Below we see an 'educational' article by the global KHAN ACADEMY. These will be the canned global corporate neo-liberal lessons ONE WORLD ONE GOVERNANCE FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES around the world will have for information ----and they do not say a thing about all this INTRIGUE. Baby boomers learned all of what I write because we had strong public K-12 and public universities educating WE THE PEOPLE to be CITIZENS AND LEADERS.
THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION WAS DIRECTED TIED TO THE DECLINE OF THE MERCHANTS OF VENICE WHERE THE GLOBAL WEALTHY MERCHANT CLASS LOSING TRADING ROUTES WERE BEING MADE IMPOVERISHED BY THE ROYALS AND THEIR TRANS ATLANTIC COLONIZATION AND TRADE ROUTES.
'At the same time, exploration, colonization and (the often forced) Christianization of what Europe called the "new world" continued. By the end of the century, the world of the Europeans was a lot bigger and opinions about that world were more varied and more uncertain than they had been for centuries'.
The leaders of these revolutions were people not religious at all----they simply used the masses. Again, the breakdown of the Holy Roman Empire of Kings and Queens with a HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH was a good thing for the 99%---even Catholic citizens were sick of the behavior of the Catholic leadership-----AS WE SEE IN THE US THESE FEW DECADES.
These DECLINING MERCHANTS OF VENICE WHERE AN ALLIANCE---BUT THEY ARE ENSLAVING AND SHOULD NEVER BE THE LEADERS OF REVOLUTION FOR 99% WE THE PEOPLE.
The Protestant Reformation
Wittenberg, 1725, engraving, 18 x 15 cm (State and University Library, Dresden)
Wittenberg, 1725, engraving, 18 x 15 cm (State and University Library, Dresden)
A Challenge to the Church in Rome
In art history, the 16th century sees the styles we call the High Renaissance followed by Mannerism, and—at the end of the century—the emergence of the Baroque style. Naturally, these styles are all shaped by historical forces, the most significant being the Protestant Reformation’s successful challenge to the spiritual and political power of the Church in Rome. For the history of art this has particular significance since the use (and abuse) of images was the topic of debate. In fact, many images were attacked and destroyed during this period, a phenomenon called iconoclasm.
The Protestant Reformation
Today there are many types of Protestant Churches. For example, Baptist is currently the largest denomination in the United States but there are many dozens more. How did this happen? Where did they all begin? To understand the Protestant Reform movement, we need to go back in history to the early 16th century when there was only one church in Western Europe - what we would now call the Roman Catholic Church - under the leadership of the Pope in Rome. Today, we call this "Roman Catholic" because there are so many other types of churches (ie Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran, Calvinist, Anglican - you get the idea).
The Church and the State
So, if we go back to the year 1500, the Church (what we now call the Roman Catholic Church) was very powerful (politically and spiritually) in Western Europe (and in fact ruled over significant territory in Italy called the Papal States). But there were other political forces at work too. There was the Holy Roman Empire (largely made up of German speaking regions ruled by princes, dukes and electors), the Italian city-states, England, as well as the increasingly unified nation states of France and Spain (among others). The power of the rulers of these areas had increased in the previous century and many were anxious to take the opportunity offered by the Reformation to weaken the power of the papacy (the office of the Pope) and increase their own power in relation to the Church in Rome and other rulers.
Keep in mind too, that for some time the Church had been seen as an institution plagued by internal power struggles (at one point in the late 1300s and 1400s church was ruled by three Popes simultaneously). Popes and Cardinals often lived more like kings than spiritual leaders. Popes claimed temporal (political) as well as spiritual power. They commanded armies, made political alliances and enemies, and, sometimes, even waged war. Simony (the selling of Church offices) and nepotism (favoritism based on family relationships) were rampant. Clearly, if the Pope was concentrating on these worldly issues, there wasn't as much time left for caring for the souls of the faithful. The corruption of the Church was well known, and several attempts had been made to reform the Church (notably by John Wyclif and Jan Hus), but none of these efforts successfully challenged Church practice until Martin Luther's actions in the early 1500s.
Lucas Cranach the Elder, Martin Luther, Bust in Three-Quarter View, 1520
Lucas Cranach the Elder, Martin Luther, Bust in Three-Quarter View, 1520, engraving, 10 x 14.4 cm (Museum of Fine Arts, Houston)
Martin Luther was a German monk and Professor of Theology at the University of Wittenberg. Luther sparked the Reformation in 1517 by posting, at least according to tradition, his "95 Theses" on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany - these theses were a list of statements that expressed Luther's concerns about certain Church practices - largely the sale of indulgences, but they were based on Luther's deeper concerns with Church doctrine. Before we go on, notice that the word Protestant contains the word "protest" and that reformation contains the word "reform" - this was an effort, at least at first, to protest some practices of the Catholic Church and to reform that Church,Indulgences
The sale of indulgences was a practice where the church acknowledged a donation or other charitable work with a piece of paper (an indulgence), that certified that your soul would enter heaven more quickly by reducing your time in purgatory. If you committed no serious sins that guaranteed your place in hell, and you died before repenting and atoning for all of your sins, then your soul went to Purgatory - a kind of way-station where you finished atoning for your sins before being allowed to enter heaven.
Pope Leo X had granted indulgences to raise money for the rebuilding of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. These indulgences were being sold by Johann Tetzel not far from Wittenberg, where Luther was Professor of Theology. Luther was gravely concerned about the way in which getting into heaven was connected with a financial transaction. But the sale of indulgences was not Luther's only disagreement with the institution of the Church.
Martin Luther was very devout and had experienced a spiritual crisis. He concluded that no matter how "good" he tried to be, no matter how he tried to stay away from sin, he still found himself having sinful thoughts. He was fearful that no matter how many good works he did, he could never do enough to earn his place in heaven (remember that, according to the Catholic Church, doing good works, for example commissioning works of art for the Church, helped one gain entrance to heaven). This was a profound recognition of the inescapable sinfulness of the human condition. After all, no matter how kind and good we try to be, we all find ourselves having thoughts which are unkind and sometimes much worse. Luther found a way out of this problem when he read St. Paul, who wrote "The just shall live by faith" (Romans 1:17). Luther understood this to mean that those who go to heaven (the just) will get there by faith alone - not by doing good works. In other words, God's grace is something freely given to human beings, not something we can earn. For the Catholic Church on the other hand, human beings, through good works, had some agency in their salvation.
Luther (and other reformers) turned to the Bible as the only reliable source of instruction (as opposed to the teachings of the Church). The invention of the printing press in the middle of the 15th century (by Gutenberg in Mainz, Germany) together with the translation of the Bible into the vernacular (the common languages of French, Italian, German, English, etc.) meant that it was possible for those that could read to learn directly from Bible without having to rely on a priest or other church officials. Before this time, the Bible was available in Latin, the ancient language of Rome spoken chiefly by the clergy. Before the printing press, books were handmade and extremely expensive. The invention of the printing press and the translation of the bible into the vernacular meant that for the first time in history, the Bible was available to those outside of the Church. And now, a direct relationship to God, unmediated by the institution of the Catholic Church, was possible.
When Luther and other reformers looked to the words of the Bible (and there were efforts at improving the accuracy of these new translations based on early Greek manuscripts), they found that many of the practices and teachings of the Church about how we achieve salvation didn't match Christ's teaching. This included many of the Sacraments, including Holy Communion (also known as the Eucharist). According to the Catholic Church, the miracle of Communion is transubstantiation - when the priest administers the bread and wine, they change (the prefix "trans" means to change) their substance into the body and blood of Christ. Luther denied that anything changed during Holy Communion. Luther thereby challenged one of the central sacraments of the Catholic Church, one of its central miracles, and thereby one of the ways that human beings can achieve grace with God, or salvation.
The Church initially ignored Martin Luther, but Luther's ideas (and variations of them, including Calvinism) quickly spread throughout Europe. He was asked to recant (to disavow) his writings at the Diet of Worms (an unfortunate name for a council held by the Holy Roman Emperor in the German city of Worms). When Luther refused, he was excommunicated (in other words, expelled from the church). The Church's response to the threat from Luther and others during this period is called the Counter-Reformation ("counter" meaning against).The Council of Trent
In 1545 the Church opened the Council of Trent to deal with the issues raised by Luther. The Council of Trent was an assembly of high officials in the Church who met (on and off for eighteen years) principally in the Northern Italian town of Trent for 25 sessions.
Selected Outcomes of the Council of Trent:
- The Council denied the Lutheran idea of justification by faith. They affirmed, in other words, their Doctrine of Merit, which allows human beings to redeem themselves through Good Works, and through the sacraments.
- They affirmed the existence of Purgatory and the usefulness of prayer and indulgences in shortening a person's stay in purgatory.
