pocrisy, convinced Congress to withholdnhighway repair funds from statesnlike Vermont unless we raised ourndrinking age to 21.n* * !}:nThere is no state in the Union asnhistorically predisposed to secession asnVermont.nIn his book about Vermont, ContrarynCountry, historian Ralph NadingnHill recalls storyteller Walter Hard’snmemorable Vermont character,nGrandma Wescott. Once curiosity gotnthe better of her and she went to anrevival meeting. After a long-windednsermon, the traveling preacher approachednthe audience, sweat oozingnfrom his brow. When he reachednGrandma Wescott’s seat, he bent overnand beamed encouragingly: “Sister,nare you a Christian?”n”Not in this church, I ain’t!” shensnapped.nVermonters are good Americans.nBut somewhere along the way they’venswitched churches on us. The patrioticnthing to do is politely to excuse ourselves.nISnTHE ROCKFORD INSTITUTEnIN YOUR WILL?nPerhaps a better question is:nDo you have a current will?nIf not, the laws of your particularnstate will determine what is to bendone with your estate upon yourndeath. What’s more, federal estatentaxes, unless there is proper planning,ncan claim up to 55% ofnyour property. If you would likento discuss elements of your estatenplanning, please write or call:nMICHAEL WARDERnLEGACY PROGRAMnTHE ROCKFORD INSTITUTEn934 N. MAIN STREETnROCKFORD, IL 61103n(815) 964-5811n46/CHRONICLESnVermont was America’s first frontier.nIt was born free, never a colony ofnthe crown, never a territory of somendistant power. For 14 years (1777-n1791) it existed as an independentnrepublic doing those things nations didnin those days — coining money, raisingnarmies, engaging in foreign relations.nWe joined the Union free and clear inn1791, the 14th state.nSort of. We sat out the War of 1812,nour beef cows feeding the British armynin Canada — a move we can remindnour northern neighbors of during secession.nWe also ignored the FugitivenSlave Act. Vermont Supreme CourtnJustice Theophilus Harrington demandedna “Bill of Sale from the Almighty”nbefore he would return anrunaway slave.nIn 1867 Vermont provided a stagingnground for the Irish Fenians who attackednCanada from Franklin, Vermont.nUnited States marshals had beennsent to Vermont to halt the process.nWe ignored them. In 1917, beforenAmerica declared war on Germany,nVermont did so, in effect, by appropriatingnone million dollars (real moneynin those days) for war against Germany.nThe largest newspaper in the stateneditorialized that if Vermont insistednon fighting the Germans all by herself,nwe should raise taxes instead of issuingnbonds to pay for it!nIn 1927 the worst national disasternin the state’s history struck. After thenflood, Vermonter’Calvin Coolidge offerednfederal help. Replied GovernornJohn Weeks: “Vermont will take carenof its own.” A few years later the nationnoffered to bail Vermont out of thenDepression with the biggest publicnworks program in the history of thenstate — a Blue Ridge Parkway-likenhighway down the top of Vermont’snfamed Green Mountains. Nope, saidnVermont to an astonished America. Innthe most democratic expression of enrnvironmental consciousness in Americannhistory, Vermonters assembled inntheir town meetings in March of 1936nand voted to reject the proposal and allnthe federal loot that went with it. InnSeptember of 1941 the Vermont legislaturenpassed a law providing for fundsnfor Vermont soldiers to fight Japan.nSaid historian Ralph Nading Hill: “Inn1941 Vermont declared war on Japannbefore Washington did.”nNo state, including Texas, cannnnmatch Vermont’s independence. Still,nto think about secession conjures upnthe worst kind of imaginings. But theynare false fears.nVermont is too small to be a nationnagain. Sitting in the United Nationsntoday are the representatives of twentyfivennations with populations smallernthan Vermont’s. Each of these nationsnhas voting rights in the General Assemblynequal to those of the UnitednStates of America. More importantly,nsmall nations have been asked to sit onnthe Security Council. Guido de Marconfrom Malta, representing a nation withntwo-thirds the population of Vermont,nwas elected and is now serving asnpresident of the 45th General Assembly.nVermont’s tiny economy would benswallowed up by giant internationalntrading systems. In actuality, it is becomingnevident that small nations havengreat advantages in the internationalnmarketplace. Gary S. Becker, the highlynrespected University of Chicago professor,nwrites (in an October 1, 1990,nBusiness Week article): “Bigger isn’tnnecessarily better . . . Smaller countriesntend to be more nimble traders inninternational markets, offsetting theirnlack of economies of scale.”nVermont products have always had anspecial mystique. They are prized outsidenVermont as much as for what wenare as for what.they are. If anyonenthinks Vermont ice cream or Vermontnmaple syrup or Vermont cheese wouldnsuffer if Vermont became the Switzerlandnof North America needs to readnan introductory textbook in marketing.nA little state like Vermont is toondependent on the federal dole to go itnalone. Question: would you rathernhave $10,000 to spend any way younwant or $11,500 that you have tonspend as I say? Two things stand out innthe debate over Vermont’s return on itsntax dollar from the federal government.nOne is that this return is much smallernthan most people believe. A fair estimatenis that we get back $1.15 fornevery dollar we pay in. The second isnthat even this small positive ratio is onnthe decline.nWhen one considers the hassle onenmust go through to get that extra 15ncents on a dollar (grant applications,ndealings with the federal bureaucracy),nthe benefit of federal money may alreadynbe nil. Add to this the fact thatn