The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 TeasersiSteve Blog
Is Nationalism Really Only Two Centuries Old?
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
AgreeDisagreeLOLTroll
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used once per hour.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

When I was a freshman in college, I took a course on the American Revolution and French Revolution. One of the main themes was that nationalism hadn’t existed before, roughly, the battle of Valmy in 1792 when the French citizen army overwhelmed the invading Prussian professional army. Goethe, who was there, consoled his Prussian comrades, “From this place, and from this day forth begins a new era in the history of the world, and you can all say that you were present at its birth.”

That’s a good story, but it always struck me that it seems as if there were plenty of examples of nationalism before then. I would bring up the obscure tale, promoted by James Boswell, of the Republic of Corsica resisting the French invasion of 1768-1769 (whose heroic failure, ironically, made a newborn Corsican named Napoleon Bonaparte a Frenchman).

But the notion that nationalism only dates from the later 18th Century remains one of I-Went-to-College things you are supposed to know. It’s associated with Ernest Gellner, although as early as 1977 it was supposed to be obvious to history majors. For example, from the Financial Times last month, here’s an example of the conventional wisdom in action

Trump, Le Pen and the enduring appeal of nationalism

Mark Mazower

In a globalised era, even a country as big as America can feel small. Mark Mazower on why politicians such as Donald Trump are in fashion

The flags are flying, the anthems ring out. We live in the time of the homeland, of Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen and the Freedom party’s presidential candidate Norbert Hofer, fresh from his resounding victory in the first round of the Austrian presidential poll.

Trump has called on Americans to resist “the false song of globalism”. “In a huge number of European countries, patriotic movements are surging vigorously,” was how Le Pen greeted news of Hofer’s victory last weekend.

Nationalism is back like it never went out of fashion and, with it, the head-scratching, the puzzlement. How to explain the irrational, the commentators ask. Doesn’t the Brexit camp realise leaving the European Union is a crazy idea? Don’t Trump’s millions understand that he is promising the impossible?

There is still no better place to look for an answer than in a little polemic written more than 30 years ago. Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities (1983) remains a classic effort to explain nationalism’s durability and to come to terms with the passions it can unleash. Nationalism, Anderson argued, is not an ancient phenomenon, nor did it emerge in Europe as most commentators seemed to think. Quite distinct from the dynastic appeals of Shakespeare’s Henry V — it is easy to forget that the battle-cry “God for Harry, England and Saint George” is uttered in the play by the king himself — modern nationalism originated, in Anderson’s view, around the time of the American wars of independence.

Eh … The inherent tensions between royal dynasticism and territorial nationalism are an ongoing theme in European history. King Henry V of England had personal dynastic reasons for invading France, but the English soldiers Shakespeare’s hero addresses — not to mention Shakespeare’s audience in the 1590s right after the repulse of the Spanish Armada of 1588 — were less motivated by dynastic technicalities than by the emotions of English nationalism.

You’ll notice that the English royal family has stopped marrying foreign royals and switched to marrying attractive English girls, with a subsequent rebound in the Windsors’ popularity.

… Anderson wanted to acknowledge its durability rather than to demonise it, and he asks us to think about what the changes in the modern world were that brought it into being and have kept it going over two centuries and now into a third.

Connecting its emergence to the spread of capitalism, the rise of modern bureaucracies and mass literacy, Anderson argued that its unexpected midwives were colonial civil servants with an appetite for enumerating and classifying their subjects. In his telling, the idea of the nation was then taken up by anti-colonial revolutionaries, who enshrined the idea of the new kind of community in maps, hymns, museums, and monuments. …

Anderson, who died late last year, had an intuitive sympathy for nationalism’s anti-imperial origins. … Another thing his Indonesian expertise taught him was the key importance of the colonial periphery in nationalism’s emergence. De-centring the usual story was one way of drawing attention to the relative historical novelty of the phenomenon, gleefully showing up the absurdity of all those European claims — themselves mostly the product of romantic 19th century historians — that their nation was rooted in some centuries-old tradition.

Anderson was struck by Europeans’ deep need to believe in the antiquity of their national pasts. (Even French peasants, as another historian, Eugen Weber, reminds us, began thinking of themselves as French only rather recently.) …

The nation-state is basically no more than two centuries or so old, and in some places it is much younger than that. …

Mark Mazower is professor of history at Columbia University and author of ‘Governing the World: The History of an Idea’ (Penguin). ‘A Life Beyond Boundaries: A Memoir’ by Benedict Anderson (Verso £14.99/$24.95)

This seems to be mostly an argument over whether the nationalism glass in the past was partly full or, as everybody who has been to college has been instructed, partly empty.

Here’s an interview with an LSE professor, Anthony D. Smith, who started out a true believer in his professor Gellner’s fashionable theory that nationalism was invented barely before 1800, but over time has come to realize that the real story is a lot more complicated than the conventional wisdom holds. The historical glass going back to the ancient Egyptians, Hebrews, and Greeks is also partly full.

My view is that England, due perhaps to its partly protected geographical location, is the straw that stirred the European drink over the last millennium. English nationalism catalyzed French nationalism as a defensive reaction against English predation (notice that Henry V is giving his do or die speech about once more unto the breach speech not on English soil, but on the Continent), which set the billiard balls in motion across the rest of Europe.

 
Hide 230 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
  1. Formally, nationalism dates to the Peace of Westphalia (1648). But in concept, it is coeval with man.

    http://journalofamericangreatness.blogspot.com/2016/05/for-paleo-anti-hubris.html

    • Replies: @Dennis Dale
    I would think the early Dutch Republic, which went to war with Britain in the first Anglo-Dutch war in 1652, has to qualify as nationalist.
    , @Romanian
    Good Sir, are you THE Decius?

    http://journalofamericangreatness.blogspot.ro/
    , @The Z Blog
    I think you can argue that nationalism or national identity can be dated to the 100 Years War. In the beginning, the English were using troops from all over Europe as were the various French armies. By the end, the French army was French and fighting for France and the English army was English fighting for the English king.

    Still, Greek generals figured out in the Peloponnesian War that men fought much harder on their own soil because they were fighting for something more than glory.
    , @Andrew
    "nationalism dates to the Peace of Westphalia (1648)."

    Westphalia begins the concept of formalized land borders (land, not riverine) and international law to govern the relation ship of states.

    Nationalism in Europe was already present at the Council of Constance and the organization of the student bodies of medieval universities along national lines (German, French, Hungarian, Italian, English, etc.). Similarly, the Orthodox Church had fractured into national bodies with the decline in authority of the Roman Empire in Constantinople by around AD 1000. This saw the beginning of the Bulgarians and Serbians, as well as the de novo creation of the Romanians in Moldavia and Wallachia.

    In the Islamic east however, nationalism was tied up with religion until very recently. In the Russian Empire for example, the various Turkish tribes in Central Asia said their nation was "Muslim" until Stalin bequeathed them names, while all east Slavic groups called themselves some linguistic equivalent of "Russkij" - "Russian". Similarly, the Ottoman's created a national system based primarily on religion, so all Orthodox Christians got termed as "Rum" - "Roman" while Catholics were "Frangi" - "Franks".
    , @Anonymous
    Decius!

    I love the JAM! Best political work out there - by far. Nationalism does indeed have ancient antecedents, however I would propose that modern Nationalism's first iteration was Gian Galeazzo Visconti's Milan.
  2. “When I was a freshman in college,” is perhaps the worst way to start a conversation.

    • Replies: @Trelane
    I'm perfectly serious, I've never been less crazy in all my life!
  3. If I remember the book correctly, Anderson scarcely bothers himself with the North American Revolution and mostly discusses Latin America in regards to the “colonial” origins of nationalism. The idea that nationalism began there is obviously appealing to an academic with typical ingroup “leapfrogging” reflexes.

    Of course, he doesn’t bother telling you that a young Bolivar visited Napoleonic France and was absolutely transfixed by what he saw. Nor does he mention that there were officers in the Latin American wars of independence who had previously served as military generals during the French Revolution, such as Francisco de Miranda… So Anderson’s theory is a little perverse.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    The concept of "Bonapartism" -- rule by modernizing nationalist military men -- seems to have been forgotten, but it was a big deal for a long, long time: Bolivar, Ataturk, Nasser, maybe Hugo Chavez or Ariel Sharon as the last of the line.
    , @Bill B.
    Anderson knew Thailand well and considered it the epitome of a country effectively forced to develop a nationalism as a counter to hustling Britain and France on all sides in the 19th Century.

    Yet very clearly some kind of Thai nation, some kind of burmese nation and some kind of Vietnamese nation - to name obvious examples - had existed for a very long time before the arrival of the western imperialists.

    Historians often focus misleadingly on borders whereas in pre-modern times, outside of Europe, when populations were thin control of people was often more significant than control of land (outside of a core territory).

    What Anderson saw as the forced creation of nationalism was in fact the building of frames around existing ethnic nations and the drawing in tighter of cousin cultures. It was putting a 'modern' face on existing entitites.

    Just as Boliver - as timothy noted - was impressed by Napoleonic France the great reforming Thai King Chulalongkorn was hugely impressed by the British and Dutch empires on his visits to Singapore, India and Batavia and sought to replicate their systems of administration.

    http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/online_exhibit/odetoFriendship/html/King_V/index.htm

    This state-building process went into high gear in Thailand when a group of 'Young Turks' overthrew the absolute monarchy in 1932. These men were not forced to do this by outside powers but simply wanted Thailand to modernise at a faster rate.
  4. Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

    • Replies: @MC
    Yep. Even if you attribute that to a translation that projects modern fixations backwards, the translation goes back at least 400 years.
  5. @timothy
    If I remember the book correctly, Anderson scarcely bothers himself with the North American Revolution and mostly discusses Latin America in regards to the "colonial" origins of nationalism. The idea that nationalism began there is obviously appealing to an academic with typical ingroup "leapfrogging" reflexes.

    Of course, he doesn't bother telling you that a young Bolivar visited Napoleonic France and was absolutely transfixed by what he saw. Nor does he mention that there were officers in the Latin American wars of independence who had previously served as military generals during the French Revolution, such as Francisco de Miranda... So Anderson's theory is a little perverse.

    The concept of “Bonapartism” — rule by modernizing nationalist military men — seems to have been forgotten, but it was a big deal for a long, long time: Bolivar, Ataturk, Nasser, maybe Hugo Chavez or Ariel Sharon as the last of the line.

    • Replies: @Anthony
    Is Putin not a Bonapartist?

    Definitely, there's something like nationalism - The Greeks were mostly able to put aside their internal squabbles to face the Persian threat.
    , @yaqub the mad scientist
    I still use the term, but to me Bonaparte's imperialism is part of the package- spreading revolution from above and abroad. Also the Bonapartist paradox- how militarization not only can be a modernizing focer, but a liberalizing one- as Tocqueville pointed out.
  6. @Steve Sailer
    The concept of "Bonapartism" -- rule by modernizing nationalist military men -- seems to have been forgotten, but it was a big deal for a long, long time: Bolivar, Ataturk, Nasser, maybe Hugo Chavez or Ariel Sharon as the last of the line.

    Is Putin not a Bonapartist?

    Definitely, there’s something like nationalism – The Greeks were mostly able to put aside their internal squabbles to face the Persian threat.

    • Replies: @anonitron1
    Not the Roman one!

    And if the Romans aren't an example of something resembling nationalism having existed for substantially longer than two centuries, it's a term that's been defined away to nothing.

  7. My limited understanding was it isn’t nationalism if it isn’t related to the nation-state. So the English were a people, and England was their home, but it wasn’t a nation. Lots of other ethnic, racial, and other commonalities of people have existed for thousands of years. But the loyalty to one’s fellows or ones extended family isn’t the same as loyalty to a system in which what makes you common with fellows is your citizenship.

    The latter is modern nationalism. (Not Nazism and not communism.) But modern nationalism doesn’t work. Only took a couple hundred years to figure that out. Pharaohs had a much better run.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    England has had roughly the same borders since something like the end of the Danelaw in 954 AD. The 50,000 square miles of England have been politically unified for almost all of the past 1000+ years. It was invaded and suffered elite decapitation in 1066, but emerged as roughly the same territory.

    Some kind of idea or emotion has been holding England together for an awful long time.

    , @anon

    But modern nationalism doesn’t work.
     
    Modern nationalism works so well the entire planet wants to live in the best run examples.
    , @Barry Wood
    No nations until 200 years ago? I'm sure my fellow Scots will be delighted to learn that there is no point in celebrating the 1314 Battle of Bannockburn anymore.
    , @Craig Nelsen
    To paraphrase the great poet Robinson Jeffers: For Americans, with neither language, nor religion, nor race, it is nation or nothing.

    But the 1965 Immigration Act made that impossible. So, I argue, Jim Webb should be Donald Trump's VP pick: http://angrywhiteguysfortrump.com
  8. @Alice
    My limited understanding was it isn't nationalism if it isn't related to the nation-state. So the English were a people, and England was their home, but it wasn't a nation. Lots of other ethnic, racial, and other commonalities of people have existed for thousands of years. But the loyalty to one's fellows or ones extended family isn't the same as loyalty to a system in which what makes you common with fellows is your citizenship.

    The latter is modern nationalism. (Not Nazism and not communism.) But modern nationalism doesn't work. Only took a couple hundred years to figure that out. Pharaohs had a much better run.

    England has had roughly the same borders since something like the end of the Danelaw in 954 AD. The 50,000 square miles of England have been politically unified for almost all of the past 1000+ years. It was invaded and suffered elite decapitation in 1066, but emerged as roughly the same territory.

    Some kind of idea or emotion has been holding England together for an awful long time.

    • Replies: @anonymous
    If that is a case then why is England a black man's paradise with regards to good looking white English women falling head over heels for their Black mamba?
    , @whorefinder
    I don't know about politically unified.

    The War of the Roses, the Henry VIII and other 16th Century Rules, and the English Civil War all point to a land that was deeply divided politically (and religiously) for a long period of time. And America itself helped to heal this divide---religious splinter groups that could have been a real political dividing force sailed off to the U.S. and founded their own colonies, relieving the pressure on the homeland.

    We tend to forget about those periods because the English crown got unified and the English of the 20th Century started really downplaying religion. (It's a bit how we forget the American Revolution was really a Masonic conspiracy---because the Masons won and are the good guys of our history).

    There were also plots by various disaffected lords to backdoor the French in and become a vassal to them, or else carve out a kingdom separate from whatever the French took.

    And Scotland was actually a real live threat to invade and possibly take over for about 600 of those years following 1066--if it had ever gotten organized and permanently acquired Berwick-upon-Tweed.

    And the Crown for hundreds of years was in perpetual battle with both local lords and the Church for power. All of those ancient legal rights we talk about today---trial by jury, grand jury indictments, habeas corpus, etc.--- were really a result of one group (Crown loyalists, local nobles, or the Church) using them as a legal maneuver to steal power from one of the other two groups. These jurisdictions were very separate from one another and did not get along. It was only the Glorious Revolution and the installment of William & Mary that made England "England"---and they were Dutch.

    Then again, I think we're all partial to a Whig view of history now and then. Like how some people think it was "inevitable" that the 13 colonies form one country, or that the Union would win the Civil War.

    , @Dr James Thompson
    I am reading Robert Tomb's The English and their history, and it is clear to me that Alfred the Great was building many aspects of nationhood even when he only controlled part of the territory of Britain. He certainly was able to make laws, collect taxes, establish settlements, raise troops and set up schools and many aspects of governmental administration. I think the denial of nations is a recent affectation.
    , @dearieme
    Effectively England dates to 1066. Before that its existence was fleeting and disrupted, afterwards secure. That makes it much, much older than France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, and so on. The other contender for very old country in Western Europe is Scotland. If you wish to ignore geological facts and class Iceland as part of Europe, you can add it to the list. In which case you might grin and add the Isle of Man too.
    , @Anonymous
    Not for much longer.
    , @Thomas
    You should consider the possibility that England, a nation roughly coterminous with an island separated from a continent with a great deal of history, is an unusual case. (Japan is the other significant island nation next to a big continent with a history of successive, expansive empires I can think of, and maybe makes for an instructive comparison.) Genetic studies of the English have shown that, despite the history of periodic invasions and foreign rulers setting up dynasties (that eventually go native themselves), the English themselves haven't actually interbred that much with anyone else since prehistory.
    , @Thomas

    Some kind of idea or emotion has been holding England together for an awful long time.
     
    Quick throwaway theory on what that idea or emotion is: England as a nation of common people with a common and largely-unchanged ancestry, but often ruled by foreign-originating or -intermarrying lords (Normans, Plantagenets, Stuarts, Dutch (Orange-Nassau), Germans (Hanoverians, Windsors)) needed some reason for those common people to go off and fight the cousins of those foreign lords from time to time (or, conversely, to prevent those cousins from getting a toehold in England). So make everyone "English" (or, later, "British"). Machiavelli observed that a ruler of a newly-acquired foreign province could do well to move his residence there and learn the ways of the locals.
  9. Yeah, the idea that nationalism only arose in the last 200 years doesn’t match my reading in history or literature. Certainly the rise of mass media, such as newspapers, tended to supercharge nationalism in many ways. But it was always there.

  10. Nationalism/patriotism infatuated the Roman Republic. Citizens went to war for the greater nation. They revered “Rome” so much that military standards and symbols of Rome carried near-mystical qualities for Romans—the capture of one by the enemy was seen as a grave occasion.

    It’s helpful to think of “old nationalism” akin to “love for the extended family”. Most conquering nations originated in small tribes of highly interrelated folks. Going to battle for land or to keep invaders out was thus enriching or protecting your blood line. As nations grew in size, they could keep this spirit of “family camaraderie” up if they kept travel and communication short between various parts of the nation —hence how the vaunted Roman roads and Pax Romana kept the Romans feeling “Roman” for a good long period after they’d swelled to span three continents. If everyone feels like a close neighbor who shares in your culture and beliefs, then you’d be more willing to fight for them. Diversity is not a strength for a nation; conforming to the culture is.

    Romans were thus highly motivated by patriotism during their salad days. Emperors appealed to it. As did the conspirators against Caesar. As did the killers of Tarquinius Superbus.

    However, as the “diversity” of the Roman empire increased, the patriotism went down. Roman policy for decades was severe enforced integration for all those who wanted to become Roman citizens—Roman citizenship was seen as a great gift, not something bestowed to any conquered person. When a tribe wanted to become Roman citizens, they were instantly broken up and moved to the 4 corners of the empire, had their military ranks stripped, and basically told they had to give up most of their old ways. This integrated them with Romans and made them feel more Roman (and thus patriotic) and less whatever tribe they had been.

    Rome’s greatest troubles came from tribes that were never broken up—the Goths. Other groups, such as the Jews of Palestine, were not broken up for hundreds of years, which led to Jewish rebellion after Jewish rebellion. It was not until the Jews were forcibly expelled and dispersed from Israel/Palestine in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD that the area became peaceful for the Romans.

    In short, nationalism and patriotism is as old as time.

    • Replies: @iffen
    Diversity is not a strength for a nation; conforming to the culture is.

    Where does that leave you if diversity becomes a sacrosanct value of the culture and heaven and earth are moved to induce or force conformity to the value?
  11. @Steve Sailer
    England has had roughly the same borders since something like the end of the Danelaw in 954 AD. The 50,000 square miles of England have been politically unified for almost all of the past 1000+ years. It was invaded and suffered elite decapitation in 1066, but emerged as roughly the same territory.

    Some kind of idea or emotion has been holding England together for an awful long time.

    If that is a case then why is England a black man’s paradise with regards to good looking white English women falling head over heels for their Black mamba?

  12. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    If nation states are only 200 years old, what was China? A fixed-borders empire?

    At the opposite end of the spectrum, what was Georgia? It’s been around a long time. Uh oh, someone didn’t get the message:

    “…Following a complex period of nation building, a unified Kingdom of Georgia reached the peak of its political and economic strength during the reign of King David IV and Queen Tamar from the 11th to 13th centuries…”

    What was Egypt? More uh oh:

    “…Egypt has one of the longest histories of any modern country, arising in the tenth millennium BC as one of the world’s first nation states.”

    For what it is worth, the wikipedia page on nation states:

    “…A state is a specifically a political and geopolitical entity, whilst a nation is a cultural and ethnic one. The term “nation state” implies that the two coincide, in that a state has chosen to adopt and endorse a specific cultural group as associated with it…

    …The concept of a nation state can be compared and contrasted with that of the multinational state, city state, empire, confederation, and other state formations with which it may overlap. The key distinction is the identification of a people with a polity in the “nation state.”…

    …note the early emergence of a relatively unified state and identity in Portugal…

    …Japan is also traditionally seen as an example of a nation state and also the largest of the nation states, with population in excess of 120 million.”

  13. I would think that nationalism is simply identical with realpolitik per se. There is no other point to politics than to advance the nation’s cause. The confusion arises because the “nations” here referred to are not those entities drawn up on a map by bureaucrats who send representatives to the UN. Those things are simply grandiose administrative districts. Real nations are born and die, they coalesce and divide, like raindrops on a windshield, and are never truly the same from moment to moment. The real nation is a felt unity between people in the melee of fighting life. The history of such nations is history itself, the theater of triumph and tragedy, over which those administrative wards occasionally form a thin crust which is constantly being superceded, like pillow lava flowing under the sea—flowing and cooling, then breaking through again. And real nationalism, which is simply politics divested of its ideological fig leaves, is what occurs there at the interface between fire and sea.

    • Replies: @27 year old
    In my head this comment is being read aloud like the speech at the end of blade runner
  14. Nationalism is bound up with liberaliasm, which is bound up with the leveling conducted by the monarchs. Once the fuedal power centers were destroyed, and only individuals and the central state remained, the you need a way to express this new arrangement. Nationalism is the first attempt, but this arrangement is unstable, and falls to the same leveling process that took out fuedal corporations and power centers. I don’t think you can describe pre-liberal love of nation as the same thing.

    • Agree: AP
  15. @Steve Sailer
    England has had roughly the same borders since something like the end of the Danelaw in 954 AD. The 50,000 square miles of England have been politically unified for almost all of the past 1000+ years. It was invaded and suffered elite decapitation in 1066, but emerged as roughly the same territory.

    Some kind of idea or emotion has been holding England together for an awful long time.

    I don’t know about politically unified.

    The War of the Roses, the Henry VIII and other 16th Century Rules, and the English Civil War all point to a land that was deeply divided politically (and religiously) for a long period of time. And America itself helped to heal this divide—religious splinter groups that could have been a real political dividing force sailed off to the U.S. and founded their own colonies, relieving the pressure on the homeland.

    We tend to forget about those periods because the English crown got unified and the English of the 20th Century started really downplaying religion. (It’s a bit how we forget the American Revolution was really a Masonic conspiracy—because the Masons won and are the good guys of our history).

    There were also plots by various disaffected lords to backdoor the French in and become a vassal to them, or else carve out a kingdom separate from whatever the French took.

    And Scotland was actually a real live threat to invade and possibly take over for about 600 of those years following 1066–if it had ever gotten organized and permanently acquired Berwick-upon-Tweed.

    And the Crown for hundreds of years was in perpetual battle with both local lords and the Church for power. All of those ancient legal rights we talk about today—trial by jury, grand jury indictments, habeas corpus, etc.— were really a result of one group (Crown loyalists, local nobles, or the Church) using them as a legal maneuver to steal power from one of the other two groups. These jurisdictions were very separate from one another and did not get along. It was only the Glorious Revolution and the installment of William & Mary that made England “England”—and they were Dutch.

    Then again, I think we’re all partial to a Whig view of history now and then. Like how some people think it was “inevitable” that the 13 colonies form one country, or that the Union would win the Civil War.

    • Replies: @Anonymous Nephew
    "The War of the Roses, the Henry VIII and other 16th Century Rules, and the English Civil War all point to a land that was deeply divided politically (and religiously) for a long period of time."

    But none of those conflicts affected the idea of England as a nation or the English as a people. They were conflicts to decide what sort of nation England would be. We were pretty divided over the General Strike of 1926 and the Munich agreement, too. And when Catholicism was marginalised or illegal, we divided over church versus chapel. That's not unhealthy.

    Now the two main UK political parties are essentially the same, and that IS unhealthy.

    Another example for Steve might be France in the time of Joan of Arc, certainly a unifying figure. Scotland under Wallace too.

  16. anon • Disclaimer says:

    An entire civilization has become a joke because of ignoring genetics.

    “widening circles of sympathy”

    self
    clan
    tribe
    nation
    race
    humanity
    save the koala

    the vegans attacking humanists for not being vegans were once
    the humanists attacking racists for not being humanist were once
    the racists attacking nationalists for not being racist were once
    the nationalists attacking tribalists for not being nationalist were once
    the tribalists attacking clanists for not being tribalist were once
    the clanists attacking individuals for being selfish.

    That’s one factor; the other factor as stated in the OP is being attacked which pushes people together prematurely.

    On a small island like Corsica tribalism = nationalism so it can happen sooner. In France it took longer.

    They’re not “imagined” communities. They are part genetic / part imagined.

    Lying about them being imagined is cultural warfare.

    #

    I would say France-scale nationalism started in Europe in the last few hundred years but smaller scale nationalism (aka tribalism / clannism) has been around since forever and is default behavior – hence why the west is crumbling.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    If "nationalism" can mean anything from "France" to "tribalism" and "clannism", than you need some new and better terms and definitions.

    This seems to be the source of the debate over how long "nationalism" has been around. Different people have different definitions and conceptions of "nationalism". Some people restrict it to a modern phenomenon, while others have a more vague or general notion and thus project it very far into the past.
  17. @Anthony
    Is Putin not a Bonapartist?

    Definitely, there's something like nationalism - The Greeks were mostly able to put aside their internal squabbles to face the Persian threat.

    Not the Roman one!

    And if the Romans aren’t an example of something resembling nationalism having existed for substantially longer than two centuries, it’s a term that’s been defined away to nothing.

  18. @Alice
    My limited understanding was it isn't nationalism if it isn't related to the nation-state. So the English were a people, and England was their home, but it wasn't a nation. Lots of other ethnic, racial, and other commonalities of people have existed for thousands of years. But the loyalty to one's fellows or ones extended family isn't the same as loyalty to a system in which what makes you common with fellows is your citizenship.

    The latter is modern nationalism. (Not Nazism and not communism.) But modern nationalism doesn't work. Only took a couple hundred years to figure that out. Pharaohs had a much better run.

    But modern nationalism doesn’t work.

    Modern nationalism works so well the entire planet wants to live in the best run examples.

  19. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    OT: this guy Angelo Codevilla is worth reading. He is an immigrant in the old fashioned style (1955 plus Navy enlistment).

    Codevilla writes from a non-ethnic viewpoint (at least from what I’ve read).

    There are very few political writers today with foreign surnames who aren’t mining the ethnic grievance industry.

    http://thefederalist.com/2016/05/11/political-correctness-is-war-by-other-means/

  20. Lot says:

    The word “nationalism” is used ambiguously. There’s a certain meaning that is somewhat like “solidarity with co-ethnics” which is, of course, ancient.

    Then there’s is the meaning “strong belief that my ethnicity deserves its own independent nation.”

    Finally there is the latter meaning generalized, “belief that ideally all ethnic groups would enjoy as much political independence as reasonably possible.”

    It is the other nationalisms that begin as the Ottoman and Austrian Empires’ domination over Eastern Europe declined and the desire for German and Italian unification arose.

  21. Glossy says: • Website

    Nationalism is at least as old as the written record. Leftists hate nationalism (in others at least), so they try to make it appear artificial and recent. If educated people believed that nationalism was natural and deeply rooted in human psychology, if they thought it was inborn, it would have been harder to force them to abandon it.

    There are countless examples of pre-modern nationalism. The Persian Wars for example, were essentially a fight between the Greek nation and the multi-ethnic Persian Empire. Yes, some Greeks fought on the Persian side, but they were shamed for that by the other Greeks as traitors.

    I recently read the first volume of Hugh Thomas’s history of the Spanish empire in the Americas. Thomas’s description of 16th-century Spanish nationalism is still fresh in my mind, so I’ll talk about it here in detail.

    Most people have heard of Ferdinand and Isabella, who united Spain in the 15th century through their marriage. They were both physically and culturally Spanish. After their death their throne was inherited by their grandson, the future Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, who was physically half-Spanish and culturally Flemish. He did not speak the Spanish language when he arrived in Spain in 1516. Most of the people he knew and trusted were Flemings, so that’s whom he started appointing to important offices in Spain.

    The native Spaniards resented being ruled by Flemish officials. There were numerous stories of Flemings mistreating Spaniards and taking money out of Spain. The idea of Charles using tax money that he raised in Spain to improve his other European possessions was unacceptable to many Spaniards. These feelings produced a violent revolt, which Thomas describes in detail and which is also written up in this wiki:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolt_of_the_Comuneros

    The city councils of Spain submitted a list of formal demands to Charles. Among those were the removal of Flemish officials and their replacement with Spaniards, and a ban on the government spending Spanish tax money in Charles’s other European possessions. The Cortes (parliament) of Castile required Charles to only address it in the Spanish language.
    Some of the rebels’ formal demands are listed here:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolt_of_the_Comuneros#Proposals_to_other_cities

    Charles ended up subduing the revolt with both violence and concessions.

    This early 16th century conflict would seem inconceivable to those who bought the leftist line on nationalism having been invented at the time of the French Revolution. Don’t take anything on faith, at least not on politically-charged issues. Try to investigate things for yourself.

    There was an increase in nationalism in Europe at the time of the French Revolution. Secularism was spreading among the elites. Christianity, like Islam, is nominally universalist, so when it started to lose force, nationalism gained at its expense. But there’s always been nationalism in Europe and other civilized parts of the world. I just described one example of it, but I could have picked many others. The increase in nationalism in the late 18th century was not from a zero level. If you think that it was, you don’t know much history.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    The dynastic system tended to work awkwardly with territorial nationalism.

    The Habsburg dynasty territories tended to wander about Europe depending upon how they were doing in war and marriage.

    In the same era the French monarchy had a general tendency toward choosing to marry French girls. This tended to sacrifice the diplomatic advantages of dynastic marriages, but as the Venetian ambassador to Paris reported home, it was a key part of the consolidation of France into the strongest state in Europe.

    It's not wholly a coincidence that the last Queen of France, Marie Antoinette, wasn't French, just as the last Czarina of Russia wasn't Russian.

    , @Marc
    "Leftists hate nationalism (in others at least), so they try to make it appear artificial and recent. If educated people believed that nationalism was natural and deeply rooted in human psychology, if they thought it was inborn, it would have been harder to force them to abandon it."

    I came to the same conclusion after I reading the declaration that nationalism is some 200-year old aberration instead of the norm throughout human history. Nationalism has been around at least as long as nations have existed.
    , @AP
    They guy who thinks that Stalin was a conservative gets things backwards again.

    Nationalism is at least as old as the written record.
     
    Here is the definition of nationalism:

    The strong belief that the interests of a particular nation-state are of primary importance. Also, the belief that a people who share a common language, history, and culture should constitute an independent nation, free of foreign domination.

    Sparta, Athens, etc. were not "nation states." Neither were Celtic, African, Native American tribal territories, nor religious spheres. Shaka was not a Zulu nationalist; nor was Caesar a Roman nationalist, Alexander a Macedonian or Greek nationalist, Mohammad an Arab nationalist, etc. The fact that these people recognized that others (Persians, in the case of Greeks, for example - of Flemish in the case of Spaniards) were aliens and fought against them does not imply nationalism. If some day extraterrestrials attacked the Earth would that make human resistance leaders "Earth nationalists?"


    Leftists hate nationalism
     
    I'll continue to paste from my other comment:

    Nationalism is a fundamentally liberal idea that coincided with the liberal elevation of normal folks above traditional institutions such as the Church, local feudal authorities, and monarchies.

    For example, in Russia the famous Russian nationalist idea of "Autocracy, Orthodoxy and Nationality" was first articulated (in French, of course! - the language of Liberalism) by the education minister Uvorov, who had been infected with such liberal ideas while living in Napoleonic Europe. In an attempt to get around conservative distaste at such ideas Uvorov translated his French-language nationalite as "narodnost" (people or Volk) rather than natsionalnost.

    In response to the liberal nationalist Revolutions in Europe in 1848, the conservative Russian Tsar Nicholas I removed Uvorov from office in 1849 and eliminated references to the word "narodnost" from official discourse, while retaining Orthodoxy and Autocracy. Nicholas maintained a close alliance with the anti-nationalist Hapsburgs.

    Uvarov, the free-thinking Europhile, was the nationalist. Tsar Nicholas I, the conservative reactionary, was the anti-nationalist. Do you understand?

    Of course nationalism, like gay marriage, was unstoppable in the civilized world and eventually even conservatives came to adopt it (as many are coming to support gay marriage). And as liberal progressives became post-national, conservatives were left defending this originally anti-conservative idea. Perhaps, one day, when the left decides to abandon marriage altogether, conservative defenders of gay marriage will struggle against them.


    The increase in nationalism in the late 18th century was not from a zero level. If you think that it was, you don’t know much history.
     
    If you think all examples of awareness that "we" or different from "them" combined with preference for "us" are nationalism than you don't know much about nationalism.
  22. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Steve, the famous ‘Declaration of Arbroath’ made by Scots in medieval times gives the lie to the modern fiction – nay, deliberate lie, that ‘nationalism’ and ‘the nation state’ are 19th century inventions.

    Anyway, a moment’s thought tells us that this fiction is pure nonsense, asinine nonsense, no doubt cooked up to suit cherished agendas. If it was true, then native Britons would never have fought against Roman occupation, or indeed William the Conqueror would never had conquered England, made himself king and his henchmen earls – there would have been no ‘state’ or ‘people’ to conquer in the first place if ‘nation states’ ‘did not exist’.

  23. Say there’s two axis. A loyalty axis:

    Me against my brother
    My brother and me against my cousin
    My brother my cousin and me against the rest of the village
    My village against the other village
    My manor against the my feudal lord’s enemy’s manor
    My kingdom against my king’s enemy’s kingdom

    And a cultural axis:

    People who speak as we do vs. people who only say “bar-bar”.
    People who dress as we do vs. people who don’t know how to dress properly
    People who pray as we do vs. evil heathens
    etc.

    At some point the King became so powerful that all conflicts on the loyalty axis were concentrated at the kingdom’s level, and the very same Royal power made it so that culture became more or less uniform at the kingdom level. That is what we call a “nation”, and while the process was gradual, 200 years ago it reached it’s highest form in France, so much that all countries in Europe realized that they better become a nation or they would be destroyed by someone who did.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    "That is what we call a “nation”, and while the process was gradual, 200 years ago it reached it’s highest form in France, so much that all countries in Europe realized that they better become a nation or they would be destroyed by someone who did."

    Okay, but what was England for hundreds of years before that?

    After 1066, England was ruled by a French-speaking overclass, but by, say Chaucer's time in the later 1300s, pretty much everybody was speaking English. One reason Henry V is the hero of Shakespeare's most chauvinistic play is because he was apparently the first king to use English in his official documents. But of course that had a lot to do with him fighting the French.

  24. @Glossy
    Nationalism is at least as old as the written record. Leftists hate nationalism (in others at least), so they try to make it appear artificial and recent. If educated people believed that nationalism was natural and deeply rooted in human psychology, if they thought it was inborn, it would have been harder to force them to abandon it.

    There are countless examples of pre-modern nationalism. The Persian Wars for example, were essentially a fight between the Greek nation and the multi-ethnic Persian Empire. Yes, some Greeks fought on the Persian side, but they were shamed for that by the other Greeks as traitors.

    I recently read the first volume of Hugh Thomas's history of the Spanish empire in the Americas. Thomas's description of 16th-century Spanish nationalism is still fresh in my mind, so I'll talk about it here in detail.

    Most people have heard of Ferdinand and Isabella, who united Spain in the 15th century through their marriage. They were both physically and culturally Spanish. After their death their throne was inherited by their grandson, the future Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, who was physically half-Spanish and culturally Flemish. He did not speak the Spanish language when he arrived in Spain in 1516. Most of the people he knew and trusted were Flemings, so that's whom he started appointing to important offices in Spain.

    The native Spaniards resented being ruled by Flemish officials. There were numerous stories of Flemings mistreating Spaniards and taking money out of Spain. The idea of Charles using tax money that he raised in Spain to improve his other European possessions was unacceptable to many Spaniards. These feelings produced a violent revolt, which Thomas describes in detail and which is also written up in this wiki:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolt_of_the_Comuneros

    The city councils of Spain submitted a list of formal demands to Charles. Among those were the removal of Flemish officials and their replacement with Spaniards, and a ban on the government spending Spanish tax money in Charles's other European possessions. The Cortes (parliament) of Castile required Charles to only address it in the Spanish language.
    Some of the rebels' formal demands are listed here:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolt_of_the_Comuneros#Proposals_to_other_cities

    Charles ended up subduing the revolt with both violence and concessions.

    This early 16th century conflict would seem inconceivable to those who bought the leftist line on nationalism having been invented at the time of the French Revolution. Don't take anything on faith, at least not on politically-charged issues. Try to investigate things for yourself.

    There was an increase in nationalism in Europe at the time of the French Revolution. Secularism was spreading among the elites. Christianity, like Islam, is nominally universalist, so when it started to lose force, nationalism gained at its expense. But there's always been nationalism in Europe and other civilized parts of the world. I just described one example of it, but I could have picked many others. The increase in nationalism in the late 18th century was not from a zero level. If you think that it was, you don't know much history.

    The dynastic system tended to work awkwardly with territorial nationalism.

    The Habsburg dynasty territories tended to wander about Europe depending upon how they were doing in war and marriage.

    In the same era the French monarchy had a general tendency toward choosing to marry French girls. This tended to sacrifice the diplomatic advantages of dynastic marriages, but as the Venetian ambassador to Paris reported home, it was a key part of the consolidation of France into the strongest state in Europe.

    It’s not wholly a coincidence that the last Queen of France, Marie Antoinette, wasn’t French, just as the last Czarina of Russia wasn’t Russian.

    • Replies: @Chris B
    You should read Bertrand De Jouvenel’s “On Power” for observations on the link between Monarchy’s promotion of ties with domestic elites from outside of nobility for a more detailed look at the mechanics behind this.
    , @whorefinder
    The French had a way with diplomacy that was legendary. They married local and trained their ambassadors better than other nations to make up for it. Tallyrand, obviously, springs to mind. But French diplomacy also extended to doing bold, unthinkable things and getting away with it, such as allying with the Ottoman Turks right when the Turks were threatening central Europe:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franco-Ottoman_alliance

    Also they had a profound effect upon Russia culturally. As is well known, much of War & Peace was written in French because that was the language of the upper-class Russians. The French prided themselves on spreading their culture as far as possible in order to influence others. It was their version of the CIA's exporting American culture to the eastern bloc.

    Ben Franklin very much impressed the French because his diplomatic skills were on par with theirs. He knew how to play the games. He played the noble-savage-rustic-plain-spoken simple-living character the French believed Americans were---but flirted like heck at a very high diplomatic level. Comparisons of Franklin to Bill Clinton in terms of social adeptness are probably apt, although its hard to think of a Founding Father as a sociopath.

    John Adams, the dour Puritan, came to Paris to aid Franklin in the diplomacy. But Adams's actual plain-spoken simple-living character didn't gel well with the French; he was genuinely appalled at the French behavior/excess, and at Franklin's flitting about from party to party without seemingly getting anything done--and Adams complained loudly about it. Franklin got Adams kicked out of his job "aiding" Franklin before Adams could ruin things.

    All this is to say that the stereotype of the "sophistication" of the French is really a holdover from their diplomatic greatness.

    , @AP
    The dynastic system (as well as the Church) was the traditional, conservative system in Europe. Nationalism represented the liberal revolt against this - the elevation of common people above authority.
  25. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @anon
    An entire civilization has become a joke because of ignoring genetics.

    "widening circles of sympathy"

    self
    clan
    tribe
    nation
    race
    humanity
    save the koala

    the vegans attacking humanists for not being vegans were once
    the humanists attacking racists for not being humanist were once
    the racists attacking nationalists for not being racist were once
    the nationalists attacking tribalists for not being nationalist were once
    the tribalists attacking clanists for not being tribalist were once
    the clanists attacking individuals for being selfish.

    That's one factor; the other factor as stated in the OP is being attacked which pushes people together prematurely.

    On a small island like Corsica tribalism = nationalism so it can happen sooner. In France it took longer.

    They're not "imagined" communities. They are part genetic / part imagined.

    Lying about them being imagined is cultural warfare.

    #

    I would say France-scale nationalism started in Europe in the last few hundred years but smaller scale nationalism (aka tribalism / clannism) has been around since forever and is default behavior - hence why the west is crumbling.

    If “nationalism” can mean anything from “France” to “tribalism” and “clannism”, than you need some new and better terms and definitions.

    This seems to be the source of the debate over how long “nationalism” has been around. Different people have different definitions and conceptions of “nationalism”. Some people restrict it to a modern phenomenon, while others have a more vague or general notion and thus project it very far into the past.

    • Replies: @anon
    I think the underlying thing is the same but the scale of that thing varies so nationalism is the name for the thing at one scale and tribalism is the name for the thing at a smaller scale.

    It's the thing itself that doesn't have a name (but it's related to circles of sympathy).
  26. Glossy says: • Website

    My view is that England, due perhaps to its partly protected geographical location, is the straw that stirred the European drink over the last millennium.

    This isn’t true. England was unimportant in European politics and economics until the 18th century. It was culturally unimportant until the 19th. It had several times fewer people than France, for example, until a few centuries ago. It was just harder to sustain human life up north until relatively recently, so there wasn’t a lot of it there. And what there was, wasn’t very sophisticated.

    Steve is a proud denizen of the Anglosphere. I’m assuming that some of his ancestry comes from the British Isles too, so this sort of exaggeration is expected.

    The straw that stirred the European drink… Well, from at least the 13th to at least the 16th century it was obviously northern Italy. By a huge margin. After that it was France. England first became important at the time of the Industrial Revolution and its imperial expansion, but it had no cultural prestige at that point. That came later still.

    • Replies: @syonredux

    This isn’t true. England was unimportant in European politics and economics until the 18th century.
     
    Don't be silly. England was quite important from 1066 on.

    It was culturally unimportant until the 19th.
     
    Well, only if you don't count nobodies like Isaac Newton, John Locke,Shakespeare, Thomas Hobbes, Francis Bacon.....

    England first became important at the time of the Industrial Revolution and its imperial expansion, but it had no cultural prestige at that point. That came later still.
     
    MMM, Voltaire felt quite differently:



    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letters_on_the_English
    , @The Man From K Street

    England was unimportant in European politics and economics until the 18th century.
     
    This was true sometimes, totally false other times. Elizabethan nostalgia that started not long after her death obscured the fact that, at her death in 1603, England was indeed unimportant--the Treasury was bankrupt, and in military terms she was about as powerful in continental affairs as Denmark was at the same time.

    For a period of time in the late 14th and very early 15th centuries, though, England's armies were unquestionably the best in Europe thanks to their secret weapon--the Welsh longbow, and its wool production gave it an oversized weight in European economic affairs at that time as well. The Wars of the Roses bled that away, but there was a rebound during Edward IV's reign. Then the Tudors frittered away the money.
    , @Mr. Anon
    "England was unimportant in European politics and economics until the 18th century. It was culturally unimportant until the 19th."

