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The Law of Sacrifice
Library of Social Science researchers and scholars now focus on the study of sacrificial death in comparative perspective—hypothesizing a law of sacrifice

    Soldiers' Grave
  1. Cultures invent or create ideological concepts that they elevate into “absolutes”— worshipped as the essence of society. But how do people persuade themselves that the ideas their society has constructed are real?

  2. Franco Fornari hypothesizes that war is the spectacular establishment of a general human situation whereby “death assumes absolute value”: the ideas for which we die have a right to truth because “death becomes a demonstrative process.”

  3. Beliefs become real to the extent that people have died and continue to die for them. Sacrificial death “gives witness” to the depth of devotion, becoming the source of power—and truth.

  4. Human beings sacrifice their lives to preserve the Union, for France, for Great Britain, for Germany, for the Emperor, for the Communist revolution, for Iran, for Allah, for a Tamil homeland, or for “freedom and democracy.”

  5. The ideas or entities (nature of the “sacred object”) for which people die differs (the content of the belief is fungible), but the mechanism is the same. The idea or entity that is worshipped comes alive to the extent that human beings die in its name.

  6. The purpose of acts of “aggression” (killing in war, genocide and terrorism) is to get others to die for the sacred ideal that is worshipped by one’s own nation or social group.