The Evil of Patriotism

Clive Bell, the Bloomsbury art critic, was an unpleasant person, but he had wise things to say on the evils of patriotism and nationalism. Civilised people, he said, “see a certain unreality in the grouping of people by nations” and “nationalism is a bogey: none can tell you precisely what a nation is”. He preferred cosmopolitanism.

“As soon as me begin to think freely the grip of patriotism is loosened… obviously an Englishman who cares for beauty, truth or knowledge, may find himself more in sympathy with a Frenchman, German, or Chinaman who shares his tastes than with a compatriot who shares those of Punch and John Bull ”  [ Civilization, 1928].

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