Elites are apparently having a hard time coping with the phenomenon of “identity awakening.”
In a recent column, Ramón Luis Valcárcel, vice-president of the European Parliament, follows a predictable path: Catalonian nationalists are “undemocratic” – they even evince authoritarian traits – and threaten the peace of Europe (even though they aspire to be a part of the European Union). Indeed, he goes so far to contend that secession doesn’t even constitute a legitimate undertaking in a state that meets all of the hallmarks of a democratic one (Spain, in this case). And, of course, add to that the suspicion of Russian collusion – the secessionists are “aided by pro-Russian bots of the stature of Julian Assange.”
I was also a bit taken aback by the use of “deplorable” early in the text.
Finally, the writer conveniently forgets that the vaunted Spanish experience, while purportedly democratic now, carries the painful memories of Francoism, during which Spanish national identity was rammed down Catalan throats.
Yet, I suppose we can derive some solace from what has just transpired in blue-state California, where Gov. Jerry Brown just signed a bill into law establishing California as a sanctuary state.
It appears that decentralist tailwinds are sweeping all over the world.
The greatest of all national centralizers, Old Abe Lincoln, must be rolling in his grave. With the signing of this bill, America seems to have come full circle to the spirit of Jefferson, Madison, and yes, perish the thought, John C. Calhoun, the ultimate red-state deplorable and the philosopher of nullification doctrine.
But that’s okay. Old habits die hard, and despite all the best efforts and fervent wishing of the European and American ruling classes, the basic human passion for local affinity and identity invariably trumps – no pun intended – centralism.
As a close friend of mine brilliantly observed, sooner or later everyone eventually embraces his or her inner Calhoun.