Nation vs. State


Considering all the racist shit that’s been going on lately, I thought it was worth discussing a few basic definitions.

Today, we use the word “country” (Ro: țara) rather loosely, sometimes meaning a sovereign political entity and sometimes in the older sense of a territory inhabited (predominately) by one people.

For example, we say that Romania is a “country”, but there are several “countries” inside of Romania such as Țara Românească (Wallachia) and Țara Moților (a mountainous area in the northwest).

The proper term, however, to describe the political entity that is Romania is that it is a state. A state has defined borders, a government, laws, taxes, and all the rest. President Iohannis is the head of state right now in Romania.

A nation however, is more akin to what’s also called a “people” (Ro: popor). You can be part of the Romanian nation whether you live in Romania (the state), the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine, Canada, USA, or even Zimbabwe. What makes you part of the Romanian nation is that you have a shared language, culture, and system of beliefs as other Romanians.

Another way to describe a nation is ethnicity. Less about racial or other physical characteristics, a person who is an ethnic Romanian is simply someone is part of the Romanian nation.

Westphalia

Prior to 1648, there were plenty of nations or traditional homelands of different peoples but no states.

Instead, rulers (generally called kings or queens but also margraves, electors, marquis, barons, and a dozen other titles) would wage war in order to increase their territory, but the boundaries were always fluid and could change following a defeat in battle, lack of a suitable heir following the death of the ruler, or marriage to another ruler.

The impact of the Peace of Westphalia was that, (essentially) for the first time, states were defined. Thereafter, even if the king died without a suitable heir or lost a war, the state continued. Today, even after President Iohannis finishes out his term, the state of Romania will continue on exactly the same.

Likewise, nations tend to remain unchanged too except for in cases of genocide or Stalin-style mass deportations. There are ethnic Romanians (or members of the Romanian nation) who were born in Transylvania. During their lifetime, the state changed several times, going from Hungary to Romania back to Hungary and back to Romania again, but their nationality remained unchanged.

So, now that we understand what these two terms mean, we can see that the Romanian state has remained unchanged since 1945, but it is composed of several nations, including Hungarians, Bulgarians, Ruthenians, Serbs, Croats, Macedonians, Greeks, and Gypsies.

Nation State

As we’ve seen recently, a lot of Romanian people are very confused about the difference between a nation and a state. That’s because they’ve been erroneously told that Romania is a nation state, a condition in which a state is predominately inhabited by people of one nation.

For instance, Bangladesh is a nation state because a) it’s a sovereign state and b) it’s inhabited by a population that is composed of 98% Bengali speakers who are ethnically and culturally Bengali.

In contrast, Belgium is a state (a sovereign political entity) but composed of two (if not more) distinct nations, the French-speaking Walloons in the south and the Dutch-speaking Flemish people in the north. Likewise, Germany, France, and Britain are all states but not nation states because they’re inhabited by several different nations.

There are nation states in Europe like Albania and Finland, but one thing is for certain: Romania is not a nation state. It never was, and it never will be. It is a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-national state.

So yes, Szekely Land (Ro: Ținutul Secuiesc) is part of the Romanian state, but it is most definitely not part of the Romanian nation.

President Iohannis is the head of the state of Romania, which has jurisdiction over Szekely Land, but he is neither a member of the Szekler nation NOR of the Romanian nation. In fact, he’s part of the Saxon nation.

Got it? Good.

Now don’t fucking make me explain it again :)

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11 Comments Add yours

  1. diasporean says:

    So, is the US a “nation state”? Unlike Canada it has one language, English, and everyone, regardless of ethnicity, religion, race, and sexual orientation is invited into the melting pot. No habla englese, no job. Same should happen in Romania. You can come from Mars, but if you live in Romania, you must speak Romanian, especially when you get a job. So in so many ways, Romania today would like to be a modern nation state,, like the US is: many judete, one language, one set of rules to be applied to all citizens.

    Tell me, Your Majesty, if you lived in the US, and you would come to my store, and I would tell you in Narnian, “get out you f…g gringo”, how would you take that? I bet you would stick your gun in my mouth, and ask me to speak English. Same should happen in Romania. All Szecklerains should speak Romanians or get the f…out to where their nation is calling. If you ask me, I would delete the gun scene from this movie.

