Open Thread for Thursday, September 18, 2014 — Special Scottish Referendum Edition

Today, I’ll offer you two choices:

  1. Discuss the independence referendum in Scotland, results of which will come in over the next few hours.
  2. Discuss whatever you like. I mean, if the Scots can do whatever they like, including committing economic suicide, then why shouldn’t my fellow Americans say what they please? (Within reason, and my civility rules, of course. Because this blog isn’t a bloody democracy. Harrumph.)

I see that YouGov has the Scots deciding to stay in the UK. If that’s correct, they haven’t gone completely mad. Or, if you prefer, they haven’t gone totally radge.

As to why I oppose Scottish secession, I do so for the same assorted reasons I oppose the Confederacy, Quebec secession, the disintegration of the Balkans, the Anschluss and Putin slicing off a chunk of Ukraine on the grounds of protecting ethnic Russians. Throw in my Anglophilia and my affinity for the Special Relationship, which causes me not to want to see Britain divided and weakened.

Also, I think the Union Jack is one of the most beautiful flags ever. By comparison, the St. Andrew’s Cross alone seems rather sad…


44 thoughts on “Open Thread for Thursday, September 18, 2014 — Special Scottish Referendum Edition

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        The weapons are no good without training. So we’re sending a group of advisers under the command of Stuart Mackenzie.

        Of course, this is fakeout move on our part. We’re setting the rebels up to fail, in order to help our friends in London…

  1. bud

    if the Scots can do whatever they like, including committing economic suicide,

    They’d make good Republicans.

    The best kept secret in America: The federal budget deficit is declining rapidly. For some strange reason Fox News, otherwise known as the propaganda ministry of the GOP, has stopped discussing this. Thankfully we have a real news outfit to rely on for information. From MSNBC:

    1. Bart

      “Thankfully we have a real news outfit to rely on for information. From MSNBC:”…..bud

      I always enjoy a good laugh before going to bed. This one will last well into the weekend. Keep’em coming bud.

      1. bud

        Bryan/Bart you two can’t resist an avalanche of anti-Obama jokes so it’s all in good fun. But seriously the budget deficit has declined dramatically. And it’s pretty much an accepted fact that Fox News is insanely pro-Republican. I’ll grant you that MSNBC has a somewhat liberal lean but don’t we need something to counter the 24/7 propaganda from Fox and talk radio? One itty bitty channel vs an entire army of right-wing anti-Democrat/Obama yackers.

        1. Bart

          If you were not serious, your reply would actually be comical. “One itty bitty channel vs an entire army of right-wing anti-Democrat/Obama yackers.” So, if I understand your comment, MSNBC is the only outlet standing against the vast number of right wing outlets? So, where does CNN, Headline News, CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, NYT, LAT, most other newspapers, most magazines, and a plethora of websites that are decidedly left wing stand in this “battle against right wing evil”?

          Another jewel for the weekend. Thanks bud.

  2. Kathryn Fenner

    The South Carolina flag is also very pretty, but if Columbia could secede from SC, I’d deal with losing the flag.

  3. Bryan Caskey

    Heading to Nashville for the weekend, and I’ve actually never really been there other than driving through. Any restaurant and/or general tips would be appreciated.

    1. Silence

      Where are you going to be, in particular? If you are down near Centennial Park, I think Hog Heaven is pretty good BBQ. It’s been a while since I lived/spent any time in Nash-Vegas.

    2. Jeff Morrell

      Can’t speak for Nashville, but if ever anywhere near Memphis, the Germantown Commissary is the best bbq we have ever had. A couple of sprint car racing (not NASCAR) folks keyed us into the joint.

  4. Silence

    I’m for freedom and the right of self-determination for people everywhere, so I was in support of the Scottish Independence movement, even though they are a bunch of far-left socialists. The best description I saw online, so I can’t take credit for it, was that: “Scotland voted ‘no’ to becoming Venezuela with a worse climate.”

    I look forward to the day that the Basques, Catalans, Kurds, Corsicans, Sicilians, South Tyroleans, Flemish, Walloons, Bretons, Normans, Lombards, and Southern Confederates can overthrow the chains of the Westphalian System.

  5. Doug Ross

    One of the great benefits of the Scotland vote was the extraordinarily high voter turnout… greater than 80% I believe.

    This points to one of the problems with our representative form of government. Many people feel they AREN’T represented in the process and don’t bother voting.

