November 14, 2004

Call me a closet cartographer (but call me)

I have always enjoyed seeing maps change: countries appear, merge, split up, change boundaries or simply vanish off the earth.
Historical maps are always great fun to look at. I come, after all, from the land that gave you Mercator.
The fun with maps will continue endlessly into the future, and one of the latest is of course the blue/red state division of the USA. I think the world would be better off if there were more than one United States (or whatever they would call their de-amalgamated bits: Jesusland, The Neo-Confederacy, We-Won-Now-Shut-Up-Land, Cascadia, Heaven/Hell's Waiting Room - my personal favourite - the United Cities of America), just like the world got better when the Soviet Union split up into more manageable areas, some of which even got to join EU civilisation. Admittedly Russia still has some carving up to do, but you get my drift.

My geographer's thesis would be: A small country is a better country, because since when was the last time you heard a small country - say Costa Rica, or Luxembourg, or Gambia, or New Zealand - make a nuisance of itself internationally (Israel doesn't rate because it counts completely on the USA, so it's really a big country in small vulnerable state drag).
Germany only really became a pain in the arse when after it was unified in the 19th Century. It was so much more fun when it had all those fairy-tale principalities rather than those dour Prussians taking over the lot. The same with Italy and France and Spain and Britain (and China). No, we could do with some proper decentralisation, a historic move away from empires and oversized states too big for their boots and too lethal for their neighbours.
But if you thought this was some neo-anarchist whining, now even some Jesusland people are getting in on the act. World o'crap linked a creamy wingnut column on the subject of expelling 12 blue states from the current Union. Remember, he wants to keep some blue states such as Hawaii, Oregon and Washington. Didn't he know that the largest US defence contractor, Boeing, has moved to Illinois from Washington State, why would he want to keep it? I call on all upstanding Seattleites and Waikiki surfbums to revolt!
But hey, the overall idea might get legs. As in the words of that famous 20th Century philosopher, Brian Ferry:
Nothing lasts forever
If you want to see a country fissuring live, here are the two sides: the sad and the scary.

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