    That is a ridiculous statement.

  27. I would claim Joan of Arc as an example of nationalism. Then there is the example of Rome. Nationalism is as old as the hills.

  28. @Steve Sailer
    The dynastic system tended to work awkwardly with territorial nationalism.

    The Habsburg dynasty territories tended to wander about Europe depending upon how they were doing in war and marriage.

    In the same era the French monarchy had a general tendency toward choosing to marry French girls. This tended to sacrifice the diplomatic advantages of dynastic marriages, but as the Venetian ambassador to Paris reported home, it was a key part of the consolidation of France into the strongest state in Europe.

    It's not wholly a coincidence that the last Queen of France, Marie Antoinette, wasn't French, just as the last Czarina of Russia wasn't Russian.

    You should read Bertrand De Jouvenel’s “On Power” for observations on the link between Monarchy’s promotion of ties with domestic elites from outside of nobility for a more detailed look at the mechanics behind this.

    • Replies: @Seneca
    It is a great book for many reasons. I know I once mentioned it to Steve on his old blog, when he once asked his readers for book recommendations .

    In fact, you could argue that the more recent and well heralded French philosopher Foucault basically borrowed some of the ideas expounded by De Jouvenel and based his entire philosophy on them (with a healthy smattering of Nietzsche also thrown in).

    The other books I recommended were S/Z by Roland Barthes (before French literary criticism theory became crazy) and the two books by Jacques Ellul (a Roman Catholic anarchist) on Propaganda and Technology respectively.

    BTW Steve, maybe it is time again to ask your readers for book recommendations. The last time you did it several years ago I got some good recommendations which I enjoyed reading.

    For example some of your readers recommended the Flashman series by George MacDonald Fraser.

    I am now completely hooked on these hilariously funny ingenious historical novels and I am now on book six of the series (with six more to go!).
  29. You aren’t using the term nation the way gellner or Anderson used it. They are defining it as a identity mobilized by a state. France was the first nation state. The UK wasn’t (and arguably is still not a nation state).

  30. “You’ll notice that the English royal family has stopped marrying foreign royals and switched to marrying attractive English girls, with a subsequent rebound in the Windsors’ popularity.”

    Even the Tudor Kings mostly married english girls.

  31. Egypt had a nation that lasted nearly 4,000 years or so before the Persians installed puppets on the throne, followed by the Ptolemy family and then … Rome. The Egyptians would have been surprised to see they were not a nation.

    In more modern terms, the Dutch became a nation in revolt **AGAINST** the Hapsburg trans-national dynasty. One of the more accurate slurs against the EU and Brussels is that they are essentially a modern Hapsburg dynasty without the great art and patronage of the Hapsburgs. The Dutch have been a nation essentially since the United Provinces threw out King Philip in 1581.

    Indeed the untold story of Europe is how nations that have been subsumed into larger ones, are still in revolt trying to be their own nations: Ireland (mostly successfully), Scotland, Wales, Brittany, and even Cornwall less so (as part of the Gaelic nations); the Basques and Catalans of Spain, the Veneto, Lombardy, and Milan in Italy (all long independent principalities and republics before Risorgimento), Corsica and Sardinia, along with existing tiny principalities: San Marino, Andorra, Monaco, and Luxembourg. The Serbs would be shocked to find they were not a nation, the same for the Poles.

    It is probably true that much of African nations are not real nations, but tribes that hate each other thrown together (like Rwanda or Nigeria). And Southeast Asia is a mish-mash; with certainly identifiable nations like the Thais, Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Laotians, along with Filipinos and others, while Indonesia might well be thought of as several nations like the United Kingdom under one rule.

    Even 800 years of English rule was not enough to erase the Irish nation; nor Italian unification enough to erase the memory of the Serene Republic of Venice.

    I too saw that article and thought it rubbish, something so stupid only a University Professor could write it.

    Modern European nationalism at any rate dates back at least to 1581, and you could argue that the Republic of Venice or Switzerland from around the 1200s could also qualify; modern European nationalism as it is currently understood is certainly far older than a mere 200 years.

    • Replies: @Bill B.
    Machiavelli was able to end The Prince - first circulated in 1513 - with this cry for Italy to be reunited:

    "I have given much thought to all the matters I have discussed until now, and have asked myself whether the time is ripe for Italy to greet a new prince, to offer to a prudent and skillful man the prospect of forging a government that would bring him honor and benefit all Italy. So many things have come together that are favorable to a new prince that I believe there has never been a more auspicious time. As I have already said, the people of Israel had to be slaves in Egypt so that the qualities of Moses would come to the fore, and for the Medes to oppress the Persians for the greatness of Cyrus to become apparent, and for the Athenians to be dispersed so that Theseus could demonstrate his skill. In the same way, that we may see the prowess of an Italian prince, it has been necessary for Italy to be reduced to the state it is in at present: more enslaved than the Jews, more in bondage than the Persians, more dispersed than the Athenians, without a leader, without order, beaten, plundered, flayed, overrun, exposed to all manner of adversity...

    "This opportunity must be grasped. Italy, after so many years, must welcome its liberator. The love with which these lands that have suffered a flood of foreign armies will receive him will be boundless, as will be their thirst for vengeance, their iron loyalty, their devotion and tears. All doors will be flung open. What populace would not embrace such a leader? What envy would oppose him, what Italian withhold respect? For all here abhor the barbarian dominion. Your illustrious House must seize this matter with the kind of spirit and hope in which righteous tasks are seized, so that Italy shall be ennobled beneath its banners and under its auspices the words of Petrarch will come true:

    Prowess shall take up arms

    Against brutality, and the battle will be swift;

    For ancient Roman bravery

    Is not yet dead in Italian hearts."
  32. I recall a lot of nationalism in a book called the Bible.

  33. @Steve Sailer
    The dynastic system tended to work awkwardly with territorial nationalism.

    The Habsburg dynasty territories tended to wander about Europe depending upon how they were doing in war and marriage.

    In the same era the French monarchy had a general tendency toward choosing to marry French girls. This tended to sacrifice the diplomatic advantages of dynastic marriages, but as the Venetian ambassador to Paris reported home, it was a key part of the consolidation of France into the strongest state in Europe.

    It's not wholly a coincidence that the last Queen of France, Marie Antoinette, wasn't French, just as the last Czarina of Russia wasn't Russian.

    The French had a way with diplomacy that was legendary. They married local and trained their ambassadors better than other nations to make up for it. Tallyrand, obviously, springs to mind. But French diplomacy also extended to doing bold, unthinkable things and getting away with it, such as allying with the Ottoman Turks right when the Turks were threatening central Europe:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franco-Ottoman_alliance

    Also they had a profound effect upon Russia culturally. As is well known, much of War & Peace was written in French because that was the language of the upper-class Russians. The French prided themselves on spreading their culture as far as possible in order to influence others. It was their version of the CIA’s exporting American culture to the eastern bloc.

    Ben Franklin very much impressed the French because his diplomatic skills were on par with theirs. He knew how to play the games. He played the noble-savage-rustic-plain-spoken simple-living character the French believed Americans were—but flirted like heck at a very high diplomatic level. Comparisons of Franklin to Bill Clinton in terms of social adeptness are probably apt, although its hard to think of a Founding Father as a sociopath.

    John Adams, the dour Puritan, came to Paris to aid Franklin in the diplomacy. But Adams’s actual plain-spoken simple-living character didn’t gel well with the French; he was genuinely appalled at the French behavior/excess, and at Franklin’s flitting about from party to party without seemingly getting anything done–and Adams complained loudly about it. Franklin got Adams kicked out of his job “aiding” Franklin before Adams could ruin things.

    All this is to say that the stereotype of the “sophistication” of the French is really a holdover from their diplomatic greatness.

  34. @Trelane
    "When I was a freshman in college," is perhaps the worst way to start a conversation.

    I’m perfectly serious, I’ve never been less crazy in all my life!

  35. @spandrell
    Say there's two axis. A loyalty axis:

    Me against my brother
    My brother and me against my cousin
    My brother my cousin and me against the rest of the village
    My village against the other village
    My manor against the my feudal lord's enemy's manor
    My kingdom against my king's enemy's kingdom

    And a cultural axis:

    People who speak as we do vs. people who only say "bar-bar".
    People who dress as we do vs. people who don't know how to dress properly
    People who pray as we do vs. evil heathens
    etc.

    At some point the King became so powerful that all conflicts on the loyalty axis were concentrated at the kingdom's level, and the very same Royal power made it so that culture became more or less uniform at the kingdom level. That is what we call a "nation", and while the process was gradual, 200 years ago it reached it's highest form in France, so much that all countries in Europe realized that they better become a nation or they would be destroyed by someone who did.

    “That is what we call a “nation”, and while the process was gradual, 200 years ago it reached it’s highest form in France, so much that all countries in Europe realized that they better become a nation or they would be destroyed by someone who did.”

    Okay, but what was England for hundreds of years before that?

    After 1066, England was ruled by a French-speaking overclass, but by, say Chaucer’s time in the later 1300s, pretty much everybody was speaking English. One reason Henry V is the hero of Shakespeare’s most chauvinistic play is because he was apparently the first king to use English in his official documents. But of course that had a lot to do with him fighting the French.

    • Replies: @spandrell
    Are you sure of that? That people in Liverpool or Newcastle could understand Chaucer?

    One problem is that the modern understanding of the word "nation" implies that the whole populace speaks a common language and has a more or less common culture, which just wasn't the case until universal education. The peasants in and outside Europe didn't need to speak a common language and generally didn't.

    At the elite level, well, to the extent that the English elite wrote (and tried to speak) in the same language which was distinct from everything outside England, you could call that group of people "the English nation".

    But was Italy a nation in 1500? There were dozens of polities who hated each other. But they generally wrote in a common language (basically imitating Dante's prose), which they spoke to each other, if not between themselves. That state of affairs was deemed to be close enough to the English or French nations that they eventually unified politically in 1860, but I'm not sure whether the 1500 Milanese or Venetians would have regarded themselves as belonging to the same nation. They certainly didn't rally together against French or Spanish invaders the same way the French did against the English.

    Like saying "race doesn't exist", one could play this game forever. "Race" as commonly used isn't very precise (Somalis and Nigerians both being called "black"), but populations with fairly distinct ancestries obviously exist. "Nation" as commonly used isn't very precise (Montenegro being a nation, Dixie not), but population with fairly distinct cultures obviously exist, and the more distinct the culture (Greece vs Persia, England vs France, China vs Japan) the more likely the group notices the difference, which has political ramifications.

    There's no obvious objective yardstick you can use to win this discussion. I think it's more useful to just point out at what the denialist camp really wants to say (open borders!) than to spend time playing semantics. I like playing semantics but it's not something you can win.
  36. “English nationalism catalyzed French nationalism as a defensive reaction against English predation.”

    G.B.Shaw told nearly the same story in “St. Joan”. Moreover, he pretended that nationalism and democracy are intertwined. Did Gellner never read Shaw?

  37. The opposite/negation of nationalism isn’t internationalism but regionalism. The transformation of Franks, Bretons, Basques and Occitans into modern Frenchmen was indeed a recent event.

  38. Mazower:

    (Even French peasants, as another historian, Eugen Weber, reminds us, began thinking of themselves as French only rather recently.)

    It’s well known that many French people believe their national origins started with Clovis around the year 500 AD. In fact, the name “Louis” (as in the XIV and the XVI…as well as countless non-royals) was a more modern version of the name Clovis, and was a tribute to him. To paint national identity in France as a recent thing seems fraudulent.

    • Replies: @Glossy
    Clovis and his men brought the name France to Gallia, but they did not change the genetics or the language of that land much. Ancient Romans talked about the Gallic national character. The borders of their Gaul were similar to the borders of modern France. The principal divisions of Western Europe in Roman times were Italia, Hispania, Gallia, Britannia and Germania. These large regions ended up having distinct populations because they have natural borders.
    , @Diversity Heretic
    Neither Bretons nor Corsicans thought of themselves as French until rather recently and their are nationalist/secessionist/independence movements in both regions.. Speaking Breton in schools was punishable offense into the 1960s. The French government recently "reorganized" regions (a region is made up of various departments), at least partially with the objective of trying to reduce attachment to a particular region in place of France. People in Alsace were in the streets protesting their being placed in the same region as Lorraine. As the nation-state starts to fracture along racial lines with the invasion of Arabs and Africans, look for regional identity to reassert itself.
  39. @Glossy
    My view is that England, due perhaps to its partly protected geographical location, is the straw that stirred the European drink over the last millennium.

    This isn't true. England was unimportant in European politics and economics until the 18th century. It was culturally unimportant until the 19th. It had several times fewer people than France, for example, until a few centuries ago. It was just harder to sustain human life up north until relatively recently, so there wasn't a lot of it there. And what there was, wasn't very sophisticated.

    Steve is a proud denizen of the Anglosphere. I'm assuming that some of his ancestry comes from the British Isles too, so this sort of exaggeration is expected.

    The straw that stirred the European drink... Well, from at least the 13th to at least the 16th century it was obviously northern Italy. By a huge margin. After that it was France. England first became important at the time of the Industrial Revolution and its imperial expansion, but it had no cultural prestige at that point. That came later still.

    This isn’t true. England was unimportant in European politics and economics until the 18th century.

    Don’t be silly. England was quite important from 1066 on.

    It was culturally unimportant until the 19th.

    Well, only if you don’t count nobodies like Isaac Newton, John Locke,Shakespeare, Thomas Hobbes, Francis Bacon…..

    England first became important at the time of the Industrial Revolution and its imperial expansion, but it had no cultural prestige at that point. That came later still.

    MMM, Voltaire felt quite differently:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letters_on_the_English

    • Replies: @Glossy
    Here is a link to a pie chart showing the distribution of books printed before 1500 by language:

    https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Incunabula_distribution_by_language.png

    0.8% of early printed books were in English. In comparison 10.8% were printed in German, 8% in Italian, 5.7% in French, 1.9% in Dutch and 1.4% in Spanish. I don't have the data for the 16th or 17th centuries, but my impression is that things did not improve for the English language very much in them. French would have gone up by a lot of course. Latin and Italian would have gone down. French and German languages (and cultures) still had more prestige than English language and culture as late as 1914, though by that time England was closing in on them.
    , @Steve Sailer
    The English state could project enough power to fight a Hundred Years War to control France from 1337 to 1453, with almost all the fighting done on the Continent. The English eventually lost, but it was more of an adventure for the English. The English monarchy could punch above its weight in part because of its fairly unified and secure island base. The English could manipulate alliances on the Continent, while its Continental rivals were stuck with trying to inspire the Scottish or Irish to rebel, a strategy that had a long record of failing to be decisive up through 1916.

    The Wikipedia summary of the Hundred Years War is pretty good:

    "The war owes its historical significance to multiple factors. By its end, feudal armies had been largely replaced by professional troops, and aristocratic dominance had yielded to a democratisation of the manpower and weapons of armies. Although primarily a dynastic conflict, the war gave impetus to ideas of French and English nationalism. The wider introduction of weapons and tactics supplanted the feudal armies where heavy cavalry had dominated. The war precipitated the creation of the first standing armies in Western Europe since the time of the Western Roman Empire, composed largely of commoners and thus helping to change their role in warfare. With respect to the belligerents, English political forces over time came to oppose the costly venture. The dissatisfaction of English nobles, resulting from the loss of their continental landholdings, became a factor leading to the civil wars known as the Wars of the Roses (1455–1487). In France, civil wars, deadly epidemics, famines, and bandit free-companies of mercenaries reduced the population drastically. Shorn of its continental possessions, England was left with the sense of being an island nation, which profoundly affected its outlook and development for more than 500 years.[1]"
  40. anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous
    If "nationalism" can mean anything from "France" to "tribalism" and "clannism", than you need some new and better terms and definitions.

    This seems to be the source of the debate over how long "nationalism" has been around. Different people have different definitions and conceptions of "nationalism". Some people restrict it to a modern phenomenon, while others have a more vague or general notion and thus project it very far into the past.

    I think the underlying thing is the same but the scale of that thing varies so nationalism is the name for the thing at one scale and tribalism is the name for the thing at a smaller scale.

    It’s the thing itself that doesn’t have a name (but it’s related to circles of sympathy).

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    "Nationalism" implies a specific scale. It doesn't refer to something in general.
  41. Nationalism and democracy where citizens are consulted about who can live in one’s town, state and (cough) nation is so outdated. The new hotness: Secret collusion between lynchpin local officials and the federal government. Chinese-style top-down technocratic authority is so much more efficient, I think.

    “I know there is a good-heartedness to this city,” said Huebner, the hospital president, whose paternal grandparents fled Nazi Germany in 1939. “If you come here and want to help and make the community better, Rutlanders will welcome you with open arms.”

    The mayor’s strategy of keeping the plan quiet is supported by the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program, which is a field office of the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. The program’s executive director, Amila Merdzanovic, called the hidden talks “the right thing to do — to move slowly, keep it to a small circle of people, and then expand.”

    Merdzanovic, in e-mails obtained by the Rutland Herald, had stressed the importance of secrecy all along.

    “I cannot emphasize enough the importance of not sharing the information, even if it is confidentially,” she wrote April 10 to the director of the State Refugee Office.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    In Vermont, Burlington is the hippie-socialist paradise, and Montpelier is the bourgeois seat of government, so of course they are not expected to absorb this new bit of new diversity. Rutland, on the other hand, is pretty reddish by Vermont standards. Where other Vermont towns pride themselves on their Walmart-lessness, Rutland has one in the middle of town. Ditto McDonalds. So of course when it is time to bring in risky, costly foreigners, who is in the cross-hairs? Hint: not Bernie-ville.

    On another iSteve thread I asked why it is that Large, Well Capitalized Entities doing a mass-relocation project always seem to target a certain type of town to crush with their blessings. Given the secrecy, collusion, absence of democratic accountability, and preemptive shaming of any opposition on display here, "It's a conspiracy!" is looking more and more like the parsimonious explanation.
  42. “A nation are people joined by common blood, tongue and religion” – Hieronymus from Prague, at the eve of Hussite revolution. There are also mention in XV centuries that Hussites will ally with Poland against Germany, because “it is known from ancient chronicles than German tongue is an enemy of all Slavic tongues”.

    In early XIV century, German citizens of Kraków revolted against Polish king Władysław Łokietek (Ladislaus Elbow-sized). After the revolt was defeated, king ordered all Germans to be executed, based on simple linguistic test (who is not able to pronounce “Koło, soczewica, miele, młyn” is a German!). Throughout XVI and XVII century Polish literature is full with feelings of nationalism, special traits of different nations; in XVII there are calls to elect “one of our own” to be king, culminating in choosing the worse possible candidate, totally inept magnate Michał Korybut-Wiśniowiecki (Rusin in origin), whose only two advantages were that he was son of famous father and was considered “Polish” in a contrast to “foreign” candidates.

    It seems to me that nationalism seems to be rising and falling, as in case of history of my country I can definetely point to period with intense national feelings followed by more “multicultural” periods.

    • Replies: @AP
    The example of Michal Korybut-Wiśniowiecki demonstrates that the Polish ideology of that time, Sarmatism, was different from what is now called nationalism. At that time a "Pole" would have been a nobleman of Polish, Rusin, or Lithuanian origin (I think even Tartar settlers were included, but may be wrong about this); Polish-speaking, Roman Catholic peasants on the other hand were nobodies. The nobles were supposedly descended from Sarmatians (at that time, incorrectly seen as a Turkic people), while the peasants were Slavs and Slavs were good only for servitude.

    Tellingly, when modern Polish nationalists rebelled the (Polish) peasants (who had not yet been taught nationalism) revolted against them and slaughtered them, on behalf of the Austrian authorities.
  43. @Decius
    Formally, nationalism dates to the Peace of Westphalia (1648). But in concept, it is coeval with man.

    http://journalofamericangreatness.blogspot.com/2016/05/for-paleo-anti-hubris.html

    I would think the early Dutch Republic, which went to war with Britain in the first Anglo-Dutch war in 1652, has to qualify as nationalist.

  44. Glossy says: • Website
    @syonredux

    This isn’t true. England was unimportant in European politics and economics until the 18th century.
     
    Don't be silly. England was quite important from 1066 on.

    It was culturally unimportant until the 19th.
     
    Well, only if you don't count nobodies like Isaac Newton, John Locke,Shakespeare, Thomas Hobbes, Francis Bacon.....

    England first became important at the time of the Industrial Revolution and its imperial expansion, but it had no cultural prestige at that point. That came later still.
     
    MMM, Voltaire felt quite differently:



    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letters_on_the_English

    Here is a link to a pie chart showing the distribution of books printed before 1500 by language:

    0.8% of early printed books were in English. In comparison 10.8% were printed in German, 8% in Italian, 5.7% in French, 1.9% in Dutch and 1.4% in Spanish. I don’t have the data for the 16th or 17th centuries, but my impression is that things did not improve for the English language very much in them. French would have gone up by a lot of course. Latin and Italian would have gone down. French and German languages (and cultures) still had more prestige than English language and culture as late as 1914, though by that time England was closing in on them.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    What was distinctive about England was that it had quite distinct borders, typically ocean. In contrast, polities on the Continent tended to be somewhat arbitrary in extent.

    There were three main language groups -- Romance, Germanic, and Slavic -- and even leaving aside the question of their somewhat blurry borders, how do you divide each one up?

    What's now Portugal and what's now Romania, for example, are both Romance speaking lands but they are awfully far apart and probably would not be happy being under one rule, especially in a time before rapid communications. They're denizens won't be able to understand each other, so it makes sense to separate them politically. But how do you divvy up all the Romance speaking lands between Lisbon and Bucharest?

    Obviously, political actors fight, connive, marry, form alliances, sponsor educational and artistic efforts to build unity or difference.

    But it was not clear ahead of time how it was going to turn out. It's not a priori obvious that Paris would rule Marseille or that Madrid would rule Barcelona. (Perhaps it was clear, for historical reasons, that Rome would rule Italy, but that turned out to be a roadblock to Italian nationalism for some time due to the Pope ruling Rome.)

    On the other hand, England has had pretty obvious borders for an awful long time. That doesn't mean that London won't try to rule more land than just England, but it is striking that the idea of England, as say the territory represented by England at the World Cup, is not very different at all from what land the King of England ruled in 1000 AD.

    , @Mr. Anon
    "Here is a link to a pie chart showing the distribution of books printed before 1500 by language:"

    Given that printing was only invented in the middle of the 15th century, and that it took time for th technology to diffuse throughout Europe, that doesn't seem like a very relevant measure. It is true that cultural life in Britain was rather stunted in the late 15th century - unsurprising given that it was engaged in a rather bitter fratricidal war for most of that time.
    , @syonredux

    Here is a link to a pie chart showing the distribution of books printed before 1500 by language:

    https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Incunabula_distribution_by_language.png

    0.8% of early printed books were in English. In comparison 10.8% were printed in German, 8% in Italian, 5.7% in French, 1.9% in Dutch and 1.4% in Spanish.


    I don’t have the data for the 16th or 17th centuries, but my impression is that things did not improve for the English language very much in them. French would have gone up by a lot of course. Latin and Italian would have gone down. French and German languages (and cultures) still had more prestige than English language and culture as late as 1914, though by that time England was closing in on them.
     
    Dear fellow, no one is arguing that Germany, France, and Italy are not important nations.

    I'm simply pointing out that your notion that the Anglosphere was culturally unimportant prior to the 19th century is the height of absurdity.Again, Newton was an Anglo. So were David Hume (you know, the fellow who awoke Kant from his dogmatic slumber....), Berkeley, Wallis, Robert Hooke, Robert Boyle, Priestly, etc, etc. Then there's the massive impact that Shakespeare had on the German Romantics, the Richardson fad that swept France in the 18th century, etc.
  45. @James Braxton
    Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father's house, To the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed."

    Yep. Even if you attribute that to a translation that projects modern fixations backwards, the translation goes back at least 400 years.

  46. @whorefinder
    I don't know about politically unified.

    The War of the Roses, the Henry VIII and other 16th Century Rules, and the English Civil War all point to a land that was deeply divided politically (and religiously) for a long period of time. And America itself helped to heal this divide---religious splinter groups that could have been a real political dividing force sailed off to the U.S. and founded their own colonies, relieving the pressure on the homeland.

    We tend to forget about those periods because the English crown got unified and the English of the 20th Century started really downplaying religion. (It's a bit how we forget the American Revolution was really a Masonic conspiracy---because the Masons won and are the good guys of our history).

    There were also plots by various disaffected lords to backdoor the French in and become a vassal to them, or else carve out a kingdom separate from whatever the French took.

    And Scotland was actually a real live threat to invade and possibly take over for about 600 of those years following 1066--if it had ever gotten organized and permanently acquired Berwick-upon-Tweed.

    And the Crown for hundreds of years was in perpetual battle with both local lords and the Church for power. All of those ancient legal rights we talk about today---trial by jury, grand jury indictments, habeas corpus, etc.--- were really a result of one group (Crown loyalists, local nobles, or the Church) using them as a legal maneuver to steal power from one of the other two groups. These jurisdictions were very separate from one another and did not get along. It was only the Glorious Revolution and the installment of William & Mary that made England "England"---and they were Dutch.

    Then again, I think we're all partial to a Whig view of history now and then. Like how some people think it was "inevitable" that the 13 colonies form one country, or that the Union would win the Civil War.

    “The War of the Roses, the Henry VIII and other 16th Century Rules, and the English Civil War all point to a land that was deeply divided politically (and religiously) for a long period of time.”

    But none of those conflicts affected the idea of England as a nation or the English as a people. They were conflicts to decide what sort of nation England would be. We were pretty divided over the General Strike of 1926 and the Munich agreement, too. And when Catholicism was marginalised or illegal, we divided over church versus chapel. That’s not unhealthy.

    Now the two main UK political parties are essentially the same, and that IS unhealthy.

    Another example for Steve might be France in the time of Joan of Arc, certainly a unifying figure. Scotland under Wallace too.

  47. @Glossy
    Here is a link to a pie chart showing the distribution of books printed before 1500 by language:

    https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Incunabula_distribution_by_language.png

    0.8% of early printed books were in English. In comparison 10.8% were printed in German, 8% in Italian, 5.7% in French, 1.9% in Dutch and 1.4% in Spanish. I don't have the data for the 16th or 17th centuries, but my impression is that things did not improve for the English language very much in them. French would have gone up by a lot of course. Latin and Italian would have gone down. French and German languages (and cultures) still had more prestige than English language and culture as late as 1914, though by that time England was closing in on them.

    What was distinctive about England was that it had quite distinct borders, typically ocean. In contrast, polities on the Continent tended to be somewhat arbitrary in extent.

    There were three main language groups — Romance, Germanic, and Slavic — and even leaving aside the question of their somewhat blurry borders, how do you divide each one up?

    What’s now Portugal and what’s now Romania, for example, are both Romance speaking lands but they are awfully far apart and probably would not be happy being under one rule, especially in a time before rapid communications. They’re denizens won’t be able to understand each other, so it makes sense to separate them politically. But how do you divvy up all the Romance speaking lands between Lisbon and Bucharest?

    Obviously, political actors fight, connive, marry, form alliances, sponsor educational and artistic efforts to build unity or difference.

    But it was not clear ahead of time how it was going to turn out. It’s not a priori obvious that Paris would rule Marseille or that Madrid would rule Barcelona. (Perhaps it was clear, for historical reasons, that Rome would rule Italy, but that turned out to be a roadblock to Italian nationalism for some time due to the Pope ruling Rome.)

    On the other hand, England has had pretty obvious borders for an awful long time. That doesn’t mean that London won’t try to rule more land than just England, but it is striking that the idea of England, as say the territory represented by England at the World Cup, is not very different at all from what land the King of England ruled in 1000 AD.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    I think the missing link here is language. Yes, Portuguese and Romanians both speak Romance languages, but they are not mutually intelligible. The Spanish spoken in Madrid and the Spanish spoken in Barcelona were mutually intelligible, at least by the people who mattered. Ditto Paris and Marseilles. So there was an element of pre-ordained destiny that Madrid/Barcelona and Paris/Marseilles would end up sharing their respective nations while Lisbon/Bucharest would not.

    Obviously, local circumstance and history would go a long way to determining when and how national unification would occur, but the general tendency for nation forming along linguistic lines has been thus since at least the fall of ancient Rome, ... or maybe the fall of the Tower of Babylon.

    , @Glossy
    Steve, Iberia and Italy have natural borders. The only aberration from the expected result there is Portugal's independence.

    One could argue that Gaul/France has natural borders too - the Pyriness, the Alpes, the Rhine and the sea.

    As I said before, Italia, Hispania, Gallia, Germania and Britannia were very important categories in Roman times.

    Real, centralized states disappeared from Europe during the Dark Ages and started to come back in the 15th century. I don't think it's a coincidence that when they came back, these old Roman categories served as their bases.

    These were natural categories. You say this only about England because of your Anglo-centrism, but in fact all five were natural, Italy and Spain spectacularly so.

    Also, you make it seem as if nationalism is tied to centralized statehood. German nationalism existed for a long time before Bismarck. Spaniards and Italians continued to call themselves that all through the Dark and Middle Ages. Spaniards built a state on that foundation in the 15th century while Italians didn't, but both were real nationalisms.
  48. Glossy says: • Website
    @J1234
    Mazower:

    (Even French peasants, as another historian, Eugen Weber, reminds us, began thinking of themselves as French only rather recently.)
     
    It's well known that many French people believe their national origins started with Clovis around the year 500 AD. In fact, the name "Louis" (as in the XIV and the XVI...as well as countless non-royals) was a more modern version of the name Clovis, and was a tribute to him. To paint national identity in France as a recent thing seems fraudulent.

    Clovis and his men brought the name France to Gallia, but they did not change the genetics or the language of that land much. Ancient Romans talked about the Gallic national character. The borders of their Gaul were similar to the borders of modern France. The principal divisions of Western Europe in Roman times were Italia, Hispania, Gallia, Britannia and Germania. These large regions ended up having distinct populations because they have natural borders.

  49. @J1234
    Mazower:

    (Even French peasants, as another historian, Eugen Weber, reminds us, began thinking of themselves as French only rather recently.)
     
    It's well known that many French people believe their national origins started with Clovis around the year 500 AD. In fact, the name "Louis" (as in the XIV and the XVI...as well as countless non-royals) was a more modern version of the name Clovis, and was a tribute to him. To paint national identity in France as a recent thing seems fraudulent.

    Neither Bretons nor Corsicans thought of themselves as French until rather recently and their are nationalist/secessionist/independence movements in both regions.. Speaking Breton in schools was punishable offense into the 1960s. The French government recently “reorganized” regions (a region is made up of various departments), at least partially with the objective of trying to reduce attachment to a particular region in place of France. People in Alsace were in the streets protesting their being placed in the same region as Lorraine. As the nation-state starts to fracture along racial lines with the invasion of Arabs and Africans, look for regional identity to reassert itself.

    • Agree: Nico
    • Replies: @yaqub the mad scientist
    The Jacobins, whose goals were actively promoted by the "Crowned Jacobin" Bonaparte, had this to say:

    "La langue d'un peuple libre doit être une et la même pour tous. .... ils l'avaient avilie. C'est à nous d'en faire la langue des peuples....Le fédéralisme et la superstition parlent bas-breton; l'émigration et la haine de la république parlent allemand; la contre-révolution parle italien et le fanatisme parle basque. Brisons ces instruments de dommage et d'erreur.

    "The language of a free people must be one and the same for all. Our enemies hate the French language. It's up to us to make it the language of all the people..... Federalism and superstition speaks Breton; emigration and hatred for the republic speaks German; counter-revolution speaks italian and fanatacism speaks Basque. Let us destroy these instruments of damage and error."
  50. @Alice
    My limited understanding was it isn't nationalism if it isn't related to the nation-state. So the English were a people, and England was their home, but it wasn't a nation. Lots of other ethnic, racial, and other commonalities of people have existed for thousands of years. But the loyalty to one's fellows or ones extended family isn't the same as loyalty to a system in which what makes you common with fellows is your citizenship.

    The latter is modern nationalism. (Not Nazism and not communism.) But modern nationalism doesn't work. Only took a couple hundred years to figure that out. Pharaohs had a much better run.

    No nations until 200 years ago? I’m sure my fellow Scots will be delighted to learn that there is no point in celebrating the 1314 Battle of Bannockburn anymore.

  51. Sean says:

    The Declaration of Arbroath of 1320

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/scottishhistory/independence/features_independence_arbroath.shtml

    Others analyse what the Declaration of Arbroath actually says. The Scots clergy had produced not only one of the most eloquent expressions of nationhood, but the first expression of the idea of a contractual monarchy. Here is the critical passage in question:

    Yet if he (Bruce) should give up what he has begun, and agree to make us or our kingdom subject to the King of England or the English, we should exert ourselves at once to drive him out as our enemy and a subverter of his own rights and ours, and make some other man who was well able to defend us our King; for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.’

    Extract from the Declaration of Arbroath

    Trump says if he losses he will retire to play golf at his new resort of Turberry (where Robert the Bruce’s castle stood).

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    A bunch of golf course architecture aficionados were arguing that the current revisions at Trump Turnberry ought to bring the stone ruins of Robert the Bruce's castle into play as a hazard, but I suspect it was wise of Trump and his golf architects to forego that. Instead, they are making the 19th Century lighthouse on the golf course into a guest suite for Trump's hotel:

    http://www.turnberry.co.uk/history-turnberry-lighthouse

    It would be a pretty awesome place of exile for Trump.

  52. Forty percent of Rome was composed of former “nationalists” ?

  53. The ‘are nations and nationalism modern or ancient’ question is a false dichotomy. What the ‘modernists’ e.g. Gellner and Hobsbawm are really saying is that the modern nation state, legitimised by ‘belonging to’ ‘a people’, and with government by them, or at least in their name, is the dominant and normative political system today, where it wasn’t before modernity. This is true; aspects of modern nations, like legal equality between citizens, and the idea of universal suffrage, are of course, modern, and today all states (except for oddities like Saudi Arabia or the Vatican), must pretend to be nations, whereas historically dynastic or religious legitimacy was primary.

    However the other constituent part of the idea of the nation, e.g. a community of people united by descent, language or territory etc., sharing common political interests and a horror of foreign domination, is as old as history. Azar Gat’s book ‘Nations’ is quite good for detailing examples of this phenomenon throughout history.

    Though as I said, I don’t think the so-called ‘modernists’ views are quite as ‘modern’ as they are sometimes portrayed as being. Here’s a couple of quotes from Gellner and Hobsbawm:

    – “It is no part of my purpose to deny that mankind has at all times lived in groups. On the contrary, men have always lived in ‘groups.138 Usually these groups persisted over time. One important factor in their persistence was the loyalty men felt for these groups, and the fact that they identified with them … If one calls this factor, generically, ‘patriotism’, then it is no part of my intention to deny that some measure of such patriotism is indeed a perennial part of human life. What is being claimed is that nationalism is a very distinctive species of patriotism, and one which becomes pervasive and dominant only under certain social conditions, which in fact prevail in the modem world, and nowhere else … It is not denied that the agrarian world occasionally threw up units which may have re- sembled a modem national state; only that the agrarian world could occasionallydo so, whilst the modem world is bound to do so in most cases.” (Gellner, Nations and Nationalism, p. 137-8)

    – “Friction between ethnic groups and conflict, often bloody ones, between them, are older than the political programme of nationalism, and will survive it.” (Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism since 1780, p. 164)
    – “So what is in doubt is not the strength of men’s and women’s longing for group identity, of which nationality is one expression, but (as the Islamic world shows) not the only one … What sceptics doubt is the alleged irresistibility of the desire to form homogenous nation-states and the usefulness of both the concept and the programme in the twenty-first century.” (Hobsbawm 1992, p. 187)

    So really the ‘modernists’ are focusing on nationalism as an explicit political programme when they say it is modern. They’re trying to delegitimise it as a programme, as they see it as destructive. But as far as the existence of communities of people united by descent, language or territory etc., sharing common political interests and a horror of foreign domination go, they’re not really saying this is modern.

    • Replies: @Rapparee
    Seconded. Since the dawn of recorded history, nations of various sizes have always existed, men have always felt fond attachment to them, and they have always defended themselves against other nations. Foreign princes and their bureaucrats have never ceased to be resented.

    What makes the post-Valmy world fundamentally different is the moral sense that any decent-sized nation automatically deserves its own sovereign state as an absolute matter of right. This idea, which seemed so self-evident to President Wilson and Garibaldi, did not seem obvious to anyone before the age of mass participation in Republican politics and "The Rights of Man". Nations, pre-Valmy, had unique, historically-grounded rights expressed through their Parliaments, assemblies, and traditions. They did not have abstract Rights to the expression of the General Will of all Equal Citizens. When the King's job, as expressed in his coronation oath, was to maintain inviolate the established laws and customs of the nation, his own national origin was of secondary importance. When sovereign states got into the business of radically transforming society from top to bottom, it became imperative that such power be wrested from foreign hands.
  54. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Nations have always existed, and the degree of national feeling varies with time and location: in some cases, clans have invited in foreigners to help in inter-clan conflicts; in some cases multi-ethnic armies have fought together for their emperor. What’s new is the belief that the nation-state is the only legitimate form of government, that all other types of polity are somehow unnatural.

    The UK is not a nation-state. Spain is not a nation-state. Russia is not a nation-state. My own country, Canada, is not really a nation-state.

  55. Nico says:

    I think it’s important not to confuse “national pride” and “national fervor” with nationalISM. This last insinuates something along the lines of a political doctrine, and yes, as Decius points out, grew out of the Peace of Westphalia and only reached its mature form in the French Revolution where it encompassed among others the policy of “Natural Borders,” etc.

    Notwithstanding the tensions still fed by the fragmentation into various factions of Christianity, nationalism was throughout much of the 19th century a mainstay of the left, as was economic liberalism for as long as the cosmopolitan elite and intelligentsia remained fundamentally aristocratic and Christian (see the “Holy Alliance”), and the industrial capitalist class retained the favors of the new and up-and-coming intellectuals.

    Nationalism and economic liberalism became right-wing positions around the beginning of the twentieth century, as the old order gave way completely on the international scene (successively with the dissolution of the Holy Alliance, the dismembering of the Papal States, World War I and World War II) and the progressive intelligentsia turned to Marxism. National integrity suddenly seemed like the best hope to safeguard religious tradition and local particularism, and conservatism was the best vehicle for the capitalists to hold on to their privileged position in the face of the rising rabble.

  56. @Steve Sailer
    The concept of "Bonapartism" -- rule by modernizing nationalist military men -- seems to have been forgotten, but it was a big deal for a long, long time: Bolivar, Ataturk, Nasser, maybe Hugo Chavez or Ariel Sharon as the last of the line.

    I still use the term, but to me Bonaparte’s imperialism is part of the package- spreading revolution from above and abroad. Also the Bonapartist paradox- how militarization not only can be a modernizing focer, but a liberalizing one- as Tocqueville pointed out.

  57. @syonredux

    This isn’t true. England was unimportant in European politics and economics until the 18th century.
     
    Don't be silly. England was quite important from 1066 on.

    It was culturally unimportant until the 19th.
     
    Well, only if you don't count nobodies like Isaac Newton, John Locke,Shakespeare, Thomas Hobbes, Francis Bacon.....

    England first became important at the time of the Industrial Revolution and its imperial expansion, but it had no cultural prestige at that point. That came later still.
     
    MMM, Voltaire felt quite differently:



    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letters_on_the_English

    The English state could project enough power to fight a Hundred Years War to control France from 1337 to 1453, with almost all the fighting done on the Continent. The English eventually lost, but it was more of an adventure for the English. The English monarchy could punch above its weight in part because of its fairly unified and secure island base. The English could manipulate alliances on the Continent, while its Continental rivals were stuck with trying to inspire the Scottish or Irish to rebel, a strategy that had a long record of failing to be decisive up through 1916.

    The Wikipedia summary of the Hundred Years War is pretty good:

    “The war owes its historical significance to multiple factors. By its end, feudal armies had been largely replaced by professional troops, and aristocratic dominance had yielded to a democratisation of the manpower and weapons of armies. Although primarily a dynastic conflict, the war gave impetus to ideas of French and English nationalism. The wider introduction of weapons and tactics supplanted the feudal armies where heavy cavalry had dominated. The war precipitated the creation of the first standing armies in Western Europe since the time of the Western Roman Empire, composed largely of commoners and thus helping to change their role in warfare. With respect to the belligerents, English political forces over time came to oppose the costly venture. The dissatisfaction of English nobles, resulting from the loss of their continental landholdings, became a factor leading to the civil wars known as the Wars of the Roses (1455–1487). In France, civil wars, deadly epidemics, famines, and bandit free-companies of mercenaries reduced the population drastically. Shorn of its continental possessions, England was left with the sense of being an island nation, which profoundly affected its outlook and development for more than 500 years.[1]”

  58. Sean says:

    http://www.historyextra.com/book-review/europe-struggle-supremacy-1453-present How do you write a history of Europe between the Turkish capture of Constantinople in 1453 and the present day without making it seem like a list of dates? The answer of Brendan Simms in his new book is both simple and brilliantly successful: take a strong thesis and argue it through from start to finish.

    For him it is “the primacy of foreign policy” which is the key to understanding the continent’s history. In his firmly expressed opinion, relations between states have been the dominant influence on every aspect of human life, from economics to culture. A generation or so ago, this would have been a deeply unfashionable line to take. The fall of the Soviet empire, the resurgence of nationalism and the global ‘war against terror’ have changed all that. The time is ripe for a revival of a grand narrative of international relations and this is it.

    It is not just any foreign policy, however. There is a clear geographical focus here too. Simms tells us on the very first page that the principal security issues faced by Europeans over the centuries have remained remarkably constant and so has “the centrality of Germany as the semi-conductor linking the various parts of the European balance”. Whether it took the form of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, the German Confederation, Bismarck’s empire, the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich, or the Federal Republic, German-speaking Europe has always been the fulcrum of continental and even world politics. As the great German philosopher Leibniz lamented in 1670: “Germany is the ball which the powers toss to one another, Germany is the battlefield on which the struggle for mastery in Europe is fought”. It was also where the major revolutionary ideologies – Protestantism, Marxism, Nazism – were born.

    This approach means turning on their heads many conventional wisdoms. For example, just to take the impact of foreign affairs on insular Great Britain: parliament revolted against Charles I because he failed to protect the Protestant German princes on whom their own liberties depended; the Glorious Revolution of 1688 was undertaken to restore England’s weight in the councils of Europe; the Union with Scotland in 1707 was made to prosecute the War of the Spanish Succession – and that war then made the union; and so on.
    […]

    http://www.coggs.polis.cam.ac.uk/laboratories-for-world-construction/westphalia-middle-east
    Below is a summary of the Treaty of Westphalia taken from Brendan Simms, Europe the struggle for supremacy, 1453 to the present day (Penguin, 2013).

