The rulers scour the landscape for whom the true believers are following. Having zealots and fanatics on one’s side is a double edge sword, but there’s always postponing the day of reckoning. No one is really ready for Judgement Day, when it comes.
Wittgenstein was more of the “every day is judgement day” school, but you couldn’t say that quiet part out loud a lot. I’ve followed Wittgenstein since first exposure in the 1970s (he died before I was born).
How do we ceremoniously and with gravitas create more autonomy for ourselves, whoever we are? Many ethnicities would enjoy their own nation, or so they tell themselves, or at least one of the tribal kind from which the concept first emerged ( in conjunction with “race” in Social Darwinism).
The “tolerant” nation of many tribes working together is more an adaptation of the Iroquois Federation and Roman Empire memes, with the UK on the template of the latter. Arab empires also allowed for local folk religions and even stole (borrowed, appropriated) the best ideas (likewise the Catholics are known for this).
Many who long for a nation are hearkening back to something tribal, not a federation of any kind. A federation comes across as more abstract, more aloof, and more secular, in the sense of not being programmed exclusively by the locals, of any region where it occurs. That’s often what the independently minded are seeking to escape, just such an aloof and removed government.
When it comes to joining a Federation, topological questions of contiguity enter the picture. The United States counts a smattering of non-state members, such as Puerto Rico and the military base at Guantanamo. What if another far flung island wants to join the federation, not as a state, but as another protectorate? What if the District agrees the new territory would be a welcome addition? What is the process and are those wheels too rusted, in this day and age, to ever turn?
The anthropological question before us is one of invocation and declaration. On the one hand, you have schools telling us the nation state heuristic is inevitably fading, given the only logical dimensions to this puzzle are planetary, whereas on the other you have elaborate mechanisms, steeped in ritual and ceremony, designed to do social engineering, as an official responsibility. What is reinventing itself, and what is breaking down more permanently? This is always the question at the…