- They reaffirmed the belief in transubstantiation and the importance of all seven sacraments
- They reaffirmed the authority of both scripture the teachings and traditions of the Church
- They reaffirmed the necessity and correctness of religious art (see below)
At the Council of Trent, the Church also reaffirmed the usefulness of images - but indicated that church officials should be careful to promote the correct use of images and guard against the possibility of idolatry. The council decreed that images are useful "because the honour which is shown them is referred to the prototypes which those images represent" (in other words, through the images we honor the holy figures depicted). And they listed another reason images were useful, "because the miracles which God has performed by means of the saints, and their salutary examples, are set before the eyes of the faithful; that so they may give God thanks for those things; may order their own lives and manners in imitation of the saints; and may be excited to adore and love God, and to cultivate piety."
The Reformation was a very violent period in Europe, even family members were often pitted against one another in the wars of religion. Each side, both Catholics and Protestants, were often absolutely certain that they were in the right and that the other side was doing the devil's work.
The artists of this period - Michelangelo in Rome, Titian in Venice, Durer in Nuremberg, Cranach in Saxony - were impacted by these changes since the Church had been the single largest patron for artists. And art was now being scrutinized in an entirely new way. The Catholic Church was looking to see if art communicated the stories of the Bible effectively and clearly (see Veronese's Feast in the House of Levi for more on this). Protestants on the other hand, for the most part lost the patronage of the Church and religious images (sculptures, paintings, stained glass windows etc) were destroyed in iconoclastic riots.
It is also during this period that the Scientific Revolution gained momentum and observation of the natural world replaced religious doctrine as the source of our understanding of the universe and our place in it. Copernicus up-ended the ancient Greek model of the heavens by suggesting that the Sun was at the center of the solar system and that the planets orbited around it.
At the same time, exploration, colonization and (the often forced) Christianization of what Europe called the "new world" continued. By the end of the century, the world of the Europeans was a lot bigger and opinions about that world were more varied and more uncertain than they had been for centuries.
Please note, this tutorial focuses on Western Europe. There are other forms of Christianity in other parts of the world including for example the Eastern Orthodox Church.
If the 99% of citizens were engaged in being citizens---educating on public policy and global history we would welcome any business groups wanting to advance their markets and wealth---that is what American capitalism is about. So, we don't want to bash humanists, freemasons, Jacobins, et al for advancing their families wealth and businesses---
WE ARE BASHING THEM BECAUSE THEY ARE SECRET AND DECEIVING AND UNDERMINING THE 99% WITH GOALS OF ENSLAVING WE THE PEOPLE.
Through the 1700s in Europe KINGS AND QUEENS FELL----so too the Holy Catholic Church's hold on governance and VOILA----we had citizens, constitutions, free markets for all---but not before a mass global labor pool of European citizens were shipped to those AMERICAN COLONIES. The KINGS AND QUEENS with their global bankers were creating those new American colonial trade routes complete with all the slave trading population of those colonies. Black, white, and brown------indentured servants, slaves, global labor pool heading for the American colonies. Know who fell in with all those new Protestant faiths heading to America to be colonists? That's right----those freemasons, humanists, Jacobins -----laying low until the time to start an AMERICAN REVOLUTION. Those American revolutionary leaders as always were those very old-world MERCHANTS OF VENICE----ready to grow their business interests in the new colonies along with those former GLOBAL 1% AND THE 2% OF ROYAL FAMILIES.
This is why our original US Constitution remains in the hands of the landed gentry and merchants-----WE THE PEOPLE were still slaves in the minds of both the former royals and the former MERCHANTS OF VENICE.
This freemason group in Texas is no doubt why a global 1% old world Bush family were able to capture what were strong, independent 99% of WE THE PEOPLE in Texas......today Texas is simply a global labor pool Foreign Economic Zone minus Texans.
These few centuries in America saw the economic wealth of all rise and our US Constitution went from being the LANDED GENTRY AND RICH MERCHANT with rights and none for those serfs-----to being amended to include WE THE PEOPLE. We were heading in the right direction but the 99% did not know how to be citizens and merchant leaders.
The Masonic Trowel
... to spread the cement of brotherly love and affection, that cement which unites us into one sacred band or society of brothers, among whom no contention should ever exist, but that noble emulation of who can best work or best agree ...
Masonic quotes by Brothers
Being persuaded that a just application of the principles, on which the Masonic Fraternity is founded, must be promote of private virtue and public prosperity, I shall always be happy to advance the interests of the Society, and to be considered by them as a deserving brother.
FREEMASONRY AND THE AMERICAN REVOLUTIOFrom The Grand Lodge Of TexasFrom The Grand Lodge Of Texas
The month of July is special to all Americans because we celebrate the birth of our nation on the fourth of July. On that date in the year 1776, representatives of the thirteen American colonies, assembled at what is now known as Independence Hall in Philadelphia, adopted a manifesto asserting their political independence from the British crown. We know that document as the American Declaration of Independence.
Over the last two centuries various Masonic writers have often attempted to inflate the involvement of members of the Masonic fraternity in the events leading up to and resulting from this important historic event. It has often been claimed that all or most of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were Freemasons; or that all or most of the general officers serving under Washington were Freemasons. These claims have been made to bolster the theory that the events of the American Revolution and the formation of the American colonies into an independent republic were carried out according to some Masonic plan, and in accordance with universal Masonic principles.
It is always best that such claims be tempered by the light of responsible and accurate historic research, not for the purpose of discounting the patriotic nature of our early American Masonic forbearers, but rather to understand the role that Freemasons did play in the formation of this great nation. Probably the best accounting of Masonic membership among the signers of the Declaration of Independence is provided in the book Masonic Membership of the Founding Fathers, by Ronald E. Heaton, published by the Masonic Service Association at Silver Spring, Maryland. According to this well researched and documented work, proof of Masonic membership can be found for only eight of the fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Independence. They are:
- Benjamin Franklin, of the Tun Tavern Lodge at Philadelphia;
- John Hancock, of St. Andrew's Lodge in Boston;
- Joseph Hewes, who was recorded as a Masonic visitor to Unanimity Lodge No. 7, Edenton, North Carolina, in December 1776;
- William Hooper, of Hanover Lodge, Masonborough, North Carolina;
- Robert Treat Payne, present at Grand Lodge at Roxbury, Massachusetts, in June 1759;
- Richard Stockton, charter Master of St. John's Lodge, Princeton, Massachusetts in 1765;
- George Walton, of Solomon's Lodge No. 1, Savannah, Georgia; and
- William Whipple, of St. John's Lodge, Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
As for the Masonic membership among Washington’s generals, it is true that many were members of the fraternity, but many were not. The recognized modern authority on the subject is James R. Case, former Grand Historian of the Grand Lodge of Connecticut, who published his findings in the 1955 booklet Fifty Early American Military Freemasons.
When examining the participation of Freemasons in the American Revolution we should first remember the Ancient Charges of a Freemason, and especially that charge concerning “the Civil Magistrates, Supreme and Subordinate,” which enjoins the Mason to be “a peaceable subject to the Civil Powers” and “never to be concern'd in plots and conspiracies against the peace and welfare of the nation.” This charge was listed as the second of those contained in the Constitutions adopted by the Premier Grand Lodge at London in 1723, long before the American Revolution. How then can we justify the participation of American Freemasons in their rebellion against the King?
The answer can be given in two parts. First, the Masonic fraternity in the American colonies took no part in the Revolution, following Masonic tradition by taking no official stance. However, the fraternity’s official neutrality may have owed as much to the divided loyalties of its leadership as it did to Masonic tradition. Many Masons were Loyalists. And second, rebellion against the state, whether justified or unjustified, is not a Masonic offense. The Old Charges state clearly “if a Brother should be a Rebel against the State, ... if convicted of no other Crime, ... they cannot expel him from the Lodge, and his Relation to it remains indefeasible.” This simply means that, in the case of the American Revolution, many brethren, feeling that the actions of the crown warranted revolution and independence, were justified in following their consciences without fear of violating their Masonic obligations or any Masonic law.
As the charge concerning the Civil Magistrates reminds us, “Masonry hath been always injured by War, Bloodshed, and Confusion,” the fraternity was indeed injured by the war. General Joseph Warren, Grand Master of the Ancient’s Provincial Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, lost his life at the Battle of Bunker Hill in June 1775 and his body was thrown into an unmarked grave. While he had led the American troops during that battle, his lodge brother, Dr. John Jeffries assisted the British troops. Nearly a year later, his body was exhumed and identified by another Lodge brother, Paul Revere.
Even before the Declaration of Independence, colonial Masonry suffered from the disruptions of the war, and the division of loyalties among its members. Many lodges found it difficult to meet regularly, and others ceased to meet at all. Many lodges were disbanded as occupying British forces prohibited private assemblies, and loyalist Masons fled the country or joined the British forces.
Although the Masonic fraternity played no part in the Revolutionary War, it can easily be shown that in many ways the revolutionary ideals of equality, freedom, and democracy were espoused by the Masonic fraternity long before the American colonies began to complain about the injustices of British taxation. The revolutionary ideals expressed in the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, and the writings of Thomas Paine, were ideals that had come to fruition over a century before in the early speculative lodges of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, where men sat as equals, governed themselves by a Constitution, and elected their own leaders from their midst. In many ways, the self-governing Masonic lodges of the previous centuries had been learning laboratories for the concept of self-government.
