One of my biggest hopes for independence is just that it will decentralize power from Westminster and lead to more decentralized power and strengthened democracy in a more equal way across the United Kingdom. Independence is a step toward decentralizing. Whether an independent Scottish nation will have more progressive politics because we’ll always get the government we vote for: I don’t think so. There’s nothing radical about that. I also don’t really buy into this idea that Scotland would be a progressive beacon for the rest of Britain.
[T]he concern is that this move toward smaller states and localized democracy will curtail the cooperation necessary for dealing with the pressing challenges of climate change and diminishing natural resources, for example. This is something the Yes campaign doesn’t really deal with. To be honest though, large states have demonstrated a manifest failure in combating these issues anyway.
The Yes campaign is conservative in the sense that it is trying to conserve the British welfare state. The biggest argument from the Yes campaign at the moment is that you have to vote Yes to protect the National Health Service (NHS). One of the key planks of the Scottish National Party’s vision for Scotland is to have the NHS inscribed into the Scottish constitution. So it’s harking back to this social democratic ideal that probably, when it comes to an independent Scotland, will prove to be unsustainable. Hence the need to think beyond these outdated social democratic principles. It really has to be emphasized that the independence campaign is bereft of any radical vision: instead it just fetishizes full employment and a cradle-to-grave welfare state, stubbornly clinging to a social democratic paradigm to which there is no possibility of return. The postwar settlement between capital and labor that enabled these policies is now a relic, the structural conditions that allowed for it were a historical anomaly.
There were some hints at more progressive ideas at the Radical Independence conference, like the citizens’ basic income, which is definitely a step in the right direction. Yeah, if we could have a citizens’ basic income we could reduce the hours in a working week, and this would be a step forward from the conservative Yes campaign, which concentrates on preserving services and job-creation powers. Radical Independence can potentially create a forum for questioning the idea of work in the first place, and this is a beginning for that. These arguments are only really going to happen after independence, when this horizon, these possibilities, are opened, which I guess is the central claim: that there can be an alternative to the Westminster hegemony of center-right parties committed to austerity.
Back in New York, Sontag gets involved with H.’s ex-girlfriend I. (the playwright Maria Irene Fornes). This relationship proves to be more stable and nourishing, and by early 1960 she is working out the trouble she has with interpersonal relationships. In the beginning, unsure what to call it, she labels it “X,” and in a series of journal entries over the next three years, Sontag elaborates on “X” until she has a better handle on what it is and how it affects her life. X is a “scourge”; X comes about when she has something to prove, when she makes herself “an object, not a subject.” “X is the one-night stand, the inability to say no.”
X is “connected with the sense of shame. X = the compulsion to be what the other person wants.” America, for example, is “a very X-y country,” perhaps because of the “cult of popularity” found there. “The tendency to be indiscreet—either about myself or about others (the two often go together, as in me)—is a classic symptom of X.” “People who have pride [a box is drawn around the word in SS’s entry] don’t awaken the X in us. They don’t beg. We can’t worry about hurting them. They rule themselves out of our little game from the beginning. Pride, the secret weapon against X. Pride, the X-cide.” Then, in the same entry, she wonders: “Apart from analysis, mockery, etc., how do I really cure myself of X?”
Flannery O’Connor (via untranslatablephrase)
I was a kid when you first read “A Good Man is Hard to Find” and one of the most enduring images, one that remains burned into my brain, is that of an old woman being shoved into a ditch and shot in the head. Thanks, Flannery O’Connor.