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Good quote: Tolstoy on pairiotism
  • The nations, without any rational foundation and contrary to their consciousness and their advantages, not only sympathize with the governments in their attacks upon other nations, in their seizures of the possessions of others, and in the use of violence in defending what has already been seized, but themselves demand these attacks, seizures, and defenses, and rejoice in them and are proud of them.

    This is due to the fact that the ruling classes (meaning by this not merely the governments with their officials, but also all the classes which enjoy an exclusive, advantageous position – the capitalists, journalists, the majority of artists and scholars) are able to retain their exclusive and advantageous position, as compared with the popular masses, only thanks to the political structure which is supported by means of patriotism. By having in their hands all the most powerful means of influencing the masses, they always unswervingly maintain the patriotic feelings in themselves and in others, the more so, since these sentiments, which support the power of the state, are more than any other rewarded by that power.

    Every official succeeds in his service in proportion to his patriotism; even so a military man can advance in his career only in a war, which is provoked by patriotism. Patriotism and its consequences, the wars, give a good income to the newspapermen and advantages to the majority of merchants. Every author, teacher, and professor will make his position more secure the more he preaches patriotism. Every emperor and king gains glory in proportion to his devotion to patriotism.

    The army, the money, the school, the religion, and the press are in the hands of the ruling classes. In the schools they fan patriotism in the children by means of history, by describing their nation as the best of all the nations and always in the right. In the adults, the same sentiment is roused by means of spectacles, celebrations, monuments, and a patriotic, lying press. But patriotism is chiefly roused in them by committing all kinds of unjust acts and cruelties against other nations and provoking hatred in these nations for their own nation, and then using this hatred for provoking such a hatred in their own nation.

    The fanning of this terrible sentiment of patriotism has proceeded in the European nations in a rapidly increasing progression, and in our time has reached a stage beyond which it cannot go.

    L. Tolstoy; 1900