Volume 15, No.2 - Summer 1969
Editors of this issue: Antanas Klimas, Ignas K. Skrupskelis
Copyright © 1969 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.



[The Nation and National Loyalty was published in 1961 in Chicago, Ill., by the American Foundation of Lithuanian Research. The excerpt which follows is the second chapter of part A titled "Nation."

Girnius begins by defining the terms community and organization. These definitions are based upon the work of the German sociologist Ferdinand Tönnies. For Tönnies, a community is something spontaneously formed, an innate group. An organization is a group consciously formed for the sake of definite ends. A community exhibits organic relations, an organization, mechanical. Girnius holds that this distinction is too sharp: communities have organizational aspects, while organizations, communal. In fact, organizations objectify communal ties. He concludes that the distinction between communities and organizations does not distinguish two different kinds of groups, but rather, different kinds of relations which we find in all groups.

For Girnius, a nation is primarily a community of culture. A common racial origin, language, way of life, and history, all help to form nations and solidify national ties, but national ties can exist where any one of these elements is lacking. A common culture is the basic foundation of a nation.

The ties which bind the individual person to his nation are moral ties. A person ought to be loyal and love his nation. Particularly in exile does national loyalty become a moral task. An exile can remain loyal only by remaining free in relation to his environment. These obligations hold regardless of the outcome. The community in exile may become extinct in a few years. This fact makes no difference as far as one's moral obligations are concerned. The moral task is not to foresee the future, but to create it.

The Nation and National Loyalty is sponsored by the Lithuanian World Community. Alongside the theoretical chapters, there are others of a more practical sort. Girnius attempts to describe the functions of the Community and the means each person should employ to carry out his national obligations. Trans.]

1. The communal character of a nation and organizational character of a state. Having made clear in what sense we can use the word community, we proceed to the further question of what kind of relations hold together the members of a nation. We answer immediately: a nation is a group of the communal type, while the state is a formal organization. The distinction between community and organization helps also to distinguish nations from states.

A nation is a group of the communal kind, for its members are held together by communal ties. It unifies its members congenitally and internally, not formally and not for some definite purpose. In a double sense, a nation is an innate or a spontaneous community. It is this first of all in the sense that by ourselves, from birth, we attach ourselves to the appropriate nation. Birth within a family is at the same time birth within a nation. We do not select this or that nation consciously, but from the very beginnings of consciousness we grow in the nation of our parents and are members of it.1 In a second sense a nation is an innate or unfounded community because it grows up by itself, because it is not established for a purpose. A nation is formed in the course of history by a common life, which brings about a common life-style, a common language, common attitudes, and convictions. In this sense, the French sociologist J. T. Delos calls a nation a "result": "it is the product of a way of life practiced for a long time."2 Since it is a community of a life-style, a nation is not limited to an express purpose. Men are held together in a nation not by some separate special purpose but by the very inner relatedness of a nation's members which comes about in the course of a common life. A nation ties together its members across the breadth of life instead of with one separate purpose. In distinguishing various groupings in accordance with whether they are intended for a single function (for example, athletic clubs, a labor exchange, a joint-stock company) or they are to serve many functions (for example, a family, organs of self-government, states), or finally, whether they unite in themselves "an endless totality of aims and values," G. Gurvitch correctly places nations among the supra-functional social unities. And since a nation is more than a partial collective, or a group, this French sociologist describes a nation as a "global society" (societe globale). Although in this way a nation is a unity of a global kind, uniting the whole lives of its members, in itself it is not a formal organization. A nation does not keep count of its members, does not bind them with a formal code; in general, it has neither any official organs, not any official representatives. As the French jurist M. Hauriou put it, a nation is "acephalous" (headless). Nobody leads a nation, and the phrase "leader of the nation" is empty. Doubtless, various members of a nation exert influence upon others, but this their influence is exerted not by means of commands or through formal authority — as would be true were they leaders of an organization — but of itself, when their thought finds an echo in the minds and hearts of their fellow countrymen.

