by Lil Joe
A view of the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) in its tunnel at the European particle-physics laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland.
PASADENA, Calif. - After 16 years and $10 billion, there was joy in the meadows and tunnels of the Swiss-French countryside Tuesday: The world's biggest physics machine, the Large Hadron Collider, began to smash subatomic particles together.
After two false starts due to electrical failures, protons that were whipped to more than 99 percent of the speed of light and to record-high energy levels of 3.5 trillion electron volts each raced around a 17-mile underground magnetic track outside Geneva.
The collisions occurred inside the apartment-building-sized detector designed to capture every evanescent flash and fragment from microscopic fireballs thought to hold insights into the beginning of the universe.
The soundless blooming of proton explosions was accompanied by the hoots and applause of scientists crowded into control rooms at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), which built the collider.
The relief spread to particle physicists around the world, who collectively have staked the future of their profession on the idea that the collider eventually will reveal new secrets of the universe. Among their goals are finding the identity of the dark matter that shapes the visible cosmos and the strange particle known as the Higgs boson, believed to imbue other particles with mass. Until now, these have been out of reach. ...
Texas Yanks Thomas Jefferson From Teaching Standard
David Knowles WriterAOL News
(March 12) --
Widely regarded as one of the most important of all the founding fathers of the United States, Thomas Jefferson received a demotion of sorts Friday thanks to the Texas Board of Education.
The board voted to enact new teaching standards for history and social studies that will alter which material gets included in school textbooks. It decided to drop Jefferson from a world history section devoted to great political thinkers.
According to Texas Freedom Network, a group that opposes many of the changes put in place by the Board of Education, the original curriculum asked students to "explain the impact of Enlightenment ideas from John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, Charles de Montesquieu, Jean Jacques Rousseau and Thomas Jefferson on political revolutions from 1750 to the present."
The Texas Board of Education is dropping President Thomas Jefferson from a world history section devoted to great political thinkers.
That emphasis did not sit well with board member Cynthia Dunbar, who, during Friday's meeting, explained the rationale for changing it. "The Enlightenment was not the only philosophy on which these revolutions were based," Dunbar said.
The new standard, passed at the meeting in a 10-5 vote, now reads, "Explain the impact of the writings of John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, Charles de Montesquieu, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and Sir William Blackstone."
By dropping mention of revolution, and substituting figures such as Aquinas and Calvin for Jefferson, Texas Freedom Network argues, the board had chosen to embrace religious teachings over those of Jefferson, the man who coined the phrase "separation between church and state."
According to USA Today, the board also voted to strike the word "democratic" from references to the U.S. form of government, replacing it with the term "constitutional republic." Texas textbooks will contain references to "laws of nature and nature's God" in passages that discuss major political ideas.
The board decided to use the words "free enterprise" when describing the U.S. economic system rather than words such as "capitalism," "capitalist" and "free market," which it deemed to have a negative connotation.
Serving 4.7 million students, Texas accounts for a large percentage of the textbook market, and the new standards may influence what is taught in the rest of the country.
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One might wonder what these two seemingly disparate human events could have in common - one occurring in a meeting room in good ole Texas, USA and the other occurring in a laboratory in Europe: The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is a gigantic scientific instrument near Geneva, where it spans the border between Switzerland and France about 100 meters underground. It is a particle accelerator used by physicists to study the smallest known particles – the fundamental building blocks of all things. It will revolutionise our understanding, from the minuscule world deep within atoms to the vastness of the Universe. On the other hand the Texas Board of Education's majority of elected "Conservative Christian" politicians want not only to stop scientific progress as far as revolutionizing human understandings of the universe is concerned, but to in fact return to the 19th/early 20th century WASP American Christian Fundamentalist Bible based belief system, or rather the pre-Renaissance Europe's understanding of it as was fought out by attorneys in the infamous Scopes Monkey Trial.
The early 1920s found social patterns in chaos. Traditionalists, the older Victorians, worried that everything valuable was ending. Younger modernists no longer asked whether society would approve of their behavior, only whether their behavior met the approval of their intellect. Intellectual experimentation flourished. Americans danced to the sound of the Jazz Age, showed their contempt for alcoholic prohibition, debated abstract art and Freudian theories. In a response to the new social patterns set in motion by modernism, a wave of revivalism developed, becoming especially strong in the American South.
Who would dominate American culture--the modernists or the traditionalists? Journalists were looking for a showdown, and they found one in a Dayton, Tennessee courtroom in the summer of 1925. There a jury was to decide the fate of John Scopes, a high school biology teacher charged with illegally teaching the theory of evolution. The guilt or innocence of John Scopes, and even the constitutionality of Tennessee's anti-evolution statute, mattered little. The meaning of the trial emerged through its interpretation as a conflict of social and intellectual values.
What the recent decision of the Texas Board of Education and the Scopes Monkey Trial has in common is common opposition to the empirical method of science as the basis for verifiable knowledge: science rejects authority of persons and of institutions and therefore of books. The Scopes Monkey Trial and the Texas Board of Education events have in common that they are both opposed to scientific method, and therefore to the Renaissance of which the Enlightenment was an but an extension. Opposition to the Enlightenment is promoting the restoration of the Dark Ages.
Montesquieu didn't really contribute anything new to the Enlightenment. Compared to Rousseau's The Social Contract, which was in the tradition of John Locke's Second Treatise on Civil Government, attacking the monarchy and aristocracy and advocating for republican democracy, Montesquieu's chief work, The Spirit of Laws, was in the tradition of Thomas Hobbes' The Leviathan, and quite conservative. Voltaire was an Enlightenment figure whose attacks on nobles and Churchmen by ridicule, and mocking of the Biblical stories, as in his Philosophical Dictionaire, popularized Enlightenment ideas and attitudes toward Church and State, dogma and superstition. But, the central core of the developing Enlightenment wasn't these colorful or flamboyant individuals, but the work of the scientists and materialist philosophers who continued the progress of knowledge initiated by the Renaissance.
The conscious scientific method is predicated upon the objective existence of the external material world and the validity of human sensuous reasoning as the method for our understanding of it in contradistinction to the acceptance of assertions of shamen, medicine men, Griots, prophets, poets, priests &/or books and assigned 'interpreters'. Science is predicated upon materialist epistemology and ontological assumptions.
This CERN experiment, advancing human scientific knowledge of the universe, is historically a continuation of the work of empirical science began by the Ionian and subsequent Greek materialists and conscious scientists the Alexandrian scientists and inventors, whose work had been snuffed out by the Platonist, Neo-Platonist and Aristotelian theologians of the Dark Ages who rejected empirical science and materialist epistemological ontology, but was rediscovered and advanced by the Renaissance and its extension in the Enlightenment.
There were parallel developments in the progress of science and of political theory, both in the Ionian and Alexandrian periods and in the Renaissance-Enlightenment period. But, philosophy has always represented conflicting class interests expressed as conflicting political ideologies, as in the cases of Plato and Aristotle against the Ionian materialists. Aquinas and Calvin were not philosophers at all. Rather, they were religious dogmatic fundamentalists who based their doctrines on Bible verses rather than empirical observations of the external material universe, and thus were part of what the Renaissance and Enlightenment sciences and materialist philosophers rebelled against.
The Ionian Enlightenment, materialist philosophies and sciences, arose among the merchants and artisans of the advocates of democracy that penetrated Athens: Thales and Solon, Xenophanes and Pericles. The epistemological perspective that makes science possible is the materialist ontologico-epistemological assumption predicated upon the objective existence of the external sensuous world and its knowability to human understanding by means of sensuous human reason and by the extension of it with technology.
Ionian materialist cosmology, predicated upon ratiocinations based on materialist epistemological assumptions that the material universe is all there is and is knowable by sensuous human reason that culminated in a human ontology and ethics argued by the Epicureans that matter is self-organized and cosmic reason are natural laws of its basis and operations, sensations are valid both in reason and in seeking and achieving pleasure and avoiding pain: the ethics and politics of positive reinforcement verses negative sanctions by Priest and the State.
Materialist philosophical ontological/epistemological perspective and scientific method originated with the Greeks, the Ionian materialists and scientists of Melitus and elsewhere, Thales, Anaximander, Anaximines, Xenophanes, Heraclitus, Democritus, Empedocles, Epicurus and advances in this method and corresponding accumulation of information and corresponding theoretical understandings by science and technology achieved great successes centuries later in Ptolemaic Egypt at the Great Library at Alexandria: Aristarchus, Eratosthenes, Strabo, Euclid, Heron, and Archimedes, Seleucus, Herophilus, Hypatia ...
"There was a woman at Alexandria named Hypatia, daughter of the philosopher Theon, who made such attainments in literature and science, as to far surpass all the philosophers of her own time. Having succeeded to the school of Plato and Plotinus, she explained the principles of philosophy to her auditors, many of whom came from a distance to receive her instructions. On account of the self-possession and ease of manner, which she had acquired in consequence of the cultivation of her mind, she not unfrequently appeared in public in presence of the magistrates. Neither did she feel abashed in going to an assembly of men. For all men on account of her extraordinary dignity and virtue admired her the more. Yet even she fell victim to the political jealousy which at that time prevailed. For as she had frequent interviews with Orestes, it was calumniously reported among the Christian populace, that it was she who prevented Orestes from being reconciled to the bishop. Some of them, therefore, hurried away by a fierce and bigoted zeal, whose ringleader was a reader named Peter, waylaid her returning home, and dragging her from her carriage, they took her to the church called Caesareum, where they completely stripped her, and then murdered her with tiles.* After tearing her body in pieces, they took her mangled limbs to a place called Cinaron, and there burnt them. This affair brought not the least opprobrium, not only upon Cyril, but also upon the whole Alexandrian church. And surely nothing can be farther from the spirit of Christianity than the allowance of massacres, fights, and transactions of that sort. This happened in the month of March during Lent, in the fourth year of Cyril's episcopate, under the tenth consulate of Honorius, and the sixth of Theodosius." http://cosmopolis.com/alexandria/hypatia-bio-socrates.html
"There is a growing consensus among historians that the Library of Alexandria likely suffered from several destructive events, but that the destruction of Alexandria's pagan temples in the late 4th century was probably the most severe and final one. The evidence for that destruction is the most definitive and secure. Caesar's invasion may well have led to the loss of some 40,000-70,000 scrolls in a warehouse adjacent to the port (as Luciano Canfora argues, they were likely copies produced by the Library intended for export), but it is unlikely to have affected the Library or Museum, given that there is ample evidence that both existed later.
"Civil wars, decreasing investments in maintenance and acquisition of new scrolls and generally declining interest in non-religious pursuits likely contributed to a reduction in the body of material available in the Library, especially in the fourth century. The Serapeum was certainly destroyed by Theophilus in 391, and the Museum and Library may have fallen victim to the same campaign.
The consequence of the destruction of Ionian and Alexandrian materialist philosophy and of scientific method based on it was the reign of the Idealist Platonist and neo-Platonist Idealism philosophy of Idea Reality vs material perversions of it, distorted sensuous perceptions merged with Pauline doctrine of 'sinful flesh', the metaphysics of evil as determining the physical 'human nature' of man as selfish, lustful and violent in need of the State to control human appetites and passions. Materialism had to be destroyed so that the metaphysical doctrine in the guise of theology could dominate the culture that justified, that posited authority, that justified economic classes and State Power.
As the most powerful, economically dominate classes of an epoch are the most powerful, politically dominate class, the ruling classes and thus the State's special bodies of armed men with their courts and prisons enforce the material and political interests of those ruling classes, the ideas of the ruling interests are the dominate ideas - the dominate material relations grasped as ideas.
Plato wrote that "Our object in the construction of the State is the greatest happiness of the whole, and not that of any one class." But, it is to be remembered that Plato was a member of the Athenian aristocracy of wealth, whose politics were correspondingly reactionary vis-a-vis the middle class and its democracy, a slave based economy those it was and the basis for citizenship.
It is therefore not at all surprising that Plato's Ideal Polis, or State is governed by a non-laboring, idealized ruling intelligentsia, that was perhaps modelled upon the Egyptian Priesthood or the Judaic Levites, or the Hindu Brahman. But, they were not to be born into such lofty positions as a caste inheritance. Instead of a 'chief priest' there was to be a 'philosopher king'.
"The peasants are the foundation of the society. They till the soil and produce goods, i.e. take care of society's basic appetites. The warriors represent the spirit and courage of the society. And the philosopher kings guide the society, as reason guides our lives."
The Guardians would be a governing intelligentsia and administrative bureaucracy that is comprised of men and women selected on the basis of educational merit, a meritocracy based in educational attainment. Those who reached the higher levels of abstract thought, and the philosopher kings at the apex would govern society as the personification of Reason. This guardian class of intellectuals would be propertyless and without personal families, society supported administrative bureaucrats who would therefore having no material economic selfish interests other than agape and commitment to the Good for the whole. The armed forces of the State, the warrior class is selected on the basis of merit as well, their love for the people, philo is manifest in patriotism and courage on the battle fields, and no respect of person in enforcing legal decrees domestically. The business and laboring classes at the bottom of the polis corresponds to the appetites - selfishness, erotic love, competition, whose limited mentality suits them to production and reproduction, property and pursuit of self-interests and advancing family interests.
Plato tried to justify this on the basis of his Idealist metaphysical epistemological cosmological ontology: the universe as comprised of Mind and Matter. Initially the two are distinct.
Plato identified the Idea world of Perfect rational Forms as inhering in and composition of the Mind of God - the One, the Beautiful, the Good that is self-sufficient, eternal and in itself-complete. Matter, on the other hand, is in it's state of nature tumultuous, restless chaos. As in the Torah the Spirit of God moves over the face of the depth of formless matter and differentiates things and species , God in Plato's Tamaeus' metaphysical cosmology creates an orderly cosmos of things and species: world-being. Reason governs the world and man becomes a living soul with a will and mind of his own.
"According to Plato, the phenomenal world strives to become ideal, perfect, complete. Ideals are, in that sense, a motivating force. In fact, he identifies the ideal with God and perfect goodness. God creates the world out of materia (raw material, matter) and shapes it according to his "plan" or "blueprint" -- ideas or the ideal. If the world is not perfect, it is not because of God or the ideals, but because the raw materials were not perfect. I think you can see why the early Christian church made Plato an honorary Christian, even though he died three and a half centuries before Christ!
"Plato applies the same dichotomy to human beings: There's the body, which is material, mortal, and "moved" (a victim of causation). Then there's the soul, which is ideal, immortal, and "unmoved" (enjoying free will).
"The soul includes reason, of course, as well as self-awareness and moral sense. Plato says the soul will always choose to do good, if it recognizes what is good. This is a similar conception of good and bad as the Buddhists have: Rather than bad being sin, it is considered a matter of ignorance. So, someone who does something bad requires education, not punishment.
"The soul is drawn to the good, the ideal, and so is drawn to God. We gradually move closer and closer to God through reincarnation as well as in our individual lives. Our ethical goal in life is resemblance to God, to come closer to the pure world of ideas and ideal, to liberate ourselves from matter, time, and space, and to become more real in this deeper sense. Our goal is, in other words, self-realization.
"Plato talks about three levels of pleasure. First is sensual or physical pleasure, of which sex is a great example. A second level is sensuous or esthetic pleasure, such as admiring someone's beauty, or enjoying one's relationship in marriage. But the highest level is ideal pleasure, the pleasures of the mind. Here the example would be Platonic love, intellectual love for another person unsullied by physical involvement.
"Paralleling these three levels of pleasure are three souls. We have one soul called appetite, which is mortal and comes from the gut. The second soul is called spirit or courage. It is also mortal, and lives in the heart. The third soul is reason. It is immortal and resides in the brain. The three are strung together by the cerebrospinal canal.
"Plato is fond of analogies. Appetite, he says, is like a wild horse, very powerful, but likes to go its own way. Spirit is like a thoroughbred, refined, well trained, directed power. And reason is the charioteer, goal-directed, steering both horses according to his will.
Although Plato didn't himself regard matter as 'evil', and knew nothing of a concept of 'sinful flesh', Plotinus and the neo-Platonists, came to regard matter as evil and this penetrated the Christian Jewish version of Adam and Eve and the 'fall of man' from a sinless state of nature engendering the basis for the Augustinian and subsequent Catholic doctrines for original sin and the Platonist, Augustinian and Hobbes' doctrines of 'human nature' and justifications for State violence against rebellious classes and citizens that break the law.
Plato argued that the appetites of the flesh are wild and rebellious and must be held in check by the will in obedience to reason, and correspondingly the fleshly classes that are driven by the appetites must also be held in check by the State. Paul said similar, but from the point of view of his Platonist interpretation of the Book of Genesis story of Adam and Eve, the fall into sin, rebelliousness, the appetites as sinful flesh.
Paul wrote to the Romans:
"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) http://ebible.org/kjv/
Paul to the Galatians:
"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts."http://ebible.org/kjv/
Now, from a materialist sociological perspective of the Enlightenment and modern anthropology "adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings" are culturally determined and not natural 'evil' or inherent in 'sinful flesh'. Evil and sin does not exist in Nature.
In matrilineal communal societies based on hunting and gathering or horticulture, there was no marriage sexual restrictions and no repressive traditions or sexual negative culture. There was therefore no political or legal and religious sexual crimes and sins of adultry, fornication and lasciciousness, &c. These are cultural negatives in a society based in patrilineal inheritance, polygamy and monogamy based on property passed from father to son, thus marriage as a patriarchal institution.
The State arose on the basis of private ownership of the means of production and distribution by landed aristocrats and merchants, based on the appropriation of labor and wealth produced by laboring classes and toiling masses, the government decreed or legislated and enforced laws that made rebellion illegal. Sedition was made illegal, theft was made illegal, strife was counterered by repression, envy of the wealthy was made contemptuous, killing owners and cops was illegal - only the owners and the soldiers and cops had the legal authority to kill, and the State created religious ideologies to justify this arrangement.
Stefan Stenudd wrote a passage from Plato's Critias:
"There was a time when the life of men was unordered, bestial and the slave of force, when there was no reward for the virtuous and no punishment for the wicked. Then, I think, men devised retributory laws, in order that Justice might be dictator and have arrogance as its slave, and if anyone sinned, he was punished. Then, when the laws forbade them to commit open crimes of violence, and they began to do them in secret, a wise and clever man invented fear (of the gods) for mortals, that there might be some means of frightening the wicked, even if they do anything or say or think it in secret. Hence, he introduced the Divine, saying that there is a God flourishing with immortal life, hearing and seeing with his mind, and thinking of everything and caring about these things, and having divine nature, who will hear everything said among mortals, and will be able to see all that is done. And even if you plan anything evil in secret, you will not escape the gods in this; for they have surpassing intelligence. In saying these words, he introduced the pleasantest of teachings, covering up the truth with a false theory; and he said that the gods dwelt there where he could most frighten men by saying it, whence he knew that fears exist for mortals and rewards for the hard life: in the upper periphery, where they saw lightning and heard the dread rumblings of thunder, and the starry-faced body of heaven, the beautiful embroidery of Time the skilled craftsman, whence come forth the bright mass of the sun, and the wet shower upon the earth. With such fears did he surround mankind, through which he well established the deity with his argument, and in a fitting place, and quenched lawlessness among men ... Thus, I think, for the first time did someone persuade mortals to believe in a race of deities.
Thus, Paul wrote in his Epistle to the Romans:
"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."http://ebible.org/kjv/
Similarly, the Church Fathers and theologians originated their metaphysics based in Plato and neo-Platonist concepts for the 'wild' and 'rebellious' sensations of pleasure, but the appetites became not just a nuisance to order that need to be repressed on that account by 'reason', and the laboring classes kept in check by the State, governed by the intellectual elite, but as Church interpretations of it from a repressive religious standpoint the 'lower appitites', especially sexual appitites' were products of 'original sin', the 'sinful flesh'; evil material bodily drives were of the Devil:
"Plato, though personally favorably inclined toward prostitutes, homosexuals and pedophilia, none-the-less taught in The Laws that the world would be a better place if all sex were "starved." Socrates and Plato both taught that all sexual activity was harmful to the health of the soul. Plato's teachings were revised in the third century, and Plotinus, the chief protagonist of this neo-Platonism, went far beyond Plato in denigrating sex, teaching that mystical ecstasies could be had through denying the body.
"Saint Augustine, the leading theologian of the fourth century, embraced the faith on April 25, 387 along with his "illegitimate" son, leaving behind his wife and his second mistress. He had already split up from his first concubine, the mother of his son, after 17 years of living together. He turned his home in Hippo into a monastery, and as Bishop of Hippo, proceeded to make many literary contributions to Christianity. Unfortunately, his sexual views were sadly affected by the monastic temperament of the times, perhaps an over-compensation for the sexuality of his liberal youth.
"It was Saint Augustine who, according to Nigel Davies in The Rampant God, "set the final seal on the anti-sexual bias of the Church" (Davies, 1984: 180). Before becoming a Christian, Saint Augustine had studied the works of Plotinus, and for eleven years was a member of the Manichaean sect, whose founder taught that Adam and Eve resulted from the Devil's children having sex, and procreation was just another evil part of the Prince of Darkness' creation.
"Saint Augustine did, however, consider sex a necessary evil, though certainly not something to be enjoyed. He even thought it was permissible to take a second wife if the first was barren, and grudgingly admitted that Adam and Eve may have had sex in the Garden before their Fall, but theorized that it was a very cold dutiful mechanical act without passion. After daring to suggest that even if they did have sex in the Garden, he assures his readers that they certainly would not have enjoyed it. Perish the thought, that there should have been any unregulated excitement, or any [excitement so great that they would ever] need to resist desire! (Augustine c. duas epist, Pelag. I 34, 17).
