Our 21st century is flooded with so-called independence movements, but the thing that unites them is a horribly naïve view of reality. Now Conservatives in California want to break away from the yoke imposed on them by urban hyper-liberal Starbucks sippers. This is a very pleasant idea. Just cutting the heartland away from the evil coastal SJW megacities. The problem is that this is a brutally difficult and bureaucratic independence. But even if they achieve the impossible it will not satisfy the California heartlanders.
The core flaw of the Scottish, Catalonian and now Californian independence movements is that they project redrawing borders and changing flags as a massive victory. In reality, none of them actually wants to make a real systemic change.
The Scots and Catalonians want to change but will not leave the EU nor will they say goodbye to NATO. So their borders will be just as open, and they will be just as integrated into Europe as before. Only this time they can have more control over their local taxes while still pumping a good chunk of their wealth into Brussels. How independent!?
This is the same case with California. Cutting California into chunks will not make the federal government go away anytime soon. It will still tax and meddle all that it wants even in areas where the Constitution does not allow it like education.
Independence serves no purpose if it does not fundamentally change the dynamic by which that territory lives. We could redraw the continental United States today and very little would actually change. It may get harder to buy a pistol or easier to get your gram of medical marijuana but fundamentally it would do nothing.
Furthermore, if these New Californians actually did break away and behaved like an independent country they would soon find themselves horribly poor and surrounded by water, a tiny bit of Mexico and a massively powerful and wealthy enemy nation.
Breaking down into smaller and smaller chunks will not give some sort of magical independence or prosperity. This New California may have logical and moral motivations. But the results of years of work for a legal independence will yield almost nothing tangible.
-Tim Kirby is a political analyst and award-winning radio talk show host in Moscow, Russia. Tim grew up in Cleveland, Ohio.
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