Orwell essay nationalism
Nationalism vs patriotism
On the contrary, having picked his side, he persuades himself that it is the strongest, and is able to stick to his belief even when the facts are overwhelmingly against him. However, in this essay I am concerned chiefly with the reactions of the intelligentsia, among whom jingoism and even patriotism of the old kind are almost dead, though they now seem to be reviving among a minority. In theory it should be possible to give a reasoned and perhaps even a conclusive answer to this question. And there are whole strings of kindred questions to which you can only get an honest answer from someone who is indifferent to the whole subject involved, and whose opinion on it is probably worthless in any case. Chesterton had not lived long in France, and his picture of it — as a land of Catholic peasants incessantly singing the Marseillaise over glasses of red wine — had about as much relation to reality as Chu Chin Chow has to everyday life in Baghdad. But finally, it is important not to confuse nationalism with mere worship of success. The nationalist holds his special doctrine not only as the unassailable truth, but as an absolute standard by which the truth may be judged. Trotskyism can be better studied in obscure pamphlets or in papers like the Socialist Appeal than in the works of Trotsky himself, who was by no means a man of one idea. He describes our world better than we do. Polemic, GB — London, The Trotskyist is against Stalin just as the Communist is for him, and, like the majority of Communists, he wants not so much to alter the external world as to feel that the battle for prestige is going in his own favour. During the war it was manifested in the defeatism of the intelligentsia, which persisted long after it had become clear that the Axis powers could not win. The point is that "Nearly all the sports practiced today are competitive". In England, if one simply considers the number of people involved, it is probable that the dominant form of nationalism is old-fashioned British jingoism.
Nationalism is power hunger tempered by self-deception. But any actual nationalistic loyalty, or belief in the innate superiority of Jews, is hardly to be found among Gentiles: Transferred Nationalism 1.
An intelligent man may half-succumb to a belief which attracts him but which he knows to be absurd, and he may keep it out of his mind for long periods, only reverting to it in moments of anger or sentimentality, or when he is certain that no important issues are involved.
It is certain that this is still widespread, and much more so than most observers would have believed a dozen years ago.
But you can at least recognise that you have them, and prevent them from contaminating your mental processes. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power.
In this essay I am concerned with nationalism as it occurs among the English intelligentsia. All power is in the hands of paranoiacs. Indifference to Reality. The most typical Trotskyists, in any case, are ex-Communists, and no one arrives at Trotskyism except via one of the left-wing movements.
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