Sunday, August 13, 2006

Patriots vs. Nationalists

A few weeks ago, Scott Richert mentioned Remembered Past by John Lukacs in a post about Jonah Goldberg's "Invincible Ignorance." Richert noted that the book, a collection from ISI Books contains a chapter from a previous Lukacs book to disabuse Goldberg of his foolish notions about patriotism. I'm glad that he did, because I wasn't aware of the book and decided to get a copy for myself. I've only read a small part of it so far (not incuding the chapter Richert mentions), including a chapter called "The Problem of American Conservatism" from 1984. I'll include a quote for Goldberg's benefit, but I doubt it will get through since Lukacs doesn't include any Star Trek references:
They proclaimed themselves to be the prime defenders of Western civilization: yet many of them had a narrowly nationalist, and broadly Californian, view of the world -- narrow enough to be ignorant, broad enough to be flat "I was a nationalist," Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf about his youth, "but I was not a patriot." So were, unfortunately, most American conservatives, unaware of the crucial difference (George Orwell described it in one of his prime essays) between the ideological nationalist and the true patriot: the former is moved by the desire to extend the power of his nation, the latter is moved by the love of his country. . . The true patriot and the true conservative is suspicious of ideology . . . yet the American conservatives were, more often, ideologues . . .

3 comments:

Bartleby said...

As more than one person has pointed out (and sorry, I'm too lazy at the moment to look anyone up), a man who simply loves his country -- that is, a patriot -- has no trouble at all understanding that other men love their countries, too. It isn't anything that needs fighting over.

Scott P. Richert said...

Clark--glad you picked the book up. It's one of the best buys you could make, hands down--only $18 for a massive 900+ pages of Lukacs. As I noted in my review in Chronicles last fall, I would have left a couple things out and added a few others, but overall, the editorial choices were excellent. It's a perfect introduction to Lukacs's work.

Jim Henley said...

My favorite formulation is Jesse Walker's:

Patriotism: "I love my dad."

Nationalism: "My dad can beat up your dad."

Imperialism: "Here he comes now!"