I like starting countries. Countries that can be started by someone like me, as opposed to a covert CIA mission with the intention of destabilizing a regime that they don’t like, is usually called a micronation.
Micronations can be quite easy to start, depending on how much effort you want to put into it, and how much satisfaction you want to get out of it. Five minutes of MS paint for a flag and an ability to make a Facebook page or a Twitter handle gives you the most basic sketch of a micronation. But many people put a lot of time, money, blood, sweat, tears, and sacrifice a tremendous amount of pride into the construction of their micronations. So why? Why make a micronation?
Top 10 Reasons to Start Your Own Country
- Fun– Heck, that’s the reason to do most things! Micronationing can be loads of fun. You can make up your own holidays, issue official pronouncements, have an excuse to wear silly hats, make your friends compete for ambassadorships through drinking contests, appoint your dog first minister of barking, all sorts of stuff. Your micronation can be as silly, and as fun, as you want it to be.
- Art– There is a lot of art, and opportunities for artistic creation, in a country. Flags, great seals, postage, uniforms, someone has to design that for ‘established’ countries, so why not take the plunge creativiely and design that stuff for your own country. Don’t worry about competing with some imagined standard of other countries. One of the great things about creating your own micronation is establishing your own aesthetic. And don’t feel constrained to the traditions and sensibilities of those established countries, either. It’s your country- use it how you want. Write laws in haiku. Make your constitution a sonnet. Maybe the great seal is a collage, and the flag glitch art. Go wild.
- Merchandising– After you’ve gone wild, slap it on a t-shirt. Micronations can be interesting merchandising and commercial opportunities. Besides the obvious (flags on t-shirts, great seals on trucker hats, etc.), another neat thing to look into is titles. If your micronation has some sort of royal or aristocratic flavor, you could sell noble titles and ranks to people (or at least, sell pieces of paper suitable for framing.) On top of all that, sufficiently ambitious micronations might sell actual services to customers and clients. Oganizations like Bitnation are set up to help you do just that.
- Philosophical- Very few people are what might be called well-adjusted with the world. This can be considered a good thing- ‘It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.‘ But that doesn’t change the fact that sometimes the world, society, the normal way of doing things, just doesn’t make sense. For those times, having your own country, where things do make sense, might be a good release. Many micronations have been started for the purpose of symbolically saying, “Okay, you can keep the crazy out there. This place is for sane stuff.”
- Learning– Political science can be a fascinating subject. Especially DIY political science. Going through the process of creating your own is a great way to learn about monarchies, parliments, federal republics, and all the other systems of governments out there (it’s also good for learning how many different types are out there. It’s crazy.) When done with a group, it’s also a great way to learn the in and outs, advantages and disadvantages, behind lots of governmental policies and procedures. This is the basis for ‘Model UNs’ and the like in schools.
- Obsolescence– History doesn’t end. People like to think it does, or will, but it doesn’t. Things change. Among those things that change are governments, and our concepts of government. The modern notion of the nation-state didn’t really come about until the Treaty of Westphalia of 1648. the modern notion of Democracy hasn’t only came on the scene a couple of centuries ago for most of the world, and the Democracy we have in America today is radically different from our original kind. All of this is to say that our notion of what a country is, what a ‘legitimate’ country is, and what they do, can change radically, practically overnight. Maybe you have a better system. Maybe you have the better governmental mousetrap, maybe not. What is certain is that the present system won’t last forever. IT will change, and sooner than we think. So….what comes next?
- Companionship– Micronations can be a solitary exercise. You can definitely create an Empire of One if you want to. The thing is, you don’t have to. All the reasons given here can be enhanced by making it a group effort.
- Survival– People are terrorized, oppressed, and expoited around the world every day. Often this is because a government is indifferent to their plight, or is actively hostile towards them. When this happens groups of people often band together to form their own unoffical governments to provide the services that the established government can’t or won’t. These can range from anything to a judiciary, a self-defense force, or a medical services.
- Attention to cause– Cause advocacy often involves getting as much attention for your cause as you can. Declaring your own nation in support of the cause, whether it be economic, political, or environmental, can be an innovative and effective way of getting that attention. The serinousness and symbolism of your new country can be as much as you like and as is needed for the cause in question.
- Resistance– Sometimes, the wrong people get into power. Forming a new country or government in response to those wrong people is a tried and true tactic of politics. This might be a government in exile outside of the established country in question, or a ‘shadow government’ within. Unless you are planning armed opposition (a messy prospect I would not usually recommend) These micronation can still act as an organized and constant critique and dissent against the established country.