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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 recognizing no other duty than that of advancing its interests.
He sees history, especially contemporary history, as the endless rise and decline of great power units, and every event that happens seems to him a demonstration that his own side is on the up-grade and some hated rival is on the down-grade.
But finally, it is important not to confuse nationalism with mere worship of success.
There are, for example, Trotskyists who have become simply enemies of the U. A nationalist is one who thinks solely, or mainly, in terms of competitive prestige.
He may be a positive or a negative nationalist – that is, he may use his mental energy either in boosting or in denigrating – but at any rate his thoughts always turn on victories, defeats, triumphs and humiliations.
Nationalism, in the extended sense in which I am using the word, includes such movements and tendencies as Communism, political Catholicism, Zionism, Antisemitism, Trotskyism and Pacifism.
It does not necessarily mean loyalty to a government or a country, still less to country, and it is not even strictly necessary that the units in which it deals should actually exist.
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.