In 1980, K.W. Jeter, Gary Panter, and Nicole Panter interviewed Philip K. Dick for the punk fanzine Slash. Plenty of interesting material, including the part I’ve excerpted below — Dick’s thoughts on decentralism. (Thanks to Jesse Walker and Dangerous Minds.)
SLASH: What’s your prognosis for the next 25 years? Do you think things are going to get real dismal?
DICK: No! No! I think things are going to get really good. I think we’re going to see a great decentralization of the government, which is good. The government is just failing to solve the economic problems and it will devolve to the state.
SLASH: States? That’s what Ronald Reagan is after, isn’t it?
DICK: Yeah. I think he’s right about that. If you got really sick now it’s the state of California that’s going to pick up your bill … not the federal government. We could survive much better without the federal government than without the state government.
JETER: It’s like those forces in the Brown administration who want to conclude a separate treaty with Mexico for petroleum products. What the hell! California is the sixth largest industrial nation in the world …
DICK: I know where my state taxes go. They don’t buy weapons with that. I would like to see this country break up into individual states.
SLASH: Wouldn’t that mean some pretty piss poor states?
DICK: Yeah, but presumably you’d still be free to travel. I spent years and years studying the war between the states and as much as I admire Lincoln, I think his philosophy was wrong and they should have let the South secede. That would have been a much wiser decision.
SLASH: What would things be like now? Would the South still have slavery?
DICK: Definitely not. Civil rights would be much worse for Blacks in the South than they are now but … on the positive side … uh I have books written during the war of speeches made by General Sherman have the right to self determination.
SLASH: Sounds more Socialist.
DICK: Well, actually they influenced the Germans on that. The North adopted the Hegelian view of state as a real entity rather than an abstraction which has led to the massive centralized government as bad as the Soviet Union. The original model for the U.S. was modeled by Jefferson after the models of the American Indian Federations. There is no doubt that the founding fathers were designing a system of independent and allied states based on these Indian models. Jefferson would have been appalled by Lincoln’s contesting the supremacy of states rights.