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1. What’s in a Country, Anyway?
Yesterday was the Fourth of July here in the United States, the holiday in which we celebrate our country’s founding. We tend to spend it eating lots of red meat, drinking cheap beer, and blowing shit up. It’s great.
Each country has their own holiday where they celebrate being who they are. It’s a time to (ideally) think about all of the great things your country has given you and how fortunate you are to be from there.
But on these holidays, being the weirdo I am, I can’t help but be amazed that we have countries at all.
That’s because the idea of a nation/state is not a natural construction. And it certainly doesn’t mesh with what we know about human nature (tribal, petty, locally-minded, etc.)
Back in 1648, over a hundred leaders from all of the major European powers convened in Westphalia (what today is western Germany) in hopes of ending nearly 100 years of non-stop bloodshed on the European continent. In the process of reaching their resolution, they decided to devise a handful of legal distinctions to help everyone not beat the snot out of each other all the time.
Hey, sorry to interrupt…
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