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Weekend Reads: Surveys of history and literature

"Weekend Reads: Surveys of history and literature" Continued...

Originally, Hitler led the Nazi-Sozi party—in English, the “National Socialist” party. Yet the Sozi part was quickly dropped, because Hitler was a nationalist, and he led Germany to be nationalist, too. Lukacs argues passionately that people, not abstract forces, create history. (Thus, he also draws compelling sketches of the great leaders of the last hundred years.) Material circumstances yield to ideological convictions (sorry, Marx), and in the 20th century, the most powerful of these convictions was nationalism. Nationalism is not patriotism. Patriotism is love of a place; nationalism is love of a people, married to an inferiority complex. Under the flag of “national self-determination,” it has done a great deal of mischief over the last century—and unless mankind’s convictions change, it will continue to wreak havoc in the next. But Lukacs offers the antidote: submitting to your human limitations. To do so is true freedom.

Caleb Nelson
Caleb Nelson

Caleb grew up on a ranch in northern Colorado and is currently pursuing ordination in the Presbyterian Church in America. He lives in Greenville, S.C.


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