Thursday, June 2, 2022

the last book I ever read (My Autobiography by Charie Chaplin, excerpt eleven)

from My Autobiography by Charlie Chaplin:

We parted in a cordial way. I believe I made a date with him to dine the next evening, but he never showed up. And lo! instead of talking to a friend, I discovered I had been talking to a news reporter; and the next day a front-page spread was in the newspapers: ‘Charlie Chaplin no patriot!’, etc.

This is true, but at the time I did not want my private views aired in the Press. The fact is I am no patriot–not for moral or intellectual reasons alone, but because I have no feeling for it. How can one tolerate patriotism when six million Jews were murdered in its name? Some might say that was in Germany; nevertheless, these murderous cells lie dormant in every nation.

I cannot vociferate about national pride. If one is steeped in family tradition, home and garden, a happy childhood, family and friends, I can understand this feeling – but I have not that background. At best patriotism to me is nurtured in local habits; horse-racing, hunting, Yorkshire pudding, American hamburgers and Coca-Cola, but today such native yams have become worldwide. Naturally, if the country in which I lived were to be invaded, like most of us, I believe I would be capable of an act of supreme sacrifice. But I am incapable of a fervent love of homeland, for it has only to turn Nazi and I would leave it without compunction – and from what I have observed, the cells of Nazism, although dormant at the moment, can be activated very quickly in every country. Therefore, I do not wish to make any sacrifice for a political cause unless I personally believe in it. I am no martyr for nationalism – neither do I wish to die for a president, a prime minister or a dictator.

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