The Economist: The idiocy of war

A dissection and critique of micronational conflict

Those of you who know me will also certainly know that I prefer to be direct about things rather than joust around them. So please, consider this article and its tone in this light.

I have never particularly liked micronational war, although I am by no means a committed macronationalist pacifist. Recently, however, the surge of petty conflicts has contributed to furthering my main belief: micronational war is mental masturbation at its height. And please don’t be offended by this if you’re a serious belligerent nation, although I am relatively sure such a nation still does not exist.

Before writing this, I did a bit of research and tried to identify the most “important”, strictly in inverted commas, wars that our community has had the pleasure to witness in the past two years. I have found: the New Europe-Erusia war, the Sandus-Pristinia war and the Austenasian Civil War. These three conflicts are good examples of the different strands of micronational war.

The first strand is the bitch fight, such as the New Europe-Erusia War. This usually seems to occur when two nations simply cannot stand each other and resort to declaring war on each other. What follows is the two nations shouting at each other, which then involves the rest of the community, ad nauseam; that is, until one of the two gets fed up.

The second, even more annoying, strand is the bandwagon war. This usually starts as a civil war, such as the case of Austenasia, and then degenerates into a massive conflict, where there is potential for nations to fight each other even when the original belligerent is at peace.  What usually happens is that a fake civil war is conjured up to receive some attention, and then other nations decide that they would like to have a few extra medals on their chest and think: “why not join in?” This escalates into various nations declaring their military support to one contestant or the other, without the initial belligerents ever requesting their help (although in some cases, such as Atlantis, they are actually as idiotic as to ask for intervention)

The third, most worrying, strand is the “mummy-and-daddy-don’t-give-me-enough-attention-so-I’ll-act-like-a-dick-on-the-internet-so-maybe-someone-will-realise-I-exist” conflict, and its variations such as the “I’m-an-immature-brat-and-want-some-attention” wars. I suppose the Sandus-Pristinia War falls into this category, as dear old Mark Dresner (or William Danforth, or Frederic – depending on whether you are bothered to keep up with the aliases) admitted in a video posted just the other day.

The problem with so many young and new micronations is that they feel compelled to do something rash and visible in order to gain the attention of “the big boys”. The fundamental issue that lies to the base of this behaviour is that new micronations are seemingly too restless to let their peaceful and innovative actions speak for themselves. Indeed, starting a war is going to give you attention, albeit the wrong one, which is easily summarised as people thinking you’re a nuisance and then simply deleting your newsfeed comments.

An excellent example of how a young micronation should behave is Yabloko. It was founded barely 3 months ago, yet is has become quite respected and has developed into a very decent micronation. This is because it works hard and well. They invest time and effort in improving their nation by passing new laws as well as designing their Micro Wiki page to very high standards. Indeed, they should be held up as an example to younger micronations.

Now that the three types of conflict are down, I felt it was necessary to take a look at how a war actually develops, which should strike any normal human being as insanely idiotic at the very least. After the declaration of war, the conflict then proceeds into a serially petulant exchange of emails and posts, where mud-slinging competitions are rife. When the two belligerents start to lapse into pure name-calling; someone stands up to say “shut up”, only be violently rebuked. In most cases, a miriad of annoying nations jump in and offer their military support to the belligerents. Then follows a flooding of the wiki page of the war by numerous editors, who seem to prefer this activity to contributing constructively. Eventually, we enter a “cold war” phase, where veiled threats and insinuations persist, before everything quiets down.

A simple question should now arise… Have I not just described an internet flame discussion? I seem to remember wars had something to do with fighting. Indeed, if I check my English dictionary it says: “a conflict carried on by the force of arms”. Unfortunately, it looks like micronational war is better explained by definition nine: “a battle”; or rather by the word describing that entry: “archaic”. Is it therefore antiquate to think about war in the context of battles, blood and deaths? If so, I suggest you tell Mr Obama and the Taliban, because they seem to be behind.

