The impulse behind many micronations can begin as a kind of dissatisfaction with the world. I could do better, thinks the budding national leader. There’s an adolescent anarchist lurking in many of us, as we come to understand the kinds of compromises and human weaknesses behind so many of the world’s ways. And maybe we think we’ve finally hit on an original loophole, some kind of rational program to exempt ourselves from the petty requirements of nationhood and independence that nobody’s ever thought of before. There’s my country, handed to me whole, on a brilliant technicality.
Or maybe the young micronationalist has discovered a political gospel that works well for him for a while (or a lifetime). Occasionally that can lead to a career in public service, or a less-lauded career as an activist, provocateur, rabble-rouser or terrorist. Let the young man (and it’s more often males, rather than females) be seized with a sudden admiration of someone like Ayn Rand, or Peter Kropotkin, or George Bernard Shaw, who writes so wittily and provocatively in his Maxims for Revolutionists: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” This feels so true, thinks the young man, eyeing the many adult complacencies all around him with disgust, so it must be true. From parents outward to teachers and employers runs his ruinous discovery of corruption, and onward to politicians and religious leaders. If his energies turn toward micronationalism, at least the world may be spared the violent change an uncompromising revolutionary hopes to achieve. (The true art of politics, which he may never develop the skillset for, is compromise with opponents to reach a workable solution each can support.)
But what of the (much smaller subset of) micronations that seem to have a real-world plan and are actively working toward it? Asgardia, the Space Nation, has made a real-world impact. Actual, nameable, photographed people are citizens, parliaments have been held, and plans are in place. The national goal? “Ultimately, Asgardia’s goal is to create a mirror of humanity in space, but without Earthly division into states, religions, and nations”. What comes of such claims, of course, is always the test.
The difficulty comes for the young micronationalist when he encounter some of Shaw’s other aphorisms. “He who confuses political liberty with freedom and political equality with similarity has never thought for five minutes about either” may well fly completely over his head. Or he may take to heart a saying like “Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it”, applying it to everyone else but himself. Or in fact he may combine it with sayings from the pop-culture Loki of Marvel Comics fame, who says in 2012’s The Avengers:
Kneel before me … Is not this simpler? Is this not your natural state? It’s the unspoken truth of humanity, that you crave subjugation. The bright lure of freedom diminishes your life’s joy in a mad scramble for power, for identity. You were made to be ruled. In the end, you will always kneel.
Yes! Thinks the micronationalist. Liberty has always been the underlying problem. Just let me try out my vision of nationhood …
I will close with one more admonition, also from Shaw, also from the same source as above: “It is dangerous to be sincere unless you are also stupid”.
[NOTE: Opinions expressed in unsigned posts are the author’s own, and do not necessarily reflect official policies or initiatives of the Sovermian government.]