This book is a follow-on to The Vermont Manifesto, which I absorbed and reviewed in 2006 when I first realized that there existed a vibrant nation-wide network of secessionist movements, with Vermont being among the most ably represented.
I strongly recommend this book for every citizen. Regardless of who "wins" this mock election, we all lose--the two-party bi-opoly is a crime family, and absent electoral reform the Republic is dead. As the author of this book puts it, "our" government is corrupt to the core." I will be speaking briefly to the annual reunion of the two dozen secessionist movements in New Hampshire on 15 November 2008, and I will be encouraging every one of the movement to announce an intent to exercise its right to withdraw from a corrupt Union *unless* the pseudo-President agrees to implement four core reforms (they are outlined, along with the legitimate grievances of the varied secessionist movements, in Election 2008: Lipstick on the Pig (Substance of Governance; Legitimate Grievances; Candidates on the Issues; Balanced Budget 101; Call to Arms: Fund We Not Them; Annotated Bibliography).
This book opens with a tremendous introduction by Kirkpatrick Sale, author of Human Scale and dean of the Middlebury Institute that furthers the secessionist movement.
The book then offers a summary of the earlier work, eight points in the manifesto:
1) increasingly difficult to protect ourselves from big everything
2) government is too everything, including intrusive and unresponsive
3) US government has lost its moral authority both at home and abroad
4) we have a single (criminal) political party [I for one weep at the charade that the Democrats have put on with 700 million in largely illegal contributions made possible by Obama not being able to honor his word to the public)
5) The "American way" is a way of greed, exploitation, and waste
6) America's foreign policy is immoral and illegal as well as unconstitutional
7) To be a part of the Empire is to invite terrorist attack
8) The existing "nation" is ungovernable, unfixable, and unsustainable.
Beginning on page 43 the author addresses each of the options he can think of (the author is a professor emeritus from Duke):
3) political reform
I am charmed by the author's overview of many of the emerging trends, mostly negative, that I have found in so many non-fiction books over these past few years. He outlines examples of domestic imperialism, calls into question the 9/11 "official story", and lambastes both corporations and the federal government for fraudulent book-keeping.
On page 76 he lists the eight principles that are explained at length in the earlier work:
1) Political Independence
2) Human Scale
4) Economic Solidarity (some would call this "buy local")
5) Power Sharing
6) Equal Opportunity
7) Tension Reduction
This program is achieved in four steps that are discussed in detail by the author:
1) Denunciation (I have certainly tried to do that with my own reviews)
3) Demystification (i.e. secession is NOT sedition, it cannot be)
The middle of the book is a description of Vermont in compellingly attractive terms, and two points stay with me: they outlawed billboards; and Vermont is one of two states whose banks did not fail in the Great Depression, and one of three states whose banks did not fail in the 1980's.
The author observes that the Inter-State Commerce Act is used to force Wal-Mart into Vermont, and sadly notes the reality that too many Vermonters do not understand that cheap prices from Wal-Mart are achieved by destroyed local jobs and the rest of the earth (see among many works, Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price.
The author provides a very helpful overview of Constitutional History of Secession which is the thickest book in my secession reading pile, and the last I will get to. Bottom line: every state has a right to secede from the Union, and it is the Constitution, not the Union, that we are all sworn to uphold.
The author provides a fine overview of how Eastern Europe led the way in modern secession, with favorable references to Vaclav Havel and his book, Power of the Powerless: A Brother's Legacy of Love (Crossroad Book).
The book moves to a conclusion in observing that Alaska, Hawaii, Texas, and California (the latter with three secessionist movements calling for three separate republics to be made out of the state, the eighth largest economy on the planet per the author), are all ripe for activism. The author does not make this point so I will: the best time for any group to secede is when the larger group is bogged down in a foreign war that is bankrupting the whole.
He ends by citing Switzerland, with 7.3 million people total, as an excellent model for the Second Vermont Republic by itself, but his own hope is for a New Arcadia consisting of the eastern part of Canada with New Hampshire, and Main joining Vermont. This presumes Quebec's eventual success (and one can also anticipate Alaska moving on the Empty Quarter while British Columbia links up with Washington and Oregon and the sane part of California (the northern part). See The Nine Nations of North America, still the best overview around.
I cannot say enough good things about this book, I consider it a core reading for any adult with brain who cares about the Constitution, the Republic as it was conceived by the Founding Fathers, and the cause of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness which our federal government is supposed to be about, but is not.
Three others books within my ten link allowance:
The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World That Works for All
A Power Governments Cannot Suppress
Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace
I do not favor secession IF (big IF) we can force the matter of the four reforms on the pseudo-President at the Citizens Summit that will take place in Denver in February 2009.