Don't want to pay taxes? Declare independence!

Bruce Watson

Appalled at the way that many of Florida's citizens were disenfranchised in the 2000 Presidential election, Reginald Hudlin and Aaron McGruder decided to do something about it. They wrote a book.

In Birth of a Nation, Hudlin, who wrote and directed the House Party movies, and McGruder, who is famous for his comic The Boondocks, imagined what would have happened if East St. Louis, one of America's most depressed cities, had decided to declare its independence. The story is pretty compelling, and it got me wondering if this could really be done. I think it probably could.

In 2003, in an effort to raise money, Boon Island, which is located off the coast of Maine, declared its independence and began issuing money and library cards. Although the project seems to have been an elaborate hoax, it still raises interesting questions. On the one hand, Boon Island is located within six nautical miles of the United States, which puts it well within the country's territorial waters. On the other hand, several other countries have carved exceptions to their territorial water claims in order to allow smaller, independent nations to exist. It's possible that Boon Island could have claimed a similar case.