Category Archives: history

What Exactly Did the Reformation Reform?


What Exactly Did the Reformation Reform?

By Frank van Dun[1]

The Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century reformed nothing but it changed everything. It was a crucially important factor in the demise of Medieval Latin Christendom and its rapid transformation in what we now know as Europe or, more generally, the West. Philosophically and religiously it rede­fined and revolutionized Western civilization, for, what characterizes a civiliza­tion is not so much what people do (which is pretty much the same always and everywhere) as what they conscientiously believe they ought to do: its fundamental scheme of justification and rectification — in a word, its conscience. Read more

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The Mediaeval Roman Empire: An Unlikely Emergence and Survival (2018), by Sean Gabb


The Mediaeval Roman Empire:
An Unlikely Emergence and Survival
Sean Gabb

Speech Given to the Property and Freedom Society,
Bodrum, 14th September 2018

As ever, I will begin by thanking Professor Hoppe and his wife Gulçin for their great kindness in asking me once again to speak to the Property and Freedom Society here in Bodrum. I will also thank them for the honour they have shown me, for the second year running, of asking me to speak first.

On the face of it, the subject I have been given for this year is both obscure in itself and of little relevance to the overall purpose of an organisation set up to advance the restoration of a free and prosperous civilisation. I have been asked to speak about the Emergence and Survival of the Byzantine Empire. I believe that the subject is entirely relevant. Properly considered, the history of what I will from now call not the Byzantine Empire, but the Mediaeval Roman Empire, is perhaps the most astonishing instance of how courage and determination can keep civilisation alive in the face of the most forbidding and apparently overpowering challenges. In setting out my argument, I hope you will forgive me if I begin with an introduction covering much that many of your will know at least as well as I do, but that may not be so familiar to those reading the text or watching the speech on YouTube. Read more

Apartheid In Black And White: Truth About The Afrikaner (1)


By ilana mercer

In a recent translation of Tacitus’ “Annals,” a question was raised as to whether “there were any ‘nations’ in antiquity other than the Jews.” Upon reflection, one suspects that the same question can be posed about the Afrikaners in the modern era.

In fact, in April of 2009, former South African President Jacob Zuma infuriated the “multicultural noise machine” the world over by stating: “Of all the white groups that are in South Africa, it is only the Afrikaners that are truly South Africans in the true sense of the word. Up to this day, they [the Afrikaners] don’t carry two passports, they carry one. They are here to stay.”

Indeed, the Afrikaners fought Africa’s first anticolonial struggles, are native to the land and not colonists in any normal sense. Yet the liberal world order has only ever singled out Afrikaners for having established apartheid, considered by the Anglo-American-European axis of interventionism to be “one of the world’s most retrogressive colonial systems.”

However, while the honing of apartheid by the Afrikaner National Party started in 1948, after Daniel Malan assumed the prime minister’s post, elements of the program were part of the policy first established in 1923 by the British-controlled government.

There was certainly nothing Mosaic about the maze of racial laws that formed the edifice of apartheid. The Population Registration Act required that all South Africans be classified by bureaucrats in accordance with race. The Group Areas Act “guaranteed absolute residential segregation.” Pass laws regulated the comings-and-goings of blacks (though not them alone), and ensured that black workers left white residential areas by nightfall.

Easily the most egregious aspect of flushing blacks out of white areas was the manner in which entire communities were uprooted and dumped in bleak, remote, officially designated settlement sites— “vast rural slums with urban population densities, but no urban amenities beyond the buses that represented their slender lifelines to the cities.”

Still, apartheid South Africa sustained far more critical scrutiny for its non-violent (if unjust) resettlement policies than did the U.S. for its equally unjust but actively violent mass resettlement agenda, say, in South Vietnam. (See Sophie Quinn-Judge, “Lawless Zones,” The Times Literary Supplement, February 26, 2010.)

Or, before that. In his magisterial “History of the American People,” historian Paul Johnson, a leading protagonist for America, details the rather energetic destruction and displacement by Andrew Jackson of the “the oldest American nations,” the Indians.

