Featured Post

Castro and the Nazis: Makes Perfect Sense

As we come up on the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, we see newly declassified German intelligence documents reporting that Fi...

Monday, September 15, 2014

Scotland, Again. Bad Metaphysics . . .

A little break from discussing the Islamic Jihadis to discussing another kind of obsession.

Scotland's independence referendum takes place next Thursday. I have written before that I, as an outsider, hope the vote is "No." There are all sorts of reasons why I think that would be the best result for Scotland, the UK, and the West. There are lots of economic factors at work that are not fully understood, and huge political consequences to a successful "Yes" vote -- e.g., Might the Chinese or some other ill-wisher question the UK's seat in the UN Security Council? You can read about all that from people who know a lot more than I do. My comment today will be somewhat metaphysical and driven by my generally negative view re progressive movements in our age.

Simply put, this is a bad time intellectually to become an independent nation.

A little context. From the 1940s, through the 1950s, and into the 1960s the world saw a boom in the independent nation business. These new nations in Africa and Asia became independent generally (pace Singapore) under elites influenced by the progressive rages of the time, such as Fabianism, Communism, and other odd blends of statist philosophy and practice hostile to free enterprise and to the West. These new states, frankly, did not do all that well by almost any calculus you care to use. Nearly all were economic, political, humanitarian, and moral disasters that made colonialism look positively munificent. How many poor subjects of deranged African dictators, for example, would not have preferred some avuncular, efficient, and non-brutal British colonial officer running things?

If the "Yes" vote triumphs, Scotland would become independent when progressivism is having another of its periodic upticks or surges. It would appear that the putative future ruling elite of Scotland is fully in thrall to just about all the progressive themes: environmentalism, feminism, vast expansion of the power of the state. Go to the  SNP website and read the SNP's political platforms. They read like something conjured up by a Democratic Mayoral candidate running in Detroit: Free stuff for everybody! Down with the evil bankers! The results of the SNP program will probably be not too dissimilar from those obtained in Detroit.

The pro-independence forces, of course, use another weapon from the progressive arms cache, dopey youngsters. Voters as young as 16 and 17 will be casting ballots. How many 16- and 17-year-olds do you know who know anything about the world? Progressivism relies on supporters with low information and high emotions, and dependent on somebody else's coin. Yep, that would be a 16 or 17-year-old, be it in Scotland or in the USA.

Another classic tactic from the progressive handbook is to keep hammering away. If the vote goes "No," do not expect this to be the last referendum on Scotland's independence. If, however, it goes "Yes," I doubt we will see another referendum in which voters are asked whether Scotland should seek re-entry into the UK.

My one hope is that the media is reporting the outcome as too close to call. That usually, I repeat, usually, means that the progressive cause or candidate will lose. May it be so again.

53 comments:

  1. May the Scots have he wisdom, for once, to prefer wise government over local government.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wait, I thought "too close to call" meant the progressives then went to court or "found" lots of extra ballots and stole the election.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ugh! You're probably right, dang.

      Delete
    2. Makes me wonder, are the elections in the UK as compromised as they seem to be in the USA?

      Delete
  3. "How many poor subjects of deranged African dictators, for example, would not have preferred some avuncular, efficient, and non-brutal British colonial officer running things?"

    The answer to that Bob (with the benefit of course of hindsight) is most of them. The big difference between British colonialism as compared to the French, Dutch, Portuguese etc is that the British selected the most promising locals and taught them the necessary skills to be able to slot into upper-middle-management roles seamlessly. Of course the Governor-General kept his 'hand on the tiller' but for the most part the locals were running their own show.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And, of course, at least in the 20th Century, taught them the latest in socialist dogma. My, that worked out well.

      Delete
    2. I also respect that the same number of Brits governed 400,000,000 Indians as there were Frenchmen governing a fraction of that number in Indochina.

      But before you get too hard on the Dutch, don't forget that northern Sulawesi and the Southern Maluku regions didn't want to see them go. There's a lot of resentment against Javanese colonialism in other parts of Indonesia.

      Also, in the end, the colonies were a net drain on the mother countries. It's one reason why decolonization happened.

      Delete
    3. Maybe British rent-seekers were less successful at acquiring sinecures than French rent-seekers (seems very likely).

      Maybe Indochinese are more troublesome to govern than Hindus (seems at least plausible).

      Or maybe, as you imply, the British are better governors than the French. (It's hard to imagine that's a high bar.)

      It could all three, plus other factors yet unmentioned.

