Ludwig von Mises on Self-Determination

On Thursday, September 18, the people of Scotland will vote on whether to become independent or to remain a part of the United Kingdom. Advocates of independence in Catalonia, Alaska and other regions will watch the vote and its aftermath as they decide on their own strategies to promote independence.

In his book “Liberalism” – first published as “Liberalismus” in 1927, and translated into English by Ralph Raico in 1962, Ludwig von Mises sets forth the principle of self-determination:

The right of self-determination in regard to the question of membership in a state thus means: whenever the inhabitants of a particular territory, whether it be a single village, a whole district, or a series of adjacent districts, make it known, by a freely conducted plebiscite, that they no longer wish to remain united to the state to which they belong at the time, but wish either to form an independent state or to attach themselves to some other state, their wishes are to be respected and complied with. This is the only feasible and effective way of preventing revolutions and civil and international wars.

The entire chapter on Self-Determination can be read @ http://mises.org/liberal/ch3sec2.asp

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