Monday, June 10, 2024

So Many Truths

Out of patriotism -- which can be respected as long as it remains in the domain of sentiment and art on exactly the same footing as the sense of family and local pride, all equally sacred -- out of patriotism they make a Utopian and impracticable idea, unbalancing the world, a sort of cancer which drains all the living force, spreads everywhere and crushes life, a contagious cancer which culminates either in the crash of war or in the exhaustion and suffocation of armed peace.

They pervert the most admirable of moral principles.  How many are the crimes of which they have made virtues merely by dowering them with the word "national"?  They distort even truth itself.  For the truth which is eternally the same they substitute each their national truth.  So many nations, so many truths; and thus they falsify and twist the truth.

-- Henri Barbusse (1873 - 1935), French novelist and journalist, Under Fire (1916) Ch. 24 - The Dawn

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