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This Doesn’t Look Good

 

Almost a week ago, Catalonia held a referendum to separate from the Spanish state. Madrid declared this referendum illegal and sent police in to try to stop it by interfering with the voting and seizing ballots. There appears to be overwhelming support for independence. Unlike some other separatist movements (e.g., Scotland), this one is going to stick: maybe not right away but soon.

Regardless of the merits of the Catalan case, the optics here are terrible. Take it from an optical physicist.

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There are 124 comments.

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  1. Thatcher

    As I said in another post about this earlier this week, I have mixed feelings about this. Think about it: What would America do if Vermont decided tomorrow to vote on seceding from America and becoming a Socialist Nation, and America told them they can’t, but they went ahead and started voting anyway?

    • #1
    • October 6, 2017 at 2:39 pm
    • 2 likes
  2. Member

    Como se dice en Espanol, “Fort Sumter”?

    • #2
    • October 6, 2017 at 2:39 pm
    • 2 likes
  3. Member

    Ahh, I see the Euros are struggling over the scraps of their dying culture. I wish them luck.

    • #3
    • October 6, 2017 at 2:44 pm
    • 6 likes
  4. Member

    JcTPatriot (View Comment):
    Vermont decided tomorrow to vote on seceding from America and becoming a Socialist Nation

    I’d say more power to them.

    • #4
    • October 6, 2017 at 2:52 pm
    • 7 likes
  5. Member
    drlorentz Post author

    JcTPatriot (View Comment):
    As I said in another post about this earlier this week, I have mixed feelings about this. Think about it: What would America do if Vermont decided tomorrow to vote on seceding from America and becoming a Socialist Nation, and America told them they can’t, but they went ahead and started voting anyway?

    This possibility has already been covered in Kurt Schlichter’s book, People’s Republic. with a similar graphic on the cover. One reason the Catalan situation is so interesting is the parallels with our own. Just imagine the Federal Government sending it troops to prevent a referendum, smashing heads along the way. How would that be received?

    • #5
    • October 6, 2017 at 3:08 pm
    • 3 likes
  6. Coolidge

    I have no problem watching the Europeans knocking themselves off their moral high horses. My popcorn popper is ready.

    • #6
    • October 6, 2017 at 3:13 pm
    • 2 likes
  7. Member

    Yes, the optics were terrible. The Catalans are for the most part Communists, like Sacramento they will spend themselves into oblivion. They were just as brutal in the Spanish Civil War as those that supported Franco. The EU has said that they will not admit Catalonia into the EU as the Scots were told as well. Catalonia will be unable to support themselves without the rest of Spain, or without the EU for that matter.

    • #7
    • October 6, 2017 at 3:22 pm
    • 3 likes
  8. Coolidge

    A noteworthy thing is that Catalonia’s gdp per capita is much higher than the Spanish average.

    • #8
    • October 6, 2017 at 3:24 pm
    • 7 likes
  9. Member

    JcTPatriot (View Comment):
    As I said in another post about this earlier this week, I have mixed feelings about this. Think about it: What would America do if Vermont decided tomorrow to vote on seceding from America and becoming a Socialist Nation, and America told them they can’t, but they went ahead and started voting anyway?

    We could suggest they just move to the workers’ socialist paradise in Puerto Rico. The weather is much nicer… most of the time.

    • #9
    • October 6, 2017 at 3:25 pm
    • 2 likes
  10. Member

    It’s a crazy time to have a Spanish foreign exchange student (from Andalusia, not Catalonia) in the house, let me tell ya’.

    • #10
    • October 6, 2017 at 3:27 pm
    • 10 likes
  11. Member
    drlorentz Post author

    Doug Watt (View Comment):
    The Catalans are for the most part Communists

    Hmmm… and yet the Socialists opposed the referendum. Good times…

    • #11
    • October 6, 2017 at 3:28 pm
    • 1 like
  12. Member

    The BLM advocates need to look at this.

    • #12
    • October 6, 2017 at 3:29 pm
    • 3 likes
  13. Member
    drlorentz Post author

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):
    It’s a crazy time to have a Spanish foreign exchange student (from Andalusia, not Catalonia) in the house, let me tell ya’.

    Tell us more… How does the Andaluz feel about all this?

    • #13
    • October 6, 2017 at 3:30 pm
    • Like
  14. Member
    drlorentz Post author

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):
    The BLM advocates need to look at this.

    Exactly. We’ve got nothing on the Europeans when it comes to police brutality.

    • #14
    • October 6, 2017 at 3:31 pm
    • Like
  15. Member

    drlorentz: There appears to be overwhelming support for independence.

