Destructive Witnesses: JW, IS, Saudis, Brits, Byzantines

[ by Charles Cameron — religions taking other religions apart, stone by stone, image by image, song by song ] . Some recently converted Jehovah’s Witnesses appear to have destroyed the altars of indigenous Otomi people in Mexico, an anthopologist has stated: Assailants have damaged an ancient Otomi Indian religious site in Mexico, toppling stone […] Read more »

Review: The Rule of the Clan

[by Mark Safranski / “zen“] Rule of the Clan by Mark Weiner I often review good books. Sometimes I review great ones. The Rule of the Clan: What an Ancient Form of Social Organization Reveals about the Future of Individual Freedom  by Mark S. Weiner gets the highest compliment of all: it is an academic book that […] Read more »

Human Sacrifice and State-Building

[by Mark Safranski / “zen“] A while back I had a longish post that argued that the mass executions practiced by ISIS drew from the long pagan tradition of ritualistic human sacrifice. Today in the news, some social scientists see evidence of human sacrifice as the catalyst for establishing and maintaining stratified, hierarchical and (usually) oppressive […] Read more »

Guest Post: Duncan Hunter and Human Terrain System by Turner

[by Mark Safranski / “zen“]         ZP is pleased to bring you a guest post by Pete Turner, co-host of The Break it Down Show and is an advocate of better, smarter, transition operations. Turner has extensive overseas experience in hazardous conditions in a variety of positions including operations: Joint Endeavor (Bosnia), Iraqi […] Read more »

No man’s land, one man’s real estate, everyone’s dream?

[ by Charles Cameron — borders and distinctions from Trump to Revelation, plus one ] . Donald Trump‘s “three core principles of real immigration reform”: 1. A nation without borders is not a nation. ** G Spencer-Brown wrote of his book. Laws of Form, “The theme of this book is that a universe comes into […] Read more »

In Brief: Azzam illustrates Levi-Strauss on Mythologiques

[ by Charles Cameron — the geometry of two miracle stories from Abdullah Azzam ] . These two tales are taken from Abdullah Azzam, Signs of ar-Rahman in the Jihad of Afghan. ** Binary oppositions seem to be basic to the human thought process, and this simple, elegant observation has in turn given rise to […] Read more »

Brief brief: of binding and loosing

[ by Charles Cameron — really just a note to myself, but you may read it over my shoulder ] . Joas Wagemakers, blogging on Jihadi-Salafi views of the Islamic State at the Washington Post, was talking about the “caliphate” today, and as usual, I went off on my own DoubleQuoting tangent: ** Here’s Wagemakers’s […] Read more »

Political science: 1787 edition

Politics is the division of power. Or so it is axiomatic for me. Politics is also a market in violence-backed assets, with tribute, resource flows captured and secured by violence (or the threat thereof) being the most prized. Most political activity is an attempt to win and hold tributes. Conquest can be seen as an […] Read more »

The prime directive

[cut and pasted by Lynn C. Rees] It has been the uniform policy of this Government, from its foundation to the present day, to abstain from all interference in the domestic affairs of other nations. The consequence has been that while the nations of Europe have been engaged in desolating wars our country has pursued its […] Read more »

Atran and Husain on Gaza

[ by Charles Cameron -- two voices of moderation with a glimmer of hope -- plus a recap of some recent posts of mine ] . . Scott Atran, an anthropologist at France’s National Center for Scientific Research, John Jay College and the University of Michigan, is co-founder of ARTIS Research and author of Talking [...] Read more »