Theses for discussion.
This is part of a larger project. Feel free to comment or provide feedback if you feel so inclined. Crossposted on FB.
1. Denominations institutionalize schism and are inconsistent with orthodox doctrine of Church. Clergy in Denominations have vested interests in the perpetuation of schism, particularly at the local town level.
2. Denominations enable privatization of religion and marginalization of religious subject matter on a constitutional level. Denominations, at least in practice, effectively deny judicial role and teaching voice of the Church, thwart or disestablish councils from their patristic and medieval function.
3. Denominations, by soliciting membership, set up the denomination as an entity-idol and effectively counterfeit the sacrament of Baptism.
4. Corporations necessary for production of branded products for mass markets. Can still have Stradavariuses for instance without corporations.
5. Corporations are really, really useful for making armaments and supporting war on a mass scale. They are, historically, the kept women of the modern nation-state.
6. Corporations enable depredation of environment. The Fertile Crescent became a waterless dust bowl without corporations, but it took thousands of years. But Antarctic whaling and global overfishing did not happen in single generations without corporations.
7. Intellectual property rights came being into to promote and secure strong industries for strong national states, and especially manufacturing technologies of strategic military significance.
8. Intellectual property rights have basis in utilitarian fiat rather than in natural law. In that sense, they are no different than tax policy.
9. The intellectual property system today does not, because of its publication requirements combined with high costs of prosecution, promote and secure strong industries for strong national states, because in most cases the inventions are disclosed to the world and left unclaimed in all but the home markets.
10. Governmental interference in the marketplace includes all special rights and licenses, including intellectual property rights, unequal tax treatment, and so forth.
11. Entity incorporation for businesses and other purposes is per se governmental interference in the marketplace. It is also a concession from the state and has basis in utilitarian fiat.
12. Corporations are just plain idols. By this, we mean a man-made thing that people invest with attributes of the imago Dei. Fair enough?
13. A Butlerian Jihad is necessary and inevitable to free human beings from corporations.
14. The legal profession, together with the modern judiciary, is an ersatz ecclesiastical hierarchy for secular modernity.
15. Judicial review a la Marbury v. Madison is not actually constitutional, or, at least, is not actually necessitated by the Constitution.
16. Political parties have become Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations. Political parties are not constitutional as entities or permanent institutions. It would be as just to ban the Democratic and Republican parties, in their national oligopoly forms, as it was to ban the Nazi or Ba’ath parties.
17. The 1933-1937 court fight is a close secular approximation of the Papal/Imperial struggle of the 11th century. FDR is the emperor and the court is the pope.
18. The Warren Court’s emphasis on civil rights in distinction from the Lochner Court’s emphasis on lasses-faire corresponds closely to the papacy’s later emphasis on regulating more narrowly moral controversies in distinction from its earlier emphasis, under Gregory VII and Innocent III, on regulating political action directly, as well as all other aspects of human life universally. The Warren Court’s jurisprudence thus represents a withdrawal from judicial review of economic regulation to a more “spiritual” new direction, a focus on civil rights and reproductive issues, which would not be subject to direct conflict with the “political branches.”
19. The United States of America, in its current form, is an exceeding anomalous political system that is paralleled only by the Roman Empire, the Caliphate, and maybe the Han Empire. The United States is as a political system neither a nation nor a city (polis). It is different in that sense very different from Athens or France.
20. The United States Constitution is older than any other constitution of its sort in the modern world, and is subject to continuing debates about its interpretation and history, which span that history. This has made the United States an ancien regime.
21. The United States is essentially defined by the Civil War, rather than by its Founding and the American Revolution.
22. The Civil War was completely about slavery and at the same time completely about States’ rights. There is no conflict between these points. The Civil War smashed the idea, stemming from the English Revolution of 1640-1689, that a representative assembly has a sort of moral autonomy. It replaced this with an idea of human rights guaranteed by or granted by a federal government.
23. The American Founding was not a specifically Christian event and the United States Constitution, far from being a specifically Christian document, is in fact that most secular constitutional instrument up to that time.
24. In the modern world, the State has subsumed many of the functions of the Church, or at least many of the functions that the medieval Roman Catholic Church has previously maintained. This is especially true in the United States, where the Federal Government performs a pseudo-ecclesiastical role vis-à-vis the States. Witness, for example, the historical restriction of criminal law and many forms of commercial law to the States.
25. With the subsumption of many of its functions by the State, the Church loses its monopoly on or leadership in traditional social roles and is left primarily with liturgical and theological education functions.
26. To the extent to which liturgy and eucharist are removed from the weekly practice of churches, those churches are left with the preaching of the Word.
27. A church that offers a social calendar and the preaching of the Word, without really anything more, is not a real church. That is to say, it can be replaced with a softball league and a tape ministry.
28. The Papacy may be considered as the prototype for the modern State.
29. The arc of modern American constitutional law, and of modern law in general, is to delegitimatize all actors in society other than individuals and State-created persons. Rights are recognized in or inhere in individuals or in State grants. Special institutions such as churches or marriages are not recognized as having standing or as possessing rights or interests except to the extent that individuals consent to and subscribe to those institutions or to the extent that they are registered with and granted status by the State.
30. The content of special institutions such as the family or churches or the Church and Marriage is not recognized as normative by the individuals or by the State.
31. That the power to tax is the power to destroy has many corollaries. One such corollary could be that the power to provide benefits is the power to restrict or condition behavior. Personal libertarian freedoms will be trumped by health insurance requirements. (We see this about to happen in 2009.)
32. The civil rights movement has significant parallels with Roman Catholicism. The black community looks to the Federal government to provide security and leadership much the same way as marginalized communities in Medieval Europe looked to the papacy to provide protection and social justice.
33. You may regard Barack Obama’s autobiography as being not unlike Augustine’s Confessions—although written for a very different religion.
34. God is a person but is also incredibly analogous to an infinite series of ratios, or to an infinitely complex equation. If we are told that God is Love or that the Logos is God, is it terribly impious to say that God is like all of the ratios and ratio relationships that ever existed or could ever exist, rolled up in one grand equation?
35. The doctrine of the immortality of the soul is not a specifically Christian doctrine. It is persistently associated with Gnosticism.
36. Christianity took several centuries to crystallize a creedal-level understanding of the Incarnation. It took several hundred more years to develop an understanding of the Crucifixion. It is now working on a similar understanding of the Resurrection. There is, as yet, no effective creedal-level understanding of the Ascension.
37. The Church must deal effectively and cogently with the challenges of modern biological and physical science (i.e., paleontology, biology, astronomy, etc.). Failure to address these challenges, on the level of a creedal formula, prevent the Church from laying out a series of ideas and claiming moral authority.
38. The serious questions must be addressed and answered in a greater synthesis. This is true even of selfish or stupid questions, such as about sexual orientation of biblical figures or about femininity in the Divine. The response could encompass, e.g., a meditation on the mission of the Holy Spirit.
39. The doctrine of the Trinity must be made applicable and imaginable in human life and experience. Augustine’s work in De Trinitate is representative. The doctrine of the Trinity is, par excellance, a doctrine of persons.
40. Are we pushing for a new fundamentalism of persons? Perhaps. It is social contract theory and the several modern Enlightenments that asks people to reify organizations and business ventures and contracts—in other words, to treat as primary things the creations of human will and human action.