The nationalist does not go on the principle of simply ganging up with the strongest side.
To name a few obvious examples, Jewry, Islam, Christendom, the Proletariat and the White Race are all of them objects of passionate nationalistic feeling: but their existence can be seriously questioned, and there is no definition of any one of them that would be universally accepted. without developing a corresponding loyalty to any other unit.
It is also worth emphasising once again that nationalist feeling can be purely negative. When one grasps the implications of this, the nature of what I mean by nationalism becomes a good deal clearer.
This which is no new Discovery, but has been many thousands of Years consid by thinking Men, seems to have given rise to the wisest and best of Governments which seems to be calculated on Purpose, to controul and counteract the Ruinous Tendency of this Imperfection in our Natures.
Power is a Thing of infinite Danger and Delicacy, and was never yet confided to any Man or any Body of Men without turning their Heads.—Was there ever, in any Nation or Country, since the fall, a standing Army that was not carefully watched and contrould by the State so as to keep them impotent, that did not, ravish, plunder, Massacre and ruin, and at last inextricably inslave the People,—Was there ever a Clergy, that have gained, by their Natural Ascendancy over private Consciences, any important Power in the State, that did not restlessly aspire by every Art, by Flattery and Intrigues, by Bribery and Corruption, by wresting from the People the Means of Knowledge, and by inspiring misterious and awful apprehensions of themselves by Promises of Heaven and by Threats Damnation, to establish themselves in oppulence, Indolence and Magnificence, at the Expence of the Toil, and Industry, the Limbs, the Liberties and Lives of all the rest of Mankind.
Nationalism, in the extended sense in which I am using the word, includes such movements and tendencies as Communism, political Catholicism, Zionism, Antisemitism, Trotskyism and Pacifism.
It does not necessarily mean loyalty to a government or a country, still less to one's own country, and it is not even strictly necessary that the units in which it deals should actually exist.
Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally.
Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power.
Confronted with a phenomenon like Nazism, which we can observe from the outside, nearly all of us would say much the same things about it.
But here I must repeat what I said above, that I am only using the word ‘nationalism’ for lack of a better.