      Delete
  4. Someone please correct me if I am wrong, but Scotland has voted previously voted in constitutional referenda on the relationship with England and the UK: I think in 1979 and again in the late nineties. Short point; progressives never accept the outcome of democratic processes if it isn't the one they want. They will just keep coming back until they get the outcome they want.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the EU acts the same way. If you don't get the answer right the first time, you'll vote again and again until you do.

      Delete
  5. > It would appear that the putative future ruling elite of Scotland is fully
    > in thrall to just about all the progressive themes: environmentalism,
    > feminism, vast expansion of the power of the state.

    Gee, that is why I am hoping they vote "yes" (goodbye fifty Labour members of Parliament versus only one Tory). :)

    > How many 16- and 17-year-olds do you know who know anything about the world?

    I knew quite a bit (though far less than now) about the world then, but that was another era.

    > Another classic tactic from the progressive handbook is to keep
    > hammering away. If the vote goes "No," do not expect this to be
    > the last referendum on Scotland's independence.

    That is annoying. As a condition of even holding the referendum, there should be a condition that (with a no vote) they can't hold another one for a significant period of time (fifty years sounds about right).

    Certainly there are significant (and generally quantifiable) costs to a breakup, while the benefits seem far more tenuous (and less immediate).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "goodbye fifty Labour members of Parliament versus only one Tory" This would be an excellent outcome! GB would suddenly have more intelligent govt and PC would perhaps take a back seat to reality re: Mooselimb whackos living on the dole in England. Imagine how US politics would change if CA were suddenly to secede (Ok not a good thing for me as I live here as a subversive reality-based person).

      Delete
    2. "How many 16- and 17-year-olds do you know who know anything about the world?"

      Not many - in fact none with a knowledge of the realities. I "took the Queen's shilling" at 16 and found out I knew very little about the "way of the world". It was a fast learning curve.

      As someone who has absolutely no say or influence in the outcome I would hope the vote fails. The United Kingdom has been one of history's big successes - not without faults but the ledger definitely favours the up side.

      Delete
    3. >Gee, that is why I am hoping they vote "yes" (goodbye fifty Labour >members of Parliament versus only one Tory). :)

      How long would they stay 'progressive' without the tax transfers from the rest of the UK that I think Scotland receives? Might be a fairly quick reality based smack up the side of the head.

      Delete
  6. Regarding the vote of youngsters, I have long held that the voting age (for president and congress) in the United States is far too low. For example, we require presidential candidates to be at least 35 years of age, ostensibly because that age indicates sufficient experience to make a capable leader (it doesn't always work...). How, then, do we reason that someone younger than that is experienced enough to choose that same leader? I wasn't.

    I suppose we could make some exception for people in active duty in the armed forces. Having one's ass on the line seems like a reasonable indicator of maturity.

    There are ways to influence an election without voting, and that would have to suffice for those between 18 and 35.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would go you one further- only let veterans vote (maybe ex state dept types too- but just in deference to Diplomad). Something akin to the system in Heinlein's Starship Troopers (The movie was a disgraceful parody, BTW).

      Delete
    2. Only net taxpayers should vote. In the absence of that, a complicated scheme whereby every citizen gets one vote with an extra vote for every say 20000 in federal taxes. This solves two problems: the commies who claim that the wealthy do not pay taxes would have to shut up (but probably wouldn't) and those of us who do would have greater say in how those tax dollars are spent. Well it's a dream anyway.

      Delete
    3. TheOldMan,

      I agree and have thought so for a long time. The slogan "no taxation without representation" should cut both ways; if you're a net tax recipient you shouldn't have a vote. The only grey area is people who work for (or own) private companies that do most (or all) of their business with the government.

      Delete
    4. TheOldMan, AKM,

      I agree and like you have thought for a long time that only net taxpayers get to vote and that includes anyone feeding at the government tit. So government employees, direct or indirect (government contractor personnel) don't get to vote. Same with retirees living on SS, sorry Dip, that might have meant you too. I'd only make an exception for active duty military and maybe veterans.

      Too bad it won't happen, too easy to demagog these days.

      Delete
    5. The concept of limiting the vote to those with a real stake in the situation, meaning property owners, ex-military, etc, was explored by Neville Shute in his 1980s novel "In the Wet." It was his exercise in predicting the future, which was not too successful, but it has interesting ideas.

      Delete
    6. After seeing how women vote in recent elections, and how they put forth Shrillary Shrooooooooo as the likely first female POTUS, I say we repeal woman suffrage, too.

      Delete
  7. The London oddsmakers have the 'YES' vote as a 12:1 longshot.

    Bullet dodged, hopefully.

    ReplyDelete
  8. On the other hand... anything cutting against the grain of a single world government can't be all bad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually, the EU, or a World Government, would love its members states to be smaller and less powerful.

