Independence Has Responsibility – And Consequences

This week’s Courier Herald column:

Next week we’ll celebrate Independence Day, the day the American colonists said “enough” and chose to split from the rule of a foreign king. Our forefathers saw opportunity in charting our own destiny by providing more freedom rather than less – both economic freedoms and those of personal liberty.

Last week, the citizens of Great Britain said via referendum that they too may see some benefit in additional sovereignty and freedom. The referendum threatens the roughly quarter century experiment of brining the many countries of Europe together into a loose confederation of nation states.

It’s difficult to discern exactly what happens next. Revolution – whether by war or by treaty – is the political peak of uncertainty. The will of the people, once unleashed, is often difficult to channel in any one specific direction. This is especially true when the change is unleashed by anger at the status quo, rather than a unified vision of a superior goal.

Analysts spent the weekend speculating which other European Union countries may be next to vote to leave. Others questioned if the desire for sovereignty now unleased within Britain will stop with the European Union. It’s quite possible that those who were arguing the benefits of self governance last week will soon be extolling the virtues of larger alliances as talk of independence for Scotland and Northern Ireland increases, in an effort to hold Great Britain together.

Even some in the U.S. are getting in on the action, though the discussion at this point seems largely confined to social media. Talk of Texas secession – now branded a “Texit” – has long been the pipedream of those who either believe 1865 began a longstanding truce, or have otherwise chose to look to a fantasy of a US escape plan rather than to spend productive time trying to tilt domestic politics in their favor.

Much of the US support for British secession comes from conservative channels among those who favor the concept of “local control”, and thus see any devolution of power from a larger body to a smaller one to be a good thing. Throw in current populist discontent against globalism and trade as well as the conservative frustration over unconstrained undocumented immigration, and it’s not difficult to understand why Brexit would have a strong US cheering session.

I have no personal position on what the British choose to do from here with respect to the EU, short of their role as one of the cornerstones of the western economic system. As such, their current predicament introduces a large amount of uncertainty, which is one of the greatest enemies of the market. The British government and the EU must move purposely to provide clarity for the process ahead so that investors and those within the channel of commerce may react and plan accordingly.

Closer to home, a significant amount of caution is needed for proceeding. Local control is a concept worthy of support, but like many bumper sticker slogans it is part of the answer, not one in totality.

Last week in “Atlanta”, a public battle erupted between the City of Sandy Springs (in Fulton County) versus neighboring Cobb County over the traffic plan to route traffic from I-285 to the new Braves Stadium. The plan involves having traffic from I-285 exit prior to the Cobb border and using side streets within Sandy Springs to approach the Cobb County stadium from the East.

The great limitation of local control is that consequences often extend beyond the borders controlled by the decision makers. And Atlanta’s transportation “plan” may in fact be the poster child to illustrate this lesson.

Suburban governments in Metro Atlanta have long developed around road corridors designed to route cars into the city of Atlanta. Even now, capacity is being added to I-75 and I-85 on three of four routes in and out of town. Meanwhile, the City of Atlanta is embarking on a plan of road diets – removing lanes once reserved for cars to make way for bicycles and for a few miles – a streetcar. There’s also a move to reduce the amount of surface parking spaces.

At some point, there is a role for a larger government beyond “local”. Whether that’s to ensure that travel between jurisdictions is relatively smooth, trade isn’t unnecessarily encumbered, or a common defense may be provided for a mostly common people, there are benefits to larger unions.

Even in the face of declaring independence our founding fathers understood this balance. We didn’t rebel against the British King to form 13 states. We became the shining city on the hill by being the United States.

But implicit in their vision was also a federal government that had a specific role – with more routine and personal decisions made closer to home. As we prepare to celebrate our own independence, we must renew our civic regard to understand this difference and this balance. Otherwise, we run the risk of too many of our own losing the vision of our founders’ superior goal.

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gcp
gcp

The absurdity is to label, as some have done on this website, the 52% that voted for Brexit as extremists and/or racists.

xdog
xdog

It’s really absurd to pretend that racism and extremism weren’t a large part of the pro-Brexit campaign.

Charlie mentioned the pipedream and fantasy of Texas secession but he couldn’t bring himself to call its Jade Helm republican supporters ‘extremists’. Maybe next week.

Noway2016
Noway2016

It’s easy to throw the racist label around. There are very valid reasons that Brits might want to slow down the vast numbers of immigrants who are fundamentally changing their culture/country. Doesn’t make them racists.

zedsmith
zedsmith

Britain weathered mass immigration from the commonwealth over the past century, and all but the most strident “britain for british” nationalists consider the africans, caribbeans, and south asians who settled in Britain decades ago to be a negative change to the culture and country. Its hard for me to fathom how the special relationship in immigration britain has with its commonwealth countries is less of a challenge than Polish plumbers and Portuguese store clerks.

gcp
gcp

“large part” Perhaps you can give us the percentage that are racists, those that are extremists and those that are both or neither.

xdog
xdog

If you don’t like ‘large part’, then put your own number out there. Just don’t pretend the Leave campaign was driven solely by facts.

Here are three links I found in 10 seconds. You can find plenty of others.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/06/22/the-brexit-debate-has-made-britain-more-racist/
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/14/leave-eu-cartoon-racist-nazi-brexit-antisemitism-1945
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/brexit-campaign-devolves-into-racism-and-xenophobia-2016-06-15

gcp
gcp

“large part” was your phrase, not mine. I thought you could further explain or quantify it but evidently you can’t.

xdog
xdog

Ignore the cites I gave if you want but don’t pretend I didn’t offer them.

gcp
gcp

Do any of your links give the total number of racists and/or extremists and if so, what is their methodology for determining their numbers? Did they survey or poll these individuals or did they just make assumptions? Also how do they define racist and extremist?

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

We are talking about the 5th largest economy in the world that wants to utilize their resources to compete in a Global economy (not global progressiveness). Why compare them to a city or county or state but one that desires to return to their federal governance? Would we allow the UN to rule us like the EU does Britain ?

Georgia has already subdivided too far with 159 counties and countless mini-cities with a state full of overlapping jurisdictions at all levels.

elfiii
elfiii

So now the desire for local governance inside sovreign borders is “extremist” and “racist”?

Sweet baby Jesus!!!!!

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

😎 PC progress..ion……

xdog
xdog

I stand up for local governance and sovereign borders too but calling out racism and extremism when I see it is PC only to a special few.

And holy farking schnitt back at you.

Will Durant
Will Durant

I can only paraphrase as I don’t recall where I read it this past weekend:

After Brexit the rich will still be rich, the poor will still be poor and we will still blame it all on the bloody immigrants.

Dave Bearse
Dave Bearse

Seceding is not just a Texas thing. I saw a League of the South billboard on northbound I-75 south of Macon returning from south Georgia Mother’s Day weekend. http://dixienet.org/ has a photo of a Tallahassee billboard.

The rebellion against the British King did result in 13 sovereign states , but you’re right it is about balance. The Articles of Confederation the sovereign states was a failure—the wrong balance.