European civilisation has been steadily replacing religion with territory as the source of political unity. The process began in the 17th century, as the call for popular sovereignty and national unity began to be heard above the noise of religious conflict.Following the French Revolution and Napoleon’s failed attempt at a pan-European Empire, Europe emerged as a collection of nation states.
“Nationalism”, which sees national loyalty as the binding principle on which political order ultimately depends, is often blamed for the 20th-century turmoil. However, although German nationalism threatened the future of Europe, it did so in the same way and for the same reason as the internationalism of the Soviet Union – namely by creating a single-party terrorist state, devoted to goals that could be neither opposed nor amended.
Originally published on: The Thelegraph