It's official. The Catholic Knight is retired.  I'm hanging up the helmet and passing the torch. There will be no more articles, no more commentaries, no more calls to action. THIS BLOG IS CLOSED. I've spent a very long time thinking about this, I believe the time has come, and is a bit overdue.  I want to thank my readers for everything, but most especially for your encouragement and your willingness to go out there and fight the good fight. So, that being the case, I've spend the last several weeks looking for bloggers who are fairly active, and best represent something akin to the way I think and what I believe.  I recommend the following blogs for my readers to bookmark and check on regularly. Pick one as your favourite, or pick them all. They are all great..... In His Majesty's Service, THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT

Friday, July 1, 2011

OZARKA - The Switzerland of North America?

Hiking the Ozark Mountains
THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: The Ozark Mountains are an outcropping of large limestone hills and plateaus on the Midwestern plains states. They resemble in many ways a smaller version of the Appalachian Mountains to the east. The Ozarks occupy a very large portion of Missouri, Northern Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma. The climate is usually more temperate than the surrounding regions. The people of the area are staunchly conservative and Protestant, mainly Baptist and Pentecostal. There is a growing Catholic missionary presence in the area, and a fairly large Lutheran population up north by the Missouri River.

Springfield Missouri
Queen City of the Ozarks
The largest city in the Ozarks is Springfield Missouri, also known as "The Queen City" back during the 1950s. It hosts the worldwide headquarters for the "Assemblies of God" Pentecostal denomination. This large blue and white building is affectionately called the "Blue Vatican" by locals. The Ozarks are the home of Bass Pro Shops, Branson, "Big Cedar Lodge" and the Great Passion Play in Eureka Springs. With plenty of lakes, rivers and streams, the area is a vacation destination for many Midwestern Americans.

The people of the Ozarks are fiercely independent and for the most part anti-Washington. They even see themselves in opposition to their own state governments on many issues. It was for this reason it came as no surprise when Springfield city councilman, Doug Burlison, suggested the possibility of Ozark secession from Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma, as well as the United States of America....
(Ozarks First) -- Could Springfield stand alone? It's a question one elected official is asking. It comes at a time when a lot of people are upset about their government. But does that mean they'll adopt a seemingly radical idea. One city councilman suggests secession might be the final answer. It's the online post that has people talking.
Doug Burlison tells fellow freedom fighters that secession seems logical. He wonders what a "Republic of the Ozarks" might look like. "I put this stuff out there, but I don't think it's crazy or an illegitimate idea," he says. "In a nutshell, I'm saying the Declaration of Independence still applies today." Not only is he talking about cutting federal ties -- "We're close to the constituents. People in DC are not as close as we are." -- he doesn't like the way things are going in Jefferson City, either. "If our state government is unwilling to do anything to remove us from this oppressive government, then maybe we need to be out from their umbrella as well...

read full story here
So as an Ozarkian myself I found this story intriguing. The idea may not be as radical as it sounds. They're talking about doing something similar in Southern California. I can personally attest to the fact that while my fellow Ozarkians are fiercely loyal to the American ideals this nation was built on, it is this very loyalty that causes them to abhor just about everything that happens in Washington DC. Ozarkians love their country and their American flags too, but for the most part, they hate what America has sadly become in recent years, and even more so, they fear what may be coming next.

So could Ozarkians secede from Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma? Yes, and in fact the US Constitution allows for this. If they could garner enough votes, "Ozarka" could very well become the 51st state. This is a very likely scenario under the right conditions - which may already exist. However, could Ozarkians then secede from the United States of America entirely? In my opinion, the answer again is yes, but only under the right conditions. I don't think those conditions are present yet, as of the date of this article (July of 2011), but could very well arise in the near future if this nation continues on it's current trajectory.

So what would an Ozark Republic, or "Ozarka," actually look like? As a resident of these parts, I think I may have some credentials to speak in this area.

