Spain’s response to the Catalonia Independence Referendum was both predictable and deeply unnecessary. It will be the death of the European Union.
Despite the best efforts of the European establishment, the Catalonia referendum finally went ahead as scheduled. Violence ensued. Spain’s central government believes its laws are primary.
And that they have the right to suppress dissent based on that belief.
Because that is always what happens when a government’s authority is directly threatened by the people’s desire for something else. Violent suppression.
This event is a stark reminder of what George Washington said of government, “… is not reason, it is not eloquence — it is force. Like fire it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master; never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.”
All of the niceties of orderly society dissolve when it reaches this point. It’s all smiles and high-minded ideals until someone says, “No thanks. I don’t want what you’re selling.”
And that’s when the tanks roll in.
Governments operate on the mistaken belief that we cannot function without them. They, and their apologists, are wrong.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, obviously under the orders of his EU masters and handlers in Brussels, learned nothing from history. He learned nothing from Tienanmen Square, the Berlin Wall, Moscow or even Brexit.
You cannot stop an idea whose time has come. And thanks to one of the worst miscalculations by a government in a generation what was lukewarm support for independence galvanized into a near unanimous expression of disgust.
89% for, 11% against
Catalonia – Years in the Making
I’ve been following this story for years; watching it build to this point. If it didn’t turn into violence this time then it would have the next. Catalonia was told multiple times this vote was ‘illegal’ and yet they planned for it anyway.
They were told not to draft founding documents, and yet they did so. While the official polling had Catalan independence support hovering below the 50% line, it beggars logic that those polls were accurate given the response from Rajoy’s government.
Simply put, the polls were lying and support for independence was far higher than anyone was willing to admit. After the past two weeks of egregious moves to stop the vote from taking place, Spain’s central government created even more independent radicals.
This is a point lost in the apologia emanating from normally sober observers of geopolitics, in this case “B.” from Moon of Alabama, trying to frame this vote as anti-democratic.
Catalonia has a GDP per capita of some $33,580/year. For Spain as a whole the GDP per capita is $26,643/year. Many factors account for the difference. Catalonia has an advantages in climate, in the vicinity of the French border, the high attractiveness for tourists with its capital Barcelona and its beaches. It has a well developed industry. But the “rest of Spain” is also, by far, its biggest market.
A richer part of the country does not want to subsidize the poorer ones. But it still wants to profit from them.
In general, the splitting off of sub-states from the bigger, established nations weakens both.
The wistfulness of “B’s” tone here tells you everything you need to know. He’s an unabashed German leftist. His soak-the-rich ideology is more important than the right of people to be free to choose their destiny.
The final line quoted is laughable on the face of it.
If the arrangement between Catalonia and the rest of Spain was good for both we wouldn’t be here. This isn’t some variation on ‘white privilege’ for rich Catalans. It’s simple economics.
The EU is Broke(n)
Governments around the world are broke. They are especially broke in the EU. Catalonia no longer wanted to subsidize the debt incurred by Spain’s government (which is, frankly, insane) on top of the wealth transfers already in place.
Madrid opposed the vote because of the potential for breakdown of European capital markets and the inability for the European Central Bank to cover the fallout. That’s where Rajoy’s orders came from.
So, for the greater good everyone has to continue to suffer… you know, for the cause, man!
Leftists can’t handle secession because it’s only defensible when the poor people try to stick it to the rich. But, poor folks don’t secede from central governments, they take them over
“B.” was against Brexit for the same reason. And the argument comes down to, “You’re rich. You exploited me. So, I get to take from you whatever I want. That’s why I’m the only one that can have a gun.”
It really is just as simple as that.
And the government is all to happy to roll in the tanks to keep the gravy train running. That’s the weird part about this.
Catalonia, the rich part of Spain, has to defend itself from the demonstrably uncivilized poor part of Spain with weapons Catalonia paid for.
Catalonia, Kurdistan, Italeave?
Catalans should be free to pursue their own destiny. Secession should always be celebrated even if it is inconvenient to your cause at the moment.
While this is happening in Spain, Kurds in Iraq are dealing with similar issues. And while I’m sympathetic to the geopolitical imperatives which say the Kurds should remain as part of Iraq, partially elucidated here, I also recognize, in the long run, breaking down the nation-state into smaller components distributes power more equitably.
And that lessens the damage any single government can do to the species as a whole. Leftists hate ‘Big Box’ stores and big corporations, but they love big, central governments.
I’ll leave the irony hanging for you.
There’s a lesson in Catalonia for the world to see. Yes, the consequences of its independence may be catastrophic for many people. It could touch off a sovereign debt crisis that breaks the financial world.
But those consequences will be worse tomorrow than they are today. The same tensions will still be there; growing in intensity.
And this is the ugly face of the European Union, with its worthless Articles of Faith (Number 7 anyone?) and its, now naked authoritarian attitude.
The silence from the EU leadership while violence erupted all over social media was deafening.
Where it couldn’t control the vote it simply moved in to suppress it from taking place.
Today it was Spain. Tomorrow will it be Poland? Hungary? Italy?
I leave you with the only quote that matters now. It neatly sums up everything there is to know about what the EU is about and why it is doomed to the ash-bin of history.
There can be no democratic choice against the European treaties, one cannot exit the euro without leaving the EU. – EU President Jean-Claude Juncker.
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