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Citatsektionen | Humanistiske citater

George Orwell / Eric Arthur Blair (1903-1950)

Udvalgt af Rune Engelbreth Larsen Udprint

GEORGE ORWELL: »By 'nationalism' I mean first of all the habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of millions or tens of millions of people can be confidently labelled 'good' or 'bad'. But secondly - and this is much more important - I mean the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or other unit, placing it beyond good and evil and recognising no other duty than that of advancing its interests.«


GEORGE ORWELL: »By 'patriotism' I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, NOT for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality.«


GEORGE ORWELL: »Nationalism, in the extended sense in which I am using the word, includes such movements and tendencies as Communism, political Catholicism, Zionism, Antisemitism, Trotskyism and Pacifism. It does not necessarily mean loyalty to a government or a country, still less to ONE'S OWN country, and it is not even strictly necessary that the units in which it deals should actually exist. To name a few obvious examples, Jewry, Islam, Christendom, the Proletariat and the White Race are all of them objects of passionate nationalistic feeling: but their existence can be seriously questioned, and there is no definition of any one of them that would be universally accepted.«


GEORGE ORWELL: »A nationalist is one who thinks solely, or mainly, in terms of competitive prestige. He may be a positive or a negative nationalist - that is, he may use his mental energy either in boosting or in denigrating - but at any rate his thoughts always turn on victories, defeats, triumphs and humiliations. He sees history, especially contemporary history, as the endless rise and decline of great power units, and every event that happens seems to him a demonstration that his own side is on the upgrade and some hated rival is on the downgrade.«


GEORGE ORWELL: »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 committedby 'our' side.«


GEORGE ORWELL: »For quite six years the English admirers of Hitler contrived not to learn of the existence of Dachau and Buchenwald. And those who are loudest in denouncing the German concentration camps are often quite unaware, or only very dimly aware, that there are also concentration camps in Russia. Huge events like the Ukraine famine of 1933, involving the deaths of millions of people, have actually escaped the attention of the majority of English russophiles. Many English people have heard almost nothing about the extermination of German and Polish Jews during the present war. Their own antisemitism has caused this vast crime to bounce off their consciousness.«


GEORGE ORWELL: »Pacifist propaganda usually boils down to saying that one side is as bad as the other, but if one looks closely at the writings of younger intellectual pacifists, one finds that they do not by any means express impartial disapproval but are directed almost entirely against Britain and the United States. Moreover they do not as a rule condemn violence as such, but only violence used in defence of western countries.«


GEORGE ORWELL: »To begin with, one has no right to assume that EVERYONE, or even every intellectual, is infected by nationalism. Secondly, nationalism can be intermittent and limited. An intelligent man may half-succumb to a belief which he knows to be absurd, and he may keep it out of his mind for long periods, only reverting to it in moments of anger or sentimentality, or when he is certain that no important issues are involved. Thirdly, a nationalistic creed may be adopted in good faith from non-nationalistic motives. Fourthly, several kinds of nationalism, even kinds that cancel out, can co-exist in the same person.«


GEORGE ORWELL: »It is a question first of all of discovering what one really is, what one's own feelings really are, and then of making allowance for the inevitable bias. If you hate and fear Russia, if you are jealous of the wealth and power of America, if you despise Jews, if you have a sentiment of inferiority towards the British ruling class, you cannot get rid of those feelings simply by taking thought. But you can at least recognise that you have them, and prevent them from contaminating your mental processes. The emotional urges which are inescapable, and are perhaps even necessary to political action, should be able to exist side by side with an acceptance of reality.«

Fra NOTES ON NATIONALISM, 1945


GEORGE ORWELL (Winston skriver i sin dagbog): »I biografen i går aftes. Lutter krigsfilm. Den ene meget god med et skib fuldt af flygtninge, der blev bombarderet et sted i Middelhavet. Publikum morede sig meget over optagelser af en kolossalt fed mand, der prøvede at svømme bort med en helikopter efter sig, først så man ham plaske igennem vandet som et marsvin, så så man ham gennem helikopterens sigteapparat, så var han fuld af huller, og vandet omkring ham blev rødt, og han sank så pludseligt, som om han var blevet læk. Publikum brølede af latter, da han sank.«


GEORGE ORWELL (Winston skriver i sin dagbog): »Til fremtiden eller til fortiden, til en tid, hvor tanken er fri, hvor menneskene er forskellige fra hinanden og ikke ensomme - til en tid, hvor sandheden eksisterer, og hvor det, der er gjort, ikke kan ændres: Fra ensretningens tid, fra ensomhedens tid, fra Store Broders tid, fra dobbelttænkningens tid - sender jeg min hilsen.«


GEORGE ORWELL: »Socialismen, en teori, der dukkede op i begyndelsen af det nittende århundrede og var det sidste led i en kæde, der førte tilbage til oldtidens slaveopstande, var stadig påvirket af tidligere tiders utopiske idealer. Men for hver ny udgave af socialismen, der dukkede op efter år 1900, blev det klarere og klarere, at målet ikke længere var at indføre frihed og lighed. De nye bevægelser, der opstod i århundredets midte, Engsoc i Oceanien, Neo-Bolschevismen i Eurasien og Dødekult i Øst-asien, gik bevidst ud på at bevare ufriheden og uligheden. Disse nye bevægelser var naturligvis vokset frem af de gamle og bibeholdt i vid udstrækning deres terminologi samtidig med, at de gav det udseende af, at også ideologien stadig var den samme. Men de havde alle det samme formål, nemlig at standse udviklingen og få historien til at gå i stå på et bestemt tidspunkt. Pendulet skulle gøre endnu et udsving og så standses.«

Fra NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR, 1949.
Oversat af Paul Monrad