Should separatism be illegal? | Thought Bites #19

This topic is an interesting one for many reasons, because depending on a country’s notion and people’s opinion it can be instinctually legal or illegal. Before moving further into its discussion it is important to understand that a popular opinion does not mean that it’s right. To really think about it, all those who think that slavery is bad, and so is Nazism, if those people lived in Nazi Germany, it’s not an overstatement to say that they themselves would be Nazi’s, and if they lived before 1865 (when US abolished slavery), they’d most probably enjoy the service of the slaves, you’d have to get used to be called a separatist if you really wanted that not to happen. The reason for that is because the underlaying notion is of evolution of ideas, subjective morality, whose scale of legalities depends entirely on the ideals of that region. For example, if the idea of a nation is based on separate states; and how that is the “rule of the land”, then the idea of a nation with united states is separatism. It all depends on where you look at it from, but as I’ve said before there still is one right and one wrong.

To get to a conclusion about separatism, we first need to look at some good and some bad examples of separatism in history. After WWI, when Germany lost, Hitler took the defeat personally, and rose with the feeling of vengeance and the creation of the supreme race, his ideas were one of separatism, it gained enough popularity, that even the “innocent” children went around hunting for Jews, because the threshold of innocence rose to barbarism.

Jewish woman chased by men and youth armed with clubs during the Lviv pogroms, 1941
Image source: rarehistoricalphotos.com

Even the idea of innocence and guilt depend on the nation itself. So it doesn’t matter if “even children participate(ed)” in the rallies or whatever, of the separatist ideology, if it’s wrong, its wrong, children are merely following the adults. Now a famous example of rightful separatist ideology is of the India, Ghandhi. He probably is the most respected separatist in the world, called by Indians and most of the world – just as Indians call Bhagat Singh – freedom fighter. So it gives us a few things to note, first that if separatism is good or bad, it depends on the situation a.k.a the “rule of the land.” Second, if those legalities governing the land in which the separatist ideas came along are right or wrong. For example, Rowlatt Act, it was legal, but definitely not right. Third, standing on the ground of the opposite side of the separatist thinking doesn’t give the right to judge either, because the measurement scale itself is made to call flaw on anything opposing it, be it right or wrong.

British football team giving the Nazi salute, 1938.
Image source: timeline.com

Although British and France declared war against Hitler later on when Nazi Germany invaded Poland, but British did subscribe to the ideology of Hitler. Now I don’t know what PM Neville Chamberlain was thinking when he ordered the Nazi salute as a diplomatic gesture to Hitler, even after Hitler had just passed Nuremberg race laws, but the PM sure made a mistake. The reason it is important is because Hitler’s idea was one completely defying any moral ground and he still got the gesture by the then British Empire. As a German in Nazi Germany, you would’ve subscribed to the same idea, standing against Hitler was separatism, being outside Germany and then standing against was praised as rightful. It is a simple war of words. When a population inside a region supports an idea massively (and mostly) standing against it is separatism, regardless if its right or wrong. Even opposing political parties can be put into the category of separatism, one that you support perhaps.

Now concluding the question on separatism, given the history of India, Nazi Germany and many more countries in the world, the word “separatist” is one of the best tools of identity politics, through mainstream media, it has been led to assume that separatism is right up there with being a traitor, which if the nation is fascist one must be glad being called a separatist, because they’re on the right. Although there exist a huge variance in how the term is defined, the allowance of debate of ideas if equated with separatism, which it mostly is, is a down right oppressive ground of governing, if an idea is so “anti-whatever“, the speaker should still be allowed to speak, because if wrong will manifest its flaws in open air and be done with. If the ground opposite to the separatist ideals is fearful of having no answer, well then you know who really has the answer. Now who decides what is fascist, right, wrong, moral and immoral, there needs to be a discussion, with no terms defining a human based on presumptions of notions of one’s own biases. For that to happen, the sick game of identity politics must be thrown out, till then enjoy your opinion till you’re the separatist.

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