Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on August 2, 2018

in Philosophy of Freedom, War

… is from pages 72-73 of Kenneth Boulding‘s 1992 excellent autobiographical essay, “From Chemistry to Economics and Beyond,” which is a chapter in the 1992 collection, edited by Michael Szenberg, entitled Eminent Economists: Their Life Philosophies; Boulding (1910-1993) was born and raised in Liverpool, England, and was a child during World War I; he is here explaining why he became a Quaker:

I absorbed, even as a child, the endless propaganda of hatred. Behind all this was my commitment to Jesus and the Sermon on the Mount. I decided I could not reconcile loving my enemies with the demand of the national state that I should hate and kill them.

DBx: I myself am not religious, but I fully share Boulding’s disgust with nationalism’s penchant for demonizing foreigners.

Got a problem (real or imaginary)? Blame foreigners. Is your income not as high as you fancy it to be? Blame foreigners. Do you not have your dream job? Blame foreigners. Is the price of something you buy too high? Blame foreigners. Is the price of something you sell too low? Blame foreigners. Is your son or daughter or grandchild a disappointment to you? Blame foreigners. Is the world, for whatever reason, not to your liking? Blame foreigners.

Blaming foreigners is the laziest – and, hence, a frequent – stance that people take when groping for easy answers to complex problems (and, actually, also to not-so-complex problems). A twin ‘benefit’ is enjoyed by those who blame foreigners: blaming foreigners requires virtually no mental exertion while it simultaneously instills, on the cheap, in all who cast this blame a sense of superiority.

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