"The somewhat moderating stance of an earlier theologian, Saint Clement of Alexandria (c. 150 - c. 200), may have helped temper Augustine's attack on sex, or simply reflected the change in attitude towards sex that had taken place in the Church. Clement, himself a celibate monk, taught that those who condemn sex within marriage set themselves against the teachings of the Gospels, and that marriage was conducive to the spiritual well-being of faithful Christians. Though, having sex for pleasure rather than procreation, "voluptuous joy" as he called it, he discouraged (Brundage, 1987: 66,67).
"Many contemporaries of Saint Augustine were equally cool towards human coitus, and therefore cold towards women in general. Some early monastics became so anti-sex that they all but declared God an unfit Creator, who obviously should have invented a better way of dealing with the problem of procreation. Arnobius (d. c. A.D. 317) called intercourse filthy and degrading, and stated that it would be blasphemous even to imagine that Jesus was "born of vile coitus and came into the light as a result of the spewing forth of senseless semen, a product of obscene gropings" (Brundage, 1987: 64).
"Methodius thought sex was "unseemly," and Ambrose, a "defilement." Saint John Chrysostom, the "golden-mouthed" orator of the fourth century, had little golden to say about the fair sex in general: "Among all savage beasts, none is found as harmful as woman."
"Tertullian was so repulsed by sex he publicly renounced his own sexual relationship with his wife and taught that sexual intercourse drives out the Holy Spirit. Women, he declared, are "the devil's door: through them Satan creeps into men's hearts and minds and works his wiles for their spiritual destruction."
"Saint Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth century showed little improvement in attitude, saying that "Woman is defective and accidental . . . a male gone awry . . . the result of some weakness in the father's generative power" (cited in Rice, 1990: 138). A teaching common during that time taught that women and the lower half of men were created by the Devil. http://www.thefamily.org/dossier/books/book5/main.htm
Similarly, in the Islamic versions:
"Although it circumvents the Datholic Councils and its doctrine of 'original sin' and 'lusts of the flesh vs fruits of the Spirit of Paul, Islamic theology is just as much an integration of Neo-Platoism as is Augustinian Christian theology.
"Many men obey their carnal souls, and disobey their reasons; they follow after their random desires, rejecting the ordinances of religion, and scouting God's commandments. For Allah has put it into all healthy minds to be decent and self-controlled, to abstain from sin and fight against temptation; but they oppose the Lord 1 their God, and take the Devil's part, assisting him in his evil work by indulging in all deadly lusts; so they commit grievous sins in their amours.
"We know that Allah has implanted in every man two opposed natures. The first of these counsels only good; and incites to what is fair and seemly, so that nothing that is not pleasing to God is conceived therein: this - is reason, which is guided and led by justice. The second is opposite to the first, in that it advises solely the gratification of the lusts, and leads the way to all, that is evil and vicious: this is the soul; whose guide and mentor is carnal passion. God says, " Verily the soul commands to evil " (Koran XII 53). Elsewhere Allah refers to reason, calling it the heart, and says, " Verily therein is a reminder to every man possessing a heart or lending an ear to hear, who beareth witness (Koran L 36); He also says, " And He has made Faith a thing to be loved by you, and has made it comely in your hearts " (Koran XLIX 7); in another place He addresses " those that are possessed of minds " (Koran XXXIX 22).
"These two contrary natures are the poles in a man; they are two of the body's various faculties, by means of which the body acts; they are so to speak a pair of screens, upon which fall the rays emanating from those two wonderful, lofty, sublime substances. Every body has its share in these two natures, according to the degree to which it responds to them, its receptiveness being determined by the eternal will of the One Everlasting God (Holy be His Names), at the time that He created it and gave it shape. The two natures are forever and habitually in opposition and conflict one with the other. When the reason prevails over the soul, a man will refrain, and rein his corrupt impulses; he will seek to be illumined by the light of God, and will follow after justice. But when the soul dominates the reason, his inward eye is so blinded that he cannot truly discriminate between what is seemly and what is vile; great is his confusion, and he falls into the pit of ruin and the bottomless abyss of destruction.
"Therefore are God's commands and prohibitions most excellent, and obedience to them man's bounden duty, upon the fulfillment of which depends his fitting reward or punishment, his well-merited recompense. The spirit unites these contrary natures, and acts as a link and meeting-point between them. To stand always within the confines of obedience is a thing outside the bounds of actuality, except it be achieved by long self-discipline, right knowledge, and penetrating decimation; and only then may it be attained if a man deliberately avoids exposing himself to seduction, and abstains from human intercourse entirely, sitting not within the tents of temptation. Without doubt perfect and absolute purity can be secured, if a man were to be castrated and thus have no desire for woman, and no organ to assist him to traffic with them. It was said of old, " He who is preserved from the evil of his clacker, his rumbler and his dangler, is saved from the evil of the whole sublunary world." The clacker is the tongue, the rumbler is the belly, an the dangler is the privy parts. http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/hazm/dove/chpt28.html
Consequently, in the Western Empire, the rise to cultural dominance of ideas by the 'Roman Catholic Church' was followed, after the destruction of the Great Library at Alexanderia and destruction of the Greco-Roman materialist, secular and scientific heritage, by the Dark Ages. This 'Dark Age' was not the producer however, but the product of Medievalism which corresponded to the feudal modes of production and appropriation.
"This whole interpretation of history appears to be contradicted by the fact of conquest. Up till now violence, war, pillage, murder and robbery, etc. have been accepted as the driving force of history. Here we must limit ourselves to the chief points and take, therefore, only the most striking example — the destruction of an old civilisation by a barbarous people and the resulting formation of an entirely new organisation of society. (Rome and the barbarians; feudalism and Gaul; the Byzantine Empire and the Turks.) With the conquering barbarian people war itself is still, as indicated above, a regular form of intercourse, which is the more eagerly exploited as the increase in population together with the traditional and, for it, the only possible, crude mode of production gives rise to the need for new means of production.
"In Italy, on the other hand, the concentration of landed property (caused not only by buying-up and indebtedness but also by inheritance, since loose living being rife and marriage rare, the old families gradually died out and their possessions fell into the hands of a few) and its conversion into grazing land (caused not only by the usual economic forces still operative today but by the importation of plundered and tribute-corn and the resultant lack of demand for Italian corn) brought about the almost total disappearance of the free population. The very slaves died out again and again, and had constantly to be replaced by new ones. Slavery remained the basis of the whole productive system. The plebeians, midway between freemen and slaves, never succeeded in becoming more than a proletarian rabble. Rome indeed never became more than a city; its connection with the provinces was almost exclusively political and could, therefore, easily be broken again by political events.
"Nothing is more common than the notion that in history up till now it has only been a question of taking. The barbarians take the Roman Empire, and this fact of taking is made to explain the transition from the old world to the feudal system. In this taking by barbarians, however, the question is, whether the nation which is conquered has evolved industrial productive forces, as is the case with modern peoples, or whether their productive forces are based for the most part merely on their association and on the community.
"Taking is further determined by the object taken. .... And finally, everywhere there is very soon an end to taking, and when there is nothing more to take, you have to set about producing. From this necessity of producing, which very soon asserts itself, it follows that the form of community adopted by the settling conquerors must correspond to the stage of development of the productive forces they find in existence; or, if this is not the case from the start, it must change according to the productive forces. By this, too, is explained the fact, which people profess to have noticed everywhere in the period following the migration of the peoples, namely, that the servant was master, and that the conquerors very soon took over language, culture and manners from the conquered.
"The feudal system was by no means brought complete from Germany, but had its origin, as far as the conquerors were concerned, in the martial organisation of the army during the actual conquest, and this only evolved after the conquest into the feudal system proper through the action of the productive forces found in the conquered countries. To what an extent this form was determined by the productive forces is shown by the abortive attempts to realise other forms derived from reminiscences of ancient Rome (Charlemagne, etc.)." http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/german-ideology/ch01d.htm#d3
If antiquity started out from the town and its little territory, the Middle Ages started out from the country. This different starting-point was determined by the sparseness of the population at that time, which was scattered over a large area and which received no large increase from the conquerors. In contrast to Greece and Rome, feudal development at the outset, therefore, extends over a much wider territory, prepared by the Roman conquests and the spread of agriculture at first associated with it.
The last centuries of the declining Roman Empire and its conquest by the barbarians destroyed a number of productive forces; agriculture had declined, industry had decayed for want of a market, trade had died out or been violently suspended, the rural and urban population had decreased. From these conditions and the mode of organisation of the conquest determined by them, feudal property developed under the influence of the Germanic military constitution. Like tribal and communal ownership, it is based again on a community; but the directly producing class standing over against it is not, as in the case of the ancient community, the slaves, but the enserfed small peasantry.
As soon as feudalism is fully developed, there also arises antagonism to the towns. The hierarchical structure of land ownership, and the armed bodies of retainers associated with it, gave the nobility power over the serfs. This feudal organisation was, just as much as the ancient communal ownership, an association against a subjected producing class; but the form of association and the relation to the direct producers were different because of the different conditions of production.
This feudal system of land ownership had its counterpart in the towns in the shape of corporative property, the feudal organisation of trades. Here property consisted chiefly in the labour of each individual person. The necessity for association against the organised robber-nobility, the need for communal covered markets in an age when the industrialist was at the same time a merchant, the growing competition of the escaped serfs swarming into the rising towns, the feudal structure of the whole country: these combined to bring about the guilds. The gradually accumulated small capital of individual craftsmen and their stable numbers, as against the growing population, evolved the relation of journeyman and apprentice, which brought into being in the towns a hierarchy similar to that in the country.
Thus the chief form of property during the feudal epoch consisted on the one hand of landed property with serf labour chained to it, and on the other of the labour of the individual with small capital commanding the labour of journeymen. The organisation of both was determined by the restricted conditions of production – the small-scale and primitive cultivation of the land, and the craft type of industry. There was little division of labour in the heyday of feudalism. Each country bore in itself the antithesis of town and country; the division into estates was certainly strongly marked; but apart from the differentiation of princes, nobility, clergy and peasants in the country, and masters, journeymen, apprentices and soon also the rabble of casual labourers in the towns, no division of importance took place. In agriculture it was rendered difficult by the strip-system, beside which the cottage industry of the peasants themselves emerged. In industry there was no division of labour at all in the individual trades themselves, and very little between them. The separation of industry and commerce was found already in existence in older towns; in the newer it only developed later, when the towns entered into mutual relations.
The grouping of larger territories into feudal kingdoms was a necessity for the landed nobility as for the towns. The organisation of the ruling class, the nobility, had, therefore, everywhere a monarch at its head. http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/german-ideology/ch01a.htm#a2
"Neither could the Middle-Age live from Catholicism, nor Antiquity from politics. The respective economic conditions explain, in fact, why Catholicism there and politics here played the dominant role.
"The phantoms formed in the human brain are also, necessarily, sublimates of their material life-process, which is empirically verifiable and bound to material premises. Morality, religion, metaphysics, all the rest of ideology and their corresponding forms of consciousness, thus no longer retain the semblance of independence. They have no history, no development; but men, developing their material production and their material intercourse, alter, along with this their real existence, their thinking and the products of their thinking. Life is not determined by consciousness, but consciousness by life. http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/german-ideology/ch01a.htm#a2
There was a retardation in the development of the productive forces in Western Europe as it broke from the Eastern Empire, where Byzantium maintained its connection with and continuation of the Greco-Roman system. The Eastern Mediterennean and Asiatic mode of production also kept continuity with the philosophical heritage, which was transferred to and appropriated by the later Arab Islamic empire which displaced it. The Islamic kingdoms preserved the Alexanderian accomplishments, and also appropropriated Aristotle rather than Plato and neo-Platonism as its philosophical standpoint.
Notwithstanding the metaphysics of Aristotle in contradistinction to the idealism of Plato, he retained the distinctive hiararchy of the soul-body, body at the bottom, soul or spirit and reasonal principle above, to which corresponded classes of which the nutrimental or working classes and toiling masses were subordinated to the State, and the government as reason institutionalized.
"Every State is a community of some kind, and every community is established with a view to some good; for mankind always act in order to obtain that which they think good. But, if all communities aim at some good, the state or political community, which is the highest of all, and which embraces all the rest, aims at good in a greater degree than any other, and at the highest good.
"Some people think that the qualifications of a statesman, king, householder, and master are the same, and that they differ, not in kind, but only in the number of their subjects. For example, the ruler over a few is called a master; over more, the manager of a household; over a still larger number, a statesman or king, as if there were no difference between a great household and a small state. The distinction which is made between the king and the statesman is as follows: When the government is personal, the ruler is a king; when, according to the rules of the political science, the citizens rule and are ruled in turn, then he is called a statesman.
"But all this is a mistake; for governments differ in kind, as will be evident to any one who considers the matter according to the method which has hitherto guided us. As in other departments of science, so in politics, the compound should always be resolved into the simple elements or least parts of the whole. We must therefore look at the elements of which the state is composed, in order that we may see in what the different kinds of rule differ from one another, and whether any scientific result can be attained about each one of them.
"He who thus considers things in their first growth and origin, whether a state or anything else, will obtain the clearest view of them. In the first place there must be a union of those who cannot exist without each other; namely, of male and female, that the race may continue (and this is a union which is formed, not of deliberate purpose, but because, in common with other animals and with plants, mankind have a natural desire to leave behind them an image of themselves), and of natural ruler and subject, that both may be preserved. For that which can foresee by the exercise of mind is by nature intended to be lord and master, and that which can with its body give effect to such foresight is a subject, and by nature a slave; hence master and slave have the same interest. Now nature has distinguished between the female and the slave. For she is not niggardly, like the smith who fashions the Delphian knife for many uses; she makes each thing for a single use, and every instrument is best made when intended for one and not for many uses. But among barbarians no distinction is made between women and slaves, because there is no natural ruler among them: they are a community of slaves, male and female. Wherefore the poets say,
'It is meet that Hellenes should rule over barbarians;
as if they thought that the barbarian and the slave were by nature one.
Out of these two relationships between man and woman, master and slave,
the first thing to arise is the family, and Hesiod is right when he says,
First house and wife and an ox for the plough,
for the ox is the poor man's slave.'
"Seeing then that the state is made up of households, before speaking of the state we must speak of the management of the household.The parts of household management correspond to the persons who compose the household, and a complete household consists of slaves and freemen. Now we should begin by examining everything in its fewest possible elements; and the first and fewest possible parts of a family are master and slave, husband and wife, father and children. We have therefore to consider what each of these three relations is and ought to be: I mean the relation of master and servant, the marriage relation (the conjunction of man and wife has no name of its own), and thirdly, the procreative relation (this also has no proper name). And there is another element of a household, the so-called art of getting wealth, which, according to some, is identical with household management, according to others, a principal part of it; the nature of this art will also have to be considered by us.
"Let us first speak of master and slave, looking to the needs of practical life and also seeking to attain some better theory of their relation than exists at present. For some are of opinion that the rule of a master is a science, and that the management of a household, and the mastership of slaves, and the political and royal rule, as I was saying at the outset, are all the same. Others affirm that the rule of a master over slaves is contrary to nature, and that the distinction between slave and freeman exists by law only, and not by nature; and being an interference with nature is therefore unjust.
"Property is a part of the household, and the art of acquiring property is a part of the art of managing the household; for no man can live well, or indeed live at all, unless he be provided with necessaries. And as in the arts which have a definite sphere the workers must have their own proper instruments for the accomplishment of their work, so it is in the management of a household. Now instruments are of various sorts; some are living, others lifeless; in the rudder, the pilot of a ship has a lifeless, in the look-out man, a living instrument; for in the arts the servant is a kind of instrument. Thus, too, a possession is an instrument for maintaining life. And so, in the arrangement of the family, a slave is a living possession, and property a number of such instruments; and the servant is himself an instrument which takes precedence of all other instruments. For if every instrument could accomplish its own work, obeying or anticipating the will of others, like the statues of Daedalus, or the tripods of Hephaestus, which, says the poet,
'of their own accord entered the assembly of the Gods; '
"if, in like manner, the shuttle would weave and the plectrum touch the lyre without a hand to guide them, chief workmen would not want servants, nor masters slaves. Here, however, another distinction must be drawn; the instruments commonly so called are instruments of production, whilst a possession is an instrument of action. The shuttle, for example, is not only of use; but something else is made by it, whereas of a garment or of a bed there is only the use. Further, as production and action are different in kind, and both require instruments, the instruments which they employ must likewise differ in kind. But life is action and not production, and therefore the slave is the minister of action. Again, a possession is spoken of as a part is spoken of; for the part is not only a part of something else, but wholly belongs to it; and this is also true of a possession. The master is only the master of the slave; he does not belong to him, whereas the slave is not only the slave of his master, but wholly belongs to him. Hence we see what is the nature and office of a slave; he who is by nature not his own but another's man, is by nature a slave; and he may be said to be another's man who, being a human being, is also a possession. And a possession may be defined as an instrument of action, separable from the possessor.
"But is there any one thus intended by nature to be a slave, and for whom such a condition is expedient and right, or rather is not all slavery a violation of nature?
"There is no difficulty in answering this question, on grounds both of reason and of fact. For that some should rule and others be ruled is a thing not only necessary, but expedient; from the hour of their birth, some are marked out for subjection, others for rule.
"And there are many kinds both of rulers and subjects (and that rule is the better which is exercised over better subjects- for example, to rule over men is better than to rule over wild beasts; for the work is better which is executed by better workmen, and where one man rules and another is ruled, they may be said to have a work); for in all things which form a composite whole and which are made up of parts, whether continuous or discrete, a distinction between the ruling and the subject element comes to fight. Such a duality exists in living creatures, but not in them only; it originates in the constitution of the universe; even in things which have no life there is a ruling principle, as in a musical mode. But we are wandering from the subject. We will therefore restrict ourselves to the living creature, which, in the first place, consists of soul and body: and of these two, the one is by nature the ruler, and the other the subject. But then we must look for the intentions of nature in things which retain their nature, and not in things which are corrupted. And therefore we must study the man who is in the most perfect state both of body and soul, for in him we shall see the true relation of the two; although in bad or corrupted natures the body will often appear to rule over the soul, because they are in an evil and unnatural condition. At all events we may firstly observe in living creatures both a despotical and a constitutional rule; for the soul rules the body with a despotical rule, whereas the intellect rules the appetites with a constitutional and royal rule. And it is clear that the rule of the soul over the body, and of the mind and the rational element over the passionate, is natural and expedient; whereas the equality of the two or the rule of the inferior is always hurtful. The same holds good of animals in relation to men; for tame animals have a better nature than wild, and all tame animals are better off when they are ruled by man; for then they are preserved. Again, the male is by nature superior, and the female inferior; and the one rules, and the other is ruled; this principle, of necessity, extends to all mankind.
"Where then there is such a difference as that between soul and body, or between men and animals (as in the case of those whose business is to use their body, and who can do nothing better), the lower sort are by nature slaves, and it is better for them as for all inferiors that they should be under the rule of a master. For he who can be, and therefore is, another's and he who participates in rational principle enough to apprehend, but not to have, such a principle, is a slave by nature. Whereas the lower animals cannot even apprehend a principle; they obey their instincts. And indeed the use made of slaves and of tame animals is not very different; for both with their bodies minister to the needs of life. Nature would like to distinguish between the bodies of freemen and slaves, making the one strong for servile labor, the other upright, and although useless for such services, useful for political life in the arts both of war and peace. But the opposite often happens- that some have the souls and others have the bodies of freemen. And doubtless if men differed from one another in the mere forms of their bodies as much as the statues of the Gods do from men, all would acknowledge that the inferior class should be slaves of the superior. And if this is true of the body, how much more just that a similar distinction should exist in the soul? but the beauty of the body is seen, whereas the beauty of the soul is not seen. It is clear, then, that some men are by nature free, and others slaves, and that for these latter slavery is both expedient and right." http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/politics.1.one.html
This was the economic basis for the appropriation of Aristotle from the Greek slave owners, philosophical justification of slavery by the Arab and Islamic slave owners into their theology. So, Aristotelian philosophy differed from Plato and neo-Platonism in that it regarded the material world as valid, and consequently tried to justify slavery and the State by arguments from Nature - from which Thomas Aquinas would subsequently devise his theory of "Natural Law".
But, Aristotle's theory of Nature, biology, animals, physics and so on also allowed a theoretical basis for Muslim scientists and mathematicians to preserve and continue the scientific work of the Ionian and Alexanderian scientists, inventors and materialists. It was on this basis that the Jewish philosopher-theologian Maimonides, then Christian Catholic Thomas Aquinas were accepted in Western Europe, which displaced the Platonist and neo-Platonist metaphysics and epistemology that was dominate.
The Age of Faith by Will Durant 1950 (p 239-45)
The caliphs realized the backwardness of the Arabs in science and philosophy, and the wealth of Greek culture surviving in Syria. The Umayyads wisely left unhindered the Christian, Sabaean, or Persian colleges at Alexandria, Beirut, Antioch, Harran, Nisibis, and Jund-i-Shapur; and in those schools the classics of Greek science and philosophy were preserved, often in Syriac translations. Moslems learning Syriac or Greek were intrigued by these treatises; and soon translations were made into Arabic by Nestorian Christians or Jews. Umayyad and Abbasid princes stimulated this fruitful borrowing.
