Sunday, October 23, 2005

On nationalism

"Nationalism is an evil. It causes wars, its roots lie in xenophobia and racism, it is a recent phenomenon – an invention of the last few centuries – which has been of immense service to demagogues and tyrants but to no-one else. Disguised as patriotism and love of one's country, it trades on the unreason of mass psychology to make a variety of horrors seem acceptable, even honourable. For example: if someone said to you, 'I am going to send your son to kill the boy next door' you would hotly protest. But only let him seduce you with 'Queen and Country!' 'The Fatherland!' 'My country right or wrong!' and you would find yourself permitting him to send all our sons to kill not just the sons of other people, but other people indiscriminately – which is what bombs and bullets do." - AC Grayling, "The Last Word on Nationalism"

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