Magazine article The American Conservative

The New Separatism

Magazine article The American Conservative

The New Separatism

Article excerpt

As nation-states in Europe wipe away their borders and dilute the flavors of their national cultures in a European Union slumgullion, their peoples are adopting new identities. Instead of Spaniards, they will be Catalans. Instead of Italians, they will again become Venetians, Lombards, and Sicilians. A story in the October 18 New York Times quotes the newspaper II Tempo's Antonio Rapisarda, who tracks separatist movements, as saying, "In Italy, there has been a resurgence of separatist energies. From the South Tyrol to Sicily, passing through Rome, there are separatist movements." The Times adds that "Separatist movements are also simmering in Britain...aswellas France, Germany, Belgium and Romania." Here at home the Left Coast states of California, Oregon, and Washington host growing movements to separate from the conservative heartland they despise.

The driving force behind separatism is the same as that which has created Fourth Generation war, war waged by non-state entities. That force is a growing crisis of legitimacy of the state. While its intensity varies greatly from place to place, the states crisis of legitimacy is now nearly universal. More and more citizens of states are transferring their primary loyalty away from the state to something else. In the case of separatist movements, it is to regions, often regions that once were states. In Fourth Generation war, new primary loyalties come in a wide variety of flavors, including religions, racial and ethnic groups, gangs, and "causes" such as "animal rights."

Why is this happening? If we look at states' ruling elites, we can identify at least three causes. First, the states controlled by those elites are no longer effectively performing the states primary function, the reason it first arose: establishing and maintaining order, safety of persons and property. In some places, such as most of Africa, Mexico, and Brazil, the collapse of order has been spectacular. But it is evident in First World countries also. In Britain, the number of people in private security is larger than the total personnel of the Queens armed forces. Where the state is doing its job, there is no need for private security.

The global elite has responded to this failure of the states they run by hiring private security to guard them and their property. Their fellow citizens are left to live in fear. Not surprisingly, they are questioning the legitimacy of a state that fails to protect them.

A second cause is that the global elites long ago transferred their primary loyalty away from their states. They blamed the state and nationalism for the vast, pointless slaughter of World War I. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.