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Utopian Legacies a History of Conquest and Oppression in the Western World

by John Mohawk

  • ISBN: 9781574160345
  • ISBN10: 1574160346

Utopian Legacies a History of Conquest and Oppression in the Western World

by John Mohawk

  • List Price: $24.95
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Clear Light Pub
  • Publish date: 10/01/1999
  • ISBN: 9781574160345
  • ISBN10: 1574160346
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Description: Paradoxically, contemporary horrors like ethnic cleansing are deeply rooted in humanity's highest aspirations, which have given rise to countless similar upheavals and atrocities perpetrated over millennia. Although the ideals embodied in religion and philosophy are considered to be humanity's prime "civilizing" force, religions that preach love have been used to justify the bloodiest massacres, and utopian ideals have fomented intolerance and persecution of those who were perceived as obstacles to the realization of an ideal future existence.

John Mohawk, a distinguished Native American historian, examines this paradox and traces the role of utopian thinking as an intellectual framework for religious wars, subjugation of Indigenous peoples, genocide, enslavement, plunder, economic domination, and campaigns of conquest.

In a gripping narrative, Mohawk traces the impact of utopian thinking on the rise of Western culture in ancient Greece and Rome, the emergence of the Christian empire and its clashes with Islam, and the resurgence of philosophic ideals that have shaped twentieth-century violence and great-power domination. Mohawk points out that the danger lies not in the utopian ideal itself but in the parallel assumption that its followers are in possession of the only "truth" and are therefore justified in forcing their "better way of life" on other cultures for the ultimate good of humanity. Mohawk shows how the subtle legacies of utopian thinking -- including the belief in perpetual progress -- still influence contemporary social and political movements at home and abroad. He suggests ways in which we can guard against their harmful effects upon cultures different from our own,while still cherishing our aspirations and personal ideals. As the world becomes ever more a place of shared experiences, he suggests that only a pluralistic outlook will support peace and understanding among the peoples of the world.

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