    The Treaty of Westphalia has been seen by generations of international lawyers as the breakthrough for the modern concepts of sovereignty and non-intervention in the domestic affairs of other states. There is something in this, but not much. It is true that the treaty permitted German princes, for the first time, to conclude alliances with foreign powers. In practice, however, they had always done so. Moreover, European statesmen had always encouraged domestic dissidents in rival states and they continued to do so after 1648. In fact, the Westphalian treaties were nothing less than a charter for intervention: by fixing the internal confessional balance within German principalities, they provided a lever for interference throughout the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. They laid down the toleration of the three major confessions, Roman Catholic, Lutheran and Reformed (Calvinist). The political structure of the new Holy Roman Empire, though hierarchic with an emperor at the head, was a sophisticated form of Early Modern consociationalism, in which confessional matters – which was almost everything of substance – had to be settled by compromise rather than majority vote. Within territories, rulers were bound to respect certain rights, including the right to convert. Those religious minorities who had enjoyed toleration in 1624, were not only were guaranteed it for the future, but could not be excluded from certain civic offices.

    The revolution effected at Westphalia was also geopolitical. Spain finally acknowledged the independence of the United Provinces, holding on to Flanders and Wallonia. Sweden gained anterior Pomerania – which served as a kind of Calais protecting her southern coastline from attack – as well as the bishoprics or Bremen and Verden, together with their three votes in the German Diet. The Palatine was divided: the upper Palatinate remained with Catholic Bavaria (which was awarded an additional electoral vote), but the critical Lower Palatinate, which lay astride the ‘Spanish Road’ was restored to the Protestant Charles Ludwig together with the old electoral vote. So there were now eight electors in total. Above all, the Habsburg bid for ‘universal monarchy’, real or imagined, had been contained. The ghost of Charles V had been laid to rest.

    The geopolitical and the ideological clauses of the treaty were closely linked. Both Sweden and France had entered the war in defence of the ‘German liberty’ they deemed essential to prevent the Habsburgs from over-running the Empire and threatening their own freedom and security. It was for this reason that both France and Sweden insisted on being recognised as ‘guarantors’ of the Empire and the liberties of its individual ‘estates’. This nexus was summed up by the Swedish negotiator Johan Adler Salvius remarked ‘the Baltic sea will be the ditch, Pomerania and Mecklenburg will serve as counter-scarp, and the other Imperial estates will be, so to speak, the outer works’, of Swedish security. The Swedish chancellor explained further that his aim was ‘to restore German liberties…and in this manner to conserve the equilibrium of all Europe’. The link many early modern protagonists made between domestic liberty, the balance of power and the right to intervene could not have been set out more clearly.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    English foreign policy was pretty successful after 1066. England's famous battles -- Agincourt, Waterloo, the Somme -- tended to be fought in what's now Belgium, which is a lot more fun than fighting them in Sussex.
  59. @Steve Sailer
    "That is what we call a “nation”, and while the process was gradual, 200 years ago it reached it’s highest form in France, so much that all countries in Europe realized that they better become a nation or they would be destroyed by someone who did."

    Okay, but what was England for hundreds of years before that?

    After 1066, England was ruled by a French-speaking overclass, but by, say Chaucer's time in the later 1300s, pretty much everybody was speaking English. One reason Henry V is the hero of Shakespeare's most chauvinistic play is because he was apparently the first king to use English in his official documents. But of course that had a lot to do with him fighting the French.

    Are you sure of that? That people in Liverpool or Newcastle could understand Chaucer?

    One problem is that the modern understanding of the word “nation” implies that the whole populace speaks a common language and has a more or less common culture, which just wasn’t the case until universal education. The peasants in and outside Europe didn’t need to speak a common language and generally didn’t.

    At the elite level, well, to the extent that the English elite wrote (and tried to speak) in the same language which was distinct from everything outside England, you could call that group of people “the English nation”.

    But was Italy a nation in 1500? There were dozens of polities who hated each other. But they generally wrote in a common language (basically imitating Dante’s prose), which they spoke to each other, if not between themselves. That state of affairs was deemed to be close enough to the English or French nations that they eventually unified politically in 1860, but I’m not sure whether the 1500 Milanese or Venetians would have regarded themselves as belonging to the same nation. They certainly didn’t rally together against French or Spanish invaders the same way the French did against the English.

    Like saying “race doesn’t exist”, one could play this game forever. “Race” as commonly used isn’t very precise (Somalis and Nigerians both being called “black”), but populations with fairly distinct ancestries obviously exist. “Nation” as commonly used isn’t very precise (Montenegro being a nation, Dixie not), but population with fairly distinct cultures obviously exist, and the more distinct the culture (Greece vs Persia, England vs France, China vs Japan) the more likely the group notices the difference, which has political ramifications.

    There’s no obvious objective yardstick you can use to win this discussion. I think it’s more useful to just point out at what the denialist camp really wants to say (open borders!) than to spend time playing semantics. I like playing semantics but it’s not something you can win.

    • Replies: @The Man From K Street
    A really good book is Graham Robb's The Discovery of France, which in essence I think argues that the causal chain is completely backwards--nationalism actually preceded the consolidation of the nation! In France's case, nationalism was clearly emerging earlier than elsewhere--Joan of Arc broke ground (and shocked a lot of people) when she would speak publicly appealing to "Frenchmen" rather than people belonging to a particular province or a particular lord.

    And yet, Robb points out how the French national identity was really not completely forged until the 20th century--he cites evidence that regional dialects were still so distinct and mutually incomprehensible as late as WWI that some French regiments engaged in mistaken fratricidal battles. And there were witchcraft trials going on out in the sticks as late as the 1880s.
    , @szopen
    Maybe in Western Europe, but in Central and Eastern Slavic languages were mutually intelligible for centuries. Even today I have no problem understanding a gist of Czech of Slovak conversation.
    , @vinteuil
    "There’s no obvious objective yardstick you can use to win this discussion. I think it’s more useful to just point out at what the denialist camp really wants to say (open borders!)"

    Exactly. This guy Spandrell cuts to the chase.

    One could chew the fat forever concerning just exactly what counts as a nation, what counts as nationalism, what the distinction is between nationalism & patriotism, or between nationalism & tribalism, &c &c &c...

    But that's all to miss the point, which is this: who wins, and who loses, from open borders? Who wins, and who loses, from globalism?
    , @celt darnell
    I think, sir, you hit the nail on the head.

    Especially as those who push the "nation state is only 200 years old" line are globalists, multiculturalists and pro-open-door immigration supporters to a man.
  60. @Sean

    http://www.historyextra.com/book-review/europe-struggle-supremacy-1453-present How do you write a history of Europe between the Turkish capture of Constantinople in 1453 and the present day without making it seem like a list of dates? The answer of Brendan Simms in his new book is both simple and brilliantly successful: take a strong thesis and argue it through from start to finish.

    For him it is “the primacy of foreign policy” which is the key to understanding the continent’s history. In his firmly expressed opinion, relations between states have been the dominant influence on every aspect of human life, from economics to culture. A generation or so ago, this would have been a deeply unfashionable line to take. The fall of the Soviet empire, the resurgence of nationalism and the global ‘war against terror’ have changed all that. The time is ripe for a revival of a grand narrative of international relations and this is it.

    It is not just any foreign policy, however. There is a clear geographical focus here too. Simms tells us on the very first page that the principal security issues faced by Europeans over the centuries have remained remarkably constant and so has “the centrality of Germany as the semi-conductor linking the various parts of the European balance”. Whether it took the form of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, the German Confederation, Bismarck’s empire, the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich, or the Federal Republic, German-speaking Europe has always been the fulcrum of continental and even world politics. As the great German philosopher Leibniz lamented in 1670: “Germany is the ball which the powers toss to one another, Germany is the battlefield on which the struggle for mastery in Europe is fought”. It was also where the major revolutionary ideologies – Protestantism, Marxism, Nazism – were born.

    This approach means turning on their heads many conventional wisdoms. For example, just to take the impact of foreign affairs on insular Great Britain: parliament revolted against Charles I because he failed to protect the Protestant German princes on whom their own liberties depended; the Glorious Revolution of 1688 was undertaken to restore England’s weight in the councils of Europe; the Union with Scotland in 1707 was made to prosecute the War of the Spanish Succession – and that war then made the union; and so on.
    [...]
     

    http://www.coggs.polis.cam.ac.uk/laboratories-for-world-construction/westphalia-middle-east
    Below is a summary of the Treaty of Westphalia taken from Brendan Simms, Europe the struggle for supremacy, 1453 to the present day (Penguin, 2013).

    The Treaty of Westphalia has been seen by generations of international lawyers as the breakthrough for the modern concepts of sovereignty and non-intervention in the domestic affairs of other states. There is something in this, but not much. It is true that the treaty permitted German princes, for the first time, to conclude alliances with foreign powers. In practice, however, they had always done so. Moreover, European statesmen had always encouraged domestic dissidents in rival states and they continued to do so after 1648. In fact, the Westphalian treaties were nothing less than a charter for intervention: by fixing the internal confessional balance within German principalities, they provided a lever for interference throughout the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. They laid down the toleration of the three major confessions, Roman Catholic, Lutheran and Reformed (Calvinist). The political structure of the new Holy Roman Empire, though hierarchic with an emperor at the head, was a sophisticated form of Early Modern consociationalism, in which confessional matters – which was almost everything of substance - had to be settled by compromise rather than majority vote. Within territories, rulers were bound to respect certain rights, including the right to convert. Those religious minorities who had enjoyed toleration in 1624, were not only were guaranteed it for the future, but could not be excluded from certain civic offices.

    The revolution effected at Westphalia was also geopolitical. Spain finally acknowledged the independence of the United Provinces, holding on to Flanders and Wallonia. Sweden gained anterior Pomerania – which served as a kind of Calais protecting her southern coastline from attack – as well as the bishoprics or Bremen and Verden, together with their three votes in the German Diet. The Palatine was divided: the upper Palatinate remained with Catholic Bavaria (which was awarded an additional electoral vote), but the critical Lower Palatinate, which lay astride the 'Spanish Road' was restored to the Protestant Charles Ludwig together with the old electoral vote. So there were now eight electors in total. Above all, the Habsburg bid for 'universal monarchy', real or imagined, had been contained. The ghost of Charles V had been laid to rest.

    The geopolitical and the ideological clauses of the treaty were closely linked. Both Sweden and France had entered the war in defence of the 'German liberty' they deemed essential to prevent the Habsburgs from over-running the Empire and threatening their own freedom and security. It was for this reason that both France and Sweden insisted on being recognised as 'guarantors' of the Empire and the liberties of its individual 'estates'. This nexus was summed up by the Swedish negotiator Johan Adler Salvius remarked 'the Baltic sea will be the ditch, Pomerania and Mecklenburg will serve as counter-scarp, and the other Imperial estates will be, so to speak, the outer works', of Swedish security. The Swedish chancellor explained further that his aim was 'to restore German liberties...and in this manner to conserve the equilibrium of all Europe'. The link many early modern protagonists made between domestic liberty, the balance of power and the right to intervene could not have been set out more clearly.

     

    English foreign policy was pretty successful after 1066. England’s famous battles — Agincourt, Waterloo, the Somme — tended to be fought in what’s now Belgium, which is a lot more fun than fighting them in Sussex.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Agincourt and the Somme Battlefield are in what is now Northern France. You may be thinking of Ypres in Flanders which is Belgian territory. My Irish Great Uncle was killed on the first day of the Somme while my grandfather was sailing home from America to take up arms against the crown. Nationalism definitely had a full head of steam in 1916.
    , @Marcus
    Unfortunately for the locals, Belgium is a natural battlefield: to the north there's the channel, to the south there's forests then mountains. It's the logical route for invading armies traveling east or west.
  61. @Steve Sailer
    England has had roughly the same borders since something like the end of the Danelaw in 954 AD. The 50,000 square miles of England have been politically unified for almost all of the past 1000+ years. It was invaded and suffered elite decapitation in 1066, but emerged as roughly the same territory.

    Some kind of idea or emotion has been holding England together for an awful long time.

    I am reading Robert Tomb’s The English and their history, and it is clear to me that Alfred the Great was building many aspects of nationhood even when he only controlled part of the territory of Britain. He certainly was able to make laws, collect taxes, establish settlements, raise troops and set up schools and many aspects of governmental administration. I think the denial of nations is a recent affectation.

    • Agree: Bill B.
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Right, Alfred the Great in the late 800s had a rough picture in his head of what we would think of as England, which his successors filled before the end of the 900s.
  62. City-states like Rome, Athens, Carthage, Venice and Florence certainly had many characteristics of modern nation states. They were ethnically united, culturally distinctive, politically sophisticated, had mercantile trade policies and were cohesive and tenacious when battling foreign rivals.

    The main difference between these early city-states and modern nations isn’t culture but scale. Modern technology and communications make it much easier to run larger nations and maintain law and order on the periphery. Running a nation as large as France depends on a high level of organisation and technology, which is why relatively large nation states only emerged in the mid to late 17th Century. In a city-state rich area like Italy, there was also the issue of overcoming your well-organised rivals if you want to expand into a nation state.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Italy in Machiavelli's time and the Rhineland lagged in turning into nation-states in part because they were full of cities. "The Prince" is a handbook for how the Pope's son can outsmart all his rivals and unify Italy. It didn't work, though. The problem was really complex. Northern European lands weren't so densely civilized so a Paris or a London could come to dominate.
    , @slumber_j
    Right: Athens. Is nationalism not in fact the default setting? The other day in the Metropolitan Museum of Art I was reminded by some wall text of Pericles' Funeral Oration from Thucydides, which if it isn't an example of crystalline nationalistic expression I don't know what is...

    You know who also seem to have been pretty nationalistic? The Sumerians. For example.
  63. @Sean
    The Declaration of Arbroath of 1320

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/scottishhistory/independence/features_independence_arbroath.shtml

    Others analyse what the Declaration of Arbroath actually says. The Scots clergy had produced not only one of the most eloquent expressions of nationhood, but the first expression of the idea of a contractual monarchy. Here is the critical passage in question:


    Yet if he (Bruce) should give up what he has begun, and agree to make us or our kingdom subject to the King of England or the English, we should exert ourselves at once to drive him out as our enemy and a subverter of his own rights and ours, and make some other man who was well able to defend us our King; for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom - for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.’

     

    Extract from the Declaration of Arbroath

     
    Trump says if he losses he will retire to play golf at his new resort of Turberry (where Robert the Bruce's castle stood).

    A bunch of golf course architecture aficionados were arguing that the current revisions at Trump Turnberry ought to bring the stone ruins of Robert the Bruce’s castle into play as a hazard, but I suspect it was wise of Trump and his golf architects to forego that. Instead, they are making the 19th Century lighthouse on the golf course into a guest suite for Trump’s hotel:

    http://www.turnberry.co.uk/history-turnberry-lighthouse

    It would be a pretty awesome place of exile for Trump.

    • Replies: @CJ
    It would be a pretty awesome place of exile for Trump.

    When Donald becomes President he can stay in his own hotels on official visits to foreign countries. Save the taxpayer a few bucks.
  64. Israeli historian Azar Gat’s “Nations: The Long History and Deep Roots of Political Ethnicity and Nationalism” is probably the most comprehensive rebuttal of the Gellner thesis.

  65. @Steve Sailer
    England has had roughly the same borders since something like the end of the Danelaw in 954 AD. The 50,000 square miles of England have been politically unified for almost all of the past 1000+ years. It was invaded and suffered elite decapitation in 1066, but emerged as roughly the same territory.

    Some kind of idea or emotion has been holding England together for an awful long time.

    Effectively England dates to 1066. Before that its existence was fleeting and disrupted, afterwards secure. That makes it much, much older than France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, and so on. The other contender for very old country in Western Europe is Scotland. If you wish to ignore geological facts and class Iceland as part of Europe, you can add it to the list. In which case you might grin and add the Isle of Man too.

  66. @unpc downunder
    City-states like Rome, Athens, Carthage, Venice and Florence certainly had many characteristics of modern nation states. They were ethnically united, culturally distinctive, politically sophisticated, had mercantile trade policies and were cohesive and tenacious when battling foreign rivals.

    The main difference between these early city-states and modern nations isn't culture but scale. Modern technology and communications make it much easier to run larger nations and maintain law and order on the periphery. Running a nation as large as France depends on a high level of organisation and technology, which is why relatively large nation states only emerged in the mid to late 17th Century. In a city-state rich area like Italy, there was also the issue of overcoming your well-organised rivals if you want to expand into a nation state.

    Italy in Machiavelli’s time and the Rhineland lagged in turning into nation-states in part because they were full of cities. “The Prince” is a handbook for how the Pope’s son can outsmart all his rivals and unify Italy. It didn’t work, though. The problem was really complex. Northern European lands weren’t so densely civilized so a Paris or a London could come to dominate.

  67. @Dr James Thompson
    I am reading Robert Tomb's The English and their history, and it is clear to me that Alfred the Great was building many aspects of nationhood even when he only controlled part of the territory of Britain. He certainly was able to make laws, collect taxes, establish settlements, raise troops and set up schools and many aspects of governmental administration. I think the denial of nations is a recent affectation.

    Right, Alfred the Great in the late 800s had a rough picture in his head of what we would think of as England, which his successors filled before the end of the 900s.

  68. The only real difference from tribalism is the size of the tribe.

    • Replies: @anon
    I think that's the gist of it so the deeper question is what factors allow a circle of sympathy to widen to that scale.
    , @Almost Missouri
    As other commenters have implied, this entire discussion is really one about the scale of Group-ism. E.g., small Group = clan, medium Group= tribe, large Group = nation.

    But I think there may be a qualitative difference at the nation level. There are usually multiple clans and tribes speaking one language. The salient characteristic of a nation might be that it is the Group that finally unifies all--or nearly all--the speakers of one language. England became a nation when it contained the vast majority of all English speakers. France became a nation when it contained the vast majority of all French speakers. Italy became a nation ..., etc.

    This doesn't mean the Nation is new. Ancient Egypt did--as far as anyone can tell--unite all ancient Egyptian speakers. So, at least 5000 years of precedent.
  69. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer
    English foreign policy was pretty successful after 1066. England's famous battles -- Agincourt, Waterloo, the Somme -- tended to be fought in what's now Belgium, which is a lot more fun than fighting them in Sussex.

    Agincourt and the Somme Battlefield are in what is now Northern France. You may be thinking of Ypres in Flanders which is Belgian territory. My Irish Great Uncle was killed on the first day of the Somme while my grandfather was sailing home from America to take up arms against the crown. Nationalism definitely had a full head of steam in 1916.

  70. The Chinese have called themselves the Middle Kingdom since who knows when but it is much longer than two centuries. Isn’t that nationalism? Japan resisted Chinese invasions, for what? Nationalism?

    • Replies: @spandrell
    China never invaded Japan. The Mongols tried twice. They resisted because Mongols invasions aren't very nice. They started by occupying Tsushima and exterminating the whole population.

    Chinese have had a clear cultural identity indeed for three thousand years, but if nationalism just means "cultural particularism", then South American nations aren't nationalist, as their culture is hardly distinct at all.
  71. @SFG
    The only real difference from tribalism is the size of the tribe.

    I think that’s the gist of it so the deeper question is what factors allow a circle of sympathy to widen to that scale.

  72. I dislike the word nationalism but I prefer the word patriotism.

    As an example was the unification of Germany & Italy really a good thing.

    A further corollary is the Subcontinent where Raj gave way to India and Pakistan; wouldn’t an Imperial Confederation been better for all. Also in Iran, the Shah’s to create the nation-state really mixed and moved around tribal entities/ethnicities early last century.

    At any rate what’s done is done.

    • Replies: @anon
    "was the unification of Germany & Italy really a good thing."

    It probably was for the Germans and Italians. But less so for British imperialist politics.
  73. @unpc downunder
    City-states like Rome, Athens, Carthage, Venice and Florence certainly had many characteristics of modern nation states. They were ethnically united, culturally distinctive, politically sophisticated, had mercantile trade policies and were cohesive and tenacious when battling foreign rivals.

    The main difference between these early city-states and modern nations isn't culture but scale. Modern technology and communications make it much easier to run larger nations and maintain law and order on the periphery. Running a nation as large as France depends on a high level of organisation and technology, which is why relatively large nation states only emerged in the mid to late 17th Century. In a city-state rich area like Italy, there was also the issue of overcoming your well-organised rivals if you want to expand into a nation state.

    Right: Athens. Is nationalism not in fact the default setting? The other day in the Metropolitan Museum of Art I was reminded by some wall text of Pericles’ Funeral Oration from Thucydides, which if it isn’t an example of crystalline nationalistic expression I don’t know what is…

    You know who also seem to have been pretty nationalistic? The Sumerians. For example.

    • Replies: @Marcus
    Nation-statism is the difference. The ancient Greeks drew a sharp distinction between themselves and other nations, but they didn't see the need to unite under a single banner.
  74. josh says:

    Okay, but *something* developed in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Perhaps, we could call it revolutionary nationalism or republican nationalism. The whole idea of a kind of metaphysical spirit of the volk and a collective will seems to be an outgrowth of the post French Revolution split between liberte, egalite, and fraternite. The Young Europe movements were somethign new under the sun. Billington’s “A Fire in the Minds of Men,” which everyone should read, goes into detail.

    • Replies: @Bhroham
    Fair enough to say nationalism is modern. Nationalism is a political movement, an 'ism'. 'Isms' are quite modern things. E.g. the poor have always pushed for their rights, but 'socialism' is modern. I think the mistake some modernists make it that they see the idea of the nation (as a political community) as also being modern, when there are patent examples of it pre-modernity, shown best in the declaration of Arbroath. As Azar Gat says, modernity 'released, transformed, and enhanced' nationalism.
  75. @Decius
    Formally, nationalism dates to the Peace of Westphalia (1648). But in concept, it is coeval with man.

    http://journalofamericangreatness.blogspot.com/2016/05/for-paleo-anti-hubris.html

    Good Sir, are you THE Decius?

    http://journalofamericangreatness.blogspot.ro/

    • Replies: @Bill B.
    Perhaps Steve could do something pointing out that Trump has inspired his own academic journal...
  76. This is a good and fruitful thread.

    It’s been my impression that “nationalism” means more than one thing, just as the english word “love” means more than thing.

    C.S. Lewis wrote about _The four loves_, distinguishing between eros, filia (philia?), agape, etc.

    Similarly, with nationalism we have modern unification of a nation state (France post 1789) based on ethnolinguistic similarity.

    Perhaps this can be a civic nationalism–the early wave post 1789–establishing a civic nation, also with linguistic unification.

    There is also the post World War One “self-determination” wave driven by Woodrow Wilson’s 14 Points and the dissolution of the four big old dynastic empires (Habsburg, Ottoman, Romanov, and Hohozollern Germany (sp?).

    But we have the older proto-nations descrbed by Anthony Smith. Smith uses the term “ethnie” for proto-nation or older nation partly but not fully conscious of itself.

    We can have the campanilismo of the Italian City States. A city state patriotism. Some of the same sentiments, but smaller and more local.

    Walker Connor has written about ethnonationalism as driven by an ineffable sense of in group similarity / solidarity. He has worked to distinguish this as the “pure” nationalism, distinguishing it from the French Revolution type.

    Adrian Hastings wrote a good book now about 20 years old on the topic–he linked a lot of nationalisms to liturgies in the vernacular. By this, he was able to have a narrative thread that went into Africa as well–some (not all) African language groups have a Christian liturgy with emotional resonance. The Yoruba do–the Igbo don’t.

    In this sense, the Bible translator Samuel Ajayi Crowther did for the Yoruba something a bit like like what Martin Luther did for German. The German bible was a literary event–so was the Yoruba Bible.

    The implication is that Christianity (post Reformation) has a role of its own–it can be a factor.

    I’m writing this in a big rush, having just woken up.

    citation:

    Hastings, Adrian. 1993. The construction of nationhood. Ethnicity, religion, and nationalism.

  77. @Intelligent Dasein
    I would think that nationalism is simply identical with realpolitik per se. There is no other point to politics than to advance the nation's cause. The confusion arises because the "nations" here referred to are not those entities drawn up on a map by bureaucrats who send representatives to the UN. Those things are simply grandiose administrative districts. Real nations are born and die, they coalesce and divide, like raindrops on a windshield, and are never truly the same from moment to moment. The real nation is a felt unity between people in the melee of fighting life. The history of such nations is history itself, the theater of triumph and tragedy, over which those administrative wards occasionally form a thin crust which is constantly being superceded, like pillow lava flowing under the sea---flowing and cooling, then breaking through again. And real nationalism, which is simply politics divested of its ideological fig leaves, is what occurs there at the interface between fire and sea.

    In my head this comment is being read aloud like the speech at the end of blade runner

  78. Late Modern era Nationalism was deeply tied up with mass conscription as the preferred technique for raising armies; hence Valmy is counted as its birth. The balance of power has see-sawed back and forth over the centuries, but prior to effective gunpowder small arms, tactics and technology generally favored well-trained professional soldiers over massed amateurs firing in vaguely the same direction. When Europeans discovered that large numbers of ordinary men could be quickly trained and equipped to defeat smaller groups of professionals, they began calling simultaneously for conscript armies and Republican governments- the latter because “We regular Joes are doing the fighting- shouldn’t we be in charge?“.

    Mass conscription, though, tends to ignite dormant Nationalist passions amongst minority groups. People can get used to paying taxes to a foreign king, and to a foreign king picking all the judges and officials. People are less willing to send their sons off to die for a foreign cause, and will often turn their guns on the draft board rather than submit. The abortive attempt of the British government to introduce conscription to Ireland in 1918 did more than almost anything else to cement public support for militant Republicanism. The decline of Nationalist feeling and the decline of conscription in the late 20th century were closely linked.

    • Replies: @Bhroham
    Yes, and conscription is one of the ways in which modern Israel is like European states of the early / mid 20th century. As Yuri Slezkine says in his great book:

    "Israel of the 1950s and 1960s was not simply Apollonian and anti-Mercurian - it was Apollonian and anti-Mercurian at a time when much of the Western world, of which it considered itself a part, was moving in the opposite direction. In postwar Europe and North America, military messianism, youthful idealism, pioneer toughness, and worship of uniform were in decline, but the realization of the scale and nature of the Nazi genocide merged with a certain awkwardness over complicity or inaction to place Israel in a special category where general rules did not apply. The attempt to create a 'normal' state for the Jews had resulted in the creation of a peculiar anachronistic exception (admired and ostracized as such). After two thousand years of living as Mercurians among Apollonians, Jews turned into the only Apollonians in a world of Mercurians (or rather, the only civilized Apollonians in a world of Mercurians and barbarians)." (Slezkine 2004, p. 328)
  79. @Decius
    Formally, nationalism dates to the Peace of Westphalia (1648). But in concept, it is coeval with man.

    http://journalofamericangreatness.blogspot.com/2016/05/for-paleo-anti-hubris.html

    I think you can argue that nationalism or national identity can be dated to the 100 Years War. In the beginning, the English were using troops from all over Europe as were the various French armies. By the end, the French army was French and fighting for France and the English army was English fighting for the English king.

    Still, Greek generals figured out in the Peloponnesian War that men fought much harder on their own soil because they were fighting for something more than glory.

  80. Tribal feeling being in existence in Europe well before Valmy is right, but prior to that tribal feeling was from religion, religion from the Latin for ‘to bind together’. Europe was prior to 1500 the nation Christendom, and Christendom was subdivided into a bunch of separate and often warring political units. Sometimes the nation would get together and do something collectively like unite against a neighboring tribe that was bent on conquering them and fight a crusade but usually it was so politically splintered it couldn’t do stuff like that. After 1500 it split into subunits because of the Reformation, but though some thinkers and politicians had by then had thought that modern nationalism or the nation state might be a fine thing there weren’t any such things as yet in Europe.

    ‘Nationalism’ is tribal feeling based on having a common civil magistrate, the nation part of the nation state, is a bit older than Valmy, and most certainly did not just sort of happen to France bolt from the blue style, but it’s still relatively new, the first nation state in Europe being the Dutch, with their nation state dating to the mid 1600’s or so. The other interesting thing about the Dutch, is that unlike all the other nation states in Europe, it really did sort of organically arise, or more precisely was unplanned, all the other nation states of Europe, like England and France, came into existence as things that were deliberately planned by the respective states.

    Just to illustrate, one marker of nationalism is having a common language. Modern French is the descendent of Latin that was spoken around Paris, and most of the subjects of the King of France in say 1500 did not speak French, and their local descendent of Latin was not like the speech of the Parisians. That all the French speak French was the successful outcome of a long project of the French state, Richelieu’s Academie Francaise was part of it, that didn’t come completely to fruition until the 19th century.

    Likewise, the English Reformation was a completely top down affair, Henry VIII’s subjects were for the most part, with a small number of dissenters, quite happy Papists who were very content to practice their Popery and their Romish ways and the C of E was part of the nation state building project of the English Crown, which took hundreds of years to finally succeed.

    Lastly, here is an essay by Francis Bacon, ‘On the Unity of Religion’.

    http://www.bartleby.com/3/1/3.html

    One note too, there is a mistake in how they modernized the spelling. The ‘politics’ in ‘depraved politics’ in the second paragraph should read ‘politiques’ and means

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Politique

    as in they were early French nation staters or nationalists, who didn’t believe that there was a French nation state but thought creating one would be a good idea. Per the essay, Bacon thinks the only place tribal feeling can come from is religion and that thinking it can come from some other place is pretty stupid. Bacon was wrong about that, but, given that he was Lord Chancellor of England right around when he wrote it, one can be sure that there was no England in the tribal feeling sense, or the kingdom of England was not a nation state, during the reign of James I. So there was no England in the tribal sense at all before 1630, and I’d say that it came into existence, and then only amongst the upper classes, in the early 1700’s. So England is older and precedes France, but not by all that much.

    Lastly, one does kind of wonder if a nation state can persist if the state is controlled by people who don’t think of themselves as part of the nation, members of the tribe. How long would it take to kill off the nation part of the nation state once it’s there?

    • Replies: @Bhroham
    "one can be sure that there was no England in the tribal feeling sense, or the kingdom of England was not a nation state, during the reign of James I."

    But at the same time Shakespeare was writing stuff like "This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this england". and "Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'"

    Also Francis Bacon himself is supposed to have said he had three goals: "to uncover truth, to serve his country, and to serve his church"
  81. @Steve Sailer
    English foreign policy was pretty successful after 1066. England's famous battles -- Agincourt, Waterloo, the Somme -- tended to be fought in what's now Belgium, which is a lot more fun than fighting them in Sussex.

    Unfortunately for the locals, Belgium is a natural battlefield: to the north there’s the channel, to the south there’s forests then mountains. It’s the logical route for invading armies traveling east or west.

  82. @SFG
    The only real difference from tribalism is the size of the tribe.

    As other commenters have implied, this entire discussion is really one about the scale of Group-ism. E.g., small Group = clan, medium Group= tribe, large Group = nation.

    But I think there may be a qualitative difference at the nation level. There are usually multiple clans and tribes speaking one language. The salient characteristic of a nation might be that it is the Group that finally unifies all–or nearly all–the speakers of one language. England became a nation when it contained the vast majority of all English speakers. France became a nation when it contained the vast majority of all French speakers. Italy became a nation …, etc.

    This doesn’t mean the Nation is new. Ancient Egypt did–as far as anyone can tell–unite all ancient Egyptian speakers. So, at least 5000 years of precedent.

    • Replies: @SFG
    Right. I think the linguistic thing is more of a European-history thing, though. There were quite a few different languages in China for a while.

    It's one of these incredibly complicated questions, made worse by the fact that many other areas may in fact have been imitating Europe.
    , @anon

    But I think there may be a qualitative difference at the nation level.
     
    I think "groupism" is one part relatedness and one part imagined relatedness and as the scale of the group goes up the imagined element becomes more important.
  83. @slumber_j
    Right: Athens. Is nationalism not in fact the default setting? The other day in the Metropolitan Museum of Art I was reminded by some wall text of Pericles' Funeral Oration from Thucydides, which if it isn't an example of crystalline nationalistic expression I don't know what is...

    You know who also seem to have been pretty nationalistic? The Sumerians. For example.

    Nation-statism is the difference. The ancient Greeks drew a sharp distinction between themselves and other nations, but they didn’t see the need to unite under a single banner.

  84. @Chris B
    You should read Bertrand De Jouvenel’s “On Power” for observations on the link between Monarchy’s promotion of ties with domestic elites from outside of nobility for a more detailed look at the mechanics behind this.

    It is a great book for many reasons. I know I once mentioned it to Steve on his old blog, when he once asked his readers for book recommendations .

    In fact, you could argue that the more recent and well heralded French philosopher Foucault basically borrowed some of the ideas expounded by De Jouvenel and based his entire philosophy on them (with a healthy smattering of Nietzsche also thrown in).

    The other books I recommended were S/Z by Roland Barthes (before French literary criticism theory became crazy) and the two books by Jacques Ellul (a Roman Catholic anarchist) on Propaganda and Technology respectively.

    BTW Steve, maybe it is time again to ask your readers for book recommendations. The last time you did it several years ago I got some good recommendations which I enjoyed reading.

    For example some of your readers recommended the Flashman series by George MacDonald Fraser.

    I am now completely hooked on these hilariously funny ingenious historical novels and I am now on book six of the series (with six more to go!).

  85. @Steve Sailer
    What was distinctive about England was that it had quite distinct borders, typically ocean. In contrast, polities on the Continent tended to be somewhat arbitrary in extent.

    There were three main language groups -- Romance, Germanic, and Slavic -- and even leaving aside the question of their somewhat blurry borders, how do you divide each one up?

    What's now Portugal and what's now Romania, for example, are both Romance speaking lands but they are awfully far apart and probably would not be happy being under one rule, especially in a time before rapid communications. They're denizens won't be able to understand each other, so it makes sense to separate them politically. But how do you divvy up all the Romance speaking lands between Lisbon and Bucharest?

    Obviously, political actors fight, connive, marry, form alliances, sponsor educational and artistic efforts to build unity or difference.

    But it was not clear ahead of time how it was going to turn out. It's not a priori obvious that Paris would rule Marseille or that Madrid would rule Barcelona. (Perhaps it was clear, for historical reasons, that Rome would rule Italy, but that turned out to be a roadblock to Italian nationalism for some time due to the Pope ruling Rome.)

    On the other hand, England has had pretty obvious borders for an awful long time. That doesn't mean that London won't try to rule more land than just England, but it is striking that the idea of England, as say the territory represented by England at the World Cup, is not very different at all from what land the King of England ruled in 1000 AD.

    I think the missing link here is language. Yes, Portuguese and Romanians both speak Romance languages, but they are not mutually intelligible. The Spanish spoken in Madrid and the Spanish spoken in Barcelona were mutually intelligible, at least by the people who mattered. Ditto Paris and Marseilles. So there was an element of pre-ordained destiny that Madrid/Barcelona and Paris/Marseilles would end up sharing their respective nations while Lisbon/Bucharest would not.

    Obviously, local circumstance and history would go a long way to determining when and how national unification would occur, but the general tendency for nation forming along linguistic lines has been thus since at least the fall of ancient Rome, … or maybe the fall of the Tower of Babylon.

    • Replies: @Texas
    @Almost Missouri

    Southern "France" Spoke Occitan and many other languages, so it wouldn't be shocking if Italy or Spain managed to conquer them given all the historical connections between the lands. Ctalan and Aragonese and Basque especially aren't necessarily all that linked to Castilian Spanish. In fact, Galicia, the region long ruled by Spain, historically has much more links to Portuguese and would be ruled by Lisboa using this logic.
    , @whorefinder
    I think you may be rationalizing backwards.

    The reason why the Spanish in Madrid and the Spanish/Catalan in Barcelona are mutually intelligible today is because they were conquered and unified under one rule---the dialects have necessarily had to have some crossover for social expedience. The Portguese remained a separate land---even during a century or so of Spanish rule, they remained as distinct as Puerto Rico to the U.S. mainland.

    "A language is a dialect with an army behind it" is a quote that comes to mind.

  86. @Diversity Heretic
    Neither Bretons nor Corsicans thought of themselves as French until rather recently and their are nationalist/secessionist/independence movements in both regions.. Speaking Breton in schools was punishable offense into the 1960s. The French government recently "reorganized" regions (a region is made up of various departments), at least partially with the objective of trying to reduce attachment to a particular region in place of France. People in Alsace were in the streets protesting their being placed in the same region as Lorraine. As the nation-state starts to fracture along racial lines with the invasion of Arabs and Africans, look for regional identity to reassert itself.

    The Jacobins, whose goals were actively promoted by the “Crowned Jacobin” Bonaparte, had this to say:

    “La langue d’un peuple libre doit être une et la même pour tous. …. ils l’avaient avilie. C’est à nous d’en faire la langue des peuples….Le fédéralisme et la superstition parlent bas-breton; l’émigration et la haine de la république parlent allemand; la contre-révolution parle italien et le fanatisme parle basque. Brisons ces instruments de dommage et d’erreur.

    “The language of a free people must be one and the same for all. Our enemies hate the French language. It’s up to us to make it the language of all the people….. Federalism and superstition speaks Breton; emigration and hatred for the republic speaks German; counter-revolution speaks italian and fanatacism speaks Basque. Let us destroy these instruments of damage and error.”

  87. @Decius
    Formally, nationalism dates to the Peace of Westphalia (1648). But in concept, it is coeval with man.

    http://journalofamericangreatness.blogspot.com/2016/05/for-paleo-anti-hubris.html

    “nationalism dates to the Peace of Westphalia (1648).”

    Westphalia begins the concept of formalized land borders (land, not riverine) and international law to govern the relation ship of states.

    Nationalism in Europe was already present at the Council of Constance and the organization of the student bodies of medieval universities along national lines (German, French, Hungarian, Italian, English, etc.). Similarly, the Orthodox Church had fractured into national bodies with the decline in authority of the Roman Empire in Constantinople by around AD 1000. This saw the beginning of the Bulgarians and Serbians, as well as the de novo creation of the Romanians in Moldavia and Wallachia.

    In the Islamic east however, nationalism was tied up with religion until very recently. In the Russian Empire for example, the various Turkish tribes in Central Asia said their nation was “Muslim” until Stalin bequeathed them names, while all east Slavic groups called themselves some linguistic equivalent of “Russkij” – “Russian”. Similarly, the Ottoman’s created a national system based primarily on religion, so all Orthodox Christians got termed as “Rum” – “Roman” while Catholics were “Frangi” – “Franks”.

  88. @Jenner Ickham Errican
    Nationalism and democracy where citizens are consulted about who can live in one’s town, state and (cough) nation is so outdated. The new hotness: Secret collusion between lynchpin local officials and the federal government. Chinese-style top-down technocratic authority is so much more efficient, I think.

    “I know there is a good-heartedness to this city,” said Huebner, the hospital president, whose paternal grandparents fled Nazi Germany in 1939. “If you come here and want to help and make the community better, Rutlanders will welcome you with open arms.”

    The mayor’s strategy of keeping the plan quiet is supported by the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program, which is a field office of the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. The program’s executive director, Amila Merdzanovic, called the hidden talks “the right thing to do — to move slowly, keep it to a small circle of people, and then expand.”

    Merdzanovic, in e-mails obtained by the Rutland Herald, had stressed the importance of secrecy all along.

    “I cannot emphasize enough the importance of not sharing the information, even if it is confidentially,” she wrote April 10 to the director of the State Refugee Office.
     

    In Vermont, Burlington is the hippie-socialist paradise, and Montpelier is the bourgeois seat of government, so of course they are not expected to absorb this new bit of new diversity. Rutland, on the other hand, is pretty reddish by Vermont standards. Where other Vermont towns pride themselves on their Walmart-lessness, Rutland has one in the middle of town. Ditto McDonalds. So of course when it is time to bring in risky, costly foreigners, who is in the cross-hairs? Hint: not Bernie-ville.

    On another iSteve thread I asked why it is that Large, Well Capitalized Entities doing a mass-relocation project always seem to target a certain type of town to crush with their blessings. Given the secrecy, collusion, absence of democratic accountability, and preemptive shaming of any opposition on display here, “It’s a conspiracy!” is looking more and more like the parsimonious explanation.

  89. @Glossy
    My view is that England, due perhaps to its partly protected geographical location, is the straw that stirred the European drink over the last millennium.

    This isn't true. England was unimportant in European politics and economics until the 18th century. It was culturally unimportant until the 19th. It had several times fewer people than France, for example, until a few centuries ago. It was just harder to sustain human life up north until relatively recently, so there wasn't a lot of it there. And what there was, wasn't very sophisticated.

    Steve is a proud denizen of the Anglosphere. I'm assuming that some of his ancestry comes from the British Isles too, so this sort of exaggeration is expected.

    The straw that stirred the European drink... Well, from at least the 13th to at least the 16th century it was obviously northern Italy. By a huge margin. After that it was France. England first became important at the time of the Industrial Revolution and its imperial expansion, but it had no cultural prestige at that point. That came later still.

    England was unimportant in European politics and economics until the 18th century.

    This was true sometimes, totally false other times. Elizabethan nostalgia that started not long after her death obscured the fact that, at her death in 1603, England was indeed unimportant–the Treasury was bankrupt, and in military terms she was about as powerful in continental affairs as Denmark was at the same time.

    For a period of time in the late 14th and very early 15th centuries, though, England’s armies were unquestionably the best in Europe thanks to their secret weapon–the Welsh longbow, and its wool production gave it an oversized weight in European economic affairs at that time as well. The Wars of the Roses bled that away, but there was a rebound during Edward IV’s reign. Then the Tudors frittered away the money.

  90. Tex says:

    The characters introduce themselves when they come on stage. Enter the po-mo academic, tagged “Imagined Communities”. The title nails it, nationalism is a new thing, to borrow from Hobsbawm (another Marxist) it is an “Invented Tradition”. Anderson may have had subtle ideas, but among that class of academics, everything is a weapon. Whatever his intentions and ideas, the cultural marxists knew how to turn it into another means of attack.

    You see there are things that are real and organic, like, well, I’m not sure, but I expect those depend on what is in fashion, and things that are invented and imagined, like all your culture and you identity as a white American. Like the people who claim to be white, you just think you have some community with other Americans. Gender is just a performance, an act, not anything essential unto the core of your being. Being white or being American or even being a man or woman are just things you make up, like playing a game, so play a new one. I said PLAY A NEW ONE YOU FILTHY RACISTS! NOW! OR ELSE!

    Get it now folks? The left wants you to regard your identity as a construct, one that by its mere existence oppresses others. So you need to unburden yourself of it. And make it snappy you racisss!

    What we are fighting for is no less than the will and the right to claim our own selves and to claim our own nation. For anyone tempted to think of those as mere performances, inventions, or imagination, just ask yourself why do they spend so much bile on undermining them? They are thieves who tell us our family jewels are cheap costume jewelry, cursed even, and to discard them, so the thieves can run off with the loot.

  91. There is nationalism as an ideology, sovereignty for the People of X. This is primarily late 18th Century, supplanting something like the Divine Right of Kings, in that power is conceived of as flowing from the people to the leader, instead of from God to the ruler.

    In the same breath, you could claim nationalism is as old as the struggles of the Jewish peoples against foreign occupation in the Old Testament. However, it is unclear that other peoples held the same sense of exclusive identities, as you can reckon from the relative calm in non-Jewish quarters of the Roman Empire.

    However, is there evidence that people identified themselves primarily on the basis of nationality prior to the 18th Century–that is unclear. Further, I am excluding the Chinese, who I think pose an interesting historical case.

