Schopenhauer on Nationalism

Arthur Schopenhauer[T]he cheapest sort of pride is national pride; for if a man is proud of his own nation, it argues that he has no qualities of his own of which he can be proud; otherwise he would not have recourse to those which he shares with so many millions of his fellow men. The man who is endowed with important personal qualities will be only too ready to see clearly in what respects his own nation falls short since their failings will be constantly before his eyes. But every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud adopts, as a last resource, pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and glad to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.

–Arthur Schopenhauer
Aphorisms on the Wisdom of Life

Note: yes, Schopenhauer is being an elitist dick-head. Did my past writing about him give you the idea that he was warm and cuddly?

2 thoughts on “Schopenhauer on Nationalism

  1. It’s not just national pride, but racial and gender pride as well. All things that come at no cost and cannot be removed. And white American men who make a big show of being that are announcing that they have nothing else to recommend themselves.

    • Exactly. It’s interesting how American conservatism no longer believes anything — or even pretends to. It is all just “whatever pisses off liberals.” Not that this is surprising. When you have a movement as schizophrenic as American conservatism since the 1960s, this is probably to be expected.

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