Al-Mansur, al-Mamun, and al-Mutawakkil dispatched messengers to Constantinople and other Hellenistic cities - sometimes to their traditional enemies the Greek emperors - asking for Greek books, especially in medicine or mathematics; in this way Euclid's Elements came to Islam. In 830 al-Mamun established at Baghdad, at a cost of 200,000 dinars ($950,000), a "House of Wisdom" (Bayt al-Hikmah) as a scientific academy, an observatory, and a public library; here he installed a corps of translators, and paid them from the public treasury. To the work of this institution, thought Ibn Khaldun, Islam owed that vibrant awakening which in causes - the extension of commerce and the rediscovery of Greece - and results - the flowering of science, literature, and art - resembled the Italian Renaissance.
From 750 to 900 this fertilizing process of translation continued, from Syriac, Greek, Pahlavi, and Sanskrit. At the head of the translators in the House of Wisdom was a Nestorian physician, Hunain ibn Ishaq (809-73) - i.e., John son of Isaac. By his own account he translated a hundred treatises of Galen and the Galenic school into Syriac, and thirty-nine into Arabic; through his renderings some important works of Galen escaped destruction. Further, Hunain translated Aristotle's Categories, Physics, and Magna Moralia; Plato's Republic, Timaeus, and Laws; Hippocrates' Aphorisms, Dioscorides' Materia Medica, Ptolemy's Quadripartiturn, and the Old Testament from the Septaugant Greek.
Al-Mamun endangered the treasury by paying Hunain in gold the weight of the books he had translated. Al-Mutawakkil made him court physician, but jailed him for a year when Hunain, though threatened with death, refused to concoct a poison for an enemy. His son Ishaq ibn Hunain helped him with his translations, and himself rendered into Arabic the Metaphysics, On the Soul, and On the Generation and Corruption of Animals of Aristotle, and the commentaries of Alexander of Aphrodisias - a work fated to wield great influence on Moslem philosophy.
By 850 most of the classic Greek texts in mathematics, astronomy, and medicine had been translated. It was through its Arabic version that Ptolemy's Almagest received its name; and only Arabic versions preserved Books V-VII of the Conics of Apollonius of Perga, the Mechanics of Hero of Alexandria, and the Pneumatics of Philo of Byzantium.
The continuity of science and philosophy from Egypt, India, and Babylonia through Greece and Byzantium to Eastern and Spanish Islam, and thence to northern Europe and America, is one of the brightest threads in the skein of history. Greek science, though long since enfeebled by obscurantism, misgovernment, and poverty, was still alive in Syria when the Moslems came; at the very time of the conquest Severus Sebokht, abbot of Kennesre on the upper Euphrates, was writing Greek treatises on astronomy, and was making the first known mention of Hindu numerals outside of India (662).
The Arabic inheritance of science was overwhelmingly Greek, but Hindu influences ranked next. In 773, at al-Mansur's behest, translations were made of the Siddhantas-Indian astronomical treatises dating as far back as 425 B.C.; these versions may have been the vehicle through which the "Arabic" numerals and the zero were brought from India into Islam.21 In 813 al-Khwarizmi used the Hindu numerals in his astronomical tables; about 814 he issued a treatise known in its Latin form as Algoritinide numero Indorum "al-Khwarizmi on the Numerals of the Indians"; in time algorithm or algorism came to mean any arithmetical system based on the decimal notation.
In 976 Muhammad ibn Ahmad, in his Keys of the Sciences, remarked that if, in a calculation, no number appears in the place of tens, a little circle should be used "to keep the rows". This circle the Moslems called sifr, "empty" whence our cipher; Latin scholars transformed sifr into zephy rum, which the Italians shortened into zero.
Algebra, which we find in the Greek Diophantes in the third century, owes its name to the Arabs, who extensively developed this detective science. The great figure here - perhaps the greatest in medieval mathematics - was Muhammad ibn Musa (780-850), called al-Khwarizmi from his birthplace Khwarizm (now Khiva), east of the Caspian Sea. Al-Khwarizmi contributed effectively to five sciences: he wrote on the Hindu numerals; compiled astronomical tables which, as revised in Moslem Spain, were for centuries standard among astronomers from Cordova to Changan; formulated the oldest trigonometrical tables known; collaborated with sixty-nine other scholars in drawing up for al-Mamun a geographical encyclopedia; and in his Calculation of Integration and Equation gave analytical and geometrical solutions of quadratic equations. This work, now lost in its Arabic form, was translated by Gerard of Cremona in the twelfth century, was used as a principal text in European universities until the sixteenth century, and introduced to the West the word algebra (al-jabr - "restitution", "completion").
Thabit ibn Qurra (826-901), besides making important translations, achieved fame in astronomy and medicine, and became the greatest of Moslem geometers. Abu Abdallah al-Battani (850-929), a Sabaean of Raqqa known to Europe as Albategnus, advanced trigonometry far beyond its beginnings in Hipparchus and Ptolemy by substituting triangular for Ptolemy's quadrilateral solutions, and the sine for Hipparchus' chord; he formulated the trigonometrical ratios essentially as we use them today.
The Caliph al-Mamun engaged a staff of astronomers to make observations and records, to test the findings of Ptolemy, and to study the spots on the sun. Taking for granted the sphericity of the earth, they measured a terrestrial degree by simultaneously taking the position of the sun from both Palmyra and the plain of Sinjar; their measurement gave ~ miles - half a mile more than our present calculation; and from their results they estimated the earth's circumference to approximate 20,000 miles.
These astronomers proceeded on completely scientific principles: they accepted nothing as true which was not confirmed by experience or experiment. One of them, Abu'l-Farghani, of Transoxiana, wrote (c. 860) an astronomical text which remained in authority in Europe and Western Asia for 700 years. Even more renowned was al-Battani; his astronomical observations, continued for forty-one years, were remarkable for their range and accuracy;he determined many astronomical coefficients with remarkable approximation to modern calculations - the precession of the equinoxes at 54.5 a year, and the inclination of the ecliptic at 230.
Working under the patronage of the early Buwayhid rulers of Baghdad, Abu'l-Wafa (in the disputed opinion of Sadillot) discovered the third lunar variation 6oo years before Tycho Brahe. Costly instruments were built for the Moslem astronomers: not only astrolabes and armillary spheres, known to the Greeks, but quadrants with a radius of thirty feet, and sextants with a radius of eighty. The astrolabe, much improved by the Moslems, reached Europe in the tenth century, and was widely used by mariners till the seventeenth. The Arabs designed and constructed it with aesthetic passion, making it at once an instrument of science and a work of art.
Even more important than the charting of the skies was the mapping of the earth, for Islam lived by tillage and trade. Suleiman al-Tajir - i.e., the merchant - about 840 carried his wares to the Far East; an anonymous author wrote a narrative of Suleiman's journey; this oldest Arabic account of China antedated Marco Polo's Travels by 425 years.
In the same century Ibn Khordadhbeh wrote a description of India, Ceylon, the East Indies, and China, apparently from direct observation; and Ibn I-Iawqal described India and Africa. Ahmad al-Yaqubi, of Armenia and Khurasan, wrote in 891 a Book of the Countries, giving a reliable account of Islamic provinces and cities, and of many foreign states. Muhammad al-Muqaddasi visited all the lands of Islam except Spain, suffered countless vicissitudes, and in 985 wrote his Description of the Moslem Empire—the greatest work of Arabic geography before al-Biruni's India.
Abu al-Rayhan Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Biruni (973-1048) shows the Moslem scholar at his best. Philosopher, historian, traveler, geographer, linguist, mathematician, astronomer, poet, and physicist - and doing major and original work in all these fields - he was at least the Leibniz, almost the Leonardo, of Islam. Born like al-Khwarizmi near the modern Khiva, he signalized again the leadership of the Transcaspian region in this culminating century of medieval science.
Otherwise his attitude was that of the objective scholar, assiduous in research, critical in the scrutiny of traditions and texts (including the Gospels), precise and conscientious in statement, frequently admitting his ignorance, and promising to pursue his inquiries till the truth should emerge. In the preface to the Vestiges he wrote like Francis Bacon: "We must clear our minds . . . from all causes that blind people to the truth-old custom, party spirit, personal rivalry or passion, the desire for influence." While his host was devastating India al-Biruni spent many years studying its peoples, languages, faiths, cultures, and castes. In 1030 he published his masterpiece, History of India (Tarikh al-Hind).
His interest extended to nearly all the sciences. He gave the best medieval account of the Hindu numerals. He wrote treatises on the astrolabe, the planisphere, the armillary sphere; and formulated astronomical tables for Sultan Masud. He took it for granted that the earth is round, noted "the attraction of all things towards the center of the earth," and remarked that astronomic data can be explained as well by supposing that the earth turns daily on its axis and annually around the sun, as by the reverse hypothesis. He speculated on the possibility that the Indus valley had been once the bottom of a sea. He composed an extensive lapidary, describing a great number of stones and metals from the natural, commercial, and medical points of view. He determined the specific gravity of eighteen precious stones, and laid down the principle that the specific gravity of an object corresponds to the volume of water its displaces.
Chemistry as a science was almost created by the Moslems; for in this field, where the Greeks (so far as we know) were confined to industrial experience and vague hypothesis, the Saracens introduced precise observation, controlled experiment, and careful records. They invented and named the alembic (al-anbiq), chemically analyzed innumerable substances, composed lapidaries, distinguished alkalis and acids, investigated their affinities, studied and manufactured hundreds of drugs.* Alchemy, which the Moslems inherited from Egypt, contributed to chemistry by a thousand incidental discoveries, and by its method, which was the most scientific of all medieval operations.
Son of a Kufa druggist, he practiced as a physician, but spent most of his time with alembic and crucible. The hundred or more works attributed to him were produced by unknown authors, chiefly in the tenth century; many of these anonymous works were translated into Latin, and strongly stimulated the development of European chemistry. After the tenth century the science of chemistry, like other sciences, gave ground to occultism, and did not lift its head again for almost three hundred years.
The remains of Moslem biology in this period are scant. Abu Hanifa al-Dinawari (815-95) wrote a Book of Plants based on Dioscorides, but adding many plants to pharmacology. Mohammedan botanists knew how to produce new fruits by grafting; they combined the rose bush and the almond tree to generate rare and lovely flowers. Othman Amr al-Jahiz (d. 869) propounded a theory of evolution like al-Masudi's: life had climbed "from mineral to plant, from plant to animal, from animal to man." The mystic poet Jalal ud-din accepted the theory, and merely added that if this has been achieved in the past, then in the next stage men will become angels, and finally God. http://www.sullivan-county.com/x/is_durant.htm
Chinese legend tells that the new invention of paper was presented to the Emperor in the year 105 AD by Cai Lun. Archeological evidence, however, shows that paper was in use two hundred years before then. Either way, the Chinese were significantly ahead of the rest of the world. The craft of papermaking relied upon an abundance of bamboo fiber to produce a fine quality paper. In China: Ancient Arts and Sciences, the papermaker uses only the traditional materials and methods to produce fine art paper.http://sln.fi.edu/tfi/info/current/inventions.html
"Even after people in China began to use paper, it took another thousand years before people were using paper all over Eurasia. By the 400's AD, people in India were also making paper.
"After a little more than 500 years, people in the Abbasid Caliphate began to use paper. There was a big battle in 751 AD in Samarkand, where the Chinese and the Arabs were fighting for control. The Arabs captured some Chinese men. Some of these Chinese men knew how to make paper, and they explained it to the Arabs as the price of their freedom. People all over the Islamic world soon began using paper, from India to Spain. But Christian people in Europe were still using parchment.
"Starting in the 1200's, though, the Christians conquered Islamic Spain, and as they took over Spain they also learned how to make paper. By 1250 AD, the Italians had learned to make good paper and sold it all over Europe. In 1338, French monks began to make their own paper. By 1411 - nearly a millennium and a half after it was invented - people in Germany began to produce their own rag paper. Once they had learned to make paper, they became more interested in also learning about Chinese printing, and a man called Gutenberg produced the first printed Bible in 1453. http://www.historyforkids.org/learn/literature/paper.htm
"The Chinese invention of moveable type, credited to Bi Sheng in the year 1045 AD, did not significantly impact Chinese society. Three hundred years later in Europe, Gutenberg's development of moveable type revolutionized the Western world. Why? The Chinese language uses 3000 to 5000 characters in an average newspaper. The English language, in comparison, uses 26 characters in an average newspaper. Clearly, manipulating 5000 characters on a printing press took much longer than moving 26. Still, the invention of moveable type furthered Chinese technology and its role in the advancement of human civilization." http://sln.fi.edu/tfi/info/current/inventions.html
The Reniassance did not create the 'modern world' but was the product of it: the globalization of human contact and its technology, science and economics.
"By the third century AD, Chinese scientists had studied and learned much about magnetism in nature. For example, they knew that iron ore, called magnetite, tended to align itself in a North/South position. Scientists learned to "make magnets" by heating pieces of ore to red hot temperatures and then cooling the pieces in a North/South position. The magnet was then placed on a piece of reed and floated in a bowl of water marked with directional bearings. These first navigational compasses were widely used on Chinese ships by the eleventh century AD. http://sln.fi.edu/tfi/info/current/inventions.html
There were advances in ship construction (bigger, faster, and sturdier) and there were new navigation aids. Now, there was a new compass (in the 1300s they used a magnetized needle floating on a straw in a bucket of water). The astrolabe was used to determine latitude; longitude was less accurate. In the 15th Century maps were still crude and inaccurate. Early explorers like Marco Polo added to geographic knowledge, but it was still limited. By this time, most people knew the earth was round - they just didn't know that the Americas existed.
Prince Henry the Navigator explored Africa and some of the Atlantic Islands (the Azores, the Madeiras, and the Cape Verde Islands). The Portuguese in Africa profited from the slave trade, gold, ivory, ebony, and exotic animals and birds. These profits distracted them from further exploration for awhile.
Diaz (1487 - 1488)
Diaz rounded the Cape of Good Hope. A storm at the bottom of Africa caught them and twirled them around to the East coast of Africa. When the storm was over, and the men saw that land was to the other side of them, they thought they had been thrown to another planet.
De Gama (1497)
De Gama made it to India and returned to Lisbon with his ship full of goods.
Cabral set out for India, but instead, he reached the coast of Brazil. The Portuguese explorers also reached China and Japan. http://mr_sedivy.tripod.com/explor.html
During the 1500s and 1600s, monarchs had more control and authority than medieval rulers had.
Ferdinand and Isabella (1469 - 1516)
United Aragon (Ferdinand) and Castille (Isabella) with their marriage. There were difficulties with unification. The nobles did not want to give up all the power they had gained. Nobles were removed from important positions, and castles were destroyed. To get some noble support, nobles were given important titles that had no power.
The "Catholic Kings" persecuted Muslims and Jews (tortured and burned Jews at the stake). In 1492 Jews were kicked out of Spain. This weakened the economy since the kings got rid of Jewish business leaders and Muslim agricultural innovations.
Since Prince Rudolph I of Hapsburg had taken control of Austria in the 12th Century, the Hapsburgs had taken over lots of land by pushing out weak lords, and arranging marriages to get more land.
Charles V (1516 - 1556)
Charles V was the grandson of Ferdinand and Isabell. In 1519 Charles V united Spain with the Austrian Hapsburgs and was named Holy Roman Emperor. Spain's wealth increased from expeditions. He gave up his throne in 1556 and split the land. He gave his son, Philip II, the Netherlands, Spain, and Spanish land in the Americas. Charles V retired to a monastery.
Philip II (1556 - 1598)
Philip II was an absolute monarch; he had total control. Philip continued religious persecution, the Spanish Inquisition, killing about 25,000. Protestants had to convert to Catholicism. If they didn't, they may be tortured or executed. Protestantism declined in Spain.
After a Muslim rebellion, their children were taken and put in Christian homes. Philip beat the Turks near Greece in a naval battle (because of Turkish pirates) at Lepanto in 1571. He conquered Portugal in 1580. The Dutch rebelled in 1566 because they didn't like his policies. Philip had raised taxes and sent the Inquisition to quell Calvinism. The Netherlands became independent under William of Orange in 1581.
Philip married Mary I (Bloody Mary) of England. She was Catholic - Philip wanted to convert England to Catholicism. She had no children. When Mary died, Philip tried to marry Elizabeth, with no luck, and he became mad at Elizabeth. She sent troops to help the Netherlands during the rebellion, and she sent pirates to raid Spanish ships. http://mr_sedivy.tripod.com/monarch.html
The so-called Age of Exploration, and subsequently of World Trade and colonization, engendered mercantile systems and the rise of merchants and artisans in connection with global commenrce who thereby had both the material interests in and financial means for supporting the advances in science and technology, and also philosophical and artistic humanism against the stiffling institutions of the Church and its 'dark age' schoolmen ideologists, as well as support from the Italian merchant and financial oligarchs and rising monarchs in European kingdoms.
"From the serfs of the Middle Ages sprang the chartered burghers of the earliest towns. From these burgesses the first elements of the bourgeoisie were developed.
"The discovery of America, the rounding of the Cape, opened up fresh ground for the rising bourgeoisie. The East-Indian and Chinese markets, the colonisation of America, trade with the colonies, the increase in the means of exchange and in commodities generally, gave to commerce, to navigation, to industry, an impulse never before known, and thereby, to the revolutionary element in the tottering feudal society, a rapid development.
"The feudal system of industry, in which industrial production was monopolised by closed guilds, now no longer sufficed for the growing wants of the new markets. The manufacturing system took its place. The guild-masters were pushed on one side by the manufacturing middle class; division of labour between the different corporate guilds vanished in the face of division of labour in each single workshop. ...
"We see then: the means of production and of exchange, on whose foundation the bourgeoisie built itself up, were generated in feudal society. At a certain stage in the development of these means of production and of exchange, the conditions under which feudal society produced and exchanged, the feudal organisation of agriculture and manufacturing industry, in one word, the feudal relations of property became no longer compatible with the already developed productive forces; they became so many fetters. They had to be burst asunder; they were burst asunder.
The Renaissance emerged in the commercial centers of Italy and Holland just as it was the economic activities engendered social milieu and political freedom of Ionian cities based on commerce and international trade that gave rise to materialist ontology, epistemology and conscious science.
Travelers, merchants, artisans and scientists from throughout the Afro-Asian Mediterranean world passed through the busy seaport towns of Miletus, Colophon, Ephesus, and Abdera buying and selling commodities and exchanging ideas. These cosmopolitan settings fermented debate and commerce. As the Greco-Ionian city-states on the coasts of Asia Minor were at the crossroads of international commerce the citizens were cosmopolitan.
In contrast to the agrarian, sedentary, sacerdotal populations of Egypt, Persia and Israel with their caste hierarchies, the Greco-Ionian City-state populations were mobile and relatively irreligious. There were no embedded religious ideas resulting from tens of centuries of religious culture. Philosophers made no claim to divine revelation or authority and had no priest's authority or backing by state power.
The natural stability of economies based in agriculture, based on farm labor of free farmers, serfs and slave labor, erected stable dynasties. Consequently, the authority of stable priesthoods articulated cosmologies of these economies. In the polis based in commerce there were no ancient dynasties in power or conservative priesthood castes in authority.
Commerce is competitive and constantly revolutionizing productive technologies. Seeking the new in the economy: new labor saving technology that enable artisans to compete by lowering the costs of production, and travels in search of new markets, continually engendered new sciences and corresponding competitive cosmologies that articulated this world of material changes.
Based on the authority of Reason rather than the political power of conservative priests, freethinking cultures allow both critique of old religious ideas and encouragement of new ideas. These conditions, along with a cosmopolitan population, were the incubators that enabled freethinking to evolve critiques of religious cosmologies free from censorship by priests.
The levelling effect of commodity production and exchange in the market-economy has no respect of person. The lack of 'status' or/and titles of the labor objectified in the commodity engenders the notion of human equality. It is therefore in the Greek cities, based as they were on commerce, that democracies and secular philosophies first evolved. The existence of revolutionary ideas presupposes the existence of a revolutionary class challenging the dominance of economic and political powers and corresponding conservative religious and philosophical ideas and institutions that stood in the way of 'progress'.
Cities and towns were centres of wealth production and of creativity. Urban society in the Renaissance period was thoroughly commercialized; everything had a price. There were two particularly dense areas of urbanization, North Italy and the Low Countries, which acted as the main hubs for international trade in commodities such as wool and woollen cloth, silk, tapestries, spices, silver and fine armour. With the invention of printing Venice came also to be the centre of the European book trade, ideas travelling rapidly via the well-established commercial network. The Renaissance prince, the aspirant courtier or socially climbing merchant provided a ready market for all these commodities, for expensive fabrics and intricately decorated armour were as much manifestations of magnificentia as paintings or sculpture. And it was only in the town, with its concentration of skilled artisans, that the manufacture of luxury goods and the complex technology of book production was possible. Commerce alone was not enough to amass the largest fortunes however; the richest merchants acted as bankers. Italian banking houses had well established networks in the later middle ages playing for huge stakes as creditors to princes. By the 16th century such loans were also being advanced by the more spectacularly wealthy merchants of the Low Countries and of German towns where profits had been amassed on the strength of the trade in silver. http://www.open.ac.uk/Arts/renaissance2/economic.htm
The Alexanderian scientists Eratosthenes. Posidonius and Columbus:
Eratosthenes was born around 276 B.C.E. at a Greek colony in Cyrene, Libya. He was educated at the academies of Athens and was appointed to run the Great Library at Alexandria in 240. While serving as head librarian and scholar, Eratosthenes wrote a comprehensive treatise about the world, called Geography. This was the first use of the word, which literally means "writing about the earth" in Greek. Geography also introduced the climatic concepts of torrid, temperate, and frigid zones.
