Essay Intellectual Man Power

Essay Intellectual Man Power-64
It can attach itself to a church or a class, or it may work in a merely negative sense, against something or other and without the need for any positive object of loyalty.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’.My Brother J and my self have been very liberal of our Promises to the Publick and very Sparing of Performance: but I shall take the Liberty to suspend the Execution of my Plan of Essays upon Agriculture, and entertain my Readers with an Explanation in some greater Detail of the moral and political Principles, contained my former Essay upon Self Decipt.—“Self Deceipt is perhaps the source of far the greatest and worst Part of the Vices and Calamities among Man kind.”—The Love of Pleasure and Aversion to Pain, our affections for all Things that have Power either in Reality or in our own Imaginations only to give us the former, and our Hatred of all Things that communicate the later, our Senses, our Appetites, our Passions, and all our Habits and Prejudices, nay even our very Virtues and useful Qualities, our Piety towards God and our Benevolence to Mankind, The Reverence for our Parents and Affection to our Children, our Desires of Fame and aspirations after Independence, have all of them in their Turns a Tendency, unless more cautiously watched than the Condition of Humanity will allow, to deceive us into Error.—This is the great and important and melancholy Truth that is conveyd to us by the old Maxim, that I have chosen for the Motto of this Paper, that all Men would be Tyrants if they could.—The Meaning of that Maxim is not so uncharitable, as to suppose that all the sons of Adam, are so many abandond Knaves regardless of all Morality and Right, who would violate their Consciences, and oppress, mangle, burn, butcher and destroy their fellow Men, in direct opposition to their Judgments.

It can attach itself to a church or a class, or it may work in a merely negative sense, against something or other and without the need for any positive object of loyalty.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’.My Brother J and my self have been very liberal of our Promises to the Publick and very Sparing of Performance: but I shall take the Liberty to suspend the Execution of my Plan of Essays upon Agriculture, and entertain my Readers with an Explanation in some greater Detail of the moral and political Principles, contained my former Essay upon Self Decipt.—“Self Deceipt is perhaps the source of far the greatest and worst Part of the Vices and Calamities among Man kind.”—The Love of Pleasure and Aversion to Pain, our affections for all Things that have Power either in Reality or in our own Imaginations only to give us the former, and our Hatred of all Things that communicate the later, our Senses, our Appetites, our Passions, and all our Habits and Prejudices, nay even our very Virtues and useful Qualities, our Piety towards God and our Benevolence to Mankind, The Reverence for our Parents and Affection to our Children, our Desires of Fame and aspirations after Independence, have all of them in their Turns a Tendency, unless more cautiously watched than the Condition of Humanity will allow, to deceive us into Error.—This is the great and important and melancholy Truth that is conveyd to us by the old Maxim, that I have chosen for the Motto of this Paper, that all Men would be Tyrants if they could.—The Meaning of that Maxim is not so uncharitable, as to suppose that all the sons of Adam, are so many abandond Knaves regardless of all Morality and Right, who would violate their Consciences, and oppress, mangle, burn, butcher and destroy their fellow Men, in direct opposition to their Judgments.

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In the same way, there is a habit of mind which is now so widespread that it affects our thinking on nearly every subject, but which has not yet been given a name.

As the nearest existing equivalent I have chosen the word ‘nationalism’, but it will be seen in a moment that I am not using it in quite the ordinary sense, if only because the emotion I am speaking about does not always attach itself to what is called a nation — that is, a single race or a geographical area.

This which is no new Discovery, but has been many thousands of Years consid by thinking Men, seems to have given rise to the wisest and best of Governments which seems to be calculated on Purpose, to controul and counteract the Ruinous Tendency of this Imperfection in our Natures.

Power is a Thing of infinite Danger and Delicacy, and was never yet confided to any Man or any Body of Men without turning their Heads.—Was there ever, in any Nation or Country, since the fall, a standing Army that was not carefully watched and contrould by the State so as to keep them impotent, that did not, ravish, plunder, Massacre and ruin, and at last inextricably inslave the People,—Was there ever a Clergy, that have gained, by their Natural Ascendancy over private Consciences, any important Power in the State, that did not restlessly aspire by every Art, by Flattery and Intrigues, by Bribery and Corruption, by wresting from the People the Means of Knowledge, and by inspiring misterious and awful apprehensions of themselves by Promises of Heaven and by Threats Damnation, to establish themselves in oppulence, Indolence and Magnificence, at the Expence of the Toil, and Industry, the Limbs, the Liberties and Lives of all the rest of Mankind.

There are, for example, Trotskyists who have become simply enemies of the U. 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.

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.

So long as it is applied merely to the more notorious and identifiable nationalist movements in Germany, Japan, and other countries, all this is obvious enough.

[Original source: The Adams Papers, Papers of John Adams, vol.

Somewhere or other Byron makes use of the French word longeur, and remarks in passing that though in England we happen not to have the word, we have the thing in considerable profusion.

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