  92. I majored in modern European history, in the early 80s, and it was taught that nationalism a recent phenom corresponding with early modern Europe, treaty of Westphalia as good as any reference point.

    The earlier alternatives being tribalism, ethnocentrism, or rule by the Holy Roman Empire or caliphate…basically I think it meant the strong families throwing off the Pope or making him irrelevant.

    But it could have all been revisionism post WWII of course.

  93. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Some historians date back the emergence of French national sentiment to the battle of Bouvines in 1214 when the King of France defeated the combined forces of the Holy Roman Emperor and of the King of England. The victory by Philip Augustus was made possible by the significant presence of militias from towns in Northern France and Paris.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Bouvineshttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Bouvines

    John Landless went back defeated to England and had to make concessions (Magna Carta).

  94. @Bhroham
    The 'are nations and nationalism modern or ancient' question is a false dichotomy. What the 'modernists' e.g. Gellner and Hobsbawm are really saying is that the modern nation state, legitimised by 'belonging to' 'a people', and with government by them, or at least in their name, is the dominant and normative political system today, where it wasn't before modernity. This is true; aspects of modern nations, like legal equality between citizens, and the idea of universal suffrage, are of course, modern, and today all states (except for oddities like Saudi Arabia or the Vatican), must pretend to be nations, whereas historically dynastic or religious legitimacy was primary.

    However the other constituent part of the idea of the nation, e.g. a community of people united by descent, language or territory etc., sharing common political interests and a horror of foreign domination, is as old as history. Azar Gat's book 'Nations' is quite good for detailing examples of this phenomenon throughout history.

    Though as I said, I don't think the so-called 'modernists' views are quite as 'modern' as they are sometimes portrayed as being. Here's a couple of quotes from Gellner and Hobsbawm:

    - "It is no part of my purpose to deny that mankind has at all times lived in groups. On the contrary, men have always lived in 'groups.138 Usually these groups persisted over time. One important factor in their persistence was the loyalty men felt for these groups, and the fact that they identified with them ... If one calls this factor, generically, 'patriotism', then it is no part of my intention to deny that some measure of such patriotism is indeed a perennial part of human life. What is being claimed is that nationalism is a very distinctive species of patriotism, and one which becomes pervasive and dominant only under certain social conditions, which in fact prevail in the modem world, and nowhere else ... It is not denied that the agrarian world occasionally threw up units which may have re- sembled a modem national state; only that the agrarian world could occasionallydo so, whilst the modem world is bound to do so in most cases." (Gellner, Nations and Nationalism, p. 137-8)

    - "Friction between ethnic groups and conflict, often bloody ones, between them, are older than the political programme of nationalism, and will survive it." (Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism since 1780, p. 164)
    - "So what is in doubt is not the strength of men's and women's longing for group identity, of which nationality is one expression, but (as the Islamic world shows) not the only one ... What sceptics doubt is the alleged irresistibility of the desire to form homogenous nation-states and the usefulness of both the concept and the programme in the twenty-first century." (Hobsbawm 1992, p. 187)

    So really the 'modernists' are focusing on nationalism as an explicit political programme when they say it is modern. They're trying to delegitimise it as a programme, as they see it as destructive. But as far as the existence of communities of people united by descent, language or territory etc., sharing common political interests and a horror of foreign domination go, they're not really saying this is modern.

    Seconded. Since the dawn of recorded history, nations of various sizes have always existed, men have always felt fond attachment to them, and they have always defended themselves against other nations. Foreign princes and their bureaucrats have never ceased to be resented.

    What makes the post-Valmy world fundamentally different is the moral sense that any decent-sized nation automatically deserves its own sovereign state as an absolute matter of right. This idea, which seemed so self-evident to President Wilson and Garibaldi, did not seem obvious to anyone before the age of mass participation in Republican politics and “The Rights of Man”. Nations, pre-Valmy, had unique, historically-grounded rights expressed through their Parliaments, assemblies, and traditions. They did not have abstract Rights to the expression of the General Will of all Equal Citizens. When the King’s job, as expressed in his coronation oath, was to maintain inviolate the established laws and customs of the nation, his own national origin was of secondary importance. When sovereign states got into the business of radically transforming society from top to bottom, it became imperative that such power be wrested from foreign hands.

  95. It’s fascinating all the confusion in this thread. Mass representative democracy or the Nationalism of the sort Sailer wants to defend is just a couple of centuries old. The profs are right on this one, I’m afraid, Sailer’s citation to Shakespeare and Agincourt notwithstanding. Royalty and the aristocracy were not interested in their masses–saw and treated them as economic tools. It would not have mattered to them in the slightest-and they didn’t even think about it because it was so immaterial–if Henry V and Charles VI had agreed one day to exchange all of England’s peasantry with those of Burgundy or Aquitaine. Simply did not matter. It’s like a Landlord today going through tenants in his slum building.

    What is remarkable is that the elites of today want to return to the pre-Nationalism days of an aristocratic elite lording it over its expendable and pliant peasantry. What makes this pathetic is that at least the aristocracy of old always had its own blood first in the line defending itself while today’s elite sacrifice nothing of themselves. That’s what makes today’s elites so loathsome and vulnerable–they are physically and morally cowards. The aristocrats of yore were neither.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Absolutely not true at all.

    The Aryan invaders of Europe and India, amongst many others in recorded and unrecorded history certainly knew who they were, who they were related too, who their leaders were - and crucially, who they were NOT related too.

    The tale of genetics, only recently uncovered by DNA technology, tells us this. The tale of y DNA haplotypes is the tale of conquerors - and defeated female 'booty'. What happened to defeated males doesn't bear thinking about.

    The actual Polish people - and NOT their elites bewailed the disappearance of their nation from the 18th century to the 20th.

    There are countless over examples.
    , @CJ

    What is remarkable is that the elites of today want to return to the pre-Nationalism days of an aristocratic elite lording it over its expendable and pliant peasantry. What makes this pathetic is that at least the aristocracy of old always had its own blood first in the line defending itself while today’s elite sacrifice nothing of themselves. That’s what makes today’s elites so loathsome and vulnerable–they are physically and morally cowards. The aristocrats of yore were neither.
     
    .

    Good observation. Today's world is much more brittle than many realize.

  96. @spandrell
    Are you sure of that? That people in Liverpool or Newcastle could understand Chaucer?

    One problem is that the modern understanding of the word "nation" implies that the whole populace speaks a common language and has a more or less common culture, which just wasn't the case until universal education. The peasants in and outside Europe didn't need to speak a common language and generally didn't.

    At the elite level, well, to the extent that the English elite wrote (and tried to speak) in the same language which was distinct from everything outside England, you could call that group of people "the English nation".

    But was Italy a nation in 1500? There were dozens of polities who hated each other. But they generally wrote in a common language (basically imitating Dante's prose), which they spoke to each other, if not between themselves. That state of affairs was deemed to be close enough to the English or French nations that they eventually unified politically in 1860, but I'm not sure whether the 1500 Milanese or Venetians would have regarded themselves as belonging to the same nation. They certainly didn't rally together against French or Spanish invaders the same way the French did against the English.

    Like saying "race doesn't exist", one could play this game forever. "Race" as commonly used isn't very precise (Somalis and Nigerians both being called "black"), but populations with fairly distinct ancestries obviously exist. "Nation" as commonly used isn't very precise (Montenegro being a nation, Dixie not), but population with fairly distinct cultures obviously exist, and the more distinct the culture (Greece vs Persia, England vs France, China vs Japan) the more likely the group notices the difference, which has political ramifications.

    There's no obvious objective yardstick you can use to win this discussion. I think it's more useful to just point out at what the denialist camp really wants to say (open borders!) than to spend time playing semantics. I like playing semantics but it's not something you can win.

    A really good book is Graham Robb’s The Discovery of France, which in essence I think argues that the causal chain is completely backwards–nationalism actually preceded the consolidation of the nation! In France’s case, nationalism was clearly emerging earlier than elsewhere–Joan of Arc broke ground (and shocked a lot of people) when she would speak publicly appealing to “Frenchmen” rather than people belonging to a particular province or a particular lord.

    And yet, Robb points out how the French national identity was really not completely forged until the 20th century–he cites evidence that regional dialects were still so distinct and mutually incomprehensible as late as WWI that some French regiments engaged in mistaken fratricidal battles. And there were witchcraft trials going on out in the sticks as late as the 1880s.

  97. Even if the concept of the “nation” is only 200 years old, so what? It has proven itself a remarkable institution. The last 200 years or so have seen a greater advance in medicine, science, technology, food security and standard of living than the previous 5000 years. If we are going to replace that, we should know what we are replacing it with and why. I see no reason we should be governed under a transnational empire of bureaucrats and billionaires and no one has explained why we should.

    • Agree: Almost Missouri
  98. @Mike Zwick
    The Chinese have called themselves the Middle Kingdom since who knows when but it is much longer than two centuries. Isn't that nationalism? Japan resisted Chinese invasions, for what? Nationalism?

    China never invaded Japan. The Mongols tried twice. They resisted because Mongols invasions aren’t very nice. They started by occupying Tsushima and exterminating the whole population.

    Chinese have had a clear cultural identity indeed for three thousand years, but if nationalism just means “cultural particularism”, then South American nations aren’t nationalist, as their culture is hardly distinct at all.

  99. @Almost Missouri
    I think the missing link here is language. Yes, Portuguese and Romanians both speak Romance languages, but they are not mutually intelligible. The Spanish spoken in Madrid and the Spanish spoken in Barcelona were mutually intelligible, at least by the people who mattered. Ditto Paris and Marseilles. So there was an element of pre-ordained destiny that Madrid/Barcelona and Paris/Marseilles would end up sharing their respective nations while Lisbon/Bucharest would not.

    Obviously, local circumstance and history would go a long way to determining when and how national unification would occur, but the general tendency for nation forming along linguistic lines has been thus since at least the fall of ancient Rome, ... or maybe the fall of the Tower of Babylon.

    Southern “France” Spoke Occitan and many other languages, so it wouldn’t be shocking if Italy or Spain managed to conquer them given all the historical connections between the lands. Ctalan and Aragonese and Basque especially aren’t necessarily all that linked to Castilian Spanish. In fact, Galicia, the region long ruled by Spain, historically has much more links to Portuguese and would be ruled by Lisboa using this logic.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    Yes, Occitan and Catalonia could have gone either way: France or Spain. That's why I said, "local circumstance and history go a long way". Alsace and Lorraine are another two regions that could have gone either way: France or Germany. And, as you mention, Galicia with either Portugal or Spain. There are many marginal cases.

    Still, on the whole, there is a definite coalescence linguistically. In Southern and Eastern Europe it is confounded by the prominent geographic barriers of the Pyrenees and Alps. But look at the relatively barrier-less North and East of Europe. German speakers have coalesced in Germany. Polish Speakers have coalesced in Poland. Hungarian speakers have coalesced in Hungary. Russians in Russia.

    Another sort of proof is to look at the negative cases. The Basque language is NOT a romance language and NOT related to its neighbors. And Basque incorporation into Spain has NOT been as smooth as Aragon or Catalan incorporation. The exception proves the rule, as it were.
  100. @whorefinder
    Nationalism/patriotism infatuated the Roman Republic. Citizens went to war for the greater nation. They revered "Rome" so much that military standards and symbols of Rome carried near-mystical qualities for Romans---the capture of one by the enemy was seen as a grave occasion.

    It's helpful to think of "old nationalism" akin to "love for the extended family". Most conquering nations originated in small tribes of highly interrelated folks. Going to battle for land or to keep invaders out was thus enriching or protecting your blood line. As nations grew in size, they could keep this spirit of "family camaraderie" up if they kept travel and communication short between various parts of the nation ---hence how the vaunted Roman roads and Pax Romana kept the Romans feeling "Roman" for a good long period after they'd swelled to span three continents. If everyone feels like a close neighbor who shares in your culture and beliefs, then you'd be more willing to fight for them. Diversity is not a strength for a nation; conforming to the culture is.

    Romans were thus highly motivated by patriotism during their salad days. Emperors appealed to it. As did the conspirators against Caesar. As did the killers of Tarquinius Superbus.

    However, as the "diversity" of the Roman empire increased, the patriotism went down. Roman policy for decades was severe enforced integration for all those who wanted to become Roman citizens---Roman citizenship was seen as a great gift, not something bestowed to any conquered person. When a tribe wanted to become Roman citizens, they were instantly broken up and moved to the 4 corners of the empire, had their military ranks stripped, and basically told they had to give up most of their old ways. This integrated them with Romans and made them feel more Roman (and thus patriotic) and less whatever tribe they had been.

    Rome's greatest troubles came from tribes that were never broken up---the Goths. Other groups, such as the Jews of Palestine, were not broken up for hundreds of years, which led to Jewish rebellion after Jewish rebellion. It was not until the Jews were forcibly expelled and dispersed from Israel/Palestine in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD that the area became peaceful for the Romans.

    In short, nationalism and patriotism is as old as time.

    Diversity is not a strength for a nation; conforming to the culture is.

    Where does that leave you if diversity becomes a sacrosanct value of the culture and heaven and earth are moved to induce or force conformity to the value?

  101. @josh
    Okay, but *something* developed in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Perhaps, we could call it revolutionary nationalism or republican nationalism. The whole idea of a kind of metaphysical spirit of the volk and a collective will seems to be an outgrowth of the post French Revolution split between liberte, egalite, and fraternite. The Young Europe movements were somethign new under the sun. Billington's "A Fire in the Minds of Men," which everyone should read, goes into detail.

    Fair enough to say nationalism is modern. Nationalism is a political movement, an ‘ism’. ‘Isms’ are quite modern things. E.g. the poor have always pushed for their rights, but ‘socialism’ is modern. I think the mistake some modernists make it that they see the idea of the nation (as a political community) as also being modern, when there are patent examples of it pre-modernity, shown best in the declaration of Arbroath. As Azar Gat says, modernity ‘released, transformed, and enhanced’ nationalism.

  102. @spandrell
    Are you sure of that? That people in Liverpool or Newcastle could understand Chaucer?

    One problem is that the modern understanding of the word "nation" implies that the whole populace speaks a common language and has a more or less common culture, which just wasn't the case until universal education. The peasants in and outside Europe didn't need to speak a common language and generally didn't.

    At the elite level, well, to the extent that the English elite wrote (and tried to speak) in the same language which was distinct from everything outside England, you could call that group of people "the English nation".

    But was Italy a nation in 1500? There were dozens of polities who hated each other. But they generally wrote in a common language (basically imitating Dante's prose), which they spoke to each other, if not between themselves. That state of affairs was deemed to be close enough to the English or French nations that they eventually unified politically in 1860, but I'm not sure whether the 1500 Milanese or Venetians would have regarded themselves as belonging to the same nation. They certainly didn't rally together against French or Spanish invaders the same way the French did against the English.

    Like saying "race doesn't exist", one could play this game forever. "Race" as commonly used isn't very precise (Somalis and Nigerians both being called "black"), but populations with fairly distinct ancestries obviously exist. "Nation" as commonly used isn't very precise (Montenegro being a nation, Dixie not), but population with fairly distinct cultures obviously exist, and the more distinct the culture (Greece vs Persia, England vs France, China vs Japan) the more likely the group notices the difference, which has political ramifications.

    There's no obvious objective yardstick you can use to win this discussion. I think it's more useful to just point out at what the denialist camp really wants to say (open borders!) than to spend time playing semantics. I like playing semantics but it's not something you can win.

    Maybe in Western Europe, but in Central and Eastern Slavic languages were mutually intelligible for centuries. Even today I have no problem understanding a gist of Czech of Slovak conversation.

  103. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Nationalism as loyalty to one’s ethnostate has been around forever, but the concept of romantic nationalism in the Byron-Kipling sense is indeed that new. It arose with the increase in democratic politics and was in a sense the first propaganda. Before that, the state could compel it’s people to fight wars, but most European governments began to rely on popular support and thus needed to stir up their subjects’ inherent sense of loyalty.

  104. Kevin MacDonald hypothesizes that the Nazis (aka German nationalism) were a reaction to Judaism (Jewish nationalism).

    There’s never been a country with more than a 5% Jewish population that has not been racked by savage anti-Jewish sentiments. If Jews cohere and pursue their interests, as they rise, the goyim start to cohere and react.

    The stronger the goy gets in his racial, religious or national identity, the more dangerous it is for the Jew.

    The goyim seem to have many identities. Jews are first, second and third Jews.

    When the goyim wake up and notice that Jews, Muslims, East-Asians in their midst put their own people first, they tend to start asserting their goyisha interests.

    Perhaps it is best for the Yidden if the goyim satiate themselves with our TV and leave the governance to us who know best.

    How about that Kim Kardashian? Look at the squirrel!

    http://www.kevinmacdonald.net/lindemannreview.htm

  105. Rome behaved as a nation, at least up through the Punic wars – perhaps even into the early Principate.

  106. @Steve Sailer
    A bunch of golf course architecture aficionados were arguing that the current revisions at Trump Turnberry ought to bring the stone ruins of Robert the Bruce's castle into play as a hazard, but I suspect it was wise of Trump and his golf architects to forego that. Instead, they are making the 19th Century lighthouse on the golf course into a guest suite for Trump's hotel:

    http://www.turnberry.co.uk/history-turnberry-lighthouse

    It would be a pretty awesome place of exile for Trump.

    It would be a pretty awesome place of exile for Trump.

    When Donald becomes President he can stay in his own hotels on official visits to foreign countries. Save the taxpayer a few bucks.

  107. @Glossy
    My view is that England, due perhaps to its partly protected geographical location, is the straw that stirred the European drink over the last millennium.

    This isn't true. England was unimportant in European politics and economics until the 18th century. It was culturally unimportant until the 19th. It had several times fewer people than France, for example, until a few centuries ago. It was just harder to sustain human life up north until relatively recently, so there wasn't a lot of it there. And what there was, wasn't very sophisticated.

    Steve is a proud denizen of the Anglosphere. I'm assuming that some of his ancestry comes from the British Isles too, so this sort of exaggeration is expected.

    The straw that stirred the European drink... Well, from at least the 13th to at least the 16th century it was obviously northern Italy. By a huge margin. After that it was France. England first became important at the time of the Industrial Revolution and its imperial expansion, but it had no cultural prestige at that point. That came later still.

    “England was unimportant in European politics and economics until the 18th century. It was culturally unimportant until the 19th.”

    That is a ridiculous statement.

  108. @Rapparee
    Late Modern era Nationalism was deeply tied up with mass conscription as the preferred technique for raising armies; hence Valmy is counted as its birth. The balance of power has see-sawed back and forth over the centuries, but prior to effective gunpowder small arms, tactics and technology generally favored well-trained professional soldiers over massed amateurs firing in vaguely the same direction. When Europeans discovered that large numbers of ordinary men could be quickly trained and equipped to defeat smaller groups of professionals, they began calling simultaneously for conscript armies and Republican governments- the latter because "We regular Joes are doing the fighting- shouldn't we be in charge?".

    Mass conscription, though, tends to ignite dormant Nationalist passions amongst minority groups. People can get used to paying taxes to a foreign king, and to a foreign king picking all the judges and officials. People are less willing to send their sons off to die for a foreign cause, and will often turn their guns on the draft board rather than submit. The abortive attempt of the British government to introduce conscription to Ireland in 1918 did more than almost anything else to cement public support for militant Republicanism. The decline of Nationalist feeling and the decline of conscription in the late 20th century were closely linked.

    Yes, and conscription is one of the ways in which modern Israel is like European states of the early / mid 20th century. As Yuri Slezkine says in his great book:

    “Israel of the 1950s and 1960s was not simply Apollonian and anti-Mercurian – it was Apollonian and anti-Mercurian at a time when much of the Western world, of which it considered itself a part, was moving in the opposite direction. In postwar Europe and North America, military messianism, youthful idealism, pioneer toughness, and worship of uniform were in decline, but the realization of the scale and nature of the Nazi genocide merged with a certain awkwardness over complicity or inaction to place Israel in a special category where general rules did not apply. The attempt to create a ‘normal’ state for the Jews had resulted in the creation of a peculiar anachronistic exception (admired and ostracized as such). After two thousand years of living as Mercurians among Apollonians, Jews turned into the only Apollonians in a world of Mercurians (or rather, the only civilized Apollonians in a world of Mercurians and barbarians).” (Slezkine 2004, p. 328)

  109. @Glossy
    Here is a link to a pie chart showing the distribution of books printed before 1500 by language:

    https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Incunabula_distribution_by_language.png

    0.8% of early printed books were in English. In comparison 10.8% were printed in German, 8% in Italian, 5.7% in French, 1.9% in Dutch and 1.4% in Spanish. I don't have the data for the 16th or 17th centuries, but my impression is that things did not improve for the English language very much in them. French would have gone up by a lot of course. Latin and Italian would have gone down. French and German languages (and cultures) still had more prestige than English language and culture as late as 1914, though by that time England was closing in on them.

    “Here is a link to a pie chart showing the distribution of books printed before 1500 by language:”

    Given that printing was only invented in the middle of the 15th century, and that it took time for th technology to diffuse throughout Europe, that doesn’t seem like a very relevant measure. It is true that cultural life in Britain was rather stunted in the late 15th century – unsurprising given that it was engaged in a rather bitter fratricidal war for most of that time.

    • Agree: syonredux, AP
  110. @j mct
    Tribal feeling being in existence in Europe well before Valmy is right, but prior to that tribal feeling was from religion, religion from the Latin for 'to bind together'. Europe was prior to 1500 the nation Christendom, and Christendom was subdivided into a bunch of separate and often warring political units. Sometimes the nation would get together and do something collectively like unite against a neighboring tribe that was bent on conquering them and fight a crusade but usually it was so politically splintered it couldn't do stuff like that. After 1500 it split into subunits because of the Reformation, but though some thinkers and politicians had by then had thought that modern nationalism or the nation state might be a fine thing there weren’t any such things as yet in Europe.

    'Nationalism' is tribal feeling based on having a common civil magistrate, the nation part of the nation state, is a bit older than Valmy, and most certainly did not just sort of happen to France bolt from the blue style, but it’s still relatively new, the first nation state in Europe being the Dutch, with their nation state dating to the mid 1600’s or so. The other interesting thing about the Dutch, is that unlike all the other nation states in Europe, it really did sort of organically arise, or more precisely was unplanned, all the other nation states of Europe, like England and France, came into existence as things that were deliberately planned by the respective states.

    Just to illustrate, one marker of nationalism is having a common language. Modern French is the descendent of Latin that was spoken around Paris, and most of the subjects of the King of France in say 1500 did not speak French, and their local descendent of Latin was not like the speech of the Parisians. That all the French speak French was the successful outcome of a long project of the French state, Richelieu’s Academie Francaise was part of it, that didn’t come completely to fruition until the 19th century.

    Likewise, the English Reformation was a completely top down affair, Henry VIII’s subjects were for the most part, with a small number of dissenters, quite happy Papists who were very content to practice their Popery and their Romish ways and the C of E was part of the nation state building project of the English Crown, which took hundreds of years to finally succeed.

    Lastly, here is an essay by Francis Bacon, ‘On the Unity of Religion’.

    http://www.bartleby.com/3/1/3.html

    One note too, there is a mistake in how they modernized the spelling. The ‘politics’ in ‘depraved politics’ in the second paragraph should read ‘politiques’ and means

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Politique

    as in they were early French nation staters or nationalists, who didn’t believe that there was a French nation state but thought creating one would be a good idea. Per the essay, Bacon thinks the only place tribal feeling can come from is religion and that thinking it can come from some other place is pretty stupid. Bacon was wrong about that, but, given that he was Lord Chancellor of England right around when he wrote it, one can be sure that there was no England in the tribal feeling sense, or the kingdom of England was not a nation state, during the reign of James I. So there was no England in the tribal sense at all before 1630, and I’d say that it came into existence, and then only amongst the upper classes, in the early 1700’s. So England is older and precedes France, but not by all that much.

    Lastly, one does kind of wonder if a nation state can persist if the state is controlled by people who don’t think of themselves as part of the nation, members of the tribe. How long would it take to kill off the nation part of the nation state once it’s there?

    “one can be sure that there was no England in the tribal feeling sense, or the kingdom of England was not a nation state, during the reign of James I.”

    But at the same time Shakespeare was writing stuff like “This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this england”. and “Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’”

    Also Francis Bacon himself is supposed to have said he had three goals: “to uncover truth, to serve his country, and to serve his church”

    • Replies: @j mct
    Per Shakespeare and the ‘sceptered isle’ stuff, yes of course it’s in there. But… if you want to foster nationalism, tribal feeling that creates the nation part of the nation state, propaganda like that is exactly how one goes about it. In contrast, is there anything like that in Chaucer?

    If you’re going to do it one’s propaganda has to be appealing, in that it has to work. One thing that it will have to say is to tell the would be convert that he’s in the tribe already, and just say so and maybe he’ll think so. Another thing that one needs to say is that the tribe they want you to think yourself a part of wasn’t something some guy in the privy council just thought up, tribal feeling does not work like that, and now the govt wants you to do it, it has to say that tribe was unplanned and kind of organic, and pre existing, so it had to be founded in the past by unplanned forces.

    Just for that snippet, the ‘sceptered isle’ speech comes from Richard II and was said by John of Gaunt. First of all, John of Gaunt couldn’t have said any such thing, though I’d think that John of Gaunt could speak English, he didn’t usually do so, his vernacular was French, because he was (norman) French. If he did speak English, he probably would have sounded like Katherine in Henry V. Taking that as historically accurate, in that he thought that way or talked like that would be nuts, but it is there, so… why is it there?

    Also, this sort of propaganda might work while Good Queen Bess, a real deal Englishwoman, was on the throne, but when James I became king, James being really really not English, that wasn’t going to fly, so you do not see it.

    Lastly per Bacon, the ‘bands of society’ is tribal feeling exactly, nationalism being one version of tribal feeling, he’s addressing the topic of tribal feeling, and thus nationalism in a clear and direct way. Per him, tribal feeling comes from, and only from, religion. It’s not that he’s right, but that definitely means that there wasn’t any tribal feeling of the nation state variety in his day, Shakespeare’s stuff like that was propaganda, not an accurate picture of reality in his day. In his day, the subjects of the English Crown, if they had any tribal feeling over their family and friends, it was derived from religion, like say Syria today.

    Steve writes a lot about 'retconning', and I think his views on this topic are that he's a sucker for the propaganda retcon the English Crown did to create the English nation, and again they were successful, the English tribe is a real thing, and the tribal feeling of the English is quite genuine. 'Retconning' didn't start yesterday.

  111. @Steve Sailer
    England has had roughly the same borders since something like the end of the Danelaw in 954 AD. The 50,000 square miles of England have been politically unified for almost all of the past 1000+ years. It was invaded and suffered elite decapitation in 1066, but emerged as roughly the same territory.

    Some kind of idea or emotion has been holding England together for an awful long time.

    Not for much longer.

  112. @Decius
    Formally, nationalism dates to the Peace of Westphalia (1648). But in concept, it is coeval with man.

    http://journalofamericangreatness.blogspot.com/2016/05/for-paleo-anti-hubris.html

    Decius!

    I love the JAM! Best political work out there – by far. Nationalism does indeed have ancient antecedents, however I would propose that modern Nationalism’s first iteration was Gian Galeazzo Visconti’s Milan.

  113. Just read chapter 2 of this …it’s all y0u need to know.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    tl;dr

    Condense it down to two or three paragraphs and you'll have an audience.
  114. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Collectingdust
    It's fascinating all the confusion in this thread. Mass representative democracy or the Nationalism of the sort Sailer wants to defend is just a couple of centuries old. The profs are right on this one, I'm afraid, Sailer's citation to Shakespeare and Agincourt notwithstanding. Royalty and the aristocracy were not interested in their masses--saw and treated them as economic tools. It would not have mattered to them in the slightest-and they didn't even think about it because it was so immaterial--if Henry V and Charles VI had agreed one day to exchange all of England's peasantry with those of Burgundy or Aquitaine. Simply did not matter. It's like a Landlord today going through tenants in his slum building.

    What is remarkable is that the elites of today want to return to the pre-Nationalism days of an aristocratic elite lording it over its expendable and pliant peasantry. What makes this pathetic is that at least the aristocracy of old always had its own blood first in the line defending itself while today's elite sacrifice nothing of themselves. That's what makes today's elites so loathsome and vulnerable--they are physically and morally cowards. The aristocrats of yore were neither.

    Absolutely not true at all.

    The Aryan invaders of Europe and India, amongst many others in recorded and unrecorded history certainly knew who they were, who they were related too, who their leaders were – and crucially, who they were NOT related too.

    The tale of genetics, only recently uncovered by DNA technology, tells us this. The tale of y DNA haplotypes is the tale of conquerors – and defeated female ‘booty’. What happened to defeated males doesn’t bear thinking about.

    The actual Polish people – and NOT their elites bewailed the disappearance of their nation from the 18th century to the 20th.

    There are countless over examples.

  115. CJ says:
    @Collectingdust
    It's fascinating all the confusion in this thread. Mass representative democracy or the Nationalism of the sort Sailer wants to defend is just a couple of centuries old. The profs are right on this one, I'm afraid, Sailer's citation to Shakespeare and Agincourt notwithstanding. Royalty and the aristocracy were not interested in their masses--saw and treated them as economic tools. It would not have mattered to them in the slightest-and they didn't even think about it because it was so immaterial--if Henry V and Charles VI had agreed one day to exchange all of England's peasantry with those of Burgundy or Aquitaine. Simply did not matter. It's like a Landlord today going through tenants in his slum building.

    What is remarkable is that the elites of today want to return to the pre-Nationalism days of an aristocratic elite lording it over its expendable and pliant peasantry. What makes this pathetic is that at least the aristocracy of old always had its own blood first in the line defending itself while today's elite sacrifice nothing of themselves. That's what makes today's elites so loathsome and vulnerable--they are physically and morally cowards. The aristocrats of yore were neither.

    What is remarkable is that the elites of today want to return to the pre-Nationalism days of an aristocratic elite lording it over its expendable and pliant peasantry. What makes this pathetic is that at least the aristocracy of old always had its own blood first in the line defending itself while today’s elite sacrifice nothing of themselves. That’s what makes today’s elites so loathsome and vulnerable–they are physically and morally cowards. The aristocrats of yore were neither.

    .

    Good observation. Today’s world is much more brittle than many realize.

  116. @Alice
    My limited understanding was it isn't nationalism if it isn't related to the nation-state. So the English were a people, and England was their home, but it wasn't a nation. Lots of other ethnic, racial, and other commonalities of people have existed for thousands of years. But the loyalty to one's fellows or ones extended family isn't the same as loyalty to a system in which what makes you common with fellows is your citizenship.

    The latter is modern nationalism. (Not Nazism and not communism.) But modern nationalism doesn't work. Only took a couple hundred years to figure that out. Pharaohs had a much better run.

    To paraphrase the great poet Robinson Jeffers: For Americans, with neither language, nor religion, nor race, it is nation or nothing.

    But the 1965 Immigration Act made that impossible. So, I argue, Jim Webb should be Donald Trump’s VP pick: http://angrywhiteguysfortrump.com

  117. Okie says:

    i think Charles abbot speaking of the Yoruba liturgy and J Mct speaking of Francis Bacon locating the nation in Religion are on to something.

    The English nation is located in the C of E, Scotland and NI is located in Presbyterianism, and Ireland in Catholicism. they are all English speakers and and are all essentially genetically identical, but have different communities, out of which their culture derives. is strong evidence that modern foundation of nationalism coincided with the attempt to create a civic religion in France to supersede the Religious community ties that were pre-existing.

    Because we are so far along in the destruction of religious communities began in 1789, and we live in a country with a strong civil religion( you cant tell me what tied together the various states was just opposition to Britain , but also a secular founder and constitution worship that has it apotheosis and Jesus figure in Lincoln), Said civic religion has in this country been under attack since the 60’s,

    There is a earnest attempt in this age to make the media the new churches and unifier, but first they have to compete the destruction of the old gods.

  118. @Romanian
    Good Sir, are you THE Decius?

    http://journalofamericangreatness.blogspot.ro/

    Perhaps Steve could do something pointing out that Trump has inspired his own academic journal…

  119. @Steve Sailer
    England has had roughly the same borders since something like the end of the Danelaw in 954 AD. The 50,000 square miles of England have been politically unified for almost all of the past 1000+ years. It was invaded and suffered elite decapitation in 1066, but emerged as roughly the same territory.

    Some kind of idea or emotion has been holding England together for an awful long time.

    You should consider the possibility that England, a nation roughly coterminous with an island separated from a continent with a great deal of history, is an unusual case. (Japan is the other significant island nation next to a big continent with a history of successive, expansive empires I can think of, and maybe makes for an instructive comparison.) Genetic studies of the English have shown that, despite the history of periodic invasions and foreign rulers setting up dynasties (that eventually go native themselves), the English themselves haven’t actually interbred that much with anyone else since prehistory.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    "You should consider the possibility that England, a nation roughly coterminous with an island separated from a continent with a great deal of history, is an unusual case."

    Right. So my idea is that England set the nationalist chain reaction in motion by consolidating 50,000 square miles a long time ago, in part because it had mostly natural borders, useful both for defense and, more subtly, for solving the problem of where to draw the borders. By the 1300s, the English national government could project power into France during the 100 Years War, which inspired the mainlanders to organize into a polity even bigger than England's 50,000 square miles. Then the power of France inspired other national consolidations.

  120. The biggest differences in nationalism from the 18th century onwards were in degree, rather than in kind, although the magnitude of those differences are enough that you might be forgiven for seeing them as discontinuous. As many have noted, national feelings have been around for a rather long time. Some nations were better defined than others, England perhaps being one of the best examples.

    What really made the post-1789 nationalisms different than what came before was the degree to which the alternative centers of power had been effectively neutralized. Barons and bishops wielded a lot of power in Henry V’s England, often power that was effectively independent of the Crown. By the eighteen century, those independent power bases were gone. In other places, that power lasted longer, for example the delayed unification of Germany and Italy had a lot to do with the long tradition of German baronies under the Holy Roman Empire and the Papal States in Italy.

    Interestingly, the current pre-eminence of the Papacy can be seen as a consequence of this process. The Papal States were a barrier to the unification of Italy, but once was the Papacy was forcibly shorn of the duties of governance, it became the last authority someone could appeal to over the head of state precisely because the Pope wasn’t associated with any nation in particular. This is a very soft power these days, but a very real one, and one that has elevated the Pope relative to local bishops.

    Once the alternative centers of power had been neutralized, then the state had an increasingly powerful ability to turn the nation to specific projects. Citizen armies and mass warfare are one thing that this made possible, but also the Apollo Project and other great public works. The apotheosis of this was probably in the mid-twentieth century, with a slow decline since.

  121. @anon
    I think the underlying thing is the same but the scale of that thing varies so nationalism is the name for the thing at one scale and tribalism is the name for the thing at a smaller scale.

    It's the thing itself that doesn't have a name (but it's related to circles of sympathy).

    “Nationalism” implies a specific scale. It doesn’t refer to something in general.

    • Replies: @anon
    The general case is groups have an accepted outer boundary - so to my mind the question is what is the thing that causes the limit to be at one scale of another.
  122. Nationalism: I learned it from watching Jews.

    3,000 years old?

    I’m a humanist. As in, I think humans are best served by ordering their societies in a way that comports with human nature, not by having despotic globalists delusions like equalitarianism, heterosity (AKA “diversity), and open borders imposed on them by oligarchs, as if they were cattle. As in, all of humanity will benefit when we break the backs of the globalists and set people free to pursue their futures as they see fit; many will be best served by one form of nationalism or another.

    ***

    “Imagined.” Heh. Go look at a road. Now realize that it started in someone’s imagination. Then consider every concept we use; first, it was an imagined one. Without these “imagined” things, we wouldn’t even be in the stone age yet.

  123. Zionism, a specific and currently dominant form of Jewish Nationalism, predates the Jewish Nation-State by hundreds of years. Bookkeeping has come a long way since the ancient and medieval worlds, so hindsight is clearer with regard to Israel.

    There are many people alive today who are older than the state of Israel. So it’s natural for anyone sympathetic to Zionism to want to downplay the age and pedigree of other nationalisms.

    Mark Mazower

    Just sayin’.

  124. If “nationalism” can mean anything from “France” to “tribalism” and “clannism”, than you need some new and better terms and definitions.

    If “color” can mean anything from “blue” to “red” to “green,” then you need some new and better terms and definitions.

    If “automobile” can mean anything from giant tractors to tiny electric cars, then you need some new and better terms and definitions.

    Etc.

  125. Tex says:
    May 13, 2016 at 2:22 pm GMT • 300 Words

    AMEN.

  126. @timothy
    If I remember the book correctly, Anderson scarcely bothers himself with the North American Revolution and mostly discusses Latin America in regards to the "colonial" origins of nationalism. The idea that nationalism began there is obviously appealing to an academic with typical ingroup "leapfrogging" reflexes.

    Of course, he doesn't bother telling you that a young Bolivar visited Napoleonic France and was absolutely transfixed by what he saw. Nor does he mention that there were officers in the Latin American wars of independence who had previously served as military generals during the French Revolution, such as Francisco de Miranda... So Anderson's theory is a little perverse.

    Anderson knew Thailand well and considered it the epitome of a country effectively forced to develop a nationalism as a counter to hustling Britain and France on all sides in the 19th Century.

    Yet very clearly some kind of Thai nation, some kind of burmese nation and some kind of Vietnamese nation – to name obvious examples – had existed for a very long time before the arrival of the western imperialists.

    Historians often focus misleadingly on borders whereas in pre-modern times, outside of Europe, when populations were thin control of people was often more significant than control of land (outside of a core territory).

    What Anderson saw as the forced creation of nationalism was in fact the building of frames around existing ethnic nations and the drawing in tighter of cousin cultures. It was putting a ‘modern’ face on existing entitites.

    Just as Boliver – as timothy noted – was impressed by Napoleonic France the great reforming Thai King Chulalongkorn was hugely impressed by the British and Dutch empires on his visits to Singapore, India and Batavia and sought to replicate their systems of administration.

    http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/online_exhibit/odetoFriendship/html/King_V/index.htm

    This state-building process went into high gear in Thailand when a group of ‘Young Turks’ overthrew the absolute monarchy in 1932. These men were not forced to do this by outside powers but simply wanted Thailand to modernise at a faster rate.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Right. I mean, a huge question in history is where do you draw the line around who/what is in the polity and what is outside?

    The really famous guys are the ones who tended to draw enduring lines. For example, George Washington did it twice: he led the splitting of the 13 colonies off from the British Empire, then he led the unification of the 13 states into one federal state. Abe Lincoln is more famous than Jeff Davis because Lincoln's answer to the questions: can states secede? became the long-lasting answer.

  127. @Steve Sailer
    England has had roughly the same borders since something like the end of the Danelaw in 954 AD. The 50,000 square miles of England have been politically unified for almost all of the past 1000+ years. It was invaded and suffered elite decapitation in 1066, but emerged as roughly the same territory.

    Some kind of idea or emotion has been holding England together for an awful long time.

    Some kind of idea or emotion has been holding England together for an awful long time.

    Quick throwaway theory on what that idea or emotion is: England as a nation of common people with a common and largely-unchanged ancestry, but often ruled by foreign-originating or -intermarrying lords (Normans, Plantagenets, Stuarts, Dutch (Orange-Nassau), Germans (Hanoverians, Windsors)) needed some reason for those common people to go off and fight the cousins of those foreign lords from time to time (or, conversely, to prevent those cousins from getting a toehold in England). So make everyone “English” (or, later, “British”). Machiavelli observed that a ruler of a newly-acquired foreign province could do well to move his residence there and learn the ways of the locals.

  128. @Almost Missouri
    I think the missing link here is language. Yes, Portuguese and Romanians both speak Romance languages, but they are not mutually intelligible. The Spanish spoken in Madrid and the Spanish spoken in Barcelona were mutually intelligible, at least by the people who mattered. Ditto Paris and Marseilles. So there was an element of pre-ordained destiny that Madrid/Barcelona and Paris/Marseilles would end up sharing their respective nations while Lisbon/Bucharest would not.

    Obviously, local circumstance and history would go a long way to determining when and how national unification would occur, but the general tendency for nation forming along linguistic lines has been thus since at least the fall of ancient Rome, ... or maybe the fall of the Tower of Babylon.

    I think you may be rationalizing backwards.

    The reason why the Spanish in Madrid and the Spanish/Catalan in Barcelona are mutually intelligible today is because they were conquered and unified under one rule—the dialects have necessarily had to have some crossover for social expedience. The Portguese remained a separate land—even during a century or so of Spanish rule, they remained as distinct as Puerto Rico to the U.S. mainland.

    “A language is a dialect with an army behind it” is a quote that comes to mind.

  129. The argument that nationalism is coeval with mass literacy should not be ignored. The argument is that in preliterate times, languages blended, so the French-speaking Norman nobility and the Saxon peasantry could eventually merge their languages and all speak early modern English. At the border of the French and German languages, or at the border of he German and Slavic languages, various creoles could be created. With printing presses, however, the books, printed in the languages of the capitals, spread to the border areas and created sharp distinction among literate people. This caused them to identify more with the center than their near neighbors speaking a different language. Hence, 18th-century France became sharply defined. This resulted in the emergence of a pan-German nationalism, that eventually created a unified Germany. Thus, tribalism did not become nationalism until linguistic distinctions sharpened into national borders, due to mass literacy.

    All this talk of Henry V-era warfare seems to be ignoring the fact that the war was a three-way affair between England, France and Burgundy, and only two of the three ended up being “nations.”

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    But England suffered the problem of blurry boundaries -- should France and Burgundy be one country or two? -- less than Continental countries did because nature imposed fairly distinct borders. Linguistic drift was limited in England because the land mass was limited. For example, modern day France is almost 5 times as large as modern day England. To be that large required the French state to aggressively impose the language spoken in Paris on all sorts of recalcitrant locals who spoke a language that wasn't much like French at all (Breton) or was kind of like Parisian French but had a roughly similar claim to being a major language (e.g., Provence).

    The English did this to some extent (perhaps Cornwall is like Breton?), but they didn't have to be as self-conscious about it as the French because England is smaller and thus English had less linguistic sprawl and thus was more mutually intelligible.

    , @anon

    All this talk of Henry V-era warfare seems to be ignoring the fact that the war was a three-way affair between England, France and Burgundy, and only two of the three ended up being “nations.”
     
    That's the point of the OP. Latent "nations" that are still in the "tribal" phase can be forced into nations prematurely by outside attack.

    (Same with Scotland, Ireland and Wales)
  130. Tldr: the people who want you to think that nationalism was born yesterday call themselves a seven thousand year old nation.
    For the longer version listen to Father Matthew Raphael Johnson’s lecture on Nationalism in the Middle Ages, at link.

  131. @Whiskey
    Egypt had a nation that lasted nearly 4,000 years or so before the Persians installed puppets on the throne, followed by the Ptolemy family and then ... Rome. The Egyptians would have been surprised to see they were not a nation.

    In more modern terms, the Dutch became a nation in revolt **AGAINST** the Hapsburg trans-national dynasty. One of the more accurate slurs against the EU and Brussels is that they are essentially a modern Hapsburg dynasty without the great art and patronage of the Hapsburgs. The Dutch have been a nation essentially since the United Provinces threw out King Philip in 1581.

