Happy Third Anniversary, DumpDC.com

May 9, 2012

Turn Out The Lights, The Party’s Over

by Russell D. Longcore

This week marks three years since I began posting my thoughts about personal liberty, property rights and secession here at DumpDC.com. From then until now, I have posted 885 articles on a wide variety of subjects. It was my goal to make the greatest number of my postings related to secession. Occasionally I strayed from the path, and most of those times were either into religion or humor.

But recently, I have come to the realization that I may not have any more to say. I feel like I have taken secession just about as far as it can go right now…that is, prior to the economic meltdown that is assured for America when the US Dollar ceased to be the world reserve currency. At that time, millions of growling stomachs will awaken the slumbering minds eighteen inches above them, and secession will come to the fore.

Many, if not most of my fellow travelers in the Patriot movement still embrace a return to those thrilling days of yesteryear when it is believed (erroneously) that the US Constitution held sway. They convince themselves and each other that if we can just get Washington to obey the Constitution, all will be well once again. But the 2012 Constitution is not the Constitution of 1789. The Bill of Rights has been laden down with amendment after amendment, few of which are good for America. And the entire document is entirely ignored by DC. A Constitution written for thirteen nations with just under 4 million inhabitants (1790 Census) between them is entirely inappropriate for 50 states and 315 million people.

What is needed is not strict Constitutionality. What is needed is for the states to return to being sovereign nations, and if they want to confederate, then join with just a few others for mutually beneficial reasons. Small confederations of nation/states comprised of 3…6…10 nations would be good, or just simply 50 individual little nations all competing for survival in a big world.

Frankly, I am tired. I spend many hours each week on DumpDC. Just the Flash Editorials takes about three hours to write, and then another two hours to do the video production. And when I look at my traffic stats, and see how few people look at DumpDC, I have to look inward. Am I just doing this for my own entertainment? Am I just stroking my own ego? Does anybody give a shit?

My introspection about DumpDC is also influenced by money. I am building a fast-growing energy business, and I should take the time I spend on DumpDC and invest it in my own future. After all, none of you readers are going to take care of me in my dotage, and I don’t expect you to. And when the shit hits the fan in America, you’ll be a little busy with your own survival. But my family expects ME to provide and leave a legacy. Writing is fun, but earning is funner. And residual income from my energy customers all over the nation is the funnest of all.

So Ladies and Gentlemen, I bid you a fond farewell…for now. You have said some very kind, complimentary and gracious things to me over the last three years, and I am grateful to you. DumpDC will continue to be live, and our Archive will continue to be available. But for the foreseeable future, your gentle Host and Editor Russell D. Longcore will be laser-focused on his business. That is my kind of “prepping.”

Adieu. Guten Tag. Adios. May you be Happy. May you be Well.
May you be filled with Kindness and Peace.

Secession is still the only solution for individual liberty and property rights on the North American continent.

DumpDC. Six Letters That Can Change History.

Copyright 2012: Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

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Flash Editorials May 5, 2012

May 5, 2012

By Russell D. Longcore

The Nation I: This week, Warren Buffet and Berkshire Hathaway are hosting their annual meeting in Omaha. Thousands will attend. You gotta give the old boy his snaps. He has become one of the world’s wealthiest men in the stock market and owning companies. But a big part of his amassed wealth came from doing business with the Federal Government. So is it any wonder that in his doting years, he says stupid things like “the wealthy should pay more income taxes?” His “Buffet Rule” legislation went down in flames last week in Congress. But think about this. No one is preventing any wealthy individual from writing an extra check to the US Treasury. So this is not about the wealthy paying more voluntarily. This is all about being forced to pay more at the threat of death or imprisonment. This is all so extraordinarily disingenuous. The Congress carries the water for business. The tax code for business owners is laden with tax benefits and tax credits that employees don’t get. Employees don’t have their capital at risk, and they don’t deserve business tax breaks. But we all deserve less taxation. So instead of stealing more from the wealthy, let’s see someone slash EVERYBODY’S tax rates. Even better would be a ten percent national sales tax and no income tax.

The Nation II: President Obama made a surprise trip to Afghanistan this week to keep the fictional account of the murder of Osama bin Laden alive, now one year old. This was a campaign speech wrapped in an even bigger lie. Obama didn’t cap Osama. Bin Laden died of kidney failure back in 2002. Too bad presidential lies are not felonies.

