"A nation ...

... is a group of people united by a mistaken view about the past and a hatred of their neighbours." - Ernest Renan (commonly quoted, though I have not sourced it yet).

Comments

Richard said…
It definitely has bite. I think it was meant as a sharp comment as opposed to a wry comment a la Oscar Wilde.

But I think it works well for any tribal notion (e.g. Capulet & Montague, Jets and Sharks, etc)
Barbara said…
I'd say this is a little extreme, yes?
Richard said…
barbara: is it? I think it makes one think.
carra said…
I love it's toughness, and in a way I believe it's true, in fact when you mentioned it on my blog I wrote it down immediately! I actually think that it suits many nations... I.E. England and France (mocking each other for centuries) Poland and Germany (having that hidden hatred within the border area) and so on. Every nation unites in the hatred of another...
Richard said…
carra: a nation is just a specific instance of the abstract concept of "a group". The group may be a fmaily, or a gang, or a faith. But, if we closely examine most such groups, we note that they rely on justifying themselves by diminishing non-members.

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