Wednesday, March 27, 2013


One of my wife’s fourth-graders brought in a report on the State of Jefferson for his regional studies.  It turns out there have been a few proposed Jeffersons, but the Pacific Coast version which would include parts of Northern California and Southern Oregon, is the best known.  It makes for some interesting reading, which we’ll get to in a bit.

She countered by giving him information about Indian Stream Republic, a 19th C secessionist movement in the northern tip of NH (Indian Stream is one of the sources of the Connecticut River).  It seems that those residents objected to being claimed - and taxed - by both the US and Canada, especially as they didn’t seem to be getting anything back in terms of roads and bridges.  One sees their point, eh?

There has been quite a bit of secessionist rhetoric in American history, and a common theme has been taxation by those damfools down in Washington or Concord or Sacramento or Austin without getting much in return.  Remoter areas feel neglected and ignored.  This is nearly always true. 

On the list of secession movements, NH is represented pretty well for a small state, which fits our Live Free Or Die* stereotype.  Earlier American secession movements tended to be focused on regional concerns, which has changed subtly into a more cultural outlook in the 20th C.  Cascadia, for example.  I recall Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard toying with the idea of seceding from Mass and joining NH in the 70's, which fell apart when our excitable, tone-deaf governor wondered allowed if we could build the nuclear plants there after having so much controversy at Seabrook.

The list on the Jefferson State site leans to the conservative and libertarian - and a lot of local news and blogs - but there are a few left-leaning ones as well.  2ndVermont Republic (the Green Mountain State originally tried to make a go at being independent.) wants all meganations and megacorporations to break into smaller pieces to promote peace; the whitest state in the union wants to ally with the whitest nations in the world because of common values but is apparently oblivious to the whiteness part**.  Still, I like them in many ways, and even agree with some of it.  Side note:  one of its writers has politics starkly different from mine, but has come to much the same conclusions about Obama that I have.  Sometimes all it takes is standing outside a phenomenon from virtually any perspective to see clearly.

Sorry, got distracted there.

My uncle sent along an op-ed from the opposite extreme of this.  Keller at the NYT was all irritated by the efflorescence of states’ rights, in that South and North Dakota might have different abortion laws, or Colorado and Wyoming different marijuana laws.  Gone wild, indeed.  I confess I have very little sympathy with that POV.  He would never state it this way, for then the game would be up, but it’s entirely clear: there is a correct opinion on these issues, and deviation more than a cosmetic amount should not be allowed.  There is a national consensus among the Best People, and the others are just wrong.  It’s rather chilling, actually.  It is more common among liberal elites at present, but conservative elites pull this as well, and in the past have been worse.  It is politics by current fashion rather than reason. I don't see any secessionists I hold with, and dislike the idea in general, but I'm closer to them than to Keller.

*Reminder: the full quote is Live free or die.  Death is not the worst of evils.  Which puts a whole different spin on things, doesn’t it?

**Heck, their chosen group doesn’t even include Slavs or Romance peoples, let alone people of other colors.  Sheesh.

1 comment:

Sam L. said...

Not a secessionist movement, but there are those in Oregon who think they might like Portland and the Willamette valley to be one state and the rest of Oregon to be another.
The P&WV part outvotes the rest of the state.