sábado, 4 de fevereiro de 2006

Estado, Protestantismo e Católicos

Achei por bem colocar e organizar por ordem uma troca de posts osbre o tema, num equilibrio precário de discussão, entre protestantes/católicos rothbardianos., no LRCBLog:

Posted by Ryan W. McMaken at 12:11 AM Re: Church and State

Anthony, put simply, a religion without a State is no danger at all, but a State without a religion is the worst possible option since, inevitably, worshipping the State itself will become the preferred religion in absence of something more transcendent.

States will always attempt to make independent religious organizations into "national" pet religious organizations to be better controlled by the State. Take Revolutionary France, for example. Martin Van Creveld considers Revolutionary France to be the first true State since "the people," "the State" and "the rulers" all were joined together in the popular imagination as the "nation" to which every knee must bend. Obviously, the Catholic Church couldn't be allowed to get in the way of the all-powerful State and its wonderful imposition of "Reason" as the new State-sponsored god. So, the state confiscated the Chruch's property and either expelled the clergy or turned the few remaining remnants into a "national" Catholic Church.

Henry VIII did a similar thing when he forced everyone (except the martyrs like Thomas More) to take the Supremacy Oath, and confiscated the convents and monasteries. The German Princes who went Lutheran confiscated Church lands and welcomed Lutheranism since locally controlled religion could much better be made to serve the State. Overall, it was a slow process of "going national" rather than remaining international as those nasty
ultramontanes, would have preferred.

Let us remember Henry VIII's famous words: "We thought that the clergy of our realm had been our subjects wholly, but now we have well perceived that they be but half our subjects, yea, and scarce our subjects; for all the prelates at their consecration make an oath to the Pope, clean contrary to the oath that they make to us, so that they seem to be his subjects, and not ours." God forbid anyone be loyal to anything or anyone other than the almighty State.

During the Soviet era, the Communist authorities had a habit of confiscating church property owned by the Catholic Hierarchy in union with the Pope, and transferring the ownership to the "national" Orthodox hierarchy. Hmmm, why do you think that was? It's a reliable old strategy.

Posted by William L. Anderson at 08:14 AM Attacks on Protestants

I would have hoped that this blog would not be used as a vehicle to attack Protestants, but I guess I was mistaken. As a Protestant who also is part of the Reformed wing, all I can say is that if people don't understand the theology in the Reformed doctrines, then perhaps they should not be making judgements on them.

Contrary to Ryan's statement, I find it ludicrous to claim that Calvinism "ruined" economics. Rothbard was making a conjecture, and a tenuous one at that. A conjecture is not a proof. While Rothbard was a first-rate economist and economic historian, I do not believe that he wrote ex cathedera. For example, in his otherwise excellent essay "World War I as Fulfillment," he lumps the fundamentalists and Unitarians together into a "postmillenaial pietists" category. Gary North had an excellent essay in JLS that deals with the very fundamental error that Rothbard made.

Here is Rothbard's thread: Calvinists believe that there was no true separation between the sacred and the secular, instead holding that all things were under the lordship of Christ. Because they believed that one's work -- whatever it was, excepting those things that were sinful -- was to be done ultimately to the glory of God. From that he surmises that Calvinists somehow were responsible for the Labor Theory of Value and, ultimately, Marxism.

I hate to say it, but that is not a proof. There simply are too many places where this causal chain can be broken. Likewise, Rothbard's failure to differentiate between fundamentalists and theological liberals (and Unitarians) seriously damages his causal links in his "World War I as Fulfillment" essay, which, I repeat, is an excellent and mostly authoritative piece of work.On a personal note, I believe people can be free to make whatever comments they wish. But, please, also understand that those of us on the end of those attacks do not take kindly to them, especially when many of the "facts" are conjectures or wrong outright. I know that if this blog turns into a battleground between Catholics and Protestants, that will be disastrous. That is why I have held my peace.

However, since the attacks have continued, I believe I also have the right to express my points of view. I do not and will not use this blog to attack Catholics or Catholic doctrines. That is inappropriate. I only hope that others will be willing to show respect toward others, something that has been sorely lacking in the blog as of late.

