A couple weeks ago at Larison’s, commenter Heptaster wrote “The world would be better off without German unification. Better yet, Germany ought to have been the nation that was broken up in the 1990s. The Germany of many small principalities, after all, contributed something of genuine value to human culture”. Not something you’ll hear a lot of people say, but it actually makes sense to me. A couple days ago I was looking up Paul Berman, and went from there to the Anti-Germans article (I always laugh at the idea of country X having a political movement movement explicitly calling itself anti-X). I disagree with lots of their positions, but their opposition to German unification puts us in unusual agreement. East Germany seems poorly integrated (on the plus side, will probably serve as a lesson to South Korea), and unified Germany is a driving force (along with France) behind the damnable European Union. Germany managed a customs union without political unity (which Goethe preferred), and while we think unified Germany natural today Stirner found the idea ridiculous as a union of beehives. Counterfactual history is hard, especially about the past, but it seems that if Germany had never unified the 20th century would have avoided a lot of trouble (not that I’m blaming them for WW1, I just think it wouldn’t have amounted to much without unification). In Italy there is more public sentiment of regret over Garibaldi “dividing Africa”, German’s don’t have the gumption nowadays to push for secession rather than muddling through with unity.
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