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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Shawn Vestal: Matt Shea’s bad ideas aren’t the only bad ideas behind the bad idea of Liberty State

Shawn Vestal (Dan Pelle / DAN PELLE)

Don’t hold your breath waiting for bike lanes in the Liberty State.

Because the people in the Liberty State – which will never be a real state, of course, but which already exists as a paranoid, extremist fantasyland in our midst – know that trying to preserve limited natural resources or plan for effective infrastructure are just covers for a giant global conspiracy, run by urban eugenicists and foreign corporations, to take over the United States and eliminate all property rights, forcing people to live in cities without cars or air conditioning.

That’s really what Rene’ Holaday, sometimes face of the Liberty State movement, thinks. She wrote a whole book about it, full of the kind of bad ideas that the bad idea of the Liberty State is built on.

I read it so you don’t have to.

The far-fetched notion of creating a 51st state in Eastern Washington has gotten attention lately due to the increasingly troubling revelations about Rep. Matt Shea – white theocrat, trainer of Christian child warriors, feverish Islamophobe, preparer for the coming apocalypse, and duly elected state representative of the Spokane Valley.

There’s been a tiny crack in the wall of conservative silence around Shea lately, probably because his dangerous activities have attracted a larger national and even international audience. People in public life who have had nothing to say about Shea’s dangerous extremism for years have suddenly woken up and denounced him, concerned, perhaps, about his tainting our civic reputation.

So Shea’s end-times warfare prepping has rightfully gobbled up the attention of people concerned about the Liberty State notion. But Shea’s not the only salesman of this loony idea, and neither are his bad ideas the only bad ideas built into it.

Holaday has recently stepped to the front of the movement as a spokeswoman; she was the one who notoriously said that lawmakers had been telling her, “It’s either going to be bloodshed or the Liberty State.”

She is Shea’s former legislative aide, and she was fired by the House after making those comments. She’s a Stevens County horse rancher and two-time candidate for county commission there. She’s also a self-published peddler of an outlandish – but not necessarily original – conspiracy theory claiming that global eugenicist Darwinists concocted the lie of global warming to sell sustainable development and comprehensive planning as a beard for a United Nations takeover of the planet.

“There will no longer be any private property rights, all the people will eventually be moved into sustainable cities, the rights of the individual will suddenly take a back seat to rights of the animals and the environment, the economy will depend entirely upon government-controlled forms of industry, people will be forced to produce as much as they consume or pay fines, people will not be allowed to own any weapons, they won’t be able to have more than 1-2 children, if that, and so on,” Holaday writes in her book, “The Perils of Sustainable Development.”

And here you thought that a bike lane was just a place to peddle. You imagined that the North Monroe road diet was just a neighborhood improvement project. You believed avoiding a climate disaster was a worthwhile goal. You never realized, I’m guessing, that watershed studies and livestock disease prevention and the Growth Management Act – the dastardly, fascistic state law that makes economic growth completely impossible – are tools of a global fascistic elite bound on world domination.

Holaday’s book is a festival of logical fallacies – at least when it’s not peddling outright falsehoods. (Example: She claims 32,000 Ph.D.s have signed a petition declaring global warming “fraudulent”; this common falsehood among climate change deniers refers to a politically grounded online petition signed by 30,000 people, but by no means that many Ph.D.s).

She suggests that the U.N. spread world-domination tactics starting in the 1990s with the explicit assistance of U.S. presidents directly seeding the ideas into every county in the nation, resulting in the widespread adoption of sustainable development goals.

This will happen by a conservation framework foisted upon Americans by their leaders, in collaboration with shadowy globalist figures. It will express itself in seemingly benign ways, she writes – such as a federal plan to track livestock diseases, that was actually, Holaday reveals, the same exact way that Stalin took over all livestock production in the Soviet Union.

It is, mostly, not worth arguing with; it feels like intellectual bullying to point out its deep, silly wrongness.

For example, Holaday writes that it’s ridiculous to believe that cattle can be destructive to rivers and waterways. That their manure might affect water quality, or that they might trample streambanks, or any of that.

She writes of an unnamed cattle farmer who proved it. Ecologists tested the water at the entrance to his ranch, and then again when it flowed off his ranch, she claims – and they found the water “tested to be 300% cleaner when it left his property than when it went into his property!”

This sounds very accurate and true, no?

Shea calls her a “subject matter expert.”

Holaday’s bad ideas aren’t new in the extremist corners of the American West. They’re retreads from the John Birch wing of paranoid American politics, a wing that waxes and wanes but is waxing hard now.

They are the sandy foundation of a movement so detached from reality – and so impassioned about the righteous unity of their guns and their God – that violence is almost inevitable.