Vol. 45 No. 3 1978 - page 341

The main criticism of science has been leveled by humanists who
posit culture as the alternative to science. But what we call culture is no
longer a monolithic system of values by which the members of western
civilization can orient themselves. It has become a kind of department
store where the individual has the opportunity of choosing among a
great number of cultural systems and fragments or combinations
thereof. The reference to culture has strengthened the tendencies to
narcissism in that it has identified cultural values with purely aesthetic
values without transcendant meanings and commitments.
The need for some external order to overcome alienation has
found its most pervasive intellectual and political expression in
modern nationalism. The emotional intensity of the identification of
the individual with his nation stands in inverse proportion
stability of the particular society as reflected in the sense of security of
its members. The greater the stability of society and the sense of
security of its members, the smaller are the chances for collective
emotions to seek an outlet in aggressive nationalism, and vice versa.
The revolutionary wars of France in the last decade of the eighteenth
century and the wars of liberation against Napoleon from
the first examples in modern times of mass insecurity, induced by the
instability of domestic societies and leading to emotional outbursts in
the form of fervent mass identification with aggressive foreign policies
and wars.
Social instability became acute in western civilization during the
nineteenth century.
became permanent in the twentieth century as a
result of the emancipation of the individual from the ties of tradition,
especially in the form of religion, of the increased rationalization of life
and work, and of cyclical economic crises. The insecurity of the groups
affected by these faGtors found an emotional outlet in fixed,
emotionall y-accentuated nationalistic identifications. As western so–
ciety became ever more unstable, the sense of insecurity deepened and
the emotional attachment to the nation as the symbolic substitute for
larger meaning became ever stronger. With the world wars, revolu–
tions, concentration of economic, political, and military power, and
economic crises of the twentieth century, nationalism was carried
forward with the fervor of a secular religion. Contests for power now
took on the ideological aspects of struggles between good and evil.
Foreign policies transformed themselves into sacred missions. Wars
were fought as crusades, for the purpose of bringing the true political
the rest of the world. This relation between social disinte–
gration, personal insecurity and the ferocity of modern nationalistic
power drives can be studied to particular advantage in German fascism,
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