Posted by Charles Featherstone at
10:01 AM : God, Caesar and Conscience

The problem of the religious not knowing the difference between God and Caesar is not confined to any single denomination or even religious tradition, and I never intended to make it seem that way. Roman Catholics, especially beginning in the later part of the 19th century, could be just as nationalistic and committed to "the nation," militarism and imperialism as any Protestant group. And many protestants -- especially anabaptists -- emerged out of resistance to the state. The Lutheran confessions contain some angry refutations of the kinds of pacifist and anti-state doctrines that started with the anabaptists, for example.

I cited Benedict because he appears to understand, in a way I've not seen any mainstream religious figure in this day and age, just what kind of problem state power really is. What I find interesting, in all this talk about allegedly separates Islam from Christianity, is the assumption that "Render unto Caesar, render unto God" actually entitles Caesar to anything.

As I understand it, and I may be wrong, Jesus was merely refering to the dinar with Caesar's profile on it, and not some great "sphere of life" where Caesar was entitled to taxes and loyalty. Given the totality of the Gospel, I'm not entirely sure Caesar is entitled to take anything. Caesar takes anyway.

The invention of Christendom -- the merging of God and Caesar -- created a process, entity and set of expectations among many Christians little different from what Muslims would create with dar al Islam: the expectation that Islam would always rule, that Muslims would be privileged in Muslim society, and that the law and culture would reflect scripture and the prejudices of the majority. The slow unraveling of Christendom over the last several centuries, an unraveling at the hands of the total state and of secular ideologies gives us a wonderful opportunity to reclaim the Gospel as a way of living that doesn't also expect the state and the culture to look certain ways, that doesn't expect that Caesar will be on "our" side and uphold "our" values.Besides, anyone looking to Caesar for affirmation is unlocking a great big trunk of troubles. Get a dog.

Dar al Islam is finished too, and for many of the same reasons.

Posted by Ryan W. McMaken at
10:40 AM Re: Attacks on Protestants

Bill, It would be a mistake to remove religion as a subject of discussion on this blog just because some people happen to take offense. That a discussion on religion is going to offend someone would seem to be a given. There's a reason we don't discuss it during business lunches. But this blog isn't a business lunch. Not only are religious differences greatly important in examining intellectual history, but in many cases, religion is the key to history. To take it off the table would be a big mistake. There is plenty of room for criticim of Catholics getting cozy with bad doctrine, and I would say that such comments are made fairly often on this very blog.

This is especially true when we are not talking about theology proper, but about differences in culture and political theory that come out of Catholic or Protestant cultures. I have little to say about the foundations of Protestant Christian theology, since I am not a theologian, but a political scientist. In fact, I once waded into that swamp and nearly drowned. I won't link to the article where I did that because it stunk and doesn't merit re-reading.

However, when it comes to intellectual history regarding the role of the State, etc., it would be madness to not compare and contrast different Christian groups on this topic. I hardly see why it should not be discussed, or why criticizing the Puritans should be off-limits. Note, by the way, that in my blog mentioning Rothbard and Calvinism, I quickly zero-in on Puritans and not on Calvinists overall, since I know quite well that not all Calvinists are created alike. When it comes to criticizing Puritans, I would say I'm in good company, since virtually every prominent Virginian of the Revolutionary era made a habit of criticizing the Puritans, and especially Cromwell. If anything I said about Henry VIII, or Lutheran Princes, or Ultramontanism, is not supported by at least some of the established literature, then I would be happy to hear about it. It's all debatable, I know, but let's not act like people here are making kooky, baseless, accusations.

As far as Rothbard's comments on Calvinism are concerned, of course he was making a conjecture. But, I don't see that he bases everything on the one thin line of reasoning that you note. Rothbard's arguments appear to refer much to
Max Weber's discussion on Protestantism and labor, which is hardly an undeveloped theory.

Posted by Ryan W. McMaken at
11:25 AM God and Caesar

Charles, regarding Christ's observation of the dinar with Caesar's profile on it, some of the early Church Fathers interpreted this to mean that those things with Caesar's image on them belong to Caesar, and those things with God's image on them belong to God. It is God's image, of course, that is stamped on every human being, not Caesar's.

Posted by Laurence Vance at
01:24 PM Re: Church and State

Anthony, perhaps I should have made it clear when I said that I was inclined to agree with something one of my readers wrote me ("It does seem that the combination of government + religion has caused more suffering and death than any other force in the universe") that I was thinking of "religion" in the loosest possible way; that is, including any ideology (communism or fascism) that almost becomes a religion in the eyes of its supporters.

