This is all subject to check and the thought can probably change within minutes, hours, days, but a thought nonetheless. Anyway, here goes.
What do mean by “nation?” People hear the word and the first thought is about soft stuff like culture, music, values, creed, etc. In America the conversation includes family, hard work, freedom. We talk about free markets, buying homes, and other stuff. The American Dream. We talk about the melting pot, people of various races, nationalities, ethnic backgrounds with an interest in all the characteristics I mentioned above; the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness.
At least that’s what we see on a television commercial or a “Cosby Show” rerun. We may like to think that is what we see at work or on a football or baseball field, or in our military as we see people from all walks of life come together under an umbrella of work or play.
Yes, I hear that, but I don’t see that, no matter how many times a local, state, or federal elected official says it on the hope of selling me on the idea. I don’t see it at all. That static view fails to take into account the history of how the inhabitants of the nation came to be here and how it impacts our now.
I won’t get into specific histories here, not now anyway. Eventually I will. I don’t believe we should harp on the past too long anyway because the past is someone else’s story. Heck, I’m not Solomon Northrup. I didn’t live “12 Years a Slave.” (Okay movie, but “Gravity” should have won best picture).
A nation is defined as a stable community of people with a territory, culture, and language held in common. Is that all though? I mean how much do Americans really have in common except baseball, apple pie, and Chevrolet?
On the other hand, is that definition too large or even correct? Is it really something more basic? Is a nation merely a group of people held together by laws, rules, and mores imposed upon us by an administrative state and religious bodies working in concert under the name, government? And the government is captured by a minority that either controls the factors of the nation’s economy and its capital or are agents of those who do? If we strip away all the fluff about mom, apple pie, and lethargic recitations of “We Shall Overcome”, isn’t that what we are left with?
I started thinking about this model during Russia’s takeover of Crimea. The business channels, like the other news broadcasts were all abuzz with the audacity of Putin’s move into Ukraine, but the business news seemed to provide the real substance of the story. While the politicians gave us the usual fluff, i.e., “We must defend Ukraine’s right to exist.” “Vladimir Putin is a thug.” “Blah, blah, blah”, etc., equity analysts, portfolio managers, and other people well versed or rehearsed in finance provided more concrete connections between Putin’s actions and how they could impact the global economy, the rich guy’s portfolio, and what little I had in my wallet.
Is that all we are as a nation? Just a place for an investor to send capital and the majority of the inhabitants only purpose to buy Chevrolets and apple pies?