In the case of the state, we find exactly the opposite. A state is an organization in the true sense of the term. It is no longer the product of the natural course of living, but a creature of man's thought and will. Nations are a matter of birth, states a matter of contract.3 It is true that the distinguishing of matters of birth from those of contract does not mean that they are incompatible. On the contrary, what is incompatible with nature cannot be brought about by contract. The state also befits man's social nature: social life is impossible without some order, and order needs government to maintain it. However, it was man himself who had to develop the ways which would make possible a common life. Older theories exaggerated the case when they sought the origin of states in formal contracts, but they correctly expressed the fact that, in principle, states were created not naturally by birth but by man himself. For this reason, we can date the founding and the fall of states by explicit acts. At the same time, it is almost impossible to date the rise and fall of nations, for these are not matters of single actions but processes occupying longer periods of time. Because of the same difference between nations and states, the two can be distinguished in still another respect. While in the course of history many nations have risen and fallen, nations have always remained the same in their form — a nation is a historically formed community of a common language, a common way of life, common customs, and so on. But the form of a state, since a state is something produced by man, has constantly undergone change. The Greek city-state (polis) differed from the Roman empire, the feudal state of the Middle Ages differed from the democratic state of the present. A nation is what it in fact is, and there is no reason for wishing that it be different. But a state is subject to normative criteria and is hence always open to criticism which seeks a better solution.

Because the basis of a state is a specific purpose for which it was made and not a natural relatedness of its members as in the case of a nation, the purpose provides a norm for evaluating states. The purpose of the state is to maintain order and execute justice in the territory within its jurisdiction, to watch over the welfare of its inhabitants and guarantee their freedom. This purpose involves a variety of functions: to defend the country against external enemies, to guarantee internal security, to watch over the economy of the country, its finances, transportation and so on. To carry out these functions, a government must be formed. Since it must organize the country, the state itself is a formal organization: it has its leaders and members, it formally binds its members through promulgated laws, it decides upon sanctions to insure conformity to the laws, and so on. "Leader of the nation" is a meaningless expression. But every state has its leaders, a "head of state," in charge of a complex governmental apparatus and representing the state. Membership in a nation is a question of fact, and everyone personally decides to which nation he belongs. But membership in a state is a formal question, determined by the state itself by accepting claims to citizenship. No external agency can take away one's nationality, but citizenship can be taken away or repudiated. The unity of a nation is based upon the natural relatedness of its members and their inner solidarity, not upon legal paragraphs. But the state does maintain order by enforcing compliance with formal laws. To summarize, as a nation is an unfounded community, so a state is a formal organization (in the relative sense which we defined in our criticism of F. Tönnies).

Formally, nations and states do not coincide. There are nations whose members belong to a number of states, and in the opposite case there are states having several nations within their jurisdiction. With the development of the means of communication and the growth in relations between countries as they have taken place in our time, every nation has children who have wandered away into other countries; and by the same token, every state more or less always counts among its citizens persons of various nationalities. However, this does not affect the distinction between nationality and citizenship. Nationality means membership in a nation and does not change no matter what country a person may be driven into by fate. Citizenship means membership in a state: citizenship obliges one to be loyal to the appropriate country and its system of government, but it does not change the human being himself.4

The assertion that there are formal differences between nations and states (the communal character of the former, the organizational character of the latter) does not imply that nations and states are in general unrelated. In spite of the formal differences, there are close ties between them. The state is not merely an abstract instrument of government; men constitute it and men control it. But men are always members of this or that nation. For this reason, the organization of a state is always closely tied to a nation as a human community.

Both nations and states reach into the most distant past. As far back as history extends there have always been nations; and states have always existed, even if in a primitive form. However, they have always received unequal amounts of attention. If the problem of the state arose early, nations began to receive attention quite late. Attention grows out of concern. But nations "do not trouble us" — having grown up by themselves, they survive by themselves. Nations live, and states conduct wars! It is not a nation but a state which maintains a government with a police, courts, and prisons. If a nation is simply the source of life, a state is an organ of activity. Life harms no one, but activity can be the source of either good or evil. Since it is intended for the maintenance of order, the state can identify order with simple tyranny. Although devised to carry out justice, the state can become unjust and arbitrary. It is thus understandable why in the first instance the state became a matter of concern and a problem. Already the ancient Greeks reflected with passion upon the state. Plato was creating a picture of the just republic (dialogues about the state and the laws — Politeia and Nomoi). In the same way, knowing that "armed injustice is the more dangerous," Aristotle was developing his thesis of the social character of man through a theory of the state: "justice, which unites in itself the whole of morality, is a matter for the state."5 From the time of the Greeks to the present, countless works and theories have appeared. At the same time, even today we have very few things about nations, even after nations have begun to occupy man's attention.