To their eternal shame, some of the greatest supporters of Bush and his war are Protestant, evangelical, and Baptist Christians. As a Protestant, an evangelical, and a Baptist, I consider this a great embarrassment to my cause.

Posted by Ryan W. McMaken at
03:24 PM More on the Rise of the State

Writes M.K.: "I have read through the blog comments and I am struggling to understand exactly how it is controversial to assert that the Protestant reformation was the handmaiden of the rise of the state." Its not controversial. It's well established. [
Here's just one example.] Interestingly, it's established not primarily through the writing of critics of the State so much as through the writings of proponents of the State who proudly point to the Reformation as the victory of "national sovereignty" (presumed as a good thing) over the international Church and its limitations on secular kings.

Joe Stromberg: "The Reformation afforded the monarchs a chance to subordinate the clerics within their dominions, an opportunity seized by Protestant and Catholic ruler alike [The French monarchs, for example]. To the extent that they succeeded, such kings effectively turned their "national" churches into departments of state. "

Most conservatives in America are very fond of the State as an institution, and of national sovereignty (nevermind the fact that only persons and God have sovereignty, not nations), and speak at length about threats to sovereignty from the UN, etc.etc. Since the Know-Nothings and other Nativist movements have declined in influence since the end of the 19th century, The UN has replaced the Church in recent years as the big foreign bogeyman, but the devotion to national sovereignty through devotion to "American" religion and "American" values remains the same. This is also known as American exceptionalism - something alive and well among the Bushites of today.

Posted by Thomas DiLorenzo at
03:29 PM More from Rothbard on War, Religion, and the State

From Murray Rothbard, "Two Just Wars: 1776 and 1861," in John Denson, ed., The Costs of War (1997), describing the motivations of the New England Yankees in 1861:

"The North, in particular the North's driving force, the 'Yankees' -- that ethnocultural group who either lived in New England or migrated from there to upstate New York, northern and eastern Ohio, northern Indiana, and northern Illinois -- had been swept by a new form of Pr0testantism. This was a fanatical and emotional neo-Puritanism driven by a fervent 'postmillenialism' which held that, as a precondition for the Second Advent of Jesus Christ, man must set up a thousand-year Kingdom of God on Earth."

"The Kingdom is to be a perfect society. In order to be perfrect, of course, this Kingdom must be free of sin . . . . It was very clear to these neo-Puritans that in order to stamp out sin, government, in the service of the saints, is the essential coercive insturment. . ."

Thus, the North's war "partook of fanatical millenialist fervor, of a cheerful willingness to uproot institutions, to commit mayhem and mass murder, to plunder and loot and destroy, all in the name of high moral principle and the birth of a perfect world. The Yankee fanatics were veritable Patersonian humanitarians with the guillotine: The Anabaptists, the Jacobins, the Bolsheviks of their era. This fanatical spirit of Northern aggression for an allegedly redeeming cause is summed up in the pseudo-Biblical and truly blasphemous verses of that quintessential Yankee Julia Ward Howe, in her so-called "Battle Hymn of the Republic."

Posted by William L. Anderson at
04:05 PM Yankees and Unitarians

Tom unintentially makes my point. Julia Ward Howe was a Unitarian, as were most of the other fire-breathing Yankees of which Rothbard writes. Unfortunately, Rothbard mistook Unitarians for Calvinist Puritans. Furthermore, the postmillenial views of the Unitarians were secular in outlook, since they did not believe in the Second Coming of Christ, given they did not believe even in the deity of Christ.

The Unitarians' postmillenialism was nothing like the postmillenial theology of some (and I emphasize some) people in the Reformed camp. Not all people who are Calvinists are postmillenialist, as some take the same eschatalogical view as does the Roman Catholic Church, while others fall into a pre-millenial category (but different from the pre-millenialism of those who are Dispensationalists).

I believe this to be a serious error on Rothbard's point. Perhaps the best treatment of this subject can be found in Samuel Blumenfeld's 1979 article in Reason, "Why the Schools Went Public." Blumenfeld points out that Horace Mann and most of the other New England reformers were Unitarians who despised Calvinism and Calvinists. Furthermore, he points out that in 1805, the Unitarians took over Harvard and kicked out the Calvinists.

Unfortunately, Rothbard took a "all Protestants think alike" approach to his narratives. While this viewpoint made it easier for him to push certain themes, they tend to tar a lot of people with a brush, including people like me.

