I hate that word!! Its thrown into every conversation of patriotism for the last 30 years...and its usually mouthed by someone of European/UK origin.
Orwell's distinction between patriotism and nationalism is valid. The nationalist often doesn't have much love for his actual country. But this was a distinction that Orwell had to work out for himself. For many of those who came afterwards this distinction has been just be a way of making an easy condemnation of those one disagrees with -- more armament for political argument than something to really reflect upon.
I enclose more "Notes on Nationalism" that someone posted on the Internet.
THE SEVEN RULES OF NATIONALISM.
1. If an area was ours for 500 years and yours for 50 years, it should belong to us -- you are merely occupiers.
2. If an area was yours for 500 years and ours for 50 years, it should belong to us -- borders must not be changed.
3. If an area belonged to us 500 years ago but never since then, it should belong to us -- it is the Cradle of our Nation.
4. If a majority of our people live there, it must belong to us -- they must enjoy the right of self-determination.
5. If a minority of our people live there, it must belong to us -- they must be protected against your oppression.
6. All the above rules apply to us but not to you.
7. Our dream of greatness is Historical Necessity, yours is Fascism.
I just skimmed this briefly, but will print, read, and comment tomorrow (time and mid-terms permitting). I found the above passage curious. Is he confusing Chesterton with Belloc? I know the latter actually served a hitch in the French army -- artillery, if I am not mistaken.
As an example of Orwell's annoying quality -- how much does Chesterton really have in common with Communism? Maybe our reaction is influenced by the fact that we don't take Chesterton wholly at his word (and maybe Orwell does mean Belloc, rather than Chesterton), but still it does look like an outrageous comparison from where we sit today.
Also, Orwell's distinction between patriotism and nationalism captures something real, but also distorts or at least shapes reality to suit Orwell. By definition, in his view, the nationalist seeks power and wishes to impose his way on others. By definition, if you are not obsessive, unstable, and indifferent to reality you are not a nationalist. But this imposition of one's own categories can do violence to reality. What to make of Madison, Hamilton, Marshall, or Monroe, who were all nationalists to varying degrees and in ways, but who didn't have all these characteristics? One could say they were patriots, but that doesn't quite get at one side of their active life, which "nationalist" does. Perhaps what Orwell is talking about is frustrated nationalism, which feels its wounds intensely, rather than a healthier form, which doesn't focus on wounds and victimization and doesn't have to prove itself.
Is this supposed to be a bad point? Open allegiances are necessary for an open society.
Chesterton's battle poems, such as "Lepanto" or "The Ballad of Saint Barbara", make "The Charge of the Light Brigade" read like a pacifist tract: they are perhaps the most tawdry bits of bombast to be found in our language.
Readers, judge for yourself: Lepanto makes an appearance on this thread
Thus, his almost mystical belief in the virtues of democracy did not prevent him from admiring Mussolini. Mussolini had destroyed the representative government and the freedom of the press for which Chesterton had struggled so hard at home, but Mussolini was an Italian and had made Italy strong, and that settled the matter. Nor did Chesterton ever find a word to say about imperialsm and the conquest of coloured races when they were practised by Italians or Frenchmen. His hold on reality, his literary taste, and even to some extent his moral sense, were dislocated as soon as his nationalistic loyalties were involved.
This is simply false.
When I went to Italy I had one dark suspicion in my mind, which prejudiced me against Mussolini and his government. It was not the statement that he was reactionary or militaristic, for I knew that such terms may mean anything and generally mean nothing. It was not the fact that journalism is not free in Italy; for, being a journalist myself, I am of course aware that it is not free in England. Naturally it was not, in my case, the fact that Mussolini has declined to act in the accepted and normal capacity of a Free Thinker; which is persecuting all those who think that Catholicism is true...Orwell apparently dislikes Chesterton because he tried to see some good in every system, rather than systematically chucking the actions of whole peoples. Moreover, Chesterton was a localist, who thought that one should no more force democracy upon a people than force coercive education upon them. I get the feeling from Blair that this should not always be so.
Before attempting, even in the vaguest way, a description of fascism which may be mistaken for a defence of fascism, I think it well to state that I doubt whether in the actual original Italian conflict I should have been for the Fascists. The party I should naturally have chosen is that called the Popular Party, which was specially the party of the Catholic Democrats. I have heard criticisms of it from reasonable critics; and I am exceedingly proud of the fact that the Catholic Democrats are chiefly criticized for having been too democratic...
When people try to thrust mere internationalism down the throat of Catholic nations, there is always a violent national reaction; so there was when English Socialists tried to do it during the Dublin Strike, so there will always be when cosmopolitan diplomacy tries to disarm the eternal vigilance of Poland. For Catholics know in their bones that men are citizens of a city, and not merely of a cosmos; and that the hearth is sacred as well as the altar. Anyhow, that is the only doubt I should myself have had about the original Catholic Popular Party; I should have had many more doubts about the Fascists; and I have a good many doubts still...
