The great contemporary German social philosopher, Ernst Bloch, has aptly written: “We paint images of what lies ahead, and insulate ourselves into what may come after us. But no upward glance can fail to brush against death which makes all things pale” (Bloch 1971, p. 43). Without in any way passing judgment on the strong resistance of some European scholars to current trends in empirical and behavioral sociology (Davis 1975, pp. 389-400), the fact remains that we still do not possess a political sociology that properly encompasses the phenomenon of death. Social psychologists have provided insights into the meaning of death (Becker 1974, 1975) and into its personal consequences (Lifton 1967). But we know precious little about how to account for differences between social systems and state organs that employ mass murder to maintain themselves and those that eschew or resist the ultimate strategy of enforcing the social order by the sacrifice of lives.