Biden and Putin Would Despise Tolstoy

To destroy governmental violence only one  thing is needed: it is that people should understand that the feeling of patriotism which alone  supports that instrument of violence is a rude,  harmful, disgraceful, and bad feeling, and above  all immoral. It is a rude feeling because it is  natural only to people standing on the lowest  level of morality and expecting from other nations  such outrages as they themselves are ready to  inflict. It is a harmful feeling because it disturbs advantageous and joyous peaceful relations  with other peoples, and above all produces that  governmental organization under which power  may fall and does fall into the hands of the worst  men. It is a disgraceful feeling because it turns  man not merely into a slave but into a fighting  cock, a bull, or a gladiator, who wastes his strength  and his life for objects which are not his own but  his government’s. It is an immoral feeling because, instead of confessing himself a son of God  (as Christianity teaches us) or even a free man  guided by his own reason, each man under the  influence of patriotism confesses himself the son  of his fatherland and the slave of his government,  and commits actions contrary to his reason and  conscience. 

–Leo Tolstoy, Patriotism and Government,” in Selected Essays

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