War with Canada!

The notion that gain of territory is gain of wealth and strength for the state, after the expedient size has been won, is a delusion. In the Middle Ages the beneficial interest in land and the jurisdiction over the people who lived on it were united in one person. The modern great states, upon their formation, took to themselves the jurisdiction, and the beneficial interest turned into full property in land. The confusion of the two often reappears now, and it is one of the most fruitful causes of fallacy in public questions.

via The Fallacy of Territorial Extension – William Graham Sumner – Mises Institute .

War with Canada isn’t much on people’s minds these days, but it was in 1896. Other hot topics of the day included possible annexation of Hawaii, the Cuba problem, and the pending split of Norway from Sweden. In those exciting times, Mr. Sumner wrote a great essay about the problems with territorial expansion (in particular) and what we today call “nation building”. Not all good thinking is recent, and this is well worth a read.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: