Monday, October 2, 2017
Catalonia, Separatism & Small States
These are certainly troubled times for the once proud and powerful Kingdom of Spain and there seems no hope of anything getting better in the immediate future. Separatist leaders have already, in spite of no vote really being held, declared themselves the winners with Carles Puigdemont saying that Catalonia has, “won the right to an independent state in the form of a republic” and that the way is now open for a unilateral declaration of independence. Again, it is noteworthy that the only thing the separatist leader can say to describe his ideal, independent, Catalonia is that it will be some sort of republic. What would actually resist remains to be seen as the separatists have portrayed independence as all things to all people, presenting differing visions cut to the customer’s satisfaction. To the socialists, it will be more socialist than ever, to the liberals it will be more capitalist than ever, to the Muslims, well, they were promised a ‘mega-mosque’ to be built when independence is achieved. They have no doubt about what sort of state they want and their views cannot be ignored considering that Catalonia has the highest percentage of Muslims among the Spanish regions. In fact, if Catalonia became independent, it would have the third most Muslim population in the neighborhood with a greater percentage than either Britain or Germany.
Due to a couple of comments, I think it also worth addressing the broader point of the ever-dividing states of Europe. I do not think I made it clear enough before why I think these ever smaller states are helpful. In the first place, whether one is speaking of Catalonia or Flanders or even Scotland, the immediate or ultimate end of these movements are to create more republics which is repugnant to my monarchist loyalties. However, even were they not, they would hardly be in a position to be truly independent. Some, more often the libertarian-minded rather than reactionary, also put forth the notion of micro-states. The problem with these is that they are too small and too incapable of the practical necessities of actual independence to withstand the stresses they would inevitably face. Those who point to the benefits of free market economics, and they have a case certainly, point to examples such as the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong which, while self-governing, was a colony and not independent. The Principality of Liechtenstein, while legally sovereign, is not capable of total independence and for most of its history has not been, previously being part of the First German Empire, currently part of a customs union with Switzerland.