Nor should we forget subsequent American military misdeeds. There was, for instance, the 1890 “Wounded Knee” bloodbath in South Dakota (where a U.S. cavalry regiment wiped out, within an hour, between 150 and 300 Native Americans, women and children included). A decade later occurred the war in the Philippines, where a million Filipinos perished at American hands. The 1990 book “In Our Image,” written by historian Stanley Kurnow, reports that at least 200,000 of the dead Filipinos in that war were civilians. Many of the civilians breathed their last in disease-ridden concentration camps which were known as reconcentrados.

It was the British, not the settler ancestors of the contemporary Afrikaners, who vanquished the locals with the express purpose of producing British-type “free” societies. The horrors of British concentration camps during the Boer War are well documented. And there is little to be said in extenuation of Britain’s Zulu Wars, which were summarized in an extract from the once-famous 1930 historiographical parody “1066 And All That”: “War Against Zulus. Cause: the Zulus. Zulus exterminated. Peace with Zulus.”

Why so many conservatives still defend Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt is a mystery. The fact is that between 1942 and 1945, the FDR administration dispensed with habeas corpus in order to relocate en masse, and confine in camps, some 112,000 Japanese aliens and American-born citizens of Japanese ancestry. These Japanese internees were penned in camps, their bank accounts frozen often for years, without being charged with any crime.

Nothing in Afrikaner rule, even at its least enlightened, can match such episodes in American history.

The offending National Party began to dismantle apartheid almost a decade before the transition to democracy. By 1986, the party had already brought down apartheid’s pillars. “Beginning in the early 1980s, the South African government expanded democracy by drawing colored people and Indians into Parliament.” By the end of the 1980s, the pernicious influx control laws had been scrapped, public facilities desegregated, and racial sex laws repealed. “Blacks were allowed full freehold rights to property” and admission to historically white universities.

**

Next week: “Apartheid: A Strategy for Survival”   

Citations are in “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons For America From Post-Apartheid South-Africa” (2011) by ilana mercer, who has been writing a weekly, paleolibertarian column since 1999. She’s on Twitter, Facebook, Gab & YouTube

 

 

 

 

Stories from the Life of Christ


Stories from the Life of Christ:
A Latin Reader for Intermediate Students

Selected, with an Introduction, Notes
and Comprehensive Vocabulary
by Sean Gabb
Hampden Press, 2018
ISBN: 978-1983188732

Address to the Reader

The purpose of this book is to give a set of readings that are in genuine but fairly simple Latin, that are interesting in themselves, and that are accompanied by a Vocabulary in which nearly every word used in the text is fully explained. I hope it will be useful to intermediate students—that is, those who have made some progress in the language, but who still find the Roman Classics too difficult to read with any fluency. I think of A-Level students in England, or undergraduates anywhere in the English-speaking world who are beginning an accelerated course in Latin. I think also of students preparing for any other advanced examination at schools outside England, and of students in home education or those who are trying to learn Latin by themselves. I hope the book will be of general use. Read more

“We must obey God rather than men”: Lutheran-Calvinist theories of resistance


“We must obey God rather than men”: Lutheran-Calvinist theories of resistance
By Keir Martland 

