Whatever about the soundness of de Selby's theories, there is ample evidence that they were honestly held and that several attempts were made to put them into practice.
Flann O'Brian, The Third Policeman
The world consists of nations. Nations are communities united by a common name, state, language, territory, culture, and physical type. Nations are defined by their origins. Yet the origins of the name, state, language, territory, culture, and physical type may have nothing to do with each other. Such was the Great Ethnological Predicament, discovered and sometimes discussed by eighteenth-century scholars as they pursued Jean Le Rond D'Alembert's “art of reducing, as far as possible, a great number of phenomena to a single one which can be regarded as the principle of them.”