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What is a Nation?
Richard A. Koenigsberg
Nations Have the Right to Kill
Pages: 136 pages

Library of Social Science


Richard A. Koenigsberg


ISBN: 978-0915042234

ISBN: 978-0915042241

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A nation is a body politic, that is, a projection of one’s own body. The nation (unlike actual organisms) is conceived as omnipotent, indeed immortal. Human being seek to fuse with their nations—become “one” with them—in the hope of achieving an omnipotent, immortal body.

Nationalism is relocation of the self: from one’s own body to an omnipotent body politic. One imagines one exists “out there”—participating in world historic events.

Nations want and need enemies—can’t live without them. Nations come into being by identifying an enemy against which a struggle can be waged. One may call this enemy a Jew or a communist or a terrorist—it doesn’t matter—if there is an object or class of people against which a struggle can be waged.

What distinguishes nations from other social entities or institutions is that they have the right to kill. A cursory study of history reveals that killing is what nations do best.

A nation’s enemy may be outside of its boundaries, or inside. In either case, the enemy is identified as the source of evil: cause of the nation’s misfortune.

At the core of nationalism lies a rescue fantasy: one’s people are suffering. To relieve the suffering of one’s nation—one must identify an enemy: the source or cause of suffering.

National violence revolves around killing the source of suffering: that object or entity or class of people that is imagined to be depriving the nation of its greatness—its proper place in the sun. National violence, however brutal or extensive, always is performed in the name of virtue. Killing is a manifestation of morality.

Hitler declared, “We may be inhumane, but if we rescue Germany—we have performed the greatest deed in the world.” Hitler often if conceived as an anomaly or outsider. However, the statement above reveals the fundamental template governing national violence. Inhumane acts are performed in the name of—for the purpose of—rescuing one’s beloved country.