Obituary Notice for Vermont/National Press Outlets Thomas H. Naylor, Founder of the Second Vermont Republic  

Dubbed “Tom Paine for the 21st Century” by Utne magazine’s Jay Walljasper, Thomas H. Naylor (1936-2012) of Charlotte, Vermont was Professor Emeritus of Economics at Duke University, as well as a writer and a political activist. He passed away on December 12, 2012, after complications resulting from a stroke, and is survived by his wife Magdalena Naylor, his son Alexander, and his daughter Susanne Powell.

Thomas H. Naylor grew up in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1950s where his father’s admonishments to always be concerned about “what people will think” fell on deaf ears. He earned a B.S. in mathematics from Mississippi’s Millseps College, a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Columbia University, an M.B.A. from Indiana University, and Ph.D from Tulane University. Upon completing his doctoral work, Naylor joined the faculty of Duke University, where he taught economics, management science and computer science for 30 years. While at Duke, Naylor also co-founded the L.Q.C. Lamar Society in 1969, a bi-racial organization whose goal was to foster political leadership among progressive young Southerners, among whose members included Jimmy Carter, Julian Bond, Andrew Young, Winthrop Rockefeller, Maynard Jackson and Terry Sanford by the early 1970s.

In 2003, shortly after moving to Vermont, Naylor founded the Second Vermont Republic (SVR), arguing that the United States had become an ungovernable Empire, much like its former nemesis the Soviet Union. He described SVR as “a nonviolent citizens network and think tank opposed to the tyranny of Corporate America and the US government and committed to the return of Vermont to its status as an independent republic, as it had been between 1777 and 1791.” Naylor labeled himself “a left-leaning libertarian with strong anarchist tendencies,” suggesting that Americans faced two enemies, the US government and Corporate America, the latter of which owns the former.

Naylor was vehemently anti-war, arguing that wars are always fought about money, power, wealth, size and greed, and are designed to serve the interests of political elites pretending to be patriots, who demonize their alleged enemies so as to manipulate their minions into sacrificing their lives for false ideals. Thomas published three books on decentralism and secession: Downsizing the USA (1997), The Vermont Manifesto (2003), and Secession (2008), and provided insights into the relationship between individual will, secession, and the state, writing:

The decision to secede necessarily involves a very personal, painful process. By far the most difficult step in the process of deciding to embrace secession is the emotional one of letting go of one’s images of America as “the home of the free and the brave” and “the greatest nation in the world.” These images have been ingrained in most of us since early childhood. The decision to secede involves reaching the point where you are unwilling to risk going down with the Titanic and must seek out other options while there are still other options on the table. Secession is one such option. It may very well be the only viable option available to us.”

Obituary Thomas H Naylor Dec 2012 Charlotte News

Thomas Herbert Naylor died unexpectedly on Dec. 12, 2012, at FAHC, after suffering a stroke. He was 76. Born on May 30, 1936, in Jackson, Mississippi to Thomas Hector and Martha (Watkins), Naylor earned a BS in Math., from Millsaps College, a BS in Indsl. Engineering from Columbia University, an MBA in Quantitative Bus. Analysis from Indiana University, and a PhD in Economics from Tulane University. He was Professor of Economics at Duke University from 1964 until 1993, teaching economics, management science, and computer science. While at Duke, Naylor was also an international management consultant advising major corporations and governments in over thirty countries. Naylor later left business and turned to political and social analysis and activism. He was executive director and founder of the L.Q.C. Lamar Society. The society’s 1972 publication “You Can’t Eat Magnolias” was s stirring manifesto for change and growth in the modern South. His book entitled “Computer Simulation Experiments with Models of Economic Systems” was translated into Russian in 1975 and sold more copies in the Soviet Union than in USA. As an expert on Soviet economy he predicted the collapse of Soviet Union in early 80s, years before the actual collapse. In 2003 he founded the Second Vermont Republic advocating Vermont’s secession from the Union as well as the dissolution of the American Empire. Naylor was not only an extraordinarily accomplished economist and academic but also visionary, innovator, independent thinker and a prolific writer. He published over 30 books; his articles appeared in major American and international newspapers and magazines. Naylor moved to Vermont in 1993 with his wife, Magdalena Naylor, professor of psychiatry at UVM and FAHC, and their son Alexander. He was a devoted husband and father to son Alexander and daughter Susanne Powell, wonderful friend, and conversationalist. He was never afraid of changing the course of his life or the thought that guided it. In Naylor’s words, “We may simply take leave of life with these cogent words, ‘I rebel, therefore, I am.’”