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  2. diasporean says:

    There is one aspect consistently omitted from the King’s article: in Europe, due to their painful histories, states have minorities. So, there is a majority, and there are minorities, more exactly, citizens who belong to an ethnic minority group. From this perspective, Romania, like other European countries is a “nation state” with Romanian citizens from Tara Secuilor belonging to Hungarian minority. There is even more complexity, since ethnic Romanians do live in “Tara Secuilor”. But lets be fair and acknowledge that Szeckler Land is more like Atlantis (Atlantida). It exists in fairy-tales, which is actually nice, and romantic, but it is just fantasy.

    Now, many Americans, do have an American perspective on what a nation state is, especially when it comes to globalization. It is so very useful to describe a country as a rainbow – LGBT like – , something easy to work with. The Lords Of The Rings do not want to have nation states, as they come up with their own “national” interests, and it gets harder to control them.

    There are topics The King has touched upon here, such as “multiculturalism”, and again Americans (and Canadians, and Australians) have a different take on it, as to what Europeans usually think of it.

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  3. jos_cenzura says:

    Why is Finland a nation state (89% of its people are ethnic Finns) and Romania isn’t (83.4% of its people are ethnic Romanians)? What is the cutoff, 85%?

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  4. xyz says:

    There is a difference between “nation states” and “national states” (you can always look it up).
    Romania may not be a nation state but it is a national state.

    Like

  5. xyz says:

    The notion of “state” goes back much further than 400 years.
    It is true that some states, such as the modern state of Italy did not come together until relatively recently; it’s also true that ancient Rome in either of its incarnations (republic or empire) certainly was a state defined by borders, government, laws, taxes, etc.

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  6. unu says:

    Most Macedonians living in Romania are actually Aromanians (Balkan Vlachs), part of the same ethnicity.

    Like

  7. George says:

    No kidding Sammy, you an American are teaching us what is nationality and citizenship in European countries, back off.
    I wrote to you previously about your stupid and irrelevant scribbling but you still keep writing them.
    Is it so difficult for you to understand that even you live in Romanian lands for over 10 years you still don’t understand Romania and Romanians?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Rocky's Dad says:

    The Constitution of Romania, ARTICLE 1 (1): “Romania is a sovereign, independent, unitary and indivisible National State.”

    And now you know. Vai, ce bine!

    Like

    1. Andrei says:

      Constitutia din 1990 a fost schimbata de fiecare data cand a fost legal posibil. In plus, tinand cont de climatul general de violenta si suspiciune din 1990 (toate conspiratiile cu agenturile straine de la revolutie, incidentele de la Targu-Mures, etc), poti spune ca grupurile etnice minoritare au putut sa-si faca vocea auzita la crearea noii constitutii? Crezi ca ar fi fost de acord cu formularea “stat national”? Romania nu a fost niciodata un stat cu o singura natiune, de la Unirea Principatelor pana azi.
      Daca scrie ceva la constitutie, nu inseamna ca nu se poate schimba prin vot. Abia in 1938 constitutia din Romania a permis femeilor sa voteze. Pana atunci barbatii le dadeau acelasi argument ca si tine “constitutia”.

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      1. Mihai says:

        Constitutia defineste statutul juridic al unui stat. Rau sau bine, il defineste.
        Sam face niste confuzii, probabil pentru ca nu are studii juridice. Ideea de stat national a aparut in secolul XIX si si-a gasit afirmarea cea mai puternica la sfarsitul primului razboi mondial, sustinuta energic chiar de presedintele american Woodrow Wilson. Nu inseamna stat locuit de o singura natiune (aproape nici un stat in lume nu e asa) ci inseamna un stat care “apartine” unei natiuni. Ideea (exprimata frust) este ca fiecare stat apartine unei anume natiuni, iar minoritatile care se mai afla pe acolo se supun regulilor trasate de majoritate sau, daca nu le place, se duc in propriul stat national.

        Plecand de la aceasta idee exista tari europene (Franta, spre exemplu) care nici nu recunosc conceptul de minoritate nationala. Din punctul lor de vedere nationalitatea e acelasi lucru cu cetatenia asa ca din punctul de vedere al statului francez 100% din cetatenii francezi apartin natiunii franceze.

        Si tot in ideea ca un stat apartine unui anumit popor, statele au facut si schimburi de populatie (Germania cu Cehoslovacia, Romania cu Bulgaria etc.).

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      2. George says:

        Sam e confuz pentruca e American si in continentul American toate tarile sunt formate din emigranti diferiti nu numai prin etnicitate dar si prin rase si atunci ei au adoptat notiunea de natie ca in concept nou pentru toti nascuti sau emigrat in America.

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