Vermont and Secession
By Arnold Kling
Today’s Washington Post contains an op-ed by Ian Baldwin and Frank Bryan on Vermonters’ desire to secede from the union.
We secessionists believe that the 350-year swing of history’s pendulum toward large, centralized imperial states is once again reversing itself.
Why? First, the cost of oil and gas. According to urban planner James Howard Kunstler, “Anything organized on a gigantic scale . . . will probably falter in the energy-scarce future.” Second, third-wave technology is as inherently democratic and decentralist as second-wave technology was authoritarian and centralist. Gov. Jim Douglas wants Vermont to be the first “e-state,” making broadband Internet access available to every household and business in the state by 2010. Vermont will soon be fully wired into the global social commons.
Meanwhile, a letter-writer in the Burlington Free Press says that the Vermont is in “aging demographic free fall.” Indeed, the Statistical Abstract table on population by age and state shows that Vermont’s median age is 40.2 years, four years higher than the national average and the second-highest in the country, just behind Maine. The Republic of Vermont sounds like a good idea. But not the People’s Republic of Vermont, from which young people appear to be doing the seceding.