In this 1977 lecture, Ayn Rand examines the meaning of “ethnicity” and the consequences of “modern tribalism” in politics. Drawing her title from the Balkan Peninsula, where tribal groups have warred for centuries, Rand argues that the global trend toward political organization based on race, language and religion bodes ill for the future of Western civilization. Pointing to examples from Canada to Europe as well as observations by the news media, Rand contrasts the disintegration inherent in modern tribalism with the unity displayed by societies that respect individual rights regardless of race or ancestry.
In the ensuing Q&A, Rand addresses a variety of topics including tribalism in Israel, the television miniseries Roots, President Carter and the Soviet Union, the circumstances under which one country may properly attack another, the forms of criminal punishment, the status of Palestinians, the propriety of inherited wealth and the future of capitalism.
A version of this talk appeared in The Voice of Reason: Essays in Objectivist Thought (1990).