The most obvious argument against micronational war is that it is simply not a war. Nations cannot travel across the globe to fight others, so saying “we pledge military support” is nothing but a joke. To call a snow-ball fight or the tossing of a firecracker a battle is what really makes me think: this is why people say I’m an idiot when I talk about micronationalism. When heads of state stand up and enunciate: “there is real fighting going on, POWs have been taken” my first thought is they should be perma-banned for their display of an intelligence 7 times lower that of the chair I am sitting on.

Another argument is that wars are a pathetic and exhausting attempt to boost a nation’s popularity. When a nation declares “a season of war” and randomly starts to attack nations on the basis of “eeny, meeny, miny, mo”, it is not surprising if other nations get pissed off.  I believe this should be made clear to all nations thinking of entering a war: it doesn’t work. You’re simply going to be considered a pest and you won’t be believed if you say there is actual fighting going on.

While we’re on this topic, I thought I’d drop my opinions on civil wars, such as the Austenasian or Atlantis ones. Nothing will ever convince me that there is an actual civil war going on. There is no such thing as a “break-away state”, or if there is, this “state” is usually one guy in the nation saying “I don’t agree” to something, and then branded as a traitor. Nor will I ever be convinced that civil wars are anything but a seriously annoying scheme to gain micronational attention. An example? Nobody gave a damn about the Republic of Atlantis before that petty, imaginary conflict which they call a “civil war”. Now, the war’s microwiki page is swamped in edits, filled with abhorrent “walls of text” and cluttered by pointless images. It is honestly a pain to open up Recent Changes and see “Atlantis Civil War – 44 changes”.

As I bring this article to a conclusion, I would like to launch an appeal to all nations. Please immediately stop engaging in any conflict and avoid doing so in the future. Not only is it a waste of everyone’s time and effort, but it also the most pathetic aspect of micronationalism. Indeed, it gives micronationalism a bad name. Because of the flawed yet prevalent concept of generalisation, the actions of a few nations acting like 5-year-old attention-whores are taken by outsiders to be a representation of what micronationalism is.

The most annoying thing I can think of is people who are interested being repulsed by this childish behaviour. I came into micronationalism because I saw it as an incredible idea. Micronationalism enables people to experiment politically, to be innovative, to be creative and to build societies that are unfortunately too good to exist macronationally; and I’m sure that is why most of you are here, reading this article. So for micronationalism’s sake, let’s keep current society’s worst component out of our community.

12 Responses to “The Economist: The idiocy of war”
  1. Mr.Schneider I agree with your comments 100% although Zealandia will Defend her self and any ally who is attacked, only if we can actualy get there to fight. thats why our military is called the Kingdom of Zealandia Defence Force not the KOZ Armed Forces. As for these so called conflicts I agree we have to remove them from the communinty, they are like a milstone around our neck. If a nation has the shits with another nation just cut ties with them and perhaps write someting in your national news service dont make wars that you cant even get to the so called front, take Zealandia we had a dummy spit with the UPUC we cut tie wrote about it the Zealandian times and condemned the crap out of them in our parliament but we did not declair war. My Government and I have adoped a Neutral Policy based off of the Irish and Swiss models.

    HM King Anthony, King of Zealandia

  2. I have to say that I agree entirely – indeed, I have shared your sentiment since last year, and the first Act passed in Egtavia was the Intermicronational War Act 2009, which stipulated that Egtavia was to take no part in intermicronatiopnal conflicts, recognising them as “pointless” and “unnecessary”.

    Egtavia retains an armed forces, but it is very much for show, enjoyment, and technological puposes only. For instance, Egtavia’s news agency ENPA and broadcasting authority EGBA have a field day (as it were) whenever the CDF unveils a new development – the SMS-1 slingshot, TB-1 mortar, and the “Egtavian Endeavour” amphibious bicycle (loosely based on the mothballed Battleship One, no less) are all good examples.

    I have a few words of advice for any micronations interested in building up their military: Do so by all means, but under no circumstances must it be considered a basis for attempting to impose your will on other micronations. Develop the tech and show it off, but never threaten to, attempt to, or actually use your military in an offensive capacity.

  3. *blushes* You are too kind. I agree on all your points about wars though, especially with ‘civil wars’ (in reality flame wars involved a dozen different mnations).

