“Churchill continued: ‘The central principle of Civilization is the subordination of the ruling authority to the settled customs of the people and to their will as expressed through the Constitution.'”
Churchill’s observation is the opposite of what I would have guessed. I would have assumed that civilization is the subordination of the people to the ruling authority. But on reflection, Churchill’s observation makes more sense.
For one thing, the subordination of the people is hard work. You would therefore expect any ruling authority to make accommodations to the customs and the will of the people as a matter of self interest. It’s the path of least resistance.
In any case, the idea that nations and nationalism are essential to civilization strikes me as an important insight. It should be much easier to have a civilized society within a nation than without one.