    Hardly that clear cut when you consider the turn out. Nonetheless these type of heavy handed responses from Madrid will almost certainly increase sympathy for those who favor independence.

    • #15
    • October 6, 2017 at 3:37 pm
    • 3 likes
  16. Member

    drlorentz (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):
    It’s a crazy time to have a Spanish foreign exchange student (from Andalusia, not Catalonia) in the house, let me tell ya’.

    Tell us more… How does the Andaluz feel about all this?

    Well, she’s 15 and not all that politically engaged — and southern Spain seems pretty detached, if not outright ambivalent, about what’s going on in the rest of the continent — but she has talked to people at home, and the impression I get is they agree with Madrid that the referendum is illegal.

    We also heard the other night that Barcelona and environs account for 20% of the Spanish economy. Ouch. This could get rough.

    • #16
    • October 6, 2017 at 3:37 pm
    • 3 likes
  17. Coolidge

    Doug Watt (View Comment):
    Yes, the optics were terrible. The Catalans are for the most part Communists, like Sacramento they will spend themselves into oblivion. They were just as brutal in the Spanish Civil War as those that supported Franco. The EU has said that they will not admit Catalonia into the EU as the Scots were told as well. Catalonia will be unable to support themselves without the rest of Spain, or without the EU for that matter.

    Our friends there would not agree with you. They feel wealth is redistributed from Catalonia to other parts of Spain in ways that cause resentment and unfairly redistribute wealth. That rhetoric is the opposite of communist.

    • #17
    • October 6, 2017 at 3:55 pm
    • 9 likes
  18. Member

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    Doug Watt (View Comment):
    Yes, the optics were terrible. The Catalans are for the most part Communists, like Sacramento they will spend themselves into oblivion. They were just as brutal in the Spanish Civil War as those that supported Franco. The EU has said that they will not admit Catalonia into the EU as the Scots were told as well. Catalonia will be unable to support themselves without the rest of Spain, or without the EU for that matter.

    Our friends there would not agree with you. They feel wealth is redistributed from Catalonia to other parts of Spain in ways that cause resentment and unfairly redistribute wealth. That rhetoric is the opposite of communist.

    Yes, this is my impression, too. It seems to be the opposite of the Scots. Spain needs Barcelona a lot more than Barcelona needs Spain.

    • #18
    • October 6, 2017 at 4:09 pm
    • 6 likes
  19. Member

    Listen to Epstein on the subject. He has no answers because this isn’t physics, but he brings some analytical heft, as he always does to the subject. I like Spaniards, I really do, and their food and wine, life is good there, but there are lessons in this. People do not like remote non accountable intrusive government, be it Madrid orBrussels. While this does not mean all of these independence movements are good things, but it does tell us something about centralization, local self government and culture. That’s where life takes place. We need to remember that.

    • #19
    • October 6, 2017 at 4:11 pm
    • 11 likes
  20. Member

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    Doug Watt (View Comment):
    Yes, the optics were terrible. The Catalans are for the most part Communists, like Sacramento they will spend themselves into oblivion. They were just as brutal in the Spanish Civil War as those that supported Franco. The EU has said that they will not admit Catalonia into the EU as the Scots were told as well. Catalonia will be unable to support themselves without the rest of Spain, or without the EU for that matter.

    Our friends there would not agree with you. They feel wealth is redistributed from Catalonia to other parts of Spain in ways that cause resentment and unfairly redistribute wealth. That rhetoric is the opposite of communist.

    Their resentment is not unlike how certain states in the US feel about wealth redistribution from Washington DC. The questions for the Catalonia citizen would they be able to in a parliamentary form of government be able to control the more radical parties in Catalonia. Looting the public treasury is one thing that all nations seem to have in common.

    • #20
    • October 6, 2017 at 4:16 pm
    • 1 like
  21. Member

    Doug Watt (View Comment):
    Looting the public treasury taxpayer is one thing that all nations seem to have in common.

    FTFY.

    • #21
    • October 6, 2017 at 4:21 pm
    • 3 likes
  22. Member

    Arizona certainly resents the amount of land controlled by DC, and by extension Congress creatures that are not residents of Arizona making decisions for residents of Arizona. Would Americans respect a referendum by Arizona residents to leave the Union. I suppose independence movements are much more romantic when viewed from a distance.

    • #22
    • October 6, 2017 at 4:22 pm
    • 4 likes
  23. Member
    drlorentz Post author

    Roberto (View Comment):

    drlorentz: There appears to be overwhelming support for independence.

    Hardly that clear cut when you consider the turn out. Nonetheless these type of heavy handed responses from Madrid will almost certainly increase sympathy for those who favor independence.