Eratosthenes' ExperimentHaving heard of a deep well at Syene (near the Tropic of Cancer and modern Aswan) where sunlight only struck the bottom of the well on the summer solstice, Eratosthenes determined that he could discover the circumference of the earth. (Greek scholars knew that the earth was indeed a sphere). To calculate the circumference, Eratosthenes needed two things. He knew the approximate distance between Syene and Alexandria, as measured by camel-powered trade caravans. He then measured the angle of the shadow in Alexandria on the solstice. By taking the angle of the shadow (7°12') and dividing it into the 360 degrees of a circle (360 divided by 7.2 yields 50), Eratosthenes could then multiply the distance between Alexandria and Syene by 50 to determine the circumference.
Remarkably, Eratosthenes determined the circumference to be 25,000 miles, just 100 miles over the actual circumference at the equator (24,901 miles). While Eratosthenes made mathematical errors in his caculations, these fortunately canceled each other out and yielded an amazingly accurate answer.
A few decades later, the Greek geographer Posidonius thought Eratosthenes' circumference was too large. He calculated the circumference on his own and obtained 18,000 miles, 7,000 miles too short. During the middle ages, most scholars accepted Eratosthenes' circumference though Christopher Columbus used Posidonius' circumference to convince his supporters that he could quickly reach Asia by sailing west from Europe. http://geography.about.com/od/historyofgeography/a/eratosthenes.htm
Eratosthenes Measured Earth's Circumference - Centuries Before Columbus Sailed
Eratosthenes (c. 276 - 194 BC) was born more than 2200 years ago in the Greek city of Cyrene, now a city in the North African country of Libya. (The Greek Empire surrounded much of the Mediterranean Sea and included present day Greece, Turkey, the Middle East, and regions of northern Africa.) As a teen, Eratosthenes (air-uh-TOS-thuh-neez) was sent to Athens where he received the equivalent of a university education. Eventually, he solved problems and published works on geography, math and geometry, philosophy, and literature. At the age of 30, Eratosthenes was summoned to Alexandria by King Ptolemy III to tutor his son and to begin work at the great library at the Greek museum. Alexandria, now in Egypt, was the important city at the mouth of the Nile River. The museum was a center of learning, somewhat similar to today's university research centers. Eratosthenes eventually became chief librarian.
At least 100 years before Eratosthenes was born, it was known that the earth was round. Observations supporting a spherical earth were recorded by Aristotle (384 - 322 BC) in the fourth century BC. Eratosthenes knew this and wanted to measure earth's circumference. Since no one could walk or sail around the earth, Eratosthenes realized he would have to somehow deduce earth's circumference from observations he could make. He had learned, perhaps from travelers, that due south of Alexandria in the city of Syene (SI-ee-nee), now Aswan, Egypt, that at noon on the summer solstice, no shadows were cast. One could look down a well in the city and see the sunlight reflected straight back. No shadows formed on the walls of the well. But due north in Alexandria, shadows were always cast. Eratosthenes realized he could measure the angle of a shadow cast in Alexandria at the summer solstice then use geometry concepts of parallel lines and congruent angles to calculate earth's circumference.
The angle of the shadow cast in Alexandria would be congruent to the angle at earth's center between Syene and Alexandria. This angle was measured to be about 1/50 of a complete circle. Now Eratosthenes just needed to know the distance between Syene and Alexandria to set up a mathematical ratio to compute earth's circumference. This is where the greatest error was introduced since the ancient Greeks had no accurate way to measure distances. Nevertheless, Eratosthenes was able to closely estimate earth's circumference. Depending on the conversion factors used, Eratosthenes measured earth to be from 25,000 to 28,900 miles around. Today the accepted circumference of earth is 24,903 miles/40,075 km. Columbus used maps drawn by later Greeks which showed the earth to be much smaller. If he had used Eratosthenes' measurements, he would have expected his travels to the West Indies to have been much further and perhaps would never have undertaken such a long journey http://www.scienceiq.com/Facts/EratosthenesEarthCircumference.cfm
Alexanderian scientists Archimedes' Aristarchus. Copernicus. Galileo. Bruno:
Aristarchus (310 BC - circa 230 BC) was a Greek astronomer and mathematician, born in Samos, Greece. He is the first recorded person to propose a heliocentric model of the solar system, placing the Sun, not the Earth, at the center of the known universe (hence he is sometimes known as the "Greek Copernicus"). His astronomical ideas were not well-received and were subordinated to those of Aristotle and Ptolemy, until they were successfully revived and developed by Copernicus nearly 2000 years later.
The only work of Aristarchus which has survived to the present time, On the Sizes and Distances of the Sun and Moon, is based on a geocentric worldview. We know through citations, however, that Aristarchus wrote another book in which he advanced an alternative hypothesis of the heliocentric model.
"You King Gelon are aware the 'universe' is the name given by most astronomers to the sphere the centre of which is the center of the Earth, while its radius is equal to the straight line between the center of the Sun and the center of the Earth. This is the common account as you have heard from astronomers. But Aristarchus has brought out a book consisting of certain hypotheses, wherein it appears, as a consequence of the assumptions made, that the universe is many times greater than the 'universe' just mentioned. His hypotheses are that the fixed stars and the Sun remain unmoved, that the Earth revolves about the Sun on the circumference of a circle, the Sun lying in the middle of the orbit, and that the sphere of fixed stars, situated about the same center as the Sun, is so great that the circle in which he supposes the Earth to revolve bears such a proportion to the distance of the fixed stars as the center of the sphere bears to its surface."
Aristarchus thus believed the stars to be infinitely far away, and saw this as the reason why there was no visible parallax, that is, an observed movement of the stars relative to each other as the Earth moved around the Sun. The stars are in fact much farther away than was assumed in ancient times, which is why stellar parallax is only detectable with telescopes. But the geocentric model was assumed to be a simpler, better explanation for the lack of parallax. The rejection of the heliocentric view was apparently quite strong, as the following passage from Plutarch suggests (On the Apparent Face in the Orb of the Moon):
"[Cleanthes, a contemporary of Aristarchus] thought it was the duty of the Greeks to indict Aristarchus of Samos on the charge of impiety for putting in motion the Hearth of the universe [i.e. the earth], . . . supposing the heaven to remain at rest and the earth to revolve in an oblique circle, while it rotates, at the same time, about its own axis."
Aristarchus observed the Moon moving through the Earth's shadow during a lunar eclipse. He estimated that the diameter of the Earth was 3 times the Moon's diameter. Using Eratosthenes' calculation that the Earth was 42,000 km in circumference, he concluded that the Moon was 14,000 km in circumference. The Moon has a circumference of about 10,916 km.
Aristarchus argued that the Sun, Moon, and Earth form a near right triangle at the moment of first or last quarter moon. He estimated that the angle was 87°. Using correct geometry, but inaccurate observational data, Aristarchus concluded that the Sun was 20 times farther away than the Moon. The Sun is actually about 390 times farther away. He pointed out that the Moon and Sun have nearly equal apparent angular sizes and therefore their diameters must be in proportion to their distances from Earth. He thus concluded that the Sun was 20 times larger than the Moon. This is also incorrect, although logical. It does, however, suggest that the Sun is clearly larger than the Earth, which can be taken to support the heliocentric model. http://www.mlahanas.de/Greeks/Bios/AristarchusSamos.html
Nicolas Copernicus (1473-1543)
Copernicus is said to be the founder of modern astronomy. His investigations were carried on quietly and alone, without help or consultation. He made his celestial observations from a turret situated on the protective wall around the cathedral, observations were made "bare eyeball," so to speak, as a hundred more years were to pass before the invention of the telescope. In 1530, Copernicus completed and gave to the world his great work De Revolutionibus, which asserted that the earth rotated on its axis once daily and traveled around the sun once yearly: a fantastic concept for the times.
Up to the time of Copernicus the thinkers of the western world believed in the Ptolemiac theory that the universe was a closed space bounded by a spherical envelope beyond which there was nothing. Claudius Ptolemy, an Egyptian living in Alexandria, at about 150 A.D., gathered and organized the thoughts of the earlier thinkers. (It is to be noted that one of the ancient Greek astronomers, Aristarchus, did have ideas similar to those more fully developed by Copernicus but they were rejected in favour of the geocentric or earth-centered scheme as was espoused by Aristotle.) Ptolemy's findings were that the earth was a fixed, inert, immovable mass, located at the center of the universe, and all celestial bodies, including the sun and the fixed stars, revolved around it. It was a theory that appealed to human nature. It fit with the casual observations that a person might want to make in the field; and second, it fed man's ego.
Copernicus was in no hurry to publish his theory, though parts of his work were circulated among a few of the astronomers that were giving the matter some thought; indeed, Copernicus' work might not have ever reached the printing press if it had not been for a young man who sought out the master in 1539. George Rheticus was a 25 year old German mathematics professor who was attracted to the 66 year old cleric, having read one of his papers. Intending to spend a few weeks with Copernicus, Rheticus ended up staying as a house guest for two years, so fascinated was he with Copernicus and his theories. Now, up to this time, Copernicus was reluctant to publish, -- not so much that he was concerned with what the church might say about his novel theory (De Revolutionibus was placed on the Index in 1616 and only removed in 1835), but rather because he was a perfectionist and he never thought, even after working on it for thirty years, that his complete work was ready, -- there were, as far as Copernicus was concerned, observations to be checked and rechecked.
(Interestingly, Copernicus' original manuscript, lost to the world for 300 years, was located in Prague in the middle of the 19th century; it shows Copernicus' pen was, it would appear, continually in motion with revision after revision; all in Latin as was the vogue for scholarly writings in those days.)
Copernicus died in 1543 and was never to know what a stir his work had caused. It went against the philosophical and religious beliefs that had been held during the medieval times. Man, it was believed (and still believed by some) was made by God in His image, man was the next thing to God, and, as such, superior, especially in his best part, his soul, to all creatures, indeed this part was not even part of the natural world (a philosophy which has proved disastrous to the earth's environment as any casual observer of the 20th century might confirm by simply looking about). Copernicus' theories might well lead men to think that they are simply part of nature and not superior to it and that ran counter to the theories of the politically powerful churchmen of the time.
Two other Italian scientists of the time, Galileo and Bruno, embraced the Copernican theory unreservedly and as a result suffered much personal injury at the hands of the powerful church inquisitors. Giordano Bruno had the audacity to even go beyond Copernicus, and, dared to suggest, that space was boundless and that the sun was and its planets were but one of any number of similar systems: Why! -- there even might be other inhabited worlds with rational beings equal or possibly superior to ourselves. For such blasphemy, Bruno was tried before the Inquisition, condemned and burned at the stake in 1600. Galileo was brought forward in 1633, and, there, in front of his "betters," he was, under the threat of torture and death, forced to his knees to renounce all belief in Copernican theories, and was thereafter sentenced to imprisonment for the remainder of his days.
The most important aspect of Copernicus' work is that it forever changed the place of man in the cosmos; no longer could man legitimately think his significance greater than his fellow creatures; with Copernicus' work, man could now take his place among that which exists all about him, and not of necessity take that premier position which had been assigned immodestly to him by the theologians.
"Of all discoveries and opinions, none may have exerted a greater effect on the human spirit than the doctrine of Copernicus. The world had scarcely become known as round and complete in itself when it was asked to waive the tremendous privilege of being the center of the universe. Never, perhaps, was a greater demand made on mankind - for by this admission so many things vanished in mist and smoke! What became of our Eden, our world of innocence, piety and poetry; the testimony of the senses; the conviction of a poetic - religious faith? No wonder his contemporaries did not wish to let all this go and offered every possible resistance to a doctrine which in its converts authorized and demanded a freedom of view and greatness of thought so far unknown, indeed not even dreamed of." [Goethe.] http://www.blupete.com/Literature/Biographies/Science/Copernicus.htm
The main figures in the rebirth of atomism:
"One of the first groups of atomists in England was a cadre of amateur scientists known as the Northumberland circle, led by Henry Percy (1585-1632 AD), the 9th Earl of Northumberland. Although they published little of account, they helped to disseminate atomistic ideas among the burgeoning scientific culture of England, and may have been particularly influential to Francis Bacon, who became an atomist around 1605, though he later rejected some of the claims of atomism. Though they revived the classical form of atomism, this group was among the scientific avant-garde: the Northumberland circle contained nearly half of the confirmed Copernicans prior to 1610 (the year of Galileo's The Starry Messenger). Other influential atomists of late 16th and early 17th centuries include Giordano Bruno and Thomas Hobbes (who also changed his stance on atomism late in his career), and Thomas Hariot. A number of different atomistic theories were blossoming in France at this time, as well (Clericuzio 2000).
A more well-known advocate of atomism was Galileo Galilei (1564-1642 AD). He first published a work based on atomism in 1612, Discourse on Floating Bodies (Redondi 1969). In The Assayer, Galileo offered a more complete physical system based on a corpuscular theory of matter, in which all phenomena - with the exception of sound - are produced by "matter in motion". Galileo found some of the basic problems with Aristotelian physics through his experiments, and he utilized a theory of atomism as a partial replacement, but he was never unequivocally committed to it. For example, his experiments with falling bodies and inclined planes led him to the concepts of circular inertial motion and accelerating free-fall. These notions contradicted the Aristotelian theories of impulse and natural place, which dictated that bodies fall equal distances in equal times and all motion (except that of the heavens) is finite. Atomism could not explain the law of fall, but was consistent with his concept of inertia, since motion was conserved in ancient atomism (but not in Aristotelian physics). Pietro Redondi has even suggested that the root of the church's persecution of Galileo was his rejection of Aristotelian philosophy and championing of atomism (Redondi 1969).
Despite the success (and controversy) generated by 16th and 17th century atomists, atomism was not fully revived until Descartes and Gassendi published their new physics systems based on corpuscular (in the case of Descartes) and atomistic (in the case of Gassendi) theories. Descartes' mechanical philosophy of corpuscularism had much in common with atomism, and may be considered in some sense another version of it. Descartes (1596-1650 AD) thought everything physical in the universe to be made of tiny "corpuscles" of matter. Like the ancient atomists, Descartes claimed that sensations, such as taste or temperature, are caused by the shape and size of tiny pieces of matter. The main difference between atomism and corpuscularism was the existence of the void. For Descartes, there could be no vacuum, and all matter was constantly swirling to prevent a void as corpuscles moved through other matter. Another key distinction between Descartes' corpuscularism and classical atomism is Descartes' concept of mind/body duality, which allowed for an independent realm of existence for thought, soul, and most importantly, God. Gassendi's system was much closer to classical atomism, but without the atheistic undertones. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomism#Atomic_renaissance
Gassendi, who freed Epicurus from the interdict which the Fathers of the Church and the whole Middle Ages, the period of realised unreason, had placed upon him, presents in his expositions only one interesting element. He seeks to accommodate his Catholic conscience to his pagan knowledge and Epicurus to the Church, which certainly was wasted effort. It is as though one wanted to throw the habit of a Christian nun over the bright and flourishing body of the Greek Lais. It is rather that Gassendi learns philosophy from Epicurus than that he could teach us about Epicurus' philosophy. http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1841/dr-theses/foreword.htm
Pierre Gassendi (1592-1655 AD)
Pierre Gassendi was a Catholic priest from France who was also an avid natural philosopher. He was particularly intrigued by the Greek atomists, so he set out to "purify" atomism from its heretical and atheistic philosophical conclusions (Dijksterhius 1969). Gassendi formulated his atomistic conception of mechanical philosophy partly in response to Descartes; he particularly opposed Descartes' reductionist view that only purely mechanical explanations of physics are valid, as well as the application of geometry to the whole of physics (Clericuzio 2000). The final form of atomism that came to be accepted by most English scientists after Robert Boyle (1627-1692 AD) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomism#Atomic_renaissance
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
The real progenitor of English materialism and all modern experimental science is Bacon. To him natural philosophy is the only true philosophy, and physics based upon the experience of the senses is the chiefest part of natural philosophy. Anaxagoras and his homoeomeriae, Democritus and his atoms, he often quotes as his authorities. According to him the senses are infallible and the source of all knowledge. All science is based on experience, and consists in subjecting the data furnished by the senses to a rational method of investigation. Induction, analysis, comparison, observation, experiment, are the principal forms of such a rational method. Among the qualities inherent in matter, motion is the first and foremost, not only in the form of mechanical and mathematical motion, but chiefly in the form of an impulse, a vital spirit, a tension - or a 'Qual', to use a term of Jakob Boehme's - of matter. The primary forms of matter are the living, individualising forces of being inherent in it and producing the distinctions between the species.
In its further evolution, materialism becomes one-sided. Hobbes is the man who systematises Baconian materialism. Knowledge based upon the senses loses its poetic blossom, it passes into the abstract experience of the geometrician. Physical motion is sacrificed to mechanical or mathematical motion; geometry is proclaimed as the queen of sciences. Materialism takes to misanthropy. If it is to overcome its opponent, misanthropic, fleshless spiritualism, and that on the latter's own ground, materialism has to chastise its own flesh and turn ascetic. Thus it passes into an intellectual entity; but thus, too, it evolves all the consistency, regardless of consequences, characteristic of the intellect. http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/holy-family/ch06_3_d.htm
Biology: Antony van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723)
Antony van Leeuwenhoek was an unlikely scientist. A tradesman of Delft, Holland, he came from a family of tradesmen, had no fortune, received no higher education or university degrees, and knew no languages other than his native Dutch. This would have been enough to exclude him from the scientific community of his time completely. Yet with skill, diligence, an endless curiosity, and an open mind free of the scientific dogma of his day, Leeuwenhoek succeeded in making some of the most important discoveries in the history of biology. It was he who discovered bacteria, free-living and parasitic microscopic protists, sperm cells, blood cells, microscopic nematodes and rotifers, and much more. His researches, which were widely circulated, opened up an entire world of microscopic life to the awareness of scientists. http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/history/leeuwenhoek.html
Robert Hooke. His name is somewhat obscure today, due in part to the enmity of his famous, influential, and extremely vindictive colleague, Sir Isaac Newton. Yet Hooke was perhaps the single greatest experimental scientist of the seventeenth century. His interests knew no bounds, ranging from physics and astronomy, to chemistry, biology, and geology, to architecture and naval technology; he collaborated or corresponded with scientists as diverse as Christian Huygens, Antony van Leeuwenhoek, Christopher Wren, Robert Boyle, and Isaac Newton. Among other accomplishments, he invented the universal joint, the iris diaphragm, and an early prototype of the respirator; invented the anchor escapement and the balance spring, which made more accurate clocks possible; served as Chief Surveyor and helped rebuild London after the Great Fire of 1666; worked out the correct theory of combustion; devised an equation describing elasticity that is still used today ("Hooke's Law"); assisted Robert Boyle in studying the physics of gases; invented or improved meteorological instruments such as the barometer, anemometer, and hygrometer; and so on. He was the type of scientist that was then called a virtuoso -- able to contribute findings of major importance in any field of science. It is not surprising that he made important contributions to biology and to paleontology.
Hooke's reputation in the history of biology largely rests on his book Micrographia, published in 1665. Hooke devised the compound microscope and illumination system shown above, one of the best such microscopes of his time, and used it in his demonstrations at the Royal Society's meetings. With it he observed organisms as diverse as insects, sponges, bryozoans, foraminifera, and bird feathers. http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/history/hooke.html
The first major step towards modern quantitative chemistry was taken by Lavoisier towards the end of the eighteenth century. He realized that combustion was a chemical reaction between the material being burned and a component of the air. He carried out reactions in closed vessels so that he could keep track of the amounts of the various reagents involved. One of his great discoveries was that in reactions, the total final weight of all the materials involved is exactly equal to the total initial weight. This was the first step on the road to thinking about chemistry in terms of atoms. He also established that pure water was not transmuted to earth by heating, as had long been believed - the residue left on boiling dry came from the container if the water itself was pure.
Lavoisier discovered oxygen. He was the first to realize that air has two (major) components, only one of which supports respiration, meaning life, and combustion. In 1783, working with the mathematician Laplace, and a guinea pig in a mask, he checked out quantitatively that the animal used breathed-in oxygen to form what we now term carbon dioxide (this is the origin of the "guinea pig" as experimental subject).
What is an Element?
Lavoisier tightened up the very loose terminology in use at that time: there were no generally agreed on definitions of elements, principles or atoms, although a century earlier Boyle had suggested that element be reserved for substances that could not be further separated chemically.
In his Elements of Chemistry (1789) Lavoisier writes:
…if, by the term elements we mean to express those simple and indivisible atoms of which matter is composed, it is extremely probable that we know nothing about them; but if we apply the term elements, or principles of bodies, to express our idea of the last point which analysis is capable of reaching, we must admit as elements all the substances into which we are capable, by any means, to reduce bodies by decomposition. Not that we are entitled to affirm that these substances we consider as simple may not be compounded of two, or even of a greater number of principles; but since these principles cannot be separated, or rather since we have not hitherto discovered the means of separating them, they act with regard to us as simple substances, and we ought never to suppose them compounded until experiment and observation have proved them to be so.
In sum, Lavoisier began the modern study of chemistry: he insisted on precise terminology and on precise measurement, and suggested as part of the agenda the classification of substances into elements and compounds. Once this program was truly underway, the atomic interpretation soon appeared.
Unfortunately for chemistry, five years after this book appeared Lavoisier went to the guillotine. In pre-revolutionary France, government tax collection was privatized, and Lavoisier was one of the very unpopular "tax-farmers". Few of them survived the revolution. Lavoisier was also accused of anti-French activities, in that he corresponded with foreigners. The fact that all the correspondence was exchange of scientific papers did not impress the revolutionaries, who remarked that "the Republic has no need of savants" as they sent him to the guillotine.
