Friday, May 19, 2017

Imagining No America

Edited for clarity and a little elaboration of ideas.

As any reader of this blog knows I oppose secession movements generally, though I think there are exceptions, and I opposed all and any secession movements from the United States of America.

The idea of living in a small nation nauseates me. I don't mind visiting a small nation, I suppose it could be quaint, and those that live there, if they are happy living there, that is fine. I would find it claustrophobic. The next big thing would be always coming from outside the nation.

As I explained in an earlier post I like driving long distances with no borders. I like great national enterprises. I think large nations generally are more secure.

Anyone who reads cultural geography and the theory of nationalism knows that nations are imagined. We are Americans because we imagine we are. Nations involve continuous work of creating national identity in the next generation.

Nations are created because there are those, usually national elites, who desire that the nation exist. Nations as an idea develop starting in the 18th century and triumph in the 20th century, but the idea  is declining towards the end of the 20th century and during the 21st century as elites instead imagine globalism. Also, our global interconnectivity tends to erase boundaries.

Should nationalism cease to be useful to someone their national identity can vanish quickly.

Such as in this article, "We could have been Canada?"

I think this article is published for amusement. I think it is.  However, I think it is of concern because we can easily imagine many things as it suits our fancy and in reading this article many can start imagining alternatives to being American since they learn the United States of America is not a given.

All nations exist only as long as they are seen as needed. They can vanish easily.

I think the reasons for national existence in the 19th and 20th century are inadequate for a variety of reasons. They are basically ad hoc for the needs of their time. There needs to be a reason for national existence suitable for the 21st century.

I think that there are many good reasons to live in a large Republic. Someone needs to enumerate why living in a large nation is inherently better.

Secession movements will continue to be a possibility as long as national existence is based on ideas of the 19th and 20th century. In particular, exceptionalism, the idea that America is outside of ordinary history, is not good. The moment America is doing poorly, the moment the spell of exceptionalism is broken, America will find itself desperate for a justification.

I don't think we can defend American national existence if we don't recognize what sustains national identity and recognize the fragility of nations. If we assume that it is set in concrete we will have done nothing to defend national existence against the possible events of history.

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