“Perhaps an appreciation of authoritarianism is an acquired taste.”
Antony Lowenstein’s “Unleashed.”
Sometimes communicating tone is difficult, though perhaps applying the word “thoughtful” to Naomi Klein hints at problematic analyses.
And how that appreciation is aquired tells us something. Lowenstein is interested in the pull of nationalism, on display as impetus both to host and athletes. What that pride encourages – and discourages – is at least as important as its unsurprising power.
This understandable (and universal) pride leads him to note surveys that find the Chinese happy with their lot in life and seldom troubled by restrictions, such as those on the internet. He suggests an appropriate humility before the varied ways in which a people can find such happiness. And he links to a rich discussion of blogging.
Such discussions equate the force of nationalism with Hitler, but that allusion misleads. Nationalism empowered men like Hitler and Napoleon, but also motivated the small boats that went out at Dunkirk and the Rosies who climbed into airplanes to rivet our way to air power. Ideology & nationalism led us to fight for our independence and against slavery, but was it nationalism or ideology that impelled King George and the army of Lee? Assuming that ideology is a purer allegiance, less tainted than nationalism, ignores giant graveyards. So does simplifying the power of religion – such an abstraction ignores the variety of beliefs and tells us little about the moral consequences of a particular belief system.