It is significant that interest in nations originates in close relation to a new conception of the state, namely, with the conception of a democratic state. It is true that the first seeds of democracy can be found among the Greeks. But the democratic vision of the Greeks did not pause at nations, perhaps for the simple reason that all of the Greek city-states were based upon the same nation (since it was not nationality that separated these city-states, it was not nationality that attracted attention). The Roman empire included many nations, but the Romans were not really concerned with the "barbarians," except as objects for conquest. The great national migrations which finally destroyed the Roman empire set the whole of Europe into motion and provided the impetus for the formation of new nations. But the formation of these new nations took place as if "underground," because the Middle Ages, at least as far as their own understanding of themselves is concerned, were governed by universalistic ideas, with the ideals of one Empire, one Church, and Latin as the one language. Only in the modern era did national consciousness begin to grow clearer, when the nations which had matured in the Middle Ages emerged in the form of powerful states (Spain, France, England, and others), and Latin ceased to be a universal language, to be replaced by the vernaculars, a process encouraged by the national churches formed in the course of the reformation. But on the other side, two factors did not favor the emergence of a clearer national consciousness. For the humanism which emerged at the beginning and for the cosmopolitanism which dominated later on, the most important thing was man in general, rather than man's relations with his nation. The doctrine of absolutism which replaced Christian universalism treated states as dynastic matters, and civic loyalty was first of all based on the old loyalty to the ruler, rather than on national solidarity. The great French revolution made a radical turn. It was a political and not a national revolution, proclaiming the rights of "man and citizen" in the same cosmopolitan spirit which had reigned during the enlightenment (eighteenth century). But at the same time, in the course of the revolution, the thought emerged that also "nations and states, taken as individuals, have the same natural rights" (from the proposed constitution of 1790).

The thought of the freedom of the individual by itself roused the thought of the freedom of nations. This was matched by a new spirit of the times — the turn from a rationalism which favored cosmopolitanism to romanticism which based itself on irrationality and was marked by a feeling for individuality. From the rationalistic point of view, only the general was essential; hence, it saw no value in considering what was individual. Against this point of view, J. G. Herder emphasized the importance of individuality: "the generic becomes real only in what is individual and most individual." Refusing to kneel before a humanity made colorless by cosmopolitanism — "an abstraction of an idol and an idol of an abstraction" — J. G. Herder was the first who clearly perceived that "every human perfection is national and individual."6

Once the democratic passion for freedom joined with national feeling, nations as if having discovered themselves, became interested in their past and were inflamed with the idea of national freedom. An abstractly conceived state was replaced by the idea of the nation-state. In the 19th century, this thought set on fire a whole series of national revolutions and guided the movements for unification in Germany and Italy. Although almost all the national revolutions were bloodily crushed, the idea of national freedom spread ever deeper in the consciousness of people. During the First World War, the principle of national self-determination became the allies' ideal for building a just peace after the war (especially noteworthy are U. S. president W. Wilson's 14 points to build a community of free nations). And in fact, with Germany and Austro-Hungary losing the war and the fall of the czarist regime in Russia, many enslaved nations regained their freedom and created independent states.7 After the Second World War, the movement for national independence spread with full force to Asia, and in our times it is changing the map of Africa. However, in Europe, the Soviet Union emerged victorious out of the Second World War. With its proclaimed proletarian internationalism and actual muscovite imperialism, the Soviet Union has again enslaved the nations of Central and Eastern Europe. The Russian imperialistic scheme was not unexpected; it did not surprise anybody. But all the enslaved were painfully surprised by the silence with which the free world agreed that Europe's old and honorable nations be penned off behind an iron curtain and be subjected to a genocidal terror.

Even in the course of the cold war which soon began between Soviet tyranny and the free world, no one dared to reply to unjust charges of colonialism and imperialism with a clear demand for the freedom of self-determination for the captive nations. Political leaders use the word "liberation" only abstractly, when they do not repudiate it. The periodical press and text-books in schools refer to the countries enslaved by the Soviet Union as regions of the Soviet empire. The same intellectuals who honorably protested against fascism and nazism are today with very rare exceptions silent in indifference as if not seeing the hypocrisy which has gained control of the public opinion of the free world. During 15 years, not a single state has appeared in the United Nations to raise in this international forum, for example, the case of the enslavement of the Baltic states.

