Maryland Spring: The Freer Than You State

Scott Strzelczyk is an IT guy and the leader of the Western Maryland Initiative. For the first time since neighboring West Virginia did so in 1863, Mr. Strzelczyk wants to lead five western Maryland counties toward secession from The Free State.

Kind of a Maryland Spring.

From west to east, Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick and Carroll counties, representing 11% of Maryland’s population, would be reconstituted as a new state not ruled by Annapolis. They are not alone. Several counties in Colorado and the Upper Peninsula in Michigan have agitated about frustration with their own state capitals. Northern and Southern California have had simmering divorce proceedings for years.

According to The Washington Post, Mr. Strzelczyk wants to live in a smaller state with “more personal liberty, less government intrusion, less federal entanglements.” It is not clear how the last objective will be achieved by creating a new state.

It is perhaps unwise to anticipate the imminent arrival of “The Freer Than You State,” but pols should not to be too dismissive. The Arab Spring began when a Tunisian fruit guy set fire to himself rather than take any more grief from a bribe-seeking cop.

In Same War Different Country, Tom Friedman talks about countries held together by dictators, which fly apart unpredictably when the dictatorial thumb is lifted.  “Each tribe or sect believes it is in a rule-or-die struggle against the next, and when everyone believes this, it becomes self-fulfilling.”

Maryland is not a state it is a convenience. It sort of got what was left after the others had chosen. The same is true of many (all?) countries in the Middle East though for different reasons.

Over reach and heavy handedness are well known problems of governance. In fact, both have long been anticipated – at least in this country. “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Shooting Tomahawk missiles into Syria is not too popular. Would an offer to broker a split up into more logical pieces fare better?  Like Maryland, Syria is a convenience not a country and it is not for the convenience of the residents.

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Haven Pell

At the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, a woman asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” Without hesitation, Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

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  • Ten years ago the municipality of Millburn-Short Hills, NJ tried to secede from Essex County and join Morris County. That initiative died in the crib. The citizens of Millburn didn’t want to pay the taxes needed to fund Newark . All these crackpot ideas are dead on arrival.