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Boxing PandoraRethinking Borders, States, and Secession in a Democratic World$
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Timothy William Waters

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780300235890

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300235890.001.0001

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Broader Implications: Features and Effects of the New Rule

Broader Implications: Features and Effects of the New Rule

(p.193) 6 Broader Implications: Features and Effects of the New Rule
Boxing Pandora

Timothy William Waters

Yale University Press

This chapter assesses features and effects not directly evident in the rule's formal elements, but that are aspects or likely consequences of its operation: its radically ahistorical quality; its effects on resource distribution, immigration, and violence; and its minimalism. The new rule proposes a radically democratic, ahistorical model for deciding the governance of people on territory. It privileges the preferences of the current population, giving little value to ancient claims; claims based on past facts would not defeat an otherwise valid plebiscite. It does this to resolve one of the core tensions that plagues thinking about self-determination. The new rule cuts through history's thicket of contradictory proofs and contesting principles by identifying a moment of decision: a vote. However, the more difficult problem concerns abuses that take place not in some distant past but today—expulsions, genocides, and abusive policies that alter demography now. The chapter then argues that although secession—like any change—might be destabilizing in the short term, the benefits could be significant.

Keywords:   ahistorical model, governance, plebiscite, self-determination, resource distribution, immigration, violence, secession, demography

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