Geographical borders are not sacred

It’s not a new concept – Gerrymandering was invented by a cartoonist in 1812, when a Massachusetts governor drew state senate districts that practically guaranteed election of his supporters.

When anyone in the U.S. suggests changing a border – of a city, a county, even – gasp! – a state, there is a chorus of opposition from both left and right. They both fear loss of power.

I’m not talking about Congressional borders, which have no meaning at all except for the purpose of defining the territory that a Congressional representative can get his/her votes from.

The same is true for state represenation as well.  State legislatures change those borders every ten years to reflect changes in population reflected in the US Census. Each Rep. is supposed to have roughly the same number of people in his/her district as all the other reps in his/her state.

Not to say there’s not a lot of fighting over exactly where the lines should go, but that everyone accepts that the lines must change.

But say, for instance, some people in a state want to break away and have a state of their own. This happened in the 1930s when citizens from Northern California and Southern Oregon proposed formation of the State of Jefferson. They argued that the cultures in that region were closer to each other than they were to the areas to the south and north of them.

It might even have happened, but WW II came along and everyone got busy talking about the war effort and all of its manifestations.

The South’s desire in the 1850s and 1860s to break away from the other states was forcefully discouraged in the bloodiest conflict our country has ever seen. The South still has remnants of the devastation, both physical and psychological.

Lincoln is supposed to have been willing to sacrifice everything, including abolition of slavery, to “preserve the Union.” Why the almost religious fervor supporting that idea? I don’t know, but I think he was wrong.

We have no problem with Canada, except a few little disagreements over government timber policy. No problem with Mexico except a few problems with immigration policy and maybe petroleum.

Yet, in Europe borders have been changing for centuries, even up to the present time. Consider the former Czechoslovakia – now the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The people in Prague are sad that half  of their country is now gone and they miss the people they affectionately call their “brothers and sisters.”

The breakup of Yugoslavia wasn’t so peaceful, but the fighting has been ideological, and no one is bleating about the sacredness of the Yugoslav borders.

Switzerland has had cantonal border changes many times over the centuries and today many small communities are voting to “fuse” with one another in an effort to save money. We’re not at all sure this will work, having seen what has happened with the “fusing” or as we say, the merging of various school districts for the same stated purpose. But we shall see. The Swiss are different.

Finally, most the the former Soviet “Union” broke apart so rapidly hardly anyone outside of those borders even noticed it. Of course, Socialists believe that less is better, as IFO has explained in many past posts. The Russians probably thought their economic problems would go away if they lost the Western portion of their empire.

And now that those countries are booming, Putin wants them back. He’s just being smart about it. Famed as chess players, Russians are willing to bide their time and set up the pieces on the board before they strike.

Anyway, if people want to secede, or merge, I say, let them!


About InvestingforOne

I've been investing in various assets by myself using a discount broker for many years. Over that time, I've developed some theories that others might find useful. Plus, there is more to investing than money. Time, talent, work, friends, family all go into developing a good and satisfactory strategy.
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