Revolution was founded upon patriotism; upon it too was based the power of the Consistory of Public Welfare after the Revolution; upon it the power of Napoleon, was erected, both as Consul and as Emperor; upon it, after the downfall of Napoleon, was based the power of the Bourbons, then that of the Republic, Louis Philippe, and again of the Republic; then of Napoleon III., and again of the Republic, and upon it finally rested the power of M. Boulanger.
It is dreadful to say so, but there is not, nor has there been, any conjoint violence of some people against others which was not accomplished in the name of patriotism. In its name the Russians fought the French, and the French the Russians, Russians and French are preparing to fight the Germans, and the Germans to wage war on both sides.
And such is the case not only with wars. In the name of patriotism the Russians stifle the Poles, the Germans persecute the Slavonians, the men of the Commune killed those of Versailles, and those of Versailles the men of the Commune.
It would seem that, owing to the spread of education, of speedier locomotion, of greater intercourse between different nations, to the widening of literature, and chiefly to the decrease of danger from other nations, the fraud of patriotism ought daily to become more difficult and at length impossible to practice.
But the truth is that this same spread of general external education, facilitated locomotion, intercourse, and widening of literature, being captured by, and constantly more and more under the control of Government, confers on the latter such possibilities of exciting a feeling of mutual animosity between nations, that in degree as the uselessness and harmfulness of patriotism has become manifest, so also has increased the power of the Government and ruling class to excite patriotism among the people.
The difference between that which was and that which is consists solely in the fact that now a much larger number of men participate in the advantages which patriotism confers on the upper classes, hence a much larger number of men are employed in spreading and sustaining this astounding superstition.