I find that as I get over I look forward more and more to Thanksgiving, and less and less to Christmas.


What is a Film?

Movies. Popcorn. Pablum. What is a movie if it's just entertainment? Just like pulp fiction. Well, I have news for the masses. Maybe even good news. There are great films just like great books. We don't need to go through films like dime novels or fast food. There are classics to spend the rest of our lives watching and critiquing. I shall blog an annotated list.


Always be ready to give an account

I was at Church today and three people asked me how law school was going and what year I was in (again) and proceeded to congratulate me with expressions such as "You're going to be a lawyer!" "What kind of law do you want to practice?" "You must be very proud to have almost completed it."

I don't know where to begin. Do I say that I never really wanted to practice law (at least not very badly) and that I now haven't the foggiest idea why I even went to law school in the first place? Do I say that if I never practiced a day and never took the bar, I'd be happier than they could ever understand?—like the happiness one feels when one at long last finds a door surmounted by the legend, "Gentlemen"?


Fair-Weather Fan

As some of you may know, the football team of my law school's university—i.e., the social phenomenon I love to hate—has triumphed over That Team Up North (from the Oxford of the Midwest, U of M), is now 13-0, is ranked second in the nation, and is on its way to the national championship game. Campus parties are bound to be completely crazy tonight. Last night this time, there was a solid line of cars backed up from Lane and High all the way up into the Lane and Kenny intersection. I shudder to think what it's like now.... Should probably wander down and observe the sea of humanity.


VDT is the most Odyssean book. Go figure.

The only book which doesn't take place in Narnia at all, per se, you're the story of a voyage to find the end of the world and hopefully the Seven Lost Lords (remember Rhoop!). You contain some of the most unique people and places and beautiful descriptions of the whole series.

Find out which Chronicles of Narnia book you are.

Disclaimer: I only took and posted this test because two nice reformed girls I know did likewise.


PL, II.146-148

To be no more; sad cure; for who would lose
Though full of pain, this intellectual being,
those thoughts that wander through eternity


Fun lines from Aeneid III

et glacialis hiems Aquilonibus asperat undas(265)

attollitque globos flammarum et sidera lambit (574)

monstrum horrendum, informe, ingens, cui lumen ademptum (658).


Faded Glory

People often find it odd that a shy, eccentric, somewhat awkward guy like myself once served as his alma mater's Homcoming King. Well, it was way back in 1999, but a few weeks ago the Collegian published an article which quotes me and another article which describes me. The picture in the first article is of a younger version of me holding the Aeneid on the field of battle.


That's exactly how I feel too.

Kristen has composed a very expressive rant about what's wrong with the homeschooling culture.


Elves and Wizards

Although I should have spent more time this weekend working, I escaped for quite a few hours into the week's new offerings. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is actually quite a bit better than its predecesor, Philosopher's Stone. Better effects, better cinematography, and a delicious Kenneth Branagh. (The spider sequences, however, are not for small children.) The extended edition of Fellowship of the Ring is simply superb. The additional footage goes a long way towards addressing any residual complaint that the theatrical release was a little pinched down. Sure, there's still no Tom Bombadil, but we do see midges, mithril, and lots of short shots which fill out the picture. Hobbiton and Lorien are much better characterized. Jackson's reinterpretation of Aragorn is more developed. I have to say that, to every one of the extra additions, I thought Jackson was right on.


C. S. Lewis on Headship

But I dare not mention this Pagan sacrament without turning aside to guard against any danger of confusing it with an incomparably higher mystery. As nature crowns man in that brief action, now the Christian law has crowned him in the permanent relationship of marriage, bestowing—or shall I say, inflicting?—a certain “headship” upon him. This is a very different coronation. And as we could easily take the natural mystery too seriously, so we might take the Christian mystery not seriously enough. Christian writers (notably Milton) have sometimes spoken of the husband’s headship with a complacency to make the blood run cold. We must go back to our Bibles. The husband is the head of the wife just in so far as he is to her what Christ is to the Church. He is to love her as Christ loved the Church—read on—and give his life for her (Eph. V, 25). This headship, then, is most fully embodied not in the husband we should all wish to be but in him whose marriage is most like a crucifixion; whose wife receives most and gives least, is most unworthy of him, is—in her own mere nature—least loveable. For the Church has no beauty but what the Bride-groom gives her; he does not find, but makes her lovely. The chrism of this terrible coronation is to be seen not in the joys of any man’s marriage but in its sorrows. In the sickness and sufferings of a good wife or the faults of a bad one, in his unwearying (never paraded) care or in his inexhaustible forgiveness: forgiveness, not acquiescence. As Christ sees in the flawed, proud, fanatical or lukewarm Church on earth that bride who will one day be without spot or wrinkle, and labours to produce the latter, so the husband whose headship is Christ-like (and he is allowed no other sort) never despairs. He is a king Cophetua who after twenty hears still hopes that the beggar-girl will one day learn to speak the truth and wash behind her ears.

