Envy ought to animate America, as it watches the push for the decentralization of power—radical federalism—across Europe and in Canada. For here in the US, the legacy of Lincoln has prevailed. He carried out a violent constitutional revolution (instead of pursuing peaceful emancipation like every other nation did), a revolution, which, in turn, sired the modern imperialist, interventionist and highly centralized American State, and outlawed peaceful political divorce.
The sweet sounds of of Scottish secession (to shamelessly mix metaphors) have fallen silent. For now. Scotland voted against leaving the United Kingdom and becoming an independent nation. But only just. The “No” campaign won 55.3 percent of the vote. The Scots hardly “rejected independence,” as Fox News put it. The tyranny of democracy has meant that a simple majority won the day.
Afrikaner secessionist Dan Roodt summed up my sentiments, in an email:
The Scottish referendum is a big disappointment to me, as I had hoped that a “Yes” victory could have unleashed a whole series of independence movements, in Europe, but also here in SA. More and more the Zulus control South Africa, with the media waging a futile campaign against Zuma. So ultimately ethnicity has triumphed over all these other clever theories.
Contra broadcaster Mark Levin—who clings for dear life to an anti-secession sentiment, so as to better love the unlovable: war criminal Abe Lincoln—the healthiest and most intuitive response to deep-seated unhappiness—political or personal—is not a constitutional convention, but a divorce; to exit the abusive relationship.
If Americans try what the Scots have have just done, our states and neighborhoods would be invaded by the federal government. People could die.
UPDATE I: To continue the theme of majority makes right, via Butler Shaffer at LRC.COM:
The mainstream media informed us that David Cameron was greatly pleased by the outcome. It is the nature of politics that this statement is true. Political thinking has trained people to believe in the 51% principle: no idea is worthwhile unless 51% of the public believes in it. But imagine a man with nine children, and four of them dislike the father so much that they want to vote to have all siblings leave home. The vote is held and, by a 5 to 4 margin, the pro-big daddy side wins. Would any loving psychologically-healthy man consider this to be a great personal victory?
Opponents of this measure were quick to announce that the question of Scottish independence has been settled, “once and for all,” words that mean “when we get the outcome we want, the issue can never be brought up again.”
All-in-all, the outcome of this vote was a referendum on the ageless choice people must make between individual liberty and collective security.
UPDATE II: If “1 in 4 Americans are open to secession, what does it say about this freedom which Lincoln waged war to abolish? It tells you that secession is intuitive to a very many ordinary folks.
Secession, political divorce, peaceful separation: these are the most natural and best ways to solve disputes. Walk away. This tells you just how aberrant was Lincoln’s war against the South.
In the past week, I heard a lot of arguments from neoconservatives that Scottish secession was ‘because they wanted to be even more socialist than the UK’. Maybe I was a bit optimistic but I believed that the sudden leftward surge in Scottish policy and resultant loss of living standard would have shocked the people and policymakers into understanding that capitalism and free markets are the way to prosperity, á la China.
Until the next referendum, at least, you’re all welcome to join me in shouting Alba gu bráth from the rooftops of the world.
To Nikola Dzhilvidzhiev:
Yes, the secessionist would have had to learn whence come their subsidies and, for freedom’s sake, they would have had to cease and desist the country’s march toward complete socialism. Nevertheless, the CORRECT libertarian view is to support the impetus of decentralization. (Reason magazine is left, Beltway libertarianism).
UPDATE IV (9/19): WHAT WOULD LINCOLN DO? Drop Daisy Cutters. That’s what he’d do.
Rafi Farber emails EPJ editor Robert Wenzel:
Before we decide what to think about Scottish independence, let’s consider what our beloved forefather, Abraham Lincoln, Honest Abe, would do if he were head of the UK in the event that the Scots secede from the United Kingdom tomorrow.
Answer: He would make some stupid but eloquent speech about how a House Divided Cannot Stand…and then proceed to bomb the living crap out of Scotland, murdering as many people as possible man woman and child, burning their property and salting the earth. And after he broke their will to fight, he would force them back in the UK and tax the living daylights out of them. Then we would all celebrate him hundreds of years later for saving the country.