Now, I suspect that those readers who are Roman Catholic would not like to have a false history put on this blog, nor would they like to be portrayed as caricatures. All I ask is that you hold to the same standards of truth when writing of Protestants that you would want for yourselves as Catholics. I truly resent being portrayed as a cartoon character.

Posted by Ryan W. McMaken at
05:52 PM Rothbard and the Calvinists

To start, here's an
article by Gary North to clarify all the Post and Pre- millennial stuff.

Bill, I think you may be reading too much into Rothbard's overall assessment of "neo-Puritanism," as he calls it. If memory serves me, he does not equate neo-Puritanism with Calvinism, but only refers to the neo-Puritanism as a "new form of Protestantism" which indeed it was. He certainly doesn't impugn Baptists and Presbyterians everywhere as being sympathetic to, let alone supportive of, the neo-Puritanical impulse. The Unitarians were certainly part of this, but were not alone since the "kingdom of God on earth" crowd clearly included a variety of evangelical fundamentalist groups. Some Calvinists surely participated, as did members of other religious groups, but I don't find Rothbard singling out the Calvinists in general.

Clearly, the "Errand in the Wilderness" and "City on a Hill" philosophy of the Puritans produced what Rothbard viewed as unfortunate results. He then traces this line of thinking down through later religious sects in various forms. This thesis of American exceptionalism and of purifying the Holy Nation seems to move westward from New Englad and is adopted in various forms by various groups. Some were Christian and some were Unitarian and some were downright secular. I don't think Rothbard asserts that all Calvinists were in lock step with that.

In other writings,
he acknowledges that the "Social Gospel" (another "neo-Puritanical" program) was a secular-ish offshoot of "pietist Christianity" which he makes a point of describing as non-Calvinist in nature. He also attributes the public school movement to these "pietists" and not to Calvinists. There is no "all Protestants think alike" in his narrative. In fact, the opposite is true. And, to reiterate the Adam Smith/labor theory of value thing, Rothbard does not make conjectures out of virtually nothing as you suggest, but appears to be observing Weber's observations on Calvinist views [see here for text] regarding spending, luxury, and mass production, and identifying similar thoughts in Smith. Now, Weber could be wrong on his observations, and Rothbard could be wrong about Smith, but it hardly constitutes gratuitous Protestant-bashing to bring it up.

Addendum: Reading Rothbards World War I as Fulfillment, I am once again detecting none of this alleged "All Protestants Think Alike" error. He refers to Lutherans and "Southern Protestants" as groups quite distinct from the fundamentalist groups he blames for the radical Progressivism of the early 20th century. He's apparently referring to the
Burned Over District's brand of evangelical Christianity, which is well established as a hotbed of radical politics, and which was clearly influential on the politics of William Jennings Bryan's Democratic Party.

Posted by Ryan W. McMaken at 02:24 PM Re: Cultural stew

Charles, I couldn't agree more. My apologies to anyone who intepreted by comment on Calvinists and smoking as meaning that all Calvinists (and not a narrow strain of Puritanical Calvinism - see below) are to blame for Puritanism in America. I could have been more exact in my use of language. However, when it comes to Rothbard's assessment on Calvinism's impact on Smith and Ricardo, I haven't heard any refutations of that. One can say that tracing a line of intellectual thought does not "constitute a proof" but one can say that about pretty much any intellectual history written anywhere. Theories of intellectual pedigree become obsolete when a better one is provided, and I haven't seen one.

Charles is of course right that ideas are transmitted, adopted, and modified in very complex ways. What would be the point of intellectual history, however, if we didn't use it to point to the origins of ideas and their effects on later policies? In the case of Radical Prgressivism, Rothbard identified some of its roots in the evengelical Christianity that came out of the Second Great Awakening, its social activism, and the new denominations that came out of Western New York state. Rothbard didn't think it was a coincidence that the new activism of that era came out of areas greatly influenced by Puritanism and Puritan views on the American "mission."

Rothbard wasn't alone in this. Redeemer Nation by Ernest Tuveson traces these ideas of an American mission of world salvation and purity straight back to Cotton Mather and Jonathan Edwards. Rothbard fully recognizes that this intellectual tradition is thoroughly secularized by the early 20th century, but to deny the influence of Puritanism would be to give only a part of the full picture.

Sem comentários:

Enviar um comentário