Yesterday, I stopped by the Eighth Annual Abbeville Scholar’s Conference, a gathering of secession-minded scholars and lay folk. Fun times. I’ll report on it for the City Paper on Wed.

For now, you can read this report by yours truly for AOL News. Click on over to check it out.

Here’s a taste:

While there are certainly neo-confederates in attendance — such as Jim Hanks, the former head of the South Carolina branch of the League of the South — there are plenty of others who in no way are affiliated with those preoccupied with the Late Unpleasantness.

Take for instance conference speaker Yuri Maltsev, a professor of economics at Carthage College in “the People’s Republic of Wisconsin.” Maltsev feels he knows the dangers of an over-extended and debt-ridden empire all too well: He was born and raised in the former Soviet Union.

“The Soviet Union was definitely ‘too big to fail,'” he said. “It had 11 time zones, one-sixth of the world’s surface. And it failed miserably. I think that what would be interesting to discuss is ‘too big not to fail’ because bigness is not necessarily a good thing. Bigness in many cases leads to excessive centralization, depriving people of their liberty.

“We have a government that is spending like a drunken sailor,” Maltsev added. “This is a slander against a drunken sailor because he spends his own money.”

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