I recently had the privilege to interview Phil Fishman, author of the new book, Secession: A Republic Reborn, a dystopian thriller from 2042 in which Americans reach their boiling point and states begin to secede from the Union, tired of the federal government overreach — far outside its constitutional authority — that has been occurring for decades under both Republican and Democrat administrations.
Matthew Burke: I was very honored to be asked by you to write a back cover note for your latest book, Phil. What inspired you to write “Secession?”
Phil Fishman: Matthew, I thank you for the compliment; but I am the one who should feel honored that you saw fit to read the novel and give me the first review that you permitted me to place on the back cover. As to why I wrote the book, I have always had a fascination with history, particularly military history; and most of all, The Civil War. You and I also share an interest in politics, which happily brought us together on Facebook many months ago. Initially, I considered writing an alternative history of the Civil War, where General Beauregard was assassinated before he could order the firing on Fort Sumter. I think except for that incident, the Civil War might have been avoided, or at least, considerably shortened since President Lincoln would have had a hard time in rallying the North without some military provocation. As I thought further about it, it seemed to me that I had something that might work even better as a futuristic novel. And this is the result.
Burke: There have been movements started for Texas — a “Texit” (after Brexit) and also progressive leftist California leaving the union because of their dislike of President Trump and many of his policies. What do you think of those respective secession movements?
Fishman: I recently something on my Facebook page alluding to several of these secessionist movements. The Texas Nationalist Movement is the one with the most momentum and garnering the most news, but there is now a movement in California to either secede from the U.S. or break into two or more states as West Virginia did at the beginning of the Civil War. And just in recent days, four North Carolina legislators introduced legislation to nullify a provision in their state’s constitution prohibiting secession. Certainly lots of talk about secession these days. I really do not see any of this coming about soon, but who knows if things continue as they have been with the federal government, growing like an ameba devouring our liberties.
Burke: Do you think states have the right to secede, why or why not?
Fishman: The answer lies in our Constitution. When our Founding Fathers drafted the document, there was great dissension on this issue. Some wanted the right specifically written into the Constitution, others wanted to include a prohibition against secession. Finally, as a compromise to keep the infant country from falling apart, neither a specific endorsement nor a specific prohibition was included. However, the Tenth Amendment grants that right by stating that if it a right is not expressly stated as belonging to the Federal Government or not expressly prohibited, that right is in the province of the states. Many argue that the Civil War settled the issue, but it showed only that secession is not possible if the seceding party does not have the power to make it happen. King George certainly believed that his colonies didn’t have the right, but we showed him that we did.
Burke: The book is somewhat futuristic, it’s set in 2042, but to what degree do you think it’s realistic if America doesn’t change course?
Fishman: I set the story out in the future for two reasons: One, I do not foresee it happening anytime soon. And two, I will be long gone before that date, so no one will be able to laugh at me (at least, to my face) for such an outlandish notion. However, I do think that something like that will occur in the future if our country continues to move along its current trajectory. President Trump has said that he intends to reverse that course, but what I have seen so far in his grandiose infrastructure spending plans seems to contradict that.
Burke: Do you see the election of Donald Trump as having? Do you think they’ll be more calls to divide the country or do you think he’ll be able to bring the country together?
Fishman: President Trump is an enigma. He has been on both sides on so many issues that it is impossible for any objective observer to predict what he does next. As for healing the great divisiveness that we are in, I highly doubt it. We needed a man like Ronald Reagan, and he is not that man.
Burke: You started this book while Obama was still in office and the prospects of a Hillary Clinton presidency looked somewhat likely. Would you still have written the book if you’d known that Hillary would lose?
Fishman: It’s a good question. If I had foreseen Hillary losing to someone like Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio or Scott Walker, I might not have. On the other hand, if I could have predicted Donald Trump winning, I could probably have made a lot more on a bet than I will ever make on this book.
Burke: That’s funny. So what’s your view on state nullification? Do states have the right to nullify federal laws they deem unconstitutional?
Fishman: The answer to state nullification again resides in the Tenth Amendment. If a Federal law violates states’ rights, then I think a state has the right to nullify. It then probably would go to the Supreme Court. If
SCOTUS agrees, everything is cozy. If on the other hand…
Burke: Some believe that the political divide in this country is beyond repair. It seems like we can’t even agree on the plain meaning of words and now progressive leftists aren’t sure which restroom to use. Do you think America should split into two or more countries along political lines?
Fishman: Indeed, the country is more divided than I can ever recall. I attribute much of the racial divisiveness to Obama, but as previously expressed, I don’t see Trump as a healer. He attempts to cater to opposite sides, but we need a leader with core values. Sad to say, I don’t view Trump that way. No, I would hope that we would remain one country, but I’m just not very optimistic.
Burke: Your last book was about the so-called man-made global warming and “climate change.” Give our audience a quick rundown on that book and what you think about those narratives. Is it real or just a scheme by leftists to destroy American capitalism?
Fishman: Regarding climate change, aka global warming, back in the 70’s the scare was global cooling. Ironically, the target hasn’t changed. The narrative then was that the continuance of burning fossil fuels was contributing to a haze in the atmosphere that was filtering out sunlight and causing the cooling. And of course, if we didn’t stop using fossil fuels we would soon end up in an ice age. There was a famous Time cover that the alarmists spread around. The fact of the matter is that there is such a thing as climate change as well as global warming and global cooling. They’ve all been going on since the birth of our planet and will continue until its death. It’s a scheme all right and the leftists are on board full tilt; however, I don’t see it as completely driven by the Left. As with so many ideologies, if you follow the money you can normally find the folks behind a movement. There is big money in climate change and very little in being a dissenter.
Burke: Have you thought about your next book? I hope it’s as great as the last two because I really enjoyed both of them.
Fishman: Thanks, Matthew. My next book, (if there is one) most likely will not be a novel. Too much work. I’m thinking along the lines of compiling a number of short stories in the genre of Rod Steiger’s TV series “Outer Limits”. I’ve already written the first two titled, “The Dream” and “The Codebreaker”.
Burke: I’ll be looking forward to it.
Fishman: Thanks and thanks for the interview.
Burke: My pleasure.