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Posted on Dec.7.2009 at 8:03
"Once we grant that conventional patriotism is real, even if artifice went into its construction, however, is it also virtuous? Orwell comes near to conceding that it is. Describing the nationalism of power-worship that he despises, Orwell remarks in passing that "Its worst follies have been made possible by the breakdown of patriotism and religious belief." He hesitates almost immediately, warning that "if one follows this train of thought, one is in danger of being led into a species of conservatism." But the damage has been done. He has conceded what conservatives have long contended. When patriotic sentiments have been expelled from polite discourse, all manner of brutish ideologies rush in to occupy the vacant space--whether that space is the public square or the human heart."

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