Freedom and Liberty in Sandus

“We have two different views on what liberty and freedom means (sic). I agree that Sandus is a beacon of progressivism, which I [heavily] disagree with.
For me, freedom is being left alone by the government. You can express and say whatever you wish no matter what you say or think.
Though Sandus did reform. Its (sic) not the [L]ethlerist communism it once [was]. I concede to that.”

— Bradley of Dullahan,
and the false dichotomy of liberty between Sandus and Wyvern that inspired this article

Sandus is seen throughout the intermicronational community as a bastion of Progressivism and Socialism. And rightly so. Until last year, the Citizens’ Party of Sandus was known as the Citizens’ Communist Party of Sandus; even today, the Party represents workers and advocates for Socialist causes in the State of Sandus. Sandus celebrates a variety of workers’ and Socialist holidays — from 1 May (Labour Day) to 7 November (National Day of Socialism) — and Sandus has its political and economic Socialism enshrined in its Founding Law in Articles 1, 2, and 6-8. Sandus even contains a large range of constitutional rights established by the Founding Law, several of which are considered to be “Socialist Economic Rights” and “Socialist Cultural Rights.”
But is it fair to say that freedom and liberty do not exist in Sandus?

Preamble of the Founding Law of the State of Sandus:

The Sovereign People of this State […] prescribe to their government the same rights the people themselves have prescribed amongst each other. Among these, the right to life and the right to petition the government for the expression of their sovereign will, the People do so provide to this government and to themselves…

If one considers the Preamble on its face, it certainly claims to be the introduction to a document inwhich rights are being ennumerated for citizens of Sandus. Later, in Article 5, those rights are in fact ennumerated. But some may be confused why the basic law of Sandus’s constitution says that the Sovereign People grant “to their government” they have given to eachother. Some might see this as an implicet affirmation of statism, socialism, and a destruction of personal liberties in Sandus: in other words, that Sandum citizens are not able to be “left alone by the government,” in Bradley of Dullahan’s words, because the rights have been given to the government — not to them.

But for this construction to make sense, one would have to modify the clause “the same rights the people themselves have prescribed amongst each other,” therefore implying that the rights have already been granted to the people. Instead of a tacit affirmation of ‘big government,’ it is instead an overt affirmation of the community of Sandum citizens that precedes the Sandum constitution. While some may see this in a modern and postmodern light, where the state exists as an overbearer, the Sandum view is rather different — the State is not so much an overbearer as it is an extension of the political community. In other words, with the simple clause at the end of the last sentence of the first paragraph of the Preamble, Sandum culture affirms age-old political philosophy.

In Aristotle’s Politics, the philosopher does not consider a Platonic perfect constitution — but, instead, with the logical truth of the politeía. In Aristotle’s view, the political community is constructed by nature — through the natural development of the polity. In Aristotle’s opinion, it is best to investigate “thinks in the process of development” from the very beginning, whence the “first coupling together of persons then to which necessity gives rise is that between those who are unable to exist without one another” (Aristot. Pol. 1.1252a-b). For this, Aristotle constructs – through logic – the development of the polity and the basic unit of a city from three basic human relationships in his time: male and female, father and child, and master and slave. These three relationships, Aristotle argues, make up the household, though they are by nature distinct. With them, in the household, the home secures daily needs. From these relationships and with the household having been logically formed, Aristotle continues to logically construct the polis: ἡ δ᾽ ἐκ πλειόνων οἰκιῶν κοινωνία πρώτηχρήσεως ἕνεκεν μὴ ἐφημέρου κώμη (“On the other hand the primary partnership made up of several households for the satisfaction of not mere daily needs is the village.”). Futher, a village, according to Aristotle, is a logical phase in the development of the household — wherefore “some people speak of as ‘fellow-sucklings,’ sons and sons’ sons.” Finally, the logical progression here concludes, at least for our examination, with the πόλις (polis) — translated as the polity, the political community, the state, et cetera. Finally, the construction of the state is complete:

The partnership finally composed of several villages is the city-state; it has at last attained the limit of virtually complete self-sufficiency, and thus, while it comes into existence for the sake of life, it exists for the good life. Hence every city-state exists by nature, inasmuch as the first partnerships so exist; for the city-state is the end of the other partnerships, and nature is an end, since that which each thing is when its growth is completed we speak of as being the nature of each thing, for instance of a man, a horse, a household.

