Referendum Reservations

(Sept. 2014)

So far I have been relatively quiet about my personal views in regard to the Scottish referendum on independence on 18 September.  But some close to me have wished that I would join the conversation.  There are two things to say at the outset.  First, although I have been resident in Scotland for about sixteen years, I am still only a US citizen, and thus not eligible to vote in this referendum, or any UK election.  So what I have to say about how I might vote if I could is, as they say ‘academic’.  I am not really compelled to make a decision.  Second, I have no doubt that Scotland could be viable as a small, independent European country.  Scotland’s natural and cultural endowments are at least on a par with the rest of Europe, and its people have as much talent and wisdom as any other five million randomly selected Europeans.  So it’s by no means impossible.  I have always liked the idea of Scotland as a culturally vibrant social democracy. Neither do I have any particular attachment to the United Kingdom.  It has good points and bad points, but it is not sacrosanct, and in due course all things must pass. 

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On Nationalism and Freedom

(From: ISRF Bulletin, Sept. 2014)

As I write this Scotland, where I live, is about a week away from an historic referendum on the question of whether or not to become independent from the UK.  The polls have narrowed—at the moment it is neck and neck between the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ options.  In this context (combined with the start of the teaching semester) it is difficult to put one’s mind to much else.  But I think I can make a virtue of a necessity, because what people think and feel about freedom has quite a lot to do with this issue.  So let me try.

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