The legality of Catalonia’s Referendum is irrelevant. It is only being used to justify repression by the Government and loyalists.
The European Union revealed itself as a repressive, unaccountable regime this week. By siding with the Spanish Constitutional Court and the Spanish Government’s declaration that the Catalonia Independence Referendum was illegal they have shown us they will hide behind the law to further their plans for European integration at all costs.
And it is this idea of legality which is most problematic.
There is a world of difference between what is right and what is legal. But, to make this argument I first have to define my terms so we can all understand exactly what I’m talking about.
What About MY Rights?
People have rights. They are rights-holders. I subscribe to the classical liberal, John Locke view of Rights as either being inherent in your very existence or were granted to you by God since he is sovereign and can therefore, by extension, grant Rights to his creations.
Functionally, both perspectives boil down to the same thing from a legal perspective.
To repeat. People have rights. Period.
And despite the obvious attempts to hand-wave this away, modern Leftists fundamentally cannot escape this truth. Governments are constituted among men, in Jefferson’s words, to grant it the Power to assist the people in exercising their Rights.
I’m happy to argue whether government is the best way to do this. And for this discussion willing to lay aside my preference in the matter. But, there is no escaping that…
Governments do not have Rights, Governments have Powers.
And as such, Governments have the authority to use force to compel compliance to its edicts. But, it does not have the RIGHT to do so. And any use of force to achieve social or political goals is an abrogation of someone’s Right to Life.
Therefore, everything the government does, by definition, is a violation of the Rights of the People.
Again, I am laying aside the efficacy of how those Rights are defended. That’s implementation, I’m still talking about definitions or specification.
It is exercising its monopoly on the use of aggressive force to compel compliance. Period. There’s nothing voluntary about it. We may rationalize this to ourselves, but it’s fear of retribution that compels our conformity to rules that don’t suit our needs.
Rights of Secession
The question is whether or not we are willing to go along with those violations in order to reap the benefits from the societal order those violations are supposed to create. (I will leave aside for today’s discussion whether or not government is even capable of fulfilling its mandate to create order).
When enough people governed by the organization known as our central government (in this case Spain) decide that that government no longer benefits them they absolutely have the Right to secede from any compact that may be in place.
By definition, Rights-holders cannot be bound by a contract that they 1) didn’t sign and 2) no longer want to uphold.
Anything else is a ‘contract of adhesion’ and violates the foundations of all private contract law.
They can, personally, declare that contract null and void and refuse to abide by it anymore. Voting is one way to make this expression known. Another is to simply, “Go Galt” and drop out of the society to where government interacts with you as little as possible.
So, any and all discussion of the ‘legality’ of the Catalonia Independence Referendum is 100% irrelevant. Legality is a fiction that we as Rights-holders choose to believe in and abide by.
Secession is Not Just for Breakfast Anymore
Once a critical mass of people in a given place no longer want to abide by the contract, in this case the Spanish Constitution), no amount of screaming “BUT IT’S ILLEGAL!” will change anything.
The only thing that will change at this point is whether the government will or will not use violence to suppress the secession? Will it use the Power its loyalists continue to give them to put down the ‘insurrection?’
In Spain and Europe on Sunday we got our answer, in Technocolor and shaky-cam.
Moreover, any discussion about the Spanish Constitutional Court’s rulings on the irrelevant ‘legality’ of Catalonia’s secession is equally irrelevant. The SCC is a government agency. It has a vested interest in siding with the Government’s interpretation of the Spanish Constitution.
And so too, does the European Union because it’s finances and future well-being as an organization is threatened bodily by the decision of millions of Catalans.
One of my favorite quotes of all time is by the great libertarian Butler Schaffer who once wrote,
“I distrust all organizations larger than a two-handed game of poker.”
Organizations act first and foremost in their own self-interest, just like people do. Enlightened self-interest isn’t noteworthy, it’s the way of the world.
And so, in no way can the motives of the Spanish Government, the EU or the SCC be considered pure, regardless of their stated reasoning.
I Will Make It Legal
Another of my favorite quotes comes from the reviled Episode I of the Star Wars Saga:
Those 5 words sum up pretty much the attitude of every petty tyrant the world has ever seen. Those clamoring about ‘legality’ of the vote need to always remember these five little words.
I will make it legal.
Legality itself is fluid and without morals or ethics. It is nothing more than the expression of power and it needs to be removed from any justification of violence visited on one person by another. A secession vote is not an act of violence.
It is an act of defiance. But, it is fundamentally saying I don’t want to fight you, I just want to leave.
Catalonia’s response to the brutal crackdown on its moves towards independence was to overwhelmingly vote in favor of it, even though support was supposed to be lukewarm. Another predictable response to authoritarian edicts, obstinance and opposition.
And the more Spain and the EU resist these forces the more it engenders the very anger it is trying to suppress.
Which leads me to my last quote, coined by me, which neatly sums up all of this.
Why don’t you go f%$k yourself, and we’ll call it even.