John Dalton (1766-1844) was born into a poor family near Manchester, England. He supported himself to some extent by teaching from the age of twelve, when he started his own small Quaker school. Dalton wrote A New System of Chemical Philosophy, from which the following quotes are taken:
Matter, though divisible in an extreme degree, is nevertheless not infinitely divisible. That is, there must be some point beyond which we cannot go in the division of matter. The existence of these ultimate particles of matter can scarcely be doubted, though they are probably much too small ever to be exhibited by microscopic improvements. I have chosen the word atom to signify these ultimate particles... .
He assumed that all atoms of an element were identical, and atoms of one element could not be changed into atoms of another element "by any power we can control". He assumed further that compounds of elements had compound atoms:
I call an ultimate particle of carbonic acid a compound atom. Now, though this atom may be divided, yet it ceases to be carbonic acid, being resolved by such division into charcoal and oxygen.
He also asserted that all compound atoms (molecules, as we would say) for a particular compound were identical, and, furthermore: "Chemical analysis and synthesis go no farther than to the separation of particles one from another, and to their reunion. No creation or destruction of matter is within reach of chemical agency".
By Dalton's time it had become clear that when elements combine to form a particular compound, they always do in precisely the same ratio by weight. For example, when hydrogen burns in oxygen to form water, one gram of hydrogen combines with eight grams of oxygen. This constancy is to be expected in Dalton's theory, presumably the compound atom, or molecule, of water has a fixed number of hydrogen atoms and a fixed number of oxygen atoms. Of course, the weight ratio doesn't tell us the numbers, since we don't know the relative weights of the hydrogen atom and the oxygen atom. To make any progress, some assumptions are necessary. Dalton suggested a rule of greatest simplicity: if two elements form only one compound, assume the compound atom has only one atom of each element. Since H2O2 had not been discovered, he assumed water was HO. (He actually used symbols to represent the elements, H was a circle with a dot in the center. However, just as we do, he used strings of such symbols to represent an actual molecule, not a macroscopic mixture.) On putting together data on many different reactions, it became apparent to Dalton that the rule of greatest simplicity wasn't necessarily correct, by 1810 he was suggesting that the water molecule perhaps contained three atoms. http://galileo.phys.virginia.edu/classes/252/atoms.html
Modern Zoology and Evolution:
Carolus Linnaeus, or Carl Linne (1707-1778), is considered the father of modern taxonomy for his work in hierarchical classification of various organisms. At first, he believed in the fixed nature of species, but he was later swayed by hybridization experiments in plants, which could produce new species. However, he maintained his belief in special creation in the Garden of Eden, consistent with the Christian doctrine to which he was quite devoted. He still saw the new species created by plant hybridization to have been part of God's plan, and never considered the idea of open-ended, undirected evolution not mediated by the divine.
Charles Darwin's grandfather Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802) was also a distinguished naturalist with his own intriguing ideas about evolution. While he never thought of natural selection, he did argue that all life could a have a single common ancestor, though he struggled with the concepts of a mechanism for this descent. He also discussed the effects of competition and sexual selection (see Other Types of Selection) on possible changes in species. Like Lamarck, Erasmus Darwin subscribed to a theory stating that the use or disuse of parts could in itself make them grow or shrink, and that unconscious striving by the organism was responsible for adaptation.
Jean-Baptiste Lamarck's (1744-1829) theory of evolution was a good try for his time, but has now been discredited by experimental evidence and the much more plausible mechanism of modification proposed by Darwin. Lamarck saw species as not being fixed and immutable, but rather in a constantly changing state. He presented a multitude of different theories that he believed combined to explain descent with modification of these changing species.
Lamarck subscribed to a number of what we now know to be false beliefs about inheritance. First, like Erasmus Darwin, he argued for strong effects of the use and disuse of parts, which he thought would make the relevant parts change size or shape in accordance with their use. Second, Lamarck believed that all organisms fundamentally wanted to adapt themselves to their environment, and so they strove to become better adapted. The belief most commonly associated with Lamarck today is his idea of the inheritance of acquired characteristics. This theory stated that an organism could pass on to its offspring any characteristics it had acquired in its lifetime. For example, if a man exercised and thus developed strong muscles, his offspring would then have strong muscles at birth. http://library.thinkquest.org/C004367/eh1.shtml
Geology as a science. Geologic time and clues of its development present in the geological record:
James Hutton (1726-1797), a Scottish farmer and naturalist, is known as the founder of modern geology. He was a great observer of the world around him. More importantly, he made carefully reasoned geological arguments. Hutton came to believe that the Earth was perpetually being formed; for example, molten material is forced up into mountains, eroded, and then eroded sediments are washed away. He recognized that the history of the Earth could be determined by understanding how processes such as erosion and sedimentation work in the present day. His ideas and approach to studying the Earth established geology as a proper science.
In the late eighteenth century, when Hutton was carefully examining the rocks, it was generally believed that Earth had come into creation only around six thousand years earlier (on October 22, 4004 B.C., to be precise, according to the seventeenth century scholarly analysis of the Bible by Archbishop James Ussher of Ireland), and that fossils were the remains of animals that had perished during the Biblical flood. As for the structure of the Earth, "natural philosophers" agreed that much bedrock consisted of long, parallel layers which occurred at various angles, and that sediments deposited by water were compressed to form stone. Hutton perceived that this sedimentation takes place so slowly that even the oldest rocks are made up of, in his words, "materials furnished from the ruins of former continents." The reverse process occurs when rock exposed to the atmosphere erodes and decays. He called this coupling of destruction and renewal the "great geological cycle", and realized that it had been completed innumerable times.
Hutton came to his chosen field by quite a roundabout route. Born in Edinburgh in 1726, he studied medicine and chemistry at the Universities of Edinburgh, Paris, and Leiden, in the Netherlands, and then spent fourteen years running two small family farms. It was farming that gave rise to Hutton's obsession with how the land could hold its own against the destructive forces of wind and weather he saw at work around him. Hutton began to devote his scientific knowledge, his philosophical turn of mind, and his extraordinary powers of observation to a subject that had only recently acquired a name: geology.
Around 1768 he moved to Edinburgh, where a visitor a few years later described his study as "so full of fossils and chemical apparatus that there is hardly room to sit down." In a paper presented in 1788 before the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a newly-founded scientific organization, Hutton described a universe very different from the Biblical cosmos: one formed by a continuous cycle in which rocks and soil are washed into the sea, compacted into bedrock, forced up to the surface by volcanic processes, and eventually worn away into sediment once again. "The result, therefore, of this physical enquiry," Hutton concluded, "is that we find no vestige of a beginning, no prospect of an end." Relying on the same methods as do modern field geologists, Hutton cited as evidence a cliff at nearby Siccar Point, where the juxtaposition of vertical layers of gray shale and overlying horizontal layers of red sandstone could only be explained by the action of stupendous forces over vast periods of time. There Hutton realized that the sediments now represented by the gray shale had, after deposition, been uplifted, tilted, eroded away, and then covered by an ocean, from which the red sandstone was then deposited. The boundary between the two rock types at Siccar Point is now called the Hutton Unconformity.
The fundamental force, theorized Hutton, was subterranean heat, as evidenced by the existence of hot springs and volcanoes. From his detailed observations of rock formations in Scotland and elsewhere in the British Isles, Hutton shrewdly inferred that high pressures and temperatures deep within the Earth would cause the chemical reactions that created formations of basalt, granite, and mineral veins. He also proposed that internal heat causes the crust to warm and expand, resulting in the upheavals that form mountains. The same process causes rock stratifications to tilt, fold and deform, as exemplified by the Siccar Point rocks.
Another of Hutton's key concepts was the Theory of Uniformitarianism. This was the belief that geological forces at work in the present day-barely noticeable to the human eye, yet immense in their impact-are the same as those that operated in the past. This means that the rates at which processes such as erosion or sedimentation occur today are similar to past rates, making it possible to estimate the times it took to deposit a sandstone, for example, of a given thickness. It became evident from such analysis that enormous lengths of time were required to account for the thicknesses of exposed rock layers. Uniformitarianism is one of the fundamental principles of earth science. Hutton's theories amounted to a frontal attack on a popular contemporary school of thought called catastrophism: the belief that only natural catastrophes, such as the Great Flood, could account for the form and nature of a 6,000-year-old Earth. The great age of Earth was the first revolutionary concept to emerge from the new science of geology. http://www.amnh.org/education/resources/rfl/web/essaybooks/earth/p_hutton.html
Sir Charles Lyell (1797 - 1875)
Sir Charles Lyell was born in Scotland on November 14, 1797 and died in London on February 22, 1875. He attended Oxford University at age 19. He was knighted for scientific accomplishment in 1848. He became a Baron in 1864. He grew up the oldest of 10 children. Lyell's father was an active naturalist. Lyell had access to an elaborate library including subjects such as Geology. While Lyell was at Oxford, his interests included; mathematics, classics, the legal system (law) and geology. He attended a lecture by William Buckland that triggered his enthusiasm for geology.
Lyell originally started his career as a lawyer, but later turned to geology. His zoological skills aided in his extensive studies and observations throughout the world. He became an author of The Geological Evidence of the Antiquity of Man in 1863 and Principles of Geology (12 editions). Lyell argued in this book that, at the time, presently observable geological processes were adequate to explain geological history. He thought the action of the rain, sea, volcanoes and earthquakes explained the geological history of more ancient times.
Lyell rebelled against the prevailing theories of geology of the time. He thought the theories were biased and based on the interpretation of the book of Genesis. He thought it would be more practical to exclude sudden geological catastrophes to vouch for fossil remains of extinct species and believed it was necessary to create a vast time scale for Earth's history. This concept was called uniformitarianism. The second edition of Principles of Geology introduced new ideas regarding metamorphic rocks. It described rock changes due to high temperature in sedimentary rocks adjacent to igneous rocks. His third volume dealt with paleontology and stratigraphy. Lyell stressed that the antiquity of human species was far beyond the accepted theories of that time. http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/information/biography/klmno/lyell_charles.html
The revival of the advances in science and technology by the Greeks and Romans, and the importation of the achievements by the Arab and Islamic scientists and the advances in technology by the Chinese was supported by the merchants and monarchs of commercial Italian and Dutch cities, republics and kingdoms, and incorporated in production and world travel and trade. This overcame Church opposition and ended the feudal based Dark Age that had been dominated by Aristotelian philosophy as introduced by Aquinas.
In the first movement of the Renaissance enlightenment, science and technology advanced, philosophers and artists were pushed by the rising merchants and manufacturers, associated around oligarchs &/or absolute monarchs that were fighting feudal anarchy: the materialist philosophers Machaivelli, Bacon, Hobbes -
"Relatively little is known for certain about Machiavelli's early life in comparison with many important figures of the Italian Renaissance (the following section draws on Grazia 1989 and Viroli 2000). He was born 3 May 1469 in Florence and at a young age became a pupil of a renowned Latin teacher, Paolo da Ronciglione. It is speculated that he attended the University of Florence, and even a cursory glance at his corpus reveals that he received an excellent humanist education. It is only with his entrance into public view, with his appointment as the Second Chancellor of the Republic of Florence, however, that we begin to acquire a full and accurate picture of his life. For the next fourteen years, Machiavelli engaged in a flurry of diplomatic activity on behalf of Florence, travelling to the major centers of Italy as well as to the royal court of France and to the imperial curia of Maximilian. We have letters, dispatches, and occasional writings that testify to his political assignments as well as to his acute talent for the analysis of personalities and institutions.
"Florence had been under a republican government since 1484, when the leading Medici family and its supporters had been driven from power. During this time, Machiavelli thrived under the patronage of the Florentine gonfaloniere (or chief administrator for life), Piero Soderini. In 1512, however, with the assistance of Spanish troops, the Medici defeated the republic's armed forces and dissolved the government. Machiavelli was a direct victim of the regime change: he was initially placed in a form of internal exile and, when he was (wrongly) suspected of conspiring against the Medici in 1513, he was imprisoned and tortured for several weeks. His retirement thereafter to his farm outside of Florence afforded the occasion and the impetus for him to turn to literary pursuits.
"The first of his writings in a more reflective vein was also ultimately the one most commonly associated with his name, The Prince. Written at the end of 1513 (and perhaps early 1514), but only formally published posthumously in 1532, The Prince was composed in great haste by an author who was, among other things, seeking to regain his status in the Florentine government. (Many of his colleagues in the republican government were quickly rehabilitated and returned to service under the Medici.) Originally written for presentation to Giuliano de'Medici (who may well have appreciated it), the dedication was changed, upon Giuliano's death, to Lorenzo de'Medici, who almost certainly did not read it when it came into his hands in 1516.
"Near the end of his life, and probably as a result of the aid of well-connected friends whom he never stopped badgering for intervention, Machiavelli began to return to the favor of the Medici family. In 1520, he was commissioned by Cardinal Giulio de'Medici to compose a History of Florence, an assignment completed in 1525 and presented to the Cardinal, who had since ascended the papal throne as Clement VII, in Rome. Other small tasks were forthcoming from the Medici government, but before he could achieve a full rehabilitation, he died on 21 June 1527. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/machiavelli/
Machiavelli was first and foremost a political opportunist currying favor as an intellectual lickspittle of whoever was in power. In 1513 Machiavelli wrote Il Principe, which he dedicated to Lorenzo de' Medici in hopes of securing the favor of the ruling Medici family by justifying it being placed in authority by the power of bayonetts.
The Prince claims correspond to the ruthless installment by Spanish troops of the quisling Medici regime and the justification of it, much like the way the lickspittle intelligentsia from Iraq and Afghanistan on CSPAN and other American news and print propaganda media networks, in articles, books and interviews justifying the quisling regimes of Iraq and Afghanistan installed by American troops. The difference being that whereas, today, the imperialist lackeys and their lickspittle intelligentsia have to justify themselves in accord with the illusions of American citizens about 'democracy', 'good', and 'justice', thus use flowery rhetoric about 'freedom', 'justice' and 'democracy' to justify the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and the setting up of Quisling regimes and to endorse these illusions, hold elections under occupation bayonetts. On the contrary, Machiavelli, in The Prince, makes no such specious arguments.
What sets Machiavelli in the Renaissance apart from the Dark Age however, is that though he makes use of the Pauline and Augustinian assumptions that man is evil by nature, he differs from the Churchmen and the Schoolmen in that he does not justify the Sword of the State by metaphysical arguments according to which the appetites - or 'sinful flesh' - is held in check by reason and the appetitive classes by the State's military, but instead, like Aquinas, argues from Nature - a fictiticious 'human nature' to be sure - and from 'history', not the Bible or theology, to come to the same conservative conclusions exalting and justifying repressive power.
Machiavelli writes in The Prince:
All States, all powers, that have held and hold rule over men have been and are either republics or principalities. Principalities are either hereditary, in which the family has been long established; or they are new. The new are either entirely new, as was Milan to Francesco Sforza, or they are, as it were, members annexed to the hereditary state of the prince who has acquired them, as was the kingdom of Naples to that of the King of Spain. Such dominions thus acquired are either accustomed to live under a prince, or to live in freedom; and are acquired either by the arms of the prince himself, or of others, or else by fortune or by ability. http://www.constitution.org/mac/prince01.htm
Let no one be surprised if, in speaking of entirely new principalities as I shall do, I adduce the highest examples both of prince and of state; because men, walking almost always in paths beaten by others, and following by imitation their deeds, are yet unable to keep entirely to the ways of others or attain to the power of those they imitate. A wise man ought always to follow the paths beaten by great men, and to imitate those who have been supreme, so that if his ability does not equal theirs, at least it will savour of it. Let him act like the clever archers who, designing to hit the mark which yet appears too far distant, and knowing the limits to which the strength of their bow attains, take aim much higher than the mark, not to reach by their strength or arrow to so great a height, but to be able with the aid of so high an aim to hit the mark they wish to reach.
I say, therefore, that in entirely new principalities, where there is a new prince, more or less difficulty is found in keeping them, accordingly as there is more or less ability in him who has acquired the state. Now, as the fact of becoming a prince from a private station presupposes either ability or fortune, it is clear that one or other of these two things will mitigate in some degree many difficulties. Nevertheless, he who has relied least on fortune is established the strongest. Further, it facilitates matters when the prince, having no other state, is compelled to reside there in person.
But to come to those who, by their own ability and not through fortune, have risen to be princes, I say that Moses, Cyrus, Romulus, Theseus, and such like are the most excellent examples. And although one may not discuss Moses, he having been a mere executor of the will of God, yet he ought to be admired, if only for that favour which made him worthy to speak with God. But in considering Cyrus and others who have acquired or founded kingdoms, all will be found admirable; and if their particular deeds and conduct shall be considered, they will not be found inferior to those of Moses, although he had so great a preceptor. And in examining their actions and lives one cannot see that they owed anything to fortune beyond opportunity, which brought them the material to mould into the form which seemed best to them. Without that opportunity their powers of mind would have been extinguished, and without those powers the opportunity would have come in vain.
It was necessary, therefore, to Moses that he should find the people of Israel in Egypt enslaved and oppressed by the Egyptians, in order that they should be disposed to follow him so as to be delivered out of bondage. It was necessary that Romulus should not remain in Alba, and that he should be abandoned at his birth, in order that he should become King of Rome and founder of the fatherland. It was necessary that Cyrus should find the Persians discontented with the government of the Medes, and the Medes soft and effeminate through their long peace. Theseus could not have shown his ability had he not found the Athenians dispersed. These opportunities, therefore, made those men fortunate, and their high ability enabled them to recognize the opportunity whereby their country was ennobled and made famous.
Those who by valorous ways become princes, like these men, acquire a principality with difficulty, but they keep it with ease. The difficulties they have in acquiring it arise in part from the new rules and methods which they are forced to introduce to establish their government and its security. And it ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new. This coolness arises partly from fear of the opponents, who have the laws on their side, and partly from the incredulity of men, who do not readily believe in new things until they have had a long experience of them. Thus it happens that whenever those who are hostile have the opportunity to attack they do it like partisans, whilst the others defend lukewarmly, in such wise that the prince is endangered along with them.
It is necessary, therefore, if we desire to discuss this matter thoroughly, to inquire whether these innovators can rely on themselves or have to depend on others: that is to say, whether, to consummate their enterprise, have they to use prayers or can they use force? In the first instance they always succeed badly, and never compass anything; but when they can rely on themselves and use force, then they are rarely endangered. Hence it is that all armed prophets have conquered, and the unarmed ones have been destroyed. Besides the reasons mentioned, the nature of the people is variable, and whilst it is easy to persuade them, it is difficult to fix them in that persuasion. And thus it is necessary to take such measures that, when they believe no longer, it may be possible to make them believe by force.
If Moses, Cyrus, Theseus, and Romulus had been unarmed they could not have enforced their constitutions for long — as happened in our time to Fra Girolamo Savonarola, who was ruined with his new order of things immediately the multitude believed in him no longer, and he had no means of keeping steadfast those who believed or of making the unbelievers to believe. Therefore such as these have great difficulties in consummating their enterprise, for all their dangers are in the ascent, yet with ability they will overcome them; but when these are overcome, and those who envied them their success are exterminated, they will begin to be respected, and they will continue afterwards powerful, secure, honoured, and happy. http://www.constitution.org/mac/prince06.htm
Coming now to the other qualities mentioned above, I say that every prince ought to desire to be considered clement and not cruel. Nevertheless he ought to take care not to misuse this clemency. Cesare Borgia was considered cruel; notwithstanding, his cruelty reconciled the Romagna, unified it, and restored it to peace and loyalty. And if this be rightly considered, he will be seen to have been much more merciful than the Florentine people, who, to avoid a reputation for cruelty, permitted Pistoia to be destroyed. Therefore a prince, so long as he keeps his subjects united and loyal, ought not to mind the reproach of cruelty; because with a few examples he will be more merciful than those who, through too much mercy, allow disorders to arise, from which follow murders or robberies; for these are wont to injure the whole people, whilst those executions which originate with a prince offend the individual only.
And of all princes, it is impossible for the new prince to avoid the imputation of cruelty, owing to new states being full of dangers. Hence Virgil, through the mouth of Dido, excuses the inhumanity of her reign owing to its being new, saying
...against my will, my fate,
A throne unsettled, and an infant state,
Bid me defend my realms with all my pow'rs,
And guard with these severities my shores.
Nevertheless he ought to be slow to believe and to act, nor should he himself show fear, but proceed in a temperate manner with prudence and humanity, so that too much confidence may not make him incautious and too much distrust render him intolerable.
Upon this a question arises: whether it be better to be loved than feared or feared than loved? It may be answered that one should wish to be both, but, because it is difficult to unite them in one person, is much safer to be feared than loved, when, of the two, either must be dispensed with. Because this is to be asserted in general of men, that they are ungrateful, fickle, false, cowardly, covetous, and as long as you succeed they are yours entirely; they will offer you their blood, property, life and children, as is said above, when the need is far distant; but when it approaches they turn against you. And that prince who, relying entirely on their promises, has neglected other precautions, is ruined; because friendships that are obtained by payments, and not by greatness or nobility of mind, may indeed be earned, but they are not secured, and in time of need cannot be relied upon; and men have less scruple in offending one who is beloved than one who is feared, for love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails.