    Indeed the untold story of Europe is how nations that have been subsumed into larger ones, are still in revolt trying to be their own nations: Ireland (mostly successfully), Scotland, Wales, Brittany, and even Cornwall less so (as part of the Gaelic nations); the Basques and Catalans of Spain, the Veneto, Lombardy, and Milan in Italy (all long independent principalities and republics before Risorgimento), Corsica and Sardinia, along with existing tiny principalities: San Marino, Andorra, Monaco, and Luxembourg. The Serbs would be shocked to find they were not a nation, the same for the Poles.

    It is probably true that much of African nations are not real nations, but tribes that hate each other thrown together (like Rwanda or Nigeria). And Southeast Asia is a mish-mash; with certainly identifiable nations like the Thais, Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Laotians, along with Filipinos and others, while Indonesia might well be thought of as several nations like the United Kingdom under one rule.

    Even 800 years of English rule was not enough to erase the Irish nation; nor Italian unification enough to erase the memory of the Serene Republic of Venice.

    I too saw that article and thought it rubbish, something so stupid only a University Professor could write it.

    Modern European nationalism at any rate dates back at least to 1581, and you could argue that the Republic of Venice or Switzerland from around the 1200s could also qualify; modern European nationalism as it is currently understood is certainly far older than a mere 200 years.

    Machiavelli was able to end The Prince – first circulated in 1513 – with this cry for Italy to be reunited:

    “I have given much thought to all the matters I have discussed until now, and have asked myself whether the time is ripe for Italy to greet a new prince, to offer to a prudent and skillful man the prospect of forging a government that would bring him honor and benefit all Italy. So many things have come together that are favorable to a new prince that I believe there has never been a more auspicious time. As I have already said, the people of Israel had to be slaves in Egypt so that the qualities of Moses would come to the fore, and for the Medes to oppress the Persians for the greatness of Cyrus to become apparent, and for the Athenians to be dispersed so that Theseus could demonstrate his skill. In the same way, that we may see the prowess of an Italian prince, it has been necessary for Italy to be reduced to the state it is in at present: more enslaved than the Jews, more in bondage than the Persians, more dispersed than the Athenians, without a leader, without order, beaten, plundered, flayed, overrun, exposed to all manner of adversity…

    “This opportunity must be grasped. Italy, after so many years, must welcome its liberator. The love with which these lands that have suffered a flood of foreign armies will receive him will be boundless, as will be their thirst for vengeance, their iron loyalty, their devotion and tears. All doors will be flung open. What populace would not embrace such a leader? What envy would oppose him, what Italian withhold respect? For all here abhor the barbarian dominion. Your illustrious House must seize this matter with the kind of spirit and hope in which righteous tasks are seized, so that Italy shall be ennobled beneath its banners and under its auspices the words of Petrarch will come true:

    Prowess shall take up arms

    Against brutality, and the battle will be swift;

    For ancient Roman bravery

    Is not yet dead in Italian hearts.”

  132. @Glossy
    Here is a link to a pie chart showing the distribution of books printed before 1500 by language:

    https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Incunabula_distribution_by_language.png

    0.8% of early printed books were in English. In comparison 10.8% were printed in German, 8% in Italian, 5.7% in French, 1.9% in Dutch and 1.4% in Spanish. I don't have the data for the 16th or 17th centuries, but my impression is that things did not improve for the English language very much in them. French would have gone up by a lot of course. Latin and Italian would have gone down. French and German languages (and cultures) still had more prestige than English language and culture as late as 1914, though by that time England was closing in on them.

    Here is a link to a pie chart showing the distribution of books printed before 1500 by language:

    0.8% of early printed books were in English. In comparison 10.8% were printed in German, 8% in Italian, 5.7% in French, 1.9% in Dutch and 1.4% in Spanish.

    I don’t have the data for the 16th or 17th centuries, but my impression is that things did not improve for the English language very much in them. French would have gone up by a lot of course. Latin and Italian would have gone down. French and German languages (and cultures) still had more prestige than English language and culture as late as 1914, though by that time England was closing in on them.

    Dear fellow, no one is arguing that Germany, France, and Italy are not important nations.

    I’m simply pointing out that your notion that the Anglosphere was culturally unimportant prior to the 19th century is the height of absurdity.Again, Newton was an Anglo. So were David Hume (you know, the fellow who awoke Kant from his dogmatic slumber….), Berkeley, Wallis, Robert Hooke, Robert Boyle, Priestly, etc, etc. Then there’s the massive impact that Shakespeare had on the German Romantics, the Richardson fad that swept France in the 18th century, etc.

  133. “Goethe, who was there, consoled his Prussian comrades, “From this place, and from this day forth begins a new era in the history of the world, and you can all say that you were present at its birth.”

    Personally I’ve always thought the modern idea of nationalism arose somewhere between Machiavelli and Thomas Hobbes. Anything before that really seems to have its center of gravity as the Catholic Church. Martin Luther was alive during Machiavelli’s lifetime I believe.

    Up to and including the time of Hobbes, you have rulers like Louis XIV and the thought that monarch and state are one and the same. You actually start to see the beginnings of modern state bureaucracy in Louis’ helper Jean-Baptiste Colbert.

    The backdrop of Hobbes is the English Civil War, which included the execution of Charles I, the exile of his son and several stabs as a new government.

  134. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Wherever the ancient Romans went, they carved the legend ‘SPQR’, namely, ‘The Senate and People of Rome’.
    Of course, this tends towards the belief that ancient Rome was, in fact, a ‘nation state’, by definition, as we understand the USA, for example, to be a nation, state, in that the acronym contains the essential elements of what a ‘nation state’ , as defined by law and custom contain, namely a definition of the civil leadership representative structure of the state – often taken to mean the ‘nation’ itself, in political terms, and crucially, mention of the ‘people’ or ‘citizenship’ of the nation, the implication being that power as expressed by the leaders ultimately vests in the ‘people’.

    Hence, the so-called ‘modern’ nation state as certain ideologically possessed professors erroneously and -deliberately misleadingly – claim is ‘no more than 200 years old’ is*at the very least* 2000 years old.

  135. The seeds of nationalism and the corresponding concept of a nation-state were planted as far back as the late 15th century, if not earlier, but really started to take off after the Thirty Years War. Valmy-1792? Not!

  136. I’ve always regarded Anderson’s book as thinly disguised historical illiteracy.

    Anderson, in any case, was only slightly altering Karl Marx’s idea that nationalism dates only from the French Revolution. According to him, it gave birth to the idea of the sovereignty of the people — the basis of the nation state.

    But it depends on your definition of “nation” doesn’t it?

    I’d say Tudor England was a nation. Take Shakespeare. He recognized the fact he lived in a clearly defined geographical area (England), whose people shared a language (English) and who — for the most part — bore allegiance to an identifiable political entity (the Tudor then Stuart Monarchies).

    For what it’s worth, I was taught the nation state in the west dates from the Treaty of Westphalia 1648 (which established state sovereignty) and the writings of Frenchman Jean Bodin 1530-96.

    But I was educated in the UK, so maybe that’s just the British view.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    One reason Shakespeare shot up in popularity across Europe around 1800 with the new generation of Romantic writers on the Continent was because of his 200 year old nationalism.
  137. In Greece, the historical perspective is that the Battle of Thermopylae (more famous as the movie 300) and its aftermath are the “birthplace” of nationalism.

  138. Marc says:
    @Glossy
    Nationalism is at least as old as the written record. Leftists hate nationalism (in others at least), so they try to make it appear artificial and recent. If educated people believed that nationalism was natural and deeply rooted in human psychology, if they thought it was inborn, it would have been harder to force them to abandon it.

    There are countless examples of pre-modern nationalism. The Persian Wars for example, were essentially a fight between the Greek nation and the multi-ethnic Persian Empire. Yes, some Greeks fought on the Persian side, but they were shamed for that by the other Greeks as traitors.

    I recently read the first volume of Hugh Thomas's history of the Spanish empire in the Americas. Thomas's description of 16th-century Spanish nationalism is still fresh in my mind, so I'll talk about it here in detail.

    Most people have heard of Ferdinand and Isabella, who united Spain in the 15th century through their marriage. They were both physically and culturally Spanish. After their death their throne was inherited by their grandson, the future Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, who was physically half-Spanish and culturally Flemish. He did not speak the Spanish language when he arrived in Spain in 1516. Most of the people he knew and trusted were Flemings, so that's whom he started appointing to important offices in Spain.

    The native Spaniards resented being ruled by Flemish officials. There were numerous stories of Flemings mistreating Spaniards and taking money out of Spain. The idea of Charles using tax money that he raised in Spain to improve his other European possessions was unacceptable to many Spaniards. These feelings produced a violent revolt, which Thomas describes in detail and which is also written up in this wiki:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolt_of_the_Comuneros

    The city councils of Spain submitted a list of formal demands to Charles. Among those were the removal of Flemish officials and their replacement with Spaniards, and a ban on the government spending Spanish tax money in Charles's other European possessions. The Cortes (parliament) of Castile required Charles to only address it in the Spanish language.
    Some of the rebels' formal demands are listed here:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolt_of_the_Comuneros#Proposals_to_other_cities

    Charles ended up subduing the revolt with both violence and concessions.

    This early 16th century conflict would seem inconceivable to those who bought the leftist line on nationalism having been invented at the time of the French Revolution. Don't take anything on faith, at least not on politically-charged issues. Try to investigate things for yourself.

    There was an increase in nationalism in Europe at the time of the French Revolution. Secularism was spreading among the elites. Christianity, like Islam, is nominally universalist, so when it started to lose force, nationalism gained at its expense. But there's always been nationalism in Europe and other civilized parts of the world. I just described one example of it, but I could have picked many others. The increase in nationalism in the late 18th century was not from a zero level. If you think that it was, you don't know much history.

    “Leftists hate nationalism (in others at least), so they try to make it appear artificial and recent. If educated people believed that nationalism was natural and deeply rooted in human psychology, if they thought it was inborn, it would have been harder to force them to abandon it.”

    I came to the same conclusion after I reading the declaration that nationalism is some 200-year old aberration instead of the norm throughout human history. Nationalism has been around at least as long as nations have existed.

  139. This is that “you really have no geographical authenticity – so bend over and be dereracinated” formula that so excites our betters. These mind-jaunts are supposed to underwrite the new borderless world into which they want to dump us.

    However, I don’t think legions of useful idiots pressing this in Internet comments and various holy crusades have quite thought it through. A one-world vision will entail… compromise. Mud-hut cultural baubles like honor killings and female mutilation may be legalized to reflect the one size fits all ‘equality’ prerequisite. Some elements of the world’s most popular religion will have to be absorbed. Women may end up wearing sacks whenever they step through the front door; all those hard-won feminist victories will be flushed away.

    There already is emerging rethink on crime. As you’ve pointed out, European feminists seem remarkably sanguine about Muslim rapes, since racism trumps feminist ideals in their extremely subjective appraisal. As much as we’re smugly lectured by media on morality issues, it seems there’s division between accusations leveled at civic bad guys, like Nixon, and civic good guys – Woody Allen and Roman Polanski, for example. There’s pecking order of severity indicating crimes as horrid as child molestation will be adjudged where they land on the ‘issue meter’. So, it’s not the crime that matters. It’s not even guilt or innocence of the perpetrator. Only importance is how the criminal rates in eyes of our pseudo-religious political-priority monitors. Our previous attorney general made clear hate-crime laws don’t apply to whites; of course, that means ‘gentile whites’ since Jews have a Victim Ducat. We long ago bumbled onto the slippery slope. The process will grind to its illogical, possibly catastrophic conclusion.

    It would be nice if we could junk the utopian stupidities and indulge pragmatism awhile. …Just a test-drive, mind you. We could admit human beings are as defined by their flaws as their strengths. Our priorities could become more personalized – but that would bring location back into play: Of course, this process would be easier within confines of nations, so preferenced could be enshrined in process.

    But… dammit… that takes us right back to the nation-state. …And reality.

  140. @spandrell
    Are you sure of that? That people in Liverpool or Newcastle could understand Chaucer?

    One problem is that the modern understanding of the word "nation" implies that the whole populace speaks a common language and has a more or less common culture, which just wasn't the case until universal education. The peasants in and outside Europe didn't need to speak a common language and generally didn't.

    At the elite level, well, to the extent that the English elite wrote (and tried to speak) in the same language which was distinct from everything outside England, you could call that group of people "the English nation".

    But was Italy a nation in 1500? There were dozens of polities who hated each other. But they generally wrote in a common language (basically imitating Dante's prose), which they spoke to each other, if not between themselves. That state of affairs was deemed to be close enough to the English or French nations that they eventually unified politically in 1860, but I'm not sure whether the 1500 Milanese or Venetians would have regarded themselves as belonging to the same nation. They certainly didn't rally together against French or Spanish invaders the same way the French did against the English.

    Like saying "race doesn't exist", one could play this game forever. "Race" as commonly used isn't very precise (Somalis and Nigerians both being called "black"), but populations with fairly distinct ancestries obviously exist. "Nation" as commonly used isn't very precise (Montenegro being a nation, Dixie not), but population with fairly distinct cultures obviously exist, and the more distinct the culture (Greece vs Persia, England vs France, China vs Japan) the more likely the group notices the difference, which has political ramifications.

    There's no obvious objective yardstick you can use to win this discussion. I think it's more useful to just point out at what the denialist camp really wants to say (open borders!) than to spend time playing semantics. I like playing semantics but it's not something you can win.

    “There’s no obvious objective yardstick you can use to win this discussion. I think it’s more useful to just point out at what the denialist camp really wants to say (open borders!)”

    Exactly. This guy Spandrell cuts to the chase.

    One could chew the fat forever concerning just exactly what counts as a nation, what counts as nationalism, what the distinction is between nationalism & patriotism, or between nationalism & tribalism, &c &c &c…

    But that’s all to miss the point, which is this: who wins, and who loses, from open borders? Who wins, and who loses, from globalism?

  141. @Thomas
    You should consider the possibility that England, a nation roughly coterminous with an island separated from a continent with a great deal of history, is an unusual case. (Japan is the other significant island nation next to a big continent with a history of successive, expansive empires I can think of, and maybe makes for an instructive comparison.) Genetic studies of the English have shown that, despite the history of periodic invasions and foreign rulers setting up dynasties (that eventually go native themselves), the English themselves haven't actually interbred that much with anyone else since prehistory.

    “You should consider the possibility that England, a nation roughly coterminous with an island separated from a continent with a great deal of history, is an unusual case.”

    Right. So my idea is that England set the nationalist chain reaction in motion by consolidating 50,000 square miles a long time ago, in part because it had mostly natural borders, useful both for defense and, more subtly, for solving the problem of where to draw the borders. By the 1300s, the English national government could project power into France during the 100 Years War, which inspired the mainlanders to organize into a polity even bigger than England’s 50,000 square miles. Then the power of France inspired other national consolidations.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    It's (much) older than that. Certainly not younger.
    , @Bhroham
    By the way, this idea (of European nationalism being a reaction to England) is the theory behind Liah Greenfeld's 'Nationalism: 5 roads to modernity', which is quite good. I think she's drawing on the work of Hans Kohn, who's also quite good.
  142. @celt darnell
    I've always regarded Anderson's book as thinly disguised historical illiteracy.

    Anderson, in any case, was only slightly altering Karl Marx's idea that nationalism dates only from the French Revolution. According to him, it gave birth to the idea of the sovereignty of the people -- the basis of the nation state.

    But it depends on your definition of "nation" doesn't it?

    I'd say Tudor England was a nation. Take Shakespeare. He recognized the fact he lived in a clearly defined geographical area (England), whose people shared a language (English) and who -- for the most part -- bore allegiance to an identifiable political entity (the Tudor then Stuart Monarchies).

    For what it's worth, I was taught the nation state in the west dates from the Treaty of Westphalia 1648 (which established state sovereignty) and the writings of Frenchman Jean Bodin 1530-96.

    But I was educated in the UK, so maybe that's just the British view.

    One reason Shakespeare shot up in popularity across Europe around 1800 with the new generation of Romantic writers on the Continent was because of his 200 year old nationalism.

    • Replies: @syonredux

    One reason Shakespeare shot up in popularity across Europe around 1800 with the new generation of Romantic writers on the Continent was because of his 200 year old nationalism.
     
    And toss in Sir Walter Scott for post-1800, as his historical novels (he has a solid claim on inventing the genre) showed writers across Europe how to deal with national identity as an aesthetic subject.
    , @celt darnell
    I'd never heard of, or thought of that before. Thank you.

    You learn a lot in this particular parish....
  143. to uncover truth, to serve his country, and to serve his church

    But that’s countryism, dontcha know?

    The deal is this: they believe the winners make up the past anyway, so you might as well let the folks with their hearts in the right place win/make stuff up, so they can get a leg up on the bad guys who otherwise would have been writing it, and war and stuff.

    Truth is for suckas and squares.

  144. @Steve Sailer
    "You should consider the possibility that England, a nation roughly coterminous with an island separated from a continent with a great deal of history, is an unusual case."

    Right. So my idea is that England set the nationalist chain reaction in motion by consolidating 50,000 square miles a long time ago, in part because it had mostly natural borders, useful both for defense and, more subtly, for solving the problem of where to draw the borders. By the 1300s, the English national government could project power into France during the 100 Years War, which inspired the mainlanders to organize into a polity even bigger than England's 50,000 square miles. Then the power of France inspired other national consolidations.

    It’s (much) older than that. Certainly not younger.

  145. @Buddwing
    The argument that nationalism is coeval with mass literacy should not be ignored. The argument is that in preliterate times, languages blended, so the French-speaking Norman nobility and the Saxon peasantry could eventually merge their languages and all speak early modern English. At the border of the French and German languages, or at the border of he German and Slavic languages, various creoles could be created. With printing presses, however, the books, printed in the languages of the capitals, spread to the border areas and created sharp distinction among literate people. This caused them to identify more with the center than their near neighbors speaking a different language. Hence, 18th-century France became sharply defined. This resulted in the emergence of a pan-German nationalism, that eventually created a unified Germany. Thus, tribalism did not become nationalism until linguistic distinctions sharpened into national borders, due to mass literacy.

    All this talk of Henry V-era warfare seems to be ignoring the fact that the war was a three-way affair between England, France and Burgundy, and only two of the three ended up being "nations."

    But England suffered the problem of blurry boundaries — should France and Burgundy be one country or two? — less than Continental countries did because nature imposed fairly distinct borders. Linguistic drift was limited in England because the land mass was limited. For example, modern day France is almost 5 times as large as modern day England. To be that large required the French state to aggressively impose the language spoken in Paris on all sorts of recalcitrant locals who spoke a language that wasn’t much like French at all (Breton) or was kind of like Parisian French but had a roughly similar claim to being a major language (e.g., Provence).

    The English did this to some extent (perhaps Cornwall is like Breton?), but they didn’t have to be as self-conscious about it as the French because England is smaller and thus English had less linguistic sprawl and thus was more mutually intelligible.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    As I understand it, Wales was conquered by the English kings, and thus to this very day is classified as a 'principality' of the United Kingdom, not, mind you as a 'kingdom' within the UK as Scotland and Northern Ireland are, since by conquest the Welsh forfeited this particular arcane distinction. Apparently, for what's it's worth, the Scots or rather the Scottish nobility 'freely agreed' to political union with England. Hence, the St Andrew's flag is represented in the 'union jack' but no welsh dragon sits upon it. By the way, Prince Charles is the 'Prince of Wales' as is the male heir to any reigning monarch.

    Anyhow, my point is that Welsh was commonly spoken in Wales by the ordinary people right up to the 18th century. Many Welsh place names still have never been Anglicized in their history. In the 18th century speaking Welsh was actually made illegal by the British government, hence the language as a spoken tongue more it less disappeared until its 20th century revival.
  146. @Bill B.
    Anderson knew Thailand well and considered it the epitome of a country effectively forced to develop a nationalism as a counter to hustling Britain and France on all sides in the 19th Century.

    Yet very clearly some kind of Thai nation, some kind of burmese nation and some kind of Vietnamese nation - to name obvious examples - had existed for a very long time before the arrival of the western imperialists.

    Historians often focus misleadingly on borders whereas in pre-modern times, outside of Europe, when populations were thin control of people was often more significant than control of land (outside of a core territory).

    What Anderson saw as the forced creation of nationalism was in fact the building of frames around existing ethnic nations and the drawing in tighter of cousin cultures. It was putting a 'modern' face on existing entitites.

    Just as Boliver - as timothy noted - was impressed by Napoleonic France the great reforming Thai King Chulalongkorn was hugely impressed by the British and Dutch empires on his visits to Singapore, India and Batavia and sought to replicate their systems of administration.

    http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/online_exhibit/odetoFriendship/html/King_V/index.htm

    This state-building process went into high gear in Thailand when a group of 'Young Turks' overthrew the absolute monarchy in 1932. These men were not forced to do this by outside powers but simply wanted Thailand to modernise at a faster rate.

    Right. I mean, a huge question in history is where do you draw the line around who/what is in the polity and what is outside?

    The really famous guys are the ones who tended to draw enduring lines. For example, George Washington did it twice: he led the splitting of the 13 colonies off from the British Empire, then he led the unification of the 13 states into one federal state. Abe Lincoln is more famous than Jeff Davis because Lincoln’s answer to the questions: can states secede? became the long-lasting answer.

  147. @Steve Sailer
    One reason Shakespeare shot up in popularity across Europe around 1800 with the new generation of Romantic writers on the Continent was because of his 200 year old nationalism.

    One reason Shakespeare shot up in popularity across Europe around 1800 with the new generation of Romantic writers on the Continent was because of his 200 year old nationalism.

    And toss in Sir Walter Scott for post-1800, as his historical novels (he has a solid claim on inventing the genre) showed writers across Europe how to deal with national identity as an aesthetic subject.

    • Replies: @celt darnell
    Well, the American, James Fenimore Cooper also certainly learned a thing or two from Scott.

    Last of the Mohicans, last of the highlanders...
  148. We Jews have had a pretty strong sense of nation for a good deal more than 200 years!

    The French have been around for a long time too, but what’s different in their case is that in border regions, French national identity used to blend smoothly into that of the Italians or Spanish and Germans. Creating the modern French nation was therefore an exercise in getting people in Perpignan to identify more with Parisians 500 miles away, than with Catalans 5 miles away.

    We Jews, in contrast, have had (until the recent period of assimilation) a very clearly-defined notion of who’s one of us, and who isn’t. (We’re surely not unique in that way. I suspect much the same is true of the Greeks.)

    • Replies: @International Jew
    Sorry, shoulda read the comments right above.
    , @David
    Sounds like your closest runner up is the Mongols, according to Keegan: "Genghis himself is said to have believed that his mission was divine, sanctioned and demanded by Heaven, to have taught his followers so, to have required the shamans to support his position and even to have preached a sort of primitive nationalism which held the Mongols to be a chosen race."
  149. One good argue this is where nationalism started.

    1. Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and pin you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

    Genesis 12:1-3

    Of course the irony today is most members of the tribe, outside of the state of Israel, are anti-nationalist.

  150. @International Jew
    We Jews have had a pretty strong sense of nation for a good deal more than 200 years!

    The French have been around for a long time too, but what's different in their case is that in border regions, French national identity used to blend smoothly into that of the Italians or Spanish and Germans. Creating the modern French nation was therefore an exercise in getting people in Perpignan to identify more with Parisians 500 miles away, than with Catalans 5 miles away.

    We Jews, in contrast, have had (until the recent period of assimilation) a very clearly-defined notion of who's one of us, and who isn't. (We're surely not unique in that way. I suspect much the same is true of the Greeks.)

    Sorry, shoulda read the comments right above.

  151. @Zachary Latif
    I dislike the word nationalism but I prefer the word patriotism.

    As an example was the unification of Germany & Italy really a good thing.

    A further corollary is the Subcontinent where Raj gave way to India and Pakistan; wouldn't an Imperial Confederation been better for all. Also in Iran, the Shah's to create the nation-state really mixed and moved around tribal entities/ethnicities early last century.

    At any rate what's done is done.

    “was the unification of Germany & Italy really a good thing.”

    It probably was for the Germans and Italians. But less so for British imperialist politics.

    • Replies: @vinny
    The unifications of Germany and Italy were British imperialist projects (the independence of Greece as well). After the horrors of Napoleon, it was important to unify Italy to keep the Austrian and French empires out of the Po valley, and unify Germany to counterbalance France. The latter probably worked too well.
  152. @Steve Sailer
    What was distinctive about England was that it had quite distinct borders, typically ocean. In contrast, polities on the Continent tended to be somewhat arbitrary in extent.

    There were three main language groups -- Romance, Germanic, and Slavic -- and even leaving aside the question of their somewhat blurry borders, how do you divide each one up?

    What's now Portugal and what's now Romania, for example, are both Romance speaking lands but they are awfully far apart and probably would not be happy being under one rule, especially in a time before rapid communications. They're denizens won't be able to understand each other, so it makes sense to separate them politically. But how do you divvy up all the Romance speaking lands between Lisbon and Bucharest?

    Obviously, political actors fight, connive, marry, form alliances, sponsor educational and artistic efforts to build unity or difference.

    But it was not clear ahead of time how it was going to turn out. It's not a priori obvious that Paris would rule Marseille or that Madrid would rule Barcelona. (Perhaps it was clear, for historical reasons, that Rome would rule Italy, but that turned out to be a roadblock to Italian nationalism for some time due to the Pope ruling Rome.)

    On the other hand, England has had pretty obvious borders for an awful long time. That doesn't mean that London won't try to rule more land than just England, but it is striking that the idea of England, as say the territory represented by England at the World Cup, is not very different at all from what land the King of England ruled in 1000 AD.

    Steve, Iberia and Italy have natural borders. The only aberration from the expected result there is Portugal’s independence.

    One could argue that Gaul/France has natural borders too – the Pyriness, the Alpes, the Rhine and the sea.

    As I said before, Italia, Hispania, Gallia, Germania and Britannia were very important categories in Roman times.

    Real, centralized states disappeared from Europe during the Dark Ages and started to come back in the 15th century. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that when they came back, these old Roman categories served as their bases.

    These were natural categories. You say this only about England because of your Anglo-centrism, but in fact all five were natural, Italy and Spain spectacularly so.

    Also, you make it seem as if nationalism is tied to centralized statehood. German nationalism existed for a long time before Bismarck. Spaniards and Italians continued to call themselves that all through the Dark and Middle Ages. Spaniards built a state on that foundation in the 15th century while Italians didn’t, but both were real nationalisms.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    It took repeated acts of political will over centuries for Paris to extend its dominion all the way to the natural border of the Mediterranean. (In contrast, Paris was blocked politically from extending its rule to include the French speakers of southern Belgium, even though there are few natural barriers along the French-Belgian border, as the Von Schlieffen plan noted.)

    France wound up being a big country, five times the size of England.

  153. @Glossy
    Steve, Iberia and Italy have natural borders. The only aberration from the expected result there is Portugal's independence.

    One could argue that Gaul/France has natural borders too - the Pyriness, the Alpes, the Rhine and the sea.

    As I said before, Italia, Hispania, Gallia, Germania and Britannia were very important categories in Roman times.

    Real, centralized states disappeared from Europe during the Dark Ages and started to come back in the 15th century. I don't think it's a coincidence that when they came back, these old Roman categories served as their bases.

    These were natural categories. You say this only about England because of your Anglo-centrism, but in fact all five were natural, Italy and Spain spectacularly so.

    Also, you make it seem as if nationalism is tied to centralized statehood. German nationalism existed for a long time before Bismarck. Spaniards and Italians continued to call themselves that all through the Dark and Middle Ages. Spaniards built a state on that foundation in the 15th century while Italians didn't, but both were real nationalisms.

    It took repeated acts of political will over centuries for Paris to extend its dominion all the way to the natural border of the Mediterranean. (In contrast, Paris was blocked politically from extending its rule to include the French speakers of southern Belgium, even though there are few natural barriers along the French-Belgian border, as the Von Schlieffen plan noted.)

    France wound up being a big country, five times the size of England.

  154. Talk about nationalism is a red herring. Two things are happening in Europe:

    (1) A big problem with Muslims blowing stuff up and shooting places up. Increasing numbers of citizens think they will never assimilate (except for a elite crust) and don’t want anymore from anywhere.

    (2) After the gates opened from Eastern Europe, people from there headed west in such great numbers as to have the effect of holding down wages (especially in the UK which doesn’t have bizarre laws about hiring and firing workers that exist on the Continent). I get the impression that it is not so much that people are antagonistic about, say, Poles, because they’re not English but because there’s too many in too short a time.

    In more moderate numbers, I doubt most English would care about Poles, they know they will assimilate. They only need to look at the New World English-speaking countries to see that they assimilate just fine.

  155. I think there may be some mixing of some different concepts of what a nation is. The nation-state, the nation as a people (perhaps constituting a nation-state) and even a nation as a proposition (our unfortunate state at present).

    The idea of the nation-state as only about 200 years old seems to jive well with the Westphalian Nation-state concept. But that idea doesn’t necessarily hold that the Nation-state need be one ethnicity. Spain with its minorities comes to mind.

    You also have the sort of one people (same ethnicity) one nation sort of Fashy idea of it. I think a lot of WNs and Identitarians fall here. In some senses this is also a very old idea, tribalistic almost.

    Then there’s the U.S.A. Thought of by many as a proposition nation. Not me. We were essentially transplanted British until the at least the mid 19th Century. Over time I think the different European ethnicities have converged into an almost generic white identity that now lends itself to the one people one nation idea.

    The whole thing is a bit much to try and figure out really.

  156. @Texas
    @Almost Missouri

    Southern "France" Spoke Occitan and many other languages, so it wouldn't be shocking if Italy or Spain managed to conquer them given all the historical connections between the lands. Ctalan and Aragonese and Basque especially aren't necessarily all that linked to Castilian Spanish. In fact, Galicia, the region long ruled by Spain, historically has much more links to Portuguese and would be ruled by Lisboa using this logic.

    Yes, Occitan and Catalonia could have gone either way: France or Spain. That’s why I said, “local circumstance and history go a long way”. Alsace and Lorraine are another two regions that could have gone either way: France or Germany. And, as you mention, Galicia with either Portugal or Spain. There are many marginal cases.

    Still, on the whole, there is a definite coalescence linguistically. In Southern and Eastern Europe it is confounded by the prominent geographic barriers of the Pyrenees and Alps. But look at the relatively barrier-less North and East of Europe. German speakers have coalesced in Germany. Polish Speakers have coalesced in Poland. Hungarian speakers have coalesced in Hungary. Russians in Russia.

    Another sort of proof is to look at the negative cases. The Basque language is NOT a romance language and NOT related to its neighbors. And Basque incorporation into Spain has NOT been as smooth as Aragon or Catalan incorporation. The exception proves the rule, as it were.

  157. @International Jew
    We Jews have had a pretty strong sense of nation for a good deal more than 200 years!

    The French have been around for a long time too, but what's different in their case is that in border regions, French national identity used to blend smoothly into that of the Italians or Spanish and Germans. Creating the modern French nation was therefore an exercise in getting people in Perpignan to identify more with Parisians 500 miles away, than with Catalans 5 miles away.

    We Jews, in contrast, have had (until the recent period of assimilation) a very clearly-defined notion of who's one of us, and who isn't. (We're surely not unique in that way. I suspect much the same is true of the Greeks.)

    Sounds like your closest runner up is the Mongols, according to Keegan: “Genghis himself is said to have believed that his mission was divine, sanctioned and demanded by Heaven, to have taught his followers so, to have required the shamans to support his position and even to have preached a sort of primitive nationalism which held the Mongols to be a chosen race.”

  158. mts1 says:

    I say go back to Chapter 12 in the Book of Judges in the Bible, where the Hebrew Gilead warriors defeated the Ephraimites, then to stop them from blending in and escaping execution (conquering Hebrews from the time of Jericho had quite a strict “no quarter” policy to p.o.w.s, so as to not corrupt the conquerors with too much conquered blood), demanded any guy who they didn’t recognize to say the word shibboleth. Since the Ephramites couldn’t pronounce the sh, anyone caught responding a-ba-a-ba-uh got slain.

    Then there is accounting for nations like Ireland, Poland, Kurdistan, Armenia, Croatia, even Ukraine and Catalonia, which stayed nations within a larger nation in spite of pressures from governments to assimilate, with independent nation-state-ness coming and going and not really affecting their existence. No nationalism before the late 1700s, suuuure.

    But you have examples like the Gaul Celts romanizing within a generation to be Latin speaking Romans (according to Hillaire Belloc, himself half French, in his history of the time), and no one can tell what nation the original occupants of Hispania were pre-Rome, its culture was so subverted by the new Roman. And lands across the South Eastern Mediterranean call themselves Arab when the locals may barely have a drop of true Arab tribal blood, but don’t call a Persian Arab unless you want him to cut you. So there has to be a “there” there which causes some to have staying power while other nations vaporize into the conquering nation.

  159. “Nationalism didn’t exist until 200 years ago” is the same kind of sophistry as “the concept of homosexuality did not exist until the 19th century when the term was coined.”

  160. AP says:
    @szopen
    "A nation are people joined by common blood, tongue and religion" - Hieronymus from Prague, at the eve of Hussite revolution. There are also mention in XV centuries that Hussites will ally with Poland against Germany, because "it is known from ancient chronicles than German tongue is an enemy of all Slavic tongues".

    In early XIV century, German citizens of Kraków revolted against Polish king Władysław Łokietek (Ladislaus Elbow-sized). After the revolt was defeated, king ordered all Germans to be executed, based on simple linguistic test (who is not able to pronounce "Koło, soczewica, miele, młyn" is a German!). Throughout XVI and XVII century Polish literature is full with feelings of nationalism, special traits of different nations; in XVII there are calls to elect "one of our own" to be king, culminating in choosing the worse possible candidate, totally inept magnate Michał Korybut-Wiśniowiecki (Rusin in origin), whose only two advantages were that he was son of famous father and was considered "Polish" in a contrast to "foreign" candidates.

    It seems to me that nationalism seems to be rising and falling, as in case of history of my country I can definetely point to period with intense national feelings followed by more "multicultural" periods.

    The example of Michal Korybut-Wiśniowiecki demonstrates that the Polish ideology of that time, Sarmatism, was different from what is now called nationalism. At that time a “Pole” would have been a nobleman of Polish, Rusin, or Lithuanian origin (I think even Tartar settlers were included, but may be wrong about this); Polish-speaking, Roman Catholic peasants on the other hand were nobodies. The nobles were supposedly descended from Sarmatians (at that time, incorrectly seen as a Turkic people), while the peasants were Slavs and Slavs were good only for servitude.

    Tellingly, when modern Polish nationalists rebelled the (Polish) peasants (who had not yet been taught nationalism) revolted against them and slaughtered them, on behalf of the Austrian authorities.

    • Replies: @szopen
    You have a point, but on the other hand you have people like Długosz, who used Polish-speaking peasants as proof that Pommerania belongs to Poland; he also speaks about Silesians, who are speaking Polish, but hate Poles because they are traitors to Polish nation.

    This is, again, an example of different shades of nationalism, with meanings changing every few decades..
    , @szopen
    Ha! I found something, a quote from "Polonia sive de situ, populis, moribus, magistratibus, et
    republica regni Polonici libri duo" from 1575:

    "Polish knighted families are descendants of German settlers as evidenced by their emblems, i.e.
    coats of arms and their names. But now, after having long made their home here and in result of
    marriages, both a huge majority of them [Germans] as well as of burghers and peasants turned into Poles."

    Note that he said that German PEASANTS turned into Poles, i.e. he clearly thought Polish peasants WERE Poles.
  161. @Almost Missouri
    As other commenters have implied, this entire discussion is really one about the scale of Group-ism. E.g., small Group = clan, medium Group= tribe, large Group = nation.

    But I think there may be a qualitative difference at the nation level. There are usually multiple clans and tribes speaking one language. The salient characteristic of a nation might be that it is the Group that finally unifies all--or nearly all--the speakers of one language. England became a nation when it contained the vast majority of all English speakers. France became a nation when it contained the vast majority of all French speakers. Italy became a nation ..., etc.

    This doesn't mean the Nation is new. Ancient Egypt did--as far as anyone can tell--unite all ancient Egyptian speakers. So, at least 5000 years of precedent.

    Right. I think the linguistic thing is more of a European-history thing, though. There were quite a few different languages in China for a while.

    It’s one of these incredibly complicated questions, made worse by the fact that many other areas may in fact have been imitating Europe.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri

    "There were quite a few different languages in China for a while."
     
    There were also quite a few different kingdoms/nations in China for a while. Coincidentally, a unified, powerful, modern China has come about alongside an all-Mandarin-speaking China.
  162. @Steve Sailer
    One reason Shakespeare shot up in popularity across Europe around 1800 with the new generation of Romantic writers on the Continent was because of his 200 year old nationalism.

    I’d never heard of, or thought of that before. Thank you.

    You learn a lot in this particular parish….

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    That's sort of a surmise on my part.
    , @celt darnell
    It makes sense, though. Very good sense.
  163. @celt darnell
    I'd never heard of, or thought of that before. Thank you.

    You learn a lot in this particular parish....

    That’s sort of a surmise on my part.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    You're among the world's best (surmisers).
  164. @syonredux

    One reason Shakespeare shot up in popularity across Europe around 1800 with the new generation of Romantic writers on the Continent was because of his 200 year old nationalism.
     
    And toss in Sir Walter Scott for post-1800, as his historical novels (he has a solid claim on inventing the genre) showed writers across Europe how to deal with national identity as an aesthetic subject.

    Well, the American, James Fenimore Cooper also certainly learned a thing or two from Scott.

    Last of the Mohicans, last of the highlanders…

  165. AP says:

    Only when nationalism is confused with tribalism does it become an ancient concept.

    Here is the definition:

    The strong belief that the interests of a particular nation-state are of primary importance. Also, the belief that a people who share a common language, history, and culture should constitute an independent nation, free of foreign domination.

    Sparta, Athens, etc. were not “nation states.” Neither were Celtic, African, Native American tribal territories, nor religious spheres. Shaka was not a Zulu nationalist; nor was Caesar a Roman nationalist, Alexander a Macedonian nationalist, Mohammad an Arab nationalist, etc.

    Nationalism is a fundamentally liberal idea that coincided with the liberal elevation of normal folks above traditional institutions such as the Church, local feudal authorities, and monarchies. For example, in Russia the famous Russian nationalist idea of “Autocracy, Orthodoxy and Nationality” was first articulated (in French, of course! – the language of Liberalism) by the education minister Uvorov, who had been infected with such liberal ideas while living in Napoleonic Europe. In an attempt to get around conservative distaste at such ideas Uvorov translated his French-language nationalite as “narodnost” (people or Volk) rather than natsionalnost when translating his ideas into Russian.

    In response to the liberal nationalist Revolutions in Europe in 1848, the conservative Russian Tsar Nicholas I removed Uvorov from office in 1849 and removed references to the word “narodnost” from official discourse.

    Of course nationalism, like gay marriage, was unstoppable and eventually even conservatives came to adopt it (as many do gay marriage). And as liberal progressives became post-national, conservatives were left defending this originally anti-conservative idea. Perhaps, one day, when the left decides to abandon marriage altogether conservative defenders of gay marriage will struggle against them.

    Anyways, all this doesn’t change the fact that nationalism a relatively new phenomenon and a liberal one.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri

    "Sparta, Athens, etc. were not “nation states.”"
     
    Right, because they were both Greek-speaking, but neither was unified with other Greek-speakers.

    "Neither were Celtic,"
     
    Right, because all Celtic language speakers never unified in one polity.

    "African,"
     
    True, but since there is no such thing as African-ese language, this is about as meaningful as saying "Asia was not a nation-state" or "South America was not a nation-state".

    "Native American tribal territories,"
     
    True, but same qualification as Africa: there is no such thing as Native American-ese.

    "nor religious spheres."
     
    Not sure what this means.

    "Shaka was not a Zulu nationalist;"
     
    Hard to say, as there are no contemporaneous records.

    "nor was Caesar a Roman nationalist,"
     
    I would say Caesar was a Roman nationalist par excellence. He believed in Rome and Roman virtues and sought to embody them in himself, which virtues he expressed after the manner of the time by imposing them at sword-point on the neighbors. He did so so thoroughly that it is hard nowadays to discern what preceded Caesar in Gaul, and the descendants of the conquered Gauls to this day pride themselves on their "Roman" history.

    "Alexander a Macedonian nationalist,"
     
    Alexander may or may not have been a Macedonian nationalist, but he was certainly a Greek nationalist. He unified the Greek-speaking polities, was an exponent of Greek culture, and after the manner of the time, sought to impose it everywhere he could at spear-point.

    "Mohammad an Arab nationalist,"
     
    This is a little trickier, but I would argue that Mohammad was an Arab nationalist. He (and his immediate followers) unified Arab-speakers--indeed, they were the only ones ever to do this--, regularized Arab culture (some might say "weaponized"), and after the manner of the times, imposed it at scimitar-point on the neighbors. They were so successful at this that even non-Arabs such as the Egyptians and Numidians call themselves Arabs to this day.

    Islamicists might object that Islam is supposed to be supra-national, and that is indeed the official line. But one of the dirty little secrets of Islam is that, especially in the first few centuries, its history works just as well, if not better, as an Arab national uprising. Even today, Muslim Arabs (who are the majority of Arabs) regard Islam's Arab origin as not some random happenstance but as a kind of a divine endorsement of Arabism. They try not to say this too loudly outside of Arabia, however.

  166. @spandrell
    Are you sure of that? That people in Liverpool or Newcastle could understand Chaucer?

    One problem is that the modern understanding of the word "nation" implies that the whole populace speaks a common language and has a more or less common culture, which just wasn't the case until universal education. The peasants in and outside Europe didn't need to speak a common language and generally didn't.

    At the elite level, well, to the extent that the English elite wrote (and tried to speak) in the same language which was distinct from everything outside England, you could call that group of people "the English nation".

    But was Italy a nation in 1500? There were dozens of polities who hated each other. But they generally wrote in a common language (basically imitating Dante's prose), which they spoke to each other, if not between themselves. That state of affairs was deemed to be close enough to the English or French nations that they eventually unified politically in 1860, but I'm not sure whether the 1500 Milanese or Venetians would have regarded themselves as belonging to the same nation. They certainly didn't rally together against French or Spanish invaders the same way the French did against the English.

    Like saying "race doesn't exist", one could play this game forever. "Race" as commonly used isn't very precise (Somalis and Nigerians both being called "black"), but populations with fairly distinct ancestries obviously exist. "Nation" as commonly used isn't very precise (Montenegro being a nation, Dixie not), but population with fairly distinct cultures obviously exist, and the more distinct the culture (Greece vs Persia, England vs France, China vs Japan) the more likely the group notices the difference, which has political ramifications.

    There's no obvious objective yardstick you can use to win this discussion. I think it's more useful to just point out at what the denialist camp really wants to say (open borders!) than to spend time playing semantics. I like playing semantics but it's not something you can win.

    I think, sir, you hit the nail on the head.

    Especially as those who push the “nation state is only 200 years old” line are globalists, multiculturalists and pro-open-door immigration supporters to a man.