(Aristot. Pol. 1.1252b)

In much the same way, this is the view of the construction of Sandus — in contrast to the modern and postmodern view of the state. In Sandus, this is perhaps even more apparent — since one family, itself a dispersed village of “sons and sons’ sons,” and a collection of other households — ‘villages’ in and of themselves — comprise Sandus. While it is understood the sway and power over Sandus the Sôgmô may have, much like in the modern view of an imposed institution, that comes with a caveat: his office’s power is immensely fragile due to constitutional and micronational reasons. Instead of the constitution of Sandus at the State’s birth in April 2011, when the Sôgmô’s only check on power was the right to petition, the Sandum constitution today is less fragile thanks to the development of national elections for the Sôgmô (since Sept. 2011); the Sanôba and Comrade Representatives, to serve as Counsel to the Sôgmô (2011-2012); the Party as Parliament, with its Party Congresses (2011-2014); the Party as an Advocate and as the Sôgmô’s Counsel, now the Party’s main role (since Nov. 2011); and the development of the direct democratic Council (since Dec. 2014). Instead of viewing the construction of the State as an imposition of one institution over individual Sandum citizens, the constitution of Sandus has developed a particular communitarian flavour.

This leaves Sandum rights and liberties in a less adversarial approach as other micronationalists, such as Bradley of Dullahan, may be accustomed to. While the traditional conservative opponents of Sandus may view the State of Sandus in light of top-down political theory, most Sandum citizens — I feel safe to say — see it in a communitarian view wherein they know the role of the right to self-determination. In micronationalism in general, this right — the right to self-determination — is the penultimate freedom: it guides us as micronationalists to liberate our sense of self and liberates our micronations from mundane modern statist oppression. But, in the meantime, this does not imply that micronations are an extension of that modern/postmodern statist view — that the state is an imposition over, by nature, free individuals. Rather, in the classical view, mankind is a social being and, while some may be oppressed by the authority of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s ‘general will,’ this is not an imposition found in micronations — especially not in Sandus, where three of our nine citizens are leaders of a micronation thanks to Sandus’s citizenship sharing treaties with Überstadt and Kumano. Instead, the more natural micronational view of the micronational polity ought to be communitarianism — the view that societies are formed by a psychological need to belong, the socialisation of a community and culture, the political exercise of the right to self-determination, and other such constructions that imply a natural desire to form interdepent bonds between people that exist contrarily to the view of an imposed and oppressive state institution.

As a result, the view that Sandus endorses a statist and oppressive institution that confines personal freedoms and liberties is rather far-fetched, since the communitarian view does not limit free expression but rather encourages it. Within the communitarian view, two spheres are established: the public and the domestic, for the political community and for the home respectively. Though a community might exist in the public, this communitarian view does not negate the views or beliefs held in the home. It is certainly not the case for this here in Sandus, since Sandum public propaganda encourages individualism, free expression, liberation from oppressive social systems, empowerment of marginalised peoples, the sanctity of the modern household and blended family, the free and unmitigated exercise of religious or cultural beliefs, and the absolute inviolability of the home. To conservative micronationalists like Bradley of Dullahan, it may appear that Sandus’s progressive propaganda undermines personal freedoms when the effect and intention is quite the opposite: it is to encourage personal liberty — and to encourage it absolutely. This absolute encouragement means that, without regard to any discriminable characteristic, all people are entitled to these rights and, for this reason, they are able to be termed “inalienable.” These inalienable rights exist through the corpus of human law, written down by mankind, exercised as rights by individual people, and dreamt of by all people.

Therefore, in conclusion, Sandus does believe in personal freedoms and personal liberties. We believe in them absolutely, and we believe in them to such an extent that they even precede Article 6 – the article that establishes Sandus’s Socialist system – in our Founding Law. This is not a concern about the Sandum view of liberty just because of our national ideology: it is, instead, a concern over the language used. As the view of an oppressive state institution does not exist in our country, thanks to the personal realisation of the extent of the right of self-determination, the remaining institution that can remove the free exercise of rights and liberties is society. This is the view of Sandum progressivism — that society, social interactions, and social relationships restrict liberty. This view does not infringe the rights of citizens. It does not lessen them, confine them, or weaken them: it strengthens liberty and its free exercise. For a micronationalist, the anti-statist view proposed by conservatives such as Mr. of Dullahan is a matter relegated solely to macronations; no comparison ought to be established in the micronational realm, or at least it should not be applied to Sandus. With the creation of a self-created political community, or – as the Sandum epithet goes – a political community “created by our own hands,” liberty’s concern is not so much an oppressive government as it is an oppressive society.

Sandum society encourages the liberation and empowerment of all its citizens.

FourFlags NICOOI
Sandum Socialist propaganda circa July 2013.