Without doubt, in such an attitude on the part of the free world there is a great deal of simple opportunism which deadens conscience. But when even intellectuals, who usually represent the conscience of the world, share the common attitude, one must assume that the causes must be sought not only in the deadening of conscience but more generally in certain opinions about things. Since fascism and nazism were based on nationalism, for fear of them the whole idea of the nation-state is being regarded as a deadly idea. But once such a negative position about nation-states is taken, small nations must in fact seem not good enough to establish their own independent states. Such reasoning, furthermore, explains why so much hope is placed upon liberalization within the Soviet empire itself, instead of clearly supporting the struggle of the captive nations to achieve independent states. It is thus necessary to consider more definitely the idea of the nation state, and to analyze that fear which this idea arouses.

2. The nation-state. The widely known Catholic philosopher and ideologist of "integral humanism,"8 Jacques Maritain, in the first pages of his work L'homme et l'etat expressly declares how ill-fated has been the influence upon modern history of "the confusion between nation and state, the myth of the national state, and the so-called principle of nationalities understood in the sense that each national group must set itself up as a separate state." According to J. Maritain, the idea of the nation-state leads to the totalitarian state and distorts the nature of both nation and state. Having in mind the "myth of the national state," he asserts further: "the trouble began in the democratic theater, during the 19th century to become total madness in the anti-democratic reaction of the present century."9 It is necessary to consider the views of J. Maritain on the nation-state, views, which were undoubtedly influenced by J. T. Delos, O. P., professor at the Catholic institute in Lille.10

Does the nation-state really distort both the nation and the state? Is the nation-state really the basis of totalitarianism and statism?

J. Maritain begins the analysis of the relations between nations and states with the conclusion already known to us: giving to these terms the sense made popular by F. Tönnies, a nation is a community, a state is an organization. But where the German sociologist tended to give more value to the community, the French philosopher clearly occupies the opposite position, placing the state above the nation. For both, communities are innate and spontaneous; but whereas for Tönnies, this is the reason why he is more in sympathy with communities, J. Maritain uses these characteristics to rank communities lower than organizations. Furthermore, the same rationality which F. Tönnies connected with utilitarianism and because of which he considered members of an organization to be "essentially separated," is for Maritain evidence that organizations are based on a higher principle than communities, not upon a vital nature, but upon a conscious will: "Community is more of a work of nature and more nearly related to the biological; a society is more of a work of reason, and more related to the intellectual and spiritual properties of man" (p. 2). And later on, he writes even more explicitly: "The community is a product of instinct and heredity in given circumstances and historical frameworks; the society a product of reason and moral strength" (p.3). "Community arises from nature," but "organization springs up from human freedom" (p. 4). But the spiritual level is, without doubt, superior to the biological, the mind superior to instincts, and human freedom superior to nature's determinism.

Having so definitely relegated community to nature, and assigned organization to spirit and freedom, Maritain must with equal sharpness distinguish nation from state. But precisely here difficulties arise: reality cannot be so easily parceled out. If community were a product simply of instincts and heredity — that is, a biological product — we would have to define nation in the same way, since a nation is a community. However, Maritain himself must admit that a nation is "something ethico-social" (quelque chose d'ethico-social) (p. 5). But how can something which is "ethico-social" be the product of instincts and heredity? What is ethical arises not out of nature, but out of freedom and spirit. However, since he maintains his theoretically drawn "demarcation line," Maritain deems nations to be unities of a lower kind, which cannot "cross the doorway of the political area," that is. become hasps for states. Using this terminology only a political society, or body politic (societe politique, corps politique), can provide the basis of a state. While the idea of political organization can be born in a national community, for the development of this idea a national community can be only a "propitious soil and an occasion" (repeating the thought of J. T. Delos: "If the idea of a state is born in a national community, this is only because a nation provides the terrain and the occasion"11). "In itself, the idea of the body politic arises from another, superior order" (p. 6 [p. 7]) asserts Maritain, and in this way denies the nation-state in principle.

