Who Threatens Our Identity?

PRAGUE: Identity and sovereignty are often discussed nowadays. But what do they actually mean? Both probably consist of feelings that a community can only be its true self when it can be so without hindrance – in essence, when a community can decide its own fate.

Today’s talk about identity and sovereignty is often rather gloomy. Both are allegedly endangered: by an EU that wishes to assimilate “us” as much as possible; by the European Commission with its standards; by NATO, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank; by the United Nations; by foreign capital; by Western ideologies; by Eastern mafias; by American influence; by Asian or African immigration; and by God knows what else.

Some of these concerns may contain a rational core. Yet they all derive from a traditional misconception – the belief that upholding character, identity or sovereignty is not principally the task of a community or a people but is something left in the control of others; that is, left to those who would attempt to deprive “us” of our identity, or at least to weaken it. I do not think, however, that the world’s main concern is to find ways to rob people of their identity and sovereignty. Respect for any nation’s unique character; the manner of its development; and, the degree to which a community decides its fate, is determined primarily by those living within it.

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