Friday, October 26, 2012

"Secession" in the European Union

There has been a fair amount of excitement amongst neo-Confederates recently about proposed secessions from states that are members of the European Union. This is an example from the League of the South blog, "Rebellion."

The fact is that many of these "secession" movements, such as Scotland, propose that their newly independent nations will become members of the European Union. It would be really secession if Scotland proposed to be a separate nation outside of the European Union. With a European Union providing a free trade zone and a common currency it may be that the nation state is being obsoleted by a larger state, the European Union, and in which case secession from the superseded nation state is possible.

Also, whether there is really a secession movement going needs to be questioned. In some cases there really is a sizable movement, but in other cases it is just a few people living Ruritanian fantasies. For example in Vermont the secession movement is just a few cranks that have no real following.

Also, it isn't considered by Vermont secessionists that Vermont has it fairly good in the U.S.A. As a small state with a very small population Vermont gets two U.S. Senators with its 600,000 some inhabitants. Given that the average state has 6.4 million people (320 million divided by 50) this is significant over representation in both the U.S. Senate and the Electoral College for the election of the president by a factor of 10. This has some very real benefits.

This is one:

As an independent nation Vermont wouldn't have two U.S. Senators pushing for higher milk prices for the rest of the nation.  In fact they would have a lot of milk and no price supports. I am sure there are probably other instances where Vermont finds it very advantageous to have this 10X over representation.

In fact, Vermont should be careful not to discuss secession too much. Has anyone looked at the Constitution in regards to state being expelled? What if the American consumers realized that milk would be cheaper if Vermont was an independent nation?

For those enamoured of having their very own small toy nation, I suggest they look at the fate of the peoples in the Unted States of Central America who opted for being independent nations of Central America. Like many small states they ended up as victims of more powerful forces, in this case companies raising bananas, acquiring the nickname banana republics as term of contempt.

Some small nations do get along reasonably well. They have special circumstances remote like Iceland or they are in mountaineous regions like Switzerland and do not present great prizes for conquest or otherwise interest powerful nations. However, a great many other small nations find themselves dealing with adverse circumstances. They are dependent on more powerful states for support or find themselves dominated in various ways by more powerful neighbors when they are not actually invaded.

Is there really secession movement to form a new small nation state that wouldn't be a part of a larger state or framework of states in the Western world? No.

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