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Old 09-11-2019, 04:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Novelty Bobble View Post
Blimey, that's a radical position. I think self-determination absolutely is a good idea and I'm surprised you'd suggest otherwise. I mean Chapter 1 Article 1 of the UN Charter states this.

A nation is an artificial construct. What do you count as a nation? I think the UK and it's constituent political entities certainly count, what about you?

You are letting perfect be the enemy of the good. Because it is not possible to define an exact line as to what constitues a nation you seem unwilling to grant self-determination to those entities where that it is obviously the case. I mean, you think that Scotland, England and Wales are nations yes?
A nation is not an artificial construct; a state is an artificial construct.

A nation is a large aggregate of communities and individuals united by factors such as common descent, language, culture, history, occupation of the same territory, etc so as to form a distinct people. There might be blurry borderline cases where there is room for argument over whether a particular community does or does not constitute a nation, but this does not mean that "nation" is an artificial construct; it's a social and cultural phenomenon. A certain amount of fuzzy grey lines around the edges is typical of such phenomena (as opposed, in fact, to artificial constructs, like states, which are much more likely to be characterised by quite precise divisions).

Is the UK a nation? Well, no, it's a state, like the French Republic or the Dominion of Canada. Are its people a nation? Is there a "British nation", or is the UK perhaps a multinational state, comprising the English, the Scots, etc? This is where things get blurry; it's not necessary the case that either the British are a nation and the English, Welsh etc not or vice versa; why can't both be true?

The UN Charter, already mentioned, doesn't talk about nations having the right of self-determination. It talks about the self-determination of peoples, while being charmingly vague about how we might identify a people who can assert such a right. The view that the nation is the natural and proper community of self-government, with a right of self-determination, is the essence of political nationalism, as developed in the nineteenth century, and it's the political ideology which lead to the creation of numerous nation-states either by the agglomeration of small states which shared a common nationality (Germany, Italy) or by secession from large multinational states (Ireland, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Greece, numerous others).

Tellingly, all of these peoples were recognised as nations, and spoken of as nations, before they became states, often long before. The notion that statehood is a necessary element of nationality and that a people without an independent state cannot be considered a nation is, ironically, a manifestation of the triumph of political nationalism, and represents the view that a nation not only may but ought to govern itself, and that communities which do not do so therefore fail to meet one of the criteria of true nationhood.