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Notes on Nationalism - Book by George Orwell

The entire ideological madness of our time was omnipresent even in Orwell's lifetime, though in a different form. Orwell writes about an ideological narrow-mindedness that he calls "Nationalism." In contrast to a defensive patriotism that refrains from imposing anything on others, nationalism is characterized by a will to power. The desired power aims to realize the "best" way of life for the community. "More power and prestige for my ideals" is the motto of a nationalist. The nationalist sees history only as a rise and fall of powers and always takes a side, namely his own. Once he has committed himself, he becomes resistant to facts and takes any defeat of his ideals personally. It would be too easy to reduce the whole issue here to a conflict between the familiar and the foreign. Many ideologists advocate for a distant cause. The more abstract an identity and remote a conflict, the easier ideology can thrive. The great leaders of past ideological movements emerged from the periphery: Hitler from Austria, Stalin from Georgia, or Napoleon from Corsica. However, the core of Orwell's thoughts on nationalism is what he calls "competitive prestige." Whether in parliament or in the sports arena, the competition for prestige dominates public life. Everything revolves around the struggle for status, which is a pure zero-sum game, with either losers or winners.

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