Secessionist Whirlwinds

With the issue and concept of secession, never have the political philosophies of its proponents and opponents been so ‘all over the map.’

In Slate, of all places, David Weigel portrays the various secessionist groups in America in a non-negative light (“Nothing Succeeds Like Secession“), while enviro-lefty luddite Kirkpatrick Sale runs The Middlebury Institute (“for the study of separatism, secession, and self-determination”.)

Meanwhile, in American Renaissance, Jared Taylor, who often supports secessionist movements, thinks it’s a bad idea for Scotland (“Scotland Should Stay in the Union“):

Independence for the wrong reasons would be a mistake.

I almost always support separation. I believe the Kurds, the Chechens, the Tibetans, and the Uyghurs deserve independent countries. The Czechs and the Slovaks are happier apart, and so are all the remnants of the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, but on September 18, I hope the Scots vote to stay in the United Kingdom. Why?

It seems to me that Scots want independence for economic rather than national reasons and, even worse, that they have no idea what a Scot is. I predict that an independent Scotland would have bad economic policies and a disastrous immigration policy, and that independence would be a terrible mistake.

Taylor sees a welfare mindset motivating many on the ‘Yes’ vote side:

The issue is mostly money. Ever since the discovery of North Sea oil, the Scots have been loath to share the wealth, and leaders of the independence movement are promising a goldmine. However, Scotland already gets more than its share of oil money and in any case, production peaked in 1999 and has steadily declined since then. Even if it got every penny of oil income, it would cover only 10 to 15 percent of current Scottish public outlays, which do not count what a new country would have to spend on armed services, border control, foreign embassies, etc.

The Scottish National Party, which is leading the independence movement, has always been socialist, and its campaign is a sharp rejection of the conservative Tory government in London. Only one of the 59 Scottish MPs at Westminster is a Tory, and many Scots think free-marketers in London wants to dismantle their beloved welfare state. A vote for independence is being sold as a vote for more welfare–even though Scotland already gets more money back from Britain than it pays in taxes. Scots want more handouts, and think they’ll get them from an independent Scotland.

This kind of money grubbing is a bad reason for independence. People should seek independence because they believe passionately in a national destiny that can be fulfilled only when a distinct people, committed to that destiny, shakes off foreigners. This passion has nothing to do with welfare or oil reserves; true nationalists want to take their destiny in their own hands even if it makes them poorer. Without that passion–and I see little evidence they have it–when Scots find they are no better off than they were, there will be nothing to sustain them.

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