Blaney & Inayatullah  2000
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Blaney & Inayatullah 2000

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were many who would kill
and burn in the name of theological doctrines that no one could give any
conclusive reason for accepting. The intellectual debate between Protestant
Reformers and their Counter-Reformation opponents had collapsed, and there
was no alternative to the sword and the torch. Yet the more brutal the warfare
became, the more firmly convinced the proponents of each religious system
were that their doctrines must be proved correct, and that their opponents were
stupid, malicious, or both.
We should not be surprised, then, that the barbarities were unspeakable, of a
kind some trace to this time (Langer 1980:101), though recognizable in the
events of our own century. The pillaging of the countryside was accompanied
by torture and rape, often including children and pregnant women. No religious
grouping was spared; nor were the religious dissenters less cruel than their
The Westphalian Deferral 37
persecutors (Lynn 1991:94; Wedel 1991:42\u2013 45; Parker 1997:186\u201388). The sav-
agery reached such a scale that the inhabitants of Styria, who had contributed
generously to Emperor Ferdinand\u2019s coffers, claimed that his armies has caused
more destruction and suffering than the dreaded Turks (Nichols 1989:261\u2013
263). And one of the Hutterite brethren, a group subjected to perhaps the worst
indignities, compared the infidels favorably to their fellow Christians: \u201cEven
Turks and Tartars . . . would have said it was too much.\u201d Thus Wedel, echoing
Toulmin\u2019s analysis with which we began, takes the treatment of the Hutterites
as evidence of the power of a \u201cpurifying hatred\u201d (Wedel 1991:46\u2013 47).
Purifying hatred, one might imagine, burns with great fury but can also
exhaust itself, especially when joined by an equally furious fire. Indeed, it is
argued that exhaustion again led the combatants to a series of peace tables and
the resulting treaties are usually labeled the Peace of Westphalia. Historian
Georges Pages\u2019 view (1970:250) is emblematic of the interpretation usually
ascribed to this set of events:
The peace of Westphalia substituted the idea of independent states, a sort of
international society, for the idea of a united Christendom. The peace did not
openly express this idea but it did contain the idea of a society which took no
account of the method of government of its component states. . . . Similarly,
no account was made of the dominant religious faiths. On the international
plane, Europe became a secular system of independent states. It was the dawn
of the principle of nationalism.
S. Harrison Thomson\u2019s account of the events (1963:814) likewise portrays the
Peace as a marked step forward for religious tolerance:
The achievements of the peace congress in the controversial area of religious
liberty, while not revolutionary, were not insignificant. . . . Complete tolera-
tion was not to be expected. The old principle of cuius regio eius religio was
deeply ingrained in the princely class. Now, however, Calvinists were toler-
ated and the princes were expressly enjoined not to interfere in the religion of
their subjects.
Hans Morgenthau\u2019s assertion (1967:299) that, by the end of the Thirty Years\u2019
War, \u201csovereignty as supreme power over a certain territory was a political fact,
signifying the victory of the territorial princes over the universal authority of
emperor and pope,\u201d is similarly exemplary of international relations orthodoxy.
Others follow suit. Leo Gross (1968:47) claims that the \u201cPeace of Westphalia
consecrated the principle of toleration by establishing the equality between
Protestant and Catholic states and by providing safeguards for religious minor-
ities.\u201d Terry Nardin (1983:50) described the emergent international society sim-
ilarly as a system of mutual tolerance and accommodation. Stephen Krasner
(1993:242\u2013 44; 1999:73\u201382), though he doubts the claim that Westphalia imple-
mented the idea of sovereignty, stresses the attempt of the treaties to contain
38 Blaney and Inayatullah
religious conflict by fixing boundaries in a system of nation-states, by disen-
tangling religion and politics, and by fostering greater religious tolerance. In
general, then, and to repeat a point, Westphalia normally is seen as a key marker
of the eclipse of the Medieval world by modernity: a movement from the reli-
gious to the secular, from the idea of Europe as unified by Christianity to a
European system of independent states, and from a web of overlapping and
competing authorities to a modern state system based on the demarcation of
exclusive territorial jurisdictions.
What is crucial, here, is the intimation that Westphalia and a nascent moder-
nity represent initial but definitive steps towards a solution to the problem of
difference. We wish to complicate this reading, challenging the received view
because its veneration of Westphalia tends to blind us to: the creative responses
to difference that were lost during this period; the persistent, if understandable,
evasion of the task of exploring the source of the wounds in the dominant
response to difference; and the manner in which the intellectual discourse, orig-
inating in the shadow of the Thirty Years\u2019 War, reinforced, rather than chal-
lenged, the interpretation of difference as a dangerous aberration from the norms
of stability, safety, and order. Thus, a richer story necessarily qualifies any
effort to establish Westphalia as a clear marker of the transition to a tolerant
modernity. We will elaborate these points in two steps.
First, the attempt to contain difference within the state both deferred a deeper
exploration and engagement of the problem and forced a diverse set of exper-
iments designed to manage difference. Ronald Asch (1997:193\u201394) notes that,
rather than a solution to the problem of religious difference, Westphalia kept
alive the religious conflicts of the previous century, \u201cconfirming the existing
status, rights, and privileges of the confessional churches,\u201d and thereby \u201cper-
petuating religious divisions,\u201d albeit in a more \u201cmuted form.\u201d Combined with
the recognition of independent sovereigns, the effect was to divide \u201c \u2018Europe\u2019
into Catholic and Protestant spaces\u201d and spur \u201cthe interstate construction of the
continent\u201d (Campbell 1992:51). Thus, despite the treaties\u2019 relative embrace of
religious liberty, the moral constraints placed on rulers were, as Krasner
(1993:244\u2013 45) observes, on a collision course with the sovereign right to dic-
tate the faith of the realm as originally acknowledged in the Treaty of Augsburg
and as supported by the emerging reality and theory of sovereignty. \u201c[F]rom
now on,\u201d Toulmin (1990:91) concludes, \u201cestablished religion was the general
rule.\u201d This move, by setting difference at a distance, may well have helped to
minimize the prospects of religious war on the scale of the Thirty Years\u2019 War,
but at a price: the problem of difference was simply displaced into the \u201cdomes-
tic realm.\u201d
However, the consequences for religious liberty were not uniform across
the newly sanctified states. Rather, Toulmin (1990:92) describes a situation
where each state individually faced \u201cthe continuing problem of religious con-
The Westphalian Deferral 39
formity and toleration.\u201d Despite the expectation of submission to a national
faith, nonconforming minorities remained a troubling issue. The \u201cother,\u201d thought
to have been placed at a distance, was found within. And, though \u201c[a]fter thirty
years of bloodshed, few people still considered the price of imposing religious
conformity worth paying,\u201d Toulmin (1990:92) reports that \u201cthe local pressure
for conformity remained strong, and religious minorities were everywhere sub-
ject to some degree of discrimination or persecution.\u201d But the degree did vary\u2014
each national experience representing \u201ca different variation on a common set of
tunes.\u201d In Austria, the Habsburgs remained as \u201cleaders\u201d of the Counter-
Reformation: \u201ccontinued Lutheranism was seen as disloyalty to the Habsburg
dynasty, and the Protestant minority of craftsmen and professionals had