It seems to me, the real question behind the separatist movements around the world is… do some people have the Right, or privilege, to bind others. The same question arises in discussions of slavery, victimless crimes and blue laws. Fundamentally, if some have rights others do not, then are they rights or privileges? In each example of a separatist movement, the local people want independence while people who live, often very far away, demand subservience. Clearly, those who live in places where they seek independence from a federal state have little power over that national government, which in and of itself is a primary motivating factor in any decision to separate from a national government. Speaking of motivating factors… it follows that the larger the state, the less power individuals have over it and the more power bureaucrats have over individuals. It is exactly that power over the individual, that drives freedom loving people to seek to separate from a government they feel no longer takes their freedoms seriously. Which brings us back to our original thesis but gives names to the players, in other words, do bureaucrats have privileges while the people have no Rights?
Catalan is in the news as the quintessential separatist movement today. The people of Catalan (Spain) are the economic powerhouse of Spain. Money is taken from them and redistributed to other parts of Spain and the European Union to help the stupid, lazy and foolish. Bureaucrats sometimes a thousand miles away decide what is best for Catalans, taking their money to redistribute, while they have no say whatsoever about what goes on in their own lands, let alone controlling what others do in their lands. Therefore definitionally, the people of Catalan have no Rights, (are essentially slaves), while those who make the rules, European Union bureaucrats, have privileges. The media claim if Catalan separates there will be a paradigm shift in Europe, giving wind to the sails of dozens of other separatist movements throughout Europe.
We have to ask ourselves, should someone who has never lived in an area and has no connection to it, have the ability to force those who do, to follow arbitrary rules? Often those rules make no sense to the people living under them because the people making them are ignorant. What about taking money from others at gunpoint for what is called a “noble” purpose? Make no mistake, that is what government does, fund itself through violence and the threat of violence. So, if I believe abortion is a terrible wrong, is it a good that I rob people to pay for lobbying and propaganda efforts, to save the lives of unborn babies? Does it matter what the supposed noble purpose is? What if I wanted to create a Star Trek type one world government… would it be acceptable then? Obviously those who take money to redistribute it, keep a fair portion for themselves, because would you deny someone working tirelessly to help the “disadvantaged” a place to lay their head, little girls for their diversion, unimaginable wealth or clothes fancy enough to represent their position in society?
People are self interested, we all look to our own interest above that of others, to deny that is to pretend unicorns exist. Is it reasonable then, that someone given absolute power over another will work in that other’s best interest… or their own? Of course not, those with power wield that power for their own interests, be that maintaining power, getting sex or amassing riches. Only a saint is capable of breaking that dynamic, and as we all know, saints are few and far between. So when states become overly powerful and large, there naturally sprouts and grows a separatist movement as a natural consequence of the state’s unchecked power, or put another way, the people’s powerlessness. Only in states with severely limited power can a nation grow to be large and stay that way. Until of course, the limitations are withdrawn and the state becomes autocratic. Which plants a seed…
I would argue, no one has the right or privilege to force others to pay for charities they do not hold dear, nor to participate in a government that denies their Rights for the privileges of another. It stands to reason however that a single vote, alone in time is insufficient to decide what the true will of the people is. In Catalan upwards of 85% of the people who voted, voted for independence. That however was a reactionary vote due to the excessive violence those with privilege visited on those without Rights. I would say that several votes should be taken over a reasonable period of time to separate, or to incorporate a region as well. This is simple common sense. Even if we take an arbitrary figure, like a ¾ majority, that majority is not fixed in time, it changes over time, and so to get a real representation of people’s cogent and thoughtful opinions, over time, several votes must be taken.
So what are we to make of these separatist movements around the globe? You have two choices, do some have privilege while others have no rights, because if you believe in privilege then you must come down on the side that loathes separatist movements, and if you believe in individual human Rights you must favor the separatists, given the vote is free fair and taken over time. Now, if you believe in individual rights to free association, then how do you feel about the American Civil war? That question comes down to what you believe that war was all about, if it was about States rights, (Upholding Rights rather than privilege), then by my definition I would be a rebel, however if it came down to outlawing slavery, (the destruction of individual human rights for privilege), then I would be a union soldier. So you see, while the basic question is simple, privilege or Rights, the minutia, who is actually fighting for Rights rather than privilege… muddy the bloody enterprise up pretty good.