Today I got a little reminder of how sometimes we need to be careful what we ask for. Those of you who follow the news may have heard of the little blip on this Russian feller proclaiming America's possible immanent demise. Don't worry family, I'm not so far gone in tinfoil land to take him serious-like. But what's not in that little Bloomberg piece is the off-hand comment reported elsewhere - that such a breakup would leave Alaska here to his own country for the taking.
After the initial quintessentially American response of - I confess - something along the order of "oh? bring it on..." some funny historical echoes started ringing in my head.
See, those who've run in libertarian-minded circles probably know the book The Probability Broach by L Niel Smith. Neat story.. can't say I agree with the man completely, but we could do a whole lot of walking in his general direction from here before I'd get too terribly upset.
ANYHOW, the whole hinge point to his utopian playland* is that the Whisky Rebellion was successful, the fledgling Federalists deposed, and a free and liberty-minded culture grew up in place of the Constitutional Republic we have now.
See, what TPB doesn't discuss is the context of the times and why Washington was so intent on putting those 'shiners down hard. Here I'm going to plug another nifty book I've been listening to on and off this summer called "The Great Upheaval." What is so awesome about this book is that it focuses on the time of our nation's founding - but ties the familiar history we know (or rather, that we SHOULD know) with everything else going on in the world at the time..the minds guiding our Revolution and the one in France. The differences that led to our having a two hundred-odd year Republic.. while France sank into bloodshed and despotism. The intrigues of the Russian court is covered, as is the (now all to familiar) carving up of Eastern Europe.
What's neat about this book then is the context it provides to our own history.
Of course Washington and the Federalists were intent on consolidating power in the 1790's. All the great powers of the day were still pushing hard into the American continent all around us. We were surrounded by colonial powers even worse than those we'd just fought off... all no strangers to the notion of warfare-by-proxy amongst the natives of the land. It was a scary time. Right or wrong as the bloodless coup was that gave us the Constitution in place of our original Articles - I can see more easily than ever why it was done.
Because now, even as I sympathize with secessionists past and present in the face of our own latter-day Federalists growing increasingly intrusive - I can't begin to say just how much I appreciate those guys down the road at Elmendorf AFB and Fort Richardson.
See.. Tina Fey jokes aside, the Bear is just a short jump away, which makes Mr. Panarin's little fantasy cut a little too close for comfort. Alaskans have already fought off one foreign power in living memory - and without those latter-day knights up there we'd be stuck with inviting in friends from the '48 to come play real-life Wolverines. And that would just be no fun at all.
SO.. for all the grousing about the Feds... and believe me, I do more than my share.. I have to give the devil his due here. Maybe ol' Gallatin made the right decision after all.
On the other hand... I probably would have said much the same thing about Georgius Rex III's finest if I was a frontier housewife in 1770 - one who could look across the river to see an old rotted out French fort. And we all know how that turned out.
Interesting times, that's for certain sure.
History is just fascinating. Especially when you're living in it.
* Yes, I've been listening to the (not so) good Doctor's music. "Back and Forth" is SUCH an earworm.