Nevertheless a prince ought to inspire fear in such a way that, if he does not win love, he avoids hatred; because he can endure very well being feared whilst he is not hated, which will always be as long as he abstains from the property of his citizens and subjects and from their women. But when it is necessary for him to proceed against the life of someone, he must do it on proper justification and for manifest cause, but above all things he must keep his hands off the property of others, because men more quickly forget the death of their father than the loss of their patrimony. Besides, pretexts for taking away the property are never wanting; for he who has once begun to live by robbery will always find pretexts for seizing what belongs to others; but reasons for taking life, on the contrary, are more difficult to find and sooner lapse. But when a prince is with his army, and has under control a multitude of soldiers, then it is quite necessary for him to disregard the reputation of cruelty, for without it he would never hold his army united or disposed to its duties.
Among the wonderful deeds of Hannibal this one is enumerated: that having led an enormous army, composed of many various races of men, to fight in foreign lands, no dissensions arose either among them or against the prince, whether in his bad or in his good fortune. This arose from nothing else than his inhuman cruelty, which, with his boundless valour, made him revered and terrible in the sight of his soldiers, but without that cruelty, his other virtues were not sufficient to produce this effect. And shortsighted writers admire his deeds from one point of view and from another condemn the principal cause of them. That it is true his other virtues would not have been sufficient for him may be proved by the case of Scipio, that most excellent man, not of his own times but within the memory of man, against whom, nevertheless, his army rebelled in Spain; this arose from nothing but his too great forbearance, which gave his soldiers more licence than is consistent with military discipline. For this he was upbraided in the Senate by Fabius Maximus, and called the corrupter of the Roman soldiery. The Locrians were laid waste by a legate of Scipio, yet they were not avenged by him, nor was the insolence of the legate punished, owing entirely to his easy nature. Insomuch that someone in the Senate, wishing to excuse him, said there were many men who knew much better how not to err than to correct the errors of others. This disposition, if he had been continued in the command, would have destroyed in time the fame and glory of Scipio; but, he being under the control of the Senate, this injurious characteristic not only concealed itself, but contributed to his glory.
Returning to the question of being feared or loved, I come to the conclusion that, men loving according to their own will and fearing according to that of the prince, a wise prince should establish himself on that which is in his own control and not in that of others; he must endeavour only to avoid hatred, as is noted. http://www.constitution.org/mac/prince17.htm
Francis Bacon was also a member of the ruling class and State functionary as was Machiavelli, a self-seeking political opportunist more so but less of an intellectual brown noser.
"About 1591 Bacon formed a friendship with the Earl of Essex, from whom he received many tokens of kindness ill requited. In 1593 the offices of Attorney-general, and subsequently of Solicitor-general became vacant, and Essex used his influence on Bacon's behalf, but unsuccessfully, the former being given to Coke, the famous lawyer. These disappointments may have been owing to a speech made by Bacon on a question of subsidies. To console him for them Essex presented him with a property at Twickenham, which he subsequently sold for £1800, equivalent to a much larger sum now.
"In 1596 he was made a Queen's Counsel, but missed the appointment of Master of the Rolls, and in the next year (1597), he published the first edition of his Essays, ten in number, combined with Sarced Meditations and the Coulours of Good and Evil. By 1601 Essex had lost the Queen's favour, and had raised his rebellion, and Bacon was one of those appointed to investigate the charges against him, and examine witnesess, in connection with which he showed an ungrateful and indecent eagerness in pressing the case against his former friend and benefactor, who was executed on Feb. 25, 1601. This act Bacon endeavoured to justify in A Declaration of the Practices and Treasons, etc., of...the Earl of Essex, etc. His circumstances had for some time been bad, and he had been arrested for debt: he had, however, received a gift of a fine of £1200 on one of Essex's accomplices.
"The accession of James VI in 1603 gave a favourable turn to his fortunes: he was knighted, and endeavoured to set himself right with the new powers by writing his Apologie (defence) of his proceedings in the case of Essex, who had favoured the succession of James. In the first Parliament of the new king he sat for St. Alban's, and was appointed a Commissioner for Union with Scotland. In 1605 he published The Advancement of Learning, dedicated, with fulsome flattery, to the king. The following year he married Alice Barnham, the daughter of a London merchant, and in 1607 he was made Solicitor-General, and wrote Cogita et Visa, a first sketch of the Novum Organum, followed in 1609 by The Wisdom of the Ancients.
Meanwhile (in 1608), he had entered upon the Clerkship of the Star Chamberr, and was in the enjoyment of a large income; but old debts and present extravagance kept him embarrassed, and he endeavoured to obtain further promotion and wealth by supporting the king in his arbitrary policy. In 1613 he became Attorney-General, and in this capacity prosecuted Somerset in 1616. The year 1618 saw him Lord Keeper, and the next Lord Chancellor and Baron Verulam, a title which, in 1621, he exchanged for that of Viscount St. Albans. Meanwhile he had written the New Atlantis, a political romance, and in 1620 he presented to the king the Novum Organum, on which he had been engaged for 30 years, and which ultimately formed the main part of the Instauratio Magna.
In his great office Bacon showed a failure of character in striking contrast with the majesty of his intellect. He was corrupt alike politically and judicially, and now the hour of retribution arrived. In 1621 a Parliamentary Committee on the administration of the law charged him with corruption under 23 counts; and so clear was the evidence that he made no attempt at defence. To the lords, who sent a committee to inquire whether the confession was really his, he replied, "My lords, it is my act, my hand, and my heart; I beseech your lordships to be merciful to a broken reed." He was sentenced to a fine of £40,000, remitted by the king, to be committed to the Tower during the king's pleasure (which was that he should be released in a few days), and to be incapable of holding office or sitting in parliament. He narrowly escaped being deprived of his titles.
Thenceforth he devoted himself to study and writing. In 1622 appeared his History of Henry VII, and the 3rd part of the Instauratio; in 1623, History of Life and Death, the De Augmentis Scientarum, a Latin translation of the Advancement, and in 1625 the 3rd edition of the Essays, now 58 in number. He also published Apophthegms, and a translation of some of the Psalms.
His life was now approaching its close. In March, 1626, he came to London, and shortly after, when driving on a snowy day, the idea struck him of making an experiment as to the antiseptic properties of snow, in consequence of which he caught a chill, which ended in his death on 9th April 1626. He left debts to the amount of £22,000. http://www.luminarium.org/sevenlit/bacon/bio.php
Thomas Hobbes Time Line
1588 April 5, born in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, England.
1610 On his first trip to the continent discovers the influence of scholasticism is waning and resolves to return to England to pursue learning based on the classics. Has several meetings with Francis Bacon.
1628 Publication of his English translation of Thucydides through which he intended to show the English the dangers of democracy. 1629 William Cavendish dies and Hobbes becomes tutor for the son of Sir Gervase Clinton. Travels to the continent with Clinton's son and discovers a passion for geometry and ponders how to use the geometrical method to demonstrate his social and political principles. 1634- Once more employed by the Devonshires, he takes his third journey to the continent where he enters the intellectual circle of the Abbe Mersenne, patron of both Descartes and Gassendi, and became good friends with Gassendi.
1636 Travels to Italy where he meets with Galileo. With the influence of Galileo, Hobbes develops his social philosophy on principles of geometry and natural science.
1637 Returns to England where the king and parliament are in a heated struggle.
1640 Circulates his manuscript Elements of Law, which demonstrated the need for absolute sovereignty, to members of parliament. King dissolves parliament in May. November, the Long Parliament impeaches Thomas Wentworth and Hobbes flees to Paris where he is welcomed once more into the circle of Mersenne.
1642- Publication of De Cive and First Draught of 1646 the Optiques. Begins De Corpore, the first work in a trilogy on body, man and citizen.
1646 Tutor in mathematics to the future Charles II, also exiled in Paris.
1647 Severe illness puts him near death but he recovers. Publishes second edition of De Cive.
1648 The death of Mersenne.
1651 Publication of Leviathan. Returns to England and begins his dispute with John Bramall, bishop of Derry, on the issue of free will. 1654 Of Liberty and Necessity published without his consent.
1655 In response Bramall publishes A Defence of True Liberty from Antecedent and Extrinsical Necessity.
1656 Response to Bramall published as The Questions Concerning Liberty, Necessity and Chance.
1657 Publication of the second part of his trilogy, De Homine.
1658 Another response by Bramall, Castigations of Hobbes his Last Animadversions with an appendix titled "The Catching of Leviathan the Great Whale."
1663 Death of Bramall.
1665 Publication of De Corpore. Beginnings of his controversy with John Wallis and Seth Ward, charter members of the Royal Society, on issues of geometry, religion and the state of the universities. Year of the Great Plague.
1666 Year of the Great Fire of London. After the two great catastrophes, parliament was caught up in a witch hunt and sought to stamp out atheism. Leviathan is scrutinized but the king interceeds in his behalf but prohibits Hobbes from publishing any more of his works. 1668 Finishes Behemoth, a history of the period between 1640 and 1660, and submits it to the king for publication but is denied.
Thomas Hobbes writes in The Laviathan:
OF DOMINION PATERNAL AND DESPOTICAL
A COMMONWEALTH by acquisition is that where the sovereign power is acquired by force; and it is acquired by force when men singly, or many together by plurality of voices, for fear of death, or bonds, do authorise all the actions of that man, or assembly, that hath their lives and liberty in his power.
And this kind of dominion, or sovereignty, differeth from sovereignty by institution only in this, that men who choose their sovereign do it for fear of one another, and not of him whom they institute: but in this case, they subject themselves to him they are afraid of. In both cases they do it for fear: which is to be noted by them that hold all such covenants, as proceed from fear of death or violence, void: which, if it were true, no man in any kind of Commonwealth could be obliged to obedience. It is true that in a Commonwealth once instituted, or acquired, promises proceeding from fear of death or violence are no covenants, nor obliging, when the thing promised is contrary to the laws; but the reason is not because it was made upon fear, but because he that promiseth hath no right in the thing promised. Also, when he may lawfully perform, and doth not, it is not the invalidity of the covenant that absolveth him, but the sentence of the sovereign. Otherwise, whensoever a man lawfully promiseth, he unlawfully breaketh: but when the sovereign, who is the actor, acquitteth him, then he is acquitted by him that extorted the promise, as by the author of such absolution.
But the rights and consequences of sovereignty are the same in both. His power cannot, without his consent, be transferred to another: he cannot forfeit it: he cannot be accused by any of his subjects of injury: he cannot be punished by them: he is judge of what is necessary for peace, and judge of doctrines: he is sole legislator, and supreme judge of controversies, and of the times and occasions of war and peace: to him it belonged to choose magistrates, counsellors, commanders, and all other officers and ministers; and to determine of rewards and punishments, honour and order. The reasons whereof are the same which are alleged in the precedent chapter for the same rights and consequences of sovereignty by institution.
Dominion is acquired two ways: by generation and by conquest. The right of dominion by generation is that which the parent hath over his children, and is called paternal. And is not so derived from the generation, as if therefore the parent had dominion over his child because he begat him, but from the child's consent, either express or by other sufficient arguments declared. For as to the generation, God hath ordained to man a helper, and there be always two that are equally parents: the dominion therefore over the child should belong equally to both, and he be equally subject to both, which is impossible; for no man can obey two masters. And whereas some have attributed the dominion to the man only, as being of the more excellent sex, they misreckon in it. For there is not always that difference of strength or prudence between the man and the woman as that the right can be determined without war. In Commonwealths this controversy is decided by the civil law: and for the most part, but not always, the sentence is in favour of the father, because for the most part Commonwealths have been erected by the fathers, not by the mothers of families. But the question lieth now in the state of mere nature where there are supposed no laws of matrimony, no laws for the education of children, but the law of nature and the natural inclination of the sexes, one to another, and to their children. In this condition of mere nature, either the parents between themselves dispose of the dominion over the child by contract, or do not dispose thereof at all. If they dispose thereof, the right passeth according to the contract. We find in history that the Amazons contracted with the men of the neighbouring countries, to whom they had recourse for issue, that the issue male should be sent back, but the female remain with themselves: so that the dominion of the females was in the mother.
If there be no contract, the dominion is in the mother. For in the condition of mere nature, where there are no matrimonial laws, it cannot be known who is the father unless it be declared by the mother; and therefore the right of dominion over the child dependeth on her will, and is consequently hers. Again, seeing the infant is first in the power of the mother, so as she may either nourish or expose it; if she nourish it, it oweth its life to the mother, and is therefore obliged to obey her rather than any other; and by consequence the dominion over it is hers. But if she expose it, and another find and nourish it, dominion is in him that nourisheth it. For it ought to obey him by whom it is preserved, because preservation of life being the end for which one man becomes subject to another, every man is supposed to promise obedience to him in whose power it is to save or destroy him.
If the mother be the father's subject, the child is in the father's power; and if the father be the mother's subject (as when a sovereign queen marrieth one of her subjects), the child is subject to the mother, because the father also is her subject.
If a man and a woman, monarchs of two several kingdoms, have a child, and contract concerning who shall have the dominion of him, the right of the dominion passeth by the contract. If they contract not, the dominion followeth the dominion of the place of his residence. For the sovereign of each country hath dominion over all that reside therein. He that hath the dominion over the child hath dominion also over the children of the child, and over their children's children. For he that hath dominion over the person of a man hath dominion over all that is his, without which dominion were but a title without the effect. The right of succession to paternal dominion proceedeth in the same manner as doth the right of succession to monarchy, of which I have already sufficiently spoken in the precedent chapter.
Dominion acquired by conquest, or victory in war, is that which some writers call despotical from Despotes, which signifieth a lord or master, and is the dominion of the master over his servant. And this dominion is then acquired to the victor when the vanquished, to avoid the present stroke of death, covenanteth, either in express words or by other sufficient signs of the will, that so long as his life and the liberty of his body is allowed him, the victor shall have the use thereof at his pleasure. And after such covenant made, the vanquished is a servant, and not before: for by the word servant (whether it be derived from servire, to serve, or from servare, to save, which I leave to grammarians to dispute) is not meant a captive, which is kept in prison, or bonds, till the owner of him that took him, or bought him of one that did, shall consider what to do with him: for such men, commonly called slaves, have no obligation at all; but may break their bonds, or the prison; and kill, or carry away captive their master, justly: but one that, being taken, hath corporal liberty allowed him; and upon promise not to run away, nor to do violence to his master, is trusted by him.
It is not therefore the victory that giveth the right of dominion over the vanquished, but his own covenant. Nor is he obliged because he is conquered; that is to say, beaten, and taken, or put to flight; but because he cometh in and submitteth to the victor; nor is the victor obliged by an enemy's rendering himself, without promise of life, to spare him for this his yielding to discretion; which obliges not the victor longer than in his own discretion he shall think fit.
And that which men do when they demand, as it is now called, quarter (which the Greeks called Zogria, taking alive) is to evade the present fury of the victor by submission, and to compound for their life with ransom or service: and therefore he that hath quarter hath not his life given, but deferred till further deliberation; for it is not a yielding on condition of life, but to discretion. And then only is his life in security, and his service due, when the victor hath trusted him with his corporal liberty. For slaves that work in prisons, or fetters, do it not of duty, but to avoid the cruelty of their task-masters.
The master of the servant is master also of all he hath, and may exact the use thereof; that is to say, of his goods, of his labour, of his servants, and of his children, as often as he shall think fit. For he holdeth his life of his master by the covenant of obedience; that is, of owning and authorising whatsoever the master shall do. And in case the master, if he refuse, kill him, or cast him into bonds, or otherwise punish him for his disobedience, he is himself the author of the same, and cannot accuse him of injury.
In sum, the rights and consequences of both paternal and despotical dominion are the very same with those of a sovereign by institution; and for the same reasons: which reasons are set down in the precedent chapter. So that for a man that is monarch of diverse nations, he hath in one the sovereignty by institution of the people assembled, and in another by conquest; that is by the submission of each particular, to avoid death or bonds; to demand of one nation more than of the other, from the title of conquest, as being a conquered nation, is an act of ignorance of the rights of sovereignty. For the sovereign is absolute over both alike; or else there is no sovereignty at all, and so every man may lawfully protect himself, if he can, with his own sword, which is the condition of war.
By this it appears that a great family, if it be not part of some Commonwealth, is of itself, as to the rights of sovereignty, a little monarchy; whether that family consist of a man and his children, or of a man and his servants, or of a man and his children and servants together; wherein the father or master is the sovereign. But yet a family is not properly a Commonwealth, unless it be of that power by its own number, or by other opportunities, as not to be subdued without the hazard of war. For where a number of men are manifestly too weak to defend themselves united, every one may use his own reason in time of danger to save his own life, either by flight, or by submission to the enemy, as he shall think best; in the same manner as a very small company of soldiers, surprised by an army, may cast down their arms and demand quarter, or run away rather than be put to the sword. And thus much shall suffice concerning what I find by speculation, and deduction, of sovereign rights, from the nature, need, and designs of men in erecting of Commonwealths, and putting themselves under monarchs or assemblies entrusted with power enough for their protection.
Let us now consider what the Scripture teacheth in the same point. To Moses the children of Israel say thus: "Speak thou to us, and we will hear thee; but let not God speak to us, lest we die." [Exodus, 20. 19] This is absolute obedience to Moses. Concerning the right of kings, God Himself, by the mouth of Samuel, saith, "This shall be the right of the king you will have to reign over you. He shall take your sons, and set them to drive his chariots, and to be his horsemen, and to run before his chariots, and gather in his harvest; and to make his engines of war, and instruments of his chariots; and shall take your daughters to make perfumes, to be his cooks, and bakers. He shall take your fields, your vineyards, and your olive-yards, and give them to his servants. He shall take the tithe of your corn and wine, and give it to the men of his chamber, and to his other servants. He shall take your man-servants, and your maidservants, and the choice of your youth, and employ them in his business. He shall take the tithe of your flocks; and you shall be his servants." [I Samuel, 8. 11-17] This is absolute power, and summed up in the last words, you shall be his servants. Again, when the people heard what power their king was to have, yet they consented thereto, and say thus, "We will be as all other nations, and our king shall judge our causes, and go before us, to conduct our wars." [Ibid., 8. 19, 20] Here is confirmed the right that sovereigns have, both to the militia and to all judicature; in which is contained as absolute power as one man can possibly transfer to another. Again, the prayer of King Solomon to God was this: "Give to thy servant understanding, to judge thy people, and to discern between good and evil." [I Kings, 3. 9] It belonged therefore to the sovereign to be judge, and to prescribe the rules of discerning good and evil: which rules are laws; and therefore in him is the legislative power. Saul sought the life of David; yet when it was in his power to slay Saul, and his servants would have done it, David forbade them, saying, "God forbid I should do such an act against my Lord, the anointed of God." [I Samuel, 24. 6] For obedience of servants St. Paul saith, "Servants obey your masters in all things";[Colossians, 3. 22] and, "Children obey your parents in all things." )[ Ibid., 3. 20] There is simple obedience in those that are subject to paternal or despotical dominion. Again, "The scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses' chair, and therefore all that they shall bid you observe, that observe and do." [Matthew, 23. 2, 3] There again is simple obedience. And St. Paul, "Warn them that they subject themselves to princes, and to those that are in authority, and obey them." [Titus, 3. 1] This obedience is also simple. Lastly, our Saviour Himself acknowledges that men ought to pay such taxes as are by kings imposed, where He says, "Give to Caesar that which is Caesar's"; and paid such taxes Himself. And that the king's word is sufficient to take anything from any subject, when there is need; and that the king is judge of that need: for He Himself, as king of the Jews, commanded his Disciples to take the ass and ass's colt to carry him into Jerusalem, saying, "Go into the village over against you, and you shall find a she ass tied, and her colt with her; untie them, and bring them to me. And if any man ask you, what you mean by it, say the Lord hath need of them: and they will let them go." [Matthew, 21. 2, 3] They will not ask whether his necessity be a sufficient title; nor whether he be judge of that necessity; but acquiesce in the will of the Lord.
To these places may be added also that of Genesis, "You shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." [Genesis, 3. 5] And, "Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee thou shouldest not eat?" [Ibid., 3. 11] For the cognizance or judicature of good and evil, being forbidden by the name of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, as a trial of Adam's obedience, the devil to inflame the ambition of the woman, to whom that fruit already seemed beautiful, told her that by tasting it they should be as gods, knowing good and evil. Whereupon having both eaten, they did indeed take upon them God's office, which is judicature of good and evil, but acquired no new ability to distinguish between them aright. And whereas it is said that, having eaten, they saw they were naked; no man hath so interpreted that place as if they had been formerly blind, and saw not their own skins: the meaning is plain that it was then they first judged their nakedness (wherein it was God's will to create them) to be uncomely; and by being ashamed did tacitly censure God Himself. And thereupon God saith, "Hast thou eaten," etc., as if He should say, doest thou that owest me obedience take upon thee to judge of my commandments? Whereby it is clearly, though allegorically, signified that the commands of them that have the right to command are not by their subjects to be censured nor disputed.
So that it appeareth plainly, to my understanding, both from reason and Scripture, that the sovereign power, whether placed in one man, as in monarchy, or in one assembly of men, as in popular and aristocratical Commonwealths, is as great as possibly men can be imagined to make it. And though of so unlimited a power, men may fancy many evil consequences, yet the consequences of the want of it, which is perpetual war of every man against his neighbour, are much worse. The condition of man in this life shall never be without inconveniences; but there happeneth in no Commonwealth any great inconvenience but what proceeds from the subjects' disobedience and breach of those covenants from which the Commonwealth hath its being. And whosoever, thinking sovereign power too great, will seek to make it less, must subject himself to the power that can limit it; that is to say, to a greater.
