Friday, October 16, 2009

Political religions

“Whoever exalts a race or a State or a particular form of State or the depositories of power… whoever raises these notions above their standard value and divinizes them to an idolatrous level, distorts and perverts an order of the world planned and created by God…”
Walter M. Miller. A Canticle For Leibowitz

A full review of this to follow in a day or two, but (apart from the last five words) I like the sentiment of this. I've talked a lot recently about political religions, and how systems like Nazism take on the mythology and rhetoric of religion, in order to give profundity to their beliefs. I think this is the point Miller is making here.
Leibowitz is a fascinating book: half the time I'm shouting yes, yes, yes! and the other half I'm shouting no, no, no!


Mark said...

Yeah, it's a great book, despite sentences or paragraphs that feel kind of dime-novelish.

By the way, 'Sacred Causes' by Michael Burleigh is a fantastic (if sometimes one-sided) examination of political religion in the 20th century.

Tom Conoboy said...

I haven't come across that, but I see it's in my library so I'll pick it up later this week. thanks for the tip