Since the beginning of human history, stories told by oral tradition have included myths and legends. They have helped us make sense of the world, comfort us when things are rough, and shape our understanding of life and the universe. Many people, however, overlook the fact that mythology can also have a significant impact on political systems.
Policies and decisions can be defended, national unity can be fostered, and leaders can find moral direction with the help of myths. In this article, we’ll discuss the ways in which mythology affects government and give some examples.
Symbolism is one of the most blatant examples of mythology’s influence on government. Symbols from mythology are used by many governments as official representations of their countries. The United States, for instance, features the bald eagle, which represents power and independence in a number of different cultures around the world. The lion is another national symbol of the United Kingdom, representing bravery and strength.
Some policies and decisions may be “justified” by appealing to myths. The concept of the “noble savage,” for instance, has been used to defend imperialism and colonialism. The argument goes like this: since primitive societies are more in tune with nature, we should just leave them alone. This myth has been used to rationalize the oppression and annihilation of native communities.
Myths can also be used to bring people together and foster national pride. The “American Dream” is a myth that has been used to encourage people to believe they can succeed if they work hard enough. This false belief has been propagated to inspire people to work hard and trust that the government will see them through to success.
The moral compass of a leader can be found in myths. The decision-making of many leaders has been influenced by myths. The myth of the “just war,” for instance, has been used to rationalize military intervention at times. As a moral justification for going to war, this myth has been used to rally public support for military action.
Mythology has the potential to significantly impact political systems. It can be used as a basis for moral decision-making, to bring people together, and to promote national pride. We can learn much about our leaders’ decisions and how they affect society by looking at mythology’s role in government.
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