Kevin D. Williamson, National Review
The ‘Yes California’ independence campaign, led by a Russian-backed eccentric, deserves a firm ‘no’ vote.
The Irish Republican Socialist party and Sinn Fein still dream of a unified Irish republic. The Catalan Solidarity for Independence coalition would see the Estelada flag raised over an independent Estat Català, and there are independence-minded movements as far-flung as the western Sahara. The Uhuru Movement is a kind of separatist movement standing on its head, looking to transcend national borders (with their colonial histories) and unite African people in a single African identity. The United States has the Texas Nationalist Movement hoping to restore the Republic of Texas, and somewhere out there is a very committed fellow who believes himself to be the rightful king of Hawaii. There is a more plausible movement for an independent Puerto Rico and a much less plausible movement for an independent California. All of these have something in common.
The movement for Californian independence expects to have an initiative on the 2018 ballot, which would in turn lead to a 2019 referendum. The organizers of the “Yes California” campaign say that winning the referendum would be only the first step in the long and complex process of establishing a free and independent California, finally liberated from the grasp of Washington and, especially, of the military-industrial complex. “Peace and Security” is, in fact, Exhibit A in the case for Calexit, and the organizers complain that the U.S. government “spends more on its military than the next several countries combined. Not only is California forced to subsidize this massive military budget with our taxes, but Californians are sent off to fight in wars that often do more to perpetuate terrorism than to abate it. The only reason terrorists might want to attack us is because we are part of the United States and are guilty by association.”
If that sounds like it could have been written by Ron Paul or some lonely disciple of Murray Rothbard, that is no accident: The leadership of the California-independence movement has a distinctly paleo smell about it.
“When I talk to people about California independence, they always say: ‘Well, what would you do if China invades?’” says Yes California president Louis Marinelli from his home in . . . Yekaterinburg, formerly Sverdlovsk (city motto: Don’t call us Siberia), an industrial center on the edge of the Ural Mountains in Russia. “Seriously,” he asks, “when’s the last time China invaded another country?” I mention the obvious ones: Tibet, India, and the Soviet Union. There’s Vietnam and Korea. Marinelli is a young man; perhaps much of this seems like ancient history to him. It does not to the Indians, or the Russians, or the Vietnamese, or many others. “No, I mean: When’s the last time China crossed an ocean to invade another country?” he clarifies. “Only the United States does that.”