To say this is not to say that there is any virtue or wisdom in making a marriage that involves such misery. There is no wisdom or virtue in seeking unnecessary martyrdom or deliberately courting persecution; yet, as it is, none the less, the persecuted or martyred Christian in whom the pattern of the Master is most unambiguously realized. So in these terrible marriages, once they have come about, the “headship” of the husband, if only he can sustain it, is most Christ-like.

The sternest feminist need not grudge my sex the crown offered it either in the Pagan or in the Christian mystery. For the one is of paper and the other of thorns. The real danger is not that husbands may grasp the latter too eagerly; but that they will allow or compel their wives to usurp it.

The Four Loves, p. 105-106.
Oh, Tully, you almost persaude me to be a Christian...!

Est quidem vera lex recta ratio naturae congruens, diffusa in omnes, constans, sempiterna, quae vocet ad officium iubendo, vetando a fraude deterreat; quae tamen neque probos frustra iubet aut vetat nec improbos iubendo aut vetando movet. Huic legi nec obrogari fas est neque derogari ex hac aliquid licet neque tota abrogari potest, nec vero aut per senatum aut per populum solvi hac lege possumus, neque est quaerendus explantor aut interpres eius alius, nec erit alia lex Romae, alia Athenis, alia nunc alia posthac, sed et omnes gentes et omni tempore una lex et sempiterna et immutabilis continebit, unusque erit communis quasi magister et imperator omnium deus, ille legis huius inventor, discepator, lator; cui qui non parabit, ipse se fugiet ac naturam hominis aspernatus hoc ipso luet maximas poenas, etiamsi cetera supplicia, quae putantur, effugerit. (De Re Pub., III.xxii.33.)


Fear leads to pain. Pain leads to . . . suffering . . .

Thank you to everyone who's been posting lately and making my blog a forum de facto. I've been catching three-hour naps here and there trying to get through everything I have to do before the end of the semester. This includes perfecting my knowledge of the Arabic verb, coming to terms with the philosophical basis of private property, and finding a thesis in the midst of religious strife in Filastin.

Hopefully, I don't have a stroke and damage my second-favorite organ. If I do, I want my premodern books to go to the members of the Fairfield Society at Hillsdale College. It is enough. Now I think I can look forward to lots of little Dan Wileys running around. (Congratulations, Akhiiy!)

I did get two Arabic-English philosophical texts in the mail the other day (along with Finnis and De Re Publica), so I can start to work on the transmission of Aristotle's ideas and the roots of secularism. It's either that or survey cloud-castles. :)


Great Books

I've counted all of the books I own and am certain I want to keep. Comes out to 816. Most of the Recon theology menu, a fair chunk of English literature, lots and lots of Greek and Latin commentaries, all the books for Hebrew and Sanskrit, dozens of loathed law texts, a growing philosophy shelf, and a few books on people like Richard Wagner or Michelangelo Antonioni. Add about 200+ other books which I have in boxes awaiting disposal, and my "library" breaks that magic "grand" number.


Lost Power

Power blew out in Shady Hill Estates at about 9:00 p.m. EST. Whole subdivision is out. Before this, there were already 23,000 customers in the Columbus area without power. Severe local storms. 70 mph winds. 1/4 inch hail. Larger hail downtown. Burning candles. :( Had hoped to study. Well, at least the internet works. It's nice to have a battery. :)


Wiley’s Motorcycle Tour of the Symphonic Canon.