International I: In the wake of the nuclear meltdown in Japan, the Japanese government has closed all of its nuclear plants for the first time in 40 years. Now they expect brownouts and rolling blackouts. Out of the frying pan into the fire. Hey Japan!!! Ever heard of the Molten Salt Reactor, using thorium as fuel? Totally safe, no radioactive waste, 60-year-old technology? China has…

Business: At a Sotheby’s auction Wednesday, one of the original four versions of Edvard Munch’s painting The Scream (you know, white face, mouth gaping open, eyes wide…kind of looks like that mask from the horror films) sold for $119,922,500…a new record. The winning bidder had way more money than common sense.

In tonight’s commercial message. Here are the most important questions I could ask you: Are you living the dream? Do you spend as much time with the people you love as you want to? Are you living in the home of your dreams? Are you living in the spot in the world that you dream of? Do you drive the car of your dreams? Do you have a dream of helping others in some charity that remains unfulfilled? And let’s talk about where we spend a huge chunk of our time…at work. Are you working at the job of your dreams? Are you making the kind of money you always dreamed of earning? Were you able to answer “YES” to any of those questions? Most people I know are not living the dream…whatever that phrase means to THEM. I can’t tell you what YOUR dream is. But if you could not answer “YES”, how are you planning to make your dreams come true? There is a racing analogy that works well here: You must have the right vehicle but you must be the right driver. Think about it. If you have a NASCAR or Formula One car, and you’re the driver, you’ll probably get yourself killed in a race. And if you take the best NASCAR or Formula One driver and put him in a Volkswagen Beetle, he has no chance of winning. To win and make your dreams come true, you must be the right driver in the right vehicle. Here is another important question: How important ARE your dreams to you? Do you have a burning desire to make them come true…or do you just enjoy fantasizing about what it would be like to live the dream? Most of the people I spend time with are in the first category. They are working hard to make their dreams come true. Even if you have the right vehicle and you don’t think you’re the right driver, cheer up!! You can Learn to be a great driver…the driver of your dreams! If you’d like to learn more about making your dreams come true, and whether or not my energy business could be the right vehicle for you, send me an email at russlongcore@gmail.com. We can talk about it possibly designing a plan to make your dreams come true!

Economy I: The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 330,475 in the week ending April 28, a decrease of 40,158 from the previous week. Yet, the Labor Department reported 365,000 new jobless claims last week. And here is a new piece of information I have never seen before, Today, the St. Louis Federal Reserve released a Bureau of Labor Statistics chart and report about Americans in the category “Not In The Labor Force.” Their report showed 88,419,000 Americans that have functionally dropped out of the labor force altogether. The chart only records up to 88 million people. Now…do you wonder how the government-released unemployment rate can be between 8-9% when 88 million adults are not employed in America? Folks, there are only about 315 million living people in America, and 25% of them are below age 18. Do the math. That means the REAL unemployment rate is about 25%. This statistic makes the Great Depression of the 1930 look pale by comparison.
Here is the chart.

Sports: Former NFL All-pro linebacker Junior Seau died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound this week. Seau is the eighth player from the 1994 Chargers championship team to die. We will all learn more about Seau’s life as the story unfolds, but there is something real bad about the head trauma that is happening in the league all the time. A lot of old players are ending up with dementia and other ailments from old football injuries. But this is the most violent sport in America. There weren’t too many Roman Gladiators that enjoyed a soft retirement either.

Entertainment: The movie The Avengers opens this weekend, and many are predicting that it will have the biggest box office first weekend in history, even bigger than the biggest Harry Potter opening weekend. Go see Nick Fury and his team of The Hulk, Ironman, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow and Hawkeye whip some bad guy butt. Written and directed by Joss Whedon of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly.At a theatre near you!

Dump DC: Six Letters That Can Change History.

Copyright 2012: Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.


We Are Not Powerless: Resisting Financial Feudalism

May 3, 2012

By Charles Hugh Smith
www.OfTwoMinds.com

It’s comforting to think “I can’t do anything to resist the Central State and its financial Plutocracy,” but it’s not true. There are many of acts of resistance you can pursue in your daily life; here are 12 perfectly legal ones.

That we are powerless is one of the key social control myths constantly promoted by the Status Quo. What better way to keep the serfs passive than to reinforce a belief in their powerlessness against the expansive Central State and its financial feudalism?

