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View Diary: George Orwell and Howard Zinn on Two Distinctly Different Concepts: Patriotism and Nationalism (78 comments)

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  •  Patriotism and nationalism are both figments (3+ / 0-)
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    godlessmath, need pr, JekyllnHyde

    of the imagination which serve to disguise individual motivation and distance a person from agency. It really doesn't make a whole lot of difference whether behavior is supposedly directed by some amorphous superior being whose will acts as a substitute for one's own, or one's behavior is guided by the interests of an impersonal fatherland (patria) or nation (place of birth). The nation is totally impersonal, except for the fact that 'I' was born within a specified territory, while the fatherland pays lip-service to the significance of the male progenitor. Neither the nation nor the fatherland has a reality that's distinct from someone's imagination. They are pure figments. That someone else gives them credence does not make them any more real or tangible. The same is true of the gods, except the gods are even more distinct from the persons who believe. The fatherland and nation do have physical locations that can be measured and described. The invention arrives in the naming, a replay of the creation story.

    Apparently, free will is not perceived as a boon by everyone. Some humans prefer not to choose what to do and would rather have someone else tell them and take the blame, in the event the choice and the action turn out badly. So, if there is no-one at hand to play the scapegoat, these humans invent a surrogate. Both patriotism and nationalism, experience has shown, will do. Moreover, figments of the imagination provide the additional advantage, like invisible friends, that they don't talk back or object. For example, spying on behalf of the nation is irrefutable.
    Figments of the imagination giving orders are much better than real people. Figments can be blamed, ignored and relied on with impunity. "The devil made me do it." "It's a matter of national security."

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 04:16:54 AM PDT

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