmeriKwa, a jewish production. but the reason white race is worth thinking about, caring out, working to defend, is not sucky or average whites, it's great whites. any system that doesn't protect and place first the white minority from which the good living conditions we all enjoy arise is hardly worth worrying about. the right not to be attacked because of your race; the right to keep money you earn - there end your 'rights' against fellow Whites. the rest is up to you. if that scares you, then you are a white nigger.]
Equal Opportunity. We support equal access for all Vermont citizens to quality education, housing, employment and health care.
[either meaningless or socialist bilge]
Tension Reduction. Consistent with Vermont's long tradition of "live and let live" and nonviolence, we do no condone any form of state-sponsored violence. [what about the violence of coerced money extraction to provide 'equal access'? are you against that too? oh. you support it. ok. so you sort of mean what you say, but you more don't.] An independent Vermont will have no standing army. In its place will be a voluntary citizens' brigade to reduce tension and restore order in the event of civil unrest and to provide assistance when natural disasters occur. Tension reduction is the bedrock principle on which all international conflicts are to be resolved.
Community. We support a strong sense of community among our citizens and their neighbors including their international neighbors. [does Vermont's being monoracial rate a mention here? no?]
Daily Bell: Is government always force? Is force necessary within the context of the human condition? Should rulers always use force?
Thomas H. Naylor: A common underlying problem throughout the United States is over institutionalization. An institution is a self-perpetuating social organization created to achieve a specific purpose that enables its founders and their allies to maintain power and control over other members through a set of formal rules and regulations. Over institutionalization has overwhelmed America and resulted in a loss of community; economic, political and social chaos; as well as violence and war, so says Butler D. Shaffer in his prescient book Calculated Chaos: Institutional Threats to Peace and Human Survival (2004).
[a lot of what he says sounds like a not very effective way of restating what libertarians have already said most directly and persuasively. the problem is statism, not some vague institutionalization. private institutions have to serve customers or have some source of uncoerced funds to keep going. government institutions do not. There is a very big difference between Walmart and the Post Office, but Naylor treats them as the same thing.]
Our lives have become hopelessly entangled with and therefore controlled by, a plethora of institutions. We have become increasingly registered, licensed, taxed and digitized. According to Professor Shaffer, "We are born in hospitals, educated in schools, married in churches, employed in business establishments or government agencies, supervised by political authorities, retired with institutional pension plans and government security benefits, and we return to hospitals to die." (p. 20)
Continuing, Shaffer adds, "The political State has not established order; religions have not made us more moral; education has not blessed us with wisdom; the mass-marketed affluence or our industrial system has not provided us with security; our ideologies have not advanced our understanding." (p.269) "Institutions are the principal means by which conflict is produced and managed in society. The success of institutions depends upon the creation of those conditions in which personal and social conflict flourish." (p.6) "In unity there is vulnerability, not strength." (p. 292)
No institution better illustrates the problem of overinstitutionalization than the government of the United States of America. The US is currently engaged in a never-ending war against Islam disguised as a war on terrorism.
According to Leopold Kohr: "For whenever a nation becomes large enough to accumulate the critical mass of power, it will in the end accumulate it. And when it has acquired it, it will become an aggressor, its previous record and intentions to the contrary notwithstanding."
Daily Bell: What is the future of your movement and the US secessionist movement in general?
Thomas H. Naylor: Secession is a radical form of rebellion grounded in anger and fear with a positive vision of the future. For reasons stated previously, secession is a very tough sell in Vermont and elsewhere.
The decision to secede necessarily involves a very personal, painful four-step process:
1. Denunciation. The United States has lost its moral authority and is unsustainable, ungovernable and unfixable.
2. Disengagement. I don't want to go down with the Titanic.
3. Demystification. Secession is a viable option constitutionally, politically and economically.
4. Defiance. I personally want to help take my state back from big business, big market and big government, and I want to do so peacefully.
By far the most difficult step in the process of deciding to embrace secession is the emotional one of letting go of one's images of America as "the home of the free and the brave" and "the greatest nation in the world." These images have been ingrained in most of us since early childhood. Reinforced by World War II, the Cold War, an uncritical education system and our pro-American media, they are very difficult and painful to shake.