On September 18, 1793, President George Washington, dressed in his Masonic apron, leveled the cornerstone of the United States Capitol with the traditional Masonic ceremony. Historian Stephen Bullock in his book Revolutionary Brotherhood carefully notes the historic and symbolic significance of that ceremony. The Masonic brethren, dressed in their fraternal regalia, had assembled in grand procession, and were formed for that occasion as representative of Freemasonry's new found place of honor in an independent American society. At that moment, the occasion of the laying of the new Republic's foundations, Freemasons assumed the mantles “high priests” of that “first temple dedicated to the sovereignty of the people,” and they “helped form the symbolic foundations of what the Great Seal called ‘the new order for the ages’.”
I shared yesterday an article written by a citizens SUPPORTING THE CENTRAL BANK AS AN ECONOMIC STRUCTURE so what was said had a bias of information towards that support. Too many citizens KNOW a central bank is a bad economic structure.....but here it is in the 1913 Congress being installed----and the secret meeting on Jekyll Island looks to have many banking families attending who were OLD WORLD RICH BANKING FAMILIES. It would be natural to assume such a meeting would occur in Georgia----the original 13 colonies had those citizens loyal to the ROYAL KINGS AND QUEENS of England and Europe. What we saw here was the policy moving our American economy from being a WE THE PEOPLE growing wealth and prosperity -----freedom and justice----to MOVING FORWARD BACK TO THE 500-1500 GLOBAL MARKET 1% AND THEIR 2% TRADING STRUCTURE. It was this policy of US FED that started the consolidation of all US industries into MONOPOLIES-----then global market monopolies-----THEN AS TODAY a US government and economy controlled only by the global 1% and their 2%. CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA tied to those old world global rich-----with the MERCHANTS OF VENICE AMERICAN business families being sent into DECLINE AND LOSS OF WEALTH.
The US FED was never intended to simply serve as a back up in hard times---its mechanism was always tied to handing the global rich complete control of our US economy------the 1% and their 2% did all this while labeling FDR as Democratic and left socialism -----the policies were but FDR and those fake left social leaders were not.
The Secret Meeting That Launched the Federal Reserve: Echoes
Feb 15, 2012 11:49 AM EST
Gregory D L Morris
Although it may seem shocking to watch the 112th Congress, there was a time when national leaders were swift and decisive in getting things done. In November 1910, in the space of less than two weeks, a group of government and business leaders fashioned a powerful new financial system that has survived a century, two world wars, a Great Depression and many recessions.
Of course, the Jekyll Island conference, which met that month, was dodgy even by the standards of the Gilded Age: a self-selected handful of plutocrats secretly meeting at a private resort island to draw up a new framework for the nation’s banking system. Add in the gnarly live oaks and dripping Spanish moss of coastal Georgia, and the baronial becomes baroque.
The group's original plan wasn't ratified by Congress, but one very much like it was adopted and became the basis of the Federal Reserve system that remains in place today.
At the time, the Panic of 1907 was still fresh in everyone’s mind. J.P. Morgan had resolved that panic by locking the heads of major banks in his library overnight, and strong-arming them into a deal to provide sufficient liquidity to end the runs on banks and brokerages.
No one was happy with that expediency, and in 1908 Congress passed the Aldrich-Vreeland Act, which formed the National Monetary Commission. Senator Nelson Aldrich, a Rhode Island Republican and sponsor of the act, embarked on a fact-finding mission to Europe, where he met with government ministers and bankers.
The panic had shown that the existing financial system, founded on government bonds, was brittle and ponderous. But, although voters were eager for a more robust and responsive system, there was no support at the time for a central bank either from the public or from industrialists. Both were suspicious of such government interference.
The Jekyll Island collaborators knew that public reports of their meeting would scupper their plans. The idea of senior officials from the Treasury, Congress, major banks and brokerages (along with one foreign national) slipping off to design a new world order has struck generations of Americans as distasteful at best and undemocratic at worst -- and would have been similarly received at the time. So the meeting of the minds was planned under the ruse of a gentlemen’s duck-hunting expedition.
Aldrich, an archetype of his age, was a personal friend of Morgan, and Aldrich's daughter was married to John D. Rockefeller Jr. He found in the European central banks a useful model. Although the financial system in the U.S. was functional enough to stoke the engines of a growing industrial economy, it was a classic example of the persistence of interim solutions. The models Aldrich found in Europe were more efficient and effective.
What he lacked was a way to graft those characteristics onto the American economy without retarding it. Hence the duck hunt.
Aldrich invited men he knew and trusted, or at least men of influence who he felt could work together. They included Abram Piatt Andrew, assistant secretary of the Treasury; Henry P. Davison, a business partner of Morgan's; Charles D. Norton, president of the First National Bank of New York; Benjamin Strong, another Morgan friend and the head of Bankers Trust; Frank A. Vanderlip, president of the National City Bank; and Paul M. Warburg, a partner in Kuhn, Loeb & Co. and a German citizen.
The men made their way to the island by private railway car and ferry.
In Vanderlip, Aldrich had found the tactician to design a functional American central bank. Vanderlip was born a farm boy in Aurora, Illinois, put himself through college, and worked his way up the Chicago financial ladder. He became personal assistant to Treasury Secretary Lyman Gage, and in 1898 made his mark managing loans to the government to finance the Spanish-American War.
As Bertie Charles Forbes related in his 1916 book, "Men Who Are Making America":
Vanderlip knew more about government bonds than any other man living. He knew other banks would like to be relieved of all the red tape incidental to buying and putting up bonds to cover circulation, depositing reserves to cover note issues &c. He began to dictate a circular letter to be sent broadcast to the country’s 4,000 national banks.
That was exactly the kind of perspicacity Aldrich was seeking. The collaborators spent 10 days on Jekyll Island. What emerged was an idea for something called the National Reserve Association, which would act as a central bank, issuing currency and holding member banks’ reserves. While it would handle government debt, it would be a private institution. The U.S. Treasury would have a seat on the board, but would exercise no further oversight.
The reserve association was brought to Congress as the "Aldrich plan," and it got nowhere. There was opposition in both parties, from populist William Jennings Bryan, a Nebraska Democrat, to progressive Robert La Follette, a Wisconsin Republican.
Woodrow Wilson ran for president opposed to the bankers’ club but committed to financial reform. There followed a blizzard of proposals from every part of the political spectrum. Eventually, Carter Glass, a Virginia Democrat and the chairman of the House banking committee, drafted what would become the Federal Reserve Act with the help of Robert Latham Owen, an Oklahoma Democrat. The act became law at the end of 1913.
Although the Glass-Owen bill was a compromise, the core of the Aldrich plan remained. There were many minor detail changes from the Jekyll Island accords, but the major one was a more prominent role given to the Treasury. (To this day the debate continues as to whether the Fed is truly independent, or should be.) Benjamin Strong, one of the Jekyll Island cohorts, became the first president of the New York Federal Reserve in 1914.
Today, a central bank is the global standard. All 187 members of the International Monetary Fund have them. In November 2010, Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke held a press conference on Jekyll Island to celebrate the centennial of the meeting. Aldrich and his colleagues would have been proud of their accomplishment -- but mortified by the publicity.
Those global 1% and their 2% growing wealth in the US those few centuries made the decision to move towards global empire-building in those late 1800s to early 1900s----the Wall Street frauds to move all wealth to the top----the creation of an FDR social public wealth ----all tied to MOVING FORWARD that expansion overseas. One thing the MERCHANTS OF VENICE did that the KINGS AND QUEENS did not-----they had to entertain the 99% with arts, entertainment, festivals to make them feel they were part of the extreme wealth being accumulated by a few. The MERCHANTS OF VENICE dressed and lived simply because they worked with and needed the 99% -----
THE ROYALS WITH COMPLETE POWER AND CONTROL OF WEALTH AND ECONOMICS FLOUTED THEIR WEALTH AND COULD CARE LESS ABOUT APPEARANCES.
One thing learned about the beheading of European royals in the Revolutions----do not allow the 99% to see wealth----make sure they feel they are participating in global trade and wealth accumulation. MERCHANTS OF VENICE with the secret societies---business associations made sure to interact with the 99% they were enslaving around the world---yes, they were lying, cheating, stealing all the wealth of the 99% just like the ROYALS -----but they created the impression they were allied with the 99%.
FDR's NEW DEAL expanded public K-12----expanded public universities all with policies of funding making sure WE THE PEOPLE could participate. One can see how these policies played out in ways that mirror the ROYALS VS THE MERCHANTS OF VENICE. The Southern States not shy in remaining extreme wealth and extreme poverty with that colonial plantation governance used all those Federal education funds to create an education structure captured of information for public interest-----captured from educating for citizenship ----and instead used that funding to create what would be a source of the coming need for a 5% TO THE 1% WORKING FOR GLOBAL WALL STREET....... the same structures used during earlier revolutionary battles of global 1% and their 2% ----
The increase in the construction of schools between 1950 and 1969 corresponds to the years during which the Baby Boom generation was going to school.