  4. Patryk Adam Bronisz says:

    What a long article…but okay, I read all and I think that I must say something … about Atlantis 🙂 Yeah, I agree that war is stupid idea, but in Atlantis case, that’s more like defense of territory and power. And I disagreed that St.Charlie & NPSC is neutral- in my opinion we should support Alexander Virgili and should be against of the separatism of communists govern in Socialist Republic of Atlantis (now “Socialist Federation of Makhnovist”…Haha!). I don’t understand yours (NPSC) decision.

    But about article – I think that one sentence can say all: “The problem with so many young and new micronations is that they feel compelled to do something rash and visible in order to gain the attention of “the big boys”” Completely agree!

  5. Heinrich Schneider OBS says:

    Thanks to HM King Anthony and Mr. Bralesford for their positive comments; I was sure that my views were not totally out of the blue. In response to Mr. Lucas – it’s nothing which isn’t true 🙂

    Patryk: as I said in the article, I don’t actually believe a civil war is going on, so I don’t see the point of intervening. Furthermore, it is St.Charlian policy not to get involved into the internal matters of other countries; just as we wouldn’t like someone doing the same to us. As a side note, the views expressed in this article are mine only, not those of the NPSC.

    In response to the article published on the “Atlantis Post”: I also hate people who speak without knowing the “facts”, and the only category of people I hate even more are those who talk without thinking. I’m not denying you may enjoy shooting soft-air at each other, but I still don’t see that as a war. Full stop.
    May I also point out that I used Atlantis as an example, just like I could have used Austenasia, so please don’t feel like I’m calling you out.. xD

  6. Patryk Adam Bronisz says:

    Heinrich Schneider OBS :
    As a side note, the views expressed in this article are mine only, not those of the NPSC.

    Yeah, but you wrote the same in discussion page about Atlantis Civil War on MicroWiki and you have called this as “Official NPSC Statement”.

    BTW: I moved all pictures on microwiki from article about A.C.W. to “gallery” specially for you 🙂

    • Heinrich Schneider OBS says:

      Ah, I see. Well in any case, the NPSC, as the ruling party, is simply following St.Charlian foreign affairs protocol.

      PS: thanks! They look much better 🙂

  7. Tom Turner (Rukora) says:

    Schneider is completely correct, Civil Wars should only be thought between those involved and only then if they can actually attack each other (and only then if there is no other option). If the Atlantis Civil War is a fact then I ask that all people leave it to itself and if it’s a lie, then I hope that this is admitted soon. What everyone needs to do in this situation is be mature with the other nations and help them to realise what the rest of us know. I don’t know many who don’t think the same.

  8. Flandrensis says:

    Very nice article! And you’ve right: Micronational war is the most pathetic aspect of micronationalism

  9. I, and all of my advisors, agree 100% with this article.
    Our first experience with micronational “war” was when Istoria declared war upon Erusia because 1) Erusia was communist and 2) Max Kazbar wanted money.
    We, too, have come to see that, of all of the so-called “wars” that we have seen during our relatively short time on the MicroWiki, not one of them could count as more than a flame-war. The Kingdom of Theodia, should war ever be declared upon it, shall resolve the idiocy by means of diplomacy, and although we do have a militia here in Theodia, we shall never have need of it.
    Leave the wars to the Macronations or leave.
    Good day.

  10. “The most annoying thing I can think of is people who are interested being repulsed by this childish behaviour.”
    It didn’t repulse either me or my friends, but it did leave me to believe that micronationalism is wrought with civil wars and instability, which was one of the main reasons that we, here in Theodia, are putting so much effort into language, culture, religion, monoculturism, etcetera, because these are the things that hold a nation together.

    “I came into micronationalism because I saw it as an incredible idea. Micronationalism enables people to experiment politically, to be innovative, to be creative and to build societies that are unfortunately too good to exist macronationally; and I’m sure that is why most of you are here, reading this article.”
    I know – it’s great.

    “So for micronationalism’s sake, let’s keep current society’s worst component out of our community.”
    Yes, let’s.

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