Sovermjei Nevovas — Sovermian News

Presidential Address of 16 June 2020

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The Second Republic of Sovermia
Sovermjei Dvimo-Republika
4 Government Circle, Gelnopolja
Sovermia

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ornithogalum umbellatum

Sugumnei, Soverjmanas! Welcome indeed, fellow Sovermians! I am speaking to you from the Embassy of the Second Republic, looking out over the pink and red rhododendrons that edge the western lawn outside the Embassy. The common weed Star of Bethlehem (ornithogalum spp) also graces our lawns, which we leave unmowed until we can harvest the wild strawberries that also grow there.

And in many ways these homely botanical details mirror life in Sovermia. So many things grace our lives that we may overlook if we do not take care to fulfill our covenant and Constitution. For it will always be incumbent on us, as we have agreed, to “maintain vigilance toward all government, so that its actions reflect our will, and so that we do not forfeit freedom through negligence” (Article 2:6).

So far we have largely avoided the ruinous divisiveness and destructive ignorance that now plague the United States. Our larger neighbor, once a democracy, stands in grave danger of forfeiting a signal strength — a robust ability to rein in its worst human impulses and encourage its best. For the second agreement undergirding our sovereignty is this: to “seek out wisdom and knowledge, striving to avoid ignorance and folly as excuses for our failings” (Article 2:2). For ignorance and folly now run riot through the thoughts and actions of the leadership, both political and moral, of our once-great neighbor. It is as if too many Americans do not comprehend our third understanding, that “By living in community … where we hope to benefit is a guide to where we likewise have obligations to help to preserve others’ corresponding benefits” (Article 2:1). Forsake that noble obligation, and what remains of nationhood, community, or human solidarity?

In closing, we may hope that the words of our own anthem ring true for the United States as well — that the dawn, a new one, “delays its coming merely”.


 

Presidential Address of 15 May 2020

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The Second Republic of Sovermia
Dvimei Sovermjo-Republika
4 Government Circle, Gelnopolja
Sovermia

Sumona, Soverjmanas! Greetings, fellow Sovermians. As I look out from the Embassy on Government Circle here in Sovermia, I can see our mountain ash coming into leaf. Today the air is warm with all the promise that May can bring. One of the challenges we face as spring opens into summer is that our delight in the burgeoning natural world may urge us to relax our vigilance in the face of Covid-19.

Most of you have been following media on all sides of the American political divide, as well as useful perspectives of the foreign press. Because of your desire to stay well-informed, you are as prepared as anyone for the weeks and months and years to come. You know about the scientific information currently available, its limits, and its varied reception by different sectors of America. More than any other nation, Sovermia is deeply engaged for obvious reasons in the still-developing pandemic affecting the United States. We can be grateful to reside in a region where political leadership has made generally prudent policy for Vermont and thus for our immediate borders, as well as the greater northeast region of the United States. Whatever we think of the extra-national and regional responses to the virus, what will matter most going forward are the proven simple measures that greatly reduce risk of both infection and transmission: washing hands regularly, wearing masks, and avoiding clusters of other people.

We need to be prepared for the “long haul” — the dolgei somva that Sovermians know well. I want to commend and celebrate the Sovermian spirit of mutual aid and caring you have already shown each other. Together we shall burnish our national reputation by demonstrating in our actions, not just in words, the Dvei Ortas, the Two Principles that have long guided Sovermians. Sovermja Dolgaivei!


 

Micronation as Work-around

taxtempleThe 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.

Kropotkin
Peter Kropotkin, 1842-1921

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.]


 

Have you lost your country?

In the 2019 Aladdin, Princess Jasmine asks Prince Ali this question.

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It’s an excellent inquiry to ask of a prospective ruler. Here’s “Prince Ali”, Aladdin’s wannabe alter ego, setting himself up as a worthy marriage prospect, as a man of experience, a potential co-ruler of Agrabah, and — as Jasmine will shortly come to see for herself — as a person of no mean magic ability. All of it is “pretend”.

Too many micronational leaders fall in love with the sound of a title: “king” or “president” of a nation, even a very small one. All you have to do is log onto Twitter and you can shortly be awash in micronations for every taste — hundred of them. Some leaders even publish polls asking what kind of government they should institute, apparently wholly uninterested in deciding such an centrally important matter themselves. They trade this supreme opportunity to forge a unique national identity for eyeballs on their social media accounts. Their fledgling country lacks both heart and head.

While at first such engagement might seem to invite new citizens — Hey, it’s participatory democracy, but non-citizens only, please! — within weeks or days, new posts reveal it’s all fallen apart. The single despotic and half-formed will that always did lurk behind this newest “mycountry.org” falls into some new flavor of tyranny or anarchy, the poll results are discarded, because they never really mattered anyway, and a week or a month later there’s been a coup, a purge, or some other contrived political drama.

Rather than “losing” a country, some erstwhile leaders never had one in the first place.

[NOTE: Opinions expressed in unsigned posts are the author’s own, and do not necessarily reflect official policies or initiatives of the Sovermian government.]