Re: Grad program on memetics?

From: Ray Recchia (
Date: Sat 09 Oct 2004 - 06:00:08 GMT

  • Next message: Keith Henson: "Re: Grad program on memetics?"

    At 11:14 PM 10/8/2004, you wrote:

    >--- Ray Recchia <> wrote:
    > >
    > > Scott,
    > >
    > > The point of the talk was religious belief is used
    > > in war to inspire troops
    > > and to justify violence. People who believe that
    > > God is on their side will
    > > for example will take extraordinary risks because
    > > they believe that God
    > > will protect them and even if they die they will be
    > > going to heaven. In
    > > the U.S. and other similar nations, the army pays
    > > ministers of various
    > > faiths to accompany troops into battle. They say
    > > prayers that inspire, and
    > > comfort those who have lost friends, finding
    > > religious justification for
    > > their deaths. In WWII, the only forces that didn't
    > > have religious figures
    > > accompanying their troops were the Soviets, who lost
    > > 27 million to the
    > > Germans. Hitler very consciously and very
    > > cynically co-opted Catholic and
    > > Protestant leaders. Eventually, Stalin realized
    > > that there was an
    > > advantage to having religious figures accompany his
    > > troops and brought them
    > > into his forces.
    > >
    > > A war doesn't have to be overtly religious for
    > > political leaders to be able
    > > to co-opt religious motivation.
    > >
    >True. Religion has been an important consideration for
    >nations such as the US in maintaining troop morale. In
    >part the crusade (yipes) against communism may have
    >been motivated by the repugnance that God fearing
    >Christians had for the Marxist atheists. So even wars
    >like in Korea and Vietnam which weren't religious wars
    >had some religious underones, at least for one of the
    >On the communist side, the morale may have come from
    >ideological sources. The ideals of communism may have
    >paralleled belief in a higher power in keeping troops
    >focused on the struggle in the trenches, paddies and
    >hill bunkers. Cadres may have taken the place of
    >chaplains for the Vietcong for instance. Thus it might
    >be good to look at religious belief as a subset of
    >ideology. Agitprop and indoctrination may have played
    >their role in ideas cementing relations between people
    >and committing them to a struggle against a common foe
    >just the same as conversion to a religious belief and
    >listening to sermons preached by a unit chaplain would
    >rally non-communist troops. I think that even those
    >not overly religious may have benefited from listening
    >to an ispiring sermon by a US military chaplain.
    >I wouldn't forcefit the notion of communist ideology
    >being a religion, but instead that religions are based
    >upon ideology like communism is.
    >I'm struggling to see the parallels here, so if I'm
    >mistaken please point it out. Unlike Dubya I can make
    >mistakes and admit them ;-)

    That was one of the comments raised during the question and answer phase.

     From my own perspective, it immediately brought to mind an article I found on the internet about a defense attorney who was attacked by his client with during his closing argument, and immediately responded triumphantly "I've been telling you all along this guy was nuts" and then moved for a mistrial on behalf the person who just tried to kill him. That's part of the idea of zealous advocacy that goes along with being a defense attorney. It is an extreme example, but as a defense attorney I can instantly identify.

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