Why People "Micronate" -- Trying to Understand Micronations (and Beyond)
Updated: Jun 18
One of my less-known interests is obscure nations, also known as those that are not very well known. Micronesia, Tonga, and Brunei are examples of nations that remain in the shadows of most of the world's population. During the previous decade, I learned that there are nations that are even more obscure: micronations, also known as alleged countries that don't actually exist, whether or not their rulers have declared independence from their original countries like any other actual country.
Not many people may know, but there are more micronations in the world than any of us are aware of. In this article, I would like to suggest an idea about the motive of these micronations' existence: that in an attempt to solve a problem with external bodies, some people may turn to "creating" their own countries. In other words, for some, there is a need to "micronate." I'd like to argue that the need in question is mainly sociological in nature, but not only. Will elaborate further.
Some political entities may even regard themselves as fully-fledged countries. AKA, countries who take their role seriously and treat it like professional work. I will give an example later into this article.
Many micronations across the world are more than just jokes or parodies, such as the Republic of Molossia; some of them were created out of ideological or legal reasons, in an attempt to creatively fix problems against far stronger opponents.
The Glacier Republic, for example, was a fictional entity created in an advertising campaign to describe the damage caused by mining corporations in Chile to glaciers. Akhziv (a micronation in Israel) was created in an attempt to prevent eviction (an attempt which was successful and the place became a tourist location), and finally, the Coral Sea Islands was a gay and lesbian monarchy created to represent the LGBTQ community and provide a safe haven for them (which was dissolved in recent years after Australia allowed same-sex marriages).
Whatever the case may be, it seems that the existence of many micronations (aside from some) is an attempt to help those who create them fight back, whether in the form of protest or in any other form, against issues that were not satisfactorily solved by actual countries. Perhaps if said issues were solved by them, people would not define certain territories, small as they are, as "sovereign countries," regardless of whether it is done illegally or not (such as the Hutt River Province, which dissolved due to taxation disputes, contrary to Freetown Christiania, which coexists with Denmark, the country it is in).
While some attempts at "micronating" are either illegal or a fraud, others are at least minimally recognized by "mainlands," AKA the original countries they "succeeded" from, by not being completely eradicated from the ground up by the authorities, and thus are left in peace, despite being no match against them. It is important to note that one of the essential requirements for a micronation to be considered such is that it is rarely, if not completely, not recognized by any de facto organization in the international community.
Literally anyone can start a micronation, whether it has a physical territory or not. You can turn your apartment into a country, or even your own body. This is why many micronations are far from ever being taken seriously by anyone, regardless of your motive behind it. It is that broad and hence many micronations are not the same.
If there's something that's universal to almost all of them, however, is their complete irrelevance on the world stage. Beyond themselves, they don't really hold any political power. That's because such type of power must be recognized by others in order to exist. Likewise, a king that no one takes seriously does not really have much authority, even if he is the official monarch of his kingdom. Those who are leaders but cannot really lead are like interns who have no idea how to do their jobs.
Nowadays it is very difficult to be treated with general seriousness, when you seperate yourself from your original country. People may deem your new nation as either a delusion or an escapist fantasy. I won't be surprised if it will change.
Why? Because people who worked hard and contributed to others, who gave more than what they took, deserve relevance. For hard, genuine work towards something that's good, deserves appreciation, or at least recognition. But it is still something that needs to be achieved, this estimation.
(You can see this enterprise as a form of "micronation," even though I wouldn't define it as such due to stereotypic thought. It is a sovereign territory where I rule, a "virtual dictatorship/autocracy" like the many ones I mentioned in an earlier article. In that sense of the word, there are a lot of them nowadays. And it is far more acceptable to be an admin of a Facebook community than an Emperor of a self-recognized community.)
Despite the extreme eccentricity of micronations, people still choose to create them. Some do it for artistic reasons, others to promote an ideology or an agenda, or to protest. The options vary, but all has to do with creation. With coming up with an idea, and trying to put it in practice. The extant does not matter in this case.
Regardless of the reason, it seems that humans still have the desire to define themselves and their identities to the world. A micronation is one way to do this, by creating a framework of a country, with flags and sometimes coat of arms. In that sense it's like creating any other organization that is genuine.
Why? Because your ambitions may matter to you more than what others may think. Their every whim does not have to bother you as long as you aren't doing anything harmful or illegal.
You may even go even further beyond the limits of your average one-apartment "nation," and actually work on developing a community of your own, under your own self-defined national identity. The Empire of Stomaria is an example of this, where its emperor does things very seriously, and does not regard this a mere hobby. Community-building deserves its worth in a world filled with alienation.
You may laugh at him for his attire and old-fashioned speech, but there isn't exactly anything wrong with it. Is there? I might not like absolute rulers but it's not like all of them commit atrocities. If no harm is made, and citizens are allowed to leave the nation, then what is exactly wrong in building an empire that is based on the voluntary cooperation of its members? They even promote social responsibility.
So, when we compromise our esoteric needs in favor of conformity, we may forget some key aspects:
1. Life is too short to bother worrying so much about the external reception of you and your actions.
2. Those who judge you might not even really care about you as a human being. That can include society as a whole.
3. Some people are eccentric by nature, and may resume being as such.
4. Regarding point 2, many people seem to have forgotten how to be humane themselves.
Normalization turns toxicity and disgrace into something that's okay, towards those who do not deserve it.
And who does not deserve it? Those who merely do the things they like and feel are meaningful to them.
Just like building, you know, human communities that are not para-social in nature. Communities where people care for each other. Since collective identity is important to many, it is only natural that some people would seek to become part of such communities, and that includes micronations.
And who knows? Maybe some of these micronations will become recognized internationally.
I already know myself that I do not need any degree in order to be recognized for my work. What I think deserves to matter is, well, the work itself. Especially when it is not treated like a hobby. Philosophizing used to be my hobby, but now it's my job. Do you recognize the logic between these fields? If I submitted to those who mocked me ruthlessly for my earlier craft, I wouldn't have gone anywhere. Being a philosopher is usually not a job. In my case, it is. I made it so.
So yes, build your empire, whatever it may be. You deserve doing it, because if you can work towards your accomplishments, why compromise so easily? Remember: The world is not your friend. Don't put random people in such a high regard. Humans are political creatures. It means that power and importance are fluid concepts.
And it also means that things do not have to be the way they are right now. Because today you might be an average office drone like I was. Should you work enough for your vision, your eccentricity can also contribute to others, and not just to your taxes.
Good luck, and remember this: A changeable reality deserves to be questioned. I'm not telling you to "not give up." I'm telling you to not do it so effortlessly.