  167. @celt darnell
    I'd never heard of, or thought of that before. Thank you.

    You learn a lot in this particular parish....

    It makes sense, though. Very good sense.

  168. @Steve Sailer
    The dynastic system tended to work awkwardly with territorial nationalism.

    The Habsburg dynasty territories tended to wander about Europe depending upon how they were doing in war and marriage.

    In the same era the French monarchy had a general tendency toward choosing to marry French girls. This tended to sacrifice the diplomatic advantages of dynastic marriages, but as the Venetian ambassador to Paris reported home, it was a key part of the consolidation of France into the strongest state in Europe.

    It's not wholly a coincidence that the last Queen of France, Marie Antoinette, wasn't French, just as the last Czarina of Russia wasn't Russian.

    The dynastic system (as well as the Church) was the traditional, conservative system in Europe. Nationalism represented the liberal revolt against this – the elevation of common people above authority.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    Yes, people nowadays forget that nationalism has tended to be democratic and anti-elitist.

    Our modern elites hate anti-elitism (obviously) and hate the demos, so they instinctively hate nationalism.

  169. AP says:
    @Glossy
    Nationalism is at least as old as the written record. Leftists hate nationalism (in others at least), so they try to make it appear artificial and recent. If educated people believed that nationalism was natural and deeply rooted in human psychology, if they thought it was inborn, it would have been harder to force them to abandon it.

    There are countless examples of pre-modern nationalism. The Persian Wars for example, were essentially a fight between the Greek nation and the multi-ethnic Persian Empire. Yes, some Greeks fought on the Persian side, but they were shamed for that by the other Greeks as traitors.

    I recently read the first volume of Hugh Thomas's history of the Spanish empire in the Americas. Thomas's description of 16th-century Spanish nationalism is still fresh in my mind, so I'll talk about it here in detail.

    Most people have heard of Ferdinand and Isabella, who united Spain in the 15th century through their marriage. They were both physically and culturally Spanish. After their death their throne was inherited by their grandson, the future Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, who was physically half-Spanish and culturally Flemish. He did not speak the Spanish language when he arrived in Spain in 1516. Most of the people he knew and trusted were Flemings, so that's whom he started appointing to important offices in Spain.

    The native Spaniards resented being ruled by Flemish officials. There were numerous stories of Flemings mistreating Spaniards and taking money out of Spain. The idea of Charles using tax money that he raised in Spain to improve his other European possessions was unacceptable to many Spaniards. These feelings produced a violent revolt, which Thomas describes in detail and which is also written up in this wiki:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolt_of_the_Comuneros

    The city councils of Spain submitted a list of formal demands to Charles. Among those were the removal of Flemish officials and their replacement with Spaniards, and a ban on the government spending Spanish tax money in Charles's other European possessions. The Cortes (parliament) of Castile required Charles to only address it in the Spanish language.
    Some of the rebels' formal demands are listed here:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolt_of_the_Comuneros#Proposals_to_other_cities

    Charles ended up subduing the revolt with both violence and concessions.

    This early 16th century conflict would seem inconceivable to those who bought the leftist line on nationalism having been invented at the time of the French Revolution. Don't take anything on faith, at least not on politically-charged issues. Try to investigate things for yourself.

    There was an increase in nationalism in Europe at the time of the French Revolution. Secularism was spreading among the elites. Christianity, like Islam, is nominally universalist, so when it started to lose force, nationalism gained at its expense. But there's always been nationalism in Europe and other civilized parts of the world. I just described one example of it, but I could have picked many others. The increase in nationalism in the late 18th century was not from a zero level. If you think that it was, you don't know much history.

    They guy who thinks that Stalin was a conservative gets things backwards again.

    Nationalism is at least as old as the written record.

    Here is the definition of nationalism:

    The strong belief that the interests of a particular nation-state are of primary importance. Also, the belief that a people who share a common language, history, and culture should constitute an independent nation, free of foreign domination.

    Sparta, Athens, etc. were not “nation states.” Neither were Celtic, African, Native American tribal territories, nor religious spheres. Shaka was not a Zulu nationalist; nor was Caesar a Roman nationalist, Alexander a Macedonian or Greek nationalist, Mohammad an Arab nationalist, etc. The fact that these people recognized that others (Persians, in the case of Greeks, for example – of Flemish in the case of Spaniards) were aliens and fought against them does not imply nationalism. If some day extraterrestrials attacked the Earth would that make human resistance leaders “Earth nationalists?”

    Leftists hate nationalism

    I’ll continue to paste from my other comment:

    Nationalism is a fundamentally liberal idea that coincided with the liberal elevation of normal folks above traditional institutions such as the Church, local feudal authorities, and monarchies.

    For example, in Russia the famous Russian nationalist idea of “Autocracy, Orthodoxy and Nationality” was first articulated (in French, of course! – the language of Liberalism) by the education minister Uvorov, who had been infected with such liberal ideas while living in Napoleonic Europe. In an attempt to get around conservative distaste at such ideas Uvorov translated his French-language nationalite as “narodnost” (people or Volk) rather than natsionalnost.

    In response to the liberal nationalist Revolutions in Europe in 1848, the conservative Russian Tsar Nicholas I removed Uvorov from office in 1849 and eliminated references to the word “narodnost” from official discourse, while retaining Orthodoxy and Autocracy. Nicholas maintained a close alliance with the anti-nationalist Hapsburgs.

    Uvarov, the free-thinking Europhile, was the nationalist. Tsar Nicholas I, the conservative reactionary, was the anti-nationalist. Do you understand?

    Of course nationalism, like gay marriage, was unstoppable in the civilized world and eventually even conservatives came to adopt it (as many are coming to support gay marriage). And as liberal progressives became post-national, conservatives were left defending this originally anti-conservative idea. Perhaps, one day, when the left decides to abandon marriage altogether, conservative defenders of gay marriage will struggle against them.

    The increase in nationalism in the late 18th century was not from a zero level. If you think that it was, you don’t know much history.

    If you think all examples of awareness that “we” or different from “them” combined with preference for “us” are nationalism than you don’t know much about nationalism.

    • Replies: @Glossy
    "Here is the definition of nationalism"

    THE definition. You act like we're playing Dungeons and Dragons or some other game that has an official rule book with official definitions of terms. Politics doesn't work that way. Like most people I have an I-know-it-when-I-see it sense about political terms like right, left, liberal, conservative, nationalist, libertarian, etc. Because of the nature of politics no one will ever be able to come up with any definitions of political terms that are acceptable to a large majority of the people who use them. Most attempts to formally define political terms are actually thinly disguised insults of others' views and false advertising of one's own.

    Politics does not work like theology or jurisprudence. There is no agreed-upon text, no sacred scripture to refer to, no law code, just guys promoting their agendas.

    If you found some definition of nationalism whose agenda agrees in some way with yours, that has nothing to do with me.

    "Sparta, Athens, etc. were not “nation states.”

    It wasn't any single Greek polis that fought the Persian Empire. It was the majority of Greeks. They didn't have a single state at that point. They had a number of them instead. But they clearly agreed that they were all Greeks and that this was important. They had a common genetic origin, which they explained through descent from a single founder (Hellen), but which modern geneticists would explain differently. They had a single language and culture. The cultural differences between Ionians and Dorians were trivial compared to the cultural differences between Greeks and the non-Greek peoples of the Persian Empire. Most of them did not want to be ruled by Persians, whom they called barbarians and foreigners.

    Al of this, taken together, agrees with my (and not only my) I-know-it-when-I-see-it sense of what nationalism is. The requirement for there to be a single nation-state looks silly to me. I would call the Zionists of 1900 Jewish nationalists. I would call the Germans who worked to create a single German state in 1840 German nationalists. I would call the Kurds who are now fighting for their people Kurdish nationalists. First, I'm not alone in this. Second, there is no official definition of these terms. It's not like arguing about rules in the middle of a chess game. Politics is not a game with agreed-upon rules and definitions.

    There are American citizens who call themselves White Nationalists and Black Nationalists. I don't see anything wrong with their usage of that word, it doesn't ring any linguistic alarm bells for me like the phrase "wet dryness" would for example.

    I could try to formalize my I-know-it-when-I-see-it sense of nationalism but that would be tedious and not very useful. Informally I would say that above the level of extended family the preference for people who are more closely related to you over people who are less closely related to you looks like nationalism to me.

  170. @AP
    The dynastic system (as well as the Church) was the traditional, conservative system in Europe. Nationalism represented the liberal revolt against this - the elevation of common people above authority.

    Yes, people nowadays forget that nationalism has tended to be democratic and anti-elitist.

    Our modern elites hate anti-elitism (obviously) and hate the demos, so they instinctively hate nationalism.

  171. @SFG
    Right. I think the linguistic thing is more of a European-history thing, though. There were quite a few different languages in China for a while.

    It's one of these incredibly complicated questions, made worse by the fact that many other areas may in fact have been imitating Europe.

    “There were quite a few different languages in China for a while.”

    There were also quite a few different kingdoms/nations in China for a while. Coincidentally, a unified, powerful, modern China has come about alongside an all-Mandarin-speaking China.

  172. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “…Okay, but *something* developed in the late 18th and early 19th centuries…”

    and

    “…Late Modern era Nationalism was deeply tied up with mass conscription as the preferred technique for raising armies…”

    Standing national militaries with continuous engineering development functions. For instance, the Royal Navy Dockyards and associated functions (Ordnance Yards, Victualling Yards).

    Combine mass conscription, volley fire, basic logistics, and nation-wide “instant” communication with ongoing technology improvement. Mix with decades-long ship-building and arms-development programs.

    Tin cans — French Origins:

    “…During the first years of the Napoleonic Wars, the French government offered a hefty cash award… to any inventor who could devise a cheap and effective method of preserving large amounts of food. The larger armies of the period required increased and regular supplies of quality food. Limited food availability was among the factors limiting military campaigns to the summer and autumn months. In 1809, Nicolas Appert, a French confectioner and brewer, observed that food cooked inside a jar did not spoil unless the seals leaked, and developed a method of sealing food in glass jars

    …Bryan Donkin developed the process of packaging food in sealed airtight cans

    The main market for the food at this stage was the British Army and Royal Navy. By 1817 Donkin recorded that he had sold £3000 worth of canned meat in six months…

    National communication systems — Napoleon had an optical telegraph system that spanned France (and often linked his headquarters to the system). Made a big difference:

    Semaphore line:

    “…Credit for the first successful optical telegraph goes to the French engineer Claude Chappe and his brothers in 1792, who succeeded in covering France with a network of 556 stations stretching a total distance of 4,800 kilometres (3,000 mi). Le système Chappe was used for military and national communications until the 1850s….

    …In 1794, it brought news of a French capture of Condé-sur-l’Escaut from the Austrians less than an hour after it occurred…

    …typically transferred 36 symbols, a complete message, in about 32 minutes… to provide some semblance of security a code book was developed…

    Napoleon Bonaparte saw the military advantage in being able to transmit information between locations, and carried a portable semaphore with his headquarters. This allowed him to coordinate forces and logistics over longer distances than any other army of his time…

    Once it had proved its success, the optical telegraph was imitated in many other countries, especially after it was used by Napoleon to coordinate his empire and army…”

    It may be very Anglo-centric and unrefined, but one way to compare the “national” age of a nation to Britain is to compare the age of the nation’s continuously standing Navy with the Royal Navy, or, if no Navy exists, the age of the respective armies.

    The Portuguese claim the world’s oldest standing Navy: “The Portuguese Navy, tracing back to the 12th century, is the oldest continuously serving navy in the world.”

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    "Napoleon had an optical telegraph system that spanned France (and often linked his headquarters to the system)."

    That appears in the 1970s "Three Musketeers" -- was that an anachronism or was the semaphore system already in place in Louis XIII's time?

  173. “To paraphrase the great poet Robinson Jeffers: For Americans, with neither language, nor religion, nor race, it is nation or nothing.”

    Except at the founding, this.

    “It has often given me pleasure to observe that independent America was not composed of detached and distant territories, but that one connected, fertile, widespreading country was the portion of our western sons of liberty. Providence has in a particular manner blessed it with a variety of soils and productions, and watered it with innumerable streams, for the delight and accommodation of its inhabitants. A succession of navigable waters forms a kind of chain round its borders, as if to bind it together; while the most noble rivers in the world, running at convenient distances, present them with highways for the easy communication of friendly aids, and the mutual transportation and exchange of their various commodities.

    With equal pleasure I have as often taken notice that Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people–a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs, and who, by their joint counsels, arms, and efforts, fighting side by side throughout a long and bloody war, have nobly established general liberty and independence.”

    There literally could not be a more perfect fit with ‘ethnic nationalism’ as sussed out by Anthony Smith 250 years later. Or even, check out the anti-Nationalist Brendan O’Leary on this.

  174. @anonymous
    "...Okay, but *something* developed in the late 18th and early 19th centuries..."

    and

    "...Late Modern era Nationalism was deeply tied up with mass conscription as the preferred technique for raising armies..."

    Standing national militaries with continuous engineering development functions. For instance, the Royal Navy Dockyards and associated functions (Ordnance Yards, Victualling Yards).


    Combine mass conscription, volley fire, basic logistics, and nation-wide "instant" communication with ongoing technology improvement. Mix with decades-long ship-building and arms-development programs.

    Tin cans -- French Origins:


    "...During the first years of the Napoleonic Wars, the French government offered a hefty cash award... to any inventor who could devise a cheap and effective method of preserving large amounts of food. The larger armies of the period required increased and regular supplies of quality food. Limited food availability was among the factors limiting military campaigns to the summer and autumn months. In 1809, Nicolas Appert, a French confectioner and brewer, observed that food cooked inside a jar did not spoil unless the seals leaked, and developed a method of sealing food in glass jars...

    ...Bryan Donkin developed the process of packaging food in sealed airtight cans...

    The main market for the food at this stage was the British Army and Royal Navy. By 1817 Donkin recorded that he had sold £3000 worth of canned meat in six months...

     

    National communication systems -- Napoleon had an optical telegraph system that spanned France (and often linked his headquarters to the system). Made a big difference:

    Semaphore line:


    "...Credit for the first successful optical telegraph goes to the French engineer Claude Chappe and his brothers in 1792, who succeeded in covering France with a network of 556 stations stretching a total distance of 4,800 kilometres (3,000 mi). Le système Chappe was used for military and national communications until the 1850s....

    ...In 1794, it brought news of a French capture of Condé-sur-l'Escaut from the Austrians less than an hour after it occurred...

    ...typically transferred 36 symbols, a complete message, in about 32 minutes... to provide some semblance of security a code book was developed...

    ...Napoleon Bonaparte saw the military advantage in being able to transmit information between locations, and carried a portable semaphore with his headquarters. This allowed him to coordinate forces and logistics over longer distances than any other army of his time...

    Once it had proved its success, the optical telegraph was imitated in many other countries, especially after it was used by Napoleon to coordinate his empire and army..."

     

    It may be very Anglo-centric and unrefined, but one way to compare the "national" age of a nation to Britain is to compare the age of the nation's continuously standing Navy with the Royal Navy, or, if no Navy exists, the age of the respective armies.

    The Portuguese claim the world's oldest standing Navy: "The Portuguese Navy, tracing back to the 12th century, is the oldest continuously serving navy in the world."

    “Napoleon had an optical telegraph system that spanned France (and often linked his headquarters to the system).”

    That appears in the 1970s “Three Musketeers” — was that an anachronism or was the semaphore system already in place in Louis XIII’s time?

  175. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer
    But England suffered the problem of blurry boundaries -- should France and Burgundy be one country or two? -- less than Continental countries did because nature imposed fairly distinct borders. Linguistic drift was limited in England because the land mass was limited. For example, modern day France is almost 5 times as large as modern day England. To be that large required the French state to aggressively impose the language spoken in Paris on all sorts of recalcitrant locals who spoke a language that wasn't much like French at all (Breton) or was kind of like Parisian French but had a roughly similar claim to being a major language (e.g., Provence).

    The English did this to some extent (perhaps Cornwall is like Breton?), but they didn't have to be as self-conscious about it as the French because England is smaller and thus English had less linguistic sprawl and thus was more mutually intelligible.

    As I understand it, Wales was conquered by the English kings, and thus to this very day is classified as a ‘principality’ of the United Kingdom, not, mind you as a ‘kingdom’ within the UK as Scotland and Northern Ireland are, since by conquest the Welsh forfeited this particular arcane distinction. Apparently, for what’s it’s worth, the Scots or rather the Scottish nobility ‘freely agreed’ to political union with England. Hence, the St Andrew’s flag is represented in the ‘union jack’ but no welsh dragon sits upon it. By the way, Prince Charles is the ‘Prince of Wales’ as is the male heir to any reigning monarch.

    Anyhow, my point is that Welsh was commonly spoken in Wales by the ordinary people right up to the 18th century. Many Welsh place names still have never been Anglicized in their history. In the 18th century speaking Welsh was actually made illegal by the British government, hence the language as a spoken tongue more it less disappeared until its 20th century revival.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Henry Twdr took the English throne so Wales merged with England and becoming a principality began.
  176. @AP
    Only when nationalism is confused with tribalism does it become an ancient concept.

    Here is the definition:

    The strong belief that the interests of a particular nation-state are of primary importance. Also, the belief that a people who share a common language, history, and culture should constitute an independent nation, free of foreign domination.

    Sparta, Athens, etc. were not "nation states." Neither were Celtic, African, Native American tribal territories, nor religious spheres. Shaka was not a Zulu nationalist; nor was Caesar a Roman nationalist, Alexander a Macedonian nationalist, Mohammad an Arab nationalist, etc.

    Nationalism is a fundamentally liberal idea that coincided with the liberal elevation of normal folks above traditional institutions such as the Church, local feudal authorities, and monarchies. For example, in Russia the famous Russian nationalist idea of "Autocracy, Orthodoxy and Nationality" was first articulated (in French, of course! - the language of Liberalism) by the education minister Uvorov, who had been infected with such liberal ideas while living in Napoleonic Europe. In an attempt to get around conservative distaste at such ideas Uvorov translated his French-language nationalite as "narodnost" (people or Volk) rather than natsionalnost when translating his ideas into Russian.

    In response to the liberal nationalist Revolutions in Europe in 1848, the conservative Russian Tsar Nicholas I removed Uvorov from office in 1849 and removed references to the word "narodnost" from official discourse.

    Of course nationalism, like gay marriage, was unstoppable and eventually even conservatives came to adopt it (as many do gay marriage). And as liberal progressives became post-national, conservatives were left defending this originally anti-conservative idea. Perhaps, one day, when the left decides to abandon marriage altogether conservative defenders of gay marriage will struggle against them.

    Anyways, all this doesn't change the fact that nationalism a relatively new phenomenon and a liberal one.

    “Sparta, Athens, etc. were not “nation states.””

    Right, because they were both Greek-speaking, but neither was unified with other Greek-speakers.

    “Neither were Celtic,”

    Right, because all Celtic language speakers never unified in one polity.

    “African,”

    True, but since there is no such thing as African-ese language, this is about as meaningful as saying “Asia was not a nation-state” or “South America was not a nation-state”.

    “Native American tribal territories,”

    True, but same qualification as Africa: there is no such thing as Native American-ese.

    “nor religious spheres.”

    Not sure what this means.

    “Shaka was not a Zulu nationalist;”

    Hard to say, as there are no contemporaneous records.

    “nor was Caesar a Roman nationalist,”

    I would say Caesar was a Roman nationalist par excellence. He believed in Rome and Roman virtues and sought to embody them in himself, which virtues he expressed after the manner of the time by imposing them at sword-point on the neighbors. He did so so thoroughly that it is hard nowadays to discern what preceded Caesar in Gaul, and the descendants of the conquered Gauls to this day pride themselves on their “Roman” history.

    “Alexander a Macedonian nationalist,”

    Alexander may or may not have been a Macedonian nationalist, but he was certainly a Greek nationalist. He unified the Greek-speaking polities, was an exponent of Greek culture, and after the manner of the time, sought to impose it everywhere he could at spear-point.

    “Mohammad an Arab nationalist,”

    This is a little trickier, but I would argue that Mohammad was an Arab nationalist. He (and his immediate followers) unified Arab-speakers–indeed, they were the only ones ever to do this–, regularized Arab culture (some might say “weaponized”), and after the manner of the times, imposed it at scimitar-point on the neighbors. They were so successful at this that even non-Arabs such as the Egyptians and Numidians call themselves Arabs to this day.

    Islamicists might object that Islam is supposed to be supra-national, and that is indeed the official line. But one of the dirty little secrets of Islam is that, especially in the first few centuries, its history works just as well, if not better, as an Arab national uprising. Even today, Muslim Arabs (who are the majority of Arabs) regard Islam’s Arab origin as not some random happenstance but as a kind of a divine endorsement of Arabism. They try not to say this too loudly outside of Arabia, however.

    • Replies: @AP

    “Native American tribal territories,”

    True, but same qualification as Africa: there is no such thing as Native American-ese.
     
    To clarify: would a Native American tribal leader be a nationalist? Was King Phillip, for example, a Pequot nationalist?

    “nor was Caesar a Roman nationalist,”

    I would say Caesar was a Roman nationalist par excellence. He believed in Rome and Roman virtues and sought to embody them in himself, which virtues he expressed after the manner of the time by imposing them at sword-point on the neighbors. He did so so thoroughly that it is hard nowadays to discern what preceded Caesar in Gaul, and the descendants of the conquered Gauls to this day pride themselves on their “Roman” history.
     
    But how could Caesar have been a nationalist, if the Roman Empire was not a nation-state? I think you are anachronistically applying modern ideas onto past entities.

    Caesar certainly favored Roman virtues and expanded Rome's power, but Rome was not a nation-state.

    Alexander may or may not have been a Macedonian nationalist, but he was certainly a Greek nationalist. He unified the Greek-speaking polities, was an exponent of Greek culture, and after the manner of the time, sought to impose it everywhere he could at spear-point.
     
    Alexander also married a Persian princess, adopted Persian customs and settled in that place.
  177. @M_Young
    Just read chapter 2 of this ...it's all y0u need to know.

    tl;dr

    Condense it down to two or three paragraphs and you’ll have an audience.

  178. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “…That appears in the 1970s “Three Musketeers” — was that an anachronism or was the semaphore system already in place in Louis XIII’s time?…”

    I think it was an anachronism. Signalling with flags and fires seems about as old as man and various harbour-to-town signalling systems have existed forever, but the first continuously operated nation-spanning system with a large tower infrastructure is pretty clearly the Chappe brothers system. The complete network (“the infrastructure”) must have been very expensive; perhaps only revolutionary France would have done it:

    “…During 1790–1795, at the height of the French Revolution, France needed a swift and reliable communication system to thwart the war efforts of its enemies. France was surrounded by the forces of Britain, the Netherlands, Prussia, Austria, and Spain, the cities of Marseille and Lyon were in revolt, and the British Fleet held Toulon. The only advantage France held was the lack of cooperation between the allied forces due to their inadequate lines of communication.

    In the summer of 1790, the Chappe brothers set about devising a system of communication that would allow the central government to receive intelligence and to transmit orders in the shortest possible time. On 2 March 1791 at 11am, they sent the message… (If you succeed, you will soon bask in glory) between Brulon and Parce, a distance of 16 kilometres (9.9 mi). The first means used a combination of black and white panels, clocks, telescopes, and codebooks to send their message.”

    “How Napoleon’s semaphore telegraph changed the world”, Hugh Schofield, BBC, 17 June 2013:

    “…According to most accounts, the very word “telegraph” – distance writing, in Greek – was coined to describe Claude Chappe’s nationwide network of semaphore.

    …At its most extensive, it comprised 534 stations covering more than 5,000km (3,106 miles).

    Messages sent from Paris could reach the outer fringes of the country in a matter of three or four hours…”

    It seems the Ancient Greeks built an ingenious torch and “water clock” point-to-point signalling system linking Sicily and Carthage during the First Punic War (264 BC!).

    In passing, San Francisco’s Telegraph Hill “…owes its name to a semaphore, a windmill-like structure erected in September 1849, for the purpose of signaling to the rest of the city the nature of the ships entering the Golden Gate.”

    Also tangentially, Royal Navy Dockyard, 15th_century:

    “…The origins of the Royal Dockyards are closely linked with the permanent establishment of a standing Navy in the early sixteenth century. The beginnings of a yard had already been established at Portsmouth with the building of a dry dock in 1496…”

    These naval facilities were, among many other things, what we would now call government-run technical and engineering research facilities. The kept growing for a long time and developing technology for a long time.

    The navy might have been a more permanent institution than the government, religions, and perhaps even the nation-state.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Aeschylus's tragedy "Agamemnon" starts with Clytemnestra's speech about the signal fire system that brings news of the fall of Troy home to Greece. Here's a diagram of the 7 stage system:

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/53/Feuerpost,_-_fire_beacon_-_Aischylos_-_Illustration.png

    Here's the equivalent scene in "The Two Towers:"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6LGJ7evrAg

  179. @Steve Sailer
    "You should consider the possibility that England, a nation roughly coterminous with an island separated from a continent with a great deal of history, is an unusual case."

    Right. So my idea is that England set the nationalist chain reaction in motion by consolidating 50,000 square miles a long time ago, in part because it had mostly natural borders, useful both for defense and, more subtly, for solving the problem of where to draw the borders. By the 1300s, the English national government could project power into France during the 100 Years War, which inspired the mainlanders to organize into a polity even bigger than England's 50,000 square miles. Then the power of France inspired other national consolidations.

    By the way, this idea (of European nationalism being a reaction to England) is the theory behind Liah Greenfeld’s ‘Nationalism: 5 roads to modernity’, which is quite good. I think she’s drawing on the work of Hans Kohn, who’s also quite good.

  180. @anonymous
    "...That appears in the 1970s “Three Musketeers” — was that an anachronism or was the semaphore system already in place in Louis XIII’s time?..."

    I think it was an anachronism. Signalling with flags and fires seems about as old as man and various harbour-to-town signalling systems have existed forever, but the first continuously operated nation-spanning system with a large tower infrastructure is pretty clearly the Chappe brothers system. The complete network ("the infrastructure") must have been very expensive; perhaps only revolutionary France would have done it:


    "...During 1790–1795, at the height of the French Revolution, France needed a swift and reliable communication system to thwart the war efforts of its enemies. France was surrounded by the forces of Britain, the Netherlands, Prussia, Austria, and Spain, the cities of Marseille and Lyon were in revolt, and the British Fleet held Toulon. The only advantage France held was the lack of cooperation between the allied forces due to their inadequate lines of communication.

    In the summer of 1790, the Chappe brothers set about devising a system of communication that would allow the central government to receive intelligence and to transmit orders in the shortest possible time. On 2 March 1791 at 11am, they sent the message... (If you succeed, you will soon bask in glory) between Brulon and Parce, a distance of 16 kilometres (9.9 mi). The first means used a combination of black and white panels, clocks, telescopes, and codebooks to send their message."

     

    "How Napoleon's semaphore telegraph changed the world", Hugh Schofield, BBC, 17 June 2013:


    "...According to most accounts, the very word "telegraph" - distance writing, in Greek - was coined to describe Claude Chappe's nationwide network of semaphore.

    ...At its most extensive, it comprised 534 stations covering more than 5,000km (3,106 miles).

    Messages sent from Paris could reach the outer fringes of the country in a matter of three or four hours..."

     

    It seems the Ancient Greeks built an ingenious torch and "water clock" point-to-point signalling system linking Sicily and Carthage during the First Punic War (264 BC!).

    In passing, San Francisco's Telegraph Hill "...owes its name to a semaphore, a windmill-like structure erected in September 1849, for the purpose of signaling to the rest of the city the nature of the ships entering the Golden Gate."

    Also tangentially, Royal Navy Dockyard, 15th_century:


    "...The origins of the Royal Dockyards are closely linked with the permanent establishment of a standing Navy in the early sixteenth century. The beginnings of a yard had already been established at Portsmouth with the building of a dry dock in 1496..."

     

    These naval facilities were, among many other things, what we would now call government-run technical and engineering research facilities. The kept growing for a long time and developing technology for a long time.

    The navy might have been a more permanent institution than the government, religions, and perhaps even the nation-state.

    Aeschylus’s tragedy “Agamemnon” starts with Clytemnestra’s speech about the signal fire system that brings news of the fall of Troy home to Greece. Here’s a diagram of the 7 stage system:

    Here’s the equivalent scene in “The Two Towers:”

  181. @AP
    The example of Michal Korybut-Wiśniowiecki demonstrates that the Polish ideology of that time, Sarmatism, was different from what is now called nationalism. At that time a "Pole" would have been a nobleman of Polish, Rusin, or Lithuanian origin (I think even Tartar settlers were included, but may be wrong about this); Polish-speaking, Roman Catholic peasants on the other hand were nobodies. The nobles were supposedly descended from Sarmatians (at that time, incorrectly seen as a Turkic people), while the peasants were Slavs and Slavs were good only for servitude.

    Tellingly, when modern Polish nationalists rebelled the (Polish) peasants (who had not yet been taught nationalism) revolted against them and slaughtered them, on behalf of the Austrian authorities.

    You have a point, but on the other hand you have people like Długosz, who used Polish-speaking peasants as proof that Pommerania belongs to Poland; he also speaks about Silesians, who are speaking Polish, but hate Poles because they are traitors to Polish nation.

    This is, again, an example of different shades of nationalism, with meanings changing every few decades..

    • Replies: @AP
    This may have been an example of pre-nationalist tribalism where people recognized that their speech was different from that of others. I'm not familiar with details of Dlugosz's ideas - did he propose that Poland ought to be built up as a state based on people speaking the Polish language and/or being of Polish ethnicity?
  182. @Almost Missouri
    As other commenters have implied, this entire discussion is really one about the scale of Group-ism. E.g., small Group = clan, medium Group= tribe, large Group = nation.

    But I think there may be a qualitative difference at the nation level. There are usually multiple clans and tribes speaking one language. The salient characteristic of a nation might be that it is the Group that finally unifies all--or nearly all--the speakers of one language. England became a nation when it contained the vast majority of all English speakers. France became a nation when it contained the vast majority of all French speakers. Italy became a nation ..., etc.

    This doesn't mean the Nation is new. Ancient Egypt did--as far as anyone can tell--unite all ancient Egyptian speakers. So, at least 5000 years of precedent.

    But I think there may be a qualitative difference at the nation level.

    I think “groupism” is one part relatedness and one part imagined relatedness and as the scale of the group goes up the imagined element becomes more important.

  183. The Sailer chronology of nationalism also could explain the succeeding chronology of colonialism pretty well.

    The first big countries to get their nationalism game down pat (England, France, Spain) unifying the speakers of their respective languages were then free to project national/linguistic colonies overseas, especially into the New World, where the indigenous population had just been badly thinned by their encounter with Eurasian microbial biodiversity.

    The next tranche of big countries to nationalize (Italy, Germany, Japan, Russia) were too late for the main New World land rush or even for the the Antipodes, so had to content themselves with relative scraps: open but barren countries (Namibia, Alaska) or countries that were already heavily settled and would not easily support new settlers (Horn of Africa, Manchuria).

    Anyone nationalizing after this got pretty much zip in the colonial game.

    This colonial chronology also accounts for the somewhat different nature of nationalism in the New World, where it arrived with the settler population without having to recapitulate the Old World’s historical incubation.

  184. @Anonymous
    "Nationalism" implies a specific scale. It doesn't refer to something in general.

    The general case is groups have an accepted outer boundary – so to my mind the question is what is the thing that causes the limit to be at one scale of another.

  185. AP says:
    @szopen
    You have a point, but on the other hand you have people like Długosz, who used Polish-speaking peasants as proof that Pommerania belongs to Poland; he also speaks about Silesians, who are speaking Polish, but hate Poles because they are traitors to Polish nation.

    This is, again, an example of different shades of nationalism, with meanings changing every few decades..

    This may have been an example of pre-nationalist tribalism where people recognized that their speech was different from that of others. I’m not familiar with details of Dlugosz’s ideas – did he propose that Poland ought to be built up as a state based on people speaking the Polish language and/or being of Polish ethnicity?

  186. AP says:
    @Almost Missouri

    "Sparta, Athens, etc. were not “nation states.”"
     
    Right, because they were both Greek-speaking, but neither was unified with other Greek-speakers.

    "Neither were Celtic,"
     
    Right, because all Celtic language speakers never unified in one polity.

    "African,"
     
    True, but since there is no such thing as African-ese language, this is about as meaningful as saying "Asia was not a nation-state" or "South America was not a nation-state".

    "Native American tribal territories,"
     
    True, but same qualification as Africa: there is no such thing as Native American-ese.

    "nor religious spheres."
     
    Not sure what this means.

    "Shaka was not a Zulu nationalist;"
     
    Hard to say, as there are no contemporaneous records.

    "nor was Caesar a Roman nationalist,"
     
    I would say Caesar was a Roman nationalist par excellence. He believed in Rome and Roman virtues and sought to embody them in himself, which virtues he expressed after the manner of the time by imposing them at sword-point on the neighbors. He did so so thoroughly that it is hard nowadays to discern what preceded Caesar in Gaul, and the descendants of the conquered Gauls to this day pride themselves on their "Roman" history.

    "Alexander a Macedonian nationalist,"
     
    Alexander may or may not have been a Macedonian nationalist, but he was certainly a Greek nationalist. He unified the Greek-speaking polities, was an exponent of Greek culture, and after the manner of the time, sought to impose it everywhere he could at spear-point.

    "Mohammad an Arab nationalist,"
     
    This is a little trickier, but I would argue that Mohammad was an Arab nationalist. He (and his immediate followers) unified Arab-speakers--indeed, they were the only ones ever to do this--, regularized Arab culture (some might say "weaponized"), and after the manner of the times, imposed it at scimitar-point on the neighbors. They were so successful at this that even non-Arabs such as the Egyptians and Numidians call themselves Arabs to this day.

    Islamicists might object that Islam is supposed to be supra-national, and that is indeed the official line. But one of the dirty little secrets of Islam is that, especially in the first few centuries, its history works just as well, if not better, as an Arab national uprising. Even today, Muslim Arabs (who are the majority of Arabs) regard Islam's Arab origin as not some random happenstance but as a kind of a divine endorsement of Arabism. They try not to say this too loudly outside of Arabia, however.

    “Native American tribal territories,”

    True, but same qualification as Africa: there is no such thing as Native American-ese.

    To clarify: would a Native American tribal leader be a nationalist? Was King Phillip, for example, a Pequot nationalist?

    “nor was Caesar a Roman nationalist,”

    I would say Caesar was a Roman nationalist par excellence. He believed in Rome and Roman virtues and sought to embody them in himself, which virtues he expressed after the manner of the time by imposing them at sword-point on the neighbors. He did so so thoroughly that it is hard nowadays to discern what preceded Caesar in Gaul, and the descendants of the conquered Gauls to this day pride themselves on their “Roman” history.

    But how could Caesar have been a nationalist, if the Roman Empire was not a nation-state? I think you are anachronistically applying modern ideas onto past entities.

    Caesar certainly favored Roman virtues and expanded Rome’s power, but Rome was not a nation-state.

    Alexander may or may not have been a Macedonian nationalist, but he was certainly a Greek nationalist. He unified the Greek-speaking polities, was an exponent of Greek culture, and after the manner of the time, sought to impose it everywhere he could at spear-point.

    Alexander also married a Persian princess, adopted Persian customs and settled in that place.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri

    "Was King Phillip, for example, a Pequot nationalist?"
     
    I would tend to think not, as the Pequot were just a tribe of the larger Algonquin nation, which was never unified. The Iroquois League, on the other hand, which contained most Iroquois speakers, did have the makings of nationalism.

    "But how could Caesar have been a nationalist, if the Roman Empire was not a nation-state?"
     
    I think the Roman Republic was a nation-state. Indeed, it was the prototype of the Western nation-state. It is no accident, for example, that most European nations, as far north as Scotland (which the Romans didn't even colonize(!)), derive their legal systems from ancient Roman law. Even in common law countries like England and the US, those creating and acting in the national political system modeled it on and frequently cited ancient Roman Rupublican precedents.

    "Alexander also married a Persian princess, adopted Persian customs and settled in that place."
     
    The same could be said for, for example, many British in India during the Raj. That didn't make those British non-nationalists, it just made them nationalist and imperialist.
  187. Glossy says: • Website
    @AP
    They guy who thinks that Stalin was a conservative gets things backwards again.

    Nationalism is at least as old as the written record.
     
    Here is the definition of nationalism:

    The strong belief that the interests of a particular nation-state are of primary importance. Also, the belief that a people who share a common language, history, and culture should constitute an independent nation, free of foreign domination.

    Sparta, Athens, etc. were not "nation states." Neither were Celtic, African, Native American tribal territories, nor religious spheres. Shaka was not a Zulu nationalist; nor was Caesar a Roman nationalist, Alexander a Macedonian or Greek nationalist, Mohammad an Arab nationalist, etc. The fact that these people recognized that others (Persians, in the case of Greeks, for example - of Flemish in the case of Spaniards) were aliens and fought against them does not imply nationalism. If some day extraterrestrials attacked the Earth would that make human resistance leaders "Earth nationalists?"


    Leftists hate nationalism
     
    I'll continue to paste from my other comment:

    Nationalism is a fundamentally liberal idea that coincided with the liberal elevation of normal folks above traditional institutions such as the Church, local feudal authorities, and monarchies.

    For example, in Russia the famous Russian nationalist idea of "Autocracy, Orthodoxy and Nationality" was first articulated (in French, of course! - the language of Liberalism) by the education minister Uvorov, who had been infected with such liberal ideas while living in Napoleonic Europe. In an attempt to get around conservative distaste at such ideas Uvorov translated his French-language nationalite as "narodnost" (people or Volk) rather than natsionalnost.

    In response to the liberal nationalist Revolutions in Europe in 1848, the conservative Russian Tsar Nicholas I removed Uvorov from office in 1849 and eliminated references to the word "narodnost" from official discourse, while retaining Orthodoxy and Autocracy. Nicholas maintained a close alliance with the anti-nationalist Hapsburgs.

    Uvarov, the free-thinking Europhile, was the nationalist. Tsar Nicholas I, the conservative reactionary, was the anti-nationalist. Do you understand?

    Of course nationalism, like gay marriage, was unstoppable in the civilized world and eventually even conservatives came to adopt it (as many are coming to support gay marriage). And as liberal progressives became post-national, conservatives were left defending this originally anti-conservative idea. Perhaps, one day, when the left decides to abandon marriage altogether, conservative defenders of gay marriage will struggle against them.


    The increase in nationalism in the late 18th century was not from a zero level. If you think that it was, you don’t know much history.
     
    If you think all examples of awareness that "we" or different from "them" combined with preference for "us" are nationalism than you don't know much about nationalism.

    “Here is the definition of nationalism”

    THE definition. You act like we’re playing Dungeons and Dragons or some other game that has an official rule book with official definitions of terms. Politics doesn’t work that way. Like most people I have an I-know-it-when-I-see it sense about political terms like right, left, liberal, conservative, nationalist, libertarian, etc. Because of the nature of politics no one will ever be able to come up with any definitions of political terms that are acceptable to a large majority of the people who use them. Most attempts to formally define political terms are actually thinly disguised insults of others’ views and false advertising of one’s own.

    Politics does not work like theology or jurisprudence. There is no agreed-upon text, no sacred scripture to refer to, no law code, just guys promoting their agendas.

    If you found some definition of nationalism whose agenda agrees in some way with yours, that has nothing to do with me.

    “Sparta, Athens, etc. were not “nation states.”

    It wasn’t any single Greek polis that fought the Persian Empire. It was the majority of Greeks. They didn’t have a single state at that point. They had a number of them instead. But they clearly agreed that they were all Greeks and that this was important. They had a common genetic origin, which they explained through descent from a single founder (Hellen), but which modern geneticists would explain differently. They had a single language and culture. The cultural differences between Ionians and Dorians were trivial compared to the cultural differences between Greeks and the non-Greek peoples of the Persian Empire. Most of them did not want to be ruled by Persians, whom they called barbarians and foreigners.

    Al of this, taken together, agrees with my (and not only my) I-know-it-when-I-see-it sense of what nationalism is. The requirement for there to be a single nation-state looks silly to me. I would call the Zionists of 1900 Jewish nationalists. I would call the Germans who worked to create a single German state in 1840 German nationalists. I would call the Kurds who are now fighting for their people Kurdish nationalists. First, I’m not alone in this. Second, there is no official definition of these terms. It’s not like arguing about rules in the middle of a chess game. Politics is not a game with agreed-upon rules and definitions.

    There are American citizens who call themselves White Nationalists and Black Nationalists. I don’t see anything wrong with their usage of that word, it doesn’t ring any linguistic alarm bells for me like the phrase “wet dryness” would for example.

    I could try to formalize my I-know-it-when-I-see-it sense of nationalism but that would be tedious and not very useful. Informally I would say that above the level of extended family the preference for people who are more closely related to you over people who are less closely related to you looks like nationalism to me.

    • Replies: @AP

    “Here is the definition of nationalism”

    THE definition. You act like we’re playing Dungeons and Dragons or some other game that has an official rule book with official definitions of terms. Politics doesn’t work that way.
     

    If language isn't precise it becomes meaningless. The word "Nationalism" means something.

    Like most people I have an I-know-it-when-I-see it sense about political terms like right, left, liberal, conservative, nationalist, libertarian, etc.
     
    Your relativism with respect to concepts explains how you get mixed up sometimes.

    Politics does not work like theology or jurisprudence. There is no agreed-upon text, no sacred scripture to refer to, no law code, just guys promoting their agendas.
     
    There is a term, nationalism, that has a specific definition. Since that definition does not appeal to you, you make up your own. Is it some personal form of post-modernism?

    “Sparta, Athens, etc. were not “nation states.”

    It wasn’t any single Greek polis that fought the Persian Empire. It was the majority of Greeks. They didn’t have a single state at that point. They had a number of them instead. But they clearly agreed that they were all Greeks and that this was important. They had a common genetic origin, which they explained through descent from a single founder (Hellen), but which modern geneticists would explain differently. They had a single language and culture.
     

    At some times groups of native Indians united against Europeans to fight them off. That doesn't make them nationalists. Review the definition of the word nationalism:

    "The strong belief that the interests of a particular nation-state are of primary importance. Also, the belief that a people who share a common language, history, and culture should constitute an independent nation, free of foreign domination."

    The ancient Greeks did not AFAIK have the belief that because there were Greeks-speaking people of Greek blood they ought to, on the basis of language and blood, have a specific Greek State and that the individual city-states were wrong and ought to be swept away in favor of the Greek People's State. This is not the same thing as recognizing that there are alien peoples out there different from Greeks and that Athens, Sparta etc. are more similar to each other than they are to those aliens and ought to prevent being taken over by them.


    The requirement for there to be a single nation-state looks silly to me. I would call the Zionists of 1900 Jewish nationalists. I would call the Germans who worked to create a single German state in 1840 German nationalists.
     
    If you knew what nationalism was you wouldn't make such a silly comment. There is no requirement for there to be a nation-state. But in the absence of a nation-state there is certainly the requirement for the belief that there must one day be a nation-state.

