What are your thoughts on the fact that a lot of different ethnic groups in Europe have their own state(s) right now?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,750
SoCal
What are your thoughts on the fact that a lot of different ethnic groups in Europe have their own state or states right now? For instance, take a look at this linguistic map of Europe:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d2/Languages_Europe.svg

A lot of ethnic groups who didn't have their own state in 1875 now have their own state. For instance, the Irish, the Poles, the Czechs, the Slovaks, the Lithuanians, the Latvians, the Estonians, the Finns, the Moldovans (if one considers them a separate ethnic group), the Ukrainians, the Belarusians, the Slovenes, the Croats, the Bosniaks (though their state is much more heterogeneous than most), the Albanians, the Bulgarians, and the Romanians. Of course, that's not to mention the national self-determination that occurred outside of Europe over the last 150 years.

Do you personally consider this development to have been mostly a good thing or mostly a bad thing?
 
Mar 2016
1,222
Australia
Well, I'm a monarchist (more or less) so I'm not really in favour of the dissolution of the ancien regime empires in the early 20th century like the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Russian Empire and the Ottoman Empire. Both for the obvious reason of removing monarchs from their position of power, but also because of the enormous violence and destruction the subsequent ethnic and religious conflict caused when everybody was fighting over who rightfully did and did not belong in their new countries. The distant and detached rule of the emperors was replaced by the very personal and partisan rule of nationalists (and we saw what happened in Germany and Turkey). Empires generally did not put much stock in valuing one 'people' over another, and so ruled relatively lightly and tolerantly compared to the ultra-nationalists that replaced them. The philosophy of 'this country belongs to these people' opened a can of worms that led to a truly awful display of violence and persecution in the 20th century, not just in Europe but also in former colonies in Africa and Asia, some of which still continue to this day.
 
Mar 2018
890
UK
It's really more complicated than "ethnic groups having their own states". For starters, a lot of ethno-linguistic groups are defined by states. Danish, Swedish and Norwegian are all mutually understandable, they're called different languages because they are different countries. If Scandinavia was unified it would probably be counted as a single language with regional dialects. Secondly, equating ethnicity with language is difficult. Almost everyone who speaks Irish Gaelic also speaks English, so it doesn't show on that map of yours.

But in Eastern Europe there has clearly been a rise in self-determination post WW1. I consider that a mixed blessing. It's good to have internally stable states which don't have revolutions or strong secession movements, because there is a stronger feeling of the citizens of that state being a single Demos. However, having lots of small states can be problematic; there's more room for border tensions between them, and they can be so weak that they are dominated by stronger neighbours. Personally, I think that the ideal is to have states be built around a single Demos (be it around a primary ethnic group or some other binding notion), but for those Demos to be large, say in the 20-100 million people range. That seems to be more or less the ideal, most efficient country size in the modern world. Of course, engineering a demos or ethnicity is both difficult and fraud with other negative side effects, so is not necessarily worth doing.
 
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Mar 2016
819
Eindhoven
It's indifferent. One way or another, you will have groups and one way or another, you will have wars.
 
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Feb 2014
330
Miami
Every group should have the right to self determination. The counter to Europe’s Balkanization is the USA. That nation has to legitimize its government being elected by many emerging ethnic groups or immigrants who may want their own separate independence

Like California, Texas, Hawaii, peurto Rico , and Dixieland
 
Sep 2016
611
天下
Empires generally did not put much stock in valuing one 'people' over another, and so ruled relatively lightly and tolerantly compared to the ultra-nationalists that replaced them. The philosophy of 'this country belongs to these people' opened a can of worms that led to a truly awful display of violence and persecution in the 20th century, not just in Europe but also in former colonies in Africa and Asia, some of which still continue to this day.
The rise in nationalism is the direct result of the assimilation policies introduced by the so called "empires". By banning the usage of non-national languages, introducing compulsory national language classes at schools, giving preferential treatement to the ruling ethnic group and religion they alienated everyone to the point that everything had to blew up sooner or later.
 

Ighayere

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
2,653
Benin City, Nigeria
Empires generally did not put much stock in valuing one 'people' over another, and so ruled relatively lightly and tolerantly compared to the ultra-nationalists that replaced them. The philosophy of 'this country belongs to these people' opened a can of worms that led to a truly awful display of violence and persecution in the 20th century, not just in Europe but also in former colonies in Africa and Asia, some of which still continue to this day.
What is the actual evidence for this claim?
 
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Mar 2019
106
Victoria, Australia
During the 19th century, there was a lot of pan-nationalist sentiments and ideas (from my knowledge). Austria-Hungary with all it's cultures (Austrian, hungarian, transylvania (if countered as seperate), croat, bosnian, slovene, slovak, czech, moravian (if countered as seperate) and a good sizeable portion of shephardic peoples.) is a good example. Russia is perhaps a little separate as Ukrainian is in many ways an off-shoot of Russian mixed in with elements of other cultures (such as magyars and tatars) and the likes.

It was a thing that was done at the time, and it allowed for much greater empires and nation-states to form in situations where it probably would not have been able to. You could i suppose, make the argument that the rise of a power strong enough to conquer it's neighbours was going to happen anyways so this was an invitable outcome.

Do I consider it a 'bad' thing? Not really. I don't consider it a 'good' thing either. It is just an event. It allowed for certain countries, peoples and the likes to rise up and have their go at being a country and what-not.

What I think is more interesting is countries in which radically different cultures managed to unite, somewhat willingly, and continue to exist in stability. Belgium with their Flemish/Walloon cultures and Switzerland with it's German origin to then encompasse French speakers (mostly voluntarily joined), Romansh (same) and Italian (mostly conquered). How these countries managed to remain "a thing" for as long as they did is, truly, quite fascinating.
 
