Why are states formed by nations, instead of people's "spectrum" (left or right, LGBT or not, and so on)? Even for states formed by immigrants (e.g. USA), spectra of folks have drastic differences.

Here I'm wondering something like freedom/order dilemma.

Nations and cultures have their rebels, but spectra ... Maybe that's because spectrum changes with one's age?

Can anybody give me some theories or books to explain this kind of stuff?

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    It was so for centuries and even if somebody would like to change it, is not so easy. I personly don´t expect the question to be answerd with something else then opinions.
    – convert
    Mar 25 at 18:11
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    Why "LGBT or not" do not form their own nations is relatively easy to explain, that is because sexual orientations and gender identities tend to vary similarly in all geographical populations. Left and right are generally relative to each jurisdiction, one nation's left wing could be another's right wing. I don't think this is a clear enough question to answer factually; nation-states tend to exist because people don't like being ruled by people they perceive as different from them, but that is certainly a complex topic.
    – wonderbear
    Mar 25 at 18:42
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    Not sure what this is about? Can you maybe give a bit more concrete examples. The USA seems to be a functional nation and state to me, even if originally founded by immigrants. How exactly would an alternative look like? Mar 25 at 23:47
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    Maybe include your definitions of nation and state?
    – hkBst
    Mar 26 at 6:58

2 Answers 2


A state must have a territory. A government can only govern when there is a region over which it governs.

A nation can hope to form a state only when that nation occupies a defined territory. Right-wingers, LGBTQ people don't have a territorial home.

Consider the "nation of redheads". There are red-headed people through the UK. How could they exist a separate political entity to the non-redheads. If I am engaged in any kind of interaction with a red-head, then what laws apply? mine or the redhead laws?

A state with territory can function. If you are in the UK, you have to obey the law of the UK.

And redheads are at least fairly identifiable... but what if a redheadded man loses his hair... or dyes it. If it would be unworkable to have a red-head state co-existing, it would far far worse to have a "left-wing" state and a "right-wing" state occupying the same territory.

So in practical terms this is a non-starter. Unless a group has a reasonably clearly defined territory, it cannot become a State.

A historical example of this is the state of Israel. For thousands of years the Jewish nation existed within European societies. There was no possibility of European Jews becoming a state, as there was no territory held by the Jewish nation. It was only with the designation of a territory in Palestine as a Jewish homeland, was it possible for a Jewish State to develop.

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    To which you can add Pakistan - after a significant proportion Muslims decided they needed their own state, they had to regroup in separate territories to do so. By the OP's reasoning, all they had to do was decide to have a separate state, they didn't need to move anywhere. Mar 25 at 21:50
  • And if any "spectrum" (for e.g.g LGBTQ or red heads) want to form their own nation-state, they first need to organise themselves politically. (As pointed out by @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica that's what some of the muslims of British India did.
    – sfxedit
    Mar 26 at 15:28

First, a PoliSci clarification:

  • A state is geo-political entity: a territorial area united under the control of a single government.
  • A nation is an ethno-political entity: a group of people united by a common history or culture, often with its own internal governance system.

The difference is flexible. Sometimes we see states built around nations (e.g. Israel); sometimes nations are given self-governing powers within states (e.g. American Indian tribes); sometimes states try to form themselves into nations by creating a common political culture (the original intention in the US...); sometimes states exists within other states (as in the USA or the old USSR).

The problem with breaking states up into small, homogenous nation-states (one for every point on every spectrum) is that territory is not uniform. Some areas are pleasant to live in, some are rich in resources, some are on natural trade routes, and some are just poor, crappy, miserable places to be. This happened to Native American tribes, who were given tribal lands in places white settlers had absolutely no use for. It happened in South African apartheid and US segregation, where black populations were crunched into not-so-nice areas and told to stay there. It happened to Jews in Nazi Germany, who were first pushed into ghettos and then moved to camps. I mean seriously, if your group got Casper, Wyoming for your home state and my group got Kauai, Hawaii, I expect you'd be a little miffed (unless you really like snow and gritty, un-arable badlands; no offense to Casper). And that would lead to invasions and wars of conquest and unlikely alliances, until the whole thing reorganized into diverse multicultural states again.

Dealing with people unlike ourselves can be troublesome, sure. But dealing with them as neighbors under a common set of laws is far less troublesome than dealing with them as enemies on the other side of a wall.

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    I think one of the key issues is that ideas and morals change from generation to generation, even within one family. So if you divide an area that the pro-choice people are in one state and the pro-life people are in another, will that boundary line be helpful 30 years from now?
    – o.m.
    Mar 25 at 20:00
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    @o.m.: sometimes it lasts for a while... see... the two Germanies, Koreas etc. Even implausible splits can become long-lasting with the "help" of neighbors or superpowers.
    – Fizz
    Mar 25 at 21:36
  • @Fizz, that wasn't a split between pro-Communist and anti-Communist Germans, it was strictly on geographical lines. The two governments then promoted/imposed their ideology. This isn't what the OP thought about.
    – o.m.
    Mar 26 at 7:35

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