This is why we see schools in the south filled with GREEK FRATS AND SORORITIES-----filled with corporate classes teaching global market----filled with religious schools and all those same old world secret societies and business associations AND BALTIMORE IS GROUND ZERO FOR THIS. This was used to capture the 99% of citizens who should have used public schools to advance their own community economies and their own family wealth when they instead tied themselves to global Wall Street and that 1% and their 2%
How Old are America's Public Schools?
The condition of America's public school facilities is an issue of great concern to educators and administrators (Honeyman, 1994; Kowalski, 1995). In 1989, the Education Writers Association reported that nearly half of the public school buildings in America were obsolete and contained environmental hazards (Lewis, 1989). The state of America's school facilities continues to be a problem today. In his 1997 State of the Union Address, President Clinton remarked, "We cannot expect our children to raise themselves up in schools that are literally falling down. With the student population at an all time high, and record numbers of school buildings falling into disrepair, this has now become a serious national concern" (Clinton, 1997).
How old are America's public schools? How recently have public schools been renovated? Data available from the Fast Response Survey System (FRSS), conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), can be used to help answer these questions. In 1994, 1995, and 1996, FRSS queried U. S. public school administrators about the age of their school buildings and the date of the building's last renovation. The combined data from these 3 years make it possible to help determine the average age of public schools, where the older and newer public schools are located, and whether school age is related to other school characteristics. Data from 1995 provide information on school renovation and Internet accessibility.
The increase in the construction of schools between 1950 and 1969 corresponds to the years during which the Baby Boom generation was going to school.In 1998, the average public school building in the United States was 42 years old. The mean age ranged from 46 years in the Northeast and Central states to 37 years in the Southeast (table 1). On average, schools located in the Northeast and Central regions of the country were older than those located in the Southeast and the West. Many of America's schools may be at an age where frequent repairs are necessary. According to Ornstein (1994), when a school is 20 to 30 years old, frequent replacement of equipment is needed. Between 30 and 40 years old, the original equipment should have been replaced, including the roof and electrical equipment. After 40 years, a school building begins rapid deterioration, and after 60 years most schools are abandoned.
About one-fourth (28 percent) of all public schools were built before 1950, and 45 percent of all public schools were built between 1950 and 1969 (table 1).Seventeen percent of public schools were built between 1970 and 1984, and 10 percent were built after 1985. The increase in the construction of schools between 1950 and 1969 corresponds to the years during which the Baby Boom generation was going to school.
America's oldest schools have a higher proportion of children in poverty (table 1). Of schools with less than 20 percent of children eligible for free or reduced-price school lunch, 20 percent were built before 1950. In contrast, of schools with 20 to 49 percent and 50 percent or more children eligible for free or reduced-price school lunch, 29 percent and 34 percent were built before 1950. The age of a school and its size are also related. While 40 percent of small schools (enrollments of less than 300) were built before 1950, 23 percent of large schools (enrollments of 1,000 or more) were built before 1950.
The 99% were made to think they were GLOBAL WALL STREET PLAYERS but if they knew global history and public policy they would have known as during 500-1500 VENETIAN EMPIRE----those darn 1% and their 2% always recruit a 5% to use and throw aside minus any wealth-----they have done this for thousands of years.
All of the south's Historically Black Colleges were tied to global Wall Street market growth and Chamber of Commerce while the northern and western states before the coming of CLINTON NEO-LIBERALISM installed a left social Democratic education building citizenship and leadership for the 99%
Some call this left democratic public education PROTESTANT SCHOOLS because they did focus on making the citizen that leader with a freedom of choice----just as Protestant churches make the member central in his/her religious experience.
This article is written from a conservative right wing bias and the author admits he comes to PROTESTANTISM from Catholicicism----as we are seeing in our Congress where pols pretend to be religious----especially pretending to be protestant evangelicals when they are CATHOLIC for just one----this article tries to tell us that PROTESTANT FAITHS cannot exist in a culture of freedom and equal opportunity and rights of a 99%.
IT IS TRUE THE GLOBAL 1% AND THEIR 2% ARE TRYING HARD TO KILL THAT PROTESTANT BELIEF IN THE POWER OF THE INDIVIDUAL PERSON TO DECIDE THEIR LIFE AND RELIGIOUS BELIEFS-----but it has nothing to do with growing AMERICAN DEMOCRACY AND US CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF WE THE PEOPLE.
'So an allegedly democratic society that styles itself as one made up of people of strong conviction in fact becomes the most conformist of social orders, because of the necessity to avoid conflicts that cannot be resolved'.
'Modernity and the corruption of "freedom"
I believe we may be living at a time when we are watching Protestantism - at least the kind of Protestantism we have in America - come to an end. It is dying of its own success. Protestantism became identified with the republican presumption in liberty as an end reinforced by belief in the common sense of the individual. As a result, Protestant churches in America lost the ability to maintain the disciplines necessary to sustain a people capable of being an alternative to the world. Ironically, the feverish fervency of the religious right in America to sustain faith as a necessary condition for supporting democracy cannot help but be a strategy that insures the faith that is sustained is not the Christian faith'.
Today we are indeed seeing a forceful ending of PROTESTANTISM ----it is tied to these massive Wall Street frauds bringing extreme wealth and extreme power and as in the old world of global MERCHANTS----that Catholic/Jewish/Humanist battle is back ------all with the same goal of enslaving WE THE PEOPLE.
Please be careful because these 5% to the 1% religious leaders are NOT RELIGIOUS---they are global Wall Street players....those same old world 1% AND THEIR 2% MERCHANTS OF VENICE VS THE GLOBAL 1% AND THEIR 2% ROYALS.
Religion & Ethics: Content from Across the ABC
The End of American Protestantism
Stanley Hauerwas ABC Religion and Ethics Updated 2 Sep 2015 (First posted 2 Jul 2013)
American Christianity has been less than it should have been just to the extent that the church has failed to make clear that America's god is not the God we worship as Christians. Credit: www.shutterstock.com
Stanley Hauerwas is Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics at Duke University.
Catholics in America know they do not belong, which is why they are so determined to demonstrate that they are more American than the Americans.
All you need to know to understand America is that the FBI is made up of Catholics and Southerners. This is because Catholics and Southerners have to try to show they are more loyal than most Americans, since Southerners have a history of disloyalty and Americans fear that Catholics may owe their allegiance to some guy in Rome. That is why the FBI is given the task of examining graduates of Harvard and Yale - that is, high-culture Protestants who, of course, no longer believe in God - to see if they are loyal enough to be operatives for the CIA.
The related phenomenon is what I call "the New York Times Catholics." These are Catholics, usually clergy, a New York Times journalist has learned to call after the Pope has issued an encyclical or given a speech that seems offensive to American sensibilities. They call a Catholic, whom they have previously identified as a critic of the church, to have confirmed that whatever the Pope has said, Catholics in America are not required to obey, or even if they are so required, Catholics will not take what the Pope has said seriously. From the perspective of the New York Times, therefore, a good Catholic is one that would be regarded by the Vatican as a bad Catholic.
But what I want to focus on here is the character of American Protestantism, as well as the religious awareness of the American people and the impact that awareness has on society and politics. No small topic. I think it first important to identify the perspective from which I speak. I am a Protestant. I am a communicant at the Church of the Holy Family, an Episcopal church in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I teach in the Divinity School at Duke University, a very secular university. But before Duke I taught fourteen years at the University of Notre Dame.
I relate this history only to suggest that I come from the Catholic side of Protestantism. I am not sure I can make clear what it means to say I come from the Catholic side of Protestantism, but at the very least, it means that I do not think Christianity began with the Reformation. When I was interviewed for possible appointment to the faculty at Notre Dame I was asked what Protestant courses I would teach. I said I did not teach Protestant theology because I thought the very notion was a mistake. Rather I would teach Thomas Aquinas, because his work was crucial for my attempt to recover the virtues for understanding the Christian life. I saw no reason that Aquinas should be assumed to be only a thinker for Roman Catholics.
But my presumption that I could claim Aquinas as a theologian in my tradition betrays a Protestant consciousness that may be distinctly American. It turns out that even those of us who would like to be identified as representing the Catholic side of Protestantism do so as a matter of choice. This dilemma, I believe, is crucial for understanding the character of religious life in America.
America's godAmerica is the first great experiment in Protestant social formation. Protestantism in Europe always assumed and depended on the cultural habits that had been created by Catholic Christianity. America is the first place Protestantism did not have to define itself over against a previous Catholic culture. So America is the exemplification of a constructive Protestant social imagination.
I believe - as Mark Noll rightly suggests in his book, America's God - America is a synthesis of evangelical Protestantism, republican political ideology and commonsense moral reasoning. Americans were able to synthesize these antithetical traditions by making their faith in God indistinguishable from their loyalty to a country that insured them that they had the right to choose which god they would or would not believe in. That is why Bonhoeffer accurately characterized America Protestantism as "Protestantism without Reformation."
American Protestants do not have to believe in God because they believe in belief. That is why we have never been able to produce interesting atheists in America. The god most Americans say they believe in just is not interesting enough to deny. The only kind of atheism that counts in America is to call into question the proposition that everyone has a right to life, liberty and happiness.
