Scotland and Secession

Same Topic, Different Views

By Tim Baldwin & Joe Carbonari

By Tim Baldwin

Scotland considered secession from the United Kingdom, but decided last week, through popular vote, to remain in the union — for now. Scotland demonstrated how states and nations can choose their political destinies by choice and reflection, not force and coercion. Unfortunately, many Americans think that political separation is an inherent moral evil. This approach to politics, however, looks more like religious dogma than political science.

Abraham Lincoln acknowledged in his first Inaugural Address that our states could lawfully secede as long as they leave the same way they entered the union: i.e. through a constitutional convention. Lincoln’s contention was this: individual states could not choose to leave the union unilaterally. Dr. Edwin Vieira, constitutional scholar, noted too that Article V, USC may permit three-fourths of the states to change our union’s parties (states) through the amendment process.

While Americans have learned the lesson of states not seceding individually again, the truth is, we have the constitutional and democratic power to readdress the composition of our union. Exercising this power is a matter of prudence, not right. In fact, our exercising this right is how the United States Constitution was created in the first place, an event we just celebrated on Sept. 17 – Constitution Day.


By Joe Carbonari

The Scottish people voted to stay in a union with England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. It is, and has been for over 300 years, called Great Britain. At times it has been great, and at times less so. These are less-so times. Many Scots felt that this is due to poor, British leadership, leading to poor political decisions, especially as related to the state of the economy.

Other people in other places seem to feel the same. It is a lack of results. The goods aren’t being delivered. There is a disquieting amount of disorder afoot in the world, and the global economy is anything but robust. We have been rather slow recovering from the Great Recession.

This has been due, at least in part, to a lack of cooperation among our political leaders, a failure to focus on the delivery of results, or so goes the thinking of many. The secession movement in Scotland, the rise of some nationalistic, right-wing parties in the Euro Zone, and the Tea Party movement in the U.S. have a common base in discontent with the current product of their political class.

We have entrusted our rights and our well-being to those that have chosen to take part in the political process. It is our right and our responsibility to be informed, stay engaged, and to ride herd on them.

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