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4th of July: Orwell: Notes on Nationalism
3 years ago

Patriotism vs. Nationalism

 People  think nationalism and patriotism are the same thing. They’re not; the differences are profound. George Orwell got it right in 1945 in his essay:   “Notes on Nationalism.”

Orwell defined patriotism as “devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force upon other people.”

He goes on to say, nationalism is the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or an idea, and  “ placing it beyond good and evil and recognizing no other duty than that of advancing its interests. ”

For Orwell, the evils of nationalism were not unique to nations, but shared by a panoply of    “ isms ” common among the elites of his day: “Communism, political Catholicism, Zionism, anti-Semitism, Trotskyism and Pacifism.” Today we could drop the communists and Trotskyites, perhaps, while adding Islamism and neo-conservatism. The same tendencies would apply, especially “indifference to reality.”In nationalism, thoughts “always turn on victories, defeats, triumphs and humiliations. … Nationalism is power-hunger tempered by self-deception.” And this self-deception leads to disastrous miscalculations based on wishful thinking rather than facts.

“All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labor, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral color when committed by ‘our’ side.… The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.”

One inevitable result, wrote Orwell, is vast and dangerous miscalculation based on the assumption that nationalism makes not only right but might-and invincibility: “Political and military commentators, like astrologers, can survive almost any mistake, because their more devoted followers do not look to them for an appraisal of the facts but for the stimulation of nationalistic loyalties.” When Orwell derides “a silly and vulgar glorification of the actual process of war,”'

It’s this aspect of nationalism that peacemakers in the Middle East find so utterly confounding. The Israelis and the Palestinians, Iraq’s Sunnis and Kurds and Shiites, Iranians and Americans have developed nationalist narratives that have almost nothing in common except a general chronology. “In nationalist thought there are facts which are both true and untrue, known and unknown,” Orwell wrote, in a spooky foreshadowing of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s nationalist musings . “A known fact may be so unbearable that it is habitually pushed aside and not allowed to enter into logical processes, or on the other hand it may enter into every calculation and yet never be admitted as a fact, even in one’s own mind.”

Note:  Excerpts above are from Christopher Dickey:

The current events
3 years ago

I post this every year, and this year it displays it's wisdom once again. Statist jackals are persecuting Edward Snowden for his exposure of the USA's secret spying on all Americans and the entire world, The true colors of much of the media is exposed, and it is indeed black. The attention is focused on this man instead of what he has revealed: massive violations of the constitutionally guaranteed rights of Americans.

This Sunday the former head of the NSA suggested that if the media could produce "a consensus" (or a claimed consensus) that suspension of US Constitutional guarantees was in order. He made another statement that was chilling: there was no international guarantee of rights such as in the 1st Amendment which guarantees freedom of the press and the 4th Amendment which guarantees privacy.

Some took the statement as a excuse for US spying on the EU and other countries. But since guarantees of privacy from government spying extend to those within the USA's borders (and the NSA bugged the EU in NY and Washington), it begs the question. Is this really what this man was saying?

My guess is that there is something else afoot here. Could the government and the NSA be claiming they could send the recorded information to another country and then examine it? In their minds circumventing the protections of the 4th Amendment?

Is the government in the midst of creating and information and spying Guantanamo? With the American people as the target?

3 years ago

Oh beautiful, for heroes  proved,In  liberating strife,Who more than self, our country loved,And mercy more than life,America, America, may God thy gold  refine,Till all success be  noblenessAnd every gain  devined.And you know when I was in  school,We used to sing it something  like this, listen here:Oh  beautiful, for spacious skies,For  amber waves of grain,For purple  mountain majesties,Above the  fruited plain,But now wait a  minute, I'm talking about[ From:  ]America, sweet  America,You know, God done shed  his grace on thee,He crowned thy  good, yes he did, in a brotherhood,From sea to shining sea.You  know, I wish I had somebody to help me sing this(America,  America, God shed his grace on thee)America,  I love you America, you see,My God  he done shed his grace on thee,And  you oughta love him for it,Cause  he, he, he, he, crowned thy good,He told me he would, with brotherhood,(From sea to shining sea).Oh  Lord, oh Lord, I thank you Lord(Shining sea).

Marie Claude
3 years ago

Hunting and blaming Edward Snowden for speaking out only shows the ugly grimace of those who have to hide something.

Marie Claude Enjoy the song 'America The Beautiful' by the King as long as IIIrd parties copyright claims allow to listen:

This post was modified from its original form on 04 Jul, 23:35
3 years ago

Good share, every word that was said holds true meaning this year and for many more years to come. Thanks for the post, very different from the usual ones.

3 years ago

.....I love my country (ies),it is the govt that scares the sh*t out of me.....

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