If Red States Seceded, Who'd Pay for Their Massive Government Handouts?
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This is best illustrated through language. In Spain, for example, the official language is Castilian, but around a quarter of Spaniards also speak Catalan, Basque or Galician. But it is most potently expressed through economics. Flanders is wealthier than Wallonia. Catalonia believes it contributes too much tax to the federal government. Scotland, while less wealthy than the UK as a whole, has oil. Whether they would be better off as independent nations—given the economic burdens that come with self-government—is a moot point. Independence is primarily a question of liberty, not wealth.
Ultimately, all but the most reactionary nationalist movements wish to stay within the European Union, seeking a far more protected and diluted version of independence than we would reasonably describe as sovereignty. An independent Flanders or Catalonia, as currently envisioned by those pushing secession, would retain the euro, have no meaningful borders, and pool its resources with a far less democratic European superstate.
In its most recent tantrum, the American right displayed the worst of both worlds: the bigotry of the reactionaries and the opportunism of the secessionists. It’s a predicament with which Derek Belcher, who started Alabama’s secessionist petition, sympathizes. Belcher became incensed at the government for shutting down his topless car wash business on grounds of obscenity. “I don’t want to live in Russia. I don’t believe in socialism,” he said. “America is supposed to be free…. I don’t think any one state can stand alone. But if we’ve got twenty of them, then that starts to be something.” And if you’ve got fifty of them, who knows? Maybe you could really get something started!