Anyone interested in an object illustration of the UN Fallacy1 could hardly do better than Vancouver, BC and Seattle, WA. Seattle and Vancouver are so similar in culture, climate, architecture, arts, and culture that it would take a non-trivial familiarity with both to be able to tell them apart. And yet the two cities are bound up into entirely different political compacts which are, in both cases, populated by cities and peoples significantly different than themselves. Or at least much more different than the cities are to each other. Vancouver has far more in common with Seattle than it does with Montreal; Seattle has far more in common with Vancouver than it does with Savannah.

To the fan of competitive governance2, this is a clear indication that the current political compacts that bind the two cities are deeply flawed. Why should people in Seattle be, in part, controlled by people in Savannah, when a political association with Vancouver makes much more economic, cultural, and political sense? If the people of Vancouver and Seattle have more in common and decide that their futures are more strongly entwined than they are with the rest of their current countries, why shouldn’t they be permitted to form a new political compact between them?

And yet, the idea that the people of Vancouver and Seattle should voluntarily band together and throw off their existing national arrangements is seen as radical, insane, or naive. How could it be any crazier than the idea that Vancouver and Montreal should be legally, politically, and economically bound, due simply to an accident of history?


1 The UN Fallacy is the idea that a geographical area is sensibly considered as a whole, just because it is surrounded by a recognized national border, and that peoples and places so defined can be sensibly and trivially compared to one another.

2 We really ought to come up with a catchy name for ourselves. Sopharchists? Scientarchists? Let’s workshop it a bit.