However, in this essay I am concerned chiefly with the reactions of the intelligentsia, among whom jingoism and even patriotism of the old kind are almost dead, though they now seem to be reviving among a minority. as his Fatherland and feels it his duty to justify Russian policy and advance Russian interests at all costs.
Among the intelligentsia, it hardly needs saying that the dominant form of nationalism is Communism – using this word in a very loose sense, to include not merely Communist Party members but ‘fellow-travellers’ and russophiles generally. Obviously such people abound in England today, and their direct and indirect influence is very great.
But finally, it is important not to confuse nationalism with mere worship of success.
The nationalist does not go on the principle of simply ganging up with the strongest side.
Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power.
The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality.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.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.For those who feel deeply about contemporary politics, certain topics have become so infected by considerations of prestige that a genuinely rational approach to them is almost impossible. And there are whole strings of kindred questions to which you can only get an honest answer from someone who is indifferent to the whole subject involved, and whose opinion on it is probably worthless in any case. Political or military commentators, like astrologers, can survive almost any mistake, because their more devoted followers do not look to them for an appraisal of the facts but for the stimulation of nationalistic loyalties.Out of the hundreds of examples that one might choose, take this question: Which of the three great allies, the U. Hence, partly, the remarkable failure in our time of political and military prediction. And aesthetic judgements, especially literary judgements, are often corrupted in the same way as political ones.On the contrary, having picked his side, he persuades himself that it the strongest, and is able to stick to his belief even when the facts are overwhelmingly against him.Nationalism is power hunger tempered by self-deception. In theory it should be possible to give a reasoned and perhaps even a conclusive answer to this question.Every nationalist is capable of the most flagrant dishonesty, but he is also – since he is conscious of serving something bigger than himself – unshakeably certain of being in the right. In practice, however, the necessary calculations cannot be made, because anyone likely to bother his head about such a question would inevitably see it in terms of competitive prestige.Now that I have given this lengthy definition, I think it will be admitted that the habit of mind I am talking about is widespread among the English intelligentsia, and more widespread there than among the mass of the people. He would therefore this would begin searching for arguments that seemed to support his case.It can attach itself to a church or a class, or it may work in a merely negative sense, something or other and without the need for any positive object of loyalty.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’.