It was encouraging that the voters in Scotland rejected the separation from the United Kingdom. Let’s hope they did it for mostly the right reasons. Self-determination is a noble concept, developed and championed by Woodrow Wilson in the Fourteen Points that became the organizing principle of the Treaty of Versailles, and it can be applied selectively, but it can often be overly idealistic and problematic in application. Think the Balkans. Think Quebec. Or, closer to home, think the American Civil War. It occurred to me after the Scottish vote that the American notion of a country founded on and dedicated to a proposition is a modern miracle and that we almost blew it with this conflict. As Lincoln said at Gettysburg, “Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived or so dedicated, can long endure…..”. This is American exceptionalism.
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Victoria Wind says
And another problem set hovering around this issue is economic, as covered by the considerations of comparative advantage and solvency. When discussing this topic with people, many of them spoke of it in terms of the possibility of a Texas succession. It’s an emotional discussion swirling with nationalistic pride, but practically speaking, a potential independent nation-state must heavily scrutinize its ability to support itself economically. I don’t know enough about the Scottish economy to make a call, but I can imagine that they, like Texas, would suffer significant fissures in their economy for a few decades as they muster their financial and infrastructural strength.