Nationalism is not to be confused with patriotism. Both words are normally used in so vague a way that any definition is liable to be challenged, but one must draw a distinction between them, since two different and even opposing ideas are involved. By ‘patriotism’ I mean 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 on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Patriotism vs. Nationalism
Contra the assertion by Martin Gartner in the Introduction to our edition of Chesterton's The Napoleon of Notting Hill that "....patriotism ....is now called nationalism," I presented in lecture that George Orwell makes an important dichotomy between the two concepts, in his 1945 essay "Notes on Nationalism." Here is one memorable quotation from it, offered pace Chesterton's affirmation of patriotism: