Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Peaceful Divorce

Today's newspaper reports show that 76% of voters in Greenland -- currently a territory of Denmark - cast "yes" votes in a national referendum yesterday calling for greater home rule. Twenty four percent of voters said "no" in the official results.

The plan spelled out in the referendum calls for Greenland to take control over:

-local police force
-court system
-coast guard
-language (Greenlandic will become the official language)

On a personal level I have always been intrigued by Greenland ever since a Danish friend of mine invited me to go scuba diving around the glaciers/ice bergs in Greenland. We never made the trip which I regret. However, on a political level this referendum vote coincides with my personal philosophy -- ballots are good and bullets are bad (unless of course an armed revolution is the only option for eliminating an oppressive government -- take heed North Korea, Burma, and Venezuela).

Since Greenland and its mother country, Denmark, apparently are headed for an eventual divorce that would leave Greenland as a sovereign nation it reminded me of other disputed/subservient areas of our world. Kurdistan, Northern Ireland, the Basque Region, etc. are examples that readily come to mind.

Again -- let's give ballots a try versus bullets. Had we pursued this course of action in 1860 in the USA by simply hosting state-by-state referendums in the Confederate States of America regarding the question of secession perhaps most of, if not all of the 600,000 deaths could have been prevented. While I abhor the institution of slavery that existed in the American South some scholars would argue that the US Civil War was a battle over the definition of states' rights but I have always argued it was merely friction between two very different economic systems -- the manufacturing economy of the North and the agricultural economy of the South.

Since the institution of slavery was a failed economic model -- as many plantation owners knew at the time I have read -- it was merely a matter of time before the South would have imploded as the Confederate States of America.

Freedom isn't free,


1 comment:

Mark Jaffrey said...

Todd, I agree with your philosophy, but your example of Northern Ireland is a very poorly thought out one! There is no dispute in N.I any more, not since the Good Friday agreement some years ago, and power sharing there is a model for the rest of the world. Even before that, when the troubles were at their peak, the vast majority of residents wanted to stay as part of the UK, and not join the Republic of Ireland, so it is wrong to say that N.I was either disputed or subservient. IMHO!