Thursday, 25 May 2006

The consent of the governed

Since the vote for the independence of Montenegro, I've seen several comments on the Web pointing out the hypocrisy of western Europeans and north Americans in happily accepting independence for Montenegro while reacting with shock and horror to any suggestion of regions seceding from their own countries.

This criticism seems entirely deserved to me. I see no reason why any region of any country that votes for independence shouldn't get it. Government should be by the consent of the governed. If the Basques or the Catalans decide they don't want to be part of Spain; if the Scots, the Welsh, or the Northern Irish decide they don't want to be part of Britain; then why should they be? I wonder why so many people in the world think they have a right to govern other people against their will.