Week 2. First Responder Commentary

In Patrick Geary’s Myth of Nations, he argues that the ideas European nations and ethnicities are created by the study of the language spoken in a specific geographic area by a group of people or tribe. I do not agree with the premise of the book because the language and culture are predominantly imposed by a conquering force. These conquering people/tribes over many years incorporated and assimilated the more numerous peasant class into the stronger and more dominant culture. A few examples cultures taking over are Merovingians, the Spanish conquest of South America, and the Turkish conquest of Hellenic Anatolia. However, this is not always the case. Various communities have stayed relatively homogenous in their customs, traditions, and languages. The best example of this is the European Jews. For most of their history in Europe, Jews maintained a unique cultural, religious, linguistic, and ethnic identity inside of the more extensive European culture. I do think that as Patrick Geary states religion plays a huge role in the division of people groups. This idea of beliefs dividing populations can be seen in the article written by Amy Kaufman. Amy Kaufman mentions in her article how the Ku Klux Klan used views born in the middle ages to further a political and racial agenda. They used ideas of the crusades, defending a princess’s virtue, and taking oaths to protect their mostly protestant values. I think her correlation is very weak. She does not take into consideration that the KKK was not only a white supremacist cult but also a very openly anti-Catholic organization. All the knightly orders of the middle ages were Catholic. They were a sort of warrior monk of the time. I also find the fact she is citing the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) only weakens her points. The SPLC has become very discredited in recent times. Using its position to brand “hate groups” to those it disagrees politically rather than on an objective basis.

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