October 25, 2005


THE VERMONT INDEPENDENCE CONVENTION: An Impossible Dream or a Vision of the Future? (Vermont Independence Convention, October 28, 2005, State House
Montpelier, Vermont)

James Howard Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency, will be the keynote speaker at The Vermont Convention on Independence to be held in the House Chamber of the State House in Montpelier on Friday October 28th. Sponsored by the Second Vermont Republic, the convention, which will begin at 9:00 a.m. and conclude at 5:00 p.m., is open to the public and free of charge.

This historic event will be the first statewide convention on secession in the United States since North Carolina voted to secede from the Union on May 20, 1861.

Other speakers will include Professor Frank Bryan, UVM; Kirkpatrick Sale, author of Human Scale, J. Kevin Graffagnino, Executive Director, Vermont Historical Society; Professor Eric Davis, Middlebury College; Shay Totten, editor, Vermont Guardian; Antoine Robitaille, journalist Le Devoir (Quebec City); G. Roderick Lawrence, CEO, Stevenson Kellogg (Canada); (Rev.) Ben T. Matchstick; and General Ethan Allen (aka Jim Hogue). General Allen is expected to travel by horse to the State House.

The objectives of the convention are twofold. First, to raise the level of awareness of Vermonters of the feasibility of independence as a viable alternative to a nation which has lost its moral authority and is unsustainable. Second, to provide an example and a process for other states and nations which may be seriously considering separatism, secession, independence, and similar devolutionary strategies.

The Second Vermont Republic is a peaceful, democratic, grassroots, libertarian populist movement committed to the return of Vermont to its status as an independent republic as it once was between 1777 and 1791.

I'll admit that my adopted home state has more than it's fair share of goofy ideas, but secession always has been number one with a minnie ball. My first roomate in college was a Vermont secession freak. Texas could make a go of independence. Vermont would rapidly turn into a third world country. No, it's not already.

And everyone's favorite misanthropic Malthusian, James Howard Kunstler is the keynote speaker!

Posted by Bryan Francoeur at October 25, 2005 10:21 AM

And just how would the rest of know if they did manage to secede?

Posted by: jim hamlen at October 25, 2005 11:10 AM

I'm all for it, as long as they take the rest of Little Canada with them. It's hard to believe that such as small state could actually give the country both Senate and House representation that's worst the contributions of the Upper Left Washington, but they've managed. Toss in (or out) Maine and Kennedyland, and we're halfway to anywhere in terms of improvement.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at October 25, 2005 11:14 AM

Why should Vermont succeed where the South failed?

Posted by: RC at October 25, 2005 12:00 PM

I'll trade Canuckistan Vermont for Alberta. And I'll throw in Maine as a sweetener.

Posted by: Sandy P at October 25, 2005 12:19 PM

Even better, let them vote on it, we'll buy them out and move them to whichever country they want to go to.

Posted by: Sandy P at October 25, 2005 12:19 PM

Think of the fun we can have with Reconstruction this time.

Posted by: Bob at October 25, 2005 12:25 PM

Is James Howard Kunstler related to the radical lawyer of the '60s?

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at October 25, 2005 12:38 PM

Don't be so quick to give Maine away! Where will we get our lobsters?

Posted by: Mike Morley at October 25, 2005 12:49 PM

I'm aginn' it because, well, I have to live here. I don't relish the idea of having to climb a fence, avoid border patrols and swim the mighty Connecticut just to go mow Orrin's lawn as an illegal.

An independent VT of the sort that Mr. Kunstler pines for would be a nightmare. As soon as independence was declared, the US would close the border (I sure would if I were running the US). VT would be unable to feed its own population, and the Green Mountains would rapidly become the Brown Mountains of the late 19th century as people clear cut them. And of course, since only ideologically pure "sustainable" organic farming practices would be allowed, we'd see mass starvation. Paging Dr. Lysenko! Democracy in VT would fail during the ensuing anarchy and some strongman would take control (perhaps Professor Frank Bryan, who is quite the loo-loo). Frankly, the whole idea gives me the willies. I know, it's got about as much chance of happening as Orrin does of sharing a sloppy French kiss with Rick Perlstein. But still, yeesh, this is my home that people are blithely consigning to oblivion. If I didn't have grown-up obligations (as apparently these nitwits don't) I would be on the State House lawn with a big "The Union must be preserved!" sign.

