In recent weeks, I came across two quotes that are worth recording here.
As I watch Florida’s governor playing cheap board games with the lives of Venezuelan refugees, I recall the words of Italian author and philosopher Umberto Eco:
We need an enemy to give people hope. Someone said that patriotism is the last refuge of cowards: those without moral principles usually wrap a flag around themselves, and the bastards always talk about the purity of the race. National identity is the last bastion of the dispossessed. But the meaning of identity is now based on hatred, on hatred for those who are not the same. Hatred has to be cultivated as a civic passion. The enemy is the friend of the people. You always want someone to hate in order to feel justified in your own misery. Hatred is the primordial passion. It is love that’s abnormal.
The hypocrisy of those who cry the loudest for freedom was already evident two centuries prior, to British author Dr. Samuel Johnson:
How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?
The more times change, the more they remain the same, I guess.