Thursday, March 03, 2011

Reading Notes

A few observations by Jared Diamond in "Guns, Germs, and Steel – The Fates of Human Societies"
"The remaining way for kleptocrats (Diamond's excellent term for societies where the surplus value is stolen!) to gain public support is to construct an ideology or religious justification for kleptocracy. Bands and tribes already had supernatural beliefs…but the supernatural beliefs of bands and tribes did not serve to justify central authority, justify transfer of wealth…When supernatural beliefs gained those functions and became institutionalized, they were thereby transformed into what we term a religion." On the advantages of states over tribes,
" Second, the official religions and patriotic fervour of many states making their troops willing to fight suicidally. The latter willingness is one so strongly inured into us citizens of modern states, by our schools and churches and governments that we forget what a radical break it marks with previous human history.
Every state has its slogan urging its citizens to be prepared to die if, necessary for the state: Britain's "For King and Country", Spain's "Por Dios y Espana" and so on.
" Many Eurasian states and empires had official religions that contributed to state cohesion, being invoked to legitimize the political leadership and to sanction wars against other peoples."

For socialism, John Ayers

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