A Theological Interpretation of American Order



PART ONE: Statement of Crux


I.          The Claims of Faith.


II.        The Nature of Contemporary Politics.


III.       The Election of 1980 and Its Aftermath.



PART TWO: Antecedents from the Middle Ages


I.          The City of God.

            A.        After the Fall of Jerusalem

B.         Ecclesiology in the ante-Nicene Fathers.

            C.        Constantine: the Emperor as Friend of God.

            D.        Augustine: the heavenly City Survives the Earthly City.

            E.         Justinian, Clovis, and Charlemagne: rival visions of royal and imperial power.

F.         Muhammad: combining religion and politics in the mass movement.


II.        The Papacy.

            A.        Mission of the Anglo-Saxons: Christianity from outside the Latin West.

            B.         The Papal Revolution: Investiture, Offices, and the Dictates Papae.

            C.        Great Schism and Crusades: A new idea of the West.

D.        Lateran IV: The Compromise.


II.        The Fall of the Church and the Rise of the State.

            A.        Aristotelianism: Aristotle through Judeo-Arabic to Aquinas.

            B.         Boniface VIII and Marsilius of Padua: the rejection of political Augustinianism.

            C.        Conciliarism.

            D.        Florence: The Renaissance and the School of the Ages.


IV.       The Reformation.

            A.        Previous Reform Movements and the Northern Renaissance.

            B.         Luther

            C.        Anabaptists

            D.        Calvin.

            E.         Trent.

            F.         Elizabeth.


V.        The Crisis of the Seventeenth Century, Westphalia, and England.

            A.        The Thirty Years' War: the end of international Calvinism.

            B.         The Crisis across Europe.

            C.        Crown, Covenant, and Regicide.

            D.        Cromwell.

            E.         The Glorious Revolution.

            F.         Early Modern Philosophy.



PART THREE: Events in the New World.


I.          Colonies.


II.        Revolution.


III.       Constitution.


IV.       Jackson.


V.        The War Between the States.


VI.       Industrialization.


VII.     New Deal.


VIII.    The Warren Court, the Great Society, and the Counterculture.


IX.       Reagan and Bush.



PART FOUR: Institutions.


I.          The Church and the Denomination.

            A.        The Ecumenical council.

            B.         The Papacy.

            C.        The religious orders.

            D.        The failure of the Reformation.

E.         Erastianism, Latitudinarianism, and Denominations.

F.         First and Second Great Awakenings.

G.        Social Gospel and Fundamentalism.

I.          The Jesus Movement.


II.        The Family.

            A.        Review of ancient and medieval forms.

            B.         Early modern economies.

            C.        Victorianism and the invention of the Home.

            D.        Feminism and the escape of the Individual from Home.


III.       The Corporation.

            A.        The Utility of Enterprise for Early Modern States.

            B.         Intellectual Property.

            C.        Limited Liability.

            D.        Lassez-faire and Social Darwinism.

            E.         Marxist critique.

            F.         The Administrative State.

            G.        Multinationals.

H.        Taxation without representation.


IV.       The Judiciary.

            A.        Antecedents.

            B.         Marbury and Judicial Review.

            C.        [19th century somethings]

D.        Professionalization.

            E.         Roosevelt and the Court.

            F.         The Warren Court and Civil Rights.

            G.        Federalism?

            H.        Litigation and superstition.


V.        The State.

            A.        Moral autonomy after 1688.

            B.         Moral autonomy until 1789 (in Europe) and 1861 (in America).

            C.        The eclipse of State constitutional law.

            D.        Federalism.


VI.       The Federal Government.

            A.        Hamilton and Federalism.

            B.         Territorial expansion.

            C.        Civil War and the triumph of the Union.

            D.        The end of territorial expansion.

            E.         The new party politics and the administrative welfare state.

            F.         The military-industrial complex.

            G.        The Great Society.


VII.     International Law.

            A.        Ancient and medieval antecedents.

            B.         From Machiavelli to Grotius and Westphalia.

            C.        Colonialism.

            D.        The French Revolution.

            E.         The World Wars and the United Nations.

            F.         Superpowers.

            G.        The European Union.

            H.        Kosovo and Iraq.


PART FIVE: Prospects.


I.          Terrorism.

            A.        Effect on International Law regime.

            B.         Effect on Federal, State, and Judicial regimes.

            C.        Effect on Family, Denomination, and Corporation.


II.        The Quest for Personal Autonomy.

A.        Gay Rights.

B.         Health Care.

            C.        The Internet.


III.       The Next Revolution.

            A.        Rosenstock-Hussey on the cycle of Revolutions.

            B.         Germany, Japan, or Italy are especially ripe.

            C.        Next revolution will find solution to personal autonomy problems.


IV.       What would Jesus do?


Back to School!

Marsha went back to school today and I took a picture of her before she went. (It's a family tradition.)


The Big Owie

Marsha and I had moles cut out of our bodies on Monday. I had one and she had three done--and we both have stitches and feel a little sore.


Averroes on the Good

As for the people of our nation known as the Mutakallimun, their legal inquiry led them to the position that what God wills has no definite nature and merely turns on what the will--i.e., the will of God (may He be exalted)--lays down for it. According to this, there is nothing beautiful or base other than by fiat. Furthermore, there is no end of man other than by fiat. What brought them to this was their thinking of defending the attributes with which God (may He be exalted!) is described in the Law, to the effect that He is capable of doing whatever He wills, and that it is possible for the divine will to extend to all things, including particulars as well. Hence all things are possible. What happened to them happens often in legal inquiry. That is, God (may He be exalted!) is first described by certain attributes. Then one seeks to make what exists agree with the teaching without upsetting whatever of those attributes has been laid down. But these people are distressed in trying to discover the explanation of this question if these things that they consider clearly evident are as they believe. As a result this leads them to an opinion close to sophistry, very far from the nature of man, and far from the content of the Law.