The foundation is Beethoven. Oh, yes, do dip into Mozart’s 38th ( “Prague” ), 40th, and 41st ( “Jupiter” ), but get off the bike at the Third of Beethoven, his Eroica, his tribute to the memory of a great man, Bonaparte, the Caesar of Modern Europe and the liberator-revealed-as-tyrant who lost the faith of his musical Virgil by laying siege to Vienna. Look, in the mind’s eye, at the structure of the thing. Listen for the deep and measureless sorrow in the funeral march. But then go on and revel in the Olympian power of his Fifth, especially in the recapitulation of the first movement and in the slow movement. Drink at least one slow movement of Beethoven per week, for the rest of your life. This will keep you young, and may remind you of the meaning of beauty, the passing of life, and the poetry of friendship, as it did Elgar in Enigma Variation No. 12. Anyways, the “Pastoral, his Sixth, is in a class all by itself, but do go on and make sure to hit the Seventh, especially its supremely plangent slow movement,. Wagner called the whole thing “the Apotheosis of the Dance.” The real apotheosis of the dance, however, comes in in the last movement of the Ninth, long after the brutal, withering assault of the opening sonata-allegro movement, when the march of Strife is blown away by the tide of the army of Love, and the orchestral erupts into a grand fugue on the heels of a tenor’s proclamation—a fugue unmatched in all of the works of Beethoven for its power, energy, and contrapuntal invention.

Schubert is the next stop. The Unfinished (No. 8) is the practically the only work of its sort played. It is really Beethovenian in power and scope, but touched with the earnest lyricism of which Schubert was such an immediate child. No. 9 (“The Great”) is a greater piece of architecture; if it lacks the immediate power of the Unfinished, it makes up for this in sheer invention, especially in the first movement.

Although he wrote precious few pure symphonies, I do recommend sampling Berlioz. He writes really programmatic works, especially the viola concerto/symphony/four-movement tone-poem after Byron’s “Harold in Italy.” There is always Symphonie Fantastique! Also see his grand opera, Les Troyens. As with Debussy, the symphonic opera would, for this Frenchman, be his largest canvas for the orchestral palate and such themes as it makes, with imagination, possible.

The true heir of Beethoven is really Wagner, but that’s complicated, and controversial. Wagner pushes symphonic development of themes to their apogees. He issues in the irreproducible experiment of Debussy, and in the dissolution of Western Music in the chaos of the Great War and what came of it.

The other heirs of Beethoven are Anton Bruckner and Johannes Brahms. Bruckner was a lonely old man who was always asking adolescent girls to marry him. He was also a devout Catholic organist with a profound grasp of symphonic architecture. His work is very powerful. Massive. Indomitable. Each symphony is 60+ min. long. He is very Wagnerian in tone, but very traditional in organization and dominated by the brass chorale.

Brahms is the neo-classical opponent of Bruckner. His symphonies are reserved, lucid, economical. They sound so familiar because, with Tschaikovsky, his style has become the canonical language of “classical music.” Brahms is the Shakespeare of the Austrian-German symphonic tradition, if you will. Listen to the First, in its journey from bitter despair to hopeful expectation over forty minutes. Listen to the second movement of the Second—one of the most endearing ever hit upon. Listen to the slow yearning call of the opening of the Fourth. For my money, the Fourth Symphony of Johannes Brahms is probably the finest document to come down to us from all of music. The nobility of the passagalia which is the finale is too much for human ears to bear.

Having struck out this far, I must conclude my initial pass by pointing out the last, next, and only great symphonists of our century: Mahler and Sibelius. Mahler is several universes of fire and ocean and burning desert sand. Sibelius is the single world of the North: dark, mysterious, brooding savage dreams, filled with an icy intensity such as could be born only of the artist possessed absolutely of the genius of the ethos of his race.

