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Join the conversation! There are now 11 comments on this chapter's page 82. What IS a State?. What are your thoughts?
  1. Jeff says

    Small typo under number 4 – “What you deed…”

    Feel free to delete this comment.

  2. STM says

    Can a founding myth be replaced? France, eg, transitioned from a democracy to a republic. Was the revolution the new founding myth? France was still France, same people, land, and culture, but a new government that did not invoke the divine. Likewise Japan after Hirohito declared he was not a god.

      • Founding Myth as a necessary element for success … That goes a long way to explaining the recent trouble between North Macedonians and Bulgarians (where the latter are quite angry about the former “stealing” their national heroes, language and historical events)

        • Identity is a huge issue, not only in state formation, but also relations between countries in the modern day. Nowadays, you can have a state containing multiple “peoples” with different identity, culture, language, etc. And you can have a single “people” with shared identity, culture, language, etc. living on either side of the border in two different states. In states with a heterogeneous culture, this can be no big deal. But in many cases, it can cause huge problems.

          The example you bring up, of North Macedonia and Bulgaria, is a good one. And both appear to be trying to manipulate their version of history to create origin myths legitimizing their diverging interests going back at least to WWII if not to the turn of the 20th century. And it’s behind Bulgaria’s blocking of North Macedonia’s attempts to enter the EU.

          Germany’s annexation of the Sudetenland in 1938, during its run-up to WWII, was another example. The Sudetenland was part of Czechoslovakia, but its population was ethnically and culturally German. Hitler was using it as a pretext to annex all of Czechoslovakia, but France, Britain, and Italy thought if Hitler got the Sudetenland it would end his territorial ambitions and avert a war. Obviously, the war came, and after Germany was defeated, the Sudetenland was restored to Czechoslovakia, which dealt with the ethnic/cultural issue by kicking all the Germans out of the territory and re-populating it with Czechs.

  3. STM says

    *transitioned from a monarchy to a republic

  4. Jerry Birchmore says

    I sort of like the concept of sacrificing the sovereign (or maybe other officials in power) if things are going wrong. Maybe having some skin in the game (literally) would cause deeper reflection before action.

    • The late great Roger Fisher proposed the following back in 1981:

      My suggestion was quite simple: Put that needed code number in a little capsule, and then implant that capsule right next to the heart of a volunteer. The volunteer would carry with him a big, heavy butcher knife as he accompanied the President. If ever the President wanted to fire nuclear weapons, the only way he could do so would be for him first, with his own hands, to kill one human being. The President says, “George, I’m sorry but tens of millions must die.” He has to look at someone and realize what death is—what an innocent death is. Blood on the White House carpet. It’s reality brought home.

      When I suggested this to friends in the Pentagon they said, “My God, that’s terrible. Having to kill someone would distort the President’s judgment. He might never push the button.”


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