Thus America did not need to have an established church because it was assumed that the church was virtually established by the everyday habits of public life. For example, Noll calls attention to the 1833 amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution that did away with church establishment but nonetheless affirmed "the public worship of God, and the instructions in piety, religion, and morality, promote the happiness and prosperity of a people, and the security of republican government."
Noll points out that these words were written at the same time Alexis de Tocqueville had just returned to France from his tour of North America. Tocqueville descriptively confirmed the normative point made in the Massachusetts Constitution, observing:
"I do not know if all Americans have faith in their religion - for who can read to the bottom of hearts? - but I am sure that they believe it necessary to the maintenance of republican institutions. This opinion does not belong only to one class of citizens or to one party, but to the entire nation; one finds it in all ranks."Protestantism came to the land we now call American to make America Protestant. It was assumed that what it meant to be American and Protestant was equivalent to a faith in the reasonableness of the common man and the establishment of a democratic republic. But in the process the church in America became American - or, as Noll puts it, "because the churches had done so much to make America, they could not escape living with what they had made."
As a result Americans continue to maintain a stubborn belief in a god, but the god they believe in turns out to be the American god. To know or worship that god does not require that a church exist because that god is known through the providential establishment of a free people. This is a presumption shared by the religious right as well as the religious left in America. Both assume that America is the church.
Noll ends his account of these developments with the end of the Civil War, but the fundamental habits he identifies as decisive in the formation of the American religious and political consciousness continues to shape the way Christians - in particular, Protestant Christians - understand their place in America.
Yet I think we are beginning to see the loss of confidence by Protestants in their ability to sustain themselves in America, just to the extent that the inevitable conflict between the church, republicanism, and common sense morality has now worked its way out. America is the great experiment in Protestant social thought but the world Protestants created now threatens to make Protestantism unintelligible to itself. That is an obscure remark I must now try to make clear.
Modernity and the corruption of "freedom"
I believe we may be living at a time when we are watching Protestantism - at least the kind of Protestantism we have in America - come to an end. It is dying of its own success. Protestantism became identified with the republican presumption in liberty as an end reinforced by belief in the common sense of the individual. As a result, Protestant churches in America lost the ability to maintain the disciplines necessary to sustain a people capable of being an alternative to the world. Ironically, the feverish fervency of the religious right in America to sustain faith as a necessary condition for supporting democracy cannot help but be a strategy that insures the faith that is sustained is not the Christian faith.
More Americans may go to church than their counterparts in Europe, but the churches to which they go do little to challenge the secular presumptions that form their lives or the lives of the churches to which they go. For the church is assumed to exist to reinforce the presumption that those that come to church have done so freely. The church's primary function, therefore, is to legitimate and sustain the presumption that America represents what all people would want to be if they had the benefit of American education and money.
Let me try to put this in a different register. America is the exemplification of what I call the project of modernity. That project is the attempt to produce a people who believe that they should have no story except the story that they choose when they had no story. That is what Americans mean by "freedom." The institutions that constitute the disciplinary forms of that project are liberal democracy and capitalism. Thus the presumption that if you get to choose between a Sony or Panasonic television, you have had a "free choice." The same presumption works for choosing a President. Once you have made your choice you have to learn to live with it. So there is a kind of resignation that freedom requires.
I try to help Americans see that the story that they should have no story except the story they choose when they had no story is their story by asking them this question: "Do you think you ought to be held accountable for decisions you made when you did not know what you were doing?" They do not think they should be held accountable for decisions they made when they did not know what they were doing. They do not believe they should be held accountable because it is assumed that you should only be held accountable when you acted freely, and that means you had to know what you were doing.
I then point out the only difficulty with such an account of responsibility is that it makes marriage unintelligible. How could you ever know what you were doing when you promised lifelong, monogamous fidelity? I then observe that is why the church insists that your vows be witnessed by the church, since the church believes it has the duty to hold you responsible to promises you made when you did not know what you were doing.
The story that you should have no story but the story you choose when you had no story also makes it unintelligible to try having children. You never get the ones you want. Americans try to get the ones they want by only having children when they are "ready." This is a utopian desire that wreaks havoc on children so born, just to the extent they come to believe they can only be loved if they fulfil their parents' desires.
Of course, the problem with the story that you should have no story except the story you choose when you had no story is that story is a story that you have not chosen. But Americans do not have the ability to acknowledge that they have not chosen the story that they should have no story except the story they choose when they had no story. As a result, they must learn to live with decisions they made when they thought they knew what they were doing but later realized they did not know what they were doing. They have a remedy when it comes to marriage - it is called divorce. They also have a remedy regarding children - it is called abortion.
The story that you should have no story except the story you choose when you had no story obviously has implications for how faith is understood. The story that you should have no story except the story you choose when you had no story produces people who say things such as, "I believe Jesus is Lord - but that's just my personal opinion." The grammar of this kind of avowal obviously reveals a superficial person. But such people are the kind many think crucial to sustain democracy. For such a people are necessary in order to avoid the conflicts that otherwise might undermine the order, which is confused with peace, necessary to sustain a society that shares no goods in common other than the belief that there are no goods in common.
So an allegedly democratic society that styles itself as one made up of people of strong conviction in fact becomes the most conformist of social orders, because of the necessity to avoid conflicts that cannot be resolved.
Such a view has devastating effects on the church. For the church does not believe that you should have no story except the story you choose when you had no story. Rather the church believes that we are creatures of a good God who has storied us through engrafting us to the people of Israel through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Christians do not believe we get to choose our story, but rather we discover that God has called us to participate in a story not of our own making. That is why we are called into the church as well as why we are called, "Christian." A church so formed cannot help but be a challenge to a social order built on the contrary presumption that I get to make my life up.
But a church formed capable of challenging the reigning ethos that sustains America is no easy achievement. You may well think that the Catholic Church surely would be up to that task, but you need to remember that, as Archbishop Francis George of Chicago often remarks, Catholicism in America has largely become a form of Protestant Christianity. Catholics in America, like their Protestant sisters and brothers, are likely to assume that there is no essential tension between being a Christian and being an American. As a result Catholics in America think the distinction between the public and the private (and their "faith" clearly falls into the latter) is a given that cannot be questioned.
America's culture of death
If I am right about the story that shapes the American self-understanding, I think we are in a position to better understand why after 11 September 2001 the self-proclaimed "most powerful nation in the world" runs on fear. It does so because the fear of death is necessary to insure a level of cooperation between people who otherwise share nothing in common. That is, they share nothing in common other than the presumption that death is to be avoided at all costs.
That is why in America hospitals have become our cathedrals and physicians are our priests. Accordingly medical schools are much more serious about the moral formation of their students than divinity schools. They are so because Americans do not believe that an inadequately trained priest may damage their salvation, but they do believe an inadequately trained doctor can hurt them.
The American desire to use medicine in an attempt to get out of life alive is but the domestic form of American foreign policy. 11 September 2001 gave America exactly what she so desperately needed after the end of the cold war, for it is unclear if America can live without a war. Otherwise, what would give us a moral compass? So we got a "war against terrorism," which is a war without end.
That Americans are willing to die for America is indicative of their most basic conviction. For, as Carolyn Marvin and David Ingle observe in their book, Blood Sacrifice and the Nation: Totem Rituals and the American Flag:
"In an era of Western ascendancy, the triumph of Christianity clearly meant the triumph of the states of Christianity, among them the most powerful of modern states, the United States. Though religions have survived and flourished in persecution and powerlessness, supplicants nevertheless take manifestations of power as blessed evidence of the truth of faith. Still, in the religiously plural society of the United States, sectarian faith is optional for citizens, as everyone knows. Americans have rarely bled, sacrificed or died for Christianity or any other sectarian faith. Americans have often bled, sacrificed and died for their country. This fact is an important clue to its religious power. Though denominations are permitted to exist in the United States, they are not permitted to kill for their beliefs are not officially true. What is really true in any society is what is worth killing for, and what citizens may be compelled to sacrifice their lives for."America is a culture of death because Americans cannot conceive of how life is possible in the face of death. Freedom names the attempt to live as though we will not die. Lives lived as though death is only a theoretical possibility, moreover, can only be sustained by a wealth otherwise unimaginable. But America is an extraordinarily wealthy society determined to remain so even if it requires our domination of the rest of the world. We are told that others hate us because they despise our freedoms, but it may be that others sense that what Americans call freedom is bought at the expense of the lives of others.
***I love America and I love being an American. The energy of Americans - their ability to hew out lives often in unforgiving land, their natural generosity - I cherish. But I am a Christian. I cannot avoid the reality that American Christianity has been less than it should have been just to the extent that the church has failed to make clear that America's god is not the God we worship as Christians.
If I am right that we are now facing the end of Protestantism, hopefully that will leave the church in America in a position with nothing to lose. When you have nothing to lose, all you have left is the truth. God may yet make the church faithful - even in America.
A majority of Americans still identify as Protestant no matter how many sects we have over the centuries. As with all religious branches our Protestant churches are filled with a 5% to the 1% Wall Street players corrupting our religious structures.
