Voltaire: Patrie, in The Philosophical Dictionary, 1752

Voltaire: Patrie, in The Philosophical Dictionary, 1752

I have lived in 8 different countries in my life for a period longer than 6 months, and found each time that the most disagreeable thing to encounter was always an ignorant sense of a particular nations superiority that some people suffer from. Almost always amongst those who were overly patriotic or nationalistic, usually as a result of having never lived in (or often even visited) any country besides that of their birth. Anyway, since it is the 4th of July and after having just read the following in Voltaire’s Philosophical dictionary, it seemed as relevant today as it must have been in 1752 and seemed worthy of a post.

It is sad that often in order to be a good patriot one is the enemy of the rest of mankind. To be a good patriot is to wish that one’s city may be enriched by trade, and be powerful by arms. It is clear that one country cannot gain without another loses, and that it cannot conquer without making misery. Such then is the human state that to wish for one’s country’s greatness is to wish harm to one’s neighbors. He who should wish his fatherland might never be greater, smaller, richer, poorer, would be the citizen of the world.

Henry was pretty tired from cheering for Germany as they whooped Argentina 4-0. He is however, only half German, the other half is English, and he was born and is living in Austria so far. His great cousins are half Brazilian, his Irish grandmother lives in California, and his uncle and Aunt live in Australia. The point really, is that everybody is such a mix of races and nationalities that any overblown sense of nationalism is ridiculous in this day and age.


  1. Ma 8 years ago

    He is so lovely, I am sad today that I am so far away but soon I will hold him….

  2. H-Star 8 years ago

    Nice one Piers, well put together. I like it, and couldn’t agree more!
    Go one world!

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