“The egotism of racial, national and socio-economic groups is most consistently expressed by the national state because the state gives the collective impulses of the nation such instruments of power and presents the imagination of individuals with such obvious symbols of its discrete(分離的) collective identity that the national state is most able to make absolute claims for itself, to enforce those claims by power and to give them plausibility (似有道理的)and credibility by the majesty and panoply (全幅盔甲) of its apparatus.(機構組織)”1
“The most conducive (有益於的、助長) proof that the egotism of nations is a characteristic of the spiritual life, and not merely an expression of the natural impulse of survival, is the fact that its most typical expressions are the lust-for-power, pride (comprising considerations of prestige and ‘honour’), contempt toward the other (the reverse side of pride and its necessary concomitant in a world in which self-esteem is constantly challenged by the achievements of others); hypocrisy (the inevitable pretension of conforming to a higher norm than self-interest); and finally the claim of moral autonomy by which the self-deification of the social group is made explicit by its presentation of itself as the source and end of existence.”2
“It is plausible, though hardly credible, only because the social unit, particularly the nation, to which the individual belongs, transcends the individual life to such a degree in power, majesty, and pseudo-immortality that the claim of unconditioned value can be made for it with a degree of plausibility.
The significance of this claim is that through it human pride and self-assertion reach their ultimate form and seek to break all bounds of finiteness. The nation pretends to be God.”3
“Collective egotism does indeed offer the individual an opportunity to lose himself in a larger whole; but it also offers him possibilities of sel-aggrandizement beside which merer individual pretensions are implausible and incredible.”4
“It may be that such group pride represents a particular temptation to individuals who suffer from specific forms of the sense of inferiority. The relation of modern fascist nationalism to the insecurity and sense of inferiority of the lower middle classes is therefore significant. But it hardly can be denied that extravagant forms of modern nationalism only accentuate a general character of group life and collective egotism; and that specific forms of inferiority feeling for which this pride compensates oly accentuate the general sense of inferiority from which all men suffer. Collective pride is thus man’s last, and in some respects most pathetic, effort to deny the determinate and contingent character of his existence. The very essence of human sin is in it. It can hardly be surprising that this form of human sin is also most fruitful of human guilt, that is of objective social and historical evil. In its whole range from pride of family to pride of nation, collective egotism and group pride are a more pregnant source of injustice and conflict that purely individual pride..”5
1. Reinhold Niebuhr, The Nature and Destiny of Man, Vol. 1. Human Nature, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1964, p. 209.
2. Ibid, p. 211.
3. Ibid, p. 212.
4. Ibid, p. 212.
5. Ibid, p. 213.