Simple observation shows some being occupying some space on some land on some planet. These are all physically real. If the being is a man and the space is then labeled a country on planet Earth, what transpires that requires the man to acknowledge the label, an abstract concept, and all that it entails, such as the authorities of those who have declared the label, its boundaries, and so on? I don't think it is any mix of any particular ideology, politics, ethics, philosophy, or morality that behooves the individual to acknowledge the country. I think it is the physical power to enforce the mix of ideology, politics, ethics, philosophy, or morality that defines a country that requires the individual to acknowledge it.

In other words, is a country's existence defined by the degree of violence its definers can summon to impose upon a denier of the existence of their country concept, and in the absence of sufficient violence, the individual can resume recognizing only the physical realities of being some being occupying some space on some land on some planet?

For tangible reference, if indigenous native Americans or Australians had possessed superior weapons, could Europeans have established the U.S.A, Canada, and Australia with inferior weapons presenting only some mix of ideology, politics, ethics, philosophy, or morality to persuade the indigenous people to submit to the declaration of a country?

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    Your questions are very hypothetical and more about political philosophy than hard facts. I don't know that these are a good fit for SE. – user1530 Apr 10 '15 at 14:52
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    Yes, in theory you can establish a country by persuading people to recognize you as a new country. If Scotland had voted for independence, its independence wouldn't be based on military force, but on the ideological principle that the people there have the right to self-determination. On an individual level, there are philosophical justifications for using force to enforce the rules of a country, and for not letting people declare independence. If someone's persuaded by "the majority doesn't want this," then a philosophical reason convinced them to do something they didn't want. – cpast Apr 10 '15 at 15:05
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    I agree with DA, it sounds like you'd be better off reading a book or something. – PointlessSpike Apr 10 '15 at 15:41
  • @Guessed this is a very interesting philosophical discussion topic. I just don't think it fits StackExchange. My two cents. – user1530 Apr 10 '15 at 16:23
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    @DA I hear you. Quora would be a better venue. – Guessed Apr 10 '15 at 18:24

What do you define as a "country"? You could say that it's an organisation that has control over a particular area of land. Generally they're created out of a smaller group of organisations that band together (or are conquered). At some point things get stable enough that we recognise that they're not going away and that it's worth drawing them on the map. Levels of interaction between countries depend on how much interest there is in interacting with them. Countries far apart might not recognise each other, not because of hostility but because they just don't interact.

It's really just a matter of convenience, I think. They call themselves X, so let's call them X because we don't know what else to call them but we have to call them something because we trade with them. We have no problem with the borders they've drawn, so let's put them on our maps. Violence or the threat of it isn't necessary.

That's how countries deal with it. Individuals are a different matter, and the situation is a little more variable based on the individual in question. For example, if an individual supports the government, they might willingly donate their services or resources to it's upkeep. If they don't support the government, it's up to the government to respond to that as they choose. Policies are created based on the beliefs of the relevant decision makers. However, in all there are basic rules (laws) that are enforced. In that case, yes, it's a matter of force.

I suppose that, yes, it is always a matter of force to keep individuals in line. But it's less a matter of recognising a country as it is abiding by it's laws. You could, by pure coincidence, have a personal code that happened to coincide with that country's (actually, I consider myself to be in that position). This applies both in terms of basic moral violations such as murder as well as questionable impositions forced on you such as wearing a particular piece of clothing. They don't care whether you recognise it as an entity so much (unless the law requires that).

Of course, there are social pressures and things that come first, but violence and the threat of it will always be necessary when dealing with individuals, because individuals are highly variable and some of that variance will result in illegal behaviour. All we can ever do is try to make it as uncommon as possible by making them believe in those laws and principles.

  • But violence is necessary if I choose to do something within a declared country jurisdiction, such as not give any money to its operators. – Guessed Apr 10 '15 at 13:27
  • Oh, sorry, I missed that it's specific to individuals. I'll edit. – PointlessSpike Apr 10 '15 at 13:45
  • Edited to include stuff pertaining to individuals. – PointlessSpike Apr 10 '15 at 14:09
  • With regards to your example, that would be very difficult. If they were inclined to think it was a good idea, why wouldn't they have already done it? – PointlessSpike Apr 10 '15 at 14:14
  • That's what I'm wondering. It seems "country" is a concept imposed by violence, not negotiated intellectually and consensually. – Guessed Apr 10 '15 at 14:16

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