But we are not powerless. Our complicity gives the aristocracy its power. Remove our complicity and the aristocracy falls.

The pathway of dissent is to resist financial feudalism and its enforcer, the expansive Central State. Here are twelve paths of resistance any adult can legally pursue in the course of their daily lives:

1. Support the decentralized, non-market economy. The core ideology of consumerism and financialization is that non-market assets and experiences have no status or financial value. This includes social capital, meals with friends, projects done cooperatively with friends, home gardens and thousands of other decentralized activities that cannot be financialized into centralized market transactions. Identity and social status are established in the non-market economy by collaboration, sharing, conviviality and generosity. Decentralized generally means localized; farmers markets are examples of local market economies where the transactions are in cash (so banks can’t skim transactions fees) and the money stays in the local economy rather than flowing to some distant concentration of capital.

If you start valuing non-market assets and experiences as the most important markers of high status, you are resisting both financialization and consumerism.

Top-down centralized “solutions” imposed by the Central State are the problem, not the solution, as they further the concentration of wealth and power into unstable monocultures. Stop looking to overly complex “reforms” and centralized solutions to unsustainable systems and start exploring decentralized, localized solutions that bypass both the Central State and its financial aristocracy.

2. Stop participating in financialization. Financialization is the insidious imperative of the financial aristocracy that seeks to turn every interaction into a financial transaction that can be charged a fee and all assets into financialized instruments that can be sold for immensely profitable transaction fees.

As the finances of local governments implode under the weight of their protected fiefdoms, many are heeding the siren song of financialization as a temporary (and inevitably disastrous) “fix” to their structural insolvency. For example, the revenue stream from parking meters is financialized into an asset that is sold to a private corporation. When parking fees double, the residents of the city have no recourse via democracy or petition, as the meters in their city are now “owned” by a distant concentration of capital that can double late fees, charge outrageous transaction costs, etc., at will.

This is how financialization inevitably transitions into financial tyranny.

The erosion of America’s middle class financial security has several structural causes, but chief among them was the financialization of the housing market. This led to a bubble of credit and housing valuations and the widespread extraction of equity for consumption—the classic “windfall” that financialization always produces in its first toxic blush. Mortgage debt doubled from $5 trillion to $10 trillion in the bubble, and now America’s indentured homeowners “own” negative equity of $4 trillion. That is, the difference between the market value of the homes they ostensibly “own” and the mortgages they took on to buy the homes is negative $4 trillion.

3. Redefine self-interest to exclude debt-servitude and dependence on consumerism and the Central State. Unless you are long retired and have no other option, minimize reliance on the State. Reliance on the State weakens the correlation between sustained effort and gain, so the work ethic and entrepreneurism both atrophy as they no longer offer competitive advantages in a system where bread and circuses are guaranteed by the State.

4. Act on your awareness that the nature of prosperity and financial security is changing. Dependence on centralized concentrations of power (Wall Street and the Central State) is now an extremely risky wager that what is demonstrably unsustainable will magically become sustainable at some distant point in time via pixie dust or the intervention of aliens from Alpha Centuri. Security flows from resilience, self-reliance, decentralized, diversified sources of income and abundant social capital.

5. Stop supporting distant concentrations of capital that subvert democracy by using their gargantuan profits to buy the machinery of State governance and regulation. For example, stop watching broadcast programming owned by the six global media corporations that control the vast majority of the media/marketing complex.

Stop eroding your health and sending your money to corporate headquarters for distribution to the financial aristocracy—stop frequenting corporate fast-food restaurants and stop buying unhealthy packaged foods from corporate agribusiness.

Close your accounts with Wall Street investment firms and the five “too big to fail” banks that dominate the mortgage, credit and debt markets in the U.S. If you need such an account to transact your business, then maintain low balances so the banks cannot “sweep” your capital for their own use every day.

6. Stop supporting the debt-and-leverage based financial aristocracy. Liquidate all debt as soon as possible, take on no new debt except for short periods of time, explore localized or “crowd-sourced” private-capital loans that exclude the banks and limit the number of financial transactions that enrich the banks and Wall Street.

7. Transfer your assets out of Wall Street and into local enterprises or assets that do not enrich and empower Wall Street.

