So spoke a great patriot, the first President of the United States, who freed his country from the corrupt and venal grasp of the British Empire. (I hope he will forgive my spell checker changing favorite to favourite.)
He could hardly have foreseen the continuing relevance of his words in the 21st century - or maybe he knew, as all truly great men know, that they were for every age and every time.
They resonate ever more strongly today, especially in relation to America’s relationship with the United Kingdom - and the UK’s with America - and the poisoned seeds that the creation of the State of Israel - aided and abetted by Great Britain - planted in the heart of the Middle East.
Washington's Farewell Address 1796
So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils.
Sympathy for the favourite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification.
It leads also to concessions to the favourite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld.
And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favourite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.
As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot.
How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils.
Such an attachment of a small or weak towards a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.
Every word, every line of the above is directly relevant to our tortured planet, and to Scotland’s wish to free itself its poisoned union with the United Kingdom.