book review, government, sortive democracy, T.L. Hulsey, Texas, The Constitution of Non-State Government
A Review of THE CONSTITUTION OF NON-STATE GOVERNMENT: Field Guide to Texas Secession by T.L. Hulsey
*Note: TL; DR? A concise, Amazon-friendly review resides at the end of the following.
Political science – in the future, the present, and the past. Gubmint. Hello, it’s another book review. Before we get going, I’d once again like to drop an analogous quote that I often attribute to the late, great philosopher, Joe Weider, from a 1980s essay on weight training: “In bodybuilding, everything works, but nothing works for long”. That is, as any student of the iron can relate, true. And so it is with politics and most other public human affairs. As many have noticed over the long centuries, just about any form of political association and governance, regardless of how one feels or thinks about it, can and does work for some duration. But then, just as free isolating the biceps provided a route to growth yesterday, at some point stagnation and even regression sets in. A change is necessary and, generally, inevitable. Many iterations of the cycle of the state have posited; pick one (or three) and observe the patterns.
Evidence circulating in early 2023 suggests that the West, or what the West has allowed itself to become has run its course. The legitimate foundations of Christianity, the Greco-Roman legal traditions, and the heritages of the various European nations are today and for some time, wholly ignored and, in fact, shunned. The allegedly liberating replacement ideology has also fallen flat. Emulating the great, original lie as told in the Garden, every last facet of the Enlightenment has proven a malicious deception. If one seeks both a comprehensive summary of how this process unfolded, trapped, and affected America, AND one wants a highly plausible way forward, then I am happy to report we have a new guide of great worth:
T.L. Hulsey, The Constitution of Non-State Government: Field Guide to Texas Secession, Shotwell (2022) (Shotwell) (Amazon).
© Shotwell / Hulsey.
A few points of initial clarification:
First, I must gently refute the author’s kind, self-deprecating autochthon assessment, from page 15 (Kindle):
Every line is mine alone – someone with no degree whatsoever from any university, whose loftiest state imprimatur, unique in my entire family, is a high school diploma. Thus the reader will not find in me any argument from authority. I have abundantly referenced others who might be more informed on particular matters, but ultimately the reader must face the harrowing challenge of having to think for himself.
One will certainly be forced to use one’s mind, a challenge and a reward. Hulsey’s authority to present such a challenge may casually defy Max Weber’s trinitarian taxonomy, though I think he leans strongly towards “charismatic” influence, as bolstered by ample subject-matter historicity and implicit, fluid construction of creative ideas. In other words, it is a fully displayed case of Bloom’s logical taxonomy on and of the seventh order. In other other words, Hulsey writes to us in both a thinking and thoughtful fashion. In case one is wondering, that is rare. Who needs lower academic credentials when one has such a book? As I noted in my much shorter Amazon review (below), in The Constitution of Non-State Government, Hulsey presents “a doctoral-level dissertation”. Here, I will note the book appears to have been partly intended, perhaps subconsciously, for an audience with an average Mensa minimum standard IQ. It is so drafted by someone I suspect of personally being at least a standard deviation north of that already lofty mark. None of this, by the way, should deter the new reader. It is, rather, encouraging evidence of the value of the author’s “harrowing challenge”.
Now, something that temporarily vexed my hard head, and which doesn’t really comport with the modern/post-modern notions of political science: what is a “Non-State Government”? These words cut through the neoliberal idiocy of our day. One may have noticed, even if one is unwilling to yet admit the realities, that the era of ideology is over. Hulsey’s is a book that graciously accepts the correct order of man’s nature, with identity first, followed by society or culture, and then, and only then, by politics – with attendant political labels. This book looks beyond the concepts of the modern “state”, an artificial construct, allowed by the laws of physics to work for a time, but, like all constructs of disingenuous modernity, destined to fail. Regardless of what some hold for propositional truth, a nation is no more than a defined group of somehow-related people. They necessarily have to live somewhere, and so the true state or nation is but an expression of their existence, together, and in the corporeal world. Hulsey more than explains the differences between the real and the faux, and the reader will do well to dispense with his preconceived ideas about the who, what, why, and how of government. In brief, what’s proposed is a government – just not the kind we’ve been lied to about all our lives.