8. Refuse to participate in consumerist status identifiers and the social defeat they create. Stop admiring and respecting those displaying status signifiers; start thinking of them as pathetic prisoners of a pathological mindset. Stop judging people as “lower value” based on their lack of status signifiers. Free your own mind from the toxic sociopathology of consumerism and social defeat. Stop watching commercial television and minimize your exposure to marketing and consumerist propaganda.

9. Vote in every election with an eye on rewarding honesty and truth and punishing empty promises. Unless the incumbent has renounced corporate contributions, unsustainable debt, financial tyranny and Central State encroachment of civil liberties, then vote against the incumbent, for they are just another lackey of the State-plutocracy partnership. Avoid voting for either the Demopublican or Republicrat branches of the plutocracy; vote for an independent or third party candidate.

Remember that resistance isn’t just about refusing to participate in pathological plutocracy; it’s about establishing a sustainable alternative to the unsustainable State-plutocracy partnership. When people say that voting for a third-party candidate is “wasting your vote,” reply that voting for either of the plutocrat parties is the real waste of a vote because their “leadership” is dooming the nation to destabilization and insolvency. As independents pick up more and more “wasted” votes, they shift from being “marginalized” to becoming powerful voices of honesty and transparency.

10. Stop supporting inflationary policies such as “money creation” by the Federal Reserve and Federal deficit borrowing. Act on your knowledge that inflation is theft and that the Federal Reserve is a private consortium of banks that is the enabler and protector of the parasitic financial aristocracy.

11. Become healthy, active and fit. Refuse to consume unhealthy junk and packaged food, refuse to squander much of your time in sedentary “consumption” of corporate entertainment and digital distraction, and devote your energy and time to mastery, new skills, developing social capital and friendships, projects you “own” and enterprises that benefit your true self-interest. Refuse to follow the marketing/media siren song into chronic ill-health, addiction and social defeat.

12. Embrace self-directed coherent plans and construct a resilient, diverse ecology of identity and meaning. Build a social ecology of positive, active, collaborative, non-pathological people of like minds and spirits. Be powerful via resistance, not powerless via complicity.

It’s easy to confuse faith and political ideology. We resist changing our understanding, as we experience this transition as instability and insecurity. But changing our minds does not require changing our faith; rather, the firmness of our faith—in our Creator, in truth, in prayer, in our ability to help others and prevail—is the bedrock that gives us the discipline and resolve to confront the brutal and unwelcome facts of our circumstances and make coherent plans accordingly.

This was drawn from my new book Resistance, Revolution, Liberation: A Model for Positive Change (print $25) (Kindle eBook $9.95)

copyright © 2012 Charles Hugh Smith, All rights reserved.


A Taste of Realism

May 2, 2012

Yuck!

by Fred Reed

(Editor’s Note: I have a shoebox full of quarterly and semester progress reports and report cards. Most of them had comment sections, and most of the teachers wrote “Russ is so bright and has such potential. But he just stares out the window a lot.” Yea. I was also reading at a college sophomore level in 5th grade. That accounts for fact that I tested high enough to be a Mensa member when I was in my 30s. Public school was torture for me, and without sports I would have gone crazy. Another thing. If I was in school today, the administrators would have insisted on drugging me. They would have called me ADHD-boy. It should be criminal child abuse to send a kid to a government school.)

I wonder what purpose the public schools serve, other than to warehouse children while their parents work or watch television. They certainly don’t teach much, as survey after survey shows. Is there any particular reason for having them? Apart from their baby-sitting function, I mean.

Schooling, sez me, should be adapted to the needs and capacities of those being schooled. For unintelligent children, the study of anything beyond minimal reading is a waste of time, since they will learn little or nothing more. For the intelligent, a public schooling is equivalent to tying an anchor to a student swimmer. The schools are an impediment to learning, a torture of the bright, and a form of negligent homicide against a country that needs trained minds in a competitive world.

Let us start with the truly stupid. Millions of children graduate—“graduate”—from high school—“high school”—unable to read. Why inflict twelve years of misery on them? It is not reasonable to blame them for being witless, but neither does it make sense to pretend that they are not. For them school is custodial, nothing more. Since there is little they can do in a technological society, they will remain in custody all their lives. This happens, and must happen, however we disguise it.