Mahler is really my god and my devil. (You may understand what I mean, if you recall your Lewis.) His symphonies are not all great, but there is a grand yearning in his works born of the fusion of the tragic vision of Wagner fused with the brass hymns of Bruckner. Mahler is the last romantic visionary in music, and the grandeur of his visions tops all others. His creations are longest, but also full of the most expansive architecture. Listen to the invention and the brooding power of the First. Listen to the way in which the grim funeral march which opens the Second resolves itself in the orgiastic choral climax of the finale. The Fifth travels from an even more shattering funeral march to a happy rondo, while the Seventh is largely optimistic, with a staggering sonata-allegro primo and a farcical finale. In the Sixth, however, we see mostly clearly the grand, tragic vision of the man: it is as if everything which Nietzsche said about Greek tragedy has come down from Solon’s tongue into purely emotive tones of exultant despair. The opening is a grim march, but against this he sets a delicate countersubject like the shadow of the eternal feminine. The slow movement is full of sublime suffering, if you will; simple, but of staggering depth. The finale is simply the most powerful expression of tragic grandeur ever written for orchestra—ever—period. I cannot describe it for you. You have to experience it for yourself. If it does, by some chance, beset your psyche with eros for something more of its infinite vision, dip into Das Leid von der Erde. It would have been his ninth, but became a symphonic song-cycle instead.

Sibelius is very different. He is the angel who is almost my fellow-heir. He is classicism, redivinus, but with a twist. He is the man who knows who he, what he loves, and where he is going. His symphonies are not naïve, but do not usually try to become more than the pure, organic expressions of classical sensibilies made form in a unique sound-world of dense orchestral textures and long pedal points. The greater half of his output was absolute, rather than really programmatic, even the tone-poems (of which Taipola is the last and grandest). The Seventh is his greatest, in which he telescopes traditional four-movement symphonic form into an incredible creation of tremendous range and invention. The Sixth is his purest creation, like a glass of clear water, transcendent in its simplicity, offered at a time when atonalism was sweeping the West. The Fifth is probably his most powerful work, especially in the finale, as exultation becomes almost objective, but the Fourth is really the one which you will want to listen to over and over again and wonder at—from the austere distant timbre of the first movement to the brooding, fragmentary slow movement, to the happy-go-lucky jingle of the finale.


More profound lines

E lo spirito mio, che già cotanto
  tempo era stato ch'a la sua presenza
  non era di stupor, tremando, affranto,
sanza de li occhi aver più conoscenza,
  per occulta virtù che da lei mosse,
  d'antico amor sentì la gran potenza.
Tosto che ne la vista mi percosse
  l'alta virtù che già m'avea trafitto
  prima ch'io fuor di püerizia fosse,
volsimi a la sinistra col respitto
  col quale il fantolin corre a la mamma
  quando ha paura o quando elli è afflitto,
per dicere a Virgilio: 'Men che dramma
  di sangue m'è rimaso che non tremi:
  conosco i segni de l'antica fiamma'.
Ma Virgilio n'avea lasciati scemi
  di sé, Virgilio dolcissimo patre,
  Virgilio a cui per mia salute die'mi;
né quantunque perdeo l'antica matre,
  valse a le guance nette di rugiada
  che, lagrimando, non tornasser atre.
«Dante, perché Virgilio se ne vada,
  non pianger anco, non piangere ancora;
  ché pianger ti conven per altra spada».

(Purgatorio, XXX.32-57).

This reminds me, too, that Dante is probably the greatest of Poets. Only Vergil and Milton really come close. Tasso is great in his own way, but perhaps like Statius to Vergil.
Richard Weaver on the "Metaphysical Dream"

Every man participating in his culture has three levels of conscious reflection: his specific ideas about things, his general beliefs or convictions, and his metaphysical dream of the world.

The first of these are the thoughts he employs in the activity of daily living; they direct his disposition of immediate matters and, so, constitute his worldliness. One can exist on this level alone for limited periods, although pure worldliness must eventually bring disharmony and conflict.

Above this lies his body of beliefs, some of which may be heritages simply, but others of which he will have acquired in the ordinary course of his reflection. Even the simplest souls define a few rudimentary conceptions about the world, which they repeatedly apply as choices present themselves. These, too, rest on something more general.

Surmounting all is an intuitive feelin about the immanent nature of reality, and this is the sanction to which both ideas and beliefs are ultimately referred for verification. Without the metaphysical dream it is impossible to think of men living together harmoniously over an extent of time. The dream carries with it an evaluation, which is the bond of spiritual community.