The decision to secede involves reaching the point where you are unwilling to risk going down with the Titanic and must seek out other options while there are still other options on the table. Secession is one such option. But it may very well be the only viable option available to us.
The Second Vermont Republic has neither the resources not the persuasive powers to convince people to consider secession. Unfortunately, our problems will have to become much worse before a significant number of people will become more interested in secession in Vermont or elsewhere. However, some combination of the collapse of the euro, war with Iran, or the election of Mitt Romney could give rise to a dramatic increase in interest in secession.
Our next major event will take place in the House Chamber of the Vermont State House in Montpelier on September 14, 2012. It will be our Third Statewide Convention on Vermont Independence. Keynote speakers will be Morris Berman, author of Why America Failed, and Lierre Keith, co-author of Deep Green Resistance.
Daily Bell: Are you worried about growing authoritarianism in the US?
Thomas H. Naylor: Yes. Virtually everything we ever accused the Soviets of back in the 1980s we are guilty of in spades. Ronald Reagan was right when he accused the Soviet Union of being an evil empire. What he overlooked was the fact that it was not the only evil empire in the world.
Daily Bell: Any more books planned?
Thomas H. Naylor: Since shortly after 9/11 I have been working on a theory and philosophy of rebellion called Rebél. Its preface follows:
What are the people of Germany doing? Sleeping. Their sleep is filled with nightmares and anxiety, but they are sleeping. We have awaited their awakening for so long, yet they continue to remain stolid, stubborn, and silent as to the crimes committed in their names, as if the entire world and its own destiny had become alien to them. All agree: the German people slumber on amid the twilight of their gods. They do not love liberty, because they hate criticism. That is why they are sleeping today.
~ Albert Camus, September 17, 1944
Albert Camus's insightful description of life in Nazi Germany, which appeared in the clandestine Resistance newspaper Combat a few weeks after the Liberation of Paris, could just as well have been written about life in the United States today. Not unlike the people of Nazi Germany, the American people are also asleep.
[exceptionally uninsightful and semitically correct to boot. NS Germany stood against the machine you fight, Naylor, and did a little more to stop it than you dare. trying to cast our political problems as though they are purely mechanical and not racial is wrong, and probably just an evasion. the need to evade the racial is the larger part of the problem, i think.]
We have slept through the annihilation of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Palestine, a war with Islam, the rendition of terrorist suspects, prisoner abuse and torture, the suppression of civil liberties, citizen surveillance, corporate greed, pandering to the rich and powerful, global warming, full spectrum dominance, imperial overstretch, and a culture of deceit. Massive military spending, multi-trillion dollar budget deficits and Wall Street bailouts, mounting trade deficits, and a precipitous decline in the value of the dollar have gone virtually unnoticed.
During our long period of slumber the United States government has lost its moral authority. It is owned, operated, and controlled by Wall Street, Corporate America, and the Israeli Lobby with the full complicity of the national media. The United States has become ungovernable, unfixable, and, therefore, unsustainable economically, politically, militarily, and environmentally. It has evolved into the wealthiest, most powerful, most materialistic, most racist, most militaristic, most violent empire of all times.
[is it really slumber? there is huge suppression in the US, and if the people truly were slumbering, the effective censorship and gray-area suppression wouldn't be necessary. but to admit that brings up Lenin's questions of who? whom? And then the gig is up for all the purely mechanical explanations. The libertarians you try to copy without crediting are mostly right, as far as they go, but they don't go far enough. What they leave out is where the real power struggle begins. Decentralized white individualism is only possible on and under the protective shell of white collectivism. Why does it trouble anyone to recognize that whites are both individual men and members of a racial community? Neither of these are opposed, except where perverts and profiteers are concerned, and both dovetail.]
Paraphrasing H.L. Mencken, "The leaders we admire most are those who tell us the biggest lies. Those whom we trust the least are those who tell us the truth."
[The second is correct; the first is at best an exaggeration. Dumb people have a perfect instinct for being suspicious of the wrong things. Eliminate the positive. We all like cookies, blowjobs and attractive wallpaper. No need go on about it. Accentuate the negative! Hate the right things, the rest takes care of itself.]