    It’s not entirely clear but the suggestion is strong. The turnout was certainly inhibited by the police. Furthermore, there was a nonbinding referendum a few years back that did show overwhelming support for leaving.

    When I was in Barcelona five years ago, I noticed that the Catalan language was everywhere. I’m going to guess this is even more true today. Once the language goes, trouble is sure to follow. Americans should take note.

    • #23
    • October 6, 2017 at 4:30 pm
    • 7 likes
  24. Coolidge

    Doug Watt (View Comment):
    Arizona certainly resents the amount of land controlled by DC, and by extension Congress creatures that are not residents of Arizona making decisions for residents of Arizona. Would Americans respect a referendum by Arizona residents to leave the Union. I suppose independence movements are much more romantic when viewed from a distance.

    I think this question was decided over the bodies of hundreds of thousands in the United States, so it’s hard to wrap one’s mind around any secession anywhere else, but I admit I am not well versed in this issue outside knowing people who participated in the vote. All of it seems to me to be in the context of *that* place, not *this* one, so analogies don’t work as well.

    • #24
    • October 6, 2017 at 4:34 pm
    • Like
  25. Coolidge

    JcTPatriot (View Comment):
    As I said in another post about this earlier this week, I have mixed feelings about this. Think about it: What would America do if Vermont decided tomorrow to vote on seceding from America and becoming a Socialist Nation, and America told them they can’t, but they went ahead and started voting anyway?

    If I had to guess, I’d say we’d probably treat it as just another bone-headed but harmless protest until/unless they try to escalate things. In any case, I’m pretty sure, “Send the riot police into the polling station to crack some skulls,” would be pretty low on the list.

    • #25
    • October 6, 2017 at 4:43 pm
    • 3 likes
  26. Coolidge

    Umbra Fractus (View Comment):

    JcTPatriot (View Comment):
    As I said in another post about this earlier this week, I have mixed feelings about this. Think about it: What would America do if Vermont decided tomorrow to vote on seceding from America and becoming a Socialist Nation, and America told them they can’t, but they went ahead and started voting anyway?

    If I had to guess, I’d say we’d probably treat it as just another bone-headed but harmless protest until/unless they try to escalate things. In any case, I’m pretty sure, “Send the riot police into the polling station to crack some skulls,” would be pretty low on the list.

    Yep. Who hasn’t laughed at California talking about secession after Trump? But I also think the conditions there are different, and the heavy hands have only created a more determined movement.

    • #26
    • October 6, 2017 at 4:48 pm
    • 1 like
  27. Member
    drlorentz Post author

    Doug Watt (View Comment):
    Arizona certainly resents the amount of land controlled by DC, and by extension Congress creatures that are not residents of Arizona making decisions for residents of Arizona. Would Americans respect a referendum by Arizona residents to leave the Union. I suppose independence movements are much more romantic when viewed from a distance.

    There’s a heck of a lot more going on in Spain than just who controls some land or money. For starters, Catalonia has a different language. Next, there’s a lot of hard feelings over the Spanish Civil War. Also, the support seems to be strong for independence. Catalonia was not always part of a unified Spain. The standard for the Crown of Aragon looks suspiciously like the Catalan flag. They have their own anthem (not in Spanish), and most folks there seem to know it. How many Arizonans know the state song? You’re not in Arizona anymore.

    Some guys got together in 1776 and declared their independence from a remote power. From what I hear, it seems to have worked out.

    • #27
    • October 6, 2017 at 5:03 pm
    • 6 likes
  28. Member

    I Walton (View Comment):
    …but there are lessons in this. People do not like remote non accountable intrusive government, be it Madrid orBrussels. While this does not mean all of these independence movements are good things, but it does tell us something about centralization, local self government and culture. That’s where life takes place. We need to remember that.

    Well said, @iwalton, well said!

    • #28
    • October 6, 2017 at 5:04 pm
    • 3 likes
  29. Thatcher

    Umbra Fractus (View Comment):

    JcTPatriot (View Comment):
    As I said in another post about this earlier this week, I have mixed feelings about this. Think about it: What would America do if Vermont decided tomorrow to vote on seceding from America and becoming a Socialist Nation, and America told them they can’t, but they went ahead and started voting anyway?

    If I had to guess, I’d say we’d probably treat it as just another bone-headed but harmless protest until/unless they try to escalate things.

    And then? :-)

    • #29
    • October 6, 2017 at 6:02 pm
    • Like
  30. Member

    The loyalists boycotted the referendum -so the amazing thing is how low the percentage is. On the question itself, I have no strong preference, but I doubt Spain will allow Catalan to break away any more than it allowed Pais Vacso to.

    • #30
    • October 6, 2017 at 7:20 pm
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