For those of reasonably average acuity, it little profits to go beyond learning to read, which they can do quite well, and to use a calculator. Upon their leaving high school, question them and you find that they know almost nothing. They could learn more, average not being stupid, but modest intelligence implies no interest in study. This is true only of academic subjects such as history, literature, and physics. They will study things that seem practical to them. Far better to teach the modestly acute such things as will allow them to earn a living, be they typing, carpentry, or diesel repair. Society depends on such people. But why inflict upon them the geography of Southeast Asia, the plays of Shakespeare, or the history of the nineteenth century? Demonstrably they remember none of it.

Some who favor the public schools assert that an informed public is necessary to a functioning democracy. True, and beyond doubt. But we do not have an informed public, never have had one, and never will. Nor, really, do we have a functioning democracy.

Any survey will reveal that most people have no grasp of geography, history, law, government, finance, international relations, or politics. And most people have neither the intelligence nor the interest to learn these things. If schools were not the disasters they are, they still couldn’t produce a public able to govern a nation.

But it is for the intelligent that the public schools—“schools”—are most baneful. It is hideous for the bright, especially bright boys, to sit year after year in an inescapable miasma of appalling dronedom while some low-voltage mental drab wanders on about banalities that would depress a garden slug. The public schools are worse than no schools for the quick. A sharp kid often arrives at school already reading. Very quickly he (or, most assuredly, she) reads four years ahead of grade. These children teach themselves. They read indiscriminately, without judgment—at first anyway—and pick up ideas, facts, and vocabulary. They also begin to think.

In school, bored to desperation, they invent subterfuges so as not to lapse into screaming insanity. In my day the tops of desks opened to reveal a space for storing crayons and such. The bright would keep the top open enough so that they could read their astronomy books while the teacher—“teacher”—talked about some family of cute beavers, and how Little Baby Beaver….

I ask you: How much did you learn in school, and how much have you learned on your own? Asking myself the same question, I come up with typing, and two years of algebra.

The bright should go to school, but it is well to distinguish between a school and a penitentiary. They need schools at their level, taught by teachers at their level. It is not hard to get intelligent children to learn things, and indeed today a whole system of day-care centers only partly succeeds in keeping them from doing it. They like learning things, if only you keep those wretched beavers out of the classroom. When I was in grade school in the early Fifties, bright kids read, shrew-like, four times their body weight in books every fifteen minutes—or close, anyway. In third grade or so, they had microscopes (Gilbert for hoi polloi, but mine was a fifteen-dollar upscale model from Edmund Scientific) and knew about rotifers and Canada balsam and well slides and planaria. These young, out of human decency, for the benefit of the country, should not be subjected to public education—“education.” Where do we think high-bypass turbofans come from? Are they invented by heart-warming morons?

To a remarkable extent, dumb-ass public schools are simply not necessary. I asked my (Mexican) wife Violeta how she learned to read. It was through a Head Start program, I learned, called “mi padre.” Her father, himself largely self-taught, sat her down with a book and said, see these little squiggles? They are called “letters,” and they make sounds, and you can put them together….. Vi contemplated the idea. Yes, it made sense. Actually, she decided, it was no end of fun, give me that book…Bingo.

The absorptive capacity of smart kids is large if you just stay out of their way. A bright boy of eleven can quickly master a collegiate text of physiology, for example. This is less astonishing than perhaps it sounds. The human body consists of comprehensible parts that do comprehensible things. If he is interested, which is the key, he will learn them, while apparently being unable to learn state capitals, which don’t interest him.

What is the point of pretending to teach the unteachable while, to all appearances, trying not to teach the easily teachable? The answer of course is that we have achieved communism, the rule of the proletariat, and the proletariat doesn’t want to strain itself, or to admit that there are things it can’t do.

In schooling, perhaps “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs” isn’t a bad idea. If a child has a substantial IQ, expect him to use it for the good of society, and give him schools to let him do it. If a child needs a vocation so as to live, give him the training he needs. But don’t subject either to enstupidated, unbearably tedious, pointless, one-size-fits-nobody pseudo-schools to hide the inescapable fact that we are not all equal.

All original material © Violeta de Jesus Gonzalez Munguia
http://www.FredOnEverything.net


Secession Solution

May 1, 2012

by Kirkpatrick Sale

Aristotle declared that there should be a limit to the size of states. But really, what did he know? He lived at a time when the entire population of the world was somewhere around 50 million—about the size of England today. Athens, where he lived, would have been under 100,000 people. He couldn’t even imagine a world (ours) of 6.8 billion, or a city (Tokyo) of 36 million. How is he going to help us?

