There are a lot of people who say “I forgive you” when they mean “No harm done”, and a lot of people who say “That was unforgiveable” when they mean “That was genuinely really bad”.
You can forgive theft, or murder, or tax evasion, or something you find abhorrent.The fake forgiveness the townspeople use to forgive the people they like is really easy, so they get to boast not only of their forgiving nature, but of how much nicer they are than those mean old priests who find forgiveness difficult and want penance along with it.After some thought I agree with Chesterton’s point.Heck, the Nazis were actually moderately positively disposed to the Chinese, even when they were technically at war. Anyone in the former Yugoslavia and anyone else in the former Yugoslavia. Find the Yugoslavian ethnicity that lives closely intermingled with them and is most conspicuously similar to them, and chances are you’ll find the one who they have eight hundred years of seething hatred toward. The answer with Germans and Japanese is obvious – a strategic alliance.Meanwhile, the conflict between the Nazis and the German Jews – some of whom didn’t even realize they were anything other than German until they checked their grandparents’ birth certificate – is the stuff of history and nightmares. In fact, the World Wars forged a lot of unexpected temporary pseudo-friendships.