I am taking an extremely dim view (I was thinking about theology, but the final sentence of volume 1 mentions teleology, an antiquated teleology, at that, instead) of THE ACCURSED SHARE by Georges Bataille by limiting my review to those issues that were mentioned in Ezra, which I believe was written at the time that the earliest books of the Bible, Genesis, Exodus, and Leviticus, were compiled in the form some people are familiar with today. The first section of Leviticus, The Ritual of Sacrifice, in chapters 1-7, concludes with a portion for Aaron and his sons by orders of Yahweh binding the sons of Israel for all generations. Ezra opens with Cyrus King of Persia declaring that the temple in Jerusalem should be rebuilt and returning vessels of the temple which Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem. The greatness and glory associated with this effort is a triumph like "Mankind's Accomplishments Linked to that of the American Economy" on pages 188-189 of ACCURSED SHARE and the final sentence of volume one, "More open, the mind discerns, instead of an antiquated theology, the truth that silence alone does not betray." (p. 190).
The book was written in France to offer support for the American Marshall Plan to rebuild a prosperous global economy after World War II. On the final page of notes, the question, "Why deny the fact that there can no longer be a true initiative toward independence on the part of countries other than the USSR or the USA?" (n. 17, p. 197), states the geopolitical frame of reference that millionaires and billionaires with global interests seem to have risen above today, with the greatness of America as a superpower driving economic expansion in those areas where natural resources, access to capital, and wage levels allow maximum profits to appear when money can flow to those areas where it will accomplish the most. As the millionaire who has spent the most to advertise his views in the states with early presidential primaries, Mitt Romney has proudly proclaimed the greatness of America, but the underlying structure of the political hierarchy is similar in nature to the parallels between Ezra and Bataille's ACCRSED SHARE.
Chapters 9 and 10 of Ezra deal with a problem like the desire of people to move to the United States in order to make more money today. It was reported, "The people of Israel, the priests and the Levites, have not broken with the natives of the countries who are steeped in abominations--Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Ammonites, Moabites, Egyptians and Amorites--but have found wives among these foreign women for themselves and for their sons; the holy race has been mingling with the natives of the countries; in this act of treachery the chief men and officials have led the way." (Ezra 9:1-2). It was such a massive problem that it took from the first day of the tenth month to the first day of the first month to officially process all the separations from foreign wives. This reminded me of Aztec customs which linked the victims to "The individual who brought back a captive had just as much of a share in the sacred office as the priest. A first bowl of the victim's blood, drained from the wound, was offered to the sun by the priests. A second bowl was collected by the sacrificer. The latter would go before the images of the gods and wet their lips with the warm blood. The body of the sacrificed was his by right; he would carry it home, setting aside the head, and the rest would be eaten at a banquet, cooked without salt or spices -- but eaten by the invited guests, not by the sacrificer, who regarded his victim as a son, as a second self. At the dance that ended the feast, the warrior would hold the victim's head in his hand." (Bataille, pp. 53-54).
Certainly the Aztecs were more harsh than the restrictions which the federal government wishes to put on drivers licenses in New York for those who are not American citizens or authorized by the United States government to live within the United States. The question of who is who here can have numerous answers, like questions about whether waterboarding is torture, or how people detained in Iraq compare to illegal combatants. Even a nominee for Attorney General might wish to equivocate about certain questions. Bataille picture people in Tibet willing to maintain a large number of monasteries to keep the young men from serving in an army. "In Tibet, even more so than in China, the military profession is held in contempt. Even after the reforms of the thirteenth Dalai Lama, a family of nobles complained of having had a son commissioned as an officer." (p. 110).
I was drafted once myself, so I read about these things after years of not knowing if I would serve in Nam; then, after I got to Nam, I was even told to go to Cambodia. Though Nixon thought sending troops into Cambodia might make Vietnam safer in 1970, it was also a risky move for those who were on helicopters that crashed. The feeling generated by such changes in the expectations associated with my ultimate objective is described by Bataille:
The victim is a surplus taken from the mass of useful wealth. And he can only be withdrawn from it in order to be consumed profitlessly, and therefore utterly destroyed. Once chosen, he is the accursed share, destined for violent consumption. But the curse tears him away from the order of things; it gives him a recognizable figure, which now radiates intimacy, anguish, the profundity of living beings. (p. 59).
In modern society, people who are not talented enough to be known by millions of people are nobodies. John Lennon was not entirely unwelcome in New York City; he was merely shot down in the street. Government has become so awful at facing any kind of issue, Congress after World War II attempted to define a c.o. as someone who believed in a Supreme Being who prohibits a c.o. from taking part in any war. The Department of Justice was not generous in denying the status to boxer Cassius Clay all the way up to the Supreme Court, where most justices finally agreed that the Department of Justice was wrong about when Cassius Clay needed to file for a determination. Such questions plague anyone who has rules like the clean and unclean beasts in chapter 11 of Leviticus, which then considers leprosy in chapter 13, sexual impurities in chapter 15, nakedness in chapter 18, and handing over any children to Moloch in chapter 20. There are things which must not be worshiped:
"You must make no idols; you must set up neither carved image nor standing stone, set up no sculptured stone in your land, to prostrate yourself in front of it; for it is I, Yahweh, who am your God." (Leviticus 26:1).
It does not directly prohibit saluting the flag or pledging allegiance, but anyone who doesn't is likely to be sacrificed in some other way, like John Lennon certainly was, and Martin Luther King, Jr., both of whom opposed certain aspects of the Vietnam war. The call to support the troops is like something in THE ACCURSED SHARE for me, but so much so that my list will not go on.