terça-feira, 12 de dezembro de 2006


The Catholic Second Amendment.(pdf), By David B. Kopel1


At the beginning of the second millennium, there was no separation of church and state, and kings ruled the church. Tyrannicide was considered sinful. By the end of the thirteenth century, however, everything had changed. The "Little Renaissance" that began in the eleventh century led to a revolution in political and moral philosophy, so that using force to overthrow a tyrannical government became a positive moral duty. The intellectual revolution was an essential step in the evolution of Western political philosophy that eventually led to the American Revolution.
This is a draft of an article published in 29 Hamline Law Review 519 (2006).


In the middle of the eleventh century, a spark of human liberty was lit—a spark which would eventually kindle the American Revolution. This article explores how—as a result of the "Little Renaissance" that began in the eleventh century—Western legal, political, and moral philosophy rediscovered the ancient right to overthrow a tyrannical government.

Part I of this article summarizes the Dark Ages views about the Christian duty to submit to tyrants.
Part II article details one cause of the intellectual revolution: the feudal principle of reciprocal contractual obligation between lord and vassal, and by extension, between government and the governed.
Part III turns to the "Investiture Controversy" over whether Popes or the Kings had the right to appoint Bishops. The bitter struggles over investiture provoked many churchmen to scathing denunciations of various monarchs, and the denunciations destroyed the old notion that all kings were God’s anointed. Burgeoning cities, especially in northern Italy, used the church versus state conflicts as an opportunity to assert their own autonomy and liberty, which was safeguarded by the right to bear arms enjoyed by residents of the city.
Part IV examines the most influential Western book written between the sixth century and the thirteenth: Policraticus, authored by John of Salisbury around 1159. The book argued that kings, bishops, and even fathers could be tyrants when they abused their legitimate authority. According to Policraticus, tyrannicide against evil kings could be a moral obligation.
Part V studies the canon law (church law) and national legal codes which affirmed the individual’s natural right of self-defense and the government’s duty to obey the law—and of the people’s right to depose a government which broke the law by infringing a person’s inalienable natural rights.
Part VI begins with the rediscovery of Aristotle, whose political writings showed the connection between liberty and the possession of arms; and the rediscover of Justinian’s enormous Corpus Juris legal treatise. The intellectual examination of Aristotle and of the Corpus Juris led to the development of Scholasticism, a new method of philosophical analysis. The greatest of the Scholastics was Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas’s masterpiece, the Summa Theologica, explained that overthrowing tyrant was a moral duty, because tyranny was itself a form of sedition against a justly-ordered society.
Part VII outlines later developments in Catholic thought, and how Catholic ideas found their way to the American Revolutionaries, after being adopted by Protestant writers.
As the Dark Ages gave way to the Middle Ages, the use of force to resist a tyrant was changed from a sin into a holy obligation. Over five hundred years separate the European intellectual world that produced the Summa Theologica from the Americans who crafted the 1776 Declaration of Independence and the 1789 Second Amendment. Yet by the middle of the thirteenth century, the intellectual foundation for a right of revolution against tyranny—a right which Americans exercised in 1776 and safeguarded in 1789—had been solidly established.

Sem comentários:

Enviar um comentário