Tag: indepedence

The Fight for Speech is a Fight for Liberty

Ashton J. Barwick | USA

The topic of free speech has once again reentered the public debate arena. However, it is not a debate that operates on an established consensus of natural rights. Groups on the right and the left have devolved into using their identity as a means of achieving their respective goals. Those that don’t utilize their immutable characteristics to advance their positions are then concerned about the motivations hidden within these identitarian movements. Rational people ought to remain concerned with the preservation of individual liberty because it will ensure that everyone is free from coercion. Negative rights are contingent on the notion that individuals own themselves. Humans have negative rights because all people have contrasting ideas and unique desires. Individuals are sovereign and not tools for an arbitrary greater good.

Governments throughout history have attempted to legislate against ideas they found distasteful. The printing press was first invented in China, and then the famous Gutenberg printing press was introduced in Europe in the 15th century. Consequently, the proliferation of knowledge and ideas resulted in an explosion of scientific discovery. Institutions such as the church would seek to utilize the state to ensure their ideas remained infallible, and they prohibited the use of the printing press by those not approved by the state. Subsequently, philosophers and thinkers published their work in countries that had liberal speech and printing regulations. Rene Descartes had his philosophical writings published in Holland anonymously to ensure his own safety. The ideas of the enlightenment influenced governments across Europe to finally ensure the protection of speech because the consequences of doing otherwise resulted in anguish and stagnation.

Freedom of the press was prohibited in Germany until the early 20th century, and it seems to be evident that this inhibited their ability to have a civil discussion.  The national socialists and the communists frequently engaged in street fighting prior to Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich. Thus, this marked the beginning of the “anti-fascists,” and their violent tactics are still utilized today in order to silence those that they disagree with. They justify violence by obfuscating the political identity of their dissenters and claiming that they are fascists.

European countries are again legislating against speech that is abhorrent. In Britain, saying something the government determines to be offensive can result in a six-month prison term or a fine of up to £5000. China’s communist party has maintained its hegemony over the media since it assumed power. State officials are contemplating implementing a system that monitors an individual’s social development and removes or adds points depending on what course of action was chosen. The state then becomes the arbiter of morality and enforces it with the threat of social ostracization.

Once prominent universities and institutions were committed to engendering critical thinking and promoting free and open dialogue between competing ideas. UC Berkeley was the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement. In a rather ironic twist, the hostility towards freedom of expression erupted there when the conservative speaker Milo Yiannopoulos was invited to speak. Members of Antifa and other leftist students organized to protest the speaker. Their intentions were not to debate or have civil discourse, but to create a volatile environment where it was not safe to have an open dialogue. Antifa uses “whatever means necessary” to achieve their collective goals even if the “means” are violating rights of individuals. They form what they call “black blocks” where they shroud their personal identities with black clothes and masks. They act as a collective unit in order to cause enough destruction to render the environment too dangerous for an event to take place. They feel that debate can be won by simply shouting louder than the opposition, and people have to be protected from certain ideas as if they are infectious diseases.

There is a strong correlation between a thriving society and individual liberty. When certain ideas warrant a use of violence or state sanction then any idea that someone finds atrocious can be prohibited if the power to do so is available. Arguments compete in a peaceful and productive manner to benefit humanity with the truth. If you introduce force into the process, truth becomes irrelevant. Ideas do not have to be right; they just have to have power over the opposition.

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These 10 Places Could Become the World’s Next Countries

By Jake Melkun | Worldwide

Recently, there has been a big resentment of big government and more regionalism in today’s world. Read on to see which places could actually become the next countries in the world.

 

10. Venice

Venice, the city where people transport themselves not by car, not by train, but by boat. Venice is the third-richest region in Italy, and brings in a lot of tourism from foreigners wanting to experience an almost car-free city. But, the region of Veneto has a growing separatist movement, trying to break away from Italy. In 2014, a non-binding referendum showed that a stunning 89% of Venetians supported independence.

