Simon Black from SovereignMan writes about the formation of nations and how the rise of independence/secessionist movements and nationalism in places like the UK and EU are a reflection of the changing zeitgeist of the times:
Did you ever hear the urban legend about how Winston Churchill carved up a map of Africa in a drunken stupor?
There’s actually no evidence to support this assertion.
But what is true is that European imperialists conjured entire nations in Africa out of thin air from their palaces in Brussels, Paris, and London.
And all of this was done without any regard for ethnic, linguistic, religious, and historical divisions among the various tribes that inhabited Africa.
But what few people realize is that Europe is no different.
Think about it—the United Kingdom consists of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland lumped together in a political union.
Each is entirely different from the others. And secessionist movements are alive and well.
Scotland will hold a referendum about its independence in September. And the troubles in Northern Ireland have plagued the region for decades.
Belgium is a completely artificial country, and the Flemish are actively pursuing independence from the Walloons.
In the late 19th century, Germany and Italy were both unified into modern countries from diverse fiefdoms and city-states with strong regional identities.
Those regional identities are still present today. Just a few weeks ago, a vote was held in Venice over independence for the wider region.
The Basque separatist movements in Spain are stronger than ever. The Balkans were an absurd experiment. I could go on and on.
Europe is the best example that borders and countries are completely arbitrary.
They are created to serve one purpose—consolidating authority over a piece of land and the people living upon it.
Today just happens to be “Europe Day”, a holiday in which Europeans are supposed to commemorate the Schuman Declaration that jump started today’s European Union.
This is a continent that has a long history of constantly going to war with itself.
They slapped lines on a map, formed some new countries, and expected that everything would be OK.
Then they made those lines even broader when they consolidated everything into the European Union. And EU politicians are trying to make things even bigger.
History shows that when economic times are good, people are happy about unity.
But when times are tough as they are now, divisions start creeping up. People look around and say “this system isn’t working”.
They demand change. Sometimes violently. And we would be foolish to presume that this time is any different.
The immediate avenue for this conflict to play out is still through peaceful means—referendums and the rise of nationalist and Eurosceptic political parties.
But it’s clear that the trend is to get smaller, not bigger. And for the system to change entirely.
Like feudalism before it, the nation state is a failed experiment that will ultimately be replaced. It’s already happening.
Many places around the world from Panama to Puerto Rico to Chile are actively competing for productive residents.
They welcome foreigners and provide incentives to live and invest there, instead of treating people like milk cows.
Modern technology and transportation make geography almost irrelevant.
You don’t need to be tied to a single piece of land anymore, and certainly not in a country conjured by politicians.
There’s a world of opportunity out there. And every part of your life can ‘live’ in the best place for it.
For example, you and your family can live in a beautiful place like Bali, which may have the best lifestyle for you.
But your savings can ‘live’ in Hong Kong which has strong, stable banks. And your investments can ‘live’ in South America to capitalize on farmland deals.
All of this is already possible today. And soon, as more people realize the opportunities out there, it’s going to be the norm for everyone.
Editors Note: It is becoming increasingly apparent that large scale 20-21st century democracy is failing. One potential solution which is already floating about is the birth of smaller democratic states or communities similar to nation cities like medieval Venice and Antwerp, modern Singapore, Hong Kong and others.
Emerging Events predicts we will see the emergence of smaller self regulated communities seeking independence and freedom from large state authoritarianism in the years ahead. This will probably occur on the back of economic breakdown and the political chaos resulting. Whether these experiments in human self realization can succeed will be fascinating but reflects the innate desire by humans to live free and self determined lives.