The theology of Luther, Calvin, and other sixteenth-century Protestants is similar in some respects to that of S. Augustine, and arguably in the case of Calvin, based on a misunderstanding or misrepresentation of Augustine’s doctrine of predestination, with Harro Hopfl describing the latter as Luther and Calvin’s “favourite Patristic theologian.” Whatever the provenance of it, there is in the writings of Luther and Calvin a strong emphasis on the fallen nature of man. Now, earlier Christian thinkers with such a view of the impaired, flawed, even wretched nature of man, tended to also hold such a view of society as a whole. When thinkers such as Augustine or later ‘Political Augustinians’ applied themselves to political matters, because of their view of man and society, they gave no ‘naturalistic’ interpretation of government, authority, and power, no account of it independent of the source of all goodness, God, since man and society were, on this account, incapable of any virtue apart from Christian virtue. Their treatments of politics, then, left little room for theories of resistance or even for theories of ownership and political authority independent of the Church; rather, such thinkers tended to view all dominion as belonging ultimately to the Church and they expected at least passive obedience from the Christian to the established secular – delegated – and spiritual authorities. Yet there developed in the sixteenth-century a Lutheran-Calvinist resistance theory, or theories. It is, on the face of it, hard to see how the resistance theory as found in Theodore Beza or the Vindiciae contra Tyrannos developed from the writings of Luther and Calvin. Read more

Paul the Deacon: A Reader


Stories from Paul the Deacon: A Latin Reader for GCSE,
A-Level and University Students,
Edited with an Introduction, Notes and Comprehensive Vocabulary
by Sean Gabb

Introduction

The purpose of this book is to give students a set of readings that are in genuine but fairly simple Latin, and that are interesting in themselves, and that are accompanied by a Vocabulary in which nearly every word used in the text is fully-explained. I hope it will be useful to GCSE and A-Level students, and to undergraduates who are beginning an accelerated course in Latin. Nor do I forget students in home-education or those who are trying to learn Latin by themselves.

One of the difficulties that students of Latin at any level face is a lack of reading material that is both original and accessible. Both qualities are important. For beginners, the second of these is probably more important. If you have learned—even perhaps memorised—the grammar and rules of syntax, you have not yet learned Latin. If you are able to read a sentence by looking for the main verb, and then any subject, and then their dependent parts, you have still not learned Latin. You have learned only how to decode. You have learned the language when you are able to read an entire passage, quickly and accurately, without being consciously aware of the rules you are applying. This is an ability that comes from several hundred hours of practice—practice with texts that are not of forbidding complexity. Read more

Whodunit? Who “Meddled” With Our Democracy? (Part 2)


©2018 By ILANA MERCER

Not a day goes by when the liberal media don’t telegraph to the world that a “Trumpocracy” is destroying American democracy. Conspicuous by its absence is a pesky fact: Ours was never a country conceived as a democracy.

To arrive at a democracy, we Americans destroyed a republic.

One of the ways in which the republic was destroyed was through the slow sundering of the 10th Amendment to the Constitution. The 10th was meant to guarantee constitutional devolution of power.

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The de facto demise of the 10th has resulted in “constitutional” consolidation.

Fair enough, but is that enough? A perceptive Townhall.com reader was having none of it.

In response to “Whodunit? Who ‘Meddled’ With Our American Democracy” (Part 1), the reader upbraided this writer:

“Anyone who quotes the 10th Amendment, but not the 14th Amendment that supplanted it cannot be taken seriously.”

In other words, to advance the erosion of the 10th in explaining who did our republic in, without mentioning the 14th: this was an omission on the writer’s part.

The reader is admirably correct about Incorporation-Doctrine centralization. 

Not even conservative constitutional originalists are willing to concede that the 14th Amendment and the attendant Incorporation Doctrine have obliterated the Constitution’s federal scheme, as expressed in the once-impregnable 10th Amendment.

What does this mean?

You know the drill but are always surprised anew by it. Voters pass a law under which a plurality wishes to live in a locality. Along comes a U.S. district judge and voids the law, citing a violation of the 14th’s Equal Protection Clause.

For example: Voters elect to prohibit local government from sanctioning gay marriage. A U.S. district judge voids voter-approved law for violating the 14th’s Equal Protection Clause.

These periodical contretemps around gay marriage, or the legal duty of private property owners to cater these events, are perfectly proper judicial activism. It flows from the 14th Amendment.

If the Bill of Rights was intended to place strict limits on federal power and protect individual and locality from the national government—the 14th Amendment effectively defeated that purpose by placing the power to enforce the Bill of Rights in federal hands, where it was never intended to be.