Next, Texas. The Lone Star State and Republic is as fine a place as any to examine Hulsey’s ideas. In fact, given its relative uniqueness, it may be the best place to do so. Given the author, it all certainly makes sense. However, just as one shouldn’t remain hung-up on “isms”, one should understand that Hulsey has really novelized a generally applicable solution. His ideas, while based on natural, universal axioms, are largely Western in origin. While the implementation of his plan might not be universally practical, it is universally advisable to consider many of the points made. Polygenesis aside, people, one might have noticed, are different. What works for the European may or may not work as well for the African or the Asian. That said, what is offered is a blueprint, which may be modified as needed or if needed. These are concepts that could effectively serve many populations, if not exactly to the same scope or degree. They are certainly, as expressed, compatible with 21st-century Texans, and probably also with contemporary Carolinians, Germans, Poles, and other Westerners. It really depends on who, precisely, accepts Hulsey’s afore-noted challenge.
One last thing: religious argumentation. In now ancient Anglo-American jurisprudence, there is or was a maxim of constitutional or statutory analysis that held strict assessment of some questioned law or thing, against a founding, “absolute” authority, should be withheld as a “nuclear option” of last resort. For example, if a court is asked to decide whether a new law violates the First Amendment’s prohibition against fettering the press, the wise judge(s) would first see if the law might be confirmed or condemned by some lesser measure, like the concept of being voided via vague language. The armchair lawyer will make of this approach what he will, and he is informed if he realizes it was a rationalized thing of the past, with our existing “state” governments having succumbed to Tully’s admonition, “the more laws, the less justice”. Herein, as he masks his genius, Hulsey also openly states he has avoided religious authority in grounding his otherwise reasoned and logical designs. He succeeds in doing so. Yet, what he conceptualizes is highly harmonized with religious, particularly Christian thought. This is, in my mind’s eye, highly synonymous to Tolkien’s constant downplaying of Christian analogy in his works. One can only reply: “Yes, yes, as you say, professor. It’s not overtly there. It merely suggests itself to the mind and heart repeatedly and honestly”. This reviewer finds the result pleasantly remarkable and further proof of intellectual veracity.
Construction and Style
The Constitution… is divided into two essential parts. There is more through them both, rather than between them, a transitioning nexus that acts more as a bridge than a barrier. The first part deals well and fully with the philosophical nature of man, his attempts at society and government, and a few of the follies of our long history. This is the part that may challenge the casual reader the hardest. If one reads from Kindle, then make use of the defined terminology feature. Otherwise, have ready a sound dictionary. Hulsey uses, correctly, almost every term in our doctrinal vocabulary. In fact, about the only one I missed was “ochlocracy”. He uses, instead, the self-defining synonym “mobocracy” on page 136 (K).
The second part, which I will examine hereafter semi-concurrent with the first, is an actionable how-to guide for building a new and better society. Over the years, in more than a few columns, this reviewer has given reader assignments regarding preparedness in one area or another. Most of these calls have gone publicly unanswered. Yet, Hulsey has entertained what I previously thought were critical structural issues – and then some. Best of all, his instructions are based on a whole-process reality. The casual reader will find this section more relatable and, hopefully, inspirational.
The transition, as I’m calling it, which flows from cover to cover, is a cogent summary of many historical trends, deeds, and misdeeds that have led us in the United States to our somewhat uncomfortable present. One will get a decent examination of the paradoxes, hypocrisies, double standards, and inexplicable stupidities that have come to define that thing on the Potomac and its relationship with us.
As for style, Hulsey deploys an authoritative and entertaining methodology that seamlessly blends itself into all concepts throughout the book. In two words, it is “well written”. Like a river, it has a current, understated but strong, that pulls the reader along. Rather than being tempted to overanalyze the copious information, as encountered, one is advised to assume a floating position, head up, and enjoy the educational ride. And, by “copious”, I mean the literal sense of the word. For a shorter-to-average-length book, this one stuffs everything but the proverbial kitchen sink into one package surprisingly commodious and uncluttered. How Hulsey managed that is a bit of a mystery. Just know that it works. And delightfully well.
