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Where is the Kingdom of Paonia?

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Dear HCN,

Dispatch To the Kingdom of Paonia:

Without dwelling on the thesis of This Sovereign Land and the view that the federal government must transfer the power over federal lands into local hands, presuming there is some legal, structural and socio-political basis for this action, I would like to submit a comment on Ed Marston's review statement that, "We're not first-rate, because we lack major private institutions of higher learning ..." (HCN, 2/4/02: The West can govern itself).

First, without a clear definition of the West from the Kingdom of Paonia, it is difficult to know the region of which Marston speaks. I would submit the formulation of the West in Michael Johnson's New Westers: The West in Contemporary American Culture for that definition.

It is agreed that we lack a Harvard, a Brown, a Princeton, a Yale or even a Dartmouth, and that they have made great contributions to nation-building and the edification of a portion of the public. But we do possess great state universities - Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington - in the West as I define it, and those institutions have contributed greatly to the education and development of the West and continue to do so in an extremely important manner. And we are the better for that, not worse off. Such a blanket statement by Marston in the publication does, however, in a journalistic sense, confirm his statement that "we lack first-rate media," HCN included.

And, if Kemmis "understands" that the region is in the grip of powerful, self-interested political machines, he has failed to grasp that central political truth spoken by that great political realist with the words, "We have met the enemy and he is us!"

However, if we are to have a Constitutional Convention to dismantle the representative structure and process of the nation to permit the West to govern itself, let it be held in the Kingdom of Paonia, where truth is eternal.

Where do I apply for the position of secretary of State?

John Hall
Evergreen, Colorado

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