Put differently, matters previously subject to state jurisdiction have been pulled into the orbit of a judiciary. Yet not even conservative constitutional originalists are willing to cop to this constitutional fait accompli.

The gist of it: Jeffersonian constitutional thought is no longer in the Constitution; its revival unlikely.

A Court System Centralized

For another example of the endemic usurpation of The People, rendering the original Constitutional scheme obsolete, take the work of the generic jury. With his description of the relationship between jury and people, American scholar of liberty Lysander Spooner conjures evocative imagery.

A jury is akin to the “body of the people.” Trial by jury is the closest thing to a trial by the whole country. Yet courts in the nation’s centralized court system, the Supreme Court included, are in the business of harmonizing law across the nation, rather than allowing communities to live under laws they author, as guaranteed by the 10th Amendment to the Constitution.

States’ Rights All But Obliterated 

Like juries, states had been entrusted with the power to beat back the federal government and void unconstitutional federal laws.

States’ rights are “an essential Americanism,” wrote Old Rightist Frank Chodorov. The Founding Fathers as well as the opponents of the Constitution, the Anti-Federalists, agreed on the principle of divided authority as a safeguard to the rights of the individual. 

Duly, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison perfected a certain doctrine in the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798. “The Virginia Resolutions,” explains historian Thomas E. Woods, Jr., “spoke of the states’ rights to ‘interpose’ between the federal government and the people of the states; the Kentucky Resolutions used the term nullification—the states, they said, could nullify federal laws that they believed to be unconstitutional.”

“Jefferson,” emphasized Woods, “considered states’ rights a much more important and effective safeguard of people’s liberties than the ‘checks and balances’ among the three branches of the federal government.”

And for good reason. While judicial review was intended to curb Congress and restrain the Executive, in reality, the judicial, legislative and executive unholy federal trinity has simply colluded, over time, in an alliance that has helped abolish the 10th Amendment.

Founding Faith Expunged  

And how well has First Amendment jurisprudence served constitutionalists?

Establishment-clause cases are a confusing and capricious legal penumbra. Sometimes displays of the Hebraic Decalogue or manger scene are taken to constitute the establishment of a state religion. Other times not.

This body of law forever teeters on conflating the injunction against the establishment of a state religion with an injunction against the expression of faith—especially discriminating against the founding faith in taxpayer-supported spaces.

The end result has been the expulsion of religion from the public square and the suppression therein of freedom of religion.

On the topic of religious freedom, Jefferson was prolific, too. The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom was a crowning achievement for which he wished to be remembered, along with the Declaration of Independence and the founding of the University of Virginia.

Jefferson interpreted “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the exercise thereof”—as confirms by David N. Meyer, author of Jefferson’s Constitutional Thought—to guarantee both “an absolute free exercise of religion and an absolute prohibition of an establishment of religion.”

Yet somehow, the kind of constitutional thought that carries legal sway today prohibits expressions of faith or displays of a civilizing moral code in government-controlled spheres. Given my libertarian view of government’s immoral modus operandi, I find this amusingly apropos. Still, this is not what Jefferson had in mind for early Americans.

Indeed, why would anyone, bar Nancy Pelosi and her party, object to “thou shall not kill” or “thou shall not commit adultery, steal or covet?” The Ten Commandments can hardly be perceived as an instrument for state proselytization.

Nevertheless, the law often takes displays of the Decalogue or the nativity scene on tax-payer funded property as an establishment of a state religion.

“I consider the government of the U.S. as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercise,” Jefferson expatiated.

He then gets to the soul of the subject: “This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment, or free exercise of religion but also from the Tenth Amendment, which reserves to the states [or to the people] the powers not delegated to the U.S.”

So, dear reader, if there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that the Russians didn’t deep-six our republic of private property rights and radical decentralization; we did.

***

Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly, paleolibertarian column since 1999. She is the author of “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011) & “The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed (June, 2016). She’s on Twitter, Facebook, Gab & YouTube

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