Quotation by A.J. Toynbee

Nationalism ... is the worship of the collective power of a local human community. Unlike the faith in progress through science, nationalism is not a new religion; it is a revival of an old one. This was the religion of the city-states of the pre-Christian Greco-Roman world. It was resuscitated in the West at the Renaissance, and this resuscitation of the Greco-Roman political religion has been far more effective than the resuscitation of the Greco-Roman style of literature, visual art, and architecture. Modern Western nationalism, inspired by Greco-Roman political ideals and institutions, has inherited the dynamism and fanaticism of Christianity. Translated into practice in the American and French Revolutions, it proved to be highly infectious. Today, fanatical nationalism is perhaps 90 percent of the religion of perhaps 90 percent of mankind.
A.J. (Arnold Joseph) Toynbee (1889–1975), British historian. Choose Life: A Dialogue, ch. 11, Oxford University Press (1989).

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