Peter Garritano at the memorial service

Thomas Naylor woke up every morning thinking about how to make our little slice of the world a better place. He would often call or meet me for lunch so that he could tell me his latest idea, a word he said with a pronounced accent on the “i”. I often wondered if this was a Mississippi thing, he was the only person I ever knew from that part of the country. I enjoyed our talks and felt connected with him. Thomas never flaunted his impressive accomplishments. He always made me feel that even I could make a difference.

Thomas had ideas that often seemed farfetched but also simple, radical yet normal, destructive but peaceful. The things he proposed were never going to be easy. That’s why many of us loved to be around him. He challenged us, made us reach beyond our limits, and pushed us outside of our comfort zones.

I will never be able to write like Thomas, or have the optimism, passion, and drive that he had for his dream of a free Vermont but fortunately Thomas helped bring together a network of people who share his dream. My hope is that together we can continue to move toward a world no longer ruled by fear, greed, and stupidity.

Thomas wanted to die happy. Many of his latest pieces quoted French writer Albert Camus and mentioned this theme. His ideas and his passion made me happy and helped me cope in an absurd world that ultimately ends in the same way for all of us.

Even though I had only known Thomas for a few years I counted him as one of my closest friends. I could and would talk to him about anything, not just politics. He re-introduced me to Pink Floyd. I had never listened to the lyrics. He listened.

How I wish, how I wish he was here.

Peter Garritano

Berry-The Mad Farmer Rob Williams at Thomas memorial service

The Mad Farmer, Flying the Flag of Rough Branch,  Secedes from the Union

From the union of power and money,

From the union of power and secrecy,

From the union of government and science,

From the union of government and art,

From the union of science and money,

From the union of ambition and ignorance,

From the union of genius and war,

From the union of outer space and inner vacuity,

The Mad Farmer walks quietly away.

There is only one of him, but he goes.

He returns to the small country he calls home,

His own nation small enough to walk across.

He goes shadowy into the local woods,

And brightly into the local meadows and croplands.

He goes to the care of neighbors,

He goes into the care of neighbors.

He goes to the potluck supper, a dish

From each house for the hunger of every house.

He goes into the quiet of early mornings

Of days when he is not going anywhere.

Calling his neighbors together in to the sanctity

Of their lives separate and together

In the one life of the commonwealth and home,

In their own nation small enough for a story

Or song to travel across in an hour, he cries:

Come all ye conservatives and liberals

Who want to conserve the good things and be free,

Come away from the merchants of big answers,

Whose hands are metalled with power;

From the union of anywhere and everywhere

By the purchase of everything from everybody at the lowest price

And the sale of anything to anybody at the highest price;

From the union of work and debt, work and despair;

From the wage-slavery of the helplessly well-employed.

From the union of self-gratification and self-annihilation,

Secede into the care for one another

And for the good gifts of Heaven and Earth.

Come into the life of the body, the one body

Granted to you in all the history of time.

Come into the body’s economy, its daily work,

And its replenishment at mealtimes and at night.

Come into the body’s thanksgiving, when it knows

And acknowledges itself a living soul.

Come into the dance of the community, joined

In a circle, hand in hand, the dance of the eternal

Love of women and men for one another

And of neighbors and friends for one another.

