Continuing in our series of interviews, editor Kit McCarthy talks to Richard Hytholoday.
KM: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
RH : My name is Richard Hytholoday, but I am better known as His Lordship Richard I of the Kingdoms & Lands Represented in the Council of the Diarchal Crowns of the Disciples (better known as Mercia). I am the Lord Spiritual of Mercia (I administrate for the Mercian Christian Church, our state religious organisation), the nation I run as joint head of state with Lord Karl Friedrich von Ravensburg, who is Lord Temporal and therefore has essentially Presidential powers. I have been involved in the community since September 2011, and it doesn’t look like I’ll be leaving anytime soon.
KM: What do you think is the best aspect of the community?
RH: The fact that we have people from all walks of life from across the world involved. While we quite naturally have a sizeable core of middle-class Americans and Europeans which constitute the body of the Micronational community, we have a fair share of working-class individuals (like myself), a considerable minority of Australasians and a vibrant series of sub-communities that have been shaped by over a decade of community history, of which I have seen less than half of.
KM: OK, so that’s the best. What about the worst?
RH: I’d honestly have to say that the Micronational community has always had its fair share of ‘do-gooders’. With every generation that arrives into the community, there are great multitudes who think they know how to steer the community to metaphorical ‘sunlit uplands’ to make our collaborative hobby that much more fulfilling. Much of it is fairly innocuous; we tend to have a Micronational UN or two attempted every few months, which dissipate without fail. However, a lot of blame gets heaped at the doors of informal or sovereign venues that have exist at the perimeter of the community; for a time it was the Microwiki Forums themselves (before the community shifted to Micronation.org), at other times it was Micronational federations, and currently it seems to be the informal and totally unmoderated Skype chats that exist as online public houses for Micronationalists.
KM: You say blame gets heaped at Skype chatrooms. There have been arguments for that though – are those arguments wrong?
RH: I would definitely say so. One of the most frequent targets over recent months for this blame; the Yellow Bear Micronational (YBM), has existed since 2012 as a dedicated, informal venue for Micronationalists to speak independently of their nations. The language is foul, the topics are uncouth, and there are no holds barred. While there are some other, less used chatrooms that have similar natures, the YBM is first and foremost, and that is the deliberate purpose of the it, to be the place where Micronationalists heap the worst abuse, most bizarre arguments and other generally politically incorrect subjects. It has been in existence for about 3 years, far longer than many of its current opponents have been in the Micronational community in the first instance.
KM: So then, what do we need to do to improve the community? Or don’t we?
RH: The community has always ‘been on the verge of collapse’, from its inception to its ending. We are a community of egotists, which must be accepted; we run countries out of our bedrooms because we think current macronational governments aren’t up to the task. Everyone has their own idea of how to run their pocket utopias, and of course, what with no one style being predominant, everyone is inclined to see the community at some kind of breaking point for one reason or another.
But it is that total anarchy that makes the Micronational community such a grand place. Just like in actual international politics, where methods of governance, cultural norms and concepts of morality are challenged and debated, so are they in our microcosm of the globe. Which is why I think we shouldn’t have large organisations like a Micronational UN, why we shouldn’t have restrictions on what we can say (although keeping it to certain venues like the YBM is certainly a good settlement), and why I think the community can only change if that change is done organically. Artificial or mechanical change made by misguided do-gooders harms the Micronational community, as forcing it along a certain path will shed it of members, and will lead to stagnation and decline, which we have seen with other communities in the past, namely the Micronations Wikia.
KM: So the community should just be left alone. When you talk about misguided do-gooders, are you mainly referring to younger members of the community?
RH: Not entirely; some of our community’s ‘Old Left’, that have been around since 2010-2011, have had similar plans in the past. I’m not here to lecture on Micronational history, but I’d recommend researching the Denton Protocol, and the effects it had in our community as it tried to force social liberalism upon a population that had recently swung to the social right. In regards to intermicronational organisations, even I am guilty of taking part in it – between March and July 2013 I stood as the fourteenth Chair of the Grand Unified Micronational, the longest lived intermicronational ‘United Nations’ that ever existed in our community history. However, we must move beyond those centralising elements so that we can use our nations and our various clubs and chatrooms to truly express ourselves.
KM: What role does the Old Guard have?
RH: The ‘Old Guard’ is not some kind of exclusive club of Micronational illuminati. Those of our community that have been around since the early 2005-2010 days are just community members like all of us. The difference being, they have been handed the mantle of responsibility by nature of the passing of time to uphold common community values that have existed for a decade or more, those being professionalism, proper conduct and knowing how to separate business from leisure. This is difference from trying to change the community artificially; the old community values developed as the community did, organically. The ‘Old Guard’ are also administrators and moderators of our community website, Micronation.org, and pay well over a hundred GBP every year to keep the site running (I used to donate about £50 a year to the cause, but I have incurred financial setbacks as of late and have had to put my donations on hiatus). Considering that running the site is rather pointless in the grand scale of things given the current global meterialistic trends, the administration of Micronation.org are working at a constant loss to allow our community to function with a fully fledged repository of community history. I take great issue and offence at anyone who thinks they know better or could do better than ‘Old Guards’ for this reason and the reasons already described above.
KM: Lastly, what needs to happen next in the community?
RH: The Micronational community needs to keep soldiering on through the doomsday talk and the fears of community collapse. We’ve endured major and minor scandals, Micronational wars, the ending of friendships, both the zeniths and nadirs of community membership, and more. We have a long and steeped history, and a way of operation with it that developed organically between colleagues and friends for over ten years. We need to keep on in the spirit of Micronationalism, and we need to leave the petty pestering of people who think they know better behind. God bless.
KM: Thank you
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