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Dec 31, 2023Liked by Keith Woods

This could also be highly useful for reinvigorating religion as large states tend to despise it as a challenge to their authority, but smaller states would be more likely to see it as something to unite around in a healthy way.

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Somebody had too much fun on New Years eve

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Dec 31, 2023Liked by Keith Woods

Good post; thank you. I often wonder whether the advance of technology has made it impossible to live in human-sized communities, or whether that is a fear propagated by the technocrats.

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Dec 31, 2023Liked by Keith Woods

Reminds me of a passage from Thorstein Veblen I ran into a long time ago:

“Looking back through the perspective given by the late-pagan culture of the Scandinavian countries, then, a reconstruction of the prehistoric state of society on the Baltic seaboard may be attempted, in rough outline and in a provisional way, as seen against the background afforded by the archaeological material of this region. The purpose of such a tentative delineation is to present, as near as may be, the scheme of life and the state of the industrial arts to which the north-European peoples of today are, by hereditary temperament and capacity, presumably best suited; to which, in other words, they are adapted by birth, and into which they would fall, if circumstances permitted, as their “state of nature”; and from which they have been diverted only by force of habituation under pressure of a later state of the industrial arts that requires a different manner of life, essentially alien to the north-European blond-hybrid population. In the civil organisation all power vests finally in the popular assembly, made up, in effect, though not by strict formal specification, of the freehold farmers j including under that designation the able-bodied male citizens of substantial standing, but not formally excluding any part of the free population, and perhaps not even with absolute rigor excluding all women. This deliberative assembly exercised the powers, such as were exercised, of legislation, executive (extremely slight), and judiciary.

There is little, if any, police power, though there are established conventions of police regulations; and there is no conception of the “King’s peace,” outside the king’s farmyard; nor is there any conception of a “public peace” to be enforced by public authority of any kind, outside the precincts of the popular assembly. What stands out all over this civil fabric is the evidence of its resting on the assumption of neighborhood autonomy, and that within the self-sufficient neighborhood the individual is depended on wholly to take care of his own interest, with the backing of his kin and within such loose limits of tolerance as may be implied in the eventual formation of a vigilance committee in case any individual or group should develop into an insufferable public nuisance. This civil system might be described as anarchy qualified by the common sense of a deliberative assembly that exercises no coercive control; or it might, if one’s bias leads that way, be called a democratic government, the executive power of which is in abeyance. All of which does not imply, in any degree, the absence of a legal system, of a conception of legality, or of specific, and even minute, provisions of law covering all conjunctures likely to arise in such a society.

While such a quasi-anarchistic scheme of social control resting on insubordination can be installed only on the basis of a natural propensity in its favor — an ethical or aesthetic sense of its equity — its practicability is conditioned by certain mechanical circumstances. The scheme depends on personal contact within the group, and the group over which its rule will extend must be limited by the bounds of such personal and informal contact. It is in the nature of things a neighborhood organisation, and is not applicable beyond the effectual reach of neighborhood relations. It is practicable, therefore, only so long and so far as the necessary industrial relations do not overpass the possibilities of such neighborly contact; and with any appreciable advance in the state of the industrial arts, such as will unduly increase the scale of industrial operations or of the consequent economic relations, the anarchistic scheme of society grows increasingly precarious.”

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Dec 31, 2023Liked by Keith Woods

Another thinker along these lines is a British Economist named E.F. Schumacher. He wrote a book back in the 70’s called “Small is Beautiful” with some interesting if not out-there ideas. I remember reading about him, Sale & Kohr in Robertson’s “The Ethnostate”.

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The opening of China’s “Romance of the 3 Kingdoms “

“ The empire, long divided, must unite; long united, must divide. Thus it has ever been”

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Living in the comfortable West....with the power on and the hospital close by...it's easy to indulge oneself with post-apocalyptic dreams of The Simple Life...small scale, self-reliant...'agency' recovered etc. But indulgent or not I DO sometimes fantasize about this (and suspect many others do). The big bring-you-back-to-earth is where you've set up your nice little romantic-frugal life with your family around you....and then the roving gangsters come through... spot you and kill the lot of you. https://grahamcunningham.substack.com/p/are-we-making-progress

A very interesting essay...thank you.

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For most of our evolutionary history the collective part of our psyche was being shaped towards operating within small bands. Such collective devises as “countries,” “nations,” even the larger tribal bands, even roaming hordes, have developed only in the last ten thousand years or so. In the previous 200 or 300 thousand years, or a million (depending on our current simian origin theory), humans lived and evolved in bands made up of a few hundred members, tops. That’s 95-plus percent of our evolutionary time.

