Scottish independence?

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Re: Scottish independence?

Post by Flex » 10 Sep 2014, 3:02pm

It would still be pretty shocking if Scottish Independence happened. Polls tend to tighten over time on big elections (and sometimes even flip around like we're seeing), but it would be an all-time historic collapse of the No campaign. Which is possible, of course, but would be an exceptional moment in election history.

General theoretical opposition to the Empire aside, I am of the view that the question of independence answers itself: if more people want it than not, definitionally it must be the right thing. If one considers oneself a statist, then legitimacy of that state can only come from the consent of the governed. Once the governed stop consenting, the state stops being legitimate.

And one should remember that most of the scenarios where Scotland ends up fucked by being free are the result of late-era capitalism, not some sort of intrinsic problem with the idea of self-sovereignty.
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Re: Scottish independence?

Post by Spiff » 10 Sep 2014, 3:23pm

Flex wrote:It would still be pretty shocking if Scottish Independence happened. Polls tend to tighten over time on big elections (and sometimes even flip around like we're seeing), but it would be an all-time historic collapse of the No campaign. Which is possible, of course, but would be an exceptional moment in election history.
Oh yeah?

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Re: Scottish independence?

Post by Dr. Medulla » 10 Sep 2014, 3:24pm

Flex wrote:General theoretical opposition to the Empire aside, I am of the view that the question of independence answers itself: if more people want it than not, definitionally it must be the right thing. If one considers oneself a statist, then legitimacy of that state can only come from the consent of the governed. Once the governed stop consenting, the state stops being legitimate.
What do you mean by "right thing" in this context? We can all come up with various tyranny-of-the-majority hypotheticals, and I assume that's not where you're heading.
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Re: Scottish independence?

Post by 101Walterton » 10 Sep 2014, 3:31pm

I suspect the closeness of the polls is due to the Braveheart factor. There are plenty of Scots who will side with anything against England (not a criticism just an observation) and as a result support independence if for nothing else than to stick two fingers up at England in much the same way they would support Germany over England in a football game.

Whether all those have the balls to go through with it in the cold light of day when standing alone in the ballot box with no one looking over their shoulder remains to be seen but I doubt it very much.

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Re: Scottish independence?

Post by Dr. Medulla » 10 Sep 2014, 3:40pm

101Walterton wrote:I suspect the closeness of the polls is due to the Braveheart factor. There are plenty of Scots who will side with anything against England (not a criticism just an observation) and as a result support independence if for nothing else than to stick two fingers up at England in much the same way they would support Germany over England in a football game.

Whether all those have the balls to go through with it in the cold light of day when standing alone in the ballot box with no one looking over their shoulder remains to be seen but I doubt it very much.
A variation of what's known in the US as the Bradley Effect: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bradley_effect
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Re: Scottish independence?

Post by Flex » 10 Sep 2014, 5:11pm

Dr. Medulla wrote:What do you mean by "right thing" in this context? We can all come up with various tyranny-of-the-majority hypotheticals, and I assume that's not where you're heading.
I'm just skeptical that a government that rules a bunch of people of people who don't want to be ruled by that government can make a coherent claim to legitimacy. So, the right thing would be to not rule them anymore.
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Re: Scottish independence?

Post by Dr. Medulla » 10 Sep 2014, 5:33pm

Flex wrote:
Dr. Medulla wrote:What do you mean by "right thing" in this context? We can all come up with various tyranny-of-the-majority hypotheticals, and I assume that's not where you're heading.
I'm just skeptical that a government that rules a bunch of people of people who don't want to be ruled by that government can make a coherent claim to legitimacy. So, the right thing would be to not rule them anymore.
Just for the sake of argument, the rest of Great Britain could argue that it has made a significant investment in Scotland over the centuries and separation would cause harm to England and Wales, and should therefore be able to deny separation. This isn't exactly what the North argued in stating that Southern secession was illegal (because all the states united via the Constitution, a vote of all the states would be required to let a member leave), but it's in the same realm in that it declares that the departure of a member state cannot be a unilateral action. How big of a voting body should be able to consider the continued membership of one state? In a practical, political sense, it's hard to deny a group of people that want to leave, but from a purely legal theoretical position, it's defensible.
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Re: Scottish independence?