While claiming to be individualists, we behave as world-class conformists. We think the same, share many of the same religious beliefs, vote the same, watch the same TV programs, visit the same websites, and buy the same low-priced Chinese plastic yuck from Wal-Mart. [Yeah you know how else we're the same? We all want to be different. We all want to be individualist. As the wise woman said, Some of them may seem cool and different...but really they're all pretty much the same. True, and no need to be glum about it. If weren't at least similar in taste there'd be no basis for common life.] "All the women are strong, the men are all good looking, and all the children are above average," just as they are in Garrison Keillor's mythical Lake Wobegon. And we all pretend to be happy. But is it really true?
Even though we spend over $10 trillion annually on consumer goods and services, $2.5 trillion of which is for health care, and billions more on spiritual gurus and religious shamans, are we as happy as we pretend to be? [Who is pretending to be happy? Everybody thinks everybody but him is too materialistic. Are people truly excessively materialistic? I don't think they actually are. To the extent they appear to be, it's more because they are following a pattern unthinkingly because they lack imagination. Showed something different, they often prefer it. Anti-materialism is so so easy to spout rhetorically, it makes you feel good and superior. But there is nothing at all funny or historically common or not-valuable about having lots of life-sustaining physical items at arm's length.] I think not, because what we are up against is the human condition, God's gift to us in the Garden of Eden from which there is no escape – separation, meaninglessness, powerlessness, and death. Not a pretty sight. Our feel-good religious leaders to whom we turn for spiritual solace try unsuccessfully to sugarcoat it. French existentialist Albert Camus called it absurd.
Unfortunately, the American Empire itself is a metaphor for the human condition. Tens of millions are drawn to the Empire in search of a refuge from the human condition only to discover that the Empire is an integral part of the problem, not the solution.
What are our options in terms of possible responses to the existential angst produced by the human condition? Escape, denial, engagement, and confrontation.
First, we may escape the human condition altogether through suicide. We may choose death and nothingness now over the pain and suffering associated with separation, meaninglessness, powerlessness, and fear of eventual death.
Second, we may deny the human condition through a life based on having – owning, possessing, manipulating, and controlling people, power, money, machines, and material wealth. Through having we try to find security and certainty in an otherwise uncertain world. Our compulsive desire to have leads to affluenza, technomania, cybermania, megalomania, robotism, globalization, and imperialism. Some call it technofascism. It often leads us into the arms of the Empire in search of a safe haven, which turns out to be illusory.
Third, we may choose to engage the human condition through being – by our creations, our personal relationships, our spirituality, our sense of community, and our stand towards pain, suffering and death. So-called simple living is a popular form of being. But if the world is going to hell in a hand basket, for how long can a life based only on being allay our angst?
Fourth, we may confront the human condition and peacefully rebél against the money, power, speed, greed, and size of the icons of the Empire – the White House, the Congress, the Pentagon, Wall Street, the Internet, Google, Facebook, Fox News, Wal-Mart, Apple, and McDonald's, as well as the churches, schools, and universities which suck up to them.
[uh...i don't much from the above except pseudo-plaintive wails. you don't like walmart, dont shop there. you don't like macdonalds dont eat there. their existence is hardly cause for this soggy weltschmerz.]
Rebél is a philosophy of rebellion. [i dont know. it sounds more like a fruity designer name for Green Mountain Springwater that actually comes out of a Montpelier municipal tap.] It provides us with the faith to claw meaning out of meaninglessness [is that harder than extracting the meat out of a walnut? cuz that is fucking difficult and i'm not sure i'm up to it, energywise], the energy to connect with those from whom we are separate, the power to surmount powerlessness, and the strength to face death rather than deny it. Since the word rebel has more than one meaning, we use Rebél to connote resistance to authority and control. [that's is so...cute]
Two rebels are our role models – Jesus Christ and Albert Camus. One was thought to have been the Son of God, the Messiah, the other a French agnostic. One offered a message of hope; the other admonished us to "live only with what we know." Both had an uncanny grasp of the human condition and an unwavering predisposition towards nonviolent rebellion against it. Somewhat surprisingly, the Holy Bible turns out to be one of the best handbooks a rebel can read whether one be an atheist, an agnostic, or a believer.
[what is the human condition? eczema? i never get that phrase. wtf does it mean? it always sounds like a skin problem to me. then again the human condition could be bad hair days. they're just too common.]
