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Should Scotland Declare Its Independence?

September 12, 2014 in Economics

By David Boaz

David Boaz

I’m not Scottish. But my eighth-generation ancestor, Thomas Boaz, was born in Scotland in 1721. Seeking religious freedom, he migrated first to Ireland and then shortly to the colony of Virginia. So I have a romantic attachment to my distant Scottish heritage.

In 1997 I climbed the Wallace Monument, all 246 steps, on the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Stirling Bridge, at which Andrew Murray and William Wallace defeated the English forces, as seen in the movie Braveheart.

Now, in the 700th anniversary year of the Battle of Bannockburn when an army commanded by England’s King Edward II was defeated by a smaller force led by Robert the Bruce, Scotland is holding a referendum on independence. Advocates want to take Scotland out of the United Kingdom and assume their place in the world as an independent nation.

There are good arguments on both sides of the issue. Scotland has prospered in union with England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Some scholars argue that the Act of Union in 1707 made the Scots part of a larger and more advanced nation and opened the way to the Scottish Enlightenment of David Hume and Adam Smith. And perhaps those modern ideas and the connection with England made possible the achievements of the inventor James Watt, the architect Robert Adam, the road builder John McAdam, the bridge builder Thomas Telford and later Scots such as Alexander Graham Bell and Andrew Carnegie.

There’s plenty of reason to believe the small nation would be a success.”

But whatever the benefits of union might have been in 1707, surely they have been realized by now. And independence for any country ought to appeal to Americans. So herewith a few arguments for independence.

1) Scotland is a nation. That’s simple enough. The Oxford dictionary defines a nation as “a large body of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular state or territory.” That would be Scotland.

As it happens, England is a nation, too. Even today the English people often forget to call themselves “British.” The popular anthem “Jerusalem,” sung at the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in Westminster Abbey, concludes:

Till we have built Jerusalem,
In England’s green & pleasant Land.

England and Scotland are both nations with history and culture. They need not …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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