From the article:
"...peaceful, democratic, grassroots, libertarian populist movement..."
Oh, how many deaths have been perpetrated with those very words as a cover? Whenever I hear the words "grassroots" I reach for my Browning.

I'm coming off all funny and light, but that's just because I lack the writing skill to express the deep hatred that most Vermonters have for the secessionists. I don't hate a lot of things, but I hate the Vermont secessionists like fire.

Posted by: Bryan at October 25, 2005 12:56 PM

Or they could become Switzerland . . . and after 500 years of peace etc, find that all they'd produced was the cuckoo clock.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at October 25, 2005 1:04 PM

They've done more than kiss, or they wouldn't be having the breakup from Hell.

Posted by: joe shropshire at October 25, 2005 1:56 PM

"So we made a thorofare for Freedom and her train,

Sixty miles in latitude, three hundred in the main.

Treason fled before us, for resistance was in vain,

While we were martching through. . ." Vermont?

Posted by: Lou Gots at October 25, 2005 2:30 PM

When we lived in Vermont they got about $1.50 back for every buck they paid into the pot. That was twenty years ago, it's probably a lot more now.

What do the secessionists expect to live on when the rest of us taxpayers stop kicking in?

Posted by: tefta at October 25, 2005 3:10 PM

C'mon, Jim. Don't be so ungenerous. There's also that fine Swiss chocolate.

Posted by: Rick T. at October 25, 2005 4:35 PM


Then again, considering what the rest of Europe produced in that 500 years they might have done a lot worse than cuckoo clocks and chocolate...

Posted by: Mike Earl at October 25, 2005 4:41 PM

I find it a little creepy. Plus, I was at the Vermont statehouse, and very struck by the sheer number of memorials therein to Vermont regiments in the 'War Between the States'.

For these people to so blithely meet amongst such memorials to plan to virtually spit in the eye of every soldier Vermont sacrified to that cause is a disgrace. Note the sentence, "Second, to provide an example and a process for other states and nations which may be seriously considering separatism, secession, independence, and similar devolutionary strategies."

What is this other than to call for an end to 230 years of US history, basically because they can't get the American population as a whole to go with their 35 year-old 60's post-modern foolishness. (Note that when Democrats owned the House, Senate, White House, and Supremes in their day, that was just fine.)

These people enrage me with their selfishness. If I had to don a blue uniform and fight the secesh once again, I would do so in a heartbeat.

Posted by: Andrew X at October 25, 2005 5:11 PM

In a totally unrelated coincidence, anyone see the Family Guy rerun last night where Peter Griffin finds out his house is an independent country in the middle of Rhode Island?

Posted by: AC at October 25, 2005 5:21 PM

Maple syrup, tefla, along w/the other goods sold in that Vermont book.

As to Maine - you'll get your lobsters from the EU and like it.

Posted by: Sandy P at October 25, 2005 7:58 PM

No, sir! I will not stand idly by and see our Strategic Lobster Reserve fall into hostile Canuck or Euroweenie hands! Take Vermont if you will, but Hands Off American lobsters!

Posted by: Mike Morley at October 25, 2005 10:15 PM

I think the question is "Them and What Army?"

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at October 26, 2005 1:12 PM

I'm sorry. What part of the result of the civil war did you miss? Vermonters are citizens of the state of Vermont and citizens of the United States of America. You want to take American citizens away from the US? I believe that's called renouncing citizenship, and is available to people who want to reside elsewhere in the world. It's a big world, and includes already socialist failures like Cuba. Think of it as following through on your instincts and getting a warmer climate as a result, guys: those of us who see you now bowing to your new lord and master will be sorry for you for a while.

Posted by: Arnold Williams at October 26, 2005 1:19 PM

I used to know Frank Bryan when I was a kid and he and my father taught in the same department at UVM. (I used to fish in his pond, and his wife would fix their kids and I fluffernutter sandwiches for lunch - marshmallow fluf was verboten in my house) Independence for Vermont was a favorite topic of his then, but strictly tongue in cheek. Its too bad he's started taking the idea seriously.

Bryan's book "Out!" wasn't nearly as good as "Real Vermonters don't Milk Goats", so maybe it started some time ago.

Posted by: Jason Johnson at October 26, 2005 11:14 PM