California Split

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger,

I have been meaning to write to you for sometime, knowing full well how frustrated you must be by the fact that the U.S. Constitution does not allow you to run for the presidency of the United States.

Your level of aggravation must be further confounded by the uninspiring group of yahoos who have presented themselves as candidates for the 2008 election.

To be quite blunt, Governor Schwarzenegger, the only way you are ever going to be president of anything is by assuming the leadership of the movement to extricate California from the Union.

Once California has seceded from the United States, you could easily be elected the first president of the independent Republic of California.

Consider the following facts. With a population of over 36 million people, California is the largest state in the Union. Its $1.5 trillion economy makes it the eighth largest economy in the entire world.

Although California is one of the wealthiest states in America, for every dollar in taxes paid by Californians to the U.S. government, they get back only 79 cents. That’s not a very good deal.

In a recent speech you said, “We have the economic strength, we have the population and the technological force of a nation-state.” And in your second inaugural address you even went so far as to proclaim, “we are a good and global commonwealth.”

You have managed to cobble together a unique blend of fiscal conservatism, social compassion, and concern for the environment that places you head-and-shoulders above all of the governors and national political leaders in the United States today. Your policy proposals to confront global warming are among the most creative and imaginative put forth by anyone.

In a February 10, 2007, New York Times op-ed piece entitled, “California Split,” Professor Gar Alperovitz quoted you as having said, “California, the nation-state, the harmonious state, the cutting-edge state, becomes the model, not just for the 21st century American society, but for the larger world.”

As you know very well, the United States government has become too big, too centralized, too powerful, too intrusive, too militaristic, too materialistic, and too unresponsive to the needs of individual citizens, communities, and states. Not only has it lost its moral authority, but our nation has become unsustainable, ungovernable, and unfixable.

Enough is truly enough.

“If the scale of a country renders it unmanageable, there are two possible responses. One is a break-up of the nation; the other a radical decentralization of the power,” said Professor Alperovitz in his cogent op-ed piece.

And in the Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson expressed the same idea even more forcefully, “Whenever any form of government becomes destructive, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and institute a new government.”

Just as a group has a right to form, so too does it have a right to disband, to subdivide itself, or to withdraw from a larger unit. By leading our nation into disunion you may help save California, America, and the rest of the world from the American Empire.

Long live the independent Republic of California. And may God bless the Untied States of America.


Thomas H. Naylor Professor Emeritus of Economics, Duke University