Quotations about   tribalism

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You’ll never have a quiet world till you knock the patriotism out of the human race.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
O’Flaherty, V.C. (1917)
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Added on 21-Oct-21 | Last updated 21-Oct-21
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[Fascism] imagines the masses not as a pluralistic citizenry but as a primal horde whose power can be awakened by playing upon atavistic feelings of hatred and belonging. Its chosen leader must exhibit strength: his refusal to compromise and readiness to attack are seen as signs of tough-mindedness, while any concern for constitutionality or the rule of law are disdained as signs of weakness. The most powerful myth, however, is that of the embattled collective. Critics are branded as traitors, while those who do not fit the criteria for inclusion are vilified as outsiders, terrorists, and criminals.

Peter E Gordon
Peter E, Gordon (b. 1966) American intellectual historian
“Why Historical Analogy Matters,” New York Review of Books (7 Jan 2020)
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Added on 16-Sep-21 | Last updated 16-Sep-21
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But we are as other men, exactly. Of one blood, one species, one brain, one figure, one fundamental set of collective instincts, one solitary body of information, one everything. Superiority and inferiority are individual, not racial or national.

Philip Wylie (1902-1971) American author
Generation of Vipers (1942)
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Added on 28-Jun-21 | Last updated 28-Jun-21
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People in other cultures are generally thought to commit terrible acts for calculated reasons, underscored by some perverse morality that can be readily discounted, so that only the consequences of their actions should be judged, whereas for one’s own group motivation is, and what ought to, mostly count.

Scott Atran (b. 1952) American-French cultural anthropologist
“Good Guys Kill Better,” Huffington Post (17 Mar 2012)
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Added on 11-May-21 | Last updated 11-May-21
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it is important not to confuse nationalism with mere worship of success. The nationalist does not go on the principle of simply ganging up with the strongest side. On the contrary, having picked his side, he persuades himself that it is the strongest, and is able to stick to his belief even when the facts are overwhelmingly against him. Nationalism is power-hunger tempered by self-deception. Every nationalist is capable of the most flagrant dishonesty, but he is also — since he is conscious of serving something bigger than himself — unshakably certain of being in the right.

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
“Notes on Nationalism” (May 1945)
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Added on 23-Feb-21 | Last updated 23-Feb-21
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Loyalty is one of the most attractive of moral qualities, and it necessarily inhibits criticism of its own objects, which has the appearance of treason. But, unless the aims of the corporate body which claims our absolute allegiance are right and reasonable, loyalty may be, and often has been, the parent of hideous crimes, and a social evil of the first magnitude.

William Ralph Inge (1860-1954) English prelate [Dean Inge]
“The Indictment against Christianity” (1917), Outspoken Essays: First Series, ch. 10 (1919)
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Added on 13-Jul-20 | Last updated 15-Jul-20
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The disturbing factor in the success of totalitarianism is rather the true selflessness of its adherents: it may be understandable that a Nazi or Bolshevik will not be shaken in his conviction by crimes against people who do not belong to the movement or are even hostile to it; but the amazing fact is that neither is he likely to waver when the monster begins to devour its own children, and not even if he becomes a victim of persecution himself, if he is framed and condemned, if he is purged from the party and sent to a forced-labor or concentration camp. On the contrary, to the wonder of the whole civilized world, he may even be willing to help in his own prosecution and frame his own death sentence if only his status as a member of the movement is not touched.

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) German-American philosopher, political theorist
The Origins of Totalitarianism, Part 3, ch. 1, sec. 1 (1951)
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Added on 9-Jun-20 | Last updated 9-Jun-20
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[Tolerance] carries on when love gives out, and love generally gives out as soon as we move away from our home and our friends.

E. M. Forster (1879-1970) English novelist, essayist, critic, librettist [Edward Morgan Forster]
“The Unsung Virtue of Tolerance,” radio broadcast (Jul 1941)
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Published as "Tolerance," Two Cheers for Democracy (1951)
Added on 19-Feb-20 | Last updated 19-Feb-20
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If I know your sect, I anticipate your argument.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Self-Reliance,” Essays: First Series (1841)
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Added on 6-Feb-17 | Last updated 27-May-20
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Politics, as a practice, whatever its professions, had always been the systematic organization of hatreds.

Henry Adams (1838-1918) American journalist, historian, academic, novelist
The Education of Henry Adams, ch. 1 (1907)

Restated by George Will in saying that the value of political parties was that "They organize our animosities." Interview, The Colbert Report (3 Jun 2008) at 6:43.
Added on 13-Oct-16 | Last updated 26-Oct-18
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Admiration for ourselves and our institutions is too often measured by our contempt and dislike for foreigners.

William Ralph Inge (1860-1954) English prelate [Dean Inge]
“Our Present Discontents,” Outspoken Essays: First Series (1919)
Added on 14-Dec-15 | Last updated 4-Jan-16
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What are the marks of a sick culture? It is a bad sign when the people of a country stop identifying themselves with the country and start identifying with a group. A racial group. Or a religion. Or a language. Anything, as long as it isn’t the whole population. A very bad sign. Particularism. It was once considered a Spanish vice but any country can fall sick with it.

Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) American writer
Friday [Dr. Baldwin] (1982)
Added on 1-Dec-15 | Last updated 1-Dec-15
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It always pains me greatly to discover how some Christian communities, and even consecrated persons, can tolerate different forms of enmity, division, calumny, defamation, vendetta, jealousy and the desire to impose certain ideas at all costs, even to persecutions which appear as veritable witch hunts. Whom are we going to evangelize if this is the way we act?

Francis I (b. 1936) Argentinian Catholic Pope (2013- ) [b. Jorge Mario Bergoglio]
Evangelii Gaudium, sec. 100 (24 Nov 2013)
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Added on 20-Aug-14 | Last updated 20-Aug-14
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Each nation, knowing it has the only true religion and the only sane system of government, each despising all the others, each an ass and not suspecting it.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
What Is Man? ch. 6 (1906)
Added on 12-Mar-12 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
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All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. A British Tory will defend self-determination in Europe and oppose it in India with no feeling of inconsistency. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side.

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
“Notes on Nationalism” (May 1945)
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Added on 13-Feb-12 | Last updated 9-Mar-21
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Nationalism appeals to our tribal instincts, to passion and to prejudice, and to our nostalgic desire to be relieved from the strain of individual responsibility which it attempts to replace by a collective or group responsibility.

Sir Karl Popper (1902-1994) Austrian-British philosopher
The Open Society and Its Enemies, 2.12.3 (1945)
Added on 30-Jan-12 | Last updated 16-Aug-21
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Nearly every people have created a god and the god has always resembled his creators. He hated and loved what they hated and loved, and he was invariably found on the side of those in power. Each god was intensely patriotic, and detested all nations but his own.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“The Gods” (1876)
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Sometimes quoted, "Nearly every people have created a god ..." Full text.
Added on 30-Oct-08 | Last updated 2-Feb-16
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There is nowhere you can go and only be with people who are like you. Give it up.

Reagon - people like you - wist_info quote

Bernice Johnson Reagon (b. 1942) American song leader, composer, scholar, social activist
“Coalition Politics: Turning the Century,” presentation, West Coast Women’s Music Festival, Yosemite (1981)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 9-Dec-15
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