If life is absurd, is there any reason to believe that tomorrow or the day after will be any different from yesterday or the day before, as in the movie Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray? Even though no cosmic source of meaning has been revealed to us, we find ourselves drawn to Camus's idea that the purpose of life is to die happy and that the path to a happy death leads straight to rebellion. [uh...i'm not going to purpose-of-life school from someone who ends up in vermont.]
Therefore, rebél against the human condition and the Empire, live life to the fullest, and try to die happy by mindfully defining your personal legacy, which some call your soul.
[bring it down a level, chachi. how can i live life to the fullest if i can englutinate a dollar double cheeseburger from time to time?]
However, Camus warns us that rebellion is no bed of roses. "Conformity is one of the nihilistic temptations of rebellion. It demonstrates how the rebel who takes action is tempted to succumb, if he forgets his origins, to the most absolute conformity." [well here's a better way to put it: you can't escape authority. or, as has been said, those who live outside the law must be straights in a different way. to rebel with the aim of achieving an end - that end conditions your behavior, if you're serious, even more than the 'conformists' unfelt constraints.]
Rebél is not for everyone, particularly not the faint of heart, for it offers no spiritual elixir or magic potion to relieve our existential pain. It is neither a fire insurance policy against hell, nor a ticket to heaven. It is not a touchy-feely, self-help, feel-good, be-happy philosophy promising pie-in-the-sky to its adherents. Religious fundamentalists, pacifists, and those in search of a spiritual nirvana are not likely to be drawn to Rebél. Although it may not be what we learned in Sunday school, it surely beats nothingness.
[too philosophical. how about we concentrate on identifying and solving ordinary human problems, even if they are huge and overwhelming because of their size. our government is ruled by a certain group and pushed to a certain end. if we are normal whites, the only way to change this is to come together on the right basis, racial, and alter the status quo.]
Rebél is about the peaceful denunciation, demystification, and defiance of the tyranny of ciphers, which psychiatrist M. Scott Peck called people of the lie. Its radical imperative involves disengagement, decryption, decentralization, downsizing, and dissolution.
In the meantime,
Thomas H. Naylor
Daily Bell: Sites, articles and information you'd like to recommend?
Thomas H. Naylor:
Second Vermont Republic
Radio Free Vermont
Morris Berman, Why America Failed (2011).
Aric McBay, Lierre Keith and Derrick Jensen, Deep Green Resistance (2011).
Thomas H. Naylor and William H. Willimon, Downsizing the USA (1997).
Thomas H. Naylor, Secession (2008).
Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience (1849).
Daily Bell: Thanks for sitting down with us.
Thomas H. Naylor: It was my pleasure. Imagine...Free Vermont!
Reprinted with permission from The Daily Bell.
May 14, 2012
Anthony Wile is an author, columnist, media commentator and entrepreneur focused on developing projects that promote the general advancement of free-market thinking concepts. He is the chief editor of the popular free-market oriented news site, TheDailyBell.com. Mr. Wile is the Executive Director of The Foundation for the Advancement of Free-Market Thinking – a non-profit Liechtenstein-based foundation. His most popular book, High Alert, is now in its third edition and available in several languages. Other notable books written by Mr. Wile include The Liberation of Flockhead (2002) and The Value of Gold (2002).
Last edited by Alex Linder; May 14th, 2012 at 01:30 PM.
|December 25th, 2012||#6|
Thomas Naylor, RIP
Posted by Lew Rockwell on December 24, 2012 01:28 PM
The great secessionist was a former Duke economics professor, and not exactly an Austrian, but we found common cause in opposing the centralized state and its empire. He championed small nations, and especially a Second Vermont Republic. When Vermont is free, this Mississippian must be recognized as its founding father.
Thanks to Kirkpatrick Sale for this obituary.
THOMAS NAYLOR, R.I.P.
Thomas Naylor—he would cringe at anyone calling him “Tom”—was an extraordinary man and his spirit and his influence will be missed by many.
Thomas died recently of heart failure, in Vermont, the state he and his Second Vermont Republic organization dreamed of having secede from the American Empire he so loved to hate. It’s doubtful if that group will continue without him, but the Vermont Commons folks and others like-minded will keep the dream alive.