On an earlier occasion, when analyzing F. Tönnies' conception of community and of organization, we pointed out that communal and organizational elements in a certain way can be found in all social collectivities, and that, therefore, in principle, there is no opposition between them. In the case of Maritain, it should be further said that man cannot be parceled out into nature and spirit, instincts and intellect, and so on. Man is a whole in every one of his activities. Since man is a being with spiritual elements, nowhere does he remain merely on the biological level. In this respect, M. Merleau-Ponty has correctly observed: "man is not a rational animal, for the dominance of the intellect and spirit does not leave the sphere of instincts untouched."12 Man is a man over the whole range of his being, he is not in one case merely an "animal" (instincts) and in another, risen to "intellect." No human community is based solely upon instincts and heredity. In every community is reflected the whole of man's being. Man is a whole in a nation; he is a whole also in a state. It is not accurate to imagine that man belongs to a nation through his lower elements and to the state through his higher. This conclusion does not follow from the fact that nations form spontaneously, while states are formed rationally. A nation is an innate community because it is formed spontaneously and not because it remains below the spiritual level (this is true of races, but not of nations). If national communities were only expressions of an instinctive sympathy, there would be no reason to consider them "something ethico-social." But if a nation is "something ethico-social," this is because it is not merely the product of instincts. Instincts do not exhaust human nature, which includes the intellect as well (this is precisely the reason why psychologists have so much difficulty in finding in man definite instincts and why they tend to avoid the term instincts in reference to man). Moral and, more generally, spiritual attitudes belong to human nature no less than biological tendencies. Hence, although a nation is an innate community, and not a rationally formed organization, a nation is a fully human community, held together not by blind instincts but by spiritual and moral ties. Moral norms do not originate with the state, the state only makes them objective in the form of laws. But when the state through definite laws objectifies the moral norms, it objectifies at the same time communal ties in the form of a legal organization. Through the forming of a state, a nation obtains an organizational shape. As the French jurist A. Esmein put it "the state is the legal embodiment of the nation."13 Maritain ties the state to a "body politic" or a political organization, which "required by nature and achieved by reason, is the most perfect of all temporal organizations," (p. 9 [p. 10]) instead of to a nation. In introducing the idea of a body politic, Maritain is concerned to save the concept of the state from absolutism and totalitarianism. Quite correctly he emphasizes that the "state is not a man or a body of men," but a totality of institutions — that is, "an agency entitled to use power and coercion, and made up of experts or specialists in public order and welfare, an instrument in the service of man" (p. 12 [p. 13]). Since it is such an instrument, "the state is a part which specializes in the interests of the whole" (p. 12). This means that the state by itself does not constitute the body politic as such, that the state is only a part, and that although superior to other parts it is nevertheless adjusted for the whole. "The state is inferior to the body politic as a whole, and is at the service of the body politic as a whole" (p. 12 [p. 13]).

We agree with these theses of Maritain, which express the fundamental principle of the democratic state: the state is for man. But we must face the following question: out of what is a political organization, or body politic formed? In a formal, legal sense, the political body is the sum total of citizens. All citizens must be equal before the state in the same unconditional way that moral norms hold for everybody equally. Thus we should distinguish a body politic from a nation, making it the duty of a state to watch over all of its citizens equally. But does this deny in principle an essential connection between a state and a nation? The political organization or the body politic does not consist of abstract individuals. In reality, we find not abstract individuals but human beings who are members of one or another national community. One or another nation forms the core of the appropriate political organization. Every state in fact, is based upon one definite nation, even when the state contains several nations. Except that in such a case, as history vividly testifies, the other nations do not live freely, but are more or less repressed. This painful historical experience gave rise to the principle of the nation-state, recognizing the right of nations to guarantee their freedom through independent states. The longing for freedom gave rise to the idea of the nation-state.

It is not correct to connect the idea of the nation-state with the "anti-democratic reaction," because the idea of the nation-state developed together with the concept of the democratic state. By itself alone, the nation-state neither idolizes the nation as an "earthly divinity" nor transforms the state into a "cultural, ideological, caesaro-papist, totalitarian state," as Maritain fears. Not the nation state in general is at fault because a zoological nationalism (first of all in the form of fascism and nazism) has adopted absolute egoism and in its name denied the universal principles of morality and of justice. The democratic state also carries the danger of becoming a tyranny of the majority but no one blames democracy itself for this. In the same way, there is no reason to hold the faults of nationalism against the idea of the nation-state in general. In principle, the nation-state does not strive to be a "cultural, ideological, caesaro-papist, totalitarian state." On the contrary, a nation does not coincide either with some separate cultural tendency or with some particular ideology. All living spiritual streams take part in the creation of a national culture. Since it is in this sense a pluralistic community uniting within itself various ideological currents, a nation in no way urges a state towards totalitarianism. A state becomes totalitarian when it is based not upon the whole nation but upon a separate group which identifies itself with the whole nation. The absolutizing of party, and not the nation, is the basis of the totalitarianization of states.

