A very important piece illustrating how pan-secessionism is not just for leftists or rightists, but for everyone who genuinely opposes the system, or who simply wants self-determination for their own community or culture.
By Michael Cushman
Some Northern Leftists in the United States are willing to explore the idea of secession, as Robert Kuttner‘s latest article for the Huffington Post reminds readers. His title, ‘Free Scotland, Free New England!’ makes that point. Kuttner finds a sense of common cause with the Scottish secessionists who are now leading in the polls with less than two weeks to go until the independence referendum. Kuttner notes:
‘Scots may be thrifty, but they also tend to be somewhat collectivist. A lot of Scots, fed up with Tory policies imposed from London, imagine becoming an independent, Scandinavian sort of social democracy. They have chafed under rule from London for centuries, but particularly resent what’s happened to Britain since Mrs. Thatcher’s government. And with a lot of North Sea oil, not to mention single malt Scotch, they are richer than their English cousins. Who needs England?’
The prospect of Scottish independence is a strange case which draws the sympathies of many Southern nationalists and Northern Leftists. The strong historic ties between the South and Scotland are based in part on the millions of Southerners (especially in the Upper South and greater Appalachia) who descend from Ulster-Scots (‘Scots-Irish’), many of whom have been rediscovering their roots in recent years. For Northern Leftists, sympathy for the Scottish ‘Yes’ campaign is generally rooted in politics, mainly shared support for a generous social welfare system.
Kuttner’s liberal bona fides are not in doubt. The author of the anti-free market book Everything for Sale: the Virtues and Limits of Markets, Kutter has also written for Leftist publications such as the The Atlantic, The New Yorker and The New Republic. He was indoctrinated at the University of California at Berkley and the London School of Economics and has taught at Boston University, Brandeis University, the University of Massachusetts and Harvard’s Institute of Politics. He is the recipient of the Paul Hoffman Award of the United Nations for his life’s work on ‘economic growth and social justice’.
Interestingly, Scotland’s possible independence from the UK has Kuttner entertaining the idea of Left-leaning so-called ‘Blue States’ splitting off from what he derisively calls ‘Jesusland.’ Kuttner writes:
Maybe it makes sense to divide America into one country that respects science and levies taxation to support public goods, and another country of Biblical literalism and hatred of government. The progressive states of the northeast, the upper Midwest, and west coast, which send a lot of net dollars to subsidize the government-hating heartland, would save a bundle, and could establish the policies that most of their citizens want.
As interesting as this thought experiment is, Kuttner concludes his article from a position of safety and familiarity, embracing consolidation:
On the other hand, that seems awfully cruel to the hardworking ordinary citizens of Jesusland. Regardless of what happens to Scotland, one has to hope that our own country, with all of its terrible divisions, shall not perish from the earth.