The Endurance of Nations

The Endurance of Nations

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February 21, 2012

In 1945, there were 46 international states; by 1993, there were 191. More than 90% of all states that ever existed ended in collapse. Since World War II, large states constructed through empires of old have been fragmenting into smaller states and nation-states like Latvia and Slovenia.

As Dr. Richard Griggs of the University of Cape Town observed in his 1999 paper The Breakdown of States, most multinational states are short-lived because they are incapable of generating a cultural life that is sustainable. Compare the longevity of some of the oldest states like Spain (500 years) with that of nations like Euzkadi (10,000 years) or aboriginal nations in Australia (40,000 years).

The endurance of nations, even under occupation, is sometimes so strong it can outlast numerous invasions and annexations: Latvia regained independence after 727 years, Ireland after 800 some years, Albania after 2,537.

Resistance to annexation and assimilation is based in national identity, and state expansion that attempts to deculture original nations are operating contrary to the natural order. Devolving state power to some form of coexistence through subsidiarity is a necessity brought on by the failure of assimilationist policies.

What this means is that state-building by annexation has come to a close, and further attempts by states to coerce or defraud indigenous nations will only make state collapse more onerous.


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