The Significance of Borders

Why Representative Government and the Rule of Law Require Nation States

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For almost three-quarters of a century, the countries of Western Europe have abandoned national sovereignty as an ideal. Nation states are being dismantled: by supranationalism from above, by multiculturalism from below. This book explains why supranationalism and multiculturalism are in fact irreconcilable with representative government and the rule of law. It challenges one of the most central beliefs in contemporary legal and political philosophy, which is that borders are bound to disappear.

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Biographical Note

Thierry Baudet (1983) LL.M., studied Law and History at the University of Amsterdam, and received his PhD from Leiden University. He is a teacher at Leiden Law School, and has published two edited volumes on political philosophy. He is also a columnist for the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad.

Review Quotes

"A very serious work. It tackles a large and important subject with a calm and serious argument. The author develops his views with an unusual degree of energy and persistence." – Jeremy A. Rabkin

"A lucid and important book" – Theodore Dalrymple"

Table of contents


Part I – The Rise of Borders
Chapter One: The State
1.1. The Rise of the State
1.2. Averting Civil War
1.3. International Relations
Chapter Two: Sovereignty
2.1. Introduction
2.2. Internal Sovereignty
2.3. External Sovereignty
Chapter Three: The Nation
3.1. Membership
3.2. Imagined Territorial Communities
3.3. Welcoming Newcomers

Part II – The Assault on Borders
Chapter Four: Supranational Courts
4.1. The International Criminal Court
4.2. The European Court of Human Rights
4.3. The International Court of Justice
Chapter Five: Supranational Organizations
5.1. The World Trade Organization 5.2. The Security Council
5.3. The European Union
Chapter Six: Multiculturalism
6.1. Introduction
6.2. Legal Plurality
6.3. Cultural Diversity

Part III – The Need for Borders
Chapter Seven: Government
7.1. Introduction
7.2. Representation
7.3. Law
Chapter Eight: The Fallacies of Universalism
8.1. No More War
8.2. The Universal Society
8.3. The All-Inclusiveness of Loyalties
Chapter Nine: The Particularism of Citizenship
9.1. Loyalty
9.2. The Public Sphere
9.3. Without a ‘We’, It Won’t Work


Index Card

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