I know too little about the facts to bear witness to them. I know too much about the modern newspapers to accept them as complete witnesses. It seems fairly certain that the [fascist] revolution, like most revolutions, was stained by many infamous crimes and indefensible acts of violence; though they were not all on one side. But as I have passed much of my life in trying to persuade my fellow-countrymen that their fortunate immunity from revolution is rather an accident for which to be thankful than a virtue of which to boast, I am bound to say the same of the Fascist Revolution as I have always said of the French Revolution or the Irish Revolution. I can hardly in honesty play the Pharisee over Mussolini when I refused to do it over Michael Collins; and it is just as easy, and in one sense quite as just to call Michael Collins a murderer as to call Mussolini a murderer. The fact is that they both did a number of things that nobody would think of defending except on the ultimate theory of national self-defence; that is, the theory that society was in dissolution and the fatherland at the point of death. That the readers of the Morning Post would denounce the Fenians and excuse the Fascists, while the readers of the Daily News would denounce the fascists and excuse the Fenians, does not concern me. But since I have so often protested against this English self-righteousness about foreign violence, since I have so often suggested that Danton was not a gory baboon because he made the Terror or used the guillotine, that Irish rebels were not dirty assassins because they conducted a guerilla war, in the only way in which it can be conducted, against a much more powerful army--I do not propose to treat the Fascists as fiends, merely because their rebellion was as nasty as rebellions always are.
All that concerns my argument is that there certainly is a New Italy as there certainly is a New Ireland. I do not approve of all the things that were done for the resurrection of Ireland; and I think it exceedingly improbable should I approve of all the things that were done for the resurrection of Italy. But I have no personal information about the details of those things; the development of my own thesis did not bring me in contact with them; and as I cannot give a personal verdict of my own, I will not repeat all the partisan verdicts of other people.
...In short I resent British superiority to foreign fury; because it always assumes that the British have gained placidly all that the foreigners would gain furiously. In truth, it is not that English conditions are not so infuriating, but only that English people are not so infuriated. There is a great deal of good in their attitude; but there is good also in the other. And nobody can begin to understand Fascism, who does not know that it was not so much a revolt against the Communism prevailing in Russia as against the Cosntitutionalism prevailing in England.
Obviously there are considerable resemblances between political Catholicism, as exemplified by Chesterton, and Communism.
Ironically, Chesterton addressed this very point:
I remember especially the views of an Italian friend of mine, who is a moderate and critical supporter of Fascism, and who certainly would not dislike the Popular Party[Catholic Democrats] merely for being popular; or for sympathizing with the populace. He used the strong expression that the Popular Party was merely Bolshevism dressed in white instead of red; that is, Communism masquerading as Catholicism. It may be very perverse of me; bu tI heard this also with a deep feeling of pride; of pride in the party that I never had the chance to belong to. If the charge was false, it was only another of the endless contradictory charges with which Catholics are pelted whatever they may do; called slaves if they are loyal to a king, or rioters if they are compassionate to a multitude. If the charge was true, it was at least enough to refute and flatten out a good many other charges. When we next hear the Roman Catholic religion called the opium of the people, or charged with keeping the poorer classes in subjection by the hypnotism of superstition, we shall not forget that in the terrible hour of trial and division priests were blamed for going only too far in their denunciation of capitalism; and were blamable, if they were blamable, for yielding only too much to their indignation at the oppression of the poor. If this was indeed the excess by which the Popular Party failed, it was assuredly a most glorious and Christian failure; the sort of Christian failure which can generally in the long run be counted as a Christian triumph. For the time, it has failed; and many without sympathy with it seem resigned, on arguable grounds, to its failure. But let it always be remembered that it was not put down by ecclesiastical authority, as so many would eagerly anticipate; it was put down by secular, scientific, highly modern and rational authority; not by the Church but specially and specifically by the State.
Most of the people surrounding him are sceptical and disaffected, and he may adopt the same attitude from imitativeness or sheer cowardice: in that case he will have abandoned the form of nationalism that lies nearest to hand without getting any closer to a genuinely internationalist outlook. He still feels the need for a Fatherland, and it is natural to look for one somewhere abroad. Having found it, he can wallow unrestrainedly in exactly those emotions from which he believes that he has emancipated himself.
Here is my problem: why precisely is Orwell speaking of internationalism as though it were the "good view"? He defines patriotism as "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." So our local devotions are in no way to be infused into local law, lest we "force" our views on others? This is simply repeating that "cosmopolitain diplomacy" of English Labour gentlemen and American Liberals, and it is that internationalist democracy which motivates, for instance, our bombings in Yugoslavia or our forays in Somalia, or the UN's lobbying for "liberal" abortion laws. Not exactly "defensive," is it? Despite his disavowal of ComIntern, I fear Orwell would allow a castrated sort of localism only within the context of a worldwide government, thus destroying any possibility of Federalist republicanism. Has he written any "Notes on Internationalism"?
[quotes are from GKC's "The Resurrection of Rome" in his Collected Works vol. XXI]