Thomas Naylor’s Paths to Peace: Small is Necessary


Bill Benzon is an independent scholar interested in the mind and culture. He has also edited the first book in the Paths to Peace series, We Need a Department of Peace: Everybody’s Business, Nobody’s Job (2016). He has also published Beethoven’s Anvil: Music in Mind and Culture in 2001. As a musician he has opened for Dizzy Gillespie and B. B. King and participated in arts-in-education programs funded by the New York Foundation for the Arts.
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“A small-state world would not only solve the problems of social brutality and war; it would solve the problems of oppression and tyranny. It would solve all problems arising from power.”
— Leopold Kohr, Breakdown of Nations

This insight was Thomas Naylor’s lodestone; it informed and animated everything he did. Primarily an economist — who taught at Duke University, University of Wisconsin, Middlebury College, and the University of Vermont — he had also been a businessman, running a small software firm, advising corporations and governments in over thirty countries, an activity that lead him to predict the political upheavals of the Soviet Union. He moved to Vermont in 1990 in search of a human-scale community, which he found, and a decade later founded the Second Vermont Republic, which advocated Vermont secession from the USA to become an independent state, which it had been from 1777 to 1791. Time magazine named the Second Vermont Republic as one of the “Top 10 Aspiring Nations” in the world as recently as 2011.

Are you curious about how the twenty-six Swiss cantons support local autonomy and direct democracy in this small nation with four official languages?

Did you know that the world is afire with secession movements?

What about an organization in which the small nations of the world band together as a counterweight to the unproductive, and often destructive, activities of the “Big Powers” (e.g. Russia in Chechnya, China in Tibet and Xinjiang Province, US in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and so many other countries)?

Thomas Naylor’s Paths to Peace addresses these topics and includes a long interview in which Naylor places his ideas and activism in the context of his life. A fond eulogy by Kirkpatrick Sale and a foreword and afterward by Charlie Keil place Naylor’s life and work in a larger context.


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