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Notes on Nationalism
http://www.resort.com/~prime8/Orwell/nationalism.html ^ | May, 1945 | George Orwell

Posted on 10/29/2001 6:27:39 PM PST by A.J.Armitage

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To: A.J.Armitage
delayed bump
51 posted on 10/30/2001 9:12:44 AM PST by prognostigaator
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To: gcruse
I have invariably found the posts of A.J. Armitage extremely interesting [although oftimes of sufficient length that I've had to bookmark them for future mastication]. This post is no exception.
52 posted on 10/30/2001 9:24:41 AM PST by curmudgeonII
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To: annalex
Ayn Rand might have something to say about that

An invasion of a nation that has no representative government is just: Defense of Liberty: Just Intervention

You quoted me out of context. I was talking about the idea that colonialism is more virtuous if we don't gain from it. Rand wasn't big on altruism, as I recall. On either the thread you linked to or one like it, she was quoted as saying that a free country has the right to attack an unfree one, and so the only consideration that matters is whether it's in the free country's interest. That consideration still matters. Their need for a decent government doesn't constitute on obligation on our part to provide them with one.

Take up the White Man's burden--
Send forth the best ye breed--
Go, bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait, in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild--
Your new-caught sullen peoples,
Half devil and half child.

Take up the White Man's burden--
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain,
To seek another's profit
And work another's gain.

Take up the White Man's burden--
The savage wars of peace--
Fill full the mouth of Famine,
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
(The end for others sought)
Watch sloth and heathen folly
Bring all your hope to nought.

Take up the White Man's burden--
No iron rule of kings,
But toil of serf and sweeper--
The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter,
The roads ye shall not tread,
Go, make them with your living
And mark them with your dead.

Take up the White Man's burden,
And reap his old reward--
The blame of those ye better
The hate of those ye guard--
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:--
"Why brought ye us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?"

Take up the White Man's burden--
Ye dare not stoop to less--
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloak your weariness.
By all ye will or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent sullen peoples
Shall weigh your God and you.

Take up the White Man's burden!
Have done with childish days--
The lightly-proffered laurel,
The easy ungrudged praise:
Comes now, to search your manhood
Through all the thankless years,
Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,
The judgment of your peers.

If someone who had never heard of Rudyard Kipling stumbled onto this poem, he could easily take it as a criticism, and a pretty harsh one at that, of imperialism. Reading it, I want say the same thing anti-war protestors in the 60s said, "Hell no! I won't go!" I'd rather stay here in Illinois and post messages on Free Republic. (As an aside, if we do colonize the third world, I hope the people in charge don't read Plato, or that remark could come back and bite me.)

53 posted on 10/30/2001 9:26:16 AM PST by A.J.Armitage
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To: A.J.Armitage
On Chesterton: I think perhaps Orwell got close to home with that one for some people here. By comparing political Catholicism with Communism, he wasn't talking about how the two would actually rule, but the effects on the thought of British intellectuals at the time of his writing and earlier. It was on that point only, the nationalist loyalty transposed to a "unit" outside of England, and the use of thought as just a means to score points for that unit.

Indeed. This is the classic British post-Reformation Establishment description of the English Catholic, and has been used to smear every convert since Newman(if not Campion) with charges of divided loyalty and intellectual dishonesty. I am understandably wary of any article that repeats such a tired trope.

54 posted on 10/30/2001 9:58:24 AM PST by Dumb_Ox
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To: Dumb_Ox
I wouldn't know about that, since I'm not a member of the British post-Reformation establishment. If it is a trope, it's one Orwell almost had to use because it fit his analysis of other intellectuals(that the trope didn't apply to) so well.
55 posted on 10/30/2001 10:06:19 AM PST by A.J.Armitage
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To: A.J.Armitage
I didn't attempt to quote you at all, just put in half a sentence of yours so that you know what I am referring to.

I take it, you agree with Rand that it's the national interest, not altruism, that is determinative for the just invasion. In the case of the third world, we might have a national security interest in some of these places; we, for example, would benefit from getting a say in how most Arab countries are run, as well as, of course, Afghanistan.

Would the Muslim nations benefit from American colonization? If we respect their culture (and we'd be foolish not to), they might; almost any civil structure out there would be an improvement over the sheiks, the Taliban, or the ayatollahs. (Which is the opposite side of Rand's "green light to invade an unfree nation" coin). The thing with objectivism is that it always meshes in nicely with conventional ethics. In the case on hand, an invasion of a Muslim land, which would oppress the legitimate Muslim aspirations, is not only unethical, but is not in our national interest.

