27 July, 2011

On the Nature of National Charachter

"This, however, I know—that if every nation were to bring all its evil deeds to a given place, in order to make an exchange with some other nation, when they had all looked carefully at their neighbours’ faults, they would be truly glad to carry their own back again." — Herodotus, chapter 152

Is he saying then, that the sins of the nations are those which they are most prone to? That is, that strong nations think imperialism is a mere vice, while weak nations think of it as a grave injustice? Or that wealthy nations think environmental degradation is the worst of crimes, while starving nations do what they must to get by? And thus that each nation can live with its own sins, while abhorring those of others?

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