I can’t remember where I found this linked to but it’s an interesting part of the continuous discussions about patriotism v. nationalism and what each of them is and is either or both or neither of them is a very good thing. An excerpt:

    By ‘nationalism’ I mean first of all the habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of millions or tens of millions of people can be confidently labelled ‘good’ or ‘bad’. But secondly — and this is much more important — I mean the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or other unit, placing it beyond good and evil and recognising no other duty than that of advancing its interests. 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.

Any reactions? Is he right? I think patriotism slips into nationalism most of the time in the U.S. press, and there’s a rabid obsession, especially among politicians to display one’s patriotism that has long ago slipped into the fanatical. Witness, the Obama lapel pin scandal.

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