Philosophy Leading To Action
Herein, I had originally thought I wanted to step-by-step review my assorted notes in order to paint an accurate and lauding portrait. However, once I exported my remarks and highlights, I found I had assembled 22 pages(!) of them. That dog won’t hunt, so, for a better examination, I have condensed a few things. Looky here:
At the end of the day, the reasonable and responsible, the kind and the wise, are after justice, particularly in matters of law, economy, and political construction. I quote myself (and a better mind) from 2013:
An exhaustive examination of natural law was one of the central themes of St. Thomas Aquinas’s great Treatise on Law, part of his larger Summa Theologica. Expanding upon Plato and Aristotle’s “outside the box” approach, Thomas concludes, with reference assistance of Saint Augustine, that law “which is not just seems to be no law at all. Hence a law has as much force as it has justice.” St. Thomas, Treatise on Law, R.J. Henle, S.J., editor, pg. 287, U. Notre Dame Press, 1993. St. Thomas goes on to say that a civil or earthly law with conflicts with natural law is a perversion rather than a law. Thus, did Walden and others, claim a basis for civil disobedience to repugnant laws.
Aquinas simplified man’s relationship with God’s determined order: “Divine law is not in conflict with natural law, but it reaches human beings by a different route, revelation.” And, so on to positive, man-made laws. And, with all history as a guide, what “reaches human beings” is, at best, muddled, both by our various mental incapacities and by our, ahem, nature. See any and all attempts by man to govern himself for examples of our natural perversions.
Within his first explanatory segment, Hulsey, via a header, defines exactly what (and to a surprising degree, “why”) he’s interested in:
Only a non-state form of government can avoid totalitarianism, by sublimating destructive envy, diffusing Interest with symbiotic reason, avoiding the deontology/consequentialism dilemma with virtue ethics in a system of sortition, and devolving power to the sovereign people by means of the absolute right of property and the right of secession.
Hulsey, p. 146 (K).
A mouthful? Yes, but with deep instructive meaning. More on that in a moment.
First, lock up the sacred cows of modernity! Hulsey has come for them. In addition to dismissing the enlightenment modern state as dead, much like the extinct auk (big penguin), he specifically notes the passing of the United States as we knew, remembered, or mythologized it. He is particularly hard on the Fourteenth Amendment and the overall transformation of the old American Republic (before Evil Abe) into the US Empire. The former United States, he boldly, rightly deems it. Let none forget nor neglect the fact the tyrant Lincoln murdered two (modern) super-states. Congratulations, Yankees … you, too, lost.
While quickly but keenly surveying Western culture, economy, and philosophy, Hulsey notes that the roots of all manifestations of such esoteric ideas are not products of the ideas, but of our identities. The roots are ancient, and if history has shown us anything, it is that if those roots are to lead to flowers, there must be a degree of planning involved as to how, theoretically and actually, things work in the real world. Libertarianism is one of the “isms” easily, steadily shown the door. If libertarians, conservatives, liberals, and other ideologists would simply look at the present changing world order, they would see several of Hulsey’s points already in action. China and Russia are two different countries full of different people. Yet they both have adopted a somewhat amalgamated “whole process” approach, as to economics and political structure, that works for them by cobbling in what is proven and excising that which is not. Again, the labels matter less, much less than the substance.
The “proposition nation” fantasy of false Americanism is slaughtered. Lysander Spooner is in there too. There’s so much more. This little book is a home for vindicated rebels. And for those who do learn from past mistakes and want to move on. Part of this process recognizes three concepts I hold dear, and which should have been used a little more frequently: interposition, nullification, and, of course, secession (p. 142 (K)).
Back to the heavy heading: Hulsey proposes (and not in any way a novel suggestive sense) a Kleristocracy (note “ww”, p. 295 (K)). That means, and one will have to read along somewhat carefully, a “sortive democracy”. That means, and it all really does flow beautifully concept-to-concept, a well-defined and regulated lottery selection system. Again, silence objections – all justifying groundwork is meticulously built and cited, including copious, irrefutable legal justification. It works, it will, and it has previously.
Why is it critical? “The political machines of the modern state have institutionalized democratic elections to simultaneously pander to the democratic ideal while narcotizing its realization”. P. 116 (K)(emphasis mine). “VOAT(!)”, everyone practically screams every two to four years. And where, exactly, has all that electoral mania led us? We have been pandered to and narcotized. And worse. As Hulsey noted, channeling John C. Calhoun, the pandering effect brought about a noticeable “tyranny of the majority” which gave way to a lingering illusion truly ruled over by an (evil) oligarchy. The historical truth is the opposite of what all scream these days: “Sortition: the [random, organized selection] appointment of magistrates by lot is thought to be democratical [sic], and the election of them oligarchical”. P. 177(K)(quoting Aristotle).
If one desires to unwisely argue with THE Philosopher, that is one’s own business. Just know that this, to us, seemingly incomprehensible system has, in fact, worked very, very well for several high societies throughout history. Chief, in this reviewer’s mind, among them was the Venetian Republic, which lasted and, mostly, thrived for 1,100 years! P. 148 (K).
The way Hulsey breaks down the admittedly complex process of Venetian government is methodical and, to some, I suppose, humorous. As is this meme, appropriated from Vox Day, which, in deeply, slap-the-CONservatives fashion, essentially makes the same point(s):
(SDL, Darkstream Meme Review, UATV, 2023).
The symbiotic reason of the Venetian republic consisted of self-enforcing aristocratic rules. The republic is usually dated from the election of the first doge in 697 until its conquest by Napoleon in 1797 – 1100 years. Its prosperity attracted people from all over Europe, so that from 1050 to 1650, Venice was one of the five most populous cities in Europe. Daniel J . Smith describes it: Venice had no formal documented constitution [;however, informal] constitutional constraints included the dispersion of power through overlapping committees, complex election procedure, strict term limits, and a ducal oath of office.
Hulsey, P. 167 (K).
Having fun? This book and its viable ideas are fun. To further quote Hulsey, p. 152 (K)(double emphasis mine):
We must now turn to constituting these general axioms in a kleristocracy , or sortive democracy. Ultimately we will breathe life into them as the kleristocratic Republic of Texas.
The reader will quickly move through various defensive supporting positions: from the blatantly modern obvious, back to the genuinely philosophical, to the (comfortable and otherwise) Christian justification. The good, the bad, the ugly, and the positively optimistic.
What is proposed is a form of monarchy, though one “closely watched” and checked against abuses. A system that curbs “elective majoritarianism with the use of sortition – random selection of officeholders”. P. 169. Officeholders each with “skin in the game”. P. 170.
One will admit this or virtually anything else, is preferable to the dead or dying status quo. Hulsey, in his final drafting and revision during 2022, made some astounding predictions regarding the collapse of the postmodern US order. One regarded the letters “TX” and “AU”, which I will leave to the reader to joyously discover – simply put, what he theorized is now happening. He also semi-predicted, by a suppositional ponder, “the crisis that will prompt the final self-destruction of the American Empire”. P. 215. “That fatal crisis, entirely of the Empire’s own making, might be ignited by the replacement of the dollar as the primary world reserve currency…”. Id. Done and dusted, as of April 2023; the triggering event(s) likely being the Empire’s retarded move to kick Russia out of SWIFT and into the Sino-Russia briar patch of MIR-CIPS, coupled with the realization of half the nations of the world that the US is simply not a safe, sane place to leave valuable reserves. Entirely of its own making…
Part Two, “Instantiation”, is perhaps more relatable to the average reader. And in it, one finds the seeds of the new Texan Kleristocracy. The “how-to” really kicks in around page 300, Kindle. Therein, Hulsey deals squarely and comprehensively with things like public education (lower and higher), criminal justice, military matters (to include 21st-century issues like cyber warfare), energy, agriculture, trade, industry, and (gold) money. He puts forth very concrete ideas, many of which the reader may have previously dared to think about, yet without finding anyone to explore them. You’re in luck today!
