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thanks, Matt, for clueing us in to Orwell's 1945 article, Notes on Nationalism

does he give us some hints about how we lost friends and neighbors and family to a parasite that turned them into political zombies?

forget about the politicians etc.; the central question = what happened to us?

Orwell article link:

https://www.orwellfoundation.com/the-orwell-foundation/orwell/essays-and-other-works/notes-on-nationalism/

some highlights:

"I have chosen the word ‘nationalism’, but 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’.

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 recognizing no other duty than that of advancing its interests.

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.

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.

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.

Every nationalist is capable of the most flagrant dishonesty, but he is also – since he is conscious of serving something bigger than himself – unshakeably certain of being in the right.

His hold on reality, his literary taste, and even to some extent his moral sense, were dislocated as soon as his nationalistic loyalties were involved.

As nearly as possible, no nationalist ever thinks, talks, or writes about anything except the superiority of his own power unit. . . . The smallest slur upon his own unit, or any implied praise of a rival organization, fills him with uneasiness which he can only relieve by making some sharp retort.

Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them . . . .

A known fact may be so unbearable that it is habitually pushed aside and not allowed to enter into logical processes . . . .

The general uncertainty as to what is really happening makes it easier to cling to lunatic beliefs. Since nothing is ever quite proved or disproved, the most unmistakable fact can be impudently denied. Moreover, although endlessly brooding on power, victory, defeat, revenge, the nationalist is often somewhat uninterested in what happens in the real world. What he wants is to feel that his own unit is getting the better of some other unit, and he can more easily do this by scoring off an adversary than by examining the facts to see whether they support him. . . . Some nationalists are not far from schizophrenia, living quite happily amid dreams of power and conquest which have no connexion with the physical world.

All of these facts are grossly obvious if one’s emotions do not happen to be involved: but to the kind of person named in each case they are also intolerable, and so they have to be denied, and false theories constructed upon their denial.

The point is that as soon as fear, hatred, jealousy and power worship are involved, the sense of reality becomes unhinged. And, as I have pointed out already, the sense of right and wrong becomes unhinged also. There is no crime, absolutely none, that cannot be condoned when ‘our’ side commits it. Even if . . . one admits in an intellectual sense that it is unjustified – still one cannot feel that it is wrong. Loyalty is involved, and so pity ceases to function."

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Nice work, Matt. I've thought for awhile now that 1/3 of the country are extremists right and 1/3 extremists left. If true, doesn't that leave the same number somewhere towards the center? It's this damn two party lock that's the problem. Although the tag line to motivate the center is admittedly challenging: "The rational center who will evaluate each issue and decide upon its merits regardless of political orientation." It doesn't fit well on a baseball cap.

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Matt - This article is missing a really important concept after you vote with the democrat party. When you get through all the opining you must understand that Republicans have no standing in the Democratic Party and vice versa! You better be real careful when you get mad or upset with your party and vote for the other in protest. The other party will not respond, they will accept your vote and ram down your throat legislation that you don’t agree with. Protest votes don’t count and the democrats are using you through the orange man since they can’t run on their platforms. They can run against the orange guy!

Also there are threads in this discussion towards independent voters. This is even worst as they have no standing in either party and thus their vote (ie their opinions) don’t count for squat!

Pick a side, vote according to the legislative agenda and hope/work towards making the country better. That is all we can do!

The “coup” failed and is running through the judicial system as is should and is a non event being promoted for political gain!

Thanks, and really like all the articles!

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Sep 6, 2022Liked by Matt Labash

Perhaps your best (non-fishing) piece to date.

Nice work.

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Sep 6, 2022·edited Sep 6, 2022Liked by Matt Labash

Thanks so much for this amazingly written article. Just wow! I’ve moved from Dem to Independent due to immigration and 2A and sone other things, but still pretty Dem leaning. I really loved todays post and respect your writing in general not to mention your excellent music taste. We don’t have to agree on everything to do this American difference of opinion thing. I really miss that idea.

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Sep 6, 2022Liked by Matt Labash

Finally. Someone with considerably more talent in expressing themselves than I do,said almost exactly what I have been babbling about the last several years.

You have the best words….and a true stable genius! Thank you for writing this.

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Sep 6, 2022Liked by Matt Labash

Man, that song – haunting. So "sad, and wonderful," to borrow a line (https://getyarn.io/yarn-clip/020bf731-93bf-4f9e-814b-0a296db7e09f).

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Sep 5, 2022Liked by Matt Labash

Trump is the crazy aunt that you would like to lock away in the attic, but unfortunately, he controls about 30-40% of the republican base. I'd like to think it was less, but my Deep South sounding boards tells me this is accurate. When I ask my friends to define conservatism, or the Republican Party platform I get a dazed look. It's all about us vs. them, the "establishment" vs. the regular people. The Republican Party is lost, and I think it's time to blow it up and start over. Small government, fair and predictable taxation, strong defense, individual choice vs. government mandate. I don't know, but if a candidate arises with these common views of old, I would support them.

