A good idea.
Bob Atkinson


I’m certainly not 100% down on the nation-state. I understand nationalism provides a much-needed sense of belonging. This seems to be most true of smaller nations (or ones, some of which you listed, that recently tasted independence).

Scotland and Norway — both with populations hovering around 5MM — still function, in many ways, as tribes — much, much more so than the U.S. And, in many ways, that’s very positive.

I also don’t believe we are headed toward globalization in the form of one world government, but rather a return to tribes. As humans, we crave belonging and connection and that’s fostered in smaller circles (it’s not lost on me that 5MM people is not exactly an intimate gathering!).

So, I think I appreciate the appeal of the nation-state as a means to scratch this particular itch. However, I look forward to a day when we have more freedom to choose our tribe and aren’t “forced” to pretend the one in which we were born, the one most people are essentially stuck with, is the preeminent tribe … just because. And, in that world, I hope there are more and smaller tribes that function as experiments in governance and living and people vote with their feet — let the power of the market work in determining how humans want to coexist. That was the idea with the individual states in the U.S., although the federal government has steadily usurped their power to the point where moving to a new state means little more than paying the same amount of taxes, but in a different mix (income vs. sales vs. property, etc.) and having to get a new driver’s license.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article and respond — great point (the appeal of nationalism) and one I didn’t spill enough ink on!

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