A lot of political stuff going on right now, and some important tragedies (2000 dead in a landslide in Afghanistan, over 200 dead in a mine in Turkey, over 200 young dead in a ferry crash in Korea, over 200 unaccounted for in a Malaysian airplane disappearance, over 200 kidnapped and missing in Nigeria, over 200 protesters given the death sentence in Egypt). As the Ukrainians struggle to stay together, and Donetsk struggles for identity, the main feeling that I have is that:
1) one man’s natural state may not be another man’s natural state. Some of this may be due to socialization and parenting, the rest is just diversity.
2) in order for happiness to be achieved on an individual level, it is probably important for people to be close to what feels natural for them.
3) respect for the happiness of one another may be the most important factor in achieving a peaceful coexistence.
4) force is probably not compatible with happiness.
5) smaller levels of organization promote more freedom to explore environments that correspond to one’s natural state.
6) as individuals become more powerful, so too must their governments, otherwise they will not remain in power. There is therefore a legitimate interest in controlling the amount of power that individuals, or more specifically, any individual can have.
7) Large powerful governments, while perhaps temporarily needed to maintain peace, are probably not compatible with individuals achieving their natural state of happiness. One is concerned that an individual’s natural state of happiness might involve the exploitation of others, and therefore that the larger and more powerful the government, the more easily this can happen.
8) It is therefore a legitimate global interest to control the size of states. In such an analysis, I would defend the right of the Donetskians to argue for their own state, but I would not defend their right to empower Russia (or NATO) by joining a larger state. The self-determination that I would support in their context would be perhaps more analogous to Switzerland. A neutral zone where peace talks could be held.
9) With the kidnapping of the young Nigerian girls, I think that Boko Haram should respect the happiness and will of the girls. It should not presume to act as an agent on their behalf when the girls have their own abilities to articulate both will and happiness. That said, I also see merit in their request for prisoner release – particularly if these are prisoners of conscience. If injury has been made by the prisoners, then the prisoners should make restitution within reason to those parties injured. Keep it small. Keep it simple.