Re: Grad program on memetics?

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Sat 09 Oct 2004 - 00:51:19 GMT

  • Next message: Ray Recchia: "Re: Grad program on memetics?"

    --- Ray Recchia <> wrote:

      "Last night I attended a very good talk on the roleof religion in war that had a large evolutionary component init."

    My response:

    Ray, there are religious wars, but not all wars have a religious basis. For instance, what religion was involved in the Korean war? North Korea invaded South Korea, the casus belli for that "police action" of the UN. North Korea (under Kim Il Sung) had an ideology of Soviet communism. NK had a burning desire for reunification that was shared by its polar opposite in Seoul (under the no more palatable Syngman Rhee). The context leading up to that war was years of colonial oppression by the Japanese giving way to Soviet and US spheres of influence after Japan surrendered post WWII.

    Maybe we could generalize about mindsets playing a role in wars with religious bases being just a subset of prevalent ideologies.

    In Vietnam the Hanoi regime was communist where the Saigon regime had a significant amount of Catholicism behind it (at least under Diem). Catholicism was of course a French import. Ironically France may have played a slight role in importing Marxism as Ho Chi Minh spent some time in France as an up and coming socialist trying to win justice for his embryonic nation. IIRC he had developed contacts with French communists while he was there. Bao Dai was a protege of the French and his successor, Ngo Dinh Diem spent some time at a seminary in the US, good Catholic boy that he was.

    There was an undercurrent of religious tension in South Vietnam as I've discussed here recently, but I can't recall it being central to the wars (Indochina war between France (with US support) and Vietminh or the US's subsequent Vietnam war against Hanoi). The differences between Diem's Catholicism and the militant Buddhism of some of those living under his regime came to a boil.

    The Indochina war fought by France was more about a colonial power trying to regain its former status against a determined nationalist guerilla movement than anything religious (even if France was Catholic and a lot of Vietnamese practiced a mixture of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism). The US war was more about a perceived need to stem the tide of communism in Asia after China had been "lost" to Mao and the US (with help of British, ROK and other allies) had just fought a nasty war against North Korea, China and perhaps the USSR and saw its French ally against the creeping Red menace fall at Dien Bien Phu. Hanoi perceived it as a need to get foreigners out of Vietnam and to destroy the corrupt puppets of the foreigners. The Vietnam war was not a religious war. It was an ideological war though.

    Religious wars (crusades and jihads) are but a subset of ideological wars or clashes of mindsets. Do ideas use people in their proxy wars against each other? That would be the ultimate in memetic puppetry.

    _______________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Declare Yourself - Register online to vote today!

    =============================================================== This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing) see:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Sat 09 Oct 2004 - 01:04:26 GMT