Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Spain

Catalonia: Folks Don’t Understand How Serious the Debate Over Sovereignty Is

About 92% of Catalans who voted in the recent referendum backed independence, on a turnout of just 42%. The thing is, if you’re against Catalan independence, it would be odd to participate in this referendum because the Spanish state–the entity you recognize as sovereign–declared the referendum illegal. An independence referendum that has the backing of the regional authority but not the national authority can only deliver a divisive result. Much of the international media has put the blame for this on the Spanish–why wouldn’t Spain just recognize the right of the Catalans to self-determination and permit the referendum, like the UK did for Scotland? But these arguments make a lot of assumptions about self-determination that build in pro-independence biases. If Spain were to allow a Catalan independence referendum even though in the view of the Spanish government such a referendum is against the interests of the Spanish people as a whole, Spain would already be effectively conceding the question about which the referendum is meant to decide.

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The Left-Wing Case Against Catalan Independence

Catalonia is holding an independence referendum on October 1st. The referendum is not sanctioned by the Spanish government. Many are inclined to support the Catalan cause, particularly on the left. After all, the left tends to sympathize with minority and regional groups that seem culturally marginalized, and the Spanish government–led by the austerity-promoting Mariano Rajoy–feels icky. When Catalans portray themselves as plucky upstarts taking on a corrupt and indifferent Madrid bureaucracy, it’s easy to see the appeal. But this isn’t really about Catalonia versus Madrid–it’s about Catalonia versus Andalusia.

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Conservatism Leads to Fascism

With a provocative title like this one, it’s best to get clear immediately not on what this piece is but on what it is not–I am not going to claim that there is really no difference between conservatives and fascists, or that conservatives are secret fascists, or in any way imply that if you are conservative you in any way shape or form an advocate for any of the policies of Adolf Hiter, Benito Mussolini, or like figures. What I wish to argue in this piece is that conservative economic policies generate conditions that favor the rise of extreme-right fascist parties and that economic conservatism indirectly and unintentionally increases the risk that fascist states will arise.

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Is the Eurozone a German Empire?

Given the title, it’s necessary to make a clarification. I support a federal Europe. It’s the only way Europe can regain its ability to make foreign and economic policy independently from the United States, and regain its position as a leading region. However, after running some numbers today, I no longer believe in the Euro as presently constituted. Here’s why.
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How Big Government Discovered America

In the 15th century, when Christopher Columbus needed money to make his voyage to the Americas, he approached several heads of state. He came to the John II of Portugal, to the doges of Genoa and Venice, to Henry VIII in England, all of whom declined to fund his grandiose and zany project. Finally, he went to Ferdinand II and Isabella I of Spain. Their ministers, like the ministers in the previous nations, deemed the voyage impractical, too costly, too foolish. A bad investment. All the same, the Spanish monarchs decided to appoint Columbus Admiral of the Seas and dumped a pile of state investment upon him. And so, from the bosom of state largesse, the discovery of America began.

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