The subject is not discussed much among the community, however on an individual level it seems to be a growing topic, especially as the number of micronations grow every year. That topic is the difference between micronations and cults. While in general, most know the common difference between the two, but it can be difficult to decipher in the micronational realm.
Many already know the definition of a micronation; a self-declared nation, not formally recognized by the macronations that surround them. While the term ‘cult’ can vary in each situation, it normally has a negative connotation, defining a group of followers with a leader that most of the outside community doesn’t recognize nor approve of. One might now ask the question, “What is the difference, how are the two in existence together, and how is it an issue?”
Micronations exist, or should exist, for their governments and citizens to work together towards a common goal. There is typically a type of culture, patriotism/pride, uniqueness, and success goal. While all micronations may not have all of the above, they have a majority, or are in the process of working towards the others. So how do you know if a micronation is really a cult in disguise? Knowing the telltale signs to look for can easily discover them.
Cults that operate under the term ‘micronation’ typically lack professionalism, culture, uniqueness, and true long term goals. In addition, the cult typically puts as their primary focus the goal of money or physical resources. Of course micronations need to make money to continue operations for things such as websites and items for purchase, however cults normally only care about the money and not their citizens. In many cases the cult will tell their citizens, members, or followers that the only way to be respected and distinguished in their community is to pay so much money each month, to climb a hierarchy system.
In a nutshell, if the micronation doesn’t seem to care about the success of their citizens, the creation of a unique culture, and the progress of their nation within the community, there’s a good chance that micronation is in reality a ‘cult’. If citizens can’t gain anything, they tend to feel more like a servant than an actual citizen. When speaking with other micronationalists about the subject, most agreed that should someone feel they are not benefitting from the micronation on a personal level, that their best bet is to find a micronation that will support them.
While having a cult is not illegal in most cases, some may deem it to be a scam or more of a business than an actual micronation. If one should want to focus only on profits, they should classify themselves as a business, rather than a government and community for everyone.