Secessionist Plug in The New Yorker (Whither James Howard Kunstler?)

The prestigious and uppity New Yorker has graciously given the NAmerican Secessionist Movement a bit of a plug…tucked away in the last para of the abstract for an article called The Dystopians. What is not mentioned is that even though James Howard Kunstler did address the Vermont Independence Convention in November 2008, hosted by the Second Vermont Republic, he came out against secession in his very presentation: “I’m personally not an advocate of national breakup or secession.”

I’ve been kicking around a post between my ears re the above contradiction, i.e. Kunstler speaking out against secession as a guest speaker to a secessionist convention. The organizers could have vetted the speech, thus neutralizing Kunstler’s anti-secessionist sentiment. I can assure you that Kunstler’s site generates more hits than the SVR’s.

It is just one more PR misfortune. Of course, Kunstler is entitled to his opinion re secession. But the Vermont convention was a political event, and speakers are, as a rule, vetted accordingly. If Kunstler was brought in as a marketing hook to fill the Vermont Legislature’s chairs with university students, then fine. But the trade-off seems to have back-fired.

Let us not forget that Kunstler’s invitation to address the Vermont conference must be seen within the context of his seemingly strong secessionist empathy as written in The Long Emergency: “It would be reasonable to wonder whether the United States will continue to exist as a unified entity, and what kind of strife the Long Emergency could ignite region by region.”

If Kunstler blind-sided the secessionist movement only he and the organizers of the convention know. That would have been his prerogative, although a questionable prerogative. If he did indeed blind-side the movement, then it can be scratched up to just one more lesson on the political and PR learning curves. It stands to reason that at a secessionist event the very topic under discussion will not get dumped on nor marginalized by a keynote speaker. A political utterance is qualitiatively more loaded than the comfort of liberal proselytizing on a stump of safe hypotheses and increased book sales.

It looks like I’ve just written the post that I’ve had in mind.

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