Post by Flex » 10 Sep 2014, 5:41pm

Dr. Medulla wrote:Just for the sake of argument, the rest of Great Britain could argue that it has made a significant investment in Scotland over the centuries and separation would cause harm to England and Wales, and should therefore be able to deny separation. This isn't exactly what the North argued in stating that Southern secession was illegal (because all the states united via the Constitution, a vote of all the states would be required to let a member leave), but it's in the same realm in that it declares that the departure of a member state cannot be a unilateral action. How big of a voting body should be able to consider the continued membership of one state? In a practical, political sense, it's hard to deny a group of people that want to leave, but from a purely legal theoretical position, it's defensible.
I'm not clear on the connection between investments GB may have made and the consent of the governed. The former doesn't seem like it compellingly overrides the latter, if one is using the "consent of the governed" as the core litmus test of what makes a government legitimate. Which is what social contract theory requires, I think.

I think there's a lot of problematic shit about a lot of stuff we're talking about, which is why I don't philosophically subscribe to any of it. I find arguments for the legitimacy of the state largely incoherent.
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Re: Scottish independence?

Post by Dr. Medulla » 10 Sep 2014, 5:52pm

Flex wrote:I'm not clear on the connection between investments GB may have made and the consent of the governed. The former doesn't seem like it compellingly overrides the latter, if one is using the "consent of the governed" as the core litmus test of what makes a government legitimate. Which is what social contract theory requires, I think.
The point is when you say "consent of the governed," should that question be asked only to the Scots or do other Britons have a claim to have their say in a vote that does impact them (i.e., is "the governed" only the Scots)? Should one party be able to unilaterally void a contract and the other partner(s) rubber stamp that choice?
I think there's a lot of problematic shit about a lot of stuff we're talking about, which is why I don't philosophically subscribe to any of it. I find arguments for the legitimacy of the state largely incoherent.
Agreed. I'm just raising stuff given that the legitimacy of the state as a concept isn't a question being asserted in the Scottish referendum.
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Re: Scottish independence?

Post by 101Walterton » 10 Sep 2014, 6:52pm

Flex wrote:
Dr. Medulla wrote:What do you mean by "right thing" in this context? We can all come up with various tyranny-of-the-majority hypotheticals, and I assume that's not where you're heading.
I'm just skeptical that a government that rules a bunch of people of people who don't want to be ruled by that government can make a coherent claim to legitimacy. So, the right thing would be to not rule them anymore.
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Re: Scottish independence?

Post by Wolter » 10 Sep 2014, 7:10pm

I approve of this new, pro-Secession FlexBot.
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Re: Scottish independence?

Post by Rat Patrol » 10 Sep 2014, 7:16pm

Flex wrote:General theoretical opposition to the Empire aside, I am of the view that the question of independence answers itself: if more people want it than not, definitionally it must be the right thing. If one considers oneself a statist, then legitimacy of that state can only come from the consent of the governed. Once the governed stop consenting, the state stops being legitimate.

And one should remember that most of the scenarios where Scotland ends up fucked by being free are the result of late-era capitalism, not some sort of intrinsic problem with the idea of self-sovereignty.
And here stateside we sort of have the inverse in play with Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico statehood.

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One (D.C.) very badly wants to become a state and has tried 4 times since 1980 to get admitted, drafting 2 state constitutions (under the name New Columbia) during that span. The city is under direct jurisdiction by Congress without having representation in Congress (none in the Senate, one non-voting delegate in the House). Any action by the municipal government can be overturned by Congress for any reason Congress should choose, and its budget for basic city services is likewise subject to Congress' every whim. Meaning, stupid political grandstanding fucks with administration of the city (and its 50% black population) all the time for every ideological reason by every ideological bloc, their budget is constantly held hostage, their citizens pay the highest federal taxes per capita of any state and more than 40% of the states charge in state taxes (because so many Federal buildings are granted tax-exempt status that the residents get gouged to make up the shortfall), and all those proceeds get vacuumed up by Congress and generally only reinvested into the all-white wards the Congressmen live. They've only been allowed to vote in presidential elections since 1964, they've only been allowed to have a Mayor/City Council and a modicum of protection from having their coffers raided since 1973, and only 5 years ago did Congress lift their prohibition on being able to lobby Congress (with money!) for the right to advocate for voting rights in Congress.

So...basically, the District's history is one of being shit all over by Congress which likes the comfort of having a political football it can kick around in almost any situation. Both on the issues of simply getting voting representation without being a state, and becoming a state. And the friction, especially with how segregated the city is, is so baked in that the legitimacy of the [federal] state itself is issue #1 in a lot of voters' minds. Except that their only way out of it is for Congress to voluntarily vote to advance their state constitution or advance their legislation for voting rights, which no one in Congress will do. And everybody knows no one will do it, so nearly every Presidential candidate campaigning there (because that's the only office they can vote for) comes out vociferously in favor of D.C. statehood when stumping there on the campaign trail, then conveniently forgets about it when they get into office.