The greatest objection is that of the practice; when men ask where and when such power has by subjects been acknowledged. But one may ask them again, when or where has there been a kingdom long free from sedition and civil war? In those nations whose Commonwealths have been long-lived, and not been destroyed but by foreign war, the subjects never did dispute of the sovereign power.
Although Hobbes, in typical Renaissance fashion, advances his arguments from his concept of 'human nature' - which is really Platonist, if not neo-Platonist in the positing of it as vicious, selfish and greedy, which parallels Paul's 'sinful flesh', and thus his 'state of nature' man is the same as Augustine's man having fallen from perfect state by 'original sin', it is metaphysics. Like Plato and Paul, Hobbes demands of man of the lower orders that they submit to the higher -i.e. governing authority - and in agreement with Machiavelli that the State rule by military power, through fear. Hobbes also regurgitates Machiavelli on Moses right to rule by terror, and at the same time regurgitates Aristotles justification of domination of women by men, children by parents and this a parallel of the kings and his subjects.
The second trend in the Reniassance movement, once the bourgeoisie became a political power itself found its philosophical expression in the materialism of Locke, Diderot, Helvatius, Holbach, Paine, Jefferson and others who were revolutionary democrats.
Of John Locke, Boyle, Newton:
John Wilkins had left Oxford with the Restoration of Charles II. The new leader of the Oxford scientific group was Robert Boyle. He was also Locke's scientific mentor. Boyle (with the help of his astonishing assistant Robert Hooke) built an air pump which led to the formulation of Boyle's law and devised a barometer as a weather indicator. Boyle was, however, most influential as a theorist. He was a mechanical philosopher who treated the world as reducible to matter in motion. Locke read Boyle before he read Descartes. When he did read Descartes, he saw the great French philosopher as providing a viable alternative to the sterile Aristotelianism he had been taught at Oxford. In writing An Essay Concerning Human Understanding Locke adopted Descartes' 'way of ideas'; though it is transformed so as to become an organic part of Locke's philosophy. Still, while admiring Descartes, Locke's involvement with the Oxford scientists gave him a perspective which made him critical of the rationalist elements in Descartes' philosophy.
In the Epistle to the Reader at the beginning of the Essay Locke remarks:
The commonwealth of learning is not at this time without master-builders, whose mighty designs, in advancing the sciences, will leave lasting monuments to the admiration of posterity: but every one must not hope to be a Boyle or a Sydenham; and in an age that produces such masters as the great Huygenius and the incomparable Mr. Newton, with some others of that strain, it is ambition enough to be employed as an under-labourer in clearing the ground a little, and removing some of the rubbish that lies in the way to knowledge... (pp. 9-10. All quotations are from the Nidditch edition of An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.)
Locke knew all of these men and their work. Locke, Boyle and Newton were all founding or early members of the English Royal Society. It is from Boyle that Locke learned about atomism (or the corpuscular hypothesis) and it is from Boyle's book The Origin of Forms and Qualities that Locke took the language of primary and secondary qualities. Sydenham was one of the most famous English physicians of the 17th century and Locke did medical research with him. Locke read Newton's Principia Mathematica Philosophiae Naturalis while in exile in Holland, and consulted Huygens as to the soundness of its mathematics. Locke and Newton became friends after Locke's return from Holland in 1688. It may be that in referring to himself as an 'under-labourer', Locke is not only displaying a certain literary modesty, he is contrasting the positive discoveries of these men, with his own attempt to show the inadequacies of the Aristotelian and Scholastic and to some degree the Cartesian philosophies. There are, however, many aspects of Locke's project to which this image of an under-labourer does not do justice. (See Jolley 1999, pp. 15-17) While the corpuscular philosophy and Newton's discoveries clearly influenced Locke, it is the Baconian program of producing natural histories that Locke makes reference to when he talks about the Essay in the Introduction. He writes:
It shall suffice to my present Purpose, to consider the discerning Faculties of a Man, as they are employ'd about the Objects, which they have to do with: and I shall imagine that I have not wholly misimploy'd my self in the Thoughts I shall have on this Occasion, if in this Historical, Plain Method, I can give any Account of the Ways, whereby our Understanding comes to attain those Notions of Things, and can set down any Measure of the Certainty of our Knowledge... (I. 1. 2., pp. 43-4 - the three numbers, are book, chapter and section numbers respectively, followed by the page number in the Nidditch edition.)
The 'Historical, Plain Method' is apparently to give a genetic account of how we come by our ideas. Presumably this will reveal the degree of certainty of the knowledge based on such ideas. Locke's own active involvement with the scientific movement was largely through his informal studies of medicine. Dr. David Thomas was his friend and collaborator. Locke and Thomas had a laboratory in Oxford which was very likely, in effect, a pharmacy. In 1666 Locke had a fateful meeting with Lord Ashley as a result of his friendship with Thomas. Ashley, one of the richest men in England, came to Oxford. He proposed to drink some medicinal waters there. He had asked Dr. Thomas to provide them. Thomas had to be out of town and asked Locke to see that the water was delivered. Locke met Ashley and they liked one another. As a result of this encounter, Ashley invited Locke to come to London as his personal physician. In 1667 Locke did move to London becoming not only Lord Ashley's personal physician, but secretary, researcher, political operative and friend. Living with him Locke found himself at the very heart of English politics in the 1670s and 1680s.
1.2 Locke and Lord Shaftesbury 1666 to 1688
Locke's chief work while living at Lord Ashley's residence, Exeter House, in 1668 was his work as secretary of the Board of Trade and Plantations and Secretary to the Lords Proprietors of the Carolinas. Lord Ashley was one of the advocates of the view that England would prosper through trade and that colonies could play an important role in promoting trade. Ashley persuaded Charles II to create a Board of Trade and Plantations to collect information about trade and colonies, and Locke became its secretary. In his capacity as the secretary of the Board of Trade Locke was the collection point for information from around the globe about trade and colonies for the English government. Among Ashley's commercial projects was an effort to found colonies in the Carolinas. In his capacity as the secretary to the Lords Proprietors, Locke was involved in the writing of the fundamental constitution of the Carolinas. There is some controversy about the extent of Locke's role in writing the constitution. In addition to issues about trade and colonies, Locke was involved through Shaftesbury in other controversies about public policy. There was a monetary crisis in England involving the value of money, and the clipping of coins. Locke wrote papers for Lord Ashley on economic matters, including the coinage crisis.
While living in London at Exeter House, Locke continued to be involved in philosophical discussions. He tells us that:
Were it fit to trouble thee with the history of this Essay, I should tell thee, that five or six friends meeting at my chamber, and discoursing on a subject very remote from this, found themselves quickly at a stand, by the difficulties that rose on every side. After we had awhile puzzled ourselves, without coming any nearer a resolution of those doubts which perplexed us, it came into my thoughts that we took a wrong course; and that before we set ourselves upon inquiries of that nature, it was necessary to examine our own abilities, and see what objects our understandings were, or were not, fitted to deal with. This I proposed to the company, who all readily assented; and thereupon it was agreed that this should be our first inquiry. Some hasty and undigested thoughts, on a subject I had never before considered, which I set down against our next meeting, gave the first entrance into this Discourse; which having been thus begun by chance, was continued by intreaty; written by incoherent parcels; and after long intervals of neglect, resumed again, as my humour or occasions permitted; and at last, in a retirement where an attendance on my health gave me leisure, it was brought into that order thou now seest it. (Epistle to the Reader, p. 7)
James Tyrrell, one of Locke's friends was at that meeting. He recalls the discussion being about the principles of morality and revealed religion. (Cranston, 1957, pp. 140-1) Thus the Oxford scholar and medical researcher came to begin the work which was to occupy him off and on over the next twenty years.
In 1674 after Shaftesbury had left the government, Locke went back to Oxford, where he acquired the degree Bachelor of medicine, and a license to practice medicine, and then went to France. (Cranston, 1957. p. 160) In France Locke went from Calais to Paris, Lyons and on to Montpellier, where he spent the next fifteen months. Much of Locke's time was spent learning about Protestantism in France. The Edict of Nantes was in force, and so there was a degree of religious toleration in France. Louis XIV was to revoke the edict in 1685 and French Protestants were then killed or forced into exile.
While Locke was in France, Shaftesbury's fortunes fluctuated. In 1676 Shaftesbury was imprisoned in the tower. His imprisonment lasted for a year. In 1678, after the mysterious murder of a London judge, informers (most notably Titus Oates) started coming forward to reveal a supposed Catholic conspiracy to assassinate the King and put his brother on the throne. This whipped up public anti-Catholic frenzy and gave Shaftesbury a wide base of public support for excluding James, Duke of York from the throne. Though Shaftesbury had not fabricated the conspiracy story, nor did he prompt Oates to come forward, he did exploit the situation to the advantage of his party. In the public chaos surrounding the sensational revelations, Shaftesbury organized an extensive party network, exercised great control over elections, and built up a large parliamentary majority. His strategy was to secure the passage of an Exclusion bill that would prevent Charles II's Catholic brother from becoming King. Although the Exclusion bill passed in the Commons it was rejected in the House of Lords because of the King's strong opposition to it. As the panic over the Popish plot receded, Shaftesbury was left without a following or a cause. Shaftesbury was seized on July 21, 1681 and again put in the tower. He was tried on trumped-up charges of treason but acquitted by a London grand jury (filled with his supporters) in November.
At this point some of the Country Party leaders began plotting an armed insurrection which, had it come off, would have begun with the assassination of Charles and his brother on their way back to London from the races at Newmarket. The chances of such a rising occurring were not as good as the plotters supposed. Memories of the turmoil of the civil war were still relatively fresh. Eventually Shaftesbury, who was moving from safe house to safe house, gave up and fled to Holland in November 1682. He died there in January 1683. Locke stayed in England until the Rye House Plot (named after the house from which the plotters were to fire upon the King and his brother) was discovered in June of 1683. Locke left for the West country to put his affairs in order the very week the plot was revealed to the government and by September he was in exile in Holland.
While in exile Locke finished An Essay Concerning Human Understanding and published a fifty page advanced notice of it in French. (This was to provide the intellectual world on the continent with most of their information about the Essay until Pierre Coste's French translation appeared.) He also wrote and published his Epistola de Tolerentia in Latin. Recent scholarship suggests that while in Holland Locke was not only finishing An Essay Concerning Human Understanding and nursing his health, he was closely associated with the English revolutionaries in exile. The English government was much concerned with this group. They tried to get a number of them, including Locke, extradited to England. Locke's studentship at Oxford was taken away from him. In the meanwhile, the English intelligence service infiltrated the rebel group in Holland and effectively thwarted their efforts — at least for a while. While Locke was living in exile in Holland, Charles II died on Feb. 6, 1685 and was succeeded by his brother — who became James II of England. Soon after this the rebels in Holland sent a force of soldiers under the Duke of Monmouth to England to try to overthrow James II. Because of the excellent work of the Stuart spies, the government knew where the force was going to land before the troops on the ships did. The revolt was crushed, Monmouth captured and executed (Ashcraft, 1986).
Ultimately, however, the rebels were successful. James II alienated most of his supporters and William of Orange was invited to bring a Dutch force to England. After William's army landed, James II realizing that he could not mount an effective resistance, fled the country to exile in France. This became known as the Glorious Revolution of 1688. It is a watershed in English history. For it marks the point at which the balance of power in the English government passed from the King to the Parliament. Locke returned to England in 1688 on board the royal yacht, accompanying Princess Mary on her voyage to join her husband.
After his return from exile, Locke published An Essay Concerning Human Understanding and The Two Treatises of Government. In addition, Popple's translation of Locke's A Letter Concerning Toleration was also published. It is worth noting that the Two Treatises and the Letter Concerning Toleration were published anonymously. Locke took up residence in the country at Oates in Essex, the home of Sir Francis and Lady Masham (Damaris Cudworth). Locke had met Damaris Cudworth in 1682 and became involved intellectually and romantically with her. She was the daughter of Ralph Cudworth, the Cambridge Platonist, and a philosopher in her own right. After Locke went into exile in Holland in 1683, she married Sir Francis Masham. Locke and Lady Masham remained good friends and intellectual companions to the end of Locke's life. During the remaining years of his life Locke oversaw four more editions of the Essay and engaged in controversies over the Essay most notably in a series of published letters with Edward Stillingfleet, Bishop of Worcester. In a similar way, Locke defended the Letter Concerning Toleration against a series of attacks. He wrote The Reasonableness of Christianity and Some Thoughts on Education during this period as well.
Nor was Locke finished with public affairs. In 1696 the Board of Trade was revived. Locke played an important part in its revival and served as the most influential member on it until 1700. The Board of Trade was, in Peter Laslett's phrase "...the body which administered the United States before the American revolution." (Laslett in Yolton 1990 p. 127) The board was, in fact, concerned with a wide range of issues, from the Irish wool trade and the suppression of piracy, to the governance of the colonies and the treatment of the poor in England. After his retirement from the Board of Trade in 1700, Locke remained in retirement at Oates until his death on Sunday 28 October 1704. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/locke/
Locke's considerable importance in political thought is better known. As the first systematic theorist of the philosophy of liberalism, Locke exercised enormous influence in both England and America. In his Two Treatises of Government (1690), Locke set forth the view that the state exists to preserve the natural rights of its citizens. When governments fail in that task, citizens have the right - and sometimes the duty - to withdraw their support and even to rebel. Locke opposed Thomas Hobbes's view that the original state of nature was "nasty, brutish, and short," and that individuals through a social contract surrendered -for the sake of self-preservation- their rights [...] http://www.jim.com/hobbes.htm
John Locke's Second Treatise on Civil Government and Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence:
The Second Treatise on Civil Government by John Locke and The Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson, are two similar works because in both cases the author of each document were involved in political revolutions. Or rather, it makes sense that Jefferson and the colonials in declaring their independence from the British State and government of a king drew from Locke's writings because those writings justified the overthrow of governments. It is not the consciousness of men that determine their existence, but their social being, which determine their consciousness.
There is one way more whereby such a government may be dissolved, and that is: When he who has the supreme executive power neglects and abandons that charge, so that the laws already made can no longer be put in execution; this is demonstratively to reduce all to anarchy, and so effectively to dissolve the government. For laws not being made for themselves, but to be, by their execution, the bonds of the society to keep every part of the body politic in its due place and function. When that totally ceases, the government visibly ceases, and the people become a confused multitude without order or connection. Where there is no longer the administration of justice for the securing of mens rights, nor any remaining power within the community to direct the force, or provide for the necessities of the public, there certainly is no government left. Where the laws cannot be executed it is all one as if there were no laws, and a government without laws is, I suppose, a mystery in politics inconceivable to human capacity, and inconsistent with human society.
In these and the like cases, when the government is dissolved, the people are at liberty to provide for themselves, by erecting a new legislative, differing from the other, by the change of persons, or form, or both, as they shall find it most for their safety and good: for the society can never, by the fault of another, lose the native and original right it has to preserve itself, which can only be done by a settled legislative, and a fair and impartial execution of the laws made by it. But the state of mankind is not so miserable that they are not capable of using this remedy, till it be too late to look for any. To tell people they may provide for themselves, by erecting a new legislative, when by oppression, artifice, or being delivered over to a foreign power, their old one is gone, is only to tell them, they may expect relief when it is too late, and the evil is past cure. This is in effect no more than to bid them first be slaves, and then to take care of their liberty; and when their chains are on, tell them, they may act like freemen. This, if barely so, is rather mockery than relief; and men can never be secure from tyranny, if there be no means to escape it till they are perfectly under it: and therefore it is, that they have not only a right to get out of it, but to prevent it.
There is therefore, secondly, another way whereby governments are dissolved, and that is, when the legislative, or the prince, either of them, act contrary to their trust. First, The legislative acts against the trust reposed in them, when they endeavour to invade the property of the subject, and to make themselves, or any part of the community, masters, or arbitrary disposers of the lives, liberties, or fortunes of the people.
The reason why men enter into society, is the preservation of their property; and the end why they chuse and authorize a legislative, is, that there may be laws made, and rules set, as guards and fences to the properties of all the members of the society, to limit the power, and moderate the dominion, of every part and member of the society: for since it can never be supposed to be the will of the society, that the legislative should have a power to destroy that which every one designs to secure, by entering into society, and for which the people submitted themselves to legislators of their own making; whenever the legislators endeavour to take away, and destroy the property of the people, or to reduce them to slavery under arbitrary power, they put themselves into a state of war with the people, who are thereupon absolved from any farther obedience, and are left to the common refuge, which God hath provided for all men, against force and violence.
Whensoever therefore the legislative shall transgress this fundamental rule of society; and either by ambition, fear, folly or corruption, endeavour to grasp themselves, or put into the hands of any other, an absolute power over the lives, liberties, and estates of the people; by this breach of trust they forfeit the power the people had put into their hands for quite contrary ends, and it devolves to the people, who. have a right to resume their original liberty, and, by the establishment of a new legislative, (such as they shall think fit) provide for their own safety and security, which is the end for which they are in society. What I have said here, concerning the legislative in general, holds true also concerning the supreme executor, who having a double trust put in him, both to have a part in the legislative, and the supreme execution of the law, acts against both, when he goes about to set up his own arbitrary will as the law of the society. He acts also contrary to his trust, when he either employs the force, treasure, and offices of the society, to corrupt the representatives, and gain them to his purposes; or openly preengages the electors, and prescribes to their choice, such, whom he has, by sollicitations, threats, promises, or otherwise, won to his designs; and employs them to bring in such, who have promised before-hand what to vote, and what to enact. Thus to regulate candidates and electors, and new-model the ways of election, what is it but to cut up the government by the roots, and poison the very fountain of public security? for the people having reserved to themselves the choice of their representatives, as the fence to their properties, could do it for no other end, but that they might always be freely chosen, and so chosen, freely act, and advise, as the necessity of the common-wealth, and the public good should, upon examination, and mature debate, be judged to require. This, those who give their votes before they hear the debate, and have weighed the reasons on all sides, are not capable of doing. To prepare such an assembly as this, and endeavour to set up the declared abettors of his own will, for the true representatives of the people, and the law-makers of the society, is certainly as great a breach of trust, and as perfect a declaration of a design to subvert the government, as is possible to be met with. To which, if one shall add rewards and punishments visibly employed to the same end, and all the arts of perverted law made use of, to take off and destroy all that stand in the way of such a design, and will not comply and consent to betray the liberties of their country, it will be past doubt what is doing. What power they ought to have in the society, who thus employ it contrary to the trust went along with it in its first institution, is easy to determine; and one cannot but see, that he, who has once attempted any such thing as this, cannot any longer be trusted. http://www.constitution.org/jl/2ndtr19.htm
The Declaration of Independence says,
When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident:
That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and, when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them. He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them, and formidable to tyrants only. He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing, with manly firmness, his invasions on the rights of the people. He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining, in the mean time, exposed to all the dangers of invasions from without and convulsions within. He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands. He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers. He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries. He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance. He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies, without the consent of our legislatures. He has affected to render the military independent of, and superior to, the civil power. He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution and unacknowledged by our laws, giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us; For protecting them, by a mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states; For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world; For imposing taxes on us without our consent; For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury; For transporting us beyond seas, to be tried for pretended offenses; For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries, so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these colonies; For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments; For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us. He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people. He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation, and tyranny already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation. He has constrained our fellow-citizens, taken captive on the high seas, to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands. He has excited domestic insurrection among us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions.
In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms; our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people. Nor have we been wanting in our attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them, from time to time, of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity; and we have conjured them, by the ties of our common kindred, to disavow these usurpations which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too, have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity which denounces our separation, and hold them as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.
We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name and by the authority of the good people of these colonies solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that, as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/declare.asp
That Thomas Jefferson plagerized elements of Locke's Second Treatise on Civil Government, and drew also from other Enlightenment philosophers, such as Rousseau's Social Contract is not the point, but why? It was because these radical thinkers shared a common opposition to 'tyranny', that is, they represented the progressive ideology of democracy as the next step in social evolution. This ideology corresponded to the interests of the Parliaments, which represented the rising bourgeoisie as a political force, against the very absolute monarchies that were supported by bourgeois wealth and intellect against the anarchistic feudal fiefdoms, as those absolute monarchs centralized governments and shaped territories that served as geopolitical barriers of modern nation states. But, as on one hand the monarchs and their bureaucrats officer corps comprised of nobles became more parasitic and less useful, and on the other the bourgeoisie had developed political experience in parliaments, it was both logical and inevitable that those parliaments would seek to subordinate or displace the absolute monarchies.
Jefferson and his fellows wrote &/or signed the Declaration of Independence in the language of John Locke's Second Treatise on Civil Government in opposition to the Machaivelli argument for unconditional power of kings and Hobbes' arguments for establishment of their irreversible supreme authority, as Locke had refuted these arguments by advocating instead that the authority of government rests only on the consent of the governed.
Not suprisingly, this argument had been previously put forward by the revolutionary communist faction of the English Revolution of 1640, following the success of the Civil War, in the Army.
Extract from the debates at the
General Council of the Army, Putney.
29 October 1647
At the General Council of the Army, Putney, 29 October 1647
(The paper called the Agreement read. Afterwards the first article read by itself: 'That the people of England being at this day very unequally distributed by counties, cities and boroughs for the election of their deputies in parliament, ought to be more indifferently proportioned according to the number of inhabitants ... ')
Commissary-General Henry Ireton: The exception that lies in it is this. It is said they ('the people of England etc.') are to be distributed according to the number of the inhabitants. This does make me think that the meaning is that every man that is an inhabitant is to be equally considered, and to have an equal voice in the election of the representers - those persons that are for the General Representative. And if that be the meaning then I have something to say against it. But if it be only that those people that by the civil constitution of this kingdom, which is original and fundamental, and beyond which I am sure no memory of record does go ...