Following the experience of fascism there is good reason to warn against the "scourge of nationalism," which, in the final analysis, turns against the nation itself. But it is not just, to close one's eyes, in fear of nationalism, to the slavery, often approaching genocide, suffered by whole nations. If this reality is ignored, the flight from nationalism unconsciously becomes an indirect apology for imperialism.

While not denying nations altogether, for the "so-called nationality principle," Maritain substitutes, because he fears nationalism, the "genuine principle of nationalities," which in fact reflects more a concern for the "permanent order among nations" than for their freedom. He writes: "the genuine principle of nationalities should be formulated as follows: the body politic should develop both its own moral dynamism and the respect for human freedoms to such a point that the national communities which are contained within it would both have their natural rights fully recognized, and tend spontaneously to merge into a single higher and more complex national community (p. 8). Is this not a blessing of what those states which have foreign nations within their power do spontaneously? All empires melt the nations they have conquered or otherwise have gained control of into a "single higher and more complex national community." To those who are doing this, this may seem a natural and just process. However, for those who are thus obliged to melt, this is a threat not only to their freedom but also to their national life. To the small nations, such a "genuine principle of nationalities" promises not freedom but death. This principle is to a large extent responsible for the free world's current indifference to the murder of nations taking place within the Soviet empire.

Maritain bases his "genuine principle of nationalities" on the thesis that it is not nations that should form the basis of states but, on the contrary, states that should give rise to nations. Communities, he claims, can never reform themselves into organizations; on the contrary, organizations always give birth to communities. In line with this, he asserts that "the national group cannot transform itself into a political society" (p. 6). And several pages later, we read that "the nation does not become a state; the state causes the nation to be" (p. 8). This thesis of Maritain attempts, improperly, to establish exceptional cases as a general principle. It is true that an organizational unity can tend to deepen communal relations. But in no case should this process be regarded as the sole cause of communities. Communal ties are prior to organizational ties, because only that can be organized which is already more or less unified. Organizations do not give birth to communities; rather, communities objectify themselves as organizations. This is also true of nations and states. Without doubt, the state does influence the survival or extinction of nations. If a nation forms its own state, that nation can develop freely. In the contrary case, if a nation finds itself under the control of a foreign state, in time it begins to fade. Even where there is no attempt to denationalize by force, national life in a foreign state weakens because it is difficult for it to flourish in its whole breath where governmental support is lacking, a factor of great importance in the case of small nations. The cases where we must hold that a state brought about a nation are only exceptional. As examples of this, Maritain correctly mentions his own fatherland, France, and the United States. In the territory of France, in the course of history different nations were fused together by the state which unified them. In a similar way, in the United States a new American nation is being formed, fusing together immigrants from all the nations of the world. But in these cases too, cases made passible by unusual conditions, the formation of new nations took place in no way other than denationalization. Both these examples do illustrate Maritain's "genuine principle of nationalities," the fusing together of different national groups into one new national community. However, we are dealing here more with exceptions; hence, we cannot assert that, in general, states give birth to nations. Even those states which later on came to include many nations, were at the beginning, based on one nation.

To a state, a nation provides not only its factual basis but also a moral one, nurturing citizenly loyalty with national brotherhood. Those states which lack an appropriate national basis maintain themselves more by naked force. More or less coercing the nations it holds, such a state harbors its own destruction, but over this no one sorrows because the fall of such states is the dawn of freedom for the nations which they hold enslaved. No one complains that in Maritain's words, "the Austro-Hungarian double crown created a state, but was unable to give birth to a nation" (p. 8 [p. 9]). Even more certain is that no one will complain about the fall of the Soviet empire, if that empire is unable to form a new Soviet nation out of all those nations which today are being forced to fuse in the pot of Communist dictatorship.