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Sep 5, 2022Liked by Matt Labash

reedy rawlins was rewarding to my soul. as for the ferret wearer to ever stop at two cherries is impossible. he ate the whole jar, then told the world he never knew or even met a cherry. haven't had a chance to get too all the links yet so in the interest of smart brevity i'll move on except for one last comment. i thought jill was alarming in trying to compare the influence of stacy abrams to that of

donald trump.

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That fight's still ongoing, Tom!

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founding
Sep 5, 2022Liked by Matt Labash

Matt-Thanks for this, especially “crack-pottery wheel” and the clip from Nashville Obsolete (although a song with more Brittany Haas on fiddle would be appreciated in the future).

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My faith in humanity is continually restored for just $5 a month. Best deal on this crazy planet. It helps me to read your columns and the comments here and realize I’m not the only one that finds themselves having realer and saner conversations with Democrats and other forms of liberals than with “conservative” MAGA Q-spouting brainwashed people that ultimately just wanted a perceived strong man to own the libs and make them feel better or something.

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Sep 5, 2022Liked by Matt Labash

It’s 90% bs now. Both are swimming in it. It has an unpleasant smell. Try to remember “all politics are local”.

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How do I increase my Slack Tide monthly subscription fee by 5,000x?! I just read 'A Beating In Berkeley' for the first time and am reminded ML is a prolific writer with a taste for adventure and extreme personalities. Thanks for kitting up and entering the far left / right octagon so I can learn about their feelings without actually feeling the impact of a 2x4. Same with bear spray. While I'm at it, I curse the corporate bastards that closed the Weekly Standard (near Christmas time) and abruptly parted ways with ML and other worthwhile staff. Excluding TC. I respect ML's commitment to principle, resistance to dark grifting forces, and decision to apply his writing talent / influence to what he believes morally and politically true. Might have cost ML nice property in Maine next a former colleague and fishing buddy, but earned ML a lifetime of self respect. Mine too.

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Thanks, brother! If it makes you feel any better, I curse those corporate bastards too.

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Sep 5, 2022Liked by Matt Labash

Thank you for writing.

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Sep 5, 2022Liked by Matt Labash

Matt: As a dyed in-in-the-wool politically unaffiliated, non-partisan, non-tribal, liberal-conservative / conservative-liberal, don't-like-any-of-'em (politicians / political parties), self-identifying Squish - which is an admittedly overly long way of saying I'm a mostly mind-my-own-business, treat-everyone-equally, live-and-let-live-within-the-law-and-my-own-conscience kind of guy - I think this is the best and most relevant-to-the-moment thing you've written about our 'politics' since you began this little Slack Tide enterprise. So, Props.

Apologies for all the unnecessary hyphens stringing together all those mostly unnecessary words. There was a sale on 'em, and I just couldn't help myself. The word 'American' alone should have served well enough, but these days it seems many folks want to know exactly what kind or *flavor* of American one is, so they may judge whether or not one is, in fact, an American at all. And I no doubt just failed that test in the eyes of many in the two camps you write about in this Tide. So, being a non-judgmental type as well, as to those who'd judge me thusly, I'll just say...well... them, and the horses they rode in on, too.

This piece is good, because none of the subjects of the piece come out looking good, as well they should not. And the ones who look the worst are appropriately painted with an appropriately sized brush. But many of us aren't lookin' our absolute best at the moment, and I'm willing to take my licks (or brush strokes) on that score. I've opened my yap in error on more than one occasion in daily life these past few years, and kept it shut far too many times in the face of certain words from co-workers, neighbors, etc., when now I can see it was an error to do so. But my reasons for doing so have steadily fallen away to the point that if someone wants to brace me toe to toe and extoll the righteousness of the Right and hold forth on the evil of the Left, they'd better strap in for a short but rocky rhetorical ride, no matter who they are.

Truth should indeed "...be the only available menu option" when it comes to our politics. But of course, it is not. There are plenty of other choices on our political bill of fare, and no shortage of 'isms' to choose from these days. The 'Healthy Eats' section has been less and less perused, and there's an awful lot of a' la carte ordering going on. Which can make for a pretty pricey bill at the end of the evening. And the bill on this repast of lies and hate that some of our countrymen are running up is gonna' be a whopper in the end if we don't drop a few hyphens and acknowledge the true essence of some of the isms and other unhealthy items they're trying to force feed to all of us. And if that payment finally comes due, don't expect me to chip in on the tip.

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Sep 5, 2022Liked by Matt Labash

I meant to second Tim Miller’s book to Matt’s readers. I knew little to nothing about political operatives and Tim’s whole world but his knowledgeable takedown of his own team is eye-opening. It’s a must-read, a real, genuine must-read.

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