Italy - at the Crossroads


Italy is in the news these days for two main developments. First, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has - against massive opposition from the media, the judiciary, and the church - shut the country's ports to illegal migrants and thereby reduced the number coming from the Mediterranean Sea.

On the other side stand those who wish to celebrate not just the nation of Italy and its glorious national culture but also its many distinctive regions, with their long histories, mutually-unintelligible dialects, and renowned cuisines. Venice, for example, enjoyed independence through eleven centuries (697-1797), developed a unique method of glass-making (Murano), and has its own school of music composition. Civilizationist pride in this heritage stands in direct contrast to universalist attitudes.