What does it mean to be a nation; is it culture, race, religion, region, or your place of birth which makes you belong to a nation? When we talk about nation’s we mean more than any one of these factors and indeed many nations have inhabitants which vary in all of these things. Just because you are visiting another country doesn’t make you a part of their nation. So the unifying factor must be something else. It’s tempting to say that a nation is the state and those who live under it. That’s certainly one way to define it, but historically this has caused many problems which typically result in violent conflicts known as civil war. People who identify as their own nation seem to need their own state, otherwise there is turmoil for everyone within that state. So a nation can be better defined as the system of rules, arguably the way of life, one wants to live under. When enough people come together under this desire, it is referred to as a nation.
While that’s all well and good, what is the significance of defining a nation this way? It is reasonable to think that those of a certain nation live under less stress when they have their own land under their own state or social system. When everyone within a country is of the same mentality, it is certainly evident in both levels of conflict and productivity. When people within a country are divided in how they want to live, such as in the United States right now, this is also evident in all facets of society. Under outside threats, the differences between people within a state are minimized such as during times of war there is typically great unity. When those outside threats are no longer focused on by people, the differences between them grows more apparent.
During this high level of peace for the United States, division is at a similar level. The United States has a system of democracy in place yet people are still dissatisfied. This is because the more a state leaves up to democracy, the more the majority can oppress the minority with their preferred way of life. What is up for government discretion is higher than it has ever been, so people are realizing they have less and less power to live under the way of life they desire. It’s unlikely that any one person agrees with everything the state has decided is the lay of the land, so as the state makes more decisions on things previously left up for personal discretion the less people that will be satisfied. Rather than restricting the ability of the state, people under threat prefer to use its power to ensure they can live how they want to. Which makes the people within your country greater enemies in the pursuit of your ideal state. In a very true sense, we have multiple nations competing right now in the United States for ultimate control. How do we escape this cycle before it culminates in the ultimate national resolve, civil war?
To solve this issue before the lid blows off the kettle so to speak, we can find the answer in the definition of a nation I provided. Our country is increasingly polarized about issues that are fundamentally divergent. They are not issues we can come to a logical agreement. It is not a matter of figuring out the best way to a common goal as these are goals which conflict being based on a difference in values. Logic is effective only under the same emotional premise. Which is why more people are coming to the conclusion that violence is the only way to solve this difference. If we continue down the current track, they are correct. People of different nations cannot live peacefully under the same state. Using my definition of a nation, we have at least two very big nations under the same state here in the U.S. What we need to do, before the death toll grows any larger, is have a division of state. Divide America. Conservatives should have their own government as should progressives. There’s no need to oppress each other through force and politics. Democracy fails when your rights directly contradict my own, when we want to live a different way of life. The reason this is the most peaceful and effective solution is easy to see when you accept the reality of our national segregation. Have you talked to someone of opposing political views? While there is always some agreement between any two people, it’s as if they are from another planet. Close, they just belong to a different nation and rightfully we feel threatened by this as they share the same state with us.
If we cease defining our country’s borders by geography or the other factors I listed, and let countries be defined by ideology including their immigration/emigration policies we would have a world of greater peace and contentment as the concentration of people who were content with their state would be at unprecedented levels. It would even diminish conflict between countries based on ideological threats. With the current idea of the state to nation relationship, those who are born in a country tend to live there no matter what they believe and if it’s different from what the state is then both them and those they live with are worse off. Because they can’t change that with our working systems, they see opposing ideology to their state a threat as it can influence the composition and thus the security of the state and the “nation” under it. Often these opposing ideologies are actualized in the form of a foreign state, occasionally resulting in wars or other disputes. For instance, there are currently those who believe in a free market and a small state in many countries around the world but there is arguably no country anymore which has a state that represents that ideology. While a minority in their respective countries and in conflict with the majority there, together they would form a population sizable enough to live under their own state. It is a win-win situation for everyone, and if you truly feel your way is the superior way to live under a specific criteria than this would lead to real world examples of pure ideologies being put into practice. The results would speak for themselves in naming a nation.