Today, to understand Dean and Howard Dean’s Vermont you have to go to that annual mythic earth-cycle, the Shriners' Maple Sugar Bowl, a fraternal football game between New Hampshire and Vermont that has been going on forever. Last week, New Hampshire extended its streak and beat Vermont 43-0.

It came as no surprise. In truth, most present-day Vermonters — they drive Subarus with so many bumper stickers on the back and always a VPR one — do not relate to the region. That is, they no longer relate to what used to be called “New England.”

Most Vermonters today, like Dean, appear to be from someplace else, quite often New York or New Jersey. They relate instead to generational themes. That is, they relate to the great hippie days in Vermont in the '60s and the sequential gay scene in the '80s, globalist cultural phases which drove the indigenes to paint big signs on their barns: “Take back Vermont.” They mean to take back Vermont from what followed after the cool people got bored and moved back to New York.

Vermont Public Radio is, of course, a subset of National Public Radio, and as VPR is a reflection of a central geist mentality emanating from D.C. and essential to centralist government, so are the Democratic governors. In current Gov. Peter Shumlin’s campaign speeches and debates, he represented himself virtually as a regent, an agent of the emperor.

And although the states' rights movement occurred under the watch of Dean and Shumlin, they barely noticed. We now see bumper sticker here, there and everywhere, that say Second Vermont Republic. It is the mother force of every states' rights challenge to central government today in all 50 states. It was started 10 years ago in Vermont by professor Thomas Naylor in opposition to the invasion of Iraq.

Thomas, who passed away recently, was a rebel who harkened back to a time when rebels like Scott and Helen Nearing lived in Vermont. They were Taoists and singular individuals, and there were others like them in the day. And they got along with the plain folk. They wore old clothes and drove old trucks and built their own houses by hand. Thomas wanted the Nearings to be seen as the inspiration of the Vermont independence movement and other small-government movements across America. But the wind came out of it when President Obama was elected. He was seen truly by liberal Vermont as something of a messiah.

Possibly that is the “Vermont problem” with liberal America today, starting in Vermonticized New York. Liberals no longer relate to place, which grants independence and individualist thinking. And Facebook makes it worse. They relate instead to central authority. Prior, the yeoman farmer of Vermont and Maine — see Thoreau’s The Maine Woods — was considered the archetype of American can-do independence. No longer.

It could mean the end of the liberal temperament in America. And who’s afraid of Howard Dean?