Evolutionary anthropologist Robin Dunbar of Oxford developed a credible theory linking the neocortex of the brain to group behavior. His point: the volume and structure of that “new bark” responsible for the higher functions such as language, conscious thought, spatial reasoning, was set around a quarter million years ago and evolutionarily is quite specifically limited. It can operate efficiently within a network of about 150 active personal connections. Hence the so-called “Dunbar’s number.”

In a similar mode, many contemporary sects typically organize themselves into local churches of 20-40 believers, which then gather monthly in the “fellowship” meetings of about 100-150, and annually in a convention of up to several thousand. Of these, the monthly meeting of 100-200 faithful appears to be the liveliest, the most satisfying community wise. From experience I speak. Besides, when the Christian faith was strongest in Europe, it was anchored in hundreds of thousands of rural and small-town communities of similar parishioner capacity.

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I don’t know if Khor considered it but most small states of Germany, Lombard Italy, and Greece were largely mountainous. It made defense easier with small army. But for large and flat lands that are ideal for massive invasions like the Huns or Mongols, you need a large army to act as a sea or mountain to stop them. So, some like Russia MUST be large if only to prevent more invasions.

Another weakness is raw resources. Swiss is rich but it lacks the same resources that Russia and old America have to be self-sufficient. If you can’t, then your banks will become hostage to the SWIFT system.

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Great essay. Format is more significant than 'ideology' which in most cases is an appropriation of format. For example - Marxism was and remains an ideology that responds to the disposessd urban masses and their perceived needs. Conversley, National Socialist stressed the family farm and the small city of 200,000 as the ideal format. The way physical space and populations are mediated is fundamental to thinking. Consider Heidegger's 'Building, Dwelling, Thinking' for further consideration.

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Really good article, Kohrs Europe of small states reminds me of the “Europe of regions” and the “Europe of 100 flags” promoted by the European New Right. They both seem to be inspired by the principle of subsidiarity found in the political philosophy of Johannes Althusius and the distributists, which allows for decisions to be made at the lowest possible level, thus dissolving the need for the bureaucracies of mass democracy and giving more control to the people over decisions that effect them directly. I think the ENR are more realist for of geo-strategic reasons as a unified Europe is more likely to stand strong against outside threats than a Europe that is purely small states.

On a side note, another relevant point Guillaume Faye makes for an United Europe of Regions is that alien peoples can call themselves British, German, Belgian, etc. But it’s far more difficult for them to call themselves a Breton or Cornish or Flemish etc, neither can they identify as European because everyone will instinctively understand that they are not. He makes the point that these are more authentic identities than the current nation-states.

Cheers Keith.

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This is actually something the American Founders considered greatly. Drawing a lot of their ideas from Montesquieu. Historically Republics have been small due to reasons listed above. Their idea was to compartmentalize. To create Republics within a Republic. I think this is the solution whether the nation is a Constitutional Republic, The German Empire, or a Monarchy. The threat of war necessitates size as an advantage to be kept. But compartmentalization of the military and the focus on local regions can mitigate this. The American Republic and the German Empire both had their armies divided by states. Keeping your people armed, like said two countries, is another check to military power.

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This is actually something the American Founders considered greatly. Drawing a lot of their ideas from Montesquieu. Historically Republics have been small due to reasons listed above. Their idea was to compartmentalize. To create Republics within a Republic. I think this is the solution whether the nation is a Constitutional Republic, The German Empire, or a Monarchy. The threat of war necessitates size as an advantage to be kept. But compartmentalization of the military and the focus on local regions can mitigate this. The American Republic and the German Empire both had their armies divided by states. Keeping your people armed, like said two countries, is another check to military power.

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Local control is THE antidote to managerialism and domination by a small tribal group. But how to get there, and how to prevent being gobbled up by the next would be Stalin or FDR...

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Great article. I completely agree and think that today’s society is just too big and impersonal, which may be why we are seeing so many people pop up as mentally ill.

I am interested in hearing your thoughts on a common retort that people have given whenever I talk to them about localist ideas. They often say that “economies of scale” show that we should always be having a bigger and bigger economy and society, and that sizing it down would damage society. What are your thoughts on this?

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Happy New Year Nick, this excellent essay in combination with the previous one is absolute fire!

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