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Context with Brad Harris

Apr 26, 2021

"Notes on Nationalism" was an essay written by George Orwell in 1945, just as World War II was ending. It caused quite a stir at the time, but most people these days have never heard of it. Nonetheless, "Notes on Nationalism" remains one of the most powerful examples of Orwell's timeless insight into human nature; in this case, focused on our instinct to gang up on each other, our instinct for tribalism.

Orwell never used the term "tribalism" himself -- he wrote this essay a generation before that term became widespread. However, I suspect his essay was a primary factor in raising awareness of the social pathology of tribalism, and his diagnosis of the problem precisely captures the liabilities of tribalism plaguing us today.

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