      Delete
  9. I agree with your pov, but there have been successful breaks from the "United Kingdom" - the Irish Free Republic being the one most similar to the situation w/ Scotland. It is perhaps a categorical error to lump in Scotland and Ireland with the colonial experience.

    This is not merely a "progressive" movement. It is an acknowledgment of London's power over all. There is London and not much else. As the rotten situation in Rotherham , with over a decade of underage girls being trafficked as sex slaves while the police and social services sometimes punished THE PARENTS for speaking out, England is no longer a beacon of civilization. 1,400 girls - all of them while ethnic Brits, so what does it matter - and all of the perps Pakistani (oops, one must say ":Asian" or be brought up on charges of racism).

    The same desire to break away from the bloated behemoth in D.C. is at work here. In both cases, the same sentiment applies: WHEN JUSTICE IS *NOT SEEN* TO BE DONE.

    I don't think we have any real awareness of what a soviet the United Kingdom has become.

    Please do not denigrate the many people who want to pull away from a rotted system.

    As for our own disgusting state of affairs, this one is closer to home and your own experience. I'm hoping you'll comment on it:

    http://dailysignal.com/2014/09/15/benghazi-bombshell-clinton-state-department-official-reveals-alleged-details-document-review/

    Sounds like Clinton never changed her spots - still feels entitled to destroy documents that put her in a bad light. It is frightening to think she could be in the Oval Office some day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, good points, well made.

      Delete
    2. She's improving... the first time, Vince Foster died. The second time, Sandy Berger was convicted. This time, she's likely to get off scot free? :)

      I'm just joking here, y'know... last thing anybody wants is a Clintonemy.

      - reader #1482

      Delete
    3. Di you mean a Clintonectomy?

      Delete
  10. I'm mixed like others. Sad to see the diminution of the UK continuing, but thinking this could work out well for both nations: as others have pointed out, the UK rump state will become more conservative and then more prosperous, while independence MAY force maturity on the Scots and lessen the ability to blame England for their problems.
    I've heard that Wales is very socialist like Scotland. It may be, just like in Detroit, that resentment of the majority/oppressor is fertile ground for socialism. Take away the bogeyman and people may start taking responsibility for their own lives, ie, becoming more conservative. One can hope.

    Mark in Portland

    ReplyDelete
  11. "...I think that would be the best result for Scotland, the UK, and the West."

    You're probably right about Scotland and the UK, however I'm less sure about England and the West in general. It is possible that the damage to the English half of the Labour party might be terminal, losing so many safe seats in Scotland. Exactly how that will play out is impossible to predict, but it quite likely means a general shift to the right* within the English political class as all the main parties try to adapt to the changed electoral balance. The West as a whole might well be strengthened in the long term if England becomes less Fabian-socialist.


    *Whatever that means these days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Again, some good points and well made. Best readers in the blogosphere!

      Delete
    2. I hope they vote yes for that exact reason. At present Scotland is enjoying a standard of living paid for by the rest of the UK. If they want to have their dysfunction policies feel-good policies that's their own prerogative, but they have to deal with results without subsidies.

      Delete
    3. I vote with Anonymous. A quick socialist face-plant by a nominally European (or Euro-leaning or whatever) country that suddenly ran out of other people's money would be highly instructive to western audiences, much more so than all the 3rd world examples have been.

      This is dependent on the English not getting bamboozled during separation negotiations into paying some exorbitant amount to retain access to the North Sea oil or the Trident base or some such nonsense. They should just flat out tell the Scots that England is retaining direct access to the oil fields, they're moving the subs somewhere else, and the subsidies end NOW. Love, Mum.

      In which case England better update Hadrian's wall, this time to keep out broke Scots fleeing the socialist paradise and bringing their Labour votes with them.

      Delete
    4. Effectively, "right" means disliked by the left. As in: Trotsky and Hitler in their time, and Putin and IS in ours.

      I have stopped arguing that none of these is a right-wing phenomenon, not because they are -- they obviously aren't -- but because I have never met anyone who thinks they are who is not impervious to logic, evidence, reason, argument, everything but fashion.

      Delete
  12. On the economic side: I don't think Scotland will become the next Saudi Arabia by exporting haggis.
    James the Lesser
    Ps. Think of all the school children saved from reading poetry that no one in the civilized world has understood for over 200 years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, despite being an old-school Calvinist, there's a lot in Bobby Burns that I like.

      Now, as for the Jacobites, they and the Communists long ago convinced me that the worse the cause, the more burning its PR!

      Delete
  13. According to the SNP platform, they have as much grasp of economic reality as the American CPUSA.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And just in case it isn't just economic, will they sign a military "friendship pact" with Russia? Just asking.

