The End of Nation States May Enhance Humanity

Perhaps parallel to the physical enhancement of human ability and longevity through technology, enhancements to civilization must also have cultural and political forms. By far the most important of these could be the neglect and final dissolution of borders and “nations”.

An encouraging prediction repeatedly nodded towards by futurists and scientific figures of all schools has been the end of the nation-state as the default regime. This departure from barriers and disparities is certainly features in the promises of revolutionary new technologies.

For example:

[su_quote]We are moving toward a borderless world in which electrons and electromagnetic waves will carry digitized information here, there and everywhere. Borne upon those waves of information, life will move at the speed of light. (J. Craig Venter)[/su_quote]

The interpretation that the world is getting more open and less hospitable to narrow national interests is increasingly accepted, and has been consistently supplied as a very cogent and useful theory by top sociologist Immanuel Wallerstein, e.g. in Utopistics (1998). It must be specified that this particular theory of the nation-state’s demise is based on history, with the observation that the French Revolution disseminated most modern assumptions about legitimate political action and authority.

The construction of “peoples” and “nations” to support the designs of governments and their claims to territory since the French Revolution has been commonplace, in accord with the expectations created by this defining political event. Perhaps a crueler way of putting it would be that nation-states and the beliefs legitimizing them are similarly fictive to religions, as easily offended by insults to their idols, and altogether as restrictive an influence on human advancement and freedom.

Of course, the main objections to fanatical nation-states have focused on their responsibility for causing devastating wars. However, the analysis of declining state legitimacy needs not be part of an emotional plea for an end to war. It is the observation that the physics and technologies of current civilization, as a result of them being favorable to transparency, freedom of expression and movement, eliminate any further need for the state to serve the role it once occupied.

Migration, resulting from the development of better means of transport and easier connections across the world, is a “disintegrating” influence on modern nation-states. As countries stretch the definition of citizenship to accommodate increasing migrant populations, citizenship is destined to lose its function of excluding people. With this crisis, it is destined to extinguish itself as a means of privileging people.

It is important to note that the whole idea of citizenship has been about supplying privileges, creating a dichotomy of citizen and non-citizen as a means of exclusion. As rhetorically effective as the description “citizen of the world” sounds, it could never serve any political or legal purpose and would quickly be dissolved (like a prize or honor being awarded to everyone at birth). This makes it impossible that any concept of citizenship could survive the elimination of nation-states in favor of the inclusion of the whole human family in a larger democratic order.

The revelation that the decisive rejection of nation-state regimes is a fact of the political future is the result of strong scholarly observations of history and politics. Due to this validation, the rejection of nation-state legitimacy and moral authority in favor of human conscience can be expected to become more and more commonplace in political discourse.

Political viewpoints that reject the legitimacy of nation-states, like my columns republished in Flagless: Accepting the End of Nations, aim to contribute to the discussion by encouraging steady and nuanced departures from nation-state beliefs and prejudices. The primary benefits of this political change that readers are often drawn to are the likely immense refinements of human rights, democracy and equality into more meaningful forms that would be possible without the disgraced framework of nation-states. As the discourse on the inexorable weaknesses of nation-state regimes under the new pressures of modernity becomes popularized, more valuable voices may begin to conceive of possible alternative regimes to the nation-state.

When taking an open-minded stance on the future, one must be prepared to let go of what is familiar. We must even be prepared to let go of what is reassuring in favor of what is strange, while at the same time being cognizant of any risks to society involved in long-term change. As transhumanism entails the view that there is something else possible beyond being “human”, I hold that it is similarly prescient to prepare to let go of the flags and myths of “nations”.

Ideally, no post-human scenario will include the survival of “nations” and the myths they have required to gain support and credibility. For this reason, encouragement of a political vision divorced from archaic ideas about national legitimacy and citizenship may be an indispensable part of humanity’s offer to transform.

12 Responses

  1. noyb says:

    no one world goverment period.

    • alexander macrae says:

      Exactly – World Government is promoted as the solution to all our problems.

      Political and religious solutions get adopted by sociopaths and used by them for their own ends.

      Today’ revolutionaries are tomorrow’s Establishment.

      Organisations formed to defeat the bullies in society are now, themselves the bullies.

      No labels, no parties.

      Just technology.

      Bypass representatives, have skilled persons to advocate one side of a proposition and the other, on a dedicated TV channel – and then – press the red button.

      OK, it wil be inefficient, but it will cut out the psycho and socio paths, the lobbyists and the corrupters.

      In Maths we trust.

  2. LeGrande says:

    This will work great…as long as humans aren’t involved. Humans have this desire to be part of smaller ‘clicks’. They form up into like minded groups. These are clubs, communities, states, nations, causes, movements… To believe that any one of these sub-organizations will first off give up their hegemony or dissolve their organization is fallacy. Each will fight to the bitter end.

  3. Lloyd says:

    The history of politics has been of sociopaths treating populations like their pawns and populations slowly waking up and gaining their sovereignty.
    Vote Anarcho-Syndicalist!

  4. William says:

    If you accept that the initiation of force is immoral, then the logical conclusion is a voluntary society – anarchy. Not no rules, just no rulers.

    • alexander macrae says:

      War is caused by sociopaths arising. The rules of a society arise from the mores of the people – the members of that society, sometimes modified by the ramblings of itinerant French philosophers looking for drinking money … “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” – that will be 40 centimes, m’sieu. As Alexander of Calp put it, ‘Plantae maiores papaver.’ Or, ‘Flos est herba debeat.’

      • Ulrich Werner says:

        I strongly disagree. If you look at the results of conflict research you will understand that wars aren’t just “caused by sociopaths arising”. An already perfect counterexample to this thesis are civil wars which are created out of tensions and negative undercurrents within the population and not just caused by single individuals.

        Wars in the sense of national states at war might be caused by tensions between the ruling classes of the respective states, but not all wars start like that. There are border transgressions caused by accidents, retaliation operations for damages to citizens of a state, an almost innumerable list of causes can lead to war.

        • alexander macrae says:

          SociopathS – plural.

          Civil war disproves your thesis that it is national differences that cause wars.

          In murder cases the usual perpetrator is a relative.

          Increase understanding. Let evolution occurr.

  5. Ella says:

    Well said, Alexander!

  6. alexander macrae says:

    Uniformity is the spice of death.

    (c/f Variety is the spice of life).

    Wars are caused by sociopaths ascending – not by the variety of beliefs, cultures, and languages of the people.

    Unicultural Terrans?

    Ve hev vays of makink you smile….

    Und this time ve vill succeed!

    You VILL smile – and why?

    Because you are NOT a cultural deviant.

    **** it!

    Increase underbloodystanding – not uniformity.


  1. February 4, 2014

    […] Peter Perhaps parallel to the physical enhancement of human ability and longevity through technology, […]

Leave a Reply