More to Follow?

In the aftermath of the UK vote to leave the EU, questions abound as to whether this act of secession will be followed elsewhere. I suspect that it will, and with some rapidity. I find an analogy in the sports world, when mile-runners were trying, for years, to break the long-standing four-minute mile barrier. Many came close – with times in the 4:02, 4:03 range – but the Englishman, Roger Bannister, finally accomplished the task in 1954, with a time of 3:59.4. Once he had done so, numerous other sub-4:00 times quickly followed.

On the secession front, failures in such diverse settings as Quebec, Scotland, Catalonia, and a few American cities, left those who sought to decentralize political power with the feeling that significant secession could never be done. I suspect that the Brexit example will – like Bannister’s breakthrough – have an encouraging effect.

The boundaries that confine us are fashioned in our individual minds. With the help of conditioning from institutional interests, our thinking generates unconscious expectations that limit what we believe we can accomplish. The experience-driven belief that the 4:00 mile was an insurmountable boundary was finally overcome by the first man to do so. The limitations that inhere in our well-trained thinking about political boundaries may also be overcome.


1:06 pm on June 26, 2016