    Maybe we need some national referendum type questions on the ballot every four years to get people engaged and to break the deadlock in Congress. Here’s a few I can think of that would drive higher voter participation:

    – Resolved: A single payer healthcare system will be implemented to replace Medicaid and Medicare and offer all Americans the option to participate. The system will be paid for by increasing the current Medicare tax on all wage earners with a surtax for those who choose to participate in the plan.

    – Resolved: Puerto Rico will become the nation’s 51st state

    – Resolved: Congressmen will be limited to serving consecutive terms lasting no more than 18 years

    – Resolved: The electoral college will be replaced by popular vote for the election of the President

    1. Silence

      – Resolved: That the ordinance adopted by us in convention on the twenty-third day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, whereby the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified, and also all acts and parts of acts of the General Assembly of this State ratifying amendments of the said Constitution, are hereby repealed; and that the union now subsisting between South Carolina and other States, under the name of the “United States of America,” is hereby dissolved.

      1. Kathleen

        Serious question. Why does direct democracy seem to be an increasingly popular idea, almost an admirable ideal toward which we should be striving? The implication is there in academic writings and informational/historical television programs over and over. Am I seeing something that isn’t there, or am I merely a dinosaur who didn’t get the memo?

        1. Kathryn Braun Fenner

          Because it has a simplistic appeal, right up there with “running government like a business.”

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            I realized after I typed that that “popular” and “me” didn’t fit together in that context.

            It is because of my rejection of the ephemerally popular that I don’t like it.

            But it’s not that I dislike it BECAUSE it is popular. I dislike it because spur-of-the-moment thumbs-up or thumbs-down decisions are a horrible way for anyone to make any kind of decision on complex issues.

            Representative democracy, a.k.a. republican government, may not guarantee us a deliberative process, but it at least creates the possibility of deliberation.

            It’s a matter of doing with government what we do with everything else in a complex economy. We can’t all be doctors or lawyers or plumbers or iPhone manufacturers. We depend on other people to spend the time becoming expert on those things, and pay them for their efforts. Government is just as important as all those things, and deserves just as much study.

            It’s about delegation.

            It’s not that elected officials are smarter or better than the rest of us. Grab people off the street and put them together to study and debate an issue, and they’ll make better decisions than anyone forced to make a yes or no decision without any further interaction with the issue or with others interested in the issue…

    2. Doug Ross

      Can you imagine the impact 80% voter turnout would have in Richland County? We’d need three days to vote.

    3. Kathryn Fenner

      It’s a chicken and egg problem, but I think voter apathy came first. Once there’s a chicken in most pots and two cars in most garages, the voters tune into reality TV, rather than reality politics.

      1. Silence

        That’s exactly right, Kathryn. Unless something goes really off the rails and affects the non-voting public, they just continue to plug along, watching Kardashians and Duck Dynasty. I for one, don’t think that higher voter turnout is of utmost import. What is of utmost import is the quality of the voters who do turn out. I’d rather have decisions made by a smaller cadre of informed voters than by a bunch of Dorito-crazed zombie voters who’s entire involvement with the news or being informed comes from watching “Here Comes Honey-Boo-Boo.”

        1. Mark Stewart

          We kind of have that now with certain blocks of voters. I don’t mean thoughtful expression at the polls, either.

        2. bud

          A truly informed electorate would never vote GOP. Republicans don’t care anything about the working class and very little for the middle class. Their only interest is to push for policies that favor the rich. As long as they can dupe millions of uninformed lemmings they can win enough elections to push trickle down, Laffer curves, the flat tax, fair tax and low tax rates for capital gains along with other such nonsense that only benefits the wealthy. The result is a huge, and growing, wealth disparity.

          1. Doug Ross

            And as long as Democratic candidates can convince government dependent voters to go to the polls. they’ll win some elections. If you depend on a check from the government, you’re more likely to vote Democrat. Which is great until you run out of people to pay the taxes that support your habit.

  6. Burl Burlingame

    As a Scottish-American, I watched this referendum with particular interest. But then my ancestors were hie’d out of the country in the 1600s and thence to the New World. It all seemed a pot of fecky havering.

  7. Silence

    From this time forth, September 18, 2014, will be known as Scottish Dependence Day. We will celebrate it’s anniversary every year by drinking Irn-Bru, eating haggis, and wearing Tartans.

    1. Kathryn Braun Fenner

      Tartans are rather a newfangled invention, like pub lunches, that seems really older than it is….

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