      Delete
    2. You never know. Depends on how devout the Lefties are and how desperate they get. On the committed Left, ignorance runs deep.

      Delete
    3. O say can you see Russian submarine pens at Scapa Flow?

      Delete
  14. On the whole - m'line of interests intrudes - but I'd personally prefer the Scots remain.

    But I'm confused Diplomad, perhaps you might explain?

    I'm "given to understand" Spain has some oh, misgivings about this Scottish foofaraw.

    Spain best I recall lost a fleet some'eres back near Scotland, why on earth should the Spaniards give a flying fig over finally "the island's awash"?

    Arkie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because Spain does not want Catalonia to be independent. The Catalonians, who are the wealthiest part of Spain want it. Madrid refuses to countenance it. If Scotland departs and applies to join the EU Spain might well veto entry to point out to Catalonia the perils of going it alone. Belgium might well do the same to make the same point to the independently minded Flemish.

      Delete
    2. Spain learned the hard way not to sail anything near the British Isles that they couldn't afford to lose.

      Delete
  15. Arkie,

    It's called Catalonia and Basque independence movements in Spain, the soi-disant "League of the North" in Italy, and I'm sure myriad others throughout the Continent.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I would refer you to the 3-part missive by Dr. Jim Walker (Scot who resides in Hong Kong):

    http://www.acting-man.com/?p=32596
    http://www.acting-man.com/?p=32608
    http://www.acting-man.com/?p=32647

    The entire Acting Man blog is well worth reading.

    ReplyDelete
  17. A bit OT from most of the discussion here. If as noted in the post, someone challenged the UK's seat in UN Security Council it is not a stretch to think the Obama regime would not object or veto but would in the event approve.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are a sharp one, Mr. Veng. So it might.

      He might suggest that the British and French permanent seats go to Europe and, um, oh, say, Iran.

      Delete
    2. I think you meant 'Kenya'. :)

      - reader #1482

      Delete
  18. I believe that Scotland leaving the U.K. would be an absolute economic disaster for them. One of the main factors that would determine their success is what happens to their relationship with the EU. We know that Scotland is a big EU lover, but being part of the trade block would be almost a necessity, regardless). So say goodbye to special exemptions that the UK has with the EU (the banking industry, for example), and be prepared to follow ALL of the silly EU rules. And I am laughing my you know what off at the "debate" about which currency Scotland would use after a breakup. The EU is quite likely to say "you want to join the EU? You are going to be using the Euro" (look how well that is working out for Italy). So instead of London having a bit more influence over Scotland's affairs than the Scottish people would like, they could well end up absolutely under the thumb of the Brussels Bureaucrats (in simple terms - much worse off).

    Having said that, freedom is the ability to make stupid (i.e. harmful to one's self) choices, and if Scotland wants to take responsibility for their own actions, I will support them (except financially, of course :) ) every step of the way.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Regarding "independence." The SNP is demanding an independent Scotland share a "monetary union" with the rump UK. I take it they intend the Bank of England to continue to underwrite their increasing debts. They should go hang, and live on an unbacked pound or their own worthless currency.

    They also assume their membership in the EU will continue without a hitch. Other member nations may disagree. If they get their wish, then they can rely on other nations' backing of the Euro.

    Some independence.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Although it has been "some time now," Scotland historically had relations with France. Perhaps an "independent" Scotland will be subsidized by France, or become a French province. Speaking of Devo-lution, might Brittany and Wales, or Britney and Whales, secede from their respective entities to form a Celtic union?

    ReplyDelete
  21. Too bad Scotland isn't the starchy Calvinist country it once was. A lot of John Locke's ideas of political contract were echoes of what had been written in the late 1550's by John Knox, the 1570's by George Buchanan (De Iure Regni Apud Scotos, which justified the deposition of the odious Mary), and in 1644 in Samuel Rutherford's _Lex Rex: or, The Law and the Prince_. They sent us Dr. Witherspoon, who signed our Declaration of Independence for New Jersey and taught a lot of our founders at what would later become Princeton. His former colleagues in the Evangelical wing of the Kirk were, next to Burke, among Britain's most prominent naysayers to war with the Colonies.

    Now, I share the sentiment that Scottish independence would be folly. The UK gave Scots an influence on the world far out of proportion to their actual numbers (think of all the prominent Britons in all endeavors who were Scots rather than English); and they don't even know what they'll do for currency if they become independent. However, I was born into a world in which the boundaries were supposedly set; my lifetime has seen a number of supposedly unshakeable powers dismantled. History happens, folks. History happens.

    ReplyDelete