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Friday, May 18, 2012

The United States as Religious and Secular Societies

E pluribus unum, or “Out of many, one,” is a motto for the United States—the American States that are united. The many can refer, I suppose, to the sheer number of inhabitants stretching across a continent and beyond. The word could also refer to the diversity of people living even in a large American city. Finally, the word could refer to the Union consists of many different socio-political societies, or republics—again possibly referring to the number of states or the fact that they differ so from one another.  It is the last interpretation that I want to explore here, for it alone gets at the fact that the U.S., like the E.U. and China, are at the empire-level (or scale) in twentieth-century (rather than medieval) terms (i.e., scaling).

The complete essay is at Essays on Two Federal Empires.

  Yellow: most "religious."  Blue: least "religious" (as per regular attendance). Notice the "river" of yellow running through the (political) "red states" in the middle of the map. Even so, "yellow" is doubtless not homogenous.