Always disappearing, always returning,

Calling his neighbors to return, to think again

Of the care of flocks and herds, of gardens

And fields, of woodlots and forests and the uncut groves,

Calling them separately and together, calling and calling,

He goes forever toward the long restful evening

And the croak of the night heron over the river at dark.

Wendell Berry

Americans Rediscover the Right of Self-Determination

After a hiatus of nearly 150 years following the Civil War, over a million Americans have recently rediscovered the word secession, one of the most toxic, politically incorrect words in American English.  Never mind the fact that our nation was actually born out of secession from England back in 1776.

Since the re-election of Barack Obama on November 6, thousands of Americans have been signing petitions each day on a White House website known as “We the People” calling for the secession of their respective states from the Union. Continue reading

The Eerie Silence of American Lawyers, Clergy, and Academics in Response to Empire

At the height of the Civil Rights and Anti-Vietnam War movements back in the late 1960s, the political activism of three professional groups contributed significantly to the success of the two movements – lawyers, clergy, and academics.  Liberal attorneys challenged the constitutionality and legality of racial segregation as well as the Vietnam War.  Mainline Protestant ministers, Catholic priests, and Jewish rabbis raised questions about whether racism and war were compatible with God’s will.  Academics not only questioned the morality of the War and racial injustice, but also the political, economic, social, and psychological consequences of such aberrant behavior. Continue reading

The Vermont COOP


The Vermont Commons: Voices of Independence COOP provides an organizational news model that is transparent and equitable, one that balances crowdsourcing of actions, access to leadership positions, and governance by an accountable decision-making body.

The Vermont Commons: Voices of Independence COOP will enable contributors here in the Green Mountains and beyond to financially, intellectually and organizationally support the COOP’s goal of promoting energy independence, regenerative agriculture, governance uncontaminated by the influence of non-persons, monetary sovereignty and a republican culture able to shrug off the burden of Empire in the service of the Military Industrial Complex. Continue reading

The Kairos Radical Imperative

Kairos: A Greek word for a very special time fraught with decisive consequences for good or evil when momentous things are happening, new possibilities arise, more degrees of freedom emerge, and the opportunity to seize the moment appears.  A time for renewal and nonviolent action when the forces of light rise up against the forces of darkness.

So said German theologian Paul Tillich shortly after World War I.  With the emergence of “religious socialism” in Europe, Tillich saw what he thought was a Kairos according to theologian Robert McAfee Brown, “a time that God was seeking to use, and to which humanity was called upon to respond – an historical era in which a new political order responsive to religious concerns, and a new religious sensibility deeply immersed in the political order, could join forces.”
Unfortunately, this Kairos did not come to be or went unrecognized by Europeans.  Rather the European experience included Adolf Hitler, the Holocaust, World War II, and the Cold War, not a pretty sight. Continue reading

Christianity and Nationhood

As I watched all the muscle flexing and prideful posturing of both candidates for President during the debates, a quote from one of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s sermons came to mind:

“God’s victory means our defeat, our humiliation; it means God’s derision and wrath at all human pretension of might, at humans puffing themselves up and thinking they are somebodies themselves.  It means the world and its shouting is silenced, that all our ideas and plans are frustrated; it means the cross.” Continue reading

Obamaland: Vision Free, But Very Cool

How was it possible for President Barack Obama to have accomplished so little in four years and to have completely betrayed the liberal political base of the Democratic Party and yet still defeat Republican challenger Mitt Romney?  An underfunded economic stimulus package and a flawed, unsustainable health care program were said to have been his major achievements.  Not only did he vigorously continue the Bush administration’s war on terror, the rendition of terrorist suspects, prisoner abuse and torture, the suppression of civil liberties, and citizen surveillance, but he promoted the use of drones, death squads, and the new F-35 fighter jet.  Last, but by no means least, he inaugurated a so-called White House kill list and granted himself the authority to order the assassination of anyone, anywhere, anytime, with no questions asked, no trial, no due process. Continue reading