Orwell on nationalism and exceptionalism

June 24, 2010

Thought for the day from George Orwell’s Notes on Nationalism:

All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts.  A British Tory will defend self-determination in Europe and oppose it in India with no feeling of inconsistency. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side . . .  The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.

How true. Exceptionalism is the credo of all nations. If you do it, it’s bad; if we do it, it’s good.

(Quote from Glenn Greenwald at Salon.com http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/)

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