    German nationalists, in opposition to conservatives, wanted to sweep away the various traditional German kingdoms, principalities, or duchies (as well as the Hapsburg Empire) to create a new German Nation-State of the German People based on language and blood. This was nationalism. It went hand-in-hand with democracy and populism. It's opponent, conservatism, sought to prevent this from happening. Ever hear of Metternich?

    This is well worth reading for you:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolutions_of_1848

    The Revolutions of 1848, known in some countries as the Spring of Nations, People's Spring, Springtime of the Peoples,[3] or the Year of Revolution, were a series of political upheavals throughout Europe in 1848. It remains the most widespread revolutionary wave in European history, but reactionary forces regained control in each case, and the revolutions collapsed typically within a year.

    The revolutions were essentially democratic in nature, with the aim of removing the old feudal structures and creating independent national states. The revolutionary wave began in France in February, and immediately spread to most of Europe and parts of Latin America. Over 50 countries were affected, but with no coordination or cooperation between their respective revolutionaries. Six factors were involved: widespread dissatisfaction with political leadership; demands for more participation in government and democracy; demands for freedom of press; the demands of the working classes; the upsurge of nationalism; and finally, the regrouping of the reactionary forces based on the royalty, the aristocracy, the army, the church and the peasants

  188. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “…the signal fire system that brings news of the fall of Troy home to Greece…”

    Interesting. http://classics.mit.edu/Aeschylus/agamemnon.html:

    “…For as a watch-dog lying, not at rest,
    Propped on one arm, upon the palace-roof
    Of Atreus’ race, too long, too well I know
    The starry conclave of the midnight sky…

    …And now, as ever, am I set to mark
    When shall stream up the glow of signal-flame,
    The bale-fire bright, and tell its Trojan tale-
    Troy town is ta’en…

    …With beacon-fire of hope deferred no more.
    All hail!

    A beacon-light is seen reddening the distant sky.

    Fire of the night, that brings my spirit day…
    …Greetings to fortune, hail!

    A joyous welcome to the beacon-blaze,
    For Ilion’s fall; such fiery message gleams
    From yon high flame; and I, before the rest,
    Will foot the lightsome measure of our joy;
    For I can say, My master’s dice fell fair-
    Behold! the triple sice, the lucky flame!

    The things you learn. Sice here means to roll a 6. Dice are pretty old.

    The following seems to be about altar-fires analogous to signal fires?

    And here and there, anear, afar,
    Streams skyward many a beacon-star,
    Conjur’d and charm’d and kindled well…

    The primary innovations of the Chappe system seem to have been telescopes, purpose-built towers arranged in spanning networks (grids, not a single point-to-point line), and multi-flag signal codes. Telescopes made possible flag-pattern codes that conveyed more more information at one time than a bonfire on-or-off signal (and that could be used during the day). Once the system was built and manned, the Chappe system sent routine messages.

    It’s not clear if this system, like the First Punic War system, used water clocks to try to time the bonfire signals to match different code symbols. (Which is a somewhat similar idea to the “old” ASR 33 Teletype current loop serial-line protocol.) This must have been very hard to get right — In The Histories, Polybius wrote:

    “…[writing] to find a remedy for the difficulty, advanced matters a little, but his device still fell far short of our requirements, as can be seen from his description of it…

    …This will be the message delivered, if the apparatus works at the same pace in both cases.”

    Some things never change. They needed accurate clocks (which the Chappes had).

  189. anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Buddwing
    The argument that nationalism is coeval with mass literacy should not be ignored. The argument is that in preliterate times, languages blended, so the French-speaking Norman nobility and the Saxon peasantry could eventually merge their languages and all speak early modern English. At the border of the French and German languages, or at the border of he German and Slavic languages, various creoles could be created. With printing presses, however, the books, printed in the languages of the capitals, spread to the border areas and created sharp distinction among literate people. This caused them to identify more with the center than their near neighbors speaking a different language. Hence, 18th-century France became sharply defined. This resulted in the emergence of a pan-German nationalism, that eventually created a unified Germany. Thus, tribalism did not become nationalism until linguistic distinctions sharpened into national borders, due to mass literacy.

    All this talk of Henry V-era warfare seems to be ignoring the fact that the war was a three-way affair between England, France and Burgundy, and only two of the three ended up being "nations."

    All this talk of Henry V-era warfare seems to be ignoring the fact that the war was a three-way affair between England, France and Burgundy, and only two of the three ended up being “nations.”

    That’s the point of the OP. Latent “nations” that are still in the “tribal” phase can be forced into nations prematurely by outside attack.

    (Same with Scotland, Ireland and Wales)

  190. […] re-re-defined. Radical moderates. Futurism. Capitalism as last man standing. Nationalism eternal (and naturally recurring) — why Cathedralists fear it. Race on campus. Slavery. […]

  191. @AP
    The example of Michal Korybut-Wiśniowiecki demonstrates that the Polish ideology of that time, Sarmatism, was different from what is now called nationalism. At that time a "Pole" would have been a nobleman of Polish, Rusin, or Lithuanian origin (I think even Tartar settlers were included, but may be wrong about this); Polish-speaking, Roman Catholic peasants on the other hand were nobodies. The nobles were supposedly descended from Sarmatians (at that time, incorrectly seen as a Turkic people), while the peasants were Slavs and Slavs were good only for servitude.

    Tellingly, when modern Polish nationalists rebelled the (Polish) peasants (who had not yet been taught nationalism) revolted against them and slaughtered them, on behalf of the Austrian authorities.

    Ha! I found something, a quote from “Polonia sive de situ, populis, moribus, magistratibus, et
    republica regni Polonici libri duo” from 1575:

    “Polish knighted families are descendants of German settlers as evidenced by their emblems, i.e.
    coats of arms and their names. But now, after having long made their home here and in result of
    marriages, both a huge majority of them [Germans] as well as of burghers and peasants turned into Poles.”

    Note that he said that German PEASANTS turned into Poles, i.e. he clearly thought Polish peasants WERE Poles.

    • Replies: @AP
    They recognized them as Polish-speaking Roman Catholics and thus no longer Germans. (how could they be, under such circumstances). I'm not sure if they were seen as being Polish in a national sense.

    I found a very clear description of Polish Sarmatist ideology in this article about Karaite Jews:

    http://www.karam.org.tr/Makaleler/1980138237_shapira.pdf


    From the 16th century onwards, the Polish nobility, szlachta, believed that its racial, we would say in the late 19th century, origins were quite different from those of the chłopy, the Polish peasants. The word for szlachta comes from the German Schlacht, “pedigry” (cf. Geschlecht), but it is possible that some play on words involving lach / lech was also on work here. Like the historians of other European countries, the Polish historians of the 16th century sought to dignify the origins of their nation by placing them in antiquity.

    The fabled valiant Sarmatians, the Winged Horsemen, who lived north of the Black Sea in the time of the Roman Empire, were believed to have been the ancestors of the Polish nobility. The name Sarmatia was already applied to Poland in the 16th century and its people referred to as Sarmatians. These ancient Sarmatians, who were wrongly believed, till the mid-19th century, to be Turkic-speaking - in fact, Tatar-speaking - having been later driven west and northwards by other peoples, were thought to have conquered Poland and reduced its original population to serfdom, themselves forming the nobility of the new nation. These noble “Tatar” Sarmatians gradually adopted the Slavic speech of the conquered country, just like the Turkic Bulgars who conquered Slavic Moesia and Thracia, or like the Germanic Franks who conquered Gaul.

    In fact, the Sarmatian theory considered the worst military and political enemies of Poland, the Muslim Turks and the Crimean Tatars, as sharing the same origin as the Polish szlachta itself, with the strong emphasis on the redeeming Catholic faith professed by the Sarmatian szlachta. The theory also stressed the inherent backwardness and servility of the Polish Slavic peasants.

    Politically, the exponents of Sarmatism promoted the idea of a republic of nobles with an elected king as first among equals, with a lone szlachczic having the right of veto on the Sejm (Diet) decisions, and they strongly opposed absolutism of either Western or Muscovite type. Consequently, this theory was characterized by Catholic religious zeal and a deep conviction that the Polish political and social system was the best possible and that the mission of Poland was to defend the Roman Catholic world against the Eastern Orthodox, Protestant and Islamic peoples. In other words, the Catholic faith and the Sarmatian, that is, Turco-Tatar, origin of the nobility were seen as two sides of the same coin: the Catholic Sarmatians have been already redeemed, while their Muslim brethren in the Crimean steppe were still not, with the chłópy, Catholic or Greek-Orthodox, considered as just irrelevant.
     

    This idea is quite far from any sort of modern nationalism.
  192. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “By the way, this idea (of European nationalism being a reaction to England) is the theory behind Liah Greenfeld’s ‘Nationalism: 5 roads to modernity’, which is quite good…”

    Steve, other grist for your point about this also: for much of London’s history (post-Roman) I think it was one of the largest cities in the world. It was the largest (and perhaps most advanced?) city in the world for a surprising amount of time. I recall a book of maps of cities of the world over time with the population size of all cities plotted, as best could be estimated, and London really stands out.

    “Between 1714 and 1840, London’s population swelled from around 630,000 to nearly 2 million, making it the largest and most powerful city in the world.”.

    Historical urban community sizes, Early Modern era.

    List of largest cities throughout history.

    There’s a geo-strategic aspect to London that might be responsible for its prominence in European affairs. London is close enough to the ocean to easily take advantage of all that North Sea, Baltic, channel, and Bay of Biscay shipping. It’s inland far enough to be relatively safe from naval attack. While protected by the channel, it is also pretty close to the mouth of the Rhine, more-or-less across the channel. The Rhine flows all the way from Switzerland and, as the historical French/German border region, has always been relatively built-up and active. Through much of London’s history a citizen could probably pretty easily have travelled on the Rhine from London to Strasbourg (Strasbourg is now the legal seat (the capitol) of the EU parliament, while the administrative seat is in Brussels). If you just floated down the river that is perhaps at the core of what we now call the West, you ended up pretty near London. So London had a lot of advantages of a continental river-mouth city (like New Orleans), without many of the disadvantages (flooding, ease of attack from up-river or the sea).

  193. Sean says:

    Nationalism is using a mental propensity inherent to human nature (it can be as arbitrary as random assignment to either the blue and the green group which the person can know is arbitrary) but they will still identify with their symbolic group and defend its their members, most probably because those too rational too act that way failed to survive..

    There is a civic nationalism used by movements and governments in setting a standard language and national myth ect and imposed from above to weld subjects of a state into one people pulling together, those can be called imagined communities. Greece is one obvious case. Irish dancing such as populised by Riverdance, was invented quite late recently by Irish nationalists who introduced the genteel looking hands at the sides aspect to counteract the perception of them as wild and disorderly (like a polite pinky while holding a teacup).

    The Ottoman empire allowed its subjects , including European peoples, to keep their own cultures, but that revolts against the ottomans had some ethic basis seems obvious unless we are ignoring the reason states coalesce, which is external threat. The France of the Sun King used his triumphs to inspire the people to identify with their country.

    The ethnic grassroots nationalism of what was being called the ” German nation” while it was still divided among myriad principalities. And Germans were indeed relatively homogeneous. After a long era of being divided and easy meat for France, and preyed upon by neighbors who interfered in internal arrangements, Germany unified as the result of a gradual but ever increasing disillusion with the old paralyzing arrangements imposed at end of the Thirty Years war to hamstring German militarily potential.

    The Romantic movement Herder ect articulated a feeling that Germans shared a past and perhaps a destiny but that feeling came to the fore because Germany’s various states had been crushed by the European hegemon, and it’s nationalism was a reaction to external threat from powerful states. It was logical for France to keep Germany weak and logical for Germany to unify. Mearsheimer called this quandary The Tragedy of Great Power Politics”

  194. Here is the definition of nationalism:

    http://nationalism.askdefine.com/

    Noun
    1 love of country and willingness to sacrifice for it [syn: patriotism]
    2 the doctrine that your national culture and interests are superior to any other [ant: multiculturalism, internationalism]
    3 the aspiration for national independence felt by people under foreign domination
    4 the doctrine that nations should act independently (rather than collectively) to attain their goals [ant: internationalism]

  195. The absurdity of the “argument” in the Financial Times is in its attempt to trivialize nationalism on the grounds that it supposedly arose only in the last two centuries, and so is fundamentally ephemeral and shallow.

    But this is only by deliberately going out of one’s way to fail to note the obvious: that insofar as nations and nationalism struggled to come into existence, it’s because the commitments of people before that time were to still smaller groups — kingdoms, city states, regions, or even just clans. Getting people to embrace an entity as large as a modern day nation was a major battle in the direction of generality. What allowed that endeavor to succeed were the clear incentives in favor of that greater generality, such as military and economic unity, as well as the clear recognition of the people that they did indeed share much of their culture with others in the larger nation.

    But how can one make that argument at the global stage? What do we truly share culturally and economically with the Muslim countries, or with countries in Africa? How does a union with all the people across the globe serve the interests of the people in the US, or those of nations in Europe?

    From the standpoint of the people in Western democracies, any unification with most of the world, any sharing of peoples, is almost entirely downside. Only the elites might profit from it — and can do so precisely because, in their heavily and deliberately insulated communities, they don’t in fact do any of the sharing. They are, essentially, a nation unto themselves, sharing cultural and economic interests.

    But they are not our nation.

    • Agree: Almost Missouri
  196. @Bhroham
    "one can be sure that there was no England in the tribal feeling sense, or the kingdom of England was not a nation state, during the reign of James I."

    But at the same time Shakespeare was writing stuff like "This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this england". and "Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'"

    Also Francis Bacon himself is supposed to have said he had three goals: "to uncover truth, to serve his country, and to serve his church"

    Per Shakespeare and the ‘sceptered isle’ stuff, yes of course it’s in there. But… if you want to foster nationalism, tribal feeling that creates the nation part of the nation state, propaganda like that is exactly how one goes about it. In contrast, is there anything like that in Chaucer?

    If you’re going to do it one’s propaganda has to be appealing, in that it has to work. One thing that it will have to say is to tell the would be convert that he’s in the tribe already, and just say so and maybe he’ll think so. Another thing that one needs to say is that the tribe they want you to think yourself a part of wasn’t something some guy in the privy council just thought up, tribal feeling does not work like that, and now the govt wants you to do it, it has to say that tribe was unplanned and kind of organic, and pre existing, so it had to be founded in the past by unplanned forces.

    Just for that snippet, the ‘sceptered isle’ speech comes from Richard II and was said by John of Gaunt. First of all, John of Gaunt couldn’t have said any such thing, though I’d think that John of Gaunt could speak English, he didn’t usually do so, his vernacular was French, because he was (norman) French. If he did speak English, he probably would have sounded like Katherine in Henry V. Taking that as historically accurate, in that he thought that way or talked like that would be nuts, but it is there, so… why is it there?

    Also, this sort of propaganda might work while Good Queen Bess, a real deal Englishwoman, was on the throne, but when James I became king, James being really really not English, that wasn’t going to fly, so you do not see it.

    Lastly per Bacon, the ‘bands of society’ is tribal feeling exactly, nationalism being one version of tribal feeling, he’s addressing the topic of tribal feeling, and thus nationalism in a clear and direct way. Per him, tribal feeling comes from, and only from, religion. It’s not that he’s right, but that definitely means that there wasn’t any tribal feeling of the nation state variety in his day, Shakespeare’s stuff like that was propaganda, not an accurate picture of reality in his day. In his day, the subjects of the English Crown, if they had any tribal feeling over their family and friends, it was derived from religion, like say Syria today.

    Steve writes a lot about ‘retconning’, and I think his views on this topic are that he’s a sucker for the propaganda retcon the English Crown did to create the English nation, and again they were successful, the English tribe is a real thing, and the tribal feeling of the English is quite genuine. ‘Retconning’ didn’t start yesterday.

  197. RW says:

    Actually, nationalism began with Shakespeare:

    “This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
    This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
    This other Eden, demi-paradise,
    This fortress built by Nature for herself
    Against infection and the hand of war,
    This happy breed of men, this little world,
    This precious stone set in the silver sea,
    Which serves it in the office of a wall
    Or as a moat defensive to a house,
    Against the envy of less happier lands,-
    This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.”
    WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
    King Richard II

  198. AP says:
    @Glossy
    "Here is the definition of nationalism"

    THE definition. You act like we're playing Dungeons and Dragons or some other game that has an official rule book with official definitions of terms. Politics doesn't work that way. Like most people I have an I-know-it-when-I-see it sense about political terms like right, left, liberal, conservative, nationalist, libertarian, etc. Because of the nature of politics no one will ever be able to come up with any definitions of political terms that are acceptable to a large majority of the people who use them. Most attempts to formally define political terms are actually thinly disguised insults of others' views and false advertising of one's own.

    Politics does not work like theology or jurisprudence. There is no agreed-upon text, no sacred scripture to refer to, no law code, just guys promoting their agendas.

    If you found some definition of nationalism whose agenda agrees in some way with yours, that has nothing to do with me.

    "Sparta, Athens, etc. were not “nation states.”

    It wasn't any single Greek polis that fought the Persian Empire. It was the majority of Greeks. They didn't have a single state at that point. They had a number of them instead. But they clearly agreed that they were all Greeks and that this was important. They had a common genetic origin, which they explained through descent from a single founder (Hellen), but which modern geneticists would explain differently. They had a single language and culture. The cultural differences between Ionians and Dorians were trivial compared to the cultural differences between Greeks and the non-Greek peoples of the Persian Empire. Most of them did not want to be ruled by Persians, whom they called barbarians and foreigners.

    Al of this, taken together, agrees with my (and not only my) I-know-it-when-I-see-it sense of what nationalism is. The requirement for there to be a single nation-state looks silly to me. I would call the Zionists of 1900 Jewish nationalists. I would call the Germans who worked to create a single German state in 1840 German nationalists. I would call the Kurds who are now fighting for their people Kurdish nationalists. First, I'm not alone in this. Second, there is no official definition of these terms. It's not like arguing about rules in the middle of a chess game. Politics is not a game with agreed-upon rules and definitions.

    There are American citizens who call themselves White Nationalists and Black Nationalists. I don't see anything wrong with their usage of that word, it doesn't ring any linguistic alarm bells for me like the phrase "wet dryness" would for example.

    I could try to formalize my I-know-it-when-I-see-it sense of nationalism but that would be tedious and not very useful. Informally I would say that above the level of extended family the preference for people who are more closely related to you over people who are less closely related to you looks like nationalism to me.

    “Here is the definition of nationalism”

    THE definition. You act like we’re playing Dungeons and Dragons or some other game that has an official rule book with official definitions of terms. Politics doesn’t work that way.

    If language isn’t precise it becomes meaningless. The word “Nationalism” means something.

    Like most people I have an I-know-it-when-I-see it sense about political terms like right, left, liberal, conservative, nationalist, libertarian, etc.

    Your relativism with respect to concepts explains how you get mixed up sometimes.

    Politics does not work like theology or jurisprudence. There is no agreed-upon text, no sacred scripture to refer to, no law code, just guys promoting their agendas.

    There is a term, nationalism, that has a specific definition. Since that definition does not appeal to you, you make up your own. Is it some personal form of post-modernism?

    “Sparta, Athens, etc. were not “nation states.”

    It wasn’t any single Greek polis that fought the Persian Empire. It was the majority of Greeks. They didn’t have a single state at that point. They had a number of them instead. But they clearly agreed that they were all Greeks and that this was important. They had a common genetic origin, which they explained through descent from a single founder (Hellen), but which modern geneticists would explain differently. They had a single language and culture.

    At some times groups of native Indians united against Europeans to fight them off. That doesn’t make them nationalists. Review the definition of the word nationalism:

    “The strong belief that the interests of a particular nation-state are of primary importance. Also, the belief that a people who share a common language, history, and culture should constitute an independent nation, free of foreign domination.”

    The ancient Greeks did not AFAIK have the belief that because there were Greeks-speaking people of Greek blood they ought to, on the basis of language and blood, have a specific Greek State and that the individual city-states were wrong and ought to be swept away in favor of the Greek People’s State. This is not the same thing as recognizing that there are alien peoples out there different from Greeks and that Athens, Sparta etc. are more similar to each other than they are to those aliens and ought to prevent being taken over by them.

    The requirement for there to be a single nation-state looks silly to me. I would call the Zionists of 1900 Jewish nationalists. I would call the Germans who worked to create a single German state in 1840 German nationalists.

    If you knew what nationalism was you wouldn’t make such a silly comment. There is no requirement for there to be a nation-state. But in the absence of a nation-state there is certainly the requirement for the belief that there must one day be a nation-state.

    German nationalists, in opposition to conservatives, wanted to sweep away the various traditional German kingdoms, principalities, or duchies (as well as the Hapsburg Empire) to create a new German Nation-State of the German People based on language and blood. This was nationalism. It went hand-in-hand with democracy and populism. It’s opponent, conservatism, sought to prevent this from happening. Ever hear of Metternich?

    This is well worth reading for you:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolutions_of_1848

    The Revolutions of 1848, known in some countries as the Spring of Nations, People’s Spring, Springtime of the Peoples,[3] or the Year of Revolution, were a series of political upheavals throughout Europe in 1848. It remains the most widespread revolutionary wave in European history, but reactionary forces regained control in each case, and the revolutions collapsed typically within a year.

    The revolutions were essentially democratic in nature, with the aim of removing the old feudal structures and creating independent national states. The revolutionary wave began in France in February, and immediately spread to most of Europe and parts of Latin America. Over 50 countries were affected, but with no coordination or cooperation between their respective revolutionaries. Six factors were involved: widespread dissatisfaction with political leadership; demands for more participation in government and democracy; demands for freedom of press; the demands of the working classes; the upsurge of nationalism; and finally, the regrouping of the reactionary forces based on the royalty, the aristocracy, the army, the church and the peasants

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Okay, but if the famous American Indian chiefs in U.S. history like Tecumseh or Sitting Bull were the ones who got multiple tribes to put aside their petty feuds and fight the United States, isn't it reasonable to call them some kind of nationalists even though they were illiterate and lacked all the manifestos and constitutions of Europe in 1848?

    It would seem like we could draw a distinction between nationalist ends and nationalist means, which took much longer to evolve in part because they tended to threaten the powers that be, who controlled most literate discourse.

    , @Glossy
    But in the absence of a nation-state there is certainly the requirement for the belief that there must one day be a nation-state.

    Where did you get that? Assuming you got it from someone else, who is that person to define such terms for me? Did he win a contest, was he appointed to be the definer of political terminology by some government, is he a hereditary holder of a divine right of defining? Why should I listen to him? Why shouldn't he instead listen to my definition of nationalism, which I outlined in an earlier comment?

    And anyway, most of Greece did eventually unite in a single state under Philip, Alexander's father. And Spain was a single state when it revolted against Charles V and his Flemish officials.

  199. AP says:
    @szopen
    Ha! I found something, a quote from "Polonia sive de situ, populis, moribus, magistratibus, et
    republica regni Polonici libri duo" from 1575:

    "Polish knighted families are descendants of German settlers as evidenced by their emblems, i.e.
    coats of arms and their names. But now, after having long made their home here and in result of
    marriages, both a huge majority of them [Germans] as well as of burghers and peasants turned into Poles."

    Note that he said that German PEASANTS turned into Poles, i.e. he clearly thought Polish peasants WERE Poles.

    They recognized them as Polish-speaking Roman Catholics and thus no longer Germans. (how could they be, under such circumstances). I’m not sure if they were seen as being Polish in a national sense.

    I found a very clear description of Polish Sarmatist ideology in this article about Karaite Jews:

    http://www.karam.org.tr/Makaleler/1980138237_shapira.pdf

    From the 16th century onwards, the Polish nobility, szlachta, believed that its racial, we would say in the late 19th century, origins were quite different from those of the chłopy, the Polish peasants. The word for szlachta comes from the German Schlacht, “pedigry” (cf. Geschlecht), but it is possible that some play on words involving lach / lech was also on work here. Like the historians of other European countries, the Polish historians of the 16th century sought to dignify the origins of their nation by placing them in antiquity.

    The fabled valiant Sarmatians, the Winged Horsemen, who lived north of the Black Sea in the time of the Roman Empire, were believed to have been the ancestors of the Polish nobility. The name Sarmatia was already applied to Poland in the 16th century and its people referred to as Sarmatians. These ancient Sarmatians, who were wrongly believed, till the mid-19th century, to be Turkic-speaking – in fact, Tatar-speaking – having been later driven west and northwards by other peoples, were thought to have conquered Poland and reduced its original population to serfdom, themselves forming the nobility of the new nation. These noble “Tatar” Sarmatians gradually adopted the Slavic speech of the conquered country, just like the Turkic Bulgars who conquered Slavic Moesia and Thracia, or like the Germanic Franks who conquered Gaul.

    In fact, the Sarmatian theory considered the worst military and political enemies of Poland, the Muslim Turks and the Crimean Tatars, as sharing the same origin as the Polish szlachta itself, with the strong emphasis on the redeeming Catholic faith professed by the Sarmatian szlachta. The theory also stressed the inherent backwardness and servility of the Polish Slavic peasants.

    Politically, the exponents of Sarmatism promoted the idea of a republic of nobles with an elected king as first among equals, with a lone szlachczic having the right of veto on the Sejm (Diet) decisions, and they strongly opposed absolutism of either Western or Muscovite type. Consequently, this theory was characterized by Catholic religious zeal and a deep conviction that the Polish political and social system was the best possible and that the mission of Poland was to defend the Roman Catholic world against the Eastern Orthodox, Protestant and Islamic peoples. In other words, the Catholic faith and the Sarmatian, that is, Turco-Tatar, origin of the nobility were seen as two sides of the same coin: the Catholic Sarmatians have been already redeemed, while their Muslim brethren in the Crimean steppe were still not, with the chłópy, Catholic or Greek-Orthodox, considered as just irrelevant.

    This idea is quite far from any sort of modern nationalism.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    "The theory also stressed the inherent backwardness and servility of the Polish Slavic peasants."

    Is the bigger threat to the ruling class the internal ruled or foreign rulers? Poland's German neighbors, Prussia and Austria, started to picture their peasants as potential assets in foreign policy: teach them to read, figure, grow potatoes, and you could make a better and bigger army out of them.

    , @SPMoore8
    The whole Sarmatian business was an example of racism, as Jacques Barzun noted in his book on Racism in 1940, and really no different than the "racism" (if I can use the word) that posited he superiority of the conquering Franks over the lowly Gauls in France, or the Anglo-Saxons over the lowly Celts in Britain, etc. etc. It was not "nationalism" in a modern sense because it lacked the crucial element of a "nationality" that transcended class differences. That's why nationalism tends to carry back to the French Revolution and the notion of the citizen, etc.

    As to the Polish nobility, it seems to have been a mix of ancient Polish-Lithuanian families, Lipka Tatar nobility, Eastern Jews who assumed Christianity, German nobility, burghers and peasant farmers who were assimilated, and any other group (Armenians, Greeks, etc.) who distinguished themselves by trade and wealth and who were then ennobled (the Prussians, Austrians, and Russians followed similar agendas.) Basically "nobility" was just a way of recognizing hereditary wealth and also adding newly wealthy to the rolls, based on accomplishment. Strict class/caste societies are not completely impermeable, you just have to accomplish a lot and make a lot of money.

    That's why if everyone minds their P's and Q's they too can someday live in some high priced neighborhood.
    , @szopen
    AP, I read a lot about Sarmatism, literally hundred shorter and longer text, and it's the first time that I read someone suggested that szlachta thought they have common roots with Tatars. Based on what I read - and believe me, I am Polish fascinated with ideology of Sarmatism - I strongly think that this idea is bollocks.

    Moreover, Sarmatism is an idea which originated in XVI century, but was developing slowly. The chronicle I posted above from 1575 clearly use "POLES" for both nobles and peasants: it stated that German nobles, burghers and peasants turned into POLES, with one word for three categories of people.

    Moreover, some early szlachta authors though that peasants also were descendants of Sarmatians.

    But anyway, I do not claim that peasants were ALWAYS considered Poles or that nationalism was ALWAYS present. Rather, I think that there were differences between periods and nationalism has not started in 19th century.
  200. @AP

    “Here is the definition of nationalism”

    THE definition. You act like we’re playing Dungeons and Dragons or some other game that has an official rule book with official definitions of terms. Politics doesn’t work that way.
     

    If language isn't precise it becomes meaningless. The word "Nationalism" means something.

    Like most people I have an I-know-it-when-I-see it sense about political terms like right, left, liberal, conservative, nationalist, libertarian, etc.
     
    Your relativism with respect to concepts explains how you get mixed up sometimes.

    Politics does not work like theology or jurisprudence. There is no agreed-upon text, no sacred scripture to refer to, no law code, just guys promoting their agendas.
     
    There is a term, nationalism, that has a specific definition. Since that definition does not appeal to you, you make up your own. Is it some personal form of post-modernism?

    “Sparta, Athens, etc. were not “nation states.”

    It wasn’t any single Greek polis that fought the Persian Empire. It was the majority of Greeks. They didn’t have a single state at that point. They had a number of them instead. But they clearly agreed that they were all Greeks and that this was important. They had a common genetic origin, which they explained through descent from a single founder (Hellen), but which modern geneticists would explain differently. They had a single language and culture.
     

    At some times groups of native Indians united against Europeans to fight them off. That doesn't make them nationalists. Review the definition of the word nationalism:

    "The strong belief that the interests of a particular nation-state are of primary importance. Also, the belief that a people who share a common language, history, and culture should constitute an independent nation, free of foreign domination."

    The ancient Greeks did not AFAIK have the belief that because there were Greeks-speaking people of Greek blood they ought to, on the basis of language and blood, have a specific Greek State and that the individual city-states were wrong and ought to be swept away in favor of the Greek People's State. This is not the same thing as recognizing that there are alien peoples out there different from Greeks and that Athens, Sparta etc. are more similar to each other than they are to those aliens and ought to prevent being taken over by them.


    The requirement for there to be a single nation-state looks silly to me. I would call the Zionists of 1900 Jewish nationalists. I would call the Germans who worked to create a single German state in 1840 German nationalists.
     
    If you knew what nationalism was you wouldn't make such a silly comment. There is no requirement for there to be a nation-state. But in the absence of a nation-state there is certainly the requirement for the belief that there must one day be a nation-state.

    German nationalists, in opposition to conservatives, wanted to sweep away the various traditional German kingdoms, principalities, or duchies (as well as the Hapsburg Empire) to create a new German Nation-State of the German People based on language and blood. This was nationalism. It went hand-in-hand with democracy and populism. It's opponent, conservatism, sought to prevent this from happening. Ever hear of Metternich?

    This is well worth reading for you:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolutions_of_1848

    The Revolutions of 1848, known in some countries as the Spring of Nations, People's Spring, Springtime of the Peoples,[3] or the Year of Revolution, were a series of political upheavals throughout Europe in 1848. It remains the most widespread revolutionary wave in European history, but reactionary forces regained control in each case, and the revolutions collapsed typically within a year.

    The revolutions were essentially democratic in nature, with the aim of removing the old feudal structures and creating independent national states. The revolutionary wave began in France in February, and immediately spread to most of Europe and parts of Latin America. Over 50 countries were affected, but with no coordination or cooperation between their respective revolutionaries. Six factors were involved: widespread dissatisfaction with political leadership; demands for more participation in government and democracy; demands for freedom of press; the demands of the working classes; the upsurge of nationalism; and finally, the regrouping of the reactionary forces based on the royalty, the aristocracy, the army, the church and the peasants

    Okay, but if the famous American Indian chiefs in U.S. history like Tecumseh or Sitting Bull were the ones who got multiple tribes to put aside their petty feuds and fight the United States, isn’t it reasonable to call them some kind of nationalists even though they were illiterate and lacked all the manifestos and constitutions of Europe in 1848?

    It would seem like we could draw a distinction between nationalist ends and nationalist means, which took much longer to evolve in part because they tended to threaten the powers that be, who controlled most literate discourse.

  201. @AP
    They recognized them as Polish-speaking Roman Catholics and thus no longer Germans. (how could they be, under such circumstances). I'm not sure if they were seen as being Polish in a national sense.

    I found a very clear description of Polish Sarmatist ideology in this article about Karaite Jews:

    http://www.karam.org.tr/Makaleler/1980138237_shapira.pdf


    From the 16th century onwards, the Polish nobility, szlachta, believed that its racial, we would say in the late 19th century, origins were quite different from those of the chłopy, the Polish peasants. The word for szlachta comes from the German Schlacht, “pedigry” (cf. Geschlecht), but it is possible that some play on words involving lach / lech was also on work here. Like the historians of other European countries, the Polish historians of the 16th century sought to dignify the origins of their nation by placing them in antiquity.

    The fabled valiant Sarmatians, the Winged Horsemen, who lived north of the Black Sea in the time of the Roman Empire, were believed to have been the ancestors of the Polish nobility. The name Sarmatia was already applied to Poland in the 16th century and its people referred to as Sarmatians. These ancient Sarmatians, who were wrongly believed, till the mid-19th century, to be Turkic-speaking - in fact, Tatar-speaking - having been later driven west and northwards by other peoples, were thought to have conquered Poland and reduced its original population to serfdom, themselves forming the nobility of the new nation. These noble “Tatar” Sarmatians gradually adopted the Slavic speech of the conquered country, just like the Turkic Bulgars who conquered Slavic Moesia and Thracia, or like the Germanic Franks who conquered Gaul.

    In fact, the Sarmatian theory considered the worst military and political enemies of Poland, the Muslim Turks and the Crimean Tatars, as sharing the same origin as the Polish szlachta itself, with the strong emphasis on the redeeming Catholic faith professed by the Sarmatian szlachta. The theory also stressed the inherent backwardness and servility of the Polish Slavic peasants.

    Politically, the exponents of Sarmatism promoted the idea of a republic of nobles with an elected king as first among equals, with a lone szlachczic having the right of veto on the Sejm (Diet) decisions, and they strongly opposed absolutism of either Western or Muscovite type. Consequently, this theory was characterized by Catholic religious zeal and a deep conviction that the Polish political and social system was the best possible and that the mission of Poland was to defend the Roman Catholic world against the Eastern Orthodox, Protestant and Islamic peoples. In other words, the Catholic faith and the Sarmatian, that is, Turco-Tatar, origin of the nobility were seen as two sides of the same coin: the Catholic Sarmatians have been already redeemed, while their Muslim brethren in the Crimean steppe were still not, with the chłópy, Catholic or Greek-Orthodox, considered as just irrelevant.
     

    This idea is quite far from any sort of modern nationalism.

    “The theory also stressed the inherent backwardness and servility of the Polish Slavic peasants.”

    Is the bigger threat to the ruling class the internal ruled or foreign rulers? Poland’s German neighbors, Prussia and Austria, started to picture their peasants as potential assets in foreign policy: teach them to read, figure, grow potatoes, and you could make a better and bigger army out of them.

    • Replies: @AP
    Obviously, in the long run, nationalism was more successful for the reasons you describe. Many of the Polish nobles - especially the wealthiest ones - did well after Poland's division and were loyal to the new rulers. Obviously they weren't nationalistic at all.
    , @Desiderius

    Poland’s German neighbors, Prussia and Austria, started to picture their peasants as potential assets in foreign policy: teach them to read, figure, grow potatoes, and you could make a better and bigger army out of them.
     
    Here's where Sailer (as usual) strikes to the heart of the matter.

    Nationalism makes the best soldiers. It is an emergent (social) phenomenon characteristic of (though not unique to) the human species that arises when such soldiers are needed, and subsides when they no longer are.
  202. @AP
    They recognized them as Polish-speaking Roman Catholics and thus no longer Germans. (how could they be, under such circumstances). I'm not sure if they were seen as being Polish in a national sense.

    I found a very clear description of Polish Sarmatist ideology in this article about Karaite Jews:

    http://www.karam.org.tr/Makaleler/1980138237_shapira.pdf


    From the 16th century onwards, the Polish nobility, szlachta, believed that its racial, we would say in the late 19th century, origins were quite different from those of the chłopy, the Polish peasants. The word for szlachta comes from the German Schlacht, “pedigry” (cf. Geschlecht), but it is possible that some play on words involving lach / lech was also on work here. Like the historians of other European countries, the Polish historians of the 16th century sought to dignify the origins of their nation by placing them in antiquity.

    The fabled valiant Sarmatians, the Winged Horsemen, who lived north of the Black Sea in the time of the Roman Empire, were believed to have been the ancestors of the Polish nobility. The name Sarmatia was already applied to Poland in the 16th century and its people referred to as Sarmatians. These ancient Sarmatians, who were wrongly believed, till the mid-19th century, to be Turkic-speaking - in fact, Tatar-speaking - having been later driven west and northwards by other peoples, were thought to have conquered Poland and reduced its original population to serfdom, themselves forming the nobility of the new nation. These noble “Tatar” Sarmatians gradually adopted the Slavic speech of the conquered country, just like the Turkic Bulgars who conquered Slavic Moesia and Thracia, or like the Germanic Franks who conquered Gaul.

    In fact, the Sarmatian theory considered the worst military and political enemies of Poland, the Muslim Turks and the Crimean Tatars, as sharing the same origin as the Polish szlachta itself, with the strong emphasis on the redeeming Catholic faith professed by the Sarmatian szlachta. The theory also stressed the inherent backwardness and servility of the Polish Slavic peasants.

    Politically, the exponents of Sarmatism promoted the idea of a republic of nobles with an elected king as first among equals, with a lone szlachczic having the right of veto on the Sejm (Diet) decisions, and they strongly opposed absolutism of either Western or Muscovite type. Consequently, this theory was characterized by Catholic religious zeal and a deep conviction that the Polish political and social system was the best possible and that the mission of Poland was to defend the Roman Catholic world against the Eastern Orthodox, Protestant and Islamic peoples. In other words, the Catholic faith and the Sarmatian, that is, Turco-Tatar, origin of the nobility were seen as two sides of the same coin: the Catholic Sarmatians have been already redeemed, while their Muslim brethren in the Crimean steppe were still not, with the chłópy, Catholic or Greek-Orthodox, considered as just irrelevant.
     

    This idea is quite far from any sort of modern nationalism.

    The whole Sarmatian business was an example of racism, as Jacques Barzun noted in his book on Racism in 1940, and really no different than the “racism” (if I can use the word) that posited he superiority of the conquering Franks over the lowly Gauls in France, or the Anglo-Saxons over the lowly Celts in Britain, etc. etc. It was not “nationalism” in a modern sense because it lacked the crucial element of a “nationality” that transcended class differences. That’s why nationalism tends to carry back to the French Revolution and the notion of the citizen, etc.

    As to the Polish nobility, it seems to have been a mix of ancient Polish-Lithuanian families, Lipka Tatar nobility, Eastern Jews who assumed Christianity, German nobility, burghers and peasant farmers who were assimilated, and any other group (Armenians, Greeks, etc.) who distinguished themselves by trade and wealth and who were then ennobled (the Prussians, Austrians, and Russians followed similar agendas.) Basically “nobility” was just a way of recognizing hereditary wealth and also adding newly wealthy to the rolls, based on accomplishment. Strict class/caste societies are not completely impermeable, you just have to accomplish a lot and make a lot of money.

    That’s why if everyone minds their P’s and Q’s they too can someday live in some high priced neighborhood.

  203. @anon
    "was the unification of Germany & Italy really a good thing."

    It probably was for the Germans and Italians. But less so for British imperialist politics.

    The unifications of Germany and Italy were British imperialist projects (the independence of Greece as well). After the horrors of Napoleon, it was important to unify Italy to keep the Austrian and French empires out of the Po valley, and unify Germany to counterbalance France. The latter probably worked too well.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Not true.


    Britain in the 19th century had absolutely no power whatsoever in Germany or Italy, and indeed did not want to interfere.

    Yes, Greek independence was a popular cause in 18th century Britain, due to educated Britons regarding Greece as the mother of civilization, thus romantic figures such as Byron fought for Greece, and the Royal Navy aided the Greeks. But as for German unification, that was purely a Prussian project from start to finish - please don't give Britain 'credit' where it is not due.
    Italian unification was the project of northern Italian statesmen such as Garibaldi and Cavour - bitterly resisted by the catholic church. Nothing whatsoever to do with Britain, although the cause was popular in Britain.
  204. @AP

    “Here is the definition of nationalism”

    THE definition. You act like we’re playing Dungeons and Dragons or some other game that has an official rule book with official definitions of terms. Politics doesn’t work that way.
     

    If language isn't precise it becomes meaningless. The word "Nationalism" means something.

    Like most people I have an I-know-it-when-I-see it sense about political terms like right, left, liberal, conservative, nationalist, libertarian, etc.
     
    Your relativism with respect to concepts explains how you get mixed up sometimes.

    Politics does not work like theology or jurisprudence. There is no agreed-upon text, no sacred scripture to refer to, no law code, just guys promoting their agendas.
     
    There is a term, nationalism, that has a specific definition. Since that definition does not appeal to you, you make up your own. Is it some personal form of post-modernism?

    “Sparta, Athens, etc. were not “nation states.”

    It wasn’t any single Greek polis that fought the Persian Empire. It was the majority of Greeks. They didn’t have a single state at that point. They had a number of them instead. But they clearly agreed that they were all Greeks and that this was important. They had a common genetic origin, which they explained through descent from a single founder (Hellen), but which modern geneticists would explain differently. They had a single language and culture.
     

    At some times groups of native Indians united against Europeans to fight them off. That doesn't make them nationalists. Review the definition of the word nationalism:

    "The strong belief that the interests of a particular nation-state are of primary importance. Also, the belief that a people who share a common language, history, and culture should constitute an independent nation, free of foreign domination."

    The ancient Greeks did not AFAIK have the belief that because there were Greeks-speaking people of Greek blood they ought to, on the basis of language and blood, have a specific Greek State and that the individual city-states were wrong and ought to be swept away in favor of the Greek People's State. This is not the same thing as recognizing that there are alien peoples out there different from Greeks and that Athens, Sparta etc. are more similar to each other than they are to those aliens and ought to prevent being taken over by them.


    The requirement for there to be a single nation-state looks silly to me. I would call the Zionists of 1900 Jewish nationalists. I would call the Germans who worked to create a single German state in 1840 German nationalists.
     
    If you knew what nationalism was you wouldn't make such a silly comment. There is no requirement for there to be a nation-state. But in the absence of a nation-state there is certainly the requirement for the belief that there must one day be a nation-state.

    German nationalists, in opposition to conservatives, wanted to sweep away the various traditional German kingdoms, principalities, or duchies (as well as the Hapsburg Empire) to create a new German Nation-State of the German People based on language and blood. This was nationalism. It went hand-in-hand with democracy and populism. It's opponent, conservatism, sought to prevent this from happening. Ever hear of Metternich?

    This is well worth reading for you:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolutions_of_1848

    The Revolutions of 1848, known in some countries as the Spring of Nations, People's Spring, Springtime of the Peoples,[3] or the Year of Revolution, were a series of political upheavals throughout Europe in 1848. It remains the most widespread revolutionary wave in European history, but reactionary forces regained control in each case, and the revolutions collapsed typically within a year.