Remember this about the Protestant Reformation and today's protestant churches across America-----the driver of this religious revolution besides those MERCHANTS OF VENICE---for the 99 % was indeed---we wanted that direct relationship with a God---even the Catholic citizens hated the Catholic Church's dominance in all that was society and religious practice.
The polls in the US today are SKEWED----THE DATA IS NO LONGER ACCURATE---so we don't want to believe one way or another the decline or increase religious belief by American citizens and immigrants working in the US. What has KILLED RELIGION is the making our our church into BUSINESS CORPORATIONS-----our Protestant churches are as bad as any ROMAN EMPIRE CATHOLICISM----WE THE PEOPLE may not attend a church but today many Protestant citizens are far more religious---pious----then any time in history. People are making their own spaces for their beliefs in a higher being. THIS IS A SIGN OF STRONG RELIGIOUS FREEDOM ---it is not a sign of declining religious faith.
Who wants WE THE PEOPLE of any religion to think there is a decline in belief in GOD'S NATURAL LAW? THOSE GLOBAL 1% WALL STREET NEO-LIBERALS AND NEO-CONSERVATIVES HEADING TOWARDS A FAR-RIGHT WING AUTHORITARIAN GLOBAL CORPORATE CAMPUS MARXISM.
The author of this decline in Protestantism is from GLOBAL IVY LEAGUE COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY ------this gives a clue as to bias
'Mark Lilla is Professor of the Humanities at Columbia and the author, most recently, of The Stillborn God. This article appeared in the October 4, 2012 issue of the magazine'.
Blame it on the Reformation
By Mark Lilla
September 14, 2012The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society
By Brad S. Gregory
(Harvard University Press, 574 pp., $39.95)
THERE ARE ONLY so many ways of telling a story. Scan world literature and you discover a surprisingly small stock of narrative styles; narrow your search to historical writing and you find only a handful.
The oldest and most enduring is the chronicle. Chronicles all look something like the Bayeux Tapestry, the eleventh-century embroidered scroll that visualizes the stream of events leading up to the Norman Conquest. As the scroll unfurls you see men fighting on ships, followed by men fighting on horseback, followed by men fighting with swords, with the occasional lord and castle thrown in for variety. This goes on for more than two hundred feet. Since chronicles try to be comprehensive, they are wonderfully messy documents—messy like the truth. They leave the impression that the outcomes of human action depend on choices the actors make in time, that they are weaving the tapestry as they go.
The Hebrew Bible belongs in this tradition. What makes the chronicle of the covenant so dramatic is that it follows the unpredictable encounter of divine and human freedom in all its emotional twists and turns. God chose Abraham, but would Abraham choose God? In the event, he did; but then Isaac had to choose whether to remain faithful to their covenant, as did Jacob and Esau, and so on down the line. The story that emerges is meaningful not because it exposes the irresistible work of providence, but because it doesn’t. It teaches that you must choose to be chosen.
Human beings should be content with such stories and the gods who come with them. But few of us are. Chronicles place the responsibility for history on our very small shoulders, which is a burden we would like to shirk. We want comfort. So from time immemorial we have fabricated myths to convince ourselves that we understand the underlying processes by which the world took on its present shape. Such myths begin with some remote historical Big Bang, after which life unfolds in a meaningful, if not precisely predictable, direction. It is a revealing psychological fact that the most common historical myths that early civilizations comforted themselves with were stories of fated decline, which give temporal reasons why life is so hard. We suffer because we live in an Age of Iron, far removed from our origins in the Age of Gold. It’s not our fault, and perhaps one day the gods will smile down and return us to the world we have lost. Pazienza.
Christianity turned its back on these ancient stories of fated decline. But it has never been able to escape historical mythmaking, despite the best efforts of theologians from Augustine to Karl Barth. The reason, as Hegel formulated it so well, is that Christian revelation is based on a unique divine incursion into the flow of historical time that altered but did not delegitimize an earlier divine-human relationship. Christianity therefore begs for a story that connects the historical periods created by this event: the age before the Incarnation, the age of the present saeculum, and the age to be inaugurated by Christ’s redemptive return. Eusebius of Caesarea, in the early fourth century C.E., was the first Christian thinker to have a serious go at this, and his progressive narrative shaped much subsequent Western thinking about history. In his account, God used one providential hand to “prepare the Gospel” by guiding Hebrew history from Abraham to Jesus; and with the other hand, He built Rome up from a small republic to a vast and powerful empire. With the conversion of Constantine to Christianity these two trajectories met, fusing divine truth with mundane power and inaugurating a new epoch of God’s kingdom on Earth. Against the pessimistic pagan myth of the World We Have Lost, Eusebius offered his optimistic Goodbye to All That.
Eusebianism is a theological trap, though. For the moment bad things start to happen, the myth, and the hopes attached to it, begin to crumble. Augustine saw this firsthand after the sack of Rome in 410. Despair was immediate and widespread among Roman Christians, who began to wonder whether they were being punished by the ancient pagan gods they had abandoned. To shore them up Augustine wrote the City of God, a bloated, disorganized, brilliant polemic that still stands as the greatest Christian work on history ever written. Augustine did more than refute his pagan adversaries, who blamed the Roman collapse on the effeminate corruptions of Christianity. He reoriented Christian thinking away from the flow of history and toward its eschatological end. We do not know why God allowed pagan Rome to flourish and then joined it with the Church, Augustine tells his readers; we never did and never will. Nor do we know why He allowed it to collapse. That’s God’s business. Ours is to preach the Gospel, be righteous, remain faithful, and serve Him. The rest is in His hands.
Though the City of God became a foundation stone of Catholic theology almost from the moment it appeared, the temptation of Eusebianism remained great—even for Augustine himself, who while writing his masterwork asked his disciple Orosius to write a History Against the Pagans, which demonstrated how life had in fact progressively improved since the advent of Christianity, just in case that argument, too, was needed. This tension—between Augustine’s image of the pilgrim Church just passing through and Eusebius’s image of the Church triumphant—was never resolved in the Catholic Middle Ages. And for a good reason: despite centuries of internal conflicts over papal authority and external conflicts with the Eastern Church and the Turks, the Roman Catholic Church did indeed seem triumphant.
UNTIL THE Protestant Reformation.
The shock of the Reformation for medieval Christians was as great as that experienced by Roman Christians after 410, with one important difference: after the assaults of Luther, Calvin, and the radical reformers, the Roman Catholic Church never got its modern Augustine. Not after the Enlightenment, either—or the American and French Revolutions, or the industrial revolution, or the socialist revolutions of the nineteenth century, or the spread of Darwinism, or the secularization of European schools, or the extension of the suffrage, or the rise of communism and fascism, or decolonization, or birth control, or feminism, or any other major historical change in the modern era. The Church responded to most of these challenges in its traditional way: first condemning the innovators, then tolerating some differences, and finally declaring that such innovations had been continuous with Catholic doctrine all along. But the Church is slow and modern history is fast. Which is why, in the five centuries since the Protestant Reformation, it has never found its historical equipoise. The Church has no widely accepted theology of history to speak of, just a stream of papal encyclicals that reflect the shifting moods of this or that pontiff. Thinking modern history has largely been left to lay Catholic intellectuals, who have had to sail upwind alone in their little boats.
The golden age of lay Catholic historiography was the nineteenth century, when Counter-Revolutionary thinkers such as Bonald, the young Lamennais, de Maistre, and Donoso Cortés refined the World We Have Lost narrative that has nourished reactionary political movements ever since. But in the twentieth century lay and clerical writers developed a kinder, gentler variation of it that has not lost its appeal among Catholics. Let’s call it The Road Not Taken.
Those who recount this kind of story tell us that at some point in medieval or early modern history the West took a momentous wrong turn, putting itself on the path to our modernity with all its attendant problems. But no single person or event was responsible for this. The blame must be shared by philosophers, theologians, and the Church hierarchy itself. This was a tragic development: had everyone only been more patient, the Church would have continued evolving, and in a good direction. The Middle Ages would eventually have waned and a new society would have developed. But the swings of modern history would have been less extreme and the worst avoided. Change would have been more gradual, radical attacks on the Church would have been unnecessary, and the Church in turn would not have fallen into the reactionary crouch it maintained from the French Revolution until Vatican II. With moral debate confined within the flexible bounds of Catholic orthodoxy, important human values would have been preserved from secular dogmatism and skepticism. We would have been spared the brutality of the industrial era, the monsters of modern science, and the empty individualism and viciousness of our time. All in all, we would be living a happier, more fruitful and humane existence.
Some stimulating Catholic works have been written in this genre. My favorite is Reason and Revelation in the Middle Ages, by the great French medievalist Étienne Gilson. Based on a series of lectures that Gilson gave in 1937 at the University of Virginia, it traces the history of Catholic theology from its anti-intellectual origins in Church fathers such as Tertullian to the hyper-rationalism of late scholasticism, both of which Gilson rejects. He adopts the classic Thomist position that Aquinas and only Aquinas managed to reconcile reason and revelation in a way that did justice to the truths of theology and philosophy. But once the grand Thomist synthesis was undermined by Ockhamists, Scotists, and other schoolmen hoping to improve on it, reaction set in, preparing the way for Martin Luther’s crude sola scriptura and Descartes’s menacing scientific rationalism. Both have been disasters for the Western mind. Yet the Summa Theologiae is still there, beckoning on The Road Not Taken.