When we affirm that philosophy begins with wonder, we are affirming in effect that sentiment is anterior to reason. We do not undertake to reason about anything until we have been drawn to it by an affective interest. In the cultural life of man, therefore, the fact of paramount importance about anyone is his attitude towards the world. How frequently it is brought to our attention that nothing good can be done if the will is wrong! Reason alone fails to justice itself. Not without cause has the devil been called the prince of lawyers, and not by accident are Shakespeare's villains good reasoners. If the disposition is wrong, reason increases maleficence; if it is right, reason orders and furthers the good. We have no authority to argue anything of a social or political nature unless we approve some aspects of the existing world. The position is arbitrary in the sense that there is a proposition behind which there stands no prior. We begin our other affirmations after a categorical statement that life and world are to be cherished.

(From Ideas Have Consequences (1948), p. 18.)
Winter Comes to Nargothrond

The summer slowly     in the sad forest
waned and faded.     In the west arose
winds that wandered     over warring seas.
Leaves were loosened     from labouring boughs:
fallow-gold they fell,     and the feet buried
of trees standing     tall and naked,
rustling restlessly     down roofless aisles,
shifting and drifting.
                                The shining vesel
of the sailing moon     with slender mast,
with shrouds shapen     of shimmering flame,
uprose ruddy     on the rim of Evening
by the misty wharves     on the margin of the world.
With winding horns     winter hunted
in the weeping woods,     wild and ruthless;
sleet came slashing,     and slanting hail
from glowering heaven     grey and sunless,
whistling whiplash     whirled by tempest.
The floods were freed     and fallow waters
sweeping seaward,     swollen, angry,
filled with flotsam,     foaming, turbid,
passed in tulmult.     The tempest died.
Frost descended     from far mountains
steel-cold and still.     Stony-glinting
icehung evening     was opened wide,
a dome of crystal     over deep silence,
over windless wastes     and woods standing
as frozen phantoms     under flickering stars.
How Real Death Is

Of course Death is universal and more or less inevitable. And of course it's not the end of the story (whether for glory or perdition). But being of it abruptly is hard.

Anyways, I was reminded of the extreme contingency of the human experience yesterday. Found a note in my mail slot at the law school. Memo from Dean. Wanted to inform us all that the Registrar had suddenly died on Wednesday. Heart attack. I was pretty shocked. I had sat across a desk from her just 10 days ago for my 3L exit interview. Then I got home and was reading a Hillsdale Collegian article and learnt that the father of the two Anderson sisters I knew in school (one of whom a good friend of mine married) died suddenly at the end of September. pancreatic cancer—at only 48.


Nice Reformed Girls

This topic has assumed mythological dimensions both among some of my friends. The phrase started out either (1) in Niedfeldt ("need-to-be-felt") dormitory at Hillsdale College (specifically in Room 205) or (2) in conversations with my brother Daniel (who, unlike me, has actually dated a five-point Calvinist). Anyways, the ideal as originally formulated by myself with friends primarily involved theological compatibility (the "Reformed" part) combined with smiling wholesomeness well-suited to motherhood (the "Nice" part). In this version, the basic ideal is the girl who can honestly and actually understand the introverted, awkward (but genuinely nice) Reformed boy.

Subsequent redactions of the concept have added a whole cornicopia of secondary characteristics: intellectual capacity, organizational skills, great legs, heroic temper, and esthetic sensibilities. Important models for this extended ideal were Andromache (Iliad), Britomart (Faerie Queene), Jane Austen heroines, Brunhilde (Der Ring), Haydee (Count of Monte Cristo), and Ellen (Love in the Ruins). However, as this ideal has developed, it may have become less about finding some gracious Calvinist-minded young woman and more about articulating my older adolescent idolatry of the ideal woman, the eternal-feminine. Das Ewig-Weibliche / Zeiht uns hinan.

I guess I still want both. Is that too much to ask? Perhaps it is. Perhaps this necessitates a broader theory (?) of eros and philia and agape. Does the activity of loving change people, and how does that affect men and women, and does it affect them differently?


The End of Divided Government?

I must say that I'm both very pleased and a bit surprised by the election results. This really is yet another new thing in America's political history. Just compare with 1994. Several premonitions, though: (1) Bush must deliver now, in the next two years; (2) while the effect of McCain-Feingold is still unclear, this election represents the emergence of the midterm election not merely as a negative implicit referendum on the sitting president, but as a positive campaign in search of legitimacy.


