Politics in Minutes (2016)

Nation, race and religion

Humans are social animals. We tend to form social groups that range from small families with a shared inheritance, to organizations with shared beliefs, interests or aims, and entire nations with a shared history or culture. We all, to some extent, tend to identify ourselves by our membership of these groups. And the nations, regions, towns and villages we live in are defined not simply by their borders on a map, but the attachments and allegiances of the people within them.

Our attachment to a particular group is often a source of pride, and a willingness to defend it from criticism or attack can be an important factor in social cohesion, enabling people to live together as a society. It is inevitable, then, that the way that we organize and govern these societies – our political systems – is influenced by those things that have brought them together in the first place, and which make them distinct from other societies.