One matter that I have previously wondered about, that few others appear to have considered at all, is what happens to nuclear weapons and related problematic issues in the inevitable event of the breaking or Balkanization of the (former) United States. Hulsey has the answers. Read this and more of his “future” assessment. Read, too, the extensive history at the end of the book of literally all prior secessionist movements – from all fifty states.
There is a lot to this book, all of it informative, entertaining, and inspiring. Before I close, I include my 5-Star review as previously sent to Amazon. One supposes they will post it according to their schedule, God willing and the AI don’t rise.
An Excellent Guide For A Sovereign, Prosperous Future
As always, the world this century is changing. A realignment has occurred internationally, creating new geopolitical, economic, and moral opportunities. Domestically, the United States, if one is entirely honest, has seen much better days. Texas, ever home to bold, determined men and women, is forging ahead. In early 2023, legislation was proposed in Austin that would create a sovereign gold-backed State currency. When this happens, Texas will have the first sound money between Mexico and Canada in over half a century. This remarkable phenomenon is one of several accurately predicted by T.L. Hulsey in the drafting of his fine book, a year or so before it happened.
The Constitution of Non-State Government is packed with remarkable, inspiring information on many subjects, all woven together into a moving tapestry that lays hold of the reader and does not let go. This book was written by an author with a keen understanding of philosophy, religion, morality, economics, and history. Within the well-designed layout, the presentation is also constructed in essentially two larger or overarching parts. The first is a doctoral-level dissertation about … us, about our nature – our social and political inclinations and interactions as humans – the good, the bad, the, yes, ugly, and the plainly mysterious. The reader will recall some of what has been forgotten while learning entirely new subjects and terminology. Then there comes what this reviewer calls it a transitioning, though it is seamlessly integrated throughout the entire text, a transition from ancient, medieval, and pre-contemporary history, to the present, with a full recounting (and it’s hard to think of something Hulsey left out; how so much was packed into a relatively short book is a riddle!) of the exact methods and episodes that transformed the Founders’ America into what it has become today. Many misconceptions are gently if keenly corrected along the way.
The second great part is an actionable blueprint for a grand, proud, and peaceful new nation, The Republic of Texas. One should please hold any preconceived objections until after one has read through the legally, morally, historically, and mathematically-justified proposals. A new nation formed of ancient wisdom and structure. Grab a hat; the reader is going to Venice! Though the matter is well explained, sua sponte, the interesting title refers to the formation of something other than the kind of “modern” nation-state gifted to the West by the (un)Enlightenment. The plan is to avoid the traps that have rendered many or most modern and post-modern countries archetypal factories of oppression, dissension, chaos, and dystopia. More misconceptions are put to rest, including so many misdirected “-isms” and “-cracies”. It will all make sense upon a full reading – and then some. Perhaps best of all, should one wish to substitute another state or area for “Texas,” then one will find a system that, while perhaps not universally perfect, will provide the starter seeds for a strategy that many, many good and proud peoples will find beneficial. A marvel.
Hulsey also deploys a writing style that is both professorial and deeply affectionate. And, furthermore, attention-getting. There is a palpable sense of both a honed fire and a learned kindness in his words. Those, all of them, one would do well to begin reading now. This is a rare and masterful work. Bravo!
Bravo, indeed. Change is not coming. It is here. Regarding the term “secession”, like it or not, we may well have it forced on us. Thus, it would pay to be prepared in advance. In parting, Hulsey’s work is like a socio-political tree, a mighty oak: The copious philosophical and historical basis acts as the root system; the structure of the new state as the sturdy wood stuff above ground, and; the be-greened and flowered towering majesty? That is up to us, up to you, dear reader. Read The Constitution of Non-State Government: Field Guide to Texas Secession, green up, and flower into the future!
You must be logged in to post a comment.