Other works in this style have been more political. During World War II two forceful intellectual histories were published by European Jesuits, one in Switzerland, the other in occupied France. Hans Urs von Balthasar’s monumental (and still untranslated) Apocalypse of the German Soul traced the Promethean streak in modern German thought from the Idealists and Romantics down to Heidegger and Karl Barth. Henri du Lubac’s The Drama of Atheist Humanism portrayed nineteenth-century thinkers such as Comte, Marx, and Nietzsche as prophets of modern man’s self-deification, which only ended in man’s dehumanization. Urs von Balthasar and Lubac were not simple declinists, though, and they did not romanticize an imaginary lost world. They told their stories to turn attention back to an abandoned intellectual tradition they hoped to revive after the catastrophe of world war.
Most of us today do not believe that we live in such catastrophic times. But over the past thirty years the Road Not Taken genre has come back into vogue among a new generation of anti-modern Catholics (and some Anglicans) on the left and the right, from members of the post-modern Radical Orthodoxy movement in Britain to conservative American writers around First Things magazine. And they have all taken their cue from what has turned out to be one of the most influential books of our time: Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue, which appeared in 1981.
After Virtue is catnip for grumpy souls. By blurring the lines between intellectual history and philosophical argument, MacIntyre developed a compelling just-so story about how our awful world came to be. Once upon a time the Aristotelian tradition of moral reflection, which ran continuously from antiquity through the Catholic Middle Ages, gave Europeans a coherent narrative for understanding and practicing virtue in their individual and collective lives. That tradition was destroyed by the “Enlightenment project.” (Note to students: distrust any book that uses this empty phrase.) Once the Lumières undid the work of centuries they were left to justify morality on rational grounds, which they necessarily failed to do, since morality can only be understood within a living tradition of practice. Their failure then prepared the way for acquisitive capitalism, Nietzscheanism, and the relativistic liberal emotivism we live with today, in a society that “cannot hope to achieve moral consensus.” MacIntyre expressed no explicit hope or desire to return to Middle Ages. Instead, his book ends with a visionary call for the creation of future moral communities based on old modes of thought, where a coherent moral life might once again be sustained. The final sentence reads: “We are waiting not for a Godot, but for another—doubtless very different—St. Benedict.”
AFTER VIRTUE IS NOT an academic work of history and does not pretend to be. It is a strong work of advocacy that ends with a prayer. The same is true, alas, of Brad S. Gregory’s huge, and hugely frustrating, new book, which seems to have been inspired by MacIntyre’s example. The difference, though, is that Gregory would have us believe that he is writing conventional history. A first glance at his wide-ranging chapters on post-Reformation developments in philosophy, politics, education, economics, and civil society, supplemented by 150 pages of rich footnotes, would incline you to believe him. Ecstatic blurbs from distinguished historians who should know better reinforce the impression. But the deeper you delve into this book, the more you begin to feel that you are watching a shadow-puppet play on the wall of some Vatican cave. A straightforward history of the post–Reformation West written from an explicitly Catholic standpoint would have been a welcome addition to our understanding of the period and of ourselves. Instead, Gregory has offered up a sly crypto-Catholic travel brochure for The Road Not Taken.
The book’s aim, he tells us, is to explain “how Europe and North America today came to be as they are.” (After the book’s second page contemporary Europe is hardly mentioned, making this yet another Americano history of “the West.”) And how do we live now? Not well. Gregory worries that our political life is polarized, that economic greed and mindless consumerism are idealized, that environmental degradation is accelerating at an alarming rate, that standards in schools are declining, and that public discourse is governed by ideological correctness and cultural relativism. And who doesn’t worry? But for Gregory these vast and various problems have a single source: the “hyper-pluralism” of modern societies. This term appears with metronomic regularity here, modified by a slew of adjectives like “never-ending,” “confusing,” “unintended,” “unwelcome,” “gangrenous,” and “hegemonic.” In an Agnew-esque moment he even complains of “pullulating pluralism.” “All Westerners,” Gregory declares at one point, “live in the Kingdom of Whatever.”
Except when they don’t. For by now this hyper-pluralism has been so deeply rooted in our institutions, especially universities, that those who question it are excommunicated from intellectual life. On the one hand, “within the limits of the law, literally anything goes as far as truth claims and religious practices are concerned”; on the other, “the religious truth claims made by billions of people are excluded from consideration on their own terms in nearly all research universities,” where “those who reject any substantive religious answers to the Life Questions ... are statistically overrepresented.” What bothers him is not that there is no social consensus, but that the one we have supports moral pluralism. “There is no shared, substantive common good, nor are there any realistic prospects for devising one (at least in the immediately foreseeable future).” Nor can we expect help from Catholic universities, which in their rush to appear accepting of modernity have “unwittingly invited in an intellectual Trojan horse bearing a load of subversive assumptions.”
This picture of our present will be familiar to anyone who reads the American theocons, left-leaning Radical Orthodoxy figures such as John Milbank, and occasionally Charles Taylor. Whether you find it plausible will probably depend on the kind of day you’re having: it expresses a mood, not an analysis. But unless you do accept it, very little in Gregory’s book will make sense to you, since it is essentially a five-hundred-page connect-the-dots puzzle that begins with the way we supposedly live now and works back to the Big Bang of the Protestant Reformation. Its method is an inverted Whiggism—a Whiggism for depressives.
GREGORY CHOOSES not to weave one grand narrative that tells this sorry tale. Instead he teases out six historical strands that get separate treatment: theology, philosophy, politics, morality, economics, and education. This strategy entails much redundancy, since the moral he draws in each chapter is the same. But it also reveals that he has two unconnected stories to tell about how everything went to hell.
The first story is about the historical Reformation, which is his academic specialty. Gregory does not provide even a brief history of the Catholic Middle Ages that preceded the Reformation, only a single, static, rose-tinted image of The World We Have Lost. (He also avoids the term “Catholic,” preferring instead “medieval Christianity,” which sounds more inclusive.) If not an entirely happy world, it was at least a relatively harmonious one, despite what everyone thinks. Yes, there were theological disagreements and conflicts over authority, pitting popes against monastic orders against church councils against emperors against princes. Yes, the church split into east and west, and for a time there were rival popes. And yes, mistakes were made. Heretics were roughly handled, pointless Crusades launched, Jews and Muslims expelled or worse. Still, through it all, the Catholic complexio oppositorum was held together by a unified institutionalized view of the human good. “Over the course of more than a millennium the church had gradually and unsystematically institutionalized throughout Latin Europe a comprehensive sacramental worldview based on truth claims about God’s actions in history, centered on the incarnation, life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.” And this translated into a “shared, social life of faith, hope, love, humility, patience, self-sacrifice, forgiveness, compassion, service, and generosity [that] simply was Christianity.” Hieronymus Bosch must have been high.
Then it happened. The Church itself was largely to blame for creating the conditions that the early Reformers complained of, and for not policing itself. The charges leveled by Luther and Calvin had merit, and theirs was originally a conservative rebellion aimed at returning the Church to its right mind. But then things got out of hand, as the intoxicating spirit of rebellion spread to the spiritual Jacobins of the radical Reformation. They are our real founding fathers, who bequeathed to us not a coherent set of moral and theological doctrines, but the corrosive pluralism that characterizes our age. The radicals denied the need for sacraments or relics, which ordinary believers believed in, handing them Bibles they were unequipped to understand. Sola scriptura, plus the idea that anyone could be filled with the Holy Spirit, inspired every radical reformer to become his own Saint Paul—and then demand that his neighbors put down their nets and follow him. Disagreements erupted, leading to war, which led to the creation of confessional states, which led to more wars. Modern liberalism was born to cope with these conflicts, which it did. But the price was high: it required the institutionalization of toleration as the highest moral virtue. The nineteenth-century Catholic Church rejected this whole package and withdrew within its walls, where intellectual life declined and dogma ossified. It thus left the rest of us to sink ever deeper into the confusing, unsatisfying, hyper-pluralistic, consumer-driven, dogmatically relativistic world of today.
And that’s how we got from Wittenberg to Wal-Mart.
BUT IF YOU DON'T buy that story, Gregory has another. This one, which has little to do with the Reformation, focuses on transformations in medieval theology and early modern philosophy. This is not his specialty (nor mine), which is perhaps why the writing here is clotted and the thoughts seem second-hand; positions are stated rather than argued, and without regard to well-known objections and rebuttals. Essentially the issues come down to the old quarrel between affirmative theology and negative theology—very roughly, over whether we can speak meaningfully of the attributes of God, or whether He is the He of whom nothing can be said. As Gregory rightly insists, how one thinks about this question affects how one thinks about nearly everything else. That is what makes the history of medieval Christian theology and philosophy so fascinating to study: every possible permutation of every possible argument about every possible subject is to be found there. The more one encounters it in all its variety, the more derivative subsequent philosophy seems.
