October 2, 2017

The Welfare State Strikes Back

Selected passages from the UK Telegraph write up of Catalonia's landslide independence vote (all emphases mine):

On a day marred by clashes between police and voters, 2.26 million people took part in the referendum, regional government spokesman Jordi Turull said. That represents a turnout of 42.3 percent of Catalonia's 5.34 million voters.

Few things are more dangerous than 2-plus million rampaging voters.

In violent scenes beamed around the world, officers in riot gear fired rubber bullets into crowds and beat would-be voters with batons as they queued at polling stations.

And some say that American police are dangerous.

Violence broke out across Catalonia as armoured police moved in to break up the vote.

Video footage showed officers from Spain's national police - 4,000 of whom had been brought in by the government to help quash the ballot - fighting with elderly voters, some of whom were left bleeding, and dragging young women away from polling stations by their hair.

Amid tense scenes, uniformed Catalan firefighters appeared to act as human shields to protect voters from advancing lines of police.

Renegade, lawless firefighters - where will it end?

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy last night said: "We did what we had to do", describing the ballot as a "premeditated attack on the legality of the Spanish state faced down with serenity by the forces of order".

Making no mention of the large number of people injured in police charges outside polling stations, Mr Rajoy said: "Democracy won today because the Constitution was upheld".

Is this what a victory for democracy looks like? National police trying to disrupt the most democratic act there is - voting?

Finally, here's how the EU weighed in:

The European Commission, the EU's civil service, has repeatedly backed the Spanish government and constitutional court's stance that the vote is illegal.

Yesterday the EC told The Telegraph it had nothing to add a statement made by Jean-Claude Juncker on Friday, when he backed "the rule of law" in Spain.

King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella I could not be reached for comment.

Egalitarian Socialism Europe We're from the government, and here to help. democracy Posted by JohnGalt at October 2, 2017 3:02 PM

I confess to having not watched closely. Reason, fairly unsurprisingly, is with the separatists.

The minarchist in me worries that long-term separatist decentralization produces more Hobbes and less Locke. I join Brother Keith in rooting for the Kurds. And I am nominally a Brexit fan. But Catalonia, then the Basques, I am not certain
that ends well.

Posted by: jk at October 3, 2017 12:23 PM

And California. And Northern Colorado. YAAAAAAAHHH!

The point is that there is widespread pushback against overreaching national governments. When those governments refuse to negotiate with their "subjects" then free men will do what free men do.

Posted by: johngalt at October 3, 2017 2:20 PM

I just read the short Reason piece you linked. It is excellent, and gives a better description of what I alluded to in my last paragraph: "By contrast, devolution of power has given regions like Scotland, with strong cultural identities of their own, more ability to chart their own course. In turn, that has often lowered interest in independence movements."

But I was even more interested in Krayewski's second paragraph:

The right to self-determination is enshrined in international law and is core to democratic norms. In a democratic society, people have the power to choose their leaders, and that requires having the power to choose who you choose leaders with.

No, I'm not here to quibble about democracy vs. republic, it's the other thing. The last sentence: "...and that requires having the power to choose who you choose leaders with."

I'm not sure I've heard that before. Or thought it. Or where it comes from save the author's assertion.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't he justify restrictions on immigration right there? In the pages of Reason?

Posted by: johngalt at October 3, 2017 3:03 PM

First, point of order: here is a perhaps even better and still short piece on separation.

Methinks you're stretching to equate drawing borders with enforcement of their crossing. But I have stretched on occasion, too.

Posted by: jk at October 4, 2017 11:41 AM | What do you think? [4]