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Puerto Rico's been a much slower-evolving situation where statehood, independence, or none-of-the-above questions have more or less defined the island's entire political history under U.S. rule. They aren't shat all over as often as D.C. is and are granted a lot more political autonomy, but that autonomy (beyond the right to choose independence) is voluntary with Congress and the President passing and regularly updating legislation that guides how they're going to treat Puerto Rico: what rights their citizens have, what the Feds are and are not obligated to fund, what they are and are not required to act on when the territorial government petitions the feds, and what they can and can't ignore or overrule like they can with D.C. And that's been its own legitimacy issue, because shy of some very skeletal Supreme Court protections and a little bit of self-restraint at not making themselves look bad by having Puerto Rico declare outright independence...there's nothing stopping an ideologically motivated Congress and likeminded President from totally gutting the rights of Puerto Ricans. Their U.S. citizenship (and right to travel freely throughout the U.S. without a passport) can be unilaterally revoked by act of Congress, they are not covered at all by the Bill of Rights and are reliant on the Supreme Court for affirmation of whatever Congress does or does not willingly grant them (for example: no fundamental right to a fair trial in Puerto Rico). They're covered by the draft but have no vote on anyone who sends them off to war (and, perversely, this means that the President could quash a theoretical political rebellion down there by simply sending all their enlisteds off to some land war in Asia...or institute the draft and send everybody else if that doesn't 'fix the glitch'). Plus there's this phenomenon--most prevalent on the East Coast (New York, New Jersey, New England) where Puerto Rican families establish residency in the states to get higher-paying jobs than on the pinned-in island with its comparably low standard of living, then send the proceeds back home...often with a rotating cast of family members doing a stint up north then returning home while another goes on rotation. The whole system of federal taxation there is based on this asinine game of chicken where Congress tries to raid as much of the transferred money from the transplants as it can through whatever tax loopholes it can exploit, while doing absolute zero to raise the standard of living on the island so people don't have to do this shit.

Statehood's waxed or waned by how much of a threat the feds present to Puerto Rican sovereignty. Independence movement peaked during the Cold War when the whole conscription/land-war-in-Asia thing loomed large...especially with that whole Cuban Missile Crisis dick-measuring contest unfolding a couple hundred miles away and more or less leaving them slightly ahead of Miami as the first place the Soviet missiles would hit if their unelected federal masters went to war. Statehood movement has run hotter when they've felt more existential threats from their voluntary rights being taken away. And "none-of-the-above" more or less held sway all the rest of the time when Congress and the President were completely inattentive to fixing all the other structural problems like income disparity.

Well...they finally passed a referendum 2 years ago asking for a change of status to statehood. So there's going to be a local referendum (no date set, but they're granted permission and Federal Election Commission funding to hold the vote) on petitioning Congress for statehood, and if that passes as expected they'll submit a state constitution for approval. What changed? The existential threats...the only things that have changed with this question in the past. This time the island has fixed some of its income inequality by cultivating a high-tech economy...lots of big pharma manufacturing, energy sector, high finance...to lessen the dependency on that game of chicken with the feds of family residency in other states as source of income. And then that high-tech economy got fucked with in a big way during the '08 banking collapse sending that new economy into a deep recession, only they don't have the options state Attorneys General do elsewhere to go after big biz and Congress opted to raid even more funding from them through artful fed loopholes to cover its own ass. So that whole experience ended up being a wake-up call that they need to be able to control their financial destiny a lot better before they again become the first in line to get wiped out by the next sociopathic billionaire con...at least to the point of being able to apply some of the more progressive recovery tactics Northeastern and West Coast states did that got them off the mat a lot sooner than those Randian Jesus laboratories in the Southern states. Their income equality is still in the bottom division, but it's a good slight better than Mississippi these days with Greater San Juan richer than a couple dozen other major U.S. metro areas...so they don't want their first-ever leg to stand on to be perpetually knocked out from under them without protection.

And...simple xenophobia. This is an era where the Tea Party is making fewer bones than anyone has in generations about shooting or deporting anyone who's brown. And Puerto Ricans know no distinction is being drawn about who's brown, or who's a citizen. They know in the eyes of the crazies who call everyone "illegals" that their citizenship is threatened, and that these Teatards don't give a flying fuck about the Constitution. So it's an existential threat that all it takes is Republican control of both chambers of Congress, a suitifiably insane Teatard Preznit, and the current makeup of the Supreme Court to get their 'voluntary' rights slashed back. Or...the doomsday scenario...their citizenship, travel privileges, residency in other states restricted or terminated (again, with cross-residency primarily being a northeastern blue state thing and hard-to-pass-up additional ideological "fuck you"). It's finally gotten to the point where there's no substitute for the real-deal Bill of Rights. Even when the Bill of Rights isn't what it used to be, at least that can only be chipped away at through attrition and not revoked by unilateral fiat.