Thus, we do not consider the nation-state to be a disastrous myth, although we do not attempt to idolize the nation as an "earthly divinity" and do not wish to free it from moral and legal norms, or to found the state upon ideological coercion of one kind or another. We only wish to be free, and are thus struggling for an independent state. A nation cannot be free without its own independent state. A state is that organization which makes it possible for a nation to live freely and freely create a national culture. The lessons of history eloquently testify that those nations which for one reason or another did not form their own states either disappeared entirely (for example, the Prussians and the Livs, without looking for examples far away) or were stunted and could not express themselves in a more extensive national culture, even where they have given the world separate individuals (for example, the Basques, whose St. Ignatius of Loyola and M. de Unamuno are known to the world as representatives of Spanish culture). If the Irish had attempted to melt into the "higher British national community" instead of fighting for their national life and political independence, today they would be of interest only to history. To recognize nations is equivalent to recognizing that they have a right to form independent states. If nations were in principle separated from states, it would not be possible to talk about slavery at all: a nation as a nation (that is, as a community of inner ties) is not directly enslaved, it is enslaved by being joined to a foreign state which takes away a nation's capacity to organize its own life. The freedom of a nation is its political independence.

As all men have a right -to be free, so all nations have a right to live freely. However, the large nations whose freedom is secure still tend to consider freedom a privilege to which they alone are entitled. This is why even when the threat to the "free world" is mentioned, only the still free nations come to mind and silence covers the enslaved, their freedom not being a matter of concern. Not genocide alone is the shame of our century! Equally shameful is the silence of the world which calls itself "free," the closing of eyes (and of consciences too) in the face of this genocide. If we consider other centuries, we can agree that always those who were free tended not to notice those who were oppressed by slavery. Because of this, in all ages the consciousness of freedom has glowed most clearly among the enslaved. Fate has determined that we, the enslaved of all nations, testify to freedom in this age. A free nation in an independent state such is the authentic nationality principle, and such is our ideal.14


1. In principle, this contention is not denied by those exceptional cases where birth takes place in a foreign country or in a nationally mixed family. We grow into a nation from childhood in accordance with our education. Even when the child grows up in an atmosphere of conflict and tension, his decision matures by itself, before it is rationally conceived. We will touch upon this question more extensively when we consider the question of denationalization.
2. J.-T. Delos, La nation, 1944, vol. I, p. 177.
3. In asserting this, we are not presenting a theory concerning the origin of states. This claim is not in any special way tied to the contractual theory of the origin of states. We simply wish to emphasize that states are not formed spontaneously, but are made. Without doubt, the seeds of primitive states originated in a way quite different from the origin of complex modern states.
4. The tendency not to distinguish nationality from citizenship and to interpret a change of citizenship as a change of nationality is characteristic of the American continent where nations were formed — or are still being formed — by "melting" together immigrants and the older colonists.
5. Aristotle, Politics, I, 2, 1253a.
6. Herders saemtliche Werke, 1877-1913, vol. XXII, p. 279; vol. VII, p. 170; vol. V, p. 505.
7. The following works provide materials for the history of national consciousness: C. J. H. Hayes, The Historical Evolution of Modern Nationalism, 1931; H. Kohn, The Idea of Nationalism, 1943; F. Hertz, Nationality in History and Politics, 1944; E. Lemberg, Geschichte des Nationalismus, 1950; G. Weill, L'Europe du XIXe siecle et l'idee de nationalité, 1938. In Lithuanian see the article by V. Vardys, "Nationalism" in the Lithuanian Encyclopedia, vol. XIX, pp. 464-465.
8. J. Maritain, Humanisme intégral, 1936.
9. L'homme et l'état, 1953, p. 7. This work grew out of Maritian's lectures at the university of Chicago given in 1949 and was first published in English, under the title Man and State,, 1951. We used the French translation corrected and supplemented by the author. Further references to this work will be made in the text itself. [All quotations are taken from the English version with some changes to conform to Girnius' wording of the text. Where the paging of the French and the English editions differs, the paging of the English edition is enclosed in brackets.]
10. J.-T. Delos, La Nation, 2 vols., 1944.
11. Ibid., vol I, p. 175.
12. M. Merleau-Ponty, La structure du comportement, third ed., 1953, p. 196.
13. A. Esmein, Eléments de droit constitutionnel, sixth ed., 1914.
14. To attempt to base relations between states upon moral principles and to establish the cooperation of states to secure the peace of mankind is an entirely different question. Equally a different question is the union of separate states into federations in which political freedom to the separate nations is guaranteed.