The Death of the Nation State

It all seemed so garish and stupid.

We were talking about Chloe’s murder again.

“It takes a combination of things to make a murder”, Henry said.

“She was intensely jealous. He was a selfish opportunist. She wound them all up, convinced them it would work. The planning became a kind of adventure.

Besides they were from a different tribe. Sympathy from another tribe is not natural. Small children or infants get it sometimes, but innocents are slaughtered every day somewhere. You should know.”

That’s what Henry McCulloch said, sitting at our kitchen table. We are spending more time with Henry. He emails me, sends me links to articles he likes. Today I invited him over for tea. He walked over with his black retriever called Maynard, who sits patiently at our door, waiting for him. (Maureen always makes it very clear she won’t have dogs in her house.)

“You may have learned a lot about struggles for power and the horrors they bring in their wake. But never forget the small furies that drive little people.”

Maureen had been looking at comments on the story in the newspaper’s website. She read out something a young woman had written:

“Reading this has made me cry so I can only imagine how her family must feel. To me this is proof that evil really does exist. The betrayal of the trust of this decent, loyal & loving young woman is heartbreaking. Did this monster ever have any real loving feelings for her or was it all a lie from the very beginning? At least he will have many years in prison to reflect on his wickedness. Knowing that people like him really exist has shattered my own ability to trust.”

“The death of trust,” said Henry. “The nation state absorbs the tribe, but only where people believe the nation story, trust its reality. Otherwise it disintegrates into tribes again.

Great convulsions took us from tribe to nation state. Another convulsion is taking place now. We say nations do not matter any more because we are one species, brothers and sisters and cousins. Not true sadly.

Our nation state is falling apart. It may be on the leading edge of a trend. But it is a wrenching change.”

“Are you opposed to immigration then?” asked Maureen.

“Not at all,” said Henry. “But a country needs a robust identity, both open and confident….”

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