Increasing my circulation

Dear Family, Friends, Fiends, and Philoi:

I mean to write more often to all of you, but I tend to be a very poor correspondent. The road to alienation is paved with noble sentiments. I write to less than half of you half as often as you deserve, etc. Email, nice as it is, tends to make one only an intellectually fat consumer of junk food. The internet, alas, no less than industrialization itself, has failed to change human nature for the better, and just gives us some new social habits for the worse. But, hey, I’m not writing to you—I’m starting to talk about you in my worst moralistic pseudo-philosophical vein. LOL, as we say out here in cyberspace. I need to move on to the real point of this e-‘pistle. So thousands of other intelligent web-savvy, right-wing, libertarian/conservative Christian gen-xers, I have started my own weblog (“blog”). Okay, so the name is a little long! (If you don’t know what the title refers to, I invite you to look up “dante inferno italian” at google.com.)


It’s actually been in operation for some period of time now (like, uh… 6 months?). There’s even a comments section (many thanks to a beautiful webmistress), so you can resound on my soundings. Non canimus surdis, respondent omnia siluae. Plus you can read in the (disturbing) archives and comment on old posts too.

Anyway, the point of the blog is to memorialize my thoughts, reflections, snippets of academic work, favorite lines, putative profundities, etc. This site is my soapbox, public restroom wall, and possibly my credo. Most of the content is personal only insofar as the intellectual and spiritual experience of being human in law school specifically and bourgeois consumer culture generally is necessarily and inescapably personal. Hopefully, this format suits me better than my old and now defunct site (www.ideashaveconsequences.net).

Eventually, once I learn more about how to make HTML actually do stuff for me, I hope to include sidebars of links to other resources, including important books or journal articles, other blogs, and digital images of nice reformed girls. (Okay, just kidding about the last part. LOL.)

I hope this helps in part to alleviate our mutual communication breakdown. All the same, I’ll try to write more to all of you individually. For the moment, I can only wish that you take care and keep the faith.

Provocatively yours,

Joshua N. Wiley


Ownership and Natural Law

Theme: Role of the concept of right to or ownership over real property in late medieval natural law theory; comparison with early modern natural rights theory and contemporary natural rights theory.

I. Prologue: relevance of theme.
 A. Political and legal shifts since 1900.
  1. Decline of property rights.
   a. Communist revolutions.
   b. Fascism.
   c. Changes in America.
    i. Sixteenth Amendment.
    ii. New Deal.
  2. Rise of the “totalitarian” state.
   a. Russia.
   b. Germany.
   c. America.
    i. New Deal
    ii. Warren Court.
    iii. Federalist revival.
  2. Emphasis on personal rights or liberties as preferred freedoms.
 B. Larger socio-economic trends.
  1. Industrialization.
  2. Decline of agriculture.
  3. Rise of intellectual “property.”
  4. Growth of financial markets.
  5. Social security: end of whole-life dependence on family.
  6. Mass consumer culture: end of individual/family dependence on local socio-economic community.
  7. Corporate culture: quasi-democratic separation of ownership and control.
  8. Suburbanization: conversion of real estate from productive to consumptive use.
 C. Suggested uses of natural law/natural rights arguments.
  1. Limited government?
  2. Community of goods/women?
  3. Free markets?
  4. Agrarianism?

II. Background to theme.
 A. Before Rome.
  1. Old Testament.
   a. Abraham in Canaan: buys land, respects locals.
   b. Israelites in Canaan: divine command for conquest; inalienable title per stirpes.
  2. Greece?
 B. Roman law.
  1. Ius gentium categorically.
  2. Cicero’s claims in De Legibus about the nature of law.
  3. Property rights under ius gentium and ius civile.
 C. Augustine.
  1. Skeptical of natural justice in practice. De Civ. Dei, V.
  2. Teaches passive submission to ius civile. De Civ. Dei, XIX.
  3. Admiration for Roman system?
 D. Aquinas.
  1. Natural law as one of four species of law.
  2. Ownership or property right grounded in natural law.
  3. Ownership or property right conditioned by positive law.
 E. Finnis.
  1. Secular natural law.
  2. Role of property right in his system.
  3. Limits of property right.