I first met Thomas around 2000, when we both attended a seminar chaired by Donald Livingston, the Emory philosophy professor, to discuss the seminal work of Leopold Kohr, The Breakdown of Nations, for which I had written a fond introduction. Around a table of academic rightwingers, with more than a whiff of neoconservative about them, he was the only one to unreservedly understand and appreciate the book and its compelling proof of the desirability and necessity of small nations. We hit it off immediately, of course, and in the course of that weekend I came to know his authenticity, perspicacity, and kindness.
We corresponded a bit, and then in late 2003, when John Papworth, editor of the Fourth World Review in England, was looking around for a place to hold his next “Radical Consultation” meeting, I suggested Thomas and John immediately lined him up for a meeting in Vermont for the next year. Thomas had already started his Second Vermont Republic, an organization of mostly himself working to create a separate state for Vermont as it had been between 1777 and 1791, and he agreed to devote the meeting to a discussion of (and we hoped commitment to) secession. We eventually met in Middlebury in early November (the earliest date after the leaf-viewing season when we could afford the rooms) and devoted two days to answering the question of what could serious people, committed to really changing the government we suffer under and creating societies responsive to human needs, actually do in the world.
We began, naturally, discussing—and shortly dismissing—electoral politics, since no one believed significant change would come out of the present system and present parties—and this was just a few days after Bush had bought himself another Presidency. And we took no time in rejecting the reformist lobby-Congress trap that so many liberal groups spend so much time and money on, since that was dealing with those same corrupt parties. Next we considered the third-party alternative, looking at what effect Perot and Nader had on national affairs—damn little, since the major parties control the system—and concluded that any participation in a corrupt electoral system simply leads to having to be beholden to the same special interests that the major parties are.
What alternatives left? Well, reform and revolution, of course, and we had a few people championing that, but it didn’t take long to realize that all the power was on the other side and they wouldn’t be afraid to lose it, while a guerrilla uprising figured to be costly and futile as well.
That, naturally, leaves only secession, and Thomas was an able champion here in putting forth this to people, most of whom had not even thought of this as an alternative before this session. He tended to stress what I came to call the Push reasons for secession—that is, it allows a state to get out from under an inept, dysfunctional, and evil empire so as not to go down with its inevitable collapse, and it frees it from the taxes, wars, regulations, and entangling alliances of that empire. I favored more the Pull reasons—that is, the benefits the state would get if it was on its own, able to gain some measure of democracy, some hands-on control over the decisions that effects its life, in matters such as fuel, food, and finances, some sense of independence and self-determination.
It was not a super-easy sell, since many of these people had more anarchistic tendencies, pointing out the difficulties of trying to run any government no matter how small, but in the end almost everyone came around. At the end of the day we issued a Middlebury Declaration saying, in part:
“The principle of secession must be established as valid and legitimate. To this end, therefore, we are pledged to create a movement that will place secession on the national agenda, encourage nonviolent secessionist organizations throughout the country…and create a body of scholarship to examine and promote the ideas and principles of secession.”
And thus Thomas Naylor in effect created the secession movement and gave impetus to its growing influence over the next decade.
Thomas never wavered from his support for the movement and particularly the Vermont part of it, but he would have his causes and his strategies within it that once they caught his attention he would carry on with a passion.
That led him, for example, to meet up with some people who remembered when Scott and Helen Nearing were setting up their homestead in Vermont, and when he studied Scott’s writings he found enough of the fierce independence fire (despite the underlying Marxism) to convince him that Nearing was a fitting symbol for the Second Vermont Republic—and anyway, that ought to bring the radicals and the liberals, not to mention back-to-the-landers, into the movement. He somehow met up with a man in Long Island capable of making silver coins, and wouldn’t you know that within a few months the SVR website was offering $50 coins with Nearing’s image on one side and a Vermont flag on the other. That the first 500 of these sold out did nothing to convince some of us that Nearing (who was a lifelong socialist and moved to Maine after giving up on Vermont) had no more to do with secession than Mickey Mouse, but Thomas’s enthusiasm never slacked.
