Monday, March 17, 2014

Individual Self-Determination vs. Ukrainian or Russian Nationalism, Part I

Richard Ebeling emails:

Dear Bob,

I have a new article on the news and commentary website, "EpicTimes." on "Individual Self-Determination vs. Ukrainian or Russian Nationalism, Part I."

Looking beneath Moscow's military seizure of Crimea, there runs through the conflict the issue of how shall it be determined what country a person shall be a citizen.

The American tradition was founded on the idea of the individual's right to "self-determine" in deciding the country and the government in which he shall live.

But in Europe this has been guided by the different concept of "national" self-determination, a collectivist concept often based on language, ethnicity or a notion of a common culture. 

Group identity and the forcing of the individual to accept and live under the collective "decision" has generated wars and civil unrest in Europe for onwards of two centuries. This is exacerbated by the idea that government must then use its interventionist and regulatory powers to benefit the "preferred" national group over others in a country.

I explain how and why this is part of the tangled knot into which Ukraine, Russia and Crimea are tied.

What would be an "individualist" or classical liberal answer to this dilemma? I will discuss this next week in part II.


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