Now, the pathetic thing...much as it is with D.C...is that they still don't have the right to determination to get a legally-drafted state constitution ratified by a Congress and 38 of 50 states if enough of Congress and 12 or more states just don't give a shit or want to stick it to them because reasons. They're an ethnic supermajority when a frightening number of elected Congresscritters seriously do believe that Puerto Ricans are illegals. There's the language issue and those "LEARN ENGLISH OR GO BACK HOME!" shitheads who'll torpedo it over that...even though the island is 100% bilingual (honestly, the resident transplants who take their kids to school at the shit public schools in the states are the ones who have English proficiency issues...the products of islander public schools by and large speak almost grammatically flawless English). And even though Hawaii set the legal precedent for having Native Hawaiian as an official state-language. There's the redistricting part...it would be the 17th largest state with 5 House members directly vultured from other states, so the states that are losing population and perpetually at risk of losing reps won't vote for it. And then naked partisanship...+2 Senate votes and 5 redistributed House votes that are reliably Democrat, and overwhelming Democratic majorities in the Legislature. And...worst of all...the states in the Northeast that would otherwise be most supportive or a new--and Democrat-voting--51st state with majority-minority demographics...are also the ones that have been bilking Puerto Ricans hardest out of residency income. And bilking them the other way around with loose residency requirements that let them vote in municipal elections as a reliable liberal voting bloc (sort of a reverse-snowbird effect...liberal Puerto Ricans in New York are the inverse of conservative New Yorkers in Florida and Arizona who sway local elections the months they're in home-away-from-home). That's all money and power out of New York's, New Jersey's, Connecticut's, Massachusetts' pockets...so watch their Congresscritters make pathetic, lame excuses for their "no" votes. And for a few of those states to be "no" votes when all the state legislatures have to ratify Puerto Rico's constitution for admission. I guarantee at least New York and New Jersey will join with the racist South in blocking their admission.






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So...yeah. That was an extremely long-winded history lesson in how these same themes of legitimacy are pretty universal in many, if not most, places in the world where these things are being taken up by means other than taking up arms. The federal state de-legitimizes itself with unequal treatment under the law or outright contempt, and that shapes the choices regions make on autonomy. And forces the issue to make a choice at all when there is any choice to make. We deal with that here too. For almost the same reasons even though the intent is different...the would-be states are running towards the protections of the Constitution as a direct result of the 3 branches of Federal government's pervasive undermining of the Constitution. Different direction for the same reasons: the federal state has debased itself, created its own legitimacy issues, and the afterthought regions with a choice in the matter feel that no one's going to watch their backs but themselves.

Here, unlike with Scotland, it's just much more compartmentalized who's following it. The residents of Puerto Rico and D.C. for whom voting decisions on autonomy are the UTMOST important issue in the world are not...well, "white like me". So nobody's shedding crocodile tears of hand-wringing for them like is belatedly happening at Downing Street. The desire for self-determination is very much the same, though, despite the difficulties (esp. financial) involved in transitioning to a whole different type of autonomy.
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Re: Scottish independence?

Post by Flex » 10 Sep 2014, 9:20pm

Dr. Medulla wrote:The point is when you say "consent of the governed," should that question be asked only to the Scots or do other Britons have a claim to have their say in a vote that does impact them (i.e., is "the governed" only the Scots)? Should one party be able to unilaterally void a contract and the other partner(s) rubber stamp that choice?
I would say I'm influenced by a feminist reading of the concept of "consent," in that it's not simply a one-time transaction but something that needs to be continuously agreed upon for the lifespan of the mutual engagement. So I still don't think the wishes of one party (e.g. Greater British Citizens) overrides the need for continuous consent from another party (e.g. the Scottish). Any one party's withdrawal of consent makes the arrangement, basically by definition, non-consensual. And non-consent isn't a legitimate basis for governance.
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Re: Scottish independence?

Post by Flex » 10 Sep 2014, 9:31pm

101Walterton wrote:Welcome to MMP!!
Finally, entrance into the Manitoba Marijuana Party! :mrgreen:
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Re: Scottish independence?

Post by 101Walterton » 10 Sep 2014, 9:36pm

Flex wrote:
101Walterton wrote:Welcome to MMP!!
Finally, entrance into the Manitoba Marijuana Party! :mrgreen:

I'm sure that would be far more sensible.

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