What Comes After the Nation-State, Part V

I’m being asked if there is anything good about the new state form. Of course, there is positive and negative in most things.

The new state will be highly fluid on every level. Fluidity means insecurity, instability and anxiety on the one hand, and an enormous, unseen burst of opportunity on the other hand. The shackles of collective identities are falling off. Everything is temporary, everything is in the state of flux. Of course, the rate at which this change is occurring differs among different societies but my blog’s readers are all in the places where these changes are happening already.

We’ll get to live several different, unstable, highly changeable lives instead of a single predictable one. It’s scary but fun. Some of the literature I have read on the subject refers to the new society as a society of opportunity. But there is no opportunity without risk and no freedom without the burden of choice. And of course taking the opportunity and turning to your advantage (and doing so every day for the rest of your life) will not be easy.

Suggestion: if you tend to suffer from anxiety, now is a good time to get rid of it completely. We are moving towards a society whether the division between winners and losers will be harsh (this is the bad part). And the line will be redrawn every day (and this is the good part). 

Question for pro-Putin Liberals

Speaking about gay people during a Crimean government session on Tuesday, the region’s de facto leader Sergei Aksyonov said “we in Crimea do not need such people.” In comments reported by the Russian news agencies Interfax and Itar-Tass, Aksyonov said that if the LGBT community tried to hold public gatherings, “our police and self-defence forces will react immediately and in three minutes will explain to them what kind of sexual orientation they should stick to.” He added that Crimean children should be brought up with a “positive attitude to family and traditional values.”’

I’m really really curious who the Ian Welshes of the world find it in themselves to support this people-hating regime and still consider themselves Liberals.

Why Ukrainian Education Sucks

Idiots abound:

For years, Ukraine’s once vaunted Soviet education system has deteriorated, with corruption taking a toll on the quality of education. Plagiarism is widespread and often goes unpunished, while bribes are often accepted to purchase grades, to pass exams and even to buy diplomas. Several Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, no longer recognize Ukrainian medical diplomas because of the sub-grade qualification level of graduates. The U.S. also doesn’t recognize Ukrainian medical degrees.

The author of this piece creates an impression that this corruption and deterioration happened after the fall of the USSR which is a vicious lie. I already shared on the blog how the graduates of the “vaunted Soviet education system” tortured me back in the early 1980s when I sought medical help as a very small child. The entire “vaunted Soviet education system” was predicated on corruption, bribery, plagiarism, and meaningless diplomas. Jeez, people, read Solzhenitsyn for a description of how garbagey Soviet diplomas were even back in the 1940s. And it only went downhill after that.

Of course, higher education in Ukraine and Russia sucks something fierce. But that suckiness was inherited from the Soviet times.

If You Are Nostalgic for the Nation-State. . .

. . . then remember that “nationalism requires too much belief in what is patently not so” (c). There is no nation-state without people believing the most egregious lies known to humanity. Even just today, a blogger recognized that

any national history gauged more to promote skills of dispassionate analysis than to inculcate patriotism and civic virtue is bound to outrage a large subset of citizens with affection for said nation.

And it’s true. Nation-state’s existence as a model is predicated on people abandoning rational analysis and descending into the depths of emotional, unreasonable attachment to something that doesn’t really exist. And that’s all shades of pathetic.

What Comes After the Nation-State, Part IV

It sounds like the new state form is all bad but that’s not true. Even if it seems like there will be more inequality in it, in reality it will be the same inequality but on a different basis.

How do you feel about the feudal system where you were either born a prince or a commoner and could do very little to change your lot? Stupid, right? But this is exactly how people 200 years from now will look at our nation-state system because it’s not that different.

In a nation-state, the circumstances of one’s birth still define destiny. This is maybe less noticeable because it occurs along state borders and not along familial bloodlines. But what is the difference, really?

The importance of borders radically diminishes in the new form of state and people become less circumscribed by the good or bad luck of being born in a certain place. We will see an enormous mobility in every direction and on every level. We are already seeing it.

What Comes After the Nation-State? Part III

As we discovered in the previous post, the state doesn’t have anything to gain any longer from ensuring everybody’s welfare. This means we are moving towards a model where nothing is expected from or offered to a significant part of the population. This large group of people will still have formal citizenship but will be de facto stateless. They will neither pay taxes not vote. In the US, this is already a very significant percentage of the population.

We are all making fun of the conceal-carry crowd, and they are very funny. However, they are sensing a great change happening: the interest of law enforcement agencies in prosecuting crime is waning. Police is getting militarized because its purpose is changing. It looks like an army because it is becoming one. This army is defending those with a functional statehood from the stateless-within-a-state.

Living during a tectonic shift is never very easy. Even people who are not entirely sure what a nation-state is feel disturbed by the news it is dying. And the changes we are seeing around us don’t look very attractive. But nobody ever gained anything from blindness. Besides, every state-form has both positive and negative characteristics. If we know what the new contract between the citizen and the state is, we will know how to adapt to it and won’t flail about aimlessly.