56 posted on 10/30/2001 10:22:22 AM PST by annalex
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To: annalex
I didn't attempt to quote you at all, just put in half a sentence of yours so that you know what I am referring to.

But it looked like I was commenting on her position in intervention rather than her position on altruism.

I take it, you agree with Rand that it's the national interest, not altruism, that is determinative for the just invasion.

Not quite. It's determinative for the prudent invasion. If it were in our national interest to kill everyone in England, for example, it would still be unjust. It would also be unjust if it were our interest to kill everyone in Arabia.

I don't share Rand's view of altruism, since I'm a Christian, but I do agree with her that's it's a bad, and even immoral, basis for public policy. I don't hold the view on altruism many objectivists attribute to Christians, either. It's meritorious, but not obligatory. It is not meritorious, however, if the costs aren't born exclusively by the person or persons being altruistic, which is why the government shouldn't act altruistically.

57 posted on 10/30/2001 11:18:14 AM PST by A.J.Armitage
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To: A.J.Armitage
It's determinative for the prudent invasion.

Exactly. An invasion is just if the country being invaded has a government that usurps power. It is always a war on the government and not on the population. Once we know that the invasion is just, the question becomes, is it prudent? The national interest (of the country contemplating invasion) is determinative for that.

Although I don't subscribe to objecticist ethics either, I wholly agree with Rand's condemnation of "altruist" foreign policy. That is because a foreign policy is executed by the government on behalf of the entire nation. If the policy disregards national interest, then the government executing it abuses its mandate. Whether the reason to disregard the national interest is altruism doesn't exhonerate it, because the government then would act on behalf of foreigners at the expense of the citizens. Of course, in many cases altruist policy is also in the national interest (such as, many would agree, was the Marshall Plan), and then Rand should have no objection to it.

To reduce it to individuals, as a Christian I find myself motivated by an altruistic urge to do charity; however, if I convert my charitable impulse into an act of coercing others to do charitable acts, there is no charity in it for anyone. Thus Randian objection to altruism doesn't contradict Christian ethics.

58 posted on 10/30/2001 3:56:07 PM PST by annalex
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To: A.J.Armitage
I just finished reading the article. I found the part about transferred "nationalism" quite insightful, especially in my own case. It would be interesting to explain the phenomenon in psychoanalytical terms, such as projection, compensation, and tranference.

The only thing I find annoying is the use of the very word "nationalism" which Orwell then goes to great lengths to re-define so that its new meaning has little or no resemblence to its accepted meaning. Because his interpretation is so much at odds with conventional usage, it would have been better if he appropriated some other term. In fact, he has one from his own pen : groupthink.

59 posted on 10/31/2001 3:30:32 AM PST by Goetz_von_Berlichingen
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To: Alkhin
the definition of jingoism is someone who professes their patriotism loudly and excessively...and I think it is that concept that bothers me, because this definition smacks of thought policing...I mean, someone could be simply saying they love being British, and while anyone else would take that as a natural view of someone born and raised in the UK, another whose sensitivities are slighted by this mere expression would call it excessively braggadocious.

What you refer to is not "jingoism". And the person with sensitivities slighted and taking it as such is in error. Professing a love for your country is not "fanatical".

I have had in-laws that have spent 20 minutes ranting on how much better their country is than America, morally as well as simplicity in life-style, and would just rant louder when I pointed out FACTS to the contrary. THAT is jingoism, isn't it? A sort of "ultranationalism"?

After listening to these rants I walk to the phone, calmly asking what day of departure they prefer when I make their flight reservations BACK to the "land of plenty" they so desperately couldn't wait to leave some odd years back. The room becomes strangely quiet...

60 posted on 10/31/2001 3:38:00 AM PST by SusanUSA
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To: A.J.Armitage; agrandis
Finished the article and enjoyed it tremendously! The whole piece is great but there are some specifics near the end that are priceless!Thank you so much for the post. How do you find these things?

And, as usual, it is followed by fascinating discussion.

agrandis....ping! (I think you'll find it worth the time. Any thoughts?) :-)

61 posted on 10/31/2001 3:54:54 AM PST by SusanUSA
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To: Goetz_von_Berlichingen
The only thing I find annoying is the use of the very word "nationalism" which Orwell then goes to great lengths to re-define so that its new meaning has little or no resemblence to its accepted meaning. Because his interpretation is so much at odds with conventional usage, it would have been better if he appropriated some other term. In fact, he has one from his own pen : groupthink.

You're right. If I'm not mistaken, Orwell coined groupthink after he wrote the essay, so maybe it reflects his own search for a better term.

62 posted on 10/31/2001 9:23:28 AM PST by A.J.Armitage
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Comment #63 Removed by Moderator

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