Christ of the Ozarks
Eureka Springs
The governmental makeup of Ozarka would be fiscally libertarian and socially conservative. Religion plays a big part in the lives of people in this area, and issues of church and state are frequently blurred. While it is highly unlikely that Ozarka would adopt any kind of official state religion, we could expect a government that would drop all restrictions of free exercise of religion on public property and public schools. We would probably see a strict enforcement of decency laws, along with prohibitions against gambling and the enforcement of sin taxes. Homosexual marriage would be prohibited in Ozarka, as well as abortion and euthanasia. Likewise, embryonic stem cell research and human cloning would be illegal too. Displays of homosexual acts would likely fall under decency laws and it is unlikely that "gay-pride parades" would be permitted, let alone any type of parade that celebrates any kind of sexuality (gay or straight).

Fiscally, Ozarka would probably adopt a "Fair Tax" system of revenue collection and would likely ban income tax entirely. This would be designed to attract industry into the newly formed country. Banking laws would likely mirror Switzerland, so as to attract international investment into the region. Social programs would likely adopt a distributist model, relying heavily on private charity, while the government simply coordinates and subsidizes these private efforts with tax dollars.

The Civil War Missouri Battle Flag
Might be Adopted As the National
Symbol for Ozarka
Ozarka would likely adopt a foreign policy of armed neutrality, as most people (even women) in the region are already armed anyway. Military service in the guard would probably be compulsory for all young men, and able-bodied men of all ages would likely be on active reserve for most of their adult lives. The borders of Ozarka would be strictly enforced in a unique way. For the most part, people who live in the region would automatically become citizens of Ozarka, while these citizens would be given drivers licenses that double as visas allowing them to work and temporarily live in the rest of the United States. Meanwhile, citizens of the United States would likely be able to acquire Ozarka visas very easily as well, allowing them to temporarily live and work in the region. However, people who are not citizens of the United States or Ozarka would be easily detected and deported back to their home country. The idea of shutting out the rest of the world would not sit well with Ozarkians. People in this area want to live free, and under Christian ideals, but they are not isolationists. They regard the surrounding areas as their neighbors, and would likely continue to do so, even if they were a separate and independent country.

The Great Horned Owl
of the Ozarks
The national mascot bird of Ozarka would likely be an owl of some kind. Being predators, they would appeal to most men in the region who spend the better part of the year hunting and fishing. Owls are also frequently viewed as a symbol of wisdom, and this would be a method of governance that local Ozarkians would aspire toward. Owls can frequently be heard after dark in this part of the Midwest and one has nested not far from my bedroom window. The culture that would develop in Ozarka would likely be a cross between Old German and Victorian English. Of course the national language of Ozarka would be English, and that would be strictly enforced. Considering the thick accent in some parts of the Ozarks, the national government might have to standardize some language education in the public schools.

Catholics would certainly do well in such an environment, and indeed we already are doing quite well in this area as things currently stand. The Catholic Church is the fastest growing non-pentecostal denomination in the Ozarks, surpassing Lutherans, Methodists, Episcopalians and even Baptists. (That's not in size mind you, just speed of growth.) Because of the conservative nature of the people in this area, there is a growing trend toward traditionalism amongst Catholics in the Ozarks. Now traditional priests and parishes are still hard to come by, but finding Catholics who want more traditionalism are not. There is one traditional monastery at the foot of the Ozark Mountains in Oklahoma, and another taking root in Northern Arkansas. The Diocese of Springfield - Cape Girardeau hosts at least one Latin mass daily in Springfield, and even hosts an Anglican Use mission in the Springfield area as well. The local bishop is now in the process of installing a Catholic radio network that will span the diocese. These mountains are prime missionary fields for Catholics with a good understanding of their faith and the ability to defend it against typical Fundamentalist rhetoric. Baptists, Pentecostals and Evangelicals do convert to Catholicism here. It happens all the time. The potential of a Catholic renewal does exist in the Ozarks.

A Typical Ozarks Spring
Will there be an "Independence for the Ozarks" campaign? I have to say I am not against the idea, and might possibly favor it, if the conditions were right. For now, those conditions don't seem too far away. I think the last ten years has given a lot of my fellow Ozarkians time to reflect on a lot of things, and I think it's safe to say they too might consider political secession if the conditions were right for it. Lord knows, the cultural secession already happened decades ago.