9. Flanders/Wallonia

No, we are not talking about Ned Flanders here, but we are talking about the northern half of the country of Belgium. Belgium is made out of mainly two distinct regions which all have different backgrounds, traditions, and cultures. The one on the North is Flanders, which is closer related to the Netherlands and Dutch is spoken. Wallonia, on the other hand,  is the southern part which speaks French and is closer related to France. Many people on both sides want to either separate or gain more autonomy, although many Wallonians have spoken in favor of joining France.

8. Québec

We all know Canada as the home of ice hockey, maple syrup, moose, and poutine, but could it also be the home of the next independent nation? Québec already has many cultural differences to the rest of Canada, as they are the odd ones out when it comes to language because Quebec is officially a Francophone province. Many Québécois feel that they are not a true part of Canada because of the language and cultural barriers, and that they would be better suited to be a part of the French-speaking world.

 

7. South Ossetia/Abkhazia 

South Ossetia and Abkhazia go hand-in-hand because they both are autonomous regions claimed by in Georgia (the country, not the state) and Russia. The people of these regions are not really ethnically nor culturally related to the Georgians, and they have backing from their neighbors to the north. Some people support the states joining Russia as autonomous oblasts or completely separating from both countries. South Ossetia and Abkhazia were both supported by the Russians during the Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008, leaving the two territories in a sticky situation.

6. Transnistria 

Transnistria is a small strip of land on the eastern side of Moldova, a country bordering Ukraine and Romania. Transnistria is also an autonomous region, which it sets out a lot of its own border and passport control, meaning that to cross through it you need a special stamp. Transnistria uses the Moldavian SSR (Soviet-Era Moldova) flag, and has very close ties to Russia. We have an article on Transnistrian independence here.

5. East African Federation

Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, Burundi, and Rwanda have proposed a plan to unite their countries into the East African Federation. This proposed union could either end up being a glorious unification, or, as it likely will, end up in a civil war and a huge mess. African nations already have a tough time getting by, but could this proposed union help to turn the region into a superpower?

4. Kurdistan

The Kurds are a major ethnic group who live from South-Eastern Turkey and stretch throughout Iraq, Syria, and even major parts of Iran. They have a huge separatist movement, referendums, and support from global superpowers like the United States. Why haven’t they gained independence yet? First of all, Turkey, which is highly opposed to letting the Kurds free, is also a member of NATO. This means that it would put the US in a tricky spot with aiding both the Kurds and the Turks. Secondly, ISIS and the Syrian Civil War has put a big stop to the Kurds’ mission, as the area is too war-inflicted for another war to take place. Maybe once the cards are in the right place, Kurdistan might join the list of nations of the world, but as of now an independent Kurdistan seems unlikely.

3. Scotland

You might be saying to yourself, “Isn’t Scotland already a country?”. Well, yes, it is a country, but not an independent one. The United Kingdom is a country of countries, which the independent countries don’t really have much independence. Many Scots are not happy with this. They believe that Scotland should be able to make decisions for themselves on the global stage, but under the UK they can’t. In 2014, Scotland made the decision to stay in the UK in a referendum, but after Brexit, could there be another referendum on the horizon?

2. Kosovo

Kosovo is an Autonomous Region located in Southern Serbia, but they do not like being ruled by the Serbs. The majority of Kosovoans are of Albanian ethnicity, and they would much rather be their own nation instead of being under the Serbian flag. It has also been proposed that they join Albania instead of being their own nation. Kosovo is recognized by the United States, but they still only have about one-third of the world’s recognition. Kosovo is very close, but not there just yet.

1. Catalonia

Catalonia is a region that has been in the news lately as they partook in a referendum that overwhelmingly supported Catalonian independence. The Spanish did not take to this well, though, because the Spanish police injured over one thousand poll-goers in an attempt to stop the fair referendum. The Catalonians are currently planning their next step, as they are supposed to release their Declaration of Independence soon. You can read our article on this here.

 

Of course, the independence of these areas are not certain, but it will surely be interesting to watch and see how all of this plays out.