"Who needs a homeland?" (was: How can this be justified?)

Paul Prescod paul@ActiveState.com
Wed, 03 Oct 2001 10:52:24 -0700

Russell Turpin wrote:
> (3) Throughout history, this primitive "want" has
> resulted in constant war. The practical reason is
> that homelands are limited, and a homeland that
> is any good, or even marginal, has many peoples
> who stake a claim to it. 

You've forgotten to point out that groups that do not have their own
homeland tend to be subject to anything from low-level discrimination
through abuse all the way up to genocide. The "wish" for a homeland is
absolutely understandable in that context.

> (b) Modern democracies give rise to secular
> states where all ethnic and religious
> groups are given the same legal standing. This
> works so well, that it legitimately gives rise
> to the question: "Who needs a homeland?"
> American Jews are safer and freer than
> Israeli Jews, and given the dim prospects for
> peace in Israel, this ironic state seems likely
> to persist for the foreseeable future.

American Jews are safer as long as the American public is on their side.
On a Jew with a very constrained view of society would consider that the
sort of safety they can depend upon in the long term. The Catholic
Church also made periodic truces with them.

> (6) Given the desire to secure civilization
> in the 22nd century, and the ability of modern
> secular states to provide a relatively safe
> polity for different ethnic and religious groups,
> yes, I will urge that these needs should take
> precedence over the primitive wants that
> lead to continual war of group against group.
> The western democracies should make it a
> long term goal to persuade, induce, bribe,
> intellectually pollute, browbeat, and sometimes
> even threaten more primitive states into
> dropping all legal prejudice with regard to
> ethnicity and religion. State racism and state
> religion have no place in the distant future. If
> we're to have a distant future.

Racism and religion are not the central issues. That is culture. The
Quebecois do not want to separate because they are Catholic. The Jews
could remove all laws relating to ethnicity and race and merely erect
barriers of language ("Hebrew is our official language") and law ("our
laws are base on the European Judeo-Christian tradition, not the Arab

There is no doubt that the official western foreign policy is to
discourage the dissolution of countries along cultural line. But there
is also a realistic aspect that says that when two peoples cannot get
along they are better off in separate countries than fighting to the
death in the same one.

 Paul Prescod