Sunday, October 29, 2017

When It Comes to Catalonia, Libertarians Shouldn't Make the Charles Lindbergh Error

I continue to see libertarians hail the Catolnian steps toward secession and label the steps as a move toward freedom.

This is a grave error.

Revolution and secession may throw off one region's back one government but it must always be asked: What will replace the old government?

Charles Lindbergh failed to ask this question when he
hailed the Russian Revolution of 1917.

He wrote in 1923 in his book, The Economic Pinch:
The Russian people, with ample excuse because of the lack of voice in the old monarchy, took direct, successful action. It was the only thing they could do if they were to become free.
Some freedom that turned out to be. It led to the formation of the Soviet Union, 60 plus million deaths and decades of oppression for the remainder of the Soviet population.

A replacement of a government is not enough, what replaces an existing government is not a question that is asked enough.

Finally, I note that some argue that a separation is fine as long as it is peaceful. But why should this be the criteria for support rather than how the new government will govern?

Consider the case of Catalonia.
A Sigma Dos poll for El Mundo showed anti-independence supporters at 43.4 percent of the population while pro-independence supporters equaled 42.5 percent.

Let's say that based on these numbers Spain allowed the secession and that this opened the door for rule by the radical Left which is a major supporter of secession. How would this be a positive for the 43.3 percent who want nothing to do with radical left rule?

The driving factor for libertarians must be whether a revolution or secession leads to more liberty or less. That is all.

Revolution and cession are only tools that can be used for good or evil. Ask the people that lived under Lenin and Stalin, if Charles Lindbergh's view was correct.



  1. Secession, unlike mere revolution, does lead to a smaller state and thus might benefit the citizens since smaller is probably more resistible or controllable by the citizens.

    Also, a successful secession must result in a feeling of power among the citizens (see what we just did!) and a very watchful attitude toward their new bosses. That "newness" should work in their favor as well.

    Finally, it is not guaranteed that the leftists promoting secession will be the winners in the flux of the new regime. Perhaps their promotion is based on hopes. Perhaps more libertarian thinking will be able to make itself heard given the increased attention being paid to a new regime.

  2. The White elephant in the room is the voting negotiation. This is all problematic since
    A the populace didnt designate the conditions of the new government - no masses in the street nor at the polls buh bye referendem.
    B Consequences - Let the leaders hold the Spanish government over a barrel for more favorable arrangements to stay with the status quo and ultimately gain greater independence now and perhaps again in the future.

    So many leverage opportunities squandered.

  3. BTW That's Charles Lindbergh Senior, the senator. Not Charles Lindbergh Junior, the trans-Atlantic aviator.

    Referring to Junior, Bill Kauffman writes in American Conservative...
    "...His congressman father, a fierce foe of U.S. involvement in World War I, was dubbed the “Gopher Bolshevik” by the New York Times..."

  4. The problem was he hadn't read his Hoppe yet that monarchy is better than democracy! Maybe he misinterpreted where on Plato's Five Regimes late Romanov rule was.

  5. Well the positive thing about secession is, it tends to increases competition among nations, which tends to increase pressure on lowering tax rates etc..

    But obviously if hardcore leftits take over and venezualarize Catalonia, then obviously this is like having VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke entering the car market now and introduce the Trabant again. It would not really increase competition in any meaningful way...

    1. Unless the individual nations band together and create an EU or U.S. federal gov't

  6. Since I don't live in Catalonia nor do I intend to, the level of freedom for Catalons is of little concern to me. As they say in America, "if you don't like it then leave!" Point noted, and I personally did.

    A smaller state will by and large have less aggressive foreign policy than a large state, owing to the fact that they can get their ass kicked quite easily by a large state. This is a reason to root for any secession movement - it weakens the aggressive power of both ths larger state that has lost the secessionists and the relative aggressive power of those who seceeded. Less or more freedom? On the question of state violence in foreign affairs limiting freedom, including the freedom to breath because you are still alive and not destroyed by an army, I would call that a win for freedom.

    Point two: whatever system the new awful (and wholly illegitimate) state enforces, it will now have a relatively increased interest in "international" trade. Think how much stuff Catalons get from Madrid, let alone the rest of the world. Even the most crazed anti-market citizen of this new republic will suddenly find free-ish trade to fit right into their normal polemic.

    Average citizen may be more or less free post secession. Its not really my concern. If California Uber Alles wants to follow Governor Jerry Brown into socialist hell, big deal. I already left there and don't intend to go back.

    Less aggressive foreign policy and relative push toward freer trade are two reasons to support any secession. The fact that the secession proposes to create a new state and force those who don't want to be a part of it to join is an absolute evil and should be condemned for that reason. Establishing a principle of rejection of existing state control is something to cheer.

    Mixed bag - several good things and several bad things under any staist seccession scenario. All told, I am still rooting for Barca.

  7. Robert,

    Could you please share your views on the US Constitution? Obviously the free trade and migration among the American states that it prescribed were enormously beneficial. However, the centralization of state power that it created has become horribly burdensome. How should libertarians evaluate this trade-off?