If modern technology and all the tendencies of modern society make nationalism illogical, why does it persist?

You might as well ask why racism flourishes in the face of scientific evidence that there are no real differences between the races, or why Protestantism and Catholicism remain separate when the differences between them can be detected only by theologians. Such things are deeply rooted in the psychology of man. When you’re raised to believe in the superiority of your own country, it’s very difficult to rid yourself of the belief. There are, of course, practical advantages to national organization, and out of these loyalties develop. There’s no reason in and of itself why other institutions should not attract comparable loyalties

, but so far they have not. I’m not at all sure they’d be any better.

Henry Steele Commager (1902-1998) American historian, writer, activist
“Conversations with Historians,” interview by John A. Garraty, American Heritage (Feb 1970)

Excerpted from Interpreting American History: Conversations with Historians, Part 1, ch. 4 (1970).
Added on 27-Apr-22 | Last updated 27-Apr-22
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