Friday, January 20, 2017

Pieter van der Borcht the Elder

The Difficulty of Ruling over a Diverse Nation, 1578


G. Verloren said...

The alternative, of course, is either Balkanizing your nation and giving every different faction independence, or engaging in brutal repression or outright ethnic cleansing and genocide to homogenize the nation into conformity to a single accepted culture.

Of the available options, attempting to meet all the diverse needs and desires of a diverse nation, however clumsily and with whatever degree of difficulty, is still clearly the least abhorant and most practical.

John said...

Absolutely. But many states have just not been able to make it work. I assume that drawing is about the Hapsburg Empire, which was broken up by the Reformation and the first flower of modern nationalism; you could call the independence of a small country like the Netherlands "balkanization," but they wanted to be independent and have made it stick. The collapse of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia also raise all sorts of hard questions. Why is Belarus an independent country? Why did we support the independence of Croatia from Yugoslavia but not the independence of the Serbian part of Croatia? Etc. When people insist on fighting each other sometimes separation is the easiest solution.