I just learned yesterday that my friend and staunch Vermont secessionist, Thomas Naylor, died on December 12 from a massive stroke. He was only 76 years old, and very actively writing and organizing conferences for next year. I spoke to Tom about two weeks ago, and although his voice was kind of thin, he seemed fine: happy to chat, intellectually alert. A few days later, he was dead. I also spoke to his wife, Magda, yesterday afternoon, who told me that no one saw it coming.
There was no one like him, really; he articulated a rare political position, and he did it well. I admired Tom because life for him was not a pose or a hustle; it was about integrity, sincerity, and dedication to a vision. Tom stood up for what he believed, even though it was vastly unpopular. For me, his little book on "Secession" offered an important prediction regarding America's future. It's a manifesto, really, and a possible roadmap for creating a decentralized, eco-friendly, non-imperial America; or non-America, really, which I think needs to happen. He saw that America's soul had rotted out, and that the small minority that cared about quality of life, and about living a truly moral life, needed to separate out from the huge machine that was devouring us all, even murdering our children. The movement he created, the Second Vermont Republic, was his answer to the nation's spiritual suicide-in-progress.
So Tom will be sorely missed; he leaves a gap that will be hard to fill, in Vermont or elsewhere. Edwin Markham wrote a poem many years ago about Lincoln, saying that when a great man dies, it's like a tall cedar being cut down in the forest, and that this "leaves a lonesome place against the sky."
Bless you, Tom. R.I.P.