Re: Pearson Question

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 26219
Date: 2003-10-03

--- In, "Richard Wordingham"
<richard.wordingham@...> wrote:

> Aren't there two phenomena here? Patricians had to have patrician
> grandfathers, so their numbers could be whittled away by
> intermarriage. (I've a vague feeling the Spartans declined for a
> similar reason - being a citizen was made too exclusive.) The
> senatorial decay has different reasons. (Are the dates and
> statistics correct?) I suspect delators and bloody politics had a
> lot to do with it. I'm not sure that the obvious conclusions
> (purity => death; don't kill your rivals) would appeal to Nazis!
> Breaching the latter rule has ended quite a few dynasties.

Exclusive membership is what has brought the orthodox Parsees (modern
Zoroastrians in India) to the brink of extinction. They married only
within their religious group and did not accept any converts from
outside. In other words, a Parsee had to have Parsee grandfathers as
well as Parsee grandmothers. Now it seems they have to choose between
narrow orthodoxy and survival. If they survive at the expense of
allowing intermarriage, they'll save their religion but that'll be the
final fiasco of their attempt to conserve "pure Zoroastrian blood". I
think this lesson is more instructive than Day's lament for lost purity.