ALABAMA—Reason magazine really needs to do a better job of educating its ideological adherents. Having a guy like "absolute Libertarian" Derrick Belcher of Chunchula, Alabama out there flapping his gums as he gathers signatures in support of the state's secession from the Union puts a pretty pathetic face on the cause of libertarianism, especially if the guy doesn't even know which level of government is to blame for the forced closure of his topless car wash. He's blaming the feds, of course, and Obama personally, but really it was his fellow Southerners that done him in.
Don't much matter, though. As Belcher belched the other day, "I don’t want to live in Russia. I don’t believe in socialism. America is supposed to be free.”
Yeah, and you were supposed to achieve a functional level of literacy by the time you reached your current astonishing age of 45, but you didn't! Instead, you moan like a little girl about phantom repression on the part of the federal government when it was the state government that made you shut down your topless car wash, you ridiculous rube!
You want some more pearls of historical wisdom from Belcher, who has no problem showing off his intellectual gifts on the radio?
“I don’t think any one state can stand alone," he said, on the subject of how to practically achieve secession. "But if we’ve got 20 of them, then that starts to be something. If you look at a map of the red states, we have all of the oil and we produce all of the food. We’re the ones that are carrying the rest of the nation.”
Belcher is of course a Ron Paul supporter, which should make the congressman very happy to hear. The operations manager for a Mobile trucking company has a tight grasp about how a democratic society works, and the measures states may take with respect to their citizens.
Once secession has been achieved, he predicted, “The people who want those [Obama] handouts, it’ll force them to move to a different state. It will consolidate working people and that’s how we turn things around.”
Experience, it turns out, has been Belcher's greatest teacher. According to an Alabama,com blog, he blames "the government for shutting down his former business. Belcher said his Euro Details car wash, which featured topless women, was successful for a decade on Halls Mill Road in Mobile. But he said he was arrested and charged with obscenity by city officials in 2001."
The lesson was as obvious as the graying whiskers on his face. “The government ripped my business away, and now they’re choking America to death with rules and regulations,” he said.
Solution? Easy! Secede from the Union. No more... uh... city officials.
This is the face of the modern secessionist movement, such as it is. Problem is, while it's hard not to make fun of Belcher, who'd probably blame Obama for a bee sting, it's also too easy and a little unfair. He has a legitimate gripe regarding the forced closure of his car wash, which dollars to donuts wasn't harming a soul, and his natural inclination to never want to take a dime from the government is to be respected... but when he takes reasonable positions to the absurd extreme, saying, "I’ll starve before I take a handout. That’s what being a true American is all about,” and starts planning the mass exodus of "the people who want those handouts" from his newly "free" state, and yet can't understand (or accept) that it was his neighbors who oppressed him, we've got a problem.
Belcher, by the way, has already gotten more than 18,000 signatures on his Alabama secession petition, many of them "at a gun and knife show held at the Greater Gulf State Fairgrounds last weekend," and he says he fully expects to reach the 25,000 necessary to receive an official response from the White House.
He said, "It’s done way better than I expected,” which is kind of strange considering how well he knows his fellow Alabamans.