He, at least, knew this much:

“Experience shows that a very populous city can rarely, if ever, be well governed; since all cities which have a reputation for good government have a limit of population. We may argue on grounds of reason, and the same result will follow: for law is order, and good law is good order; but a very great multitude cannot be orderly.”

So political units, Aristotle said, have to be limited. And it is with that understanding that we now may start contemplating what in today’s world would constitute the ideal, or optimum, size of a political state.

This is not some sort of idle philosopher’s quest but the foundation of a serious reordering of our political landscape, and a reordering such as the process of secession—indeed, only the process of secession—could provide. The U.S. provides abundant evidence that a state as large as 310 million people is ungovernable. One scholar recently said that we are in the fourth decade of the U.S. Congress’ inability to pass a single measure of social consequence. Bloated and corrupted beyond its ability to address any of the problems it has created as an empire, it is a blatant failure. So what could replace it, and at what size? The answer is the independent states of America.

Let us start by looking at modern nations to give us some clue as to population sizes that actually work.

Among the nations that are recognized models of statecraft, eight are below 500,000: Luxembourg, Malta, Iceland, Barbados, Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, and San Marino.

Of the 14 states generally reckoned freest in the world, 9 have populations below Switzerland’s, at 7.7 million, and 11 below Sweden’s, at 9.3 million; the only sizable states are Canada, the United Kingdom, and Germany (the largest, at 81 million).There are other national rankings. Literacy: Of the 46 countries that claim a literacy rate of 99 or better, 25 are below 7.5 million. Health: Measured by the World Health Organization, 9 of the top 20 are under 7 million. In 2009 rankings of happiness and standard of living, the top countries were Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Netherlands, Australia, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Canada, Ireland, Denmark, Austria, and Finland; all but Canada and Australia have small populations.

Enough of that. The point, I trust, is well and simply made. The figures seem to suggest that there is an optimum size of a successful state, somewhere in the range of 3 million to 5 million people.

Surprisingly, a great many countries are also modest in geographic terms—underlining the point, often missed by critics of secession, that a nation does not have to be self-sufficient to operate well in the modern world. In fact, there are 85 countries out of the 195 counted by the United Nations that are under 10,000 square miles—that is to say, the size of Vermont or smaller.

And if we measure economic strength by per capita GDP, small countries prove to be decidedly advantageous. Seventy-seven percent of the most prosperous countries are small. And most of them are quite small indeed: under 10,000 square miles.

Administrative, distribution, transportation, and similar transaction costs obviously rise, perhaps exponentially, as geographic size increases. Control and communication also become more difficult to manage over long distances, often to the point where central authority and governance become nearly impossible.

I propose that, out of these figures and even more so out of the history of the world, results a Law of Government Size, and it goes like this: Economic and social misery increase in direct proportion to the size and power of the central government of a nation.

The consolidation of nations into power­ful empires leads not to shining periods of peace and prosperity and the advance of human betterment, but to increasing restriction, warfare, autocracy, crowding, immiseration, inequality, poverty, and starvation.

Small, then, is not only beautiful but also bountiful.

How does all of this apply to the United States today?

Of the 50 states, 29 have populations below 5 million people. Eight states and a colony in the 3 million to 5 million population class would be ideal secession candidates: Iowa, Connecticut, Oklahoma, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Kentucky, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Alabama. Twelve—Rhode Island, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Maine, Idaho, Nebraska, West Virginia, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Kansas, and Arkansas—have between 1 million and 3 million people, and seven, including Vermont, have fewer than 1 million people but more than Iceland.

The argument for secession need not focus exclusively on population or geographic size—one might factor in cultural cohesion, developed infrastructure, historical identity—but that seems to be the sensible place to start in considering viable states. And since the experience of the world has shown that populations ranging from 3 mil­lion to 5 million are optimal for governance and efficiency, that is as good a measure as any to use to begin assessing secessionist potential and chances of success as independent states.

The only hope for re-energizing American politics is to create truly sovereign states through peaceful, popular, powerful secession.

Kirkpatrick Sale is director of the Middlebury Institute and the author of Human Scale.

Excerpted from Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture (Oct. 2010).