III. Explication of theme.
 A. Ecclesiastical property debates of late middle ages.
  1. Radical Franciscan position.
   a. Christ and apostles didn’t hold ownership of things.
   b. Christians don’t need ownership of things to fulfill mission in world (anachronistic parallel: “fully realize selves”?).
   c. Franciscans can and should renounce ownership of things in order to achieve true spiritual liberty.
  2. Radical Augustinian position represented by Giles of Rome in De Ecclesiastica Potestate.
   a. Neoplatonic hierarchical cosmology/sociology inherited from Pseudo-Dionysius: subjection of higher to lower.
   b. The spiritual power (Pope in Church) holds fullness of power by virtue of Christ’s grant of the “keys” to Peter.
   c. Kings and ordinary people hold power/ownership derivatively of spiritual power.
   d. The spiritual power may intervene in temporal matters with impunity.
   e. The rule of kings and princes, and the ownership of property, is at the sufferance and acquiescence of the spiritual power.
   f. General comparison with Augustine.
  3. Moderate Dominican position represented by John of Paris in De Potestate Regia et Papali.
   a. No grant of temporal authority in gift of keys to Peter.
   b. Royal power established independently of intervening spiritual power, either by direct divine institution or by consent of people, to promote the common good.
   c. Royal and papal power alike subject to deposition by people/whole Church if such power is incompatible with the common good.
   d. General comparison with Aquinas.
   e. Comparison with Marsilius of Padua.

Note: Analysis of the right of ownership in Ockham and Vitoria is to be the heart of this paper. I have yet to complete my “deep” read of both thinkers, and so these §§ of the paper are not outlined. The thought of Ockham in particular is not only complex, but nested in a labyrinth of arguments and counter-arguments.

 B. William of Ockham’s contribution.
 C. Further development by Francisco de Vitoria.

On one level, Ockham may be read as limiting both royal and papal power Figuring prominently in this connection are concepts of ius and dominium, and objective and subjective rights. Some credit Ockham with formulating dominium or ownership as a subjective right or faculty, as a potestas. For others, he only amplifies an antecedent Franciscan strand. The upshot seems to be that Ockham describes a ius naturale, power, or faculty, manifested in ownership, which resides in free men and which functions to limit the dominium of kings and other men.

Vitoria advances similar arguments altogether outside of the ecclesiastical property problem and further develops the idea of dominium as the subjective right to ownership which becomes the basis for his positions in De Indis against the confiscation of American Indian territory by the Spanish crown. Similar threads are developed in his commentaries on Aquinas on the issues of murder, theft, and restitution.
It is my intent to compare both Ockham and Vitoria, on ownership of property, to at least Grotius and Rawls, and probably also Locke in the fourth part of the paper.

Sources: The more important of Ockham’s political works are translated in two volumes of selections from Cambridge. I also have his five-volume Opera Politica set (in Latin). De Indis is Vitoria’s most famous work; it is available with other selections in several editions. I shall also rely upon a body of secondary studies treating Aquinas, Ockham, Vitoria, and the later Salamancans. Most of important of these are: Annabel S. Brett, Liberty, Right, and Nature: Individual rights in later scholastic thought (Cambridge, 1997); Brian Tierney, The Idea of Natural Rights: Studies on Natural Rights, Natural Law, and Church Law: 1150-1625 (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1997).

 D. Refinements by Vitoria’s successors at Salamanca.
  1. De Soto.
  2. Vasquez.
  3. Suarez.
 E. Comparison with Bodin.
  1. Vitoria limits sovereignty by people’s right to ownership of land in De Indis.
  2. Bodin limits sovereignty of monarch by property right of father.

IV. Response to theme.
 A. Early modern natural rights theory.
  1. Grotius.
  2. Locke.
 B. Contemporary natural rights theory.
  1. Rawls.

V. Conclusion to theme.
 Critique of Herbert Spencer? Lochner? New Deal Jurisprudence?


Debating about debating about what I really think and feel

I've been wondering if I should start a blog conversation about legal education, the American legal system, Democracy, the destiny of America, Roma aeterna, 9/11, the cult of self-realization, and so forth. Any advice?