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Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Scots Weigh Independence from Britain as the British Consider Leaving the E.U.

The debate over whether the Scottish region of Great Britain should secede from the UK extends beyond whatever provincial interests unite and divide the state’s regions; it "is also part of a larger question that extends well beyond Britain, to Texas and Colorado, for example, and elsewhere: What are the benefits and drawbacks of larger, politically diverse countries, compared with smaller, more homogeneous ones?"[1] Yet is Britain a large, heterogeneous country even as it is a state in the European Union? Texas is much larger, and yet it too is a state in a union of relatively homogeneous states.

The full essay is at "Essays on the E.U. Political Economy," available at Amazon.




[1] Katrin Bennhold, "How Scottish Independence Relates to Larger Tax Fights," The New York Times, August 21, 2014.

Beyond Breaking California Up into Six States: A Federalist Alternative

In any epoch and in any culture, the human mind displays a marked tendency to accept the status quo as the default—being so ensconced in fact that efforts at real change almost inevitably face formidable road-blocks. In this essay, I analyze the 2014 failed ballot-petition that would have put the proposal of breaking California into six separate states to Californians. I contend that the proponents could alternatively have taken up a more optimal alternative—one much easier to put into effect. Interestingly, that idea comes from the E.U. rather than the U.S.

The full essay is at Essays on Two Federal Empires.



Friday, September 12, 2014

Ebola in Liberia: The Government’s Fault?

With the Ebola virus “spreading like wildfire” in Liberia, “devouring everything in its path,” Brownie Samukai, the state’s defense minister, went on to tell the U.N. Security Council on September 9, 2014 that “Liberia is facing a serious threat to its national existence.”[1] With more than half of the epidemic’s deaths in that state—1,224 out of at least 2,2296 in West Africa as of September 6, 2014—and new cases “increasing exponentially,” the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that “the demands of the Ebola outbreak have completely outstripped the government’s and partners’ capacity  to respond.”[2] Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that the illness had severely handicapped the mining, agriculture, and service sectors of the state’s economy.[3] Quite understandably, pleas for the government to do more peeled like frightened bells across the state. “The patients are hungry, they are starving. No food, no water,” a terrified woman told journalists. “The government needs to do more. Let Ellen Johnson Sirleaf do more!”[4] Even if valid, such blame is hypocritical to the extent that the people themselves had been refusing to do what is necessary to stop such a virus from spreading.

The entire essay is at “Ebola in Liberia



1. Abby Ohlheiser, “Ebola Is ‘Devouring Everything in Its Path.’ Could It Lead to Liberia’s Collapse?The Washington Post, September 11, 2014.
2. WTO, “Ebola Situation in Liberia: Non-Conventional Interventions Needed,” September 8, 2014; Elahe Izadi, “Ebola Death Toll Rises to 2,296 as Liberia Struggles to Keep Up,” The Washington Post, September 9, 2014.
3. Anna Yukhananov, “IMF Says Ebola Hits Economic Growth in West Africa,” Reuters, September 11, 2014.
4. Abby Ohlheiser, “Ebola.”

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Letter to the Scots: Read between the Lines

The answer may be staring you in the face. Such might be the best feedback the rest of the world could give the Scots as they discern whether their region should break off from the state of Britain. How do the English feel about the Scots? The answer is presumably relevant, as who wants to remain where they are not liked? On this matter, the Scots could do worse than read between the lines of a poll done roughly a month before the referendum on what the English think should be Scotland’s relation to Britain if the region leaves and if it stays.[1]

The entire essay is at “Letter to the Scots



[1] YouGov conducted the survey of 3,695 adults living in England via the internet on April 11-12, 2014

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Natural Rights in Europe and America: Shoring-Up Each Other’s Weak Spots

The Declaration of Independence made by the thirteen newly sovereign American states in 1776 recognizes “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” These rights are not dependent on any government, and thus exist equally so in the state of nature. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, made in Europe thirteen years later, omits any mention of a creator-deity. “Men are born and remain free and equal in rights.” The equality here is more limited, being solely in terms of rights, “man’s natural and imprescriptible rights” in particular. These “are liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression.” We can thus compare and contrast the two sets of rights, which important implications for public policy for both America and Europe.


The entire essay is at “Natural Rights in Europe and America