In case you missed it, last week a legislative committee here in Maine put an end to state Rep. Henry Joy's latest effort to split the state in two.
Mr. Joy, a Republican from the northern hamlet of Crystal (pop. 285), submitted a bill earlier in the month proposing to create a new state called "North Massachusetts" out of what is now southern and midcoast Maine, plus rural, inland Kennebec county (the latter apparently out of spite, as it happens to be where our capital is located.)
Sounds like a clever political stunt, right? Unfortunately, Mr. Joy, an eight-term legislator, appears to be dead serious. He says his measure is vital to stop "the environmental extremists" from implementing "a forced relocation of the population of northern Maine," allegedly in accordance with "the 1992 Biodiversity Treaty, run by the United Nations."
“The environmentalists have been working towards this for years,” Joy explained in a press release, apparently in reference to the Great Maine Forest Initiative. “They plan to take 10 million acres in northern Maine and turn it over to the federal government. The land could not be used for any further development, and private property would be seized with no compensation. They don’t want anybody up there.”
Mr. Joy's plan would have left a rump state of "Maine" consisting of its poorest regions (and the places where I was born and raised). This he apparently regards as an improvement because it would free the region's people from the tyranny of the state's more liberal southern regions, somehow making it more able to resist the treehugger conspiracy. He submitted a similar proposal in 2005.
His bill was turned down by the bipartisan legislative council by 9-1. (Joy's sole supporter was Phil Curtis, R-Madison.)
After the defeat, Joy made his monthly appearance on a northern Maine Christian right radio show, talking with the hosts about the evils of the United Nations, environmentalism, the federal Department of Education, and the people of Portland. "It's going to be the death of the world," Joy says of the U.N., before agreeing with the hosts that the international body was bringing about the creation of Huxley's Brave New World. (Listen for yourself; they really get going at about 0:50.)
"We need some more Henry Joys in the legislature," the host proclaimed. "We need to clone you."
Alas, most of the rest of the conspiracy-fearing Christian far right opposes cloning. They'll have to keep raising the paranoid from scratch.