    The revolutions were essentially democratic in nature, with the aim of removing the old feudal structures and creating independent national states. The revolutionary wave began in France in February, and immediately spread to most of Europe and parts of Latin America. Over 50 countries were affected, but with no coordination or cooperation between their respective revolutionaries. Six factors were involved: widespread dissatisfaction with political leadership; demands for more participation in government and democracy; demands for freedom of press; the demands of the working classes; the upsurge of nationalism; and finally, the regrouping of the reactionary forces based on the royalty, the aristocracy, the army, the church and the peasants

    But in the absence of a nation-state there is certainly the requirement for the belief that there must one day be a nation-state.

    Where did you get that? Assuming you got it from someone else, who is that person to define such terms for me? Did he win a contest, was he appointed to be the definer of political terminology by some government, is he a hereditary holder of a divine right of defining? Why should I listen to him? Why shouldn’t he instead listen to my definition of nationalism, which I outlined in an earlier comment?

    And anyway, most of Greece did eventually unite in a single state under Philip, Alexander’s father. And Spain was a single state when it revolted against Charles V and his Flemish officials.

    • Replies: @AP

    But in the absence of a nation-state there is certainly the requirement for the belief that there must one day be a nation-state.

    Where did you get that? Assuming you got it from someone else, who is that person to define such terms for me?
     
    I go by the dictionary defintion, which probably reflects scholarly consensus. Maybe as a post-modernist, relativist you feel that what is true for you is the real truth, man.

    And anyway, most of Greece did eventually unite in a single state under Philip, Alexander’s father.
     
    Did Greece unite because the Greek masses felt that all Greek speaking people of Greek blood ought to have one united state for their people (in essence, German unification of the nationalistic 19th century), or simply because one guy happened to have conquered all the regions? The former would represent nationalism, the latter not.
  205. @AP

    “Native American tribal territories,”

    True, but same qualification as Africa: there is no such thing as Native American-ese.
     
    To clarify: would a Native American tribal leader be a nationalist? Was King Phillip, for example, a Pequot nationalist?

    “nor was Caesar a Roman nationalist,”

    I would say Caesar was a Roman nationalist par excellence. He believed in Rome and Roman virtues and sought to embody them in himself, which virtues he expressed after the manner of the time by imposing them at sword-point on the neighbors. He did so so thoroughly that it is hard nowadays to discern what preceded Caesar in Gaul, and the descendants of the conquered Gauls to this day pride themselves on their “Roman” history.
     
    But how could Caesar have been a nationalist, if the Roman Empire was not a nation-state? I think you are anachronistically applying modern ideas onto past entities.

    Caesar certainly favored Roman virtues and expanded Rome's power, but Rome was not a nation-state.

    Alexander may or may not have been a Macedonian nationalist, but he was certainly a Greek nationalist. He unified the Greek-speaking polities, was an exponent of Greek culture, and after the manner of the time, sought to impose it everywhere he could at spear-point.
     
    Alexander also married a Persian princess, adopted Persian customs and settled in that place.

    “Was King Phillip, for example, a Pequot nationalist?”

    I would tend to think not, as the Pequot were just a tribe of the larger Algonquin nation, which was never unified. The Iroquois League, on the other hand, which contained most Iroquois speakers, did have the makings of nationalism.

    “But how could Caesar have been a nationalist, if the Roman Empire was not a nation-state?”

    I think the Roman Republic was a nation-state. Indeed, it was the prototype of the Western nation-state. It is no accident, for example, that most European nations, as far north as Scotland (which the Romans didn’t even colonize(!)), derive their legal systems from ancient Roman law. Even in common law countries like England and the US, those creating and acting in the national political system modeled it on and frequently cited ancient Roman Rupublican precedents.

    “Alexander also married a Persian princess, adopted Persian customs and settled in that place.”

    The same could be said for, for example, many British in India during the Raj. That didn’t make those British non-nationalists, it just made them nationalist and imperialist.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    An awful lot of politics down through history is "right-sizing" your political unit for the current challenges and technologies and emotions.

    My point is that because England had mostly natural borders, it expanded to be larger than most medieval polities would have. But also due to its semi-isolation it was less interested in imperial thinking.

    The existence of a unified nation-state of 50,000 square miles of mostly fertile lowlands just off the coast of the Continent had a lot of influence on the development of political entities on the Continent. France wanted to be bigger than England so it wouldn't be pushed around by England like it was during the 100 Years War. In turn, other places wanted to get big to not be pushed around by France. Meanwhile, England was manipulating Continental alliances to keep any one political unit from getting too big.

  206. AP says:
    @Glossy
    But in the absence of a nation-state there is certainly the requirement for the belief that there must one day be a nation-state.

    Where did you get that? Assuming you got it from someone else, who is that person to define such terms for me? Did he win a contest, was he appointed to be the definer of political terminology by some government, is he a hereditary holder of a divine right of defining? Why should I listen to him? Why shouldn't he instead listen to my definition of nationalism, which I outlined in an earlier comment?

    And anyway, most of Greece did eventually unite in a single state under Philip, Alexander's father. And Spain was a single state when it revolted against Charles V and his Flemish officials.

    But in the absence of a nation-state there is certainly the requirement for the belief that there must one day be a nation-state.

    Where did you get that? Assuming you got it from someone else, who is that person to define such terms for me?

    I go by the dictionary defintion, which probably reflects scholarly consensus. Maybe as a post-modernist, relativist you feel that what is true for you is the real truth, man.

    And anyway, most of Greece did eventually unite in a single state under Philip, Alexander’s father.

    Did Greece unite because the Greek masses felt that all Greek speaking people of Greek blood ought to have one united state for their people (in essence, German unification of the nationalistic 19th century), or simply because one guy happened to have conquered all the regions? The former would represent nationalism, the latter not.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    It's hardly uncommon in history for a "marcher lord" on the edge of a large cultural area, like Philip of Macedonia to have an expansive view of what should be included in a state, while insiders get hung up on the narcissism of small differences. The Germans in central Germany weren't very good at putting aside their petty political differences to unite because it really wasn't that important who won and who lost: they'd still be Germans and life would go on much like before. But the Germans in Prussia and Austria realized they had to have large states to keep from losing everything to the Slavs.
    , @Glossy
    Since you have such respect for dictionary definitions, you'll just have to take on faith the ones provided by the following passage from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica's article on the Russian language:

    http://www.theodora.com/encyclopedia/r/russian_language.html

    "Russian dialects fall into two main divisions - Great (Velikorusskij), including White (Bělorusskij) Russian, and Little Russian (Malorusskij). The latter is spoken in a belt reaching from Galicia and the Northern Carpathians (see Ruthenians) through Podolia and Volhynia and the governments of Kíev, Chernígov, Poltáva, Khárkov and the southern part of Vorónezh to the Don and the Kubán upon which the Dněpr Cossacks were settled. To the south of this belt in "New Russia" the population is much mixed, but Little Russians on the whole predominate. In all there must be about 30,000,000 Little Russians."

    I chose to paste the passage as is, without correcting encoding screw-ups.
  207. @Steve Sailer
    "The theory also stressed the inherent backwardness and servility of the Polish Slavic peasants."

    Is the bigger threat to the ruling class the internal ruled or foreign rulers? Poland's German neighbors, Prussia and Austria, started to picture their peasants as potential assets in foreign policy: teach them to read, figure, grow potatoes, and you could make a better and bigger army out of them.

    Obviously, in the long run, nationalism was more successful for the reasons you describe. Many of the Polish nobles – especially the wealthiest ones – did well after Poland’s division and were loyal to the new rulers. Obviously they weren’t nationalistic at all.

  208. @Almost Missouri

    "Was King Phillip, for example, a Pequot nationalist?"
     
    I would tend to think not, as the Pequot were just a tribe of the larger Algonquin nation, which was never unified. The Iroquois League, on the other hand, which contained most Iroquois speakers, did have the makings of nationalism.

    "But how could Caesar have been a nationalist, if the Roman Empire was not a nation-state?"
     
    I think the Roman Republic was a nation-state. Indeed, it was the prototype of the Western nation-state. It is no accident, for example, that most European nations, as far north as Scotland (which the Romans didn't even colonize(!)), derive their legal systems from ancient Roman law. Even in common law countries like England and the US, those creating and acting in the national political system modeled it on and frequently cited ancient Roman Rupublican precedents.

    "Alexander also married a Persian princess, adopted Persian customs and settled in that place."
     
    The same could be said for, for example, many British in India during the Raj. That didn't make those British non-nationalists, it just made them nationalist and imperialist.

    An awful lot of politics down through history is “right-sizing” your political unit for the current challenges and technologies and emotions.

    My point is that because England had mostly natural borders, it expanded to be larger than most medieval polities would have. But also due to its semi-isolation it was less interested in imperial thinking.

    The existence of a unified nation-state of 50,000 square miles of mostly fertile lowlands just off the coast of the Continent had a lot of influence on the development of political entities on the Continent. France wanted to be bigger than England so it wouldn’t be pushed around by England like it was during the 100 Years War. In turn, other places wanted to get big to not be pushed around by France. Meanwhile, England was manipulating Continental alliances to keep any one political unit from getting too big.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    Yes, I think your hypothesis is basically correct, I would only add the element of language, as already mentioned. I also think your hypothesis is, or should be, fairly uncontroversial. Indeed, I seem to recall hearing a version of it in college, attributed to Kissinger(?) or some other diplomatic history heavyweight, with a particular emphasis on the English manipulating continental affairs to their own advantage from the fastness of their island sanctuary.

    iSteve-ishly, this English game of backing the second most powerful continental power against the most powerful, worked so well from the 16th to the 19th centuries, that each success made the next case even higher stakes, until the game became Pyrrhic in the 20th century, but after hundreds of years of relying on it, the British had no alternative strategy, apparently not even much conception of an alternative strategy. Keeping the big man down across the Channel was just what they did, it was Who They Were. A truly tragic case of the Sapir-Whorf effect.
  209. @AP

    But in the absence of a nation-state there is certainly the requirement for the belief that there must one day be a nation-state.

    Where did you get that? Assuming you got it from someone else, who is that person to define such terms for me?
     
    I go by the dictionary defintion, which probably reflects scholarly consensus. Maybe as a post-modernist, relativist you feel that what is true for you is the real truth, man.

    And anyway, most of Greece did eventually unite in a single state under Philip, Alexander’s father.
     
    Did Greece unite because the Greek masses felt that all Greek speaking people of Greek blood ought to have one united state for their people (in essence, German unification of the nationalistic 19th century), or simply because one guy happened to have conquered all the regions? The former would represent nationalism, the latter not.

    It’s hardly uncommon in history for a “marcher lord” on the edge of a large cultural area, like Philip of Macedonia to have an expansive view of what should be included in a state, while insiders get hung up on the narcissism of small differences. The Germans in central Germany weren’t very good at putting aside their petty political differences to unite because it really wasn’t that important who won and who lost: they’d still be Germans and life would go on much like before. But the Germans in Prussia and Austria realized they had to have large states to keep from losing everything to the Slavs.

    • Replies: @AP
    But neither the Austrian nor the pre-Napoleonic Prussian state could be considered nationalistic. Austria had been and continued to be a traditional, conservative, multiethnic state. Pre-Napoleonic Prussia was a semi-German one fusing Baltic peoples (Frederick is said to have considered the German language only fit for talking to his horse - not a nationalistic thing to believe). The Prussians were good students, however.

    I thought of a funny passage from Celine that describes the onset of this new thing, nationalism, so well. Goethe at Valmy is mentioned:


    " It's the philosophers . . . another point to look out for while we're at it ... who first started giving the people ideas . . , when all they'd known up until then was the catechism! They began, so they proclaimed, to educate the people . . . Ah! What truths they had to reveal! Beautiful! brilliant! unprecedented truths! And the people were dazzled! That's it! they said. That's the stuff! Let's go and die for it! The people are always dying to die! That's the way they are! 'Long live Diderot!' they yelled. And 'Long live Voltaire!' ....And long live everybody! Those guys at least don't let the beloved people molder in ignorance and fetishism! They show the people the roads of Freedom! Emancipation! Things went fast after that! First teach everybody to read the papers! That's the way to salvation! Hurry hurry! No more illiterates! We don't need them anymore! Nothing but citizen-soldiers! Who vote! Who read! And who fight! And who march! And send kisses from the front! In no time the people were good and ripe! The enthusiasm of the liberated has to be good for something, doesn't it? Danton wasn't eloquent for the hell of it. With a few phrases, so rousing that we can still hear them today, he had the people mobilized before you could say fiddlesticks! That was when the first battalions of emancipated maniacs marched off! ... the first voting, flagmatic suckers that Dumouriez led away to get themselves drilled full of holes in Flanders!... The free-gratis soldier . . . was something really new ... So new that when Goethe arrived in Valmy... he was flabbergasted. At the sight of those ragged, impassioned cohorts, who had come of their own free will to get themselves disemboweled by the King of Prussia in defense of a patriotic fiction no one had ever heard of, Goethe realized that he still had much to learn. This day,' he declaimed grandiloquently as befitted the habits of his genius, 'marks the beginning of a new era!' He could say that again! The system proved successful . . . pretty soon they were mass-producing heroes, and in the end, the system was so well perfected that they cost practically nothing. Everyone was delighted. Bismarck, the two Napoleons, Barrès, Elsa the Horsewoman. The religion of the flag promptly replaced the cult of heaven, an old cloud which had already been deflated by the Reformation and reduced to a network of episcopal money boxes. In olden times the fanatical fashion was: 'Long live Jesus! Burn the heretics!' . . . But heretics, after all, were few and voluntary . . . Whereas today vast hordes of men are fired with aim and purpose by cries of: 'Hang the limp turnips! The juiceless lemons! The innocent readers! By the millions, eyes right!' ... Let whole legions of them perish, turn into smidgens, bleed, smolder in acid—and all that to make the Patrie more beloved, more fair, and more joyful! "
     
    , @Desiderius

    insiders get hung up on the narcissism of small differences
     
    There's more to it than that. Why does a cell divide?
  210. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “…appears in the 1970s “Three Musketeers” — was that an anachronism or was the semaphore system already in place in Louis XIII’s time?”

    The daylight semaphore tower worked because of telescopes. Each tower had a telescope pointing both up and down the relay line.

    The Three Musketeers is set in 1625-28: “Set in 1625-8, it recounts the adventures of a young man named d’Artagnan…”.

    Telescopes were invented surprisingly late, given the amount of time glass-blowing had been in practice. Apparently quality glass-making was a secret skill that was often controlled as a state secret for purposes of commercial monopoly. (Such as by the Venetians on the island of Murano: “Murano’s glassmakers held a monopoly on quality glassmaking for centuries, developing or refining many technologies..”.)

    Telescopes seem to be one of those technologies that appeared at one place in war-time (the Dutch revolt against the Habsburgs (Spain) , yet no one knows for sure who the real inventor was. Of all the history-changing inventions, the telescope may have the highest probability of being invented by an 11-year old playing in a (spectacles-making?) shop.

    History of the telescope:

    “…the earliest known working telescopes appeared in 1608… …Galileo used this design the following year…

    …Isaac Newton is credited with building the first “practical” reflector in 1668…

    …The achromatic lens, which greatly reduced color aberrations in objective lenses and allowed for shorter and more functional telescopes, first appeared in a 1733 telescope… John Dollond… began producing telescopes using it in commercial quantities, starting in 1758…”

    There’s also this: “The Chappe semaphore figures prominently in Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo. The Count bribes an underpaid operator to transmit a false message.”

    The Count of Monte Cristo, “…completed in 1844… one of the author’s most popular works, along with The Three Musketeers. The story takes place in France, Italy, and islands in the Mediterranean during the historical events of 1815–1839…

    An interesting paper: THE TELEGRAPH OF CLAUDE CHAPPE-AN OPTICAL TELECOMMUNICATION NETWORK FOR THE XVIIITH CENTURY, J-M. Dilhac.

    It seems unlikely that Louis XIII had a Chappe-type system, because telescopes in 1625 were not available in quantity and it would be another 150 years before a sufficient number with sufficient quality were available. Screen writers may have adopted a scene from The Count?

  211. Glossy says: • Website
    @AP

    But in the absence of a nation-state there is certainly the requirement for the belief that there must one day be a nation-state.

    Where did you get that? Assuming you got it from someone else, who is that person to define such terms for me?
     
    I go by the dictionary defintion, which probably reflects scholarly consensus. Maybe as a post-modernist, relativist you feel that what is true for you is the real truth, man.

    And anyway, most of Greece did eventually unite in a single state under Philip, Alexander’s father.
     
    Did Greece unite because the Greek masses felt that all Greek speaking people of Greek blood ought to have one united state for their people (in essence, German unification of the nationalistic 19th century), or simply because one guy happened to have conquered all the regions? The former would represent nationalism, the latter not.

    Since you have such respect for dictionary definitions, you’ll just have to take on faith the ones provided by the following passage from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica’s article on the Russian language:

    http://www.theodora.com/encyclopedia/r/russian_language.html

    “Russian dialects fall into two main divisions – Great (Velikorusskij), including White (BÄ›lorusskij) Russian, and Little Russian (Malorusskij). The latter is spoken in a belt reaching from Galicia and the Northern Carpathians (see Ruthenians) through Podolia and Volhynia and the governments of Kíev, Chernígov, Poltáva, Khárkov and the southern part of Vorónezh to the Don and the Kubán upon which the DnÄ›pr Cossacks were settled. To the south of this belt in “New Russia” the population is much mixed, but Little Russians on the whole predominate. In all there must be about 30,000,000 Little Russians.”

    I chose to paste the passage as is, without correcting encoding screw-ups.

    • Replies: @AP
    As people learn more, scholarly consensus changes. With respect to languages, science, etc.

    Here's the latest Britannica entry abut the Ukrainian language:

    "Ukrainian language, formerly called Ruthenian or Little Russian (now considered pejorative), Ukrainian Ukraïns’ka mova, East Slavic language spoken in Ukraine and in Ukrainian communities in Kazakhstan, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Lithuania, and Slovakia and by smaller numbers elsewhere. Ukrainian is a lineal descendant of the colloquial language used in Kievan Rus (10th–13th century). It is written in a form of the Cyrillic alphabet and is closely related to Russian and Belarusian, from which it was indistinguishable until the 12th or 13th century. Ukrainian resembles Russian less closely than does Belarusian..."

    Has consensus changed with respect to the definition of nationalism I provided?

  212. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    About nationalism, maybe it helps to think about it not by the treaties that tried to define it or form it, or academic definitions, but by reactions to attempts to destroy it.

    For instance, the Dutch Revolt against the Habsburgs (the Eighty Years War), the Defeat of the Spanish Armada, and all the other wars against the Habsburgs. The list of ships of the Spanish Armada is interesting, it shows that the Armada was far from an all “Spanish” effort.

  213. AP says:
    @Steve Sailer
    It's hardly uncommon in history for a "marcher lord" on the edge of a large cultural area, like Philip of Macedonia to have an expansive view of what should be included in a state, while insiders get hung up on the narcissism of small differences. The Germans in central Germany weren't very good at putting aside their petty political differences to unite because it really wasn't that important who won and who lost: they'd still be Germans and life would go on much like before. But the Germans in Prussia and Austria realized they had to have large states to keep from losing everything to the Slavs.

    But neither the Austrian nor the pre-Napoleonic Prussian state could be considered nationalistic. Austria had been and continued to be a traditional, conservative, multiethnic state. Pre-Napoleonic Prussia was a semi-German one fusing Baltic peoples (Frederick is said to have considered the German language only fit for talking to his horse – not a nationalistic thing to believe). The Prussians were good students, however.

    I thought of a funny passage from Celine that describes the onset of this new thing, nationalism, so well. Goethe at Valmy is mentioned:

    ” It’s the philosophers . . . another point to look out for while we’re at it … who first started giving the people ideas . . , when all they’d known up until then was the catechism! They began, so they proclaimed, to educate the people . . . Ah! What truths they had to reveal! Beautiful! brilliant! unprecedented truths! And the people were dazzled! That’s it! they said. That’s the stuff! Let’s go and die for it! The people are always dying to die! That’s the way they are! ‘Long live Diderot!’ they yelled. And ‘Long live Voltaire!’ ….And long live everybody! Those guys at least don’t let the beloved people molder in ignorance and fetishism! They show the people the roads of Freedom! Emancipation! Things went fast after that! First teach everybody to read the papers! That’s the way to salvation! Hurry hurry! No more illiterates! We don’t need them anymore! Nothing but citizen-soldiers! Who vote! Who read! And who fight! And who march! And send kisses from the front! In no time the people were good and ripe! The enthusiasm of the liberated has to be good for something, doesn’t it? Danton wasn’t eloquent for the hell of it. With a few phrases, so rousing that we can still hear them today, he had the people mobilized before you could say fiddlesticks! That was when the first battalions of emancipated maniacs marched off! … the first voting, flagmatic suckers that Dumouriez led away to get themselves drilled full of holes in Flanders!… The free-gratis soldier . . . was something really new … So new that when Goethe arrived in Valmy… he was flabbergasted. At the sight of those ragged, impassioned cohorts, who had come of their own free will to get themselves disemboweled by the King of Prussia in defense of a patriotic fiction no one had ever heard of, Goethe realized that he still had much to learn. This day,’ he declaimed grandiloquently as befitted the habits of his genius, ‘marks the beginning of a new era!’ He could say that again! The system proved successful . . . pretty soon they were mass-producing heroes, and in the end, the system was so well perfected that they cost practically nothing. Everyone was delighted. Bismarck, the two Napoleons, Barrès, Elsa the Horsewoman. The religion of the flag promptly replaced the cult of heaven, an old cloud which had already been deflated by the Reformation and reduced to a network of episcopal money boxes. In olden times the fanatical fashion was: ‘Long live Jesus! Burn the heretics!’ . . . But heretics, after all, were few and voluntary . . . Whereas today vast hordes of men are fired with aim and purpose by cries of: ‘Hang the limp turnips! The juiceless lemons! The innocent readers! By the millions, eyes right!’ … Let whole legions of them perish, turn into smidgens, bleed, smolder in acid—and all that to make the Patrie more beloved, more fair, and more joyful! ”

  214. @Glossy
    Since you have such respect for dictionary definitions, you'll just have to take on faith the ones provided by the following passage from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica's article on the Russian language:

    http://www.theodora.com/encyclopedia/r/russian_language.html

    "Russian dialects fall into two main divisions - Great (Velikorusskij), including White (Bělorusskij) Russian, and Little Russian (Malorusskij). The latter is spoken in a belt reaching from Galicia and the Northern Carpathians (see Ruthenians) through Podolia and Volhynia and the governments of Kíev, Chernígov, Poltáva, Khárkov and the southern part of Vorónezh to the Don and the Kubán upon which the Dněpr Cossacks were settled. To the south of this belt in "New Russia" the population is much mixed, but Little Russians on the whole predominate. In all there must be about 30,000,000 Little Russians."

    I chose to paste the passage as is, without correcting encoding screw-ups.

    As people learn more, scholarly consensus changes. With respect to languages, science, etc.

    Here’s the latest Britannica entry abut the Ukrainian language:

    “Ukrainian language, formerly called Ruthenian or Little Russian (now considered pejorative), Ukrainian Ukraïns’ka mova, East Slavic language spoken in Ukraine and in Ukrainian communities in Kazakhstan, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Lithuania, and Slovakia and by smaller numbers elsewhere. Ukrainian is a lineal descendant of the colloquial language used in Kievan Rus (10th–13th century). It is written in a form of the Cyrillic alphabet and is closely related to Russian and Belarusian, from which it was indistinguishable until the 12th or 13th century. Ukrainian resembles Russian less closely than does Belarusian…”

    Has consensus changed with respect to the definition of nationalism I provided?

  215. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “I thought of a funny passage from Celine that describes the onset of this new thing, nationalism, so well. Goethe at Valmy is mentioned…”

    This sounded interesting, so I googled. This book is a work of fictionJourney to the End of the Night:

    “…The novel also satirizes the medical profession and the vocation of scientific research. …a nihilistic novel of savage, exultant misanthropy, combined, however, with cynical humour. Céline expresses an almost unrelieved pessimism with regard to human nature, human institutions, society, and life in general…

    …A clue to understanding Céline’s Voyage lies in the trauma he suffered during his experience in World War I…

    So it appears this book, though not superficially about war, probably reflects the mental effects of the author’s experience as a WWI soldier. It is not an attempt at objective history. Another of those books by shattered young men who survived, but no longer fit and lost many of their friends and fellows. Like Tolkien and many others, they are haunted by their personal past. Stress does strange things to minds. These men deserve our sympathy and attention, but that doesn’t mean that what they say, or even make us feel, is right. It shouldn’t be dismissed either. But the guy with a bad case of PTSD might not be the best person to give our collective steering wheel.

    The amazon site for the book has the dust-jacket for a recent edition:

    “The dark side of On the Road: instead of seeking kicks, the French narrator travels the globe to find an ever deeper disgust for life.

    Louis-Ferdinand Celine’s revulsion and anger at what he considered the idiocy and hypocrisy of society explodes from nearly every page of this novel. Filled with slang and obscenities and written in raw, colloquial language, Journey to the End of the Night is a literary symphony of violence, cruelty and obscene nihilism. This book shocked most critics when it was first published in France in 1932, but quickly became a success with the reading public in Europe, and later in America where it was first published by New Directions in 1952. The story of the improbable yet convincingly described travels of the petit-bourgeois (and largely autobiographical) antihero, Bardamu, from the trenches of World War I, to the African jungle, to New York and Detroit, and finally to life as a failed doctor in Paris, takes the readers by the scruff and hurtles them toward the novel’s inevitable, sad conclusion.”

    This is a guy who was wounded at Ypres (and decorated for bravery). Discharged from the army, he spent a year in West Africa, which was “unsuccessful”. Yes, that’s probably where to go in 1917 to get on the sunny side of life. He ended up as a doctor working for the League of Nations (the 1920s version of the UN). That will probably set you up to be bitter:

    “…Working for the newly founded League of Nations, he travelled to Switzerland, England, the Cameroons, Canada, the United States, and Cuba…

    …In 1926 he visited America, and was sent to Detroit to study the conditions of the workers at the Ford Automotive Company. Seeing the effects of the “assembly line” disgusted him. His article described the plant as a sensory attack on the worker…”

    A League of Nations doctor with his own issues might not be the best source about the history of nations.

  216. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @vinny
    The unifications of Germany and Italy were British imperialist projects (the independence of Greece as well). After the horrors of Napoleon, it was important to unify Italy to keep the Austrian and French empires out of the Po valley, and unify Germany to counterbalance France. The latter probably worked too well.

    Not true.

    Britain in the 19th century had absolutely no power whatsoever in Germany or Italy, and indeed did not want to interfere.

    Yes, Greek independence was a popular cause in 18th century Britain, due to educated Britons regarding Greece as the mother of civilization, thus romantic figures such as Byron fought for Greece, and the Royal Navy aided the Greeks. But as for German unification, that was purely a Prussian project from start to finish – please don’t give Britain ‘credit’ where it is not due.
    Italian unification was the project of northern Italian statesmen such as Garibaldi and Cavour – bitterly resisted by the catholic church. Nothing whatsoever to do with Britain, although the cause was popular in Britain.

  217. @Anonymous
    As I understand it, Wales was conquered by the English kings, and thus to this very day is classified as a 'principality' of the United Kingdom, not, mind you as a 'kingdom' within the UK as Scotland and Northern Ireland are, since by conquest the Welsh forfeited this particular arcane distinction. Apparently, for what's it's worth, the Scots or rather the Scottish nobility 'freely agreed' to political union with England. Hence, the St Andrew's flag is represented in the 'union jack' but no welsh dragon sits upon it. By the way, Prince Charles is the 'Prince of Wales' as is the male heir to any reigning monarch.

    Anyhow, my point is that Welsh was commonly spoken in Wales by the ordinary people right up to the 18th century. Many Welsh place names still have never been Anglicized in their history. In the 18th century speaking Welsh was actually made illegal by the British government, hence the language as a spoken tongue more it less disappeared until its 20th century revival.

    Henry Twdr took the English throne so Wales merged with England and becoming a principality began.

  218. @Steve Sailer
    An awful lot of politics down through history is "right-sizing" your political unit for the current challenges and technologies and emotions.

    My point is that because England had mostly natural borders, it expanded to be larger than most medieval polities would have. But also due to its semi-isolation it was less interested in imperial thinking.

    The existence of a unified nation-state of 50,000 square miles of mostly fertile lowlands just off the coast of the Continent had a lot of influence on the development of political entities on the Continent. France wanted to be bigger than England so it wouldn't be pushed around by England like it was during the 100 Years War. In turn, other places wanted to get big to not be pushed around by France. Meanwhile, England was manipulating Continental alliances to keep any one political unit from getting too big.

    Yes, I think your hypothesis is basically correct, I would only add the element of language, as already mentioned. I also think your hypothesis is, or should be, fairly uncontroversial. Indeed, I seem to recall hearing a version of it in college, attributed to Kissinger(?) or some other diplomatic history heavyweight, with a particular emphasis on the English manipulating continental affairs to their own advantage from the fastness of their island sanctuary.

    iSteve-ishly, this English game of backing the second most powerful continental power against the most powerful, worked so well from the 16th to the 19th centuries, that each success made the next case even higher stakes, until the game became Pyrrhic in the 20th century, but after hundreds of years of relying on it, the British had no alternative strategy, apparently not even much conception of an alternative strategy. Keeping the big man down across the Channel was just what they did, it was Who They Were. A truly tragic case of the Sapir-Whorf effect.

    • Replies: @Ivy
    Perfidious Albion earned the nickname, and survived to write much history. That did not endear them to many Continentals, but did earn some respect until it finally didn't. The 20th century was hard on the Empire.
  219. @AP
    They recognized them as Polish-speaking Roman Catholics and thus no longer Germans. (how could they be, under such circumstances). I'm not sure if they were seen as being Polish in a national sense.

    I found a very clear description of Polish Sarmatist ideology in this article about Karaite Jews:

    http://www.karam.org.tr/Makaleler/1980138237_shapira.pdf


    From the 16th century onwards, the Polish nobility, szlachta, believed that its racial, we would say in the late 19th century, origins were quite different from those of the chłopy, the Polish peasants. The word for szlachta comes from the German Schlacht, “pedigry” (cf. Geschlecht), but it is possible that some play on words involving lach / lech was also on work here. Like the historians of other European countries, the Polish historians of the 16th century sought to dignify the origins of their nation by placing them in antiquity.

    The fabled valiant Sarmatians, the Winged Horsemen, who lived north of the Black Sea in the time of the Roman Empire, were believed to have been the ancestors of the Polish nobility. The name Sarmatia was already applied to Poland in the 16th century and its people referred to as Sarmatians. These ancient Sarmatians, who were wrongly believed, till the mid-19th century, to be Turkic-speaking - in fact, Tatar-speaking - having been later driven west and northwards by other peoples, were thought to have conquered Poland and reduced its original population to serfdom, themselves forming the nobility of the new nation. These noble “Tatar” Sarmatians gradually adopted the Slavic speech of the conquered country, just like the Turkic Bulgars who conquered Slavic Moesia and Thracia, or like the Germanic Franks who conquered Gaul.

    In fact, the Sarmatian theory considered the worst military and political enemies of Poland, the Muslim Turks and the Crimean Tatars, as sharing the same origin as the Polish szlachta itself, with the strong emphasis on the redeeming Catholic faith professed by the Sarmatian szlachta. The theory also stressed the inherent backwardness and servility of the Polish Slavic peasants.

    Politically, the exponents of Sarmatism promoted the idea of a republic of nobles with an elected king as first among equals, with a lone szlachczic having the right of veto on the Sejm (Diet) decisions, and they strongly opposed absolutism of either Western or Muscovite type. Consequently, this theory was characterized by Catholic religious zeal and a deep conviction that the Polish political and social system was the best possible and that the mission of Poland was to defend the Roman Catholic world against the Eastern Orthodox, Protestant and Islamic peoples. In other words, the Catholic faith and the Sarmatian, that is, Turco-Tatar, origin of the nobility were seen as two sides of the same coin: the Catholic Sarmatians have been already redeemed, while their Muslim brethren in the Crimean steppe were still not, with the chłópy, Catholic or Greek-Orthodox, considered as just irrelevant.
     

    This idea is quite far from any sort of modern nationalism.

    AP, I read a lot about Sarmatism, literally hundred shorter and longer text, and it’s the first time that I read someone suggested that szlachta thought they have common roots with Tatars. Based on what I read – and believe me, I am Polish fascinated with ideology of Sarmatism – I strongly think that this idea is bollocks.

    Moreover, Sarmatism is an idea which originated in XVI century, but was developing slowly. The chronicle I posted above from 1575 clearly use “POLES” for both nobles and peasants: it stated that German nobles, burghers and peasants turned into POLES, with one word for three categories of people.

    Moreover, some early szlachta authors though that peasants also were descendants of Sarmatians.

    But anyway, I do not claim that peasants were ALWAYS considered Poles or that nationalism was ALWAYS present. Rather, I think that there were differences between periods and nationalism has not started in 19th century.

    • Replies: @AP

    AP, I read a lot about Sarmatism, literally hundred shorter and longer text, and it’s the first time that I read someone suggested that szlachta thought they have common roots with Tatars. Based on what I read – and believe me, I am Polish fascinated with ideology of Sarmatism – I strongly think that this idea is bollocks.
     
    It's from a peer-reviewed journal article, not some weird website. Clearly the szlachta believed they were descended from Sarmatians, and prior to the 19th century it was widely believed that the Sarmatians were Turkic nomads.

    The Ukrainians, also children of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, naturally had similar theories about their origins just as Poles did. From a footnote in the same source:

    The Ukrainians also were inflicted by the myth about "Turkic" nomadic forefathers from the nomads of the Northern coasts of the Black Sea. Compare the identification of the Zoporogian Cossacks with the Khazars made in "The Bendery Constitution", written in Latin between 1709 1711 by the Ukrainian hetman Pylyp Orlik, the successor of Ivan Mazepa (see Towards the Intellectual History of Ukrainian Thought from 1710 to 1995, ed. R. Linderheim and G.S.N. Luckyj (Toronto-Buffalo-London, 1996), pp. 4-5, 53- 64, esp. pp. 54, 56, 58. I am grateful to Dr. Sergei Kravtsov, Jerusalem, for calling my attention to this important source): "the valiant and ancient Cossack people, formerly called Khazar, was at first exalted by immortal glory … so much so that the Eastern Emperor … joined his son in matrimony to the daughter of the Khagan, that is to say, the Cossack prince"; "… the Orthodox faith of the Eastern confession, with which the valiant Cossack people was enlightened under the rule of Khazar princes by the Apostolic See of Constantinople …"; "whereas the people formerly known as the Khazars and later called Cossacks trace their genealogical origin to the powerful and invincible Goths … and join together that Cossack people by the deepest ties of affectionate affinity to the Crimean state …".

    This article contains more info about Polish "orientalism" of that period:

    http://visegradinsight.eu/sarmatism-and-polands-national-consciousness26022015/

  220. @Steve Sailer
    That's sort of a surmise on my part.

    You’re among the world’s best (surmisers).

  221. @Steve Sailer
    It's hardly uncommon in history for a "marcher lord" on the edge of a large cultural area, like Philip of Macedonia to have an expansive view of what should be included in a state, while insiders get hung up on the narcissism of small differences. The Germans in central Germany weren't very good at putting aside their petty political differences to unite because it really wasn't that important who won and who lost: they'd still be Germans and life would go on much like before. But the Germans in Prussia and Austria realized they had to have large states to keep from losing everything to the Slavs.

    insiders get hung up on the narcissism of small differences

    There’s more to it than that. Why does a cell divide?

  222. @Steve Sailer
    "The theory also stressed the inherent backwardness and servility of the Polish Slavic peasants."

    Is the bigger threat to the ruling class the internal ruled or foreign rulers? Poland's German neighbors, Prussia and Austria, started to picture their peasants as potential assets in foreign policy: teach them to read, figure, grow potatoes, and you could make a better and bigger army out of them.

    Poland’s German neighbors, Prussia and Austria, started to picture their peasants as potential assets in foreign policy: teach them to read, figure, grow potatoes, and you could make a better and bigger army out of them.

    Here’s where Sailer (as usual) strikes to the heart of the matter.

    Nationalism makes the best soldiers. It is an emergent (social) phenomenon characteristic of (though not unique to) the human species that arises when such soldiers are needed, and subsides when they no longer are.

  223. AP says:
    @szopen
    AP, I read a lot about Sarmatism, literally hundred shorter and longer text, and it's the first time that I read someone suggested that szlachta thought they have common roots with Tatars. Based on what I read - and believe me, I am Polish fascinated with ideology of Sarmatism - I strongly think that this idea is bollocks.

    Moreover, Sarmatism is an idea which originated in XVI century, but was developing slowly. The chronicle I posted above from 1575 clearly use "POLES" for both nobles and peasants: it stated that German nobles, burghers and peasants turned into POLES, with one word for three categories of people.

    Moreover, some early szlachta authors though that peasants also were descendants of Sarmatians.

    But anyway, I do not claim that peasants were ALWAYS considered Poles or that nationalism was ALWAYS present. Rather, I think that there were differences between periods and nationalism has not started in 19th century.

    AP, I read a lot about Sarmatism, literally hundred shorter and longer text, and it’s the first time that I read someone suggested that szlachta thought they have common roots with Tatars. Based on what I read – and believe me, I am Polish fascinated with ideology of Sarmatism – I strongly think that this idea is bollocks.

    It’s from a peer-reviewed journal article, not some weird website. Clearly the szlachta believed they were descended from Sarmatians, and prior to the 19th century it was widely believed that the Sarmatians were Turkic nomads.

    The Ukrainians, also children of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, naturally had similar theories about their origins just as Poles did. From a footnote in the same source:

    The Ukrainians also were inflicted by the myth about “Turkic” nomadic forefathers from the nomads of the Northern coasts of the Black Sea. Compare the identification of the Zoporogian Cossacks with the Khazars made in “The Bendery Constitution”, written in Latin between 1709 1711 by the Ukrainian hetman Pylyp Orlik, the successor of Ivan Mazepa (see Towards the Intellectual History of Ukrainian Thought from 1710 to 1995, ed. R. Linderheim and G.S.N. Luckyj (Toronto-Buffalo-London, 1996), pp. 4-5, 53- 64, esp. pp. 54, 56, 58. I am grateful to Dr. Sergei Kravtsov, Jerusalem, for calling my attention to this important source): “the valiant and ancient Cossack people, formerly called Khazar, was at first exalted by immortal glory … so much so that the Eastern Emperor … joined his son in matrimony to the daughter of the Khagan, that is to say, the Cossack prince”; “… the Orthodox faith of the Eastern confession, with which the valiant Cossack people was enlightened under the rule of Khazar princes by the Apostolic See of Constantinople …”; “whereas the people formerly known as the Khazars and later called Cossacks trace their genealogical origin to the powerful and invincible Goths … and join together that Cossack people by the deepest ties of affectionate affinity to the Crimean state …”.

    This article contains more info about Polish “orientalism” of that period:

    http://visegradinsight.eu/sarmatism-and-polands-national-consciousness26022015/

    • Replies: @szopen
    AP, szlachta did believe they were from Sarmatians, what I contest is belief that Tatars or Turks were their muslim brethren. For all I know, szlachta did not care whether Sarmatians were Turkic speaking or not.
  224. @Almost Missouri
    Yes, I think your hypothesis is basically correct, I would only add the element of language, as already mentioned. I also think your hypothesis is, or should be, fairly uncontroversial. Indeed, I seem to recall hearing a version of it in college, attributed to Kissinger(?) or some other diplomatic history heavyweight, with a particular emphasis on the English manipulating continental affairs to their own advantage from the fastness of their island sanctuary.

    iSteve-ishly, this English game of backing the second most powerful continental power against the most powerful, worked so well from the 16th to the 19th centuries, that each success made the next case even higher stakes, until the game became Pyrrhic in the 20th century, but after hundreds of years of relying on it, the British had no alternative strategy, apparently not even much conception of an alternative strategy. Keeping the big man down across the Channel was just what they did, it was Who They Were. A truly tragic case of the Sapir-Whorf effect.

    Perfidious Albion earned the nickname, and survived to write much history. That did not endear them to many Continentals, but did earn some respect until it finally didn’t. The 20th century was hard on the Empire.

  225. @AP

    AP, I read a lot about Sarmatism, literally hundred shorter and longer text, and it’s the first time that I read someone suggested that szlachta thought they have common roots with Tatars. Based on what I read – and believe me, I am Polish fascinated with ideology of Sarmatism – I strongly think that this idea is bollocks.
     
    It's from a peer-reviewed journal article, not some weird website. Clearly the szlachta believed they were descended from Sarmatians, and prior to the 19th century it was widely believed that the Sarmatians were Turkic nomads.

    The Ukrainians, also children of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, naturally had similar theories about their origins just as Poles did. From a footnote in the same source:

    The Ukrainians also were inflicted by the myth about "Turkic" nomadic forefathers from the nomads of the Northern coasts of the Black Sea. Compare the identification of the Zoporogian Cossacks with the Khazars made in "The Bendery Constitution", written in Latin between 1709 1711 by the Ukrainian hetman Pylyp Orlik, the successor of Ivan Mazepa (see Towards the Intellectual History of Ukrainian Thought from 1710 to 1995, ed. R. Linderheim and G.S.N. Luckyj (Toronto-Buffalo-London, 1996), pp. 4-5, 53- 64, esp. pp. 54, 56, 58. I am grateful to Dr. Sergei Kravtsov, Jerusalem, for calling my attention to this important source): "the valiant and ancient Cossack people, formerly called Khazar, was at first exalted by immortal glory … so much so that the Eastern Emperor … joined his son in matrimony to the daughter of the Khagan, that is to say, the Cossack prince"; "… the Orthodox faith of the Eastern confession, with which the valiant Cossack people was enlightened under the rule of Khazar princes by the Apostolic See of Constantinople …"; "whereas the people formerly known as the Khazars and later called Cossacks trace their genealogical origin to the powerful and invincible Goths … and join together that Cossack people by the deepest ties of affectionate affinity to the Crimean state …".

    This article contains more info about Polish "orientalism" of that period:

    http://visegradinsight.eu/sarmatism-and-polands-national-consciousness26022015/

    AP, szlachta did believe they were from Sarmatians, what I contest is belief that Tatars or Turks were their muslim brethren. For all I know, szlachta did not care whether Sarmatians were Turkic speaking or not.

    • Replies: @AP
    You know about them more than I do. Given what you haven't seen, it seems they did not make much or hardly any explicit links. On the other hand, their "orientalism" was very explicit, suggesting kinship with Asian nomads.
  226. @szopen
    AP, szlachta did believe they were from Sarmatians, what I contest is belief that Tatars or Turks were their muslim brethren. For all I know, szlachta did not care whether Sarmatians were Turkic speaking or not.

    You know about them more than I do. Given what you haven’t seen, it seems they did not make much or hardly any explicit links. On the other hand, their “orientalism” was very explicit, suggesting kinship with Asian nomads.

  227. The medieval European’s secular loyalties weren’t to his king or nation but to his lord and region. The King of France had a grand title, but before the early modern era wasn’t very powerful. Some of his ostensible vassals were grander than he was. A similar situation existed in Germany, though the elective nature of the German kingship usually ensured that the bearer of the title was someone of importance in their own right.

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to All Steve Sailer Comments via RSS