Averroes, Commentary on Plato's Republic, Ralph Lerner, trans. (Cornell, 1974), 66.22-67.2.
And how it draws one to itself! Have I not felt it? Even now my heart desires to set my will upon it, to see if I could not wrench it from him and turn where I would--to look across the wide seas of water and of time to Tirion the Fair, and perceive the unimaginable hand and mind of Feanor at their work, while both the White Tree and the Golden were in flower!
Chicago, Friends, and the Den Hartog-Casper Wedding

Marsha and I went west last weekend and visited two sets of her friends, a collection of mine, a bookstore, a really big city, a nice museum, and witnessed the wedding of Jonathan Den Hartog. The Oriental Institute of Chicago is certainly worth seeing. Its collections focus more on artifacts rather than art, but there is a lot there, and there are still some galleries closed. (At the suk, I found a replica cuneiform tablet!) The Seminary Co-op Bookstore is well worth visiting, for any who haven't. Probably the best collection of in print books that I have ever seen under one roof--or in one basement!

My old friend Jonathan Den Hartog (Hillsdale '99) married Jackie Casper, a fellow Notre Dame graduate student, at charming church outside South Bend. They are honeymooning in an appropriate area--Cape Cod! Raymond Erickson ('97) was in the weddding party, and Matt Houser, Esq. ('99), Mr. and Mrs. Ben DeGrow, and even--yes!--the legendary Steve Shelby ('97) were in attendance. The groom is still very much himself, :-) and even gave a mini-lecture setting his and his bride's personal joy of the day in the context of the larger issues of our time, going on to thank those in attendence for their part in affirming the threatened institution of marriage, both by their attendence and also by their encouragement in the years to come. It was, totally, vintage Jonathan. You had to be there!
Hillsdale, Avalon, and Anaktoria

A college friend wrote me some days ago. Here are words that pierce like swords or burn like cold iron:

People like ***** are now ghosts to me; men in black and white pictures whose names I will only be able to mumble. I'm sad to say I fear that your color will fade too as our lives grow decidedly apart, and your name will sound strange to me after I've said it. Still, since you claim you will one day swim again in pools of ideas, we may be close again one day, though we swim on different shores. I was in Hillsdale earlier this summer to help my sister move her things. I thought of many people while I drove slowly through those streets, and you were one of the most distinct. My heart is broken in so many ways and in most of them it was broken there. Hillsdale will always be distant from me now, an Avalon where my soul might someday go to sleep.

So I must ask you, do you not feel this pain? And, yet, would you not rather see the shining pallor of his face before your eyes than Lydia's chariots in all their glory armored for battle?
The choice remains whether to cross the Sea or to dwindle into a rustic folk of dell and cave, slowly to forget and be forgotten.



Alan Gewirth, actually, has recently passed away.
A very important connection!

Not only does Marsilius make, for the first time, a political application of the premise of the non-futility of natural desire, but in this application it receives a scope and a detail which it had not previously attained. Where all his predecessors had said that the object of man's natural desires is something as general as "knowledge" or "the good," Marsilius, as we have seen, holds that this object is, successively, the sufficient life, the state, whatever is necessary for the state's preservation, and finally good laws. Moreover, in support of this necessary sequence of natural desires, Marsilius' argument reintroduces the Aristotelian concept of "deformity," which carries on the specifically biological context of his political philosophy, whereas his predecessors had appealed only to such general dicta as "God and nature do nothing in vain" . . . And finally, Marsilius, like John of Jandun, interprets this non-futility of natural desire to mean that the object of this desire is actually attained, not merely that its attainment is possible. For John this had meant that all or most men taken collectively, or as a species, actually have all the sciences. For Marsilius, however, it means that the universitas civium of its weightier part, which is the legislator of the state, is all but infallible both in will and in execution; "election is always made for the common benefit, which the human legislator almost always aims at and achieves." Both John and Marsilius thus exhibit a kind of optimism about the collectivity of man, in the realms of the theoretic and the practical, respectively, which is as utopian as it is extreme. Yet in the political sphere it is this same doctrine, expressed as faith in the natural goodness of man, which animated many of the republican and democratic movements in modern times. In any case, the upshot of Marsilius' naturalist-corporate interpretation of desire is that nature operates as an efficient cause within the wills of all or most men taken together, driving them from one desire to the next until the state and all its laws are established, thereby satisfying the original desire. Nature hence gives a sanction to corporate majoritarianism which is completely denied to all other kinds of state.

Alan Gewirth, "Natural Desire, the Unity of the Intellect, and Political Averroism," Appendix II in his 1956 edition of Defensor Pacis, pp. 437-438.
Mr. Danckaert has written a good post on Mr. Moore.


I am currently reading Marsilus of Padua's Defensor Pacis. I almost feel as if I'm back in my Giles of Rome/John of Paris project for Dr. Moye in the spring of 1998. :) Perhaps I am getting closer to the roots of secularism and vantillian prestoppositionalism. We'll see . . .
I love you, Fred

Last weekend, I learned that my wife's name is actually "Fred." Or at least that's what some of her old school friends affectionately call her. It takes a little getting used to. Sorta makes one wonder. :)

This weekend, I learned that "Fred" told a former student as of late July 2003, in response to a friend's question about our then-unaffianced relationship, "We're engaged in our hearts."

Cupid is a knavish lad . . .