Arbitrary national boundaries
Artificial nation boundaries
Boundaries between states are determined as a result of a variety of political, historical and administrative compromises. In the absence of readily available geographical features, such as rivers, some boundaries run through towns, across farms and even across the middle of the rooms of individual houses. This gives rise to considerable difficulties in observing the usual frontier formalities and in handling the administration and taxation of economic units divided in this way. Boundaries may also divide a minority linguistic or ethnic community, threatening its viability. Some unnatural boundaries arise due to peace treaties and agreements after armed conflict. This is aggravated in proportion to the number of nations which are involved.
The critique of boundaries rests on two negative aspects: their arbitrariness and their exclusiveness. The first is an ecological critique of political borders. The second is an ethical critique of all borders. The two are often linked or confused. The liberal critique of boundaries suggests that they are inherently negative not only because they are often arbitrary, and stand in the way of the efficient management of resources, but also because they imply a kind of jealous exclusivity which inevitably leads to conflict.
When natural limits are ignored and boundaries transgressed, there can be no justice. Life becomes tragic, conflict endemic, and various crises emerge and demand their just treatment, threatening retribution until the approach to boundaries is changed.
From a phenomenological and cultural perspective, borders and boundaries are not inherently negative. Rather, the boundary sets a limit to action, and in so doing carves out an open space in which something new and vital is allowed to come forth. Boundaries are essential for anything to truly to become itself. Boundaries are essential to generate diversity and identity, and to articulate these relationships in a larger unity.