Another of his early passions was the idea of a secessionist think-tank. He didn’t want to do it himself, having enough trouble figuring how to shape an SVR that wasn’t invaded by do-gooders and anarchists and the lot of ex-hippies in search of a cause, so he dumped it on me. I little fancied the idea, but he insisted I was the one for it, and in 2005 I gave in and created the Middlebury Institute “for the study of separation, secession, and self-determination,” a grand-sounding affair that was nothing more than a website run from my study but was, and remained, a beacon for those interested in examining the subject. Thanks in part to Thomas’s urging, I sponsored three national congresses of secessionist organization from around the country (at various times there were as many as 35 operating), gaining considerable media attention, and putting the movement on the map.
Then in 2011 Thomas read Morris Berman’s Why America Failed, animated by this vision: “The principal goal of North American civilization, and of its inhabitants, is and always has been an ever-expanding economy—affluence—and endless technological innovation—‘progress.’ A nation of hustlers, writes [Walter] McDougall, a people relentlessly on the make.” That was right down Thomas’s pike and he wrote a glowing review (as did I, of course) and began to mull over a manifesto that would, in effect, detail how America had profoundly failed as a nation of hustlers and how its present empire was beyond redemption.
That eventually became—after contributions from many people and a rewrite by me (it’s what I do)—the Montpelier Manifesto, issued at and endorsed by an Independence Convention at the Vermont State House earlier this year. Its introduction will give some idea of how it captured much of Thomas’s vision:
“We, citizens of this American land, haunted by the nihilism of separation, meaninglessness, and powerlessness, subsumed by political elites who use corporate, state, and military power to manipulate our lives, pawns of a global system of dominance and deceit in which transnational megacompanies and big government control us through money, markets, and media, sapping our political will, civil liberties, collective memory, traditional cultures, sustainability, and independence, and as victims of affluenza, technomania, cybermania, globalism, and imperialism, do issue and proclaim this Document of Grievances and Abuses.”
That was Thomas through and through, in his fullest Push mode. But the manifesto ends with a nod to the Pull factor:
“Let us therefore consider ways peaceably to withdraw from the American Empire by (1) regaining control of our lives from big government, big business, big cities, big schools, and big computer networks; (2) relearning how to take care of ourselves by decentralizing, downsizing, localizing, demilitarizing, simplifying, and humanizing our lives; and (3) providing democratic and human-scale self-government at those local and regional levels most likely to effect our safety and happiness.”
Thomas’s newest passion, and one that alas he did not live to see through, was a conference gathering as many small nations as possible to discuss their important status in the world as balances to the megastates and set up an on-going organization to keep up a steady criticism of those megastates and empires and to encourage small nations and small nations-to-be—like, for example, Vermont. He had formulated this passion while reading a book by the prince of Liechtenstein, Hans-Adam II, on the importance of the world’s smallest states, of which his was one of the smallest (and wealthiest), and so of course he wrote a review of the book (including a criticism of the prince’s favorable view of the American empire) and sent it off to the prince.
That began a several-week correspondence, and in the end the prince agreed to sponsor a small-nation conference exactly as Thomas had envisioned it. He passed the organizing job on to a scholar who runs the Liechtenstein Institute of Self-Determination in Princeton that he established a few years ago, and there was every reason to think that a conference might be held by the end of next year. Thomas and I talked about it on the phone several times, and he was sure that this would be the instrument finally to stick it to the American empire and gain worldwide backing for the secession movement here and elsewhere.
He won’t live to see it, but his colleagues in Vermont and I, with the help of the Liechtenstein institute and the prince, are determined to make it come off, in memory of Thomas, of course, but also because like most of what Thomas did in his life, it is a good and necessary, and ultimately important, cause.
We will miss him.
Kirkpatrick Sale is director of the Middlebury Institute and the author of a dozen books over fifty years, including most recently Emancipation Hell: The Tragedy Wrought by the Emancipation Proclamation 150 Years Ago (Amazon.com).
|December 26th, 2012||#8|
|April 18th, 2013||#9|
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Lake Tahoe
Certainly Vermont would be among the LAST states to break off.
Shit, the libtards up there practically invented Obongo.
Im starting to think Alaska could be the first state to try to secede.
The gubs would never allow it.
Texas will become a blue state shortly.
|April 18th, 2013||#10|
Join Date: Jan 2013
My email said something like - why would you appoint a Jewish director when getting away from Jews is probably the single most important goal of most serious secessionists. Sale sent a copy to the Jew, who replied that he found it amusing. I stopped following either of them, so I don't know what progress either has made.