Hope you’re not getting tired of these, but there’s a lot to keep up with. In the wake of Scotland’s vote for dependence this week, let’s revisit the Portland Declaration on subsidiarity. I’m a sucker for a good manifesto, but you ought to read the whole thing:
The State is always in danger of morbidly multiplying its cells, of assuming functions which properly belong to the person, the family, or to Society. (Society also can occasionally encroach on personal rights.) Whatever a person can do, he or she should do; the next step would be to turn to the family and then to the community. Only finally should the State be asked for aid — and the central power of the State asked only as the very last resort. This is called the “principle of subsidiarity.”
Therefore, it should also be understood that the ideal State is a federated State composed of political units with far-reaching autonomy (“states” in the American sense, Lander in German, regions or provinces in French). Regions, as well as persons, have a unique value; regions are often a more organic unit with a sharper profile than the Big State.
The gigantic, centralizing Provider State, wrongly called the Welfare State, takes over all functions of life with its inherent drive toward an increasing and swollen bureaucracy, and turns (in the words of Alexis de Tocqueville) “men into timid animals” bereft of all initiative, thus weakening the fiber of every nation to a deadly degree. A great catastrophe — history has them always in store for us — then leaves the people unable to rise again.
Here’s the Jacobite’s take:
I find it interesting that Glasgow and its surroundings, the area where Catholics of Irish descent predominate, was the region where the ‘Yes’ vote was strongest. What we see on the map this morning is almost a modern-day equivalent of the divide that existed in the eighteenth century between the Catholic Highlanders (supporters of the Stewarts) and the Presbyterian Lowlanders (supporters of the Union).
Failure and defeat in Jacobite history are so frequent as to have become a defining feature of Jacobite identity. We strive and then get heavily defeated – that’s just the way it happens, and we might as well accept it. That does not make the original striving any less worthwhile, because we stand on principle, not for any advantage.
It’s pretty obvious clickbait, but I’ve nevertheless been surprised by the sheer number of ‘these–secessionists–are–also–watching–Scotland‘ stories. The big difference between Scotland and most others, as David Boaz points out in a piece for TheDC after the referendum, central governments elsewhere rarely grant them. And if it’s magnanimous enough to do so, as in Scotland, the case for seceding in the first place is not as strong. Madrid, for example, seems to be trying the opposite approach, declaring Catalonia’s referendum illegal and said it would “take any measure possible” to keep it from happening. Or in Malaysia, where people are being threatened and jailed for expressing pro-secession viewpoints on social media. The EU is still nervous despite the outcome, though David Frum won, so the world lost.
And Huffpo was running this above the fold on Friday:
In other words, we’re not immune to this kind of thing. Here’s the Texas nationalists’ statement on Scotland. The Second Vermont Republic is optimistic about the future. And besides the Orwell reference that sticks out like a sore thumb, this is mostly a good Washington Times editorial: “The wise take heed of small things.” Though I would hope the wise take heed of them in a more measured way than the state of California, which seems to have a bad enough Confederate flag problem that a Democrat assemblyman from Compton introduced a bill to ban it. Why, specifically?
Hall introduced the bill, AB 2444, after his mother, on a visit to the Capitol, saw a replica of Confederate money sold in the gift shop. The money contained a picture of the flag.
The Economist on the “secessionist temptation“:
In other words, the fact that different regions gradually get so angry at each other that they consider exiting their political union may not be a matter of stable regions with different innate characters being split by growing disagreements. It may be a matter of political parties transforming the political map such that regions are turned against each other.
Ryan McMaken on the political class’s fear of secession. You can tell it’s usually a good idea in theory because it never ceases to attract the attention of no-talent hacks like Rex Huppke, who is supposed to be a humor columnist.
Ed Sebesta for teh lulz. We had a funny exchange the other day that he covered so I don’t have to go into it on a blog people read. I’ll say this: be wary of a watchdog with a closed or nonexistent comments section.
Kind of shocked RedState would publish this.
China to back special economic zones in Costa Rica?
Dan Sullivan isn’t a fan of tribal sovereignty.
Ralph Nader issues a call to arms (and quotes Randolph Bourne):
The aftermath of the 9/11 atrocities resulted in brutal reaction. In devastating two countries and their civilians, far more American soldiers were injured and killed than those lives lost on 9/11, not to mention the trillions of dollars that could have been spent to save many lives here and repair, with good-paying jobs, the crumbling public works in our communities.
Sadly, our democratic institutions and civil resiliency are not presently prepared to hold fast with the forces of reason, prudence and smart responses that forestall a national nervous breakdown – one which happens to be very profitable and power-concentrating for the few against the many.
Consider what our leaders did to our democracy during their “war on terrorism.” Secret laws, secret courts, secret evidence, secret dragnet snooping on everyone, unauditable, massive secret spending for military quagmires abroad, secret prisons and even censored, judicial decisions that are supposed to be fully disclosed! Government prosecutors often have made shambles of their duty to show probable cause and respect habeas corpus and other constitutional rights. Thousands of innocent people were jailed without charges and detained without attorneys after 9/11.
The Al Qaeda leaders wanted to not only instill fear about public safety in America, but also to weaken us economically by tying us down overseas. Why are our rulers obliging them? Because, in a grotesque way, power in Washington and profit on Wall Street benefit.
Only the people, who do not benefit from these wars, can organize the exercise of their constitutional sovereignty to shape responses that promote safety without damaging liberty.
One percent of the citizenry diversely organized in congressional districts and reflecting the “public sentiment” can turn around, perhaps with the funding support of an enlightened billionaire or two, the Congress and the White House. Are you up to this challenge?