Friday, July 3, 2009

Praying with the Kaisers by John Zmirak

The job of protecting the liberty of the Church and enforcing (yes, enforcing) that Law fell not to the clergy but to laymen. The clergy were not a political party or a pressure group -- but a separate Estate that often as not served as a counterbalance to the authority of the monarchy. No monarch was absolute under this system, but held his rights in tension with the traditional privileges of nobles, clergy, the citizens of free towns, and serfs who were guaranteed the security of their land. Until the Reformation destroyed the Church's power to resist the whims of kings -- who suddenly had the option of pulling their nation out of communion with the pope -- no king would have had the power or authority to rule with anything like the monarchical power of a U.S. president. Of course, no medieval monarch wielded 25-40 percent of his subjects' wealth, or had the power to draft their children for foreign wars. It took the rise of democratic legal theory, as Hans Herman Hoppe has pointed out, to convince people that the State was really just an extension of themselves: a nice way to coax folks into allowing the State ever increasing dominance over their lives.

A Christian monarchy, whatever its flaws, was at least constrained in its abuses of power by certain fundamental principles of natural and canon law; when these were violated, as often they were, the abuse was clear to all, and the monarchy often suffered. In extreme cases, kings could be deposed. Today, by contrast, priests in Germany receive their salaries from the State, collected in taxes from citizens who check the "Catholic" box. So much for the independence of the clergy.

Is Democracy for the Demos?

It would appear that democracy benefits the rulers, as democracy alone has provided the most consistent means for those formerly in power to sleep and die in peace.

And the same holds for the courtiers, nomenklatura, and apparatchiks. These sycophants need no longer dread midnight's knife and muffled cries, and the subsequent crowning of a new king. The elite and bureaucracy can retire to their farms and while away their passing years without fear — their riches and posterity intact.

As I see it now, democracy is not to the advantage of the demos, it is to the advantage of the power elite. Something to think about.

Hat tip for both: Wilson Revolution Unplugged

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