If Belgium falls to sectarianism, what does that say about prospects for making Europe into a super-Belgium? ~Jonah Goldberg

But it isn’t sectarianism that is dividing Belgium, since sectarianism would imply, well, the existence of rival sects that serve as the basis for political and social divides.  In fact, one of the reasons for the creation of Belgium was the decided lack of sectarian divides among the Flemings and Walloons of the southern half of the southern provinces.  It was through common identity as Catholics that Belgians were originally lumped together.  With secularisation and the general decline of religion as a primary political loyalty, ethnic and linguistic differences inevitably have become more salient.  If Belgium breaks up, it will be partly on account of the breakdown in the original “sectarian” character of Belgian identity.

Alex Massie has more.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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