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Asherman

Forum Staff
May 2013
3,412
Albuquerque, NM
From very early times our species has struggled with the questions arising from multiplicity. Individual v. Society, us v. The Other, hunting/foraging v. Settled Agriculture, Rural v. Urban, are just a few sources of long term historical trends in how our culture(s) have evolved. One way of looking at it is, decentralization v. centralization. It is more difficult than generally realized, I think to "buck the those trends" both as individuals and all the varieties of human culture. Each of the two primary strains of thought generate their own sets of "positives and negatives". Probably in any sort of Ultimate Reality, remember I'm Buddhist, any of the fungible bits of Perceptive Reality are of equal, or zero value. At that level of reality both human monsters are the same value as human saints being part of a UNIverse. Much of Western Culture has adopted a notion of Ultimate Reality based upon Multiplicity, or Dualism. That, to me means a Finite Reality fitted for a God(s) creation of a world characterized by mulitiplicity. Now lets take a peek at the significance of this question of how that relates to the OP's question.

We humans are torn between our egos and our needs for the comforts of OUR herd that provides security and insurance against all those things we wish to avoid. We adopt personal values based upon the values of our own set, and when we "lock-in" those values and become close-minded, we fall into to some degree of Chauvinism. Us v. Them; "We ARE THE People" and closest to the creation/creator of our perceived reality. If our group, whatever it might be, is not the "Top Dog", then our version of reality is out of balance. If some other group is demonstrably "better off" and more dominant than we are, then our inner value structures demand redress and "Justice". We have long memories, but when those memories are recorded and archived history and civilization are born. When not demonstrably "Top Dog" (and that is really tough to do in the contemporary world), be become defensive. Past dominant groups defended themselves using several strategies: Kill 'em all right down to cubs, but slavery was less wasteful; Slaves remembering they are Chosen and "remembering" their Golden Age" tend to rebel, sabotage, and resist "slavery", so the cost of Slavery rises accordingly. For most of our history, in both widest and narrowest definition of the term, autocratic governmental systems have the norm. They go by many labels, but they all boil down to legal and ethical codes designed to secure the dominant position. The more tightly centralized and the larger the group, the more complicated legal systems and government become. Those Cultures that have tended to dominate generally are those groups that adopt strategies of expansion and absorption of less dynamic groups. For thousands of years, centralization has proven more effective in gaining the dominant position within the set. Once ensconced as the Dominant, the need to secure its position absolutely from "The Other" becomes pervasive. Athens tried a reasonably pure form of Democracy where Citizens (narrowly defined) governed by Plebiscite. That worked sorta, effective government was limited by the size of Greek City States, the internal bickering and political conflict within each level of the society. Rome adopted its own form, a Representative Democracy we call a Republic. The Roman Republic turned a bunch of rural farmers in a swampy part of central Italy into one of the largest and most persistent Empires in history. Asia, Africa, and the Americas were distant and isolated enough to germinate their own varieties of basic government, while retaining pockets of even aboriginal cultures.

Our Modern World was the far distant, almost unimaginable future until the 17th century. Aboriginal cultures largely remained ignorant of all the history of literate civilization, and even the time/distance difficulties in Europe kept even relatively small nations manageable by traditional top-down governmental systems. Russia already had expanded across most of Eurasia absorbing near countless smaller ethnic/cultural groups. Turkey and Islam "controlled" much of South Asia (even into China and Indonesia) and large portions of Africa. The Western Hemisphere was know and the contending governments were well on their way to becoming modern nation-states. While China and Asia had previously been in the forefront of invention and innovation, they became more Conservative and inward looking while the West became more materialistic and expansive. As the chaos of Christian Religious Warfare blazed less fiercely, the Scientific Method of thing led to the Industrial Revolution. The first steam engine pumped water out of British coal mines, and that lead to a demonstration of a rail system at the turn of the century. Europeans weren't challenged by China, Asia, or the Americas ... they only saw the potential to expand on the Western notions of our human/chauvinistic place in the wide world. They needed gold, because the economic system demanded it; they need un-claimed land because land was still how the world defined wealth and social position. It took the European leaders of the tine to discover that the world had profoundly changed, and that new systems would be necessary for any culture to survive in anything like a traditional sense. Old cultures died as their populations, languages, and myths became absorbed into larger entities. The Industrial Revolution was terribly flawed, but over the past several hundred years, we humans have been busy editing the script. Inexpensive abundant electrical power has become the rock on which the 21st is almost totally pendent. Even the Transportation and Communications Revolutions begin falling apart where electricity isn't.

You asked for my thoughts on what is, for me a fundamental topic in understanding our spriecies and the process of how we got from inexplicable beginnings to this world of suffering we now perceive.

Of course, that wasn't what you probably wanted at all.

Here's perhaps a more responsive answer. I think we try very hard to reconcile our inner world with the world perceived by others. Its too hard a nut to crack for us, so we take the easy way out and go with what we think we know. Traditional values, myths and Weltanschauung learned while infants, toddlers and children of tender years make up our REAL values ... and, "Modern Values" make us very uncomfortable and anxious. Some see in this what in earlier times might be typified as a Utopia, but we generally regard with a doubt and expectation of disaster ... disaster for ourselves, our families, our ethnic/cultural group, our region, nation, hemisphere, world and solar system. The answer to you question must be determinant on the reader/observer. Is it "better" to be an almost insignificant bit of a impersonal whole (the species), or as fully independent egos? Is our Reality Zero/Infinity, or finite multiplicity, or some other beyond our present ken? Is there a Universal Value, or not? If there is, then which is the better course: to preserve the tradition, or leap into the uncertain and dangerous future? Different placer, times and people will have different answers.
 
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