Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Freedom to Fail

Tomorrow Scotland votes on independence from the United Kingdom of which it has been a part for a little over three hundred years. From what I am hearing the vote will be very close. Also from what I am hearing, the independence movement mostly thinks it can manage its own socialist state better than the UK can. I consider this unlikely for two reasons. First, socialist systems get some advantages from banding together in larger groups. Failure takes longer when there's more to be ruined. Second, England, mostly London, is still one the world's greatest financial centers, if not the greatest. Without all that English money to redistribute to mostly poor Scotland, Scots will quickly find out how expensive a socialist state is and that they likely cannot pay for it. The learning process will of course lag far behind reality, and so we can expect an independent Scottish state to quickly build up massive amounts of debt and become the next Greece, requiring all manner of bailouts from the IMF or the EU and experience the accompanying austerity measures. We shall see if Scottish national pride is enough to swallow all of this, or at least enough to refuse to admit that independence was a mistake if the purpose is to become an even more socialist state than the UK.

Many who have probably already made this same diagnosis might say independence is a mistake generally, but I disagree. I am in favor of anything which may teach people a lesson. Western nations have become far too maternal for my taste, always trying to prevent others around the world from making mistakes and reasoning, correctly, that if they withdrew their involvement these other nations would quickly fall into disarray. It ought to be painfully obvious that the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq as promised and implemented by President Obama has led to a rapid disintegration there. Nations suddenly given self-government usually find a way to make every possible mistake which can be made, often by explicitly rejecting the right course of action simply because that was what their old masters were doing. India after independence provides a sobering example of this. Dinesh D'Souza's movie, 2016, shows an interesting interview with one of Barack Obama's half-brothers in Kenya who wrote a book arguing that Kenya has been worse off economically after gaining independence from the British. When you treat other nations like children, they tend to become like children. Children growing up can be told all manner of good things they should do and bad things they should not, but most of these lessons will go unheeded. The greatest teacher of humanity is not parents but pain. So here's to pain and failure, to Scotland's independent future, and the lessons they may be about to learn.

Now that's whack.

P.S. There may be another reason to celebrate an independent Scotland. UKIP, the rapidly rising political party in Britain favoring independence from the EU, will likely make significant gains if something like Scottish independence shocks the normally stodgy British out of their complacency. Unlike Scotland's independence, independence from the EU would be unquestionably and immediately good for Britain.