In France, the right of the soil (jus soli) was a feal heritage: all serfs born on an estate remained bound to it for life. Louis XIV reinforced this tendency. His insatiability ended with a French military discomfiture that exacerbated the nationalism of the country, which generated the French revolution. Napoleon wanted to legalize this right of the soil into a text, the Code Napoleon, so that nobody could escape conscription (40 months). He was disavowed in 1803 and the right of the blood (jus sanguinis) was instated, apparently to discard undesirable elements of the population as pointed out by the national anthem: “That an impure blood drenches our fields”. The hatred of the Jew was very strong in those days in France. The right of the soil was reinstated in 1889, which led the government of Pétain, during W.W.II, to denaturalize 15154 Jews, most of them immediately deported.
The French’ 1789 proclamation “Vive la Nation” rapidly became a source of legends, myths and misunderstandings in the political culture of the surrounding European countries. The laic stance and excesses of the French Revolution, which planted in front of village churches “trees of Reason” to worship, which persecuted priests, nuns and Jews, which destroyed wantonly the Christian heritage of the nation and of conquered neighboring nations, which subordinated the individual destinies of the people to that of the nation, which eagerly exported the nationalist revolution to neighboring lands, which imprisoned the pope, were perceived by Schiller and Goethe as foreign to the European cultural history. Schiller observed in 1797 that the German Reich and the German nation are two different entities. The majesty of the people never crowned the head of its rulers and is indifferent to the political fate of the State. According to Goethe and Schiller, there exist for all nations a State Policy and a Spiritual History. Patriotism, the love of one’s country, one’s home, one’s tongue, one’s history is a living sentiment that signifies an emotional and conscious alliance with the people who participate in the same historical fate.
Patriotism is humane, natural and entails the comprehension for other patriotisms, for people of other nations. Nationalism is a sickly, exasperated and exacerbated stultifying sentiment. It appears following national crises or catastrophes, emerges from a complex of inferiority, of tiresome and wearisome experiences, of remembrance of submissions or dependencies, leads to hatred of the foreigner and ends up into inhumane and suicidal chauvinism.
I give thereof two examples. After the return of the Jews from exile in Babylon, the leadership of the country fell into the hands of the rabid fanatic paranoiac Esdras who worried about the purity of the blood (Esd 9. 2), which he achieved by drawing a list of the men who had foreign spouses and exiling all these foreign women and children (Esd. 7 to the end of 10). This racist policy must have infuriated the husbands as well as the parents, brothers and sisters of the rejected women, ashamed the humane members of the Jewish community and provoked the lasting hatred of the neighbors of Israel, yet is in line with the biological imperatives of stressed Primates. The second example is Germany humiliated and impoverished at the end of WWI: it choose as leader a fanatic paranoiac, Schikelgruber, who fully embraced the group approach favored by Primate groups under duress. The drama is that the latter case occurred 2,500 years after the first one, which did not serve as an example of what not to do, even if those who imposed on Germany an unendurable humiliation bound to lead to retaliation were duly warned at the table of the negotiations, in 1918, that its consequences would be dramatic.