On ‘love of country’

2014-10-01

in Bombs and rockets, Politics, Rants

Love of country! There’s a curious phrase. Love of a particular patch of earth? Scarcely. Put a German down in a field in Northern France, tell him that it is Hannover, and he cannot contradict you. Love of fellow-countrymen? Surely not. A man will like some of them and dislike others. Love of the country’s culture? The men who know most of their countries’ cultures are usually the most intelligent and the least patriotic. Love of the country’s government? But governments are usually disliked by the people they govern. Love of country, we see, is merely a sloppy mysticism based on ignorance and fear. It has its uses, of course. When a ruling class wishes a people to do something which that people does not want to do, it appeals to patriotism. And, of course, one of the things that people dislike most is allowing themselves to be killed.

Ambler, Eric. Journey into Fear. (New York: Knopf, 1943; rpt. Bantam), p. 166.

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