Medieval Christian thought was hyper-plural—which is why Thomas Aquinas hoped that his Summa Theologiae would resolve its fundamental antinomies and make order out of chaos. Brad Gregory, though, is committed to the view that before the Reformation the harmony of the heavens was mirrored in Christian life and thought. And so he makes the bald assertion (argument would be too strong a word) that before the late-medieval writings of Duns Scotus and William of Ockham, something called “traditional Christian metaphysics” held sway, and leaned in a somewhat negative theological direction. According to “traditional Christian teaching,” he writes, “God is literally unimaginable and incomprehensible.” It is hard to know what he means by “traditional” here, given the centuries of disagreement about just what it means to say that God is, or acts providentially, or performs miracles, or was incarnated, or can be understood, or is present in the Holy Eucharist. Or how such a metaphysics manifested itself at the popular level, where ordinary clergy and common believers thought of God as the Big Bearded Being, took miracles to be the direct work of His hands, venerated the saints and their sacred relics, practiced magic, and swallowed the host whole, lest their teeth add wounds to the flesh of Christ.
Modern Thomists have long asserted that the departures from the Summa by Scotus and then Ockham unintentionally paved the way for modern philosophy and science. The (simplified) argument goes like this: Scotus compromised God’s transcendence by claiming that a single concept of being applies both to Him and to His creation, whereas Thomas had said that only an analogy could be established between them. Once God and creation were thought to inhabit the same mountain, so to speak, the question arose how far up the slope one needed to go to explain things farther down. The answer of modern science would be: not very far. God is a hypothesis that we can, for practical purposes, do without. For Thomists such as Étienne Gilson, the decoupling of modern science from theology, and subsequently from morality, was foreordained by these two subtle theological departures from the grand Summa.
Gregory, though, is not interested in defending Thomism—or even theology, which he appears to distrust, believing perhaps that it is incapable of proving what he wants it to prove. So like many American theoconservatives, he makes a populist turn. He is annoyed not only that “religion is not and cannot be considered a potential source of knowledge,” just “a matter of subjective opinion and personal preference,” but also by the contemporary secular assumption that “knowledge must be based on evidence, it must make sense” and that it “must be universal and objective: if something is known or knowable, its content is not contingent on who discovers it.” He wants to defend other “ways” of knowing, which he calls “salvific participatory” and “experiential,” along with “a sacramental view of reality.”
At this point a narcotic haze descends on the book. Gregory wants us to believe that medieval Christendom before the theological fall seamlessly harmonized distinct “kinds” of knowledge, blending theology, natural science, and “individually differentiated participatory knowledge of the faith and its shared way of life, based ultimately and above all on God’s actions in Jesus.” And what was the nature and content of that knowledge, exactly? Gregory never explains. Perhaps by its very nature it cannot be communicated verbally. The most we are told about Christian life in the old days is that “the better that one lived it—the holier one was—the clearer did [God’s] truth become, a sapientia beyond mere scientia. The lived holy wisdom of the saints, quite apart from whether they were erudite or brilliant, embodied most conspicuously this sort of knowledge.” I leave the reader to make sense of those words. The meaning of the following sentence, though, is perfectly clear: in medieval Christianity, “the pursuit of knowledge for some other end, or as an end in itself, was literally vain in the sense of purposeless.”
Faith seeking understanding, with a curfew at eleven—that’s Gregory’s historical, and apparently future, ideal. So what happened? Well, late scholasticism, which pursued its dialectical games late into the night, mindless of the lived faith of others, shares part of the blame. Then, of course, the Bible was “let loose among the ‘common man’” by the Reformation. After that, states and universities became divided by confession, knowledge became a tool of state power, scripture was subjected to the higher criticism, and disciplines became separated from each other. In Europe, Wilhelm von Humboldt’s modern research university distanced itself from religious questions and affiliations, and in the United States religious colleges governed by milquetoast liberal Protestants eventually succumbed to this German virus, giving birth to our centerless multiversity, which spawned today’s anti-rational, anything-goes postmodernism.
And that’s how we got from scholasticism to structuralism.
IT'S QUITE A STORY, or two stories, that Gregory tells. Now it’s my turn.
Once upon a time, when men were men and Jupiter was venerated, a sun-addled provincial prophet declared himself the Son of God and developed a following among anti-colonial zealots, resentful slaves, and bored housewives on the Roman Palatine. Their antinomian movement brought chaos to a flexible, complex pagan world and upset its settled moral understanding of life. There followed a contest for command among rival Judeo-Christian and Gnostic sectarians armed with different scriptures, in a war of words that soon involved Monarchians, Montanists, Arians, Nestorians, Pelagians, and countless other soon-to-be-declared heretics. As they argued about absurd matters such as whether spirit can be made flesh, partisans of the old gods shook their heads, pointed to the corruptions of their virtuous romanitas, and blamed everything on the warring upstarts.
After a few centuries, though, things settled down. Antinomianism gave way to a loose theological-political orthodoxy that blessed a new civilization with a coherent moral order, new stocks of learning, and extraordinary artistic achievements. It lasted a millennium. But, as luck would have it, a second biblically inspired movement, also appealing to underdogs, came along and undid the work of centuries. Another contest for command arose among radical sectarians divided over absurdities; all coherence was lost. And once again, after five centuries, things settled down, and today a new moral-political orthodoxy exists—though this time without theological trappings. For in hindsight we now see that though the sixteenth-century reformers who attacked the old orthodoxy chanted sola scriptura and sola fide, the real meaning of those utterances was simply me, me, me. In fact, the telos of this movement was established even farther back by Jesus himself, who was a libertarian Idea on donkey-back. It was he who prophesied the final triumph of individualism over cruelty, domination, and all duties except to oneself. It took centuries of war and the deaths of millions to get that message right. But now we have.
So all hail the new and final orthodoxy! And watch it spread beyond Europe and North America to jungle villages and the tents of Araby! It brings a true and perfectly coherent worldview that makes sense of the human condition (we are bodies that are born and die alone), of what lies beyond (nothing), and of what we need to be happy (get lots of stuff and stay entertained). We are all connected now. Borders are collapsing, sovereignty is fading, and there is plenty of parking (though nowhere really to go). We are about to realize humanity’s most noble vision—noble because anyone can participate and it makes nobody feel bad. True, the new catechism has not reached everyone; there are still holdouts in collars and turbans and forelocks attached to the old regime. But if they don’t convert, their children or grandchildren eventually will, with a click of whatever will have replaced the mouse. Soon peace will guide the planets and Whatever will steer the stars.
That’s quite a story, too—and an old one, pieced together with fragments from Eusebius, Otto of Freising, Bacon, Condorcet, Hegel, Feuerbach, Kojève, and computer hackers working in basements around the world. And of course it is nothing but a myth—not a lie, just an imaginative assemblage of past events and ideas and present hopes and fears, just as Gregory’s myth is. So where does that leave us? Well, it leaves us with the task of examining these orthodoxies in their own terms and judging for ourselves their presuppositions, aspirations, and effects—which is what theology and philosophy have traditionally done. But this is precisely what today’s religious romantics, like Gregory, shy away from, preferring instead to construct mytho-histories that insinuate rather than argue, and appeal to readers’ prejudices rather than their rational faculties. They become what Friedrich von Schlegel once said all historians are at heart: prophets in reverse.
Why does anyone think it worthwhile to consult such prophets? For the same reason people have always done so. We want the comfort, however cold, of thinking that we understand the present, while at the same time escaping full responsibility for the future. There is a book to be done on Western mytho-histories in relation to the times in which they were written, and the social-psychological work they accomplished in different epochs. Such a book would eventually trace how, beginning in the early nineteenth century, archaic theological narratives about the past were modernized and substituted for argument in intellectual proxy wars over the present. In the chapter on our time, it would note how techno-libertarian progressives and liberal hawks rediscovered Goodbye to All That bedtime stories that induced dreams of a radiant global democracy, while conservatives read ghost stories, then sang themselves to sleep with ancient songs about The World We Have Lost.
One wonders why Brad Gregory felt compelled to add to our stock of historical fables. He is obviously dissatisfied with the way we live now and despairs that things will only get worse. I share his dissatisfaction and, in my worst moments, his despair. But it enlightens me not at all to think that “medieval Christendom failed, the Reformation failed, confessionalized Europe failed, and Western modernity is failing,” as if each of these were self-conscious “projects” the annual reports of which are available for consultation. Life does not work that way; history does not work that way. Nor does it help me to imagine that the peak of Western civilization was reached in the decades just before the Reformation, or to imagine that we might rejoin The Road Not Taken by taking the next exit off the autobahn, which is the vague hope this book wants to plant in readers’ minds.
Perhaps it’s just that I align myself more closely with Augustine than Gregory does. Though a lapsed Catholic, I share his assumption that the detritus we leave behind in history is a symbol of our fallenness, revealing little more than that. And I see the wisdom of his view that if members of the Church wish to serve it, they must let the past bury itself and concentrate on spreading the Gospel by word and especially deed in the here and now. The Road Not Taken is an empty fantasy, distracting Christians from the only road that ever matters: the one in front of them. Remembering that makes all the difference.