More people have been killed because of words and ideas than anything else.
The Russian writer Dmitri Merejkowski (1865–1941), believed all religions could be divided into two basic ones. In the first one, Man sacrifices Man to Man (even if it’s claimed Man is sacrificing to God). In the second, God sacrifices Himself to Man.
The biggest problem throughout history is Man sacrificing to Man. Think the human sacrifice of war, for one example. Or Moloch, in which babies were rolled into his fire-filled stone belly. Or the Aztecs ripping the hearts out of thousands of live captives.
I sometimes use the example of the Christian-hating, left-wing Russian Jew atheist Alice Rosenbaum, who wrote under the pen name “Ayn Rand.”
Her most famous novel is Atlas Shrugged, a fairly well-written book, but one that is full of scapegoating and the human sacrifice of Man to Man.
In it, she basically sacrifices the entire world to save the few dozen people in “Galt’s Gulch.”
As I’ve mentioned before, all sacrifice, even human sacrifices (especially human sacrifice) is a fertility rite, to save and renew society though sacrificing people to a deity (think of the movie, The Cabin in the Woods, which I have mentioned more than once).
Unfortunately that deity is often Man – which is no deity at all. It certainly is the case with Rosenbaum, who called herself “the perfect woman.”
Rosenbaum’s friends used to argue with each other whether or not Rosenbaum was evil. That was settled a long time ago.
Since she was a leftist emotionally and intellectually (but thought she wasn’t one) she was full of hate and envy, like all leftists. It’s why she so happily destroyed the world in her novel.
When anyone does not believe in anything greater than himself then he is reduced to believing only in himself. I’ve met people like that, who have told me, “I only believe in me.”
I can understand an alienated 12-year-old or 16-year-old thinking Atlas Shrugged is the greatest novel ever written. But an adult, no, unless that old saying about there are none so blind as those who will not see is really true.
It is apparently an instinct in people to believe in sacrifices, especially human sacrifice (nearly every culture throughout the world, throughout history, has engaged in it.
I was far too old (in my thirties) when I first read Atlas Shrugged to fall under its spell. But remembering what I was like when I was 12 I think even then I would have been repulsed by it. What kind of sad person calls the world “a hell” and destroys it? And then claims the people in it brought it on themselves by not worshiping her grandiose human gods?
I’ll say again that Russell Kirk said that the source of evil was “the Monstrous Self” (scapegoating and human sacrifice are just manifestations of it).
And what does that say about a woman who said she was “perfect,” considered the world “a hell” and wanted everyone in it (except about three dozen of her human gods) dead?
I’ve had her fans tell me her version of society would be an impressive one. In reality it wouldn’t get off the ground, being based not on capitalism and reason but on evil – scapegoating and human sacrifice. It is a house not built on sand but quicksand.