Dialogue on the Threshold

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Sunday, 12 October 2014

The venom of our age

Nationalism is the venom of our age. It has brought Europe to the edge of ruin. It drives the new states of Asia and Africa like crazed lemmings. By proclaiming himself a Ghanaian, a Nicaraguan, a Maltese, a man spares himself vexation. He need not ravel out what he is, where his humanity lies. He becomes one of an armed, coherent pack. Every mob impulse in modern politics, every totalitarian design, feeds on nationalism, on the drug of hatred which makes human beings bare their teeth across a wall, across ten yards of waste ground.

George Steiner, "A Kind of Survivor", Language and Silence. Essays 1958-1966, Penguin: Harmondsworth, 1969, pp. 132-33.

See also Husk and kernel.

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