Commissary Nicholas Cowling (interrupting): Not before the Conquest.
Ireton: But before the Conquest it was so. If it be intended that those that by that constitution that was before the Conquest that has been beyond memory, such persons that have been before by that constitution the electors should be still the electors, I have no more to say against it... Ireton then asked whether those men whose hands are to the Agreement, or those that brought it, 'do know so much of the matter as to know whether they mean that all that had a former right of election are to be electors, or that those that had no right before are to come in?'
Cowling: In the time before the Conquest. Since the Conquest the greatest part of the kingdom was in vassalage.
Maximilian Petty: We judge that all inhabitants that have not lost their birthright should have an equal voice in elections.
Colonel Thomas Rainborough: I desired that those that had engaged in it might be included. For really I think that the poorest he that is in England has a life to live as the greatest he; and therefore truly, sir, I think it's clear that every man that is to live under a government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that government; and I do think that the poorest man in England is not at all bound in a strict sense to that government that he has not had a voice to put himself under. And I am confident that when I have heard the reasons against it, something will be said to answer those reasons - insomuch that I should doubt whether he was an Englishman or no that should doubt of these things. http://www.constitution.org/lev/eng_lev_08.htm
The Revolution of 1640 and the Civil War that followed was led by the Puritan based officers in the Army of Cromwell, the radical republics, but its ranks were from the oppressed working classes and toiling masses who fought the battles that defeated the king's army of lords and their troops. Rainborough argued on this basis and not some abstract theory of social contract that those who fought for freedom from monarchy and lordship had earned the right of democratic participation in the republican government established by their bloodshed. The debate was over property qualifications, which Ireton, supported by Cromwell and the right wing big bourgeois factions wanted to establish as condition for voting rights and the right to run for political office, a qualification that Rainborough and the Levellers opposed.
Ireton: Let the question be so, whether a man can be bound to any law that he does not consent to, and I shall tell you that he may and ought to be bound to a law that he does not give a consent to, nor does not choose any to consent to; and I will make it clear. If a foreigner come within this kingdom, if that stranger will have liberty to dwell here who has no local interest here, he, as a man, it's true, has air, the passage of highways, the protection of laws, and all that by nature. We must not expel him our coasts, give him no being amongst us, nor kill him because he comes upon our land, comes up our stream, arrives at our shore. It is a piece of hospitality, of humanity, to receive that man amongst us. But if that man be received to a being amongst us, I think that man may very well be content to submit himself to the law of the land - that is, the law that is made by those people that have a property, a fixed property, in the land. I think, if any man will receive protection from this people - though neither he nor his ancestors, not any betwixt him and Adam, did ever give concurrence to this constitution - I think this man ought to be subject to those laws, and to be bound by those laws, so long as he continues amongst them. That is my opinion. A man ought to be subject to a law that did not give his consent. But with this reservation: that if this man do think himself unsatisfied to be subject to this law he may go into another kingdom. And so the same reason does extend, in my understanding, to that man that has no permanent interest in the kingdom. If he has money, his money is as good in another place as here; he has nothing that does locally fix him to this kingdom. If that man will live in this kingdom, or trade amongst us, that man ought to subject himself to the law made by the people who have the interest of this kingdom in them. And yet I do acknowledge that which you take to be so general a maxim, that in every kingdom, within every land, the original of power of making laws, of determining what shall be law in the land, does lie in the people - but by 'the people' is meant those that are possessed of the permanent interest in the land. But whoever is extraneous to this, that is, as good a man in another land, that man ought to give such a respect to the property of men that live in the land. They do not determine that I shall live in this land. Why should I have any interest in determining what shall be the law of this land?
Major William Rainborough: I think if it can be made to appear that it is a just and reasonable thing, and that it is for the preservation of all the native freeborn men that they should have an equal voice in election - I think it ought to be made good unto them. And the reason is that the chief end of this government is to preserve persons as well as estates, and if any law shall take hold of my person it is more dear than my estate.
Colonel Thomas Rainborough: I do very well remember that the gentleman in the window - Colonel Rich - said that if it were so, there were no propriety to be had, because five parts of the nation - the poor people - are now excluded and would then come in. So one on the other side said that if it were otherwise, then rich men only shall be chosen. Then, I say, the one part shall make hewers of wood and drawers of water of the other five, and so the greatest part of the nation be enslaved. Truly I think we are still where we were; and I do not hear any argument given but only that it is the present law of the kingdom. I say still: what shall become of those many men that have laid out themselves for the parliament of England in this present war, that have ruined themselves by fighting, by hazarding all they had? They are Englishmen. They have now nothing to say for themselves.
Ireton: I am very sorry we are come to this point, that from reasoning one to another we should come to express our resolutions. I profess for my part, what I see is good for the kingdom and becoming a Christian to contend for, I hope through God I shall have strength and resolution to do my part towards it. And yet I will profess direct contrary in some kind to what that gentleman said. For my part, rather than I will make a disturbance to a good constitution of a kingdom wherein I may live in godliness and honesty and peace and quietness, I will part with a great deal of my birthright. I will part with my own property rather than I will be the man that shall make a disturbance in the kingdom for my property. And therefore if all the people in this kingdom, or the representatives of them all together, should meet and should give away my property, I would submit to it; I would give it away. But that gentleman - and I think every Christian - ought to bear that spirit, to carry that in him, that he will not make a public disturbance upon a private prejudice.
Now let us consider where our difference lies. We all agree that you should have a Representative to govern, and this Representative to be as equal as you can make it. But the question is, whether this distribution can be made to all persons equally, or whether equally amongst those that have the interest of England in them - that which I have declared is my opinion still. I think we ought to keep to that constitution which we have now, both because it is a civil constitution - it is the most fundamental constitution that we have - and because there is so much justice and reason and prudence in it as I dare confidently undertake to demonstrate that there are many more evils that will follow in case you do alter it than there can be in the standing of it.
But I say but this in the general: that I do wish that they that talk of birthrights - we any of us when we talk of birthrights - would consider what really our birthright is. If a man mean by birthright whatsoever he can challenge by the law of nature (supposing there were no constitution at all, supposing no civil law and no civil constitution) and that I am to contend for against constitution, then you leave no property, nor no foundation for any man to enjoy anything. But if you call that your birthright which is the most fundamental part of your constitution, then let him perish that goes about to hinder you or any man of the least part of your birthright or will desire to do it. But if you will lay aside the most fundamental constitution, which is as good for aught you can discern as anything you can propose - at least it is a constitution, and I will give you consequence for consequence of good upon that constitution as you can give upon your birthright without it. And if you, merely upon pretence of a birthright, of the right of nature - which is only true as for your being, and not for your better being - if you will upon that ground pretend that this constitution, the most fundamental constitution, the thing that has reason and equity in it, shall not stand in your way, it is the same principle to me, say I, as if but for your better satisfaction you shall take hold of anything that another man calls his own.
Col. Rainborough: Sir, I see that it is impossible to have liberty but all property must be taken away. If it be laid down for a rule, and if you will say it, it must be so. But I would fain know what the soldier has fought for all this while? He has fought to enslave himself, to give power to men of riches, men of estates, to make him a perpetual slave? We do find in all presses that go forth none must be pressed that are freehold men. When these gentlemen fall out among themselves they shall press the poor scrubs to come and kill one another for them. http://www.constitution.org/lev/eng_lev_08.htm
When the American representatives of the colonies slave-owners, bankers, manufacturers and big merchants said in their Continental Congress that "taxation without representation is tyrarry" and Jefferson inserted into the Declaration of Independence the slogan demanding 'government by the consent of the governed', it was based on Locke's Second Treatise on Civil Government and not on the arguments demanding universal sufferage first raised by Rainborough. Locke participated as a bourgeois politician in the second English Revolution - the so-called 'Glorious Revolution" of 1688, the overthrow of the Restoration, which was consciously bourgeois. Locke's Second Treatise of Civil Government, although it used the argument of government by consent of the governed and right of rebellion against irresponsible tyrants, was in agreement with Ireton's concept of property as basis for legal person and political participation, that governments are to protect property, and therefore it followed that it is those with property who should govern. This is what Jefferson and others in the Continental Congress had in mind when they wrote of the right of rebellion and government by consent of the governed, as it was only property owners or their representatives who were in the Continental Congress and signed the Declaration of Independence.
Yet, as in England's bourgeois-republican revolution of 1640, and the Civil War that followed, it was the yoemen farmers and proletarians that were the majority of the rank and file of the Continental Army that did the fighting, as was the case in Cromwell's Independent Army. Although the rebellious British settler-colonists' Declaration of Independence's demanded 'government by consent of the governed', it was not the concept articulated by Rainborough in the Revolution of 1640 and Civil War, but the Glorious Revolution as it was articulated by Locke's Second Treatise on Civil Government. Yet, as a call to arms, 'government by consent of the governed' as the basis for the right of rebellion was placed there by Jefferson as a slogan needed to appeal to the masses of propertyless farmers and workers to participate in the colonial's War of Independence. The Declaration of Independence changed Locke's slogan of government's responsibility to protect 'life, liberty and property', to read instead 'life, liberty and pursuit of happiness'.
The property qualification was to be revived as law in the writing and ratification of the subsequent Constitution of the United States, which was a concrete legal document that omitted any of the demagogic rhetoric of the Declaration of Independence about right to life, liberty, government by consent of the governed and far from codifying the right of rebellion, made rebellion illegal and codified the right of the State to supress rebellion in the name of 'domestic tranquility'.
Charles A. Beard, by his An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States, provides evidence that the protection of the property of the minority owning class from the democratic tyranny of the propertyless majority was the objective of the Constitutional Convention; that is, the erection of a strong, centralised bureaucratic-military State as the political instrument of class rule by representatives of the most powerful, economically dominate classes. This was assured by the property qualifications of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention, which were authorized to write the Constitution and was therefore written by them into it to safeguard their class interests by it:
"In reading the pages of this remarkable work as a study in political economy, it is important to bear in mind that the system, which the authors are describing, consisted of two fundamental parts - one positive, the other negative:
I. A government endowed with certain positive powers, but so constructed as to break the force of majority rule and prevent invasions of the property rights of minorities.
II. Restrictions on the state legislatures which had been so vigorous in their attacks on capital.
"Under some circumstances, action is the immediate interest of the dominant party; and whenever it desires to make an economic gain through governmental functioning, it must have, of course, a system endowed with the requisite powers.
Before taking up the economic implications of the structure of the federal government, it is important to ascertain what, in the opinion of The Federalist, is the basis of all government. The most philosophical examination of the foundations of political science is made by Madison in the tenth number. Here he lays down, in no uncertain language, the principle that the first and elemental concern of every government is economic.
1. "The first object of government," he declares, is the protection of " the diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate." The chief business of government, from which, perforce, its essential nature must be derived, consists in the control and adjustment of conflicting economic interests. After enumerating the various forms of propertied interests which spring up inevitably in modern society, he adds: " The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the ordinary operations of the government."
2. What are the chief causes of these conflicting political forces with which the government must concern itself? Madison answers. Of course fanciful and frivolous distinctions have sometimes been the cause of violent conflicts; "but the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society. Those who are creditors, and those who are debtors, fall under a like discrimination. A landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a moneyed interest, with many lesser interests grow up of necessity in civilized nations, and divide them into different classes actuated by different sentiments and views."
3. The theories of government which men entertain are emotional reactions to their property interests. "From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results; and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of society into different interests and parties." Legislatures reflect these interests. "What," he asks, "are the different classes of legislators but advocates and parties to the causes which they determine." There is no help for it. "The causes of faction cannot be removed," and "we well know that neither moral nor religious motives can be relied on as an adequate control."
4. Unequal distribution of property is inevitable, and from it contending factions will rise in the state. The government will reflect them, for they will have their separate principles and "sentiments"; but the supreme danger will arise from the fusion of certain interests into an overbearing majority, which Madison, in another place, prophesied would be the landless proletariat, - an overbearing majority which will make its "rights" paramount, and sacrifice the "rights" of the minority. "To secure the public good," he declares, "and private rights against the danger of such a faction and at the same time preserve the spirit and the form of popular government is then the great object to which our inquiries are directed."
5. How is this to be done? Since the contending classes cannot be eliminated and their interests are bound to be reflected in politics, the only way out lies in making it difficult for enough contending interests to fuse into a majority, and in balancing one over against another. The machinery for doing this is created by the new Constitution and by the Union.
(a) Public views are to be refined and enlarged "by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens." (b) The very size of the Union will enable the inclusion of more interests so that the danger of an overbearing majority is not so great. "The smaller the society, the fewer probably will be the distinct parties and interests composing it; the fewer the distinct parties and interests, the more frequently will a majority be found of the same party. ...Extend the sphere, and you take in a greater variety of parties and interests; you make it less probable that a majority of the whole will have a common motive to invade the rights of other citizens; or if such a common motive exists, it will be more difficult for all who feel it to discover their strength and to act in unison with each other." Q.E.D., " in the extent and proper structure of the Union, therefore, we behold a republican remedy for the diseases most incident to republican government."
The Structure Of Government Or The Balance Of Powers
The fundamental theory of political economy thus stated by Madison was the basis of the original American conception of the balance of powers which is formulated at length in four numbers of The Federalist and consists of the following elements:
1. No mere parchment separation of departments of government will be effective. "The legislative department is everywhere extending the sphere of its activity, and drawing all power into its impetuous vortex. The founders of our republic. ..seem never for a moment to have turned their eyes from the danger to liberty from the overgrown and all-grasping prerogative of an hereditary magistrate, supported and fortified by an hereditary branch of the legislative authority. They seem never to have recollected the danger from legislative usurpations, which, by assembling all power in the same hands, must lead to the same tyranny as is threatened by executive usurpations."
2. Some sure mode of checking usurpations in the government must be provided, other than frequent appeals to the people. "There appear to be insuperable objections against the proposed recurrence to the people as a provision in all cases for keeping the several departments of power within their constitutional limits." In a contest between the legislature and the other branches of the government, the former would doubtless be victorious on account of the ability of the legislators to plead their cause with the people.
3. What then can be depended upon to keep the government in close rein? "The only answer that can be given is, that as all these exterior provisions are found to be inadequate, the defect must be supplied by so contriving the interior structure of the government as that its several constituent parts may, by their mutual relations, be the means of keeping each other in their proper places. ...It is of great importance in a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part. Different interests necessarily exist in different classes of citizens. If a majority be united by a common interest, the rights of, the minority will be insecure." There are two ways of obviating this danger: one is by establishing a monarch independent of popular will, and the other is by reflecting these contending interests (so far as their representatives may be enfranchised) in the very structure of the government itself so that a majority cannot dominate the minority - which minority is of course composed of those who possess property that may be attacked. "Society itself will be broken into so many parts, interests, and classes of citizens, that the rights of individuals, or of the minority, will be in little danger from interested combinations of the majority."
4. The structure of the government as devised at Philadelphia reflects these several interests and makes improbable any danger to the minority from the majority. "The House of Representatives being to be elected immediately by the people, the Senate by the State legislatures, the President by electors chosen for that purpose by the people, there would be little probability of a common interest to cement these different branches in a predilection for any particular class of electors."
5. All of these diverse interests appear in the amending process but they are further reinforced against majorities. An amendment must receive a two-thirds vote in each of the two houses so constituted and the approval of three-fourths of the states.
6. The economic corollary of this system is as follows: Property interests may, through their superior weight in power and intelligence, secure advantageous legislation whenever necessary and they may at the same time obtain immunity from control by parliamentary majorities.
"If we examine carefully the delicate instrument by which the framers sought to check certain kinds of positive action that might be advocated to the detriment of established and acquired rights, we cannot help marvelling at their skill. Their leading idea was to break up the attacking forces at the starting point: the source of political authority for the several branches of the government. This disintegration of positive action at the source was further facilitated by the differentiation in the terms given to the respective departments of the government. And the crowning counterweight to "an interested and over-bearing majority," as Madison phrased it, was secured in the peculiar position assigned to the judiciary, and the use of the sanctity and mystery of the law as a foil to democratic attacks.
It will be seen on examination that no two of the leading branches of the government are derived from the same source. The House of Representatives springs from the mass of the people whom the states may see fit to enfranchise. The Senate is elected by the legislatures of the states, which were, in 1787, almost uniformly based on property qualifications, sometimes with a differentiation between the sources of the upper and lower houses. The President is to be chosen by electors selected as the legislatures of the states may determine - at all events by an authority one degree removed from the voters at large. The judiciary is to be chosen by the President and the Senate, both removed from direct popular control and holding for longer terms than the House.
A sharp differentiation is made in the terms of the several authorities, so that a complete renewal of the government at one stroke is impossible. The House of Representatives is chosen for two years; the Senators for six, but not at one election, for one-third go out every two years. The President is chosen for four years. The judges of the Supreme Court hold for life. Thus "popular distempers," as eighteenth century publicists called them, are not only restrained from working their havoc through direct elections, but they are further checked by the requirement that they must last six years in order to make their effects felt in the political department of the government, providing they can break through the barriers imposed by the indirect election of the Senate and the President. Finally, there is the check of judicial control that can be overcome only through the manipulation of the appointing power which requires time, or through the operation of a cumbersome amending system.
The keystone of the whole structure is, in fact, the system provided for judicial control - the most unique contribution to the science of government which has been made by American political genius. It is claimed by some recent writers that it was not the intention of the framers of the Constitution to confer upon the Supreme Court the power of passing upon the constitutionality of statutes enacted by Congress; but in view of the evidence on the other side, it is incumbent upon those who make this assertion to bring forward positive evidence to the effect that judicial control was not a part of the Philadelphia programme. Certainly, the authors of The Federalist entertained no doubts on the, point, and they conceived it to be such an excellent principle that they were careful to explain it to the electors to whom they addressed their arguments.
After elaborating fully the principle of judicial control over legislation under the Constitution, Hamilton enumerates the advantages to be derived from it. Speaking on the point of tenure during good behaviour, he says: "In a monarchy it is an excellent barrier to the despotism of the prince; in a republic it is no less an excellent barrier to the encroachments and oppressions of the representative body. ...If, then, the courts of justice are to be considered as the bulwarks of a limited Constitution against legislative encroachments, this consideration will afford a strong argument for the permanent tenure of judicial offices, since nothing will contribute so much as this to that independent spirit in the judges which must be essential to the faithful performance of so arduous a duty. ...But it is not with a view to infractions of the Constitution only that the independence of the judges may be an essential safeguard against the effects of occasional ill humours in the society. These sometimes extend no farther than to the injury of private rights of particular classes of citizens, by unjust and partial laws. Here also the firmness of the judicial magistracy is of vast importance in mitigating the severity and confining the operation of such laws. It not only serves to moderate the immediate mischiefs of those which may have been passed, but it operates as a check upon the legislative body in passing them; who, perceiving that obstacles to the success of iniquitous intention are to be ex- pected from the scruples of the courts, are in a manner compelled, by the very motives of injustice they meditate, to qualify their attempts. This is a circumstance calculated to have more influence upon the character of our governments than but few may be aware of."
Nevertheless, it may be asked why, if the protection of property rights lay at the basis of the new system, there is in the Constitution no provision for property qualifications for voters or for elected officials and representatives. This is, indeed, peculiar when it is recalled that the constitutional history of England is in a large part a record of conflict over the weight in the government to be enjoyed by definite economic groups, and over the removal of the property qualifications early imposed on members of the House of Commons and on the voters at large. But the explanation of the absence of property qualifications from the Constitution is not difficult.
The members of the Convention were, in general, not opposed to property qualifications as such, either for officers or voters. "Several propositions," says Mr. S.H. Miller, " were made in the federal Convention in regard to property qualifications. A motion was carried instructing the committee to fix upon such qualifications for members of Congress. The committee could not agree upon the amount and reported in favour of leaving the matter to the legislature. Charles Pinckney objected to this plan as giving too much power to the first legislature. ...Ellsworth objected to a property qualification on account of the difficulty of fixing the amount. If it was made high enough for the South, it would not be applicable to the Eastern States. Franklin was the only speaker who opposed the proposition to require property on principle, saying that' some of the reflected in the Convention could, in truth, see no safeguard at all in a freehold qualification against the assaults on vested personalty rights which had been made by the agrarians in every state. And it was obviously impossible to establish a personalty test, had they so desired, for there would have been no chance of securing a ratification of the Constitution at the hands of legislatures chosen by free-holders, or at the hands of conventions selected by them.
A very neat example of this antagonism between realty and personalty in the Convention came out on July 26, when Mason made, and Charles Pinckney supported, a motion imposing landed qualifications on members of Congress and excluding from that body "persons having unsettled accounts with or being indebted to the United States." In bringing up this motion Mason "observed that persons of the latter descriptions had frequently got into the state legislatures in order to promote laws that might shelter their delinquencies; and that this evil had crept into Congress if report was to be regarded."
Gouverneur Morris was on his feet in an instant. If qualifications were to be imposed, they should be laid on electors, not elected persons. The disqualification would fall upon creditors of the United States, for there were but few who owed the government anything. He knew that under this rule very few members of the Convention could get into the new government which they were establishing. "As to persons having unsettled accounts, he believed them to be pretty many. He thought, however, that such a discrimination would be both odious and useless and in many instances unjust and cruel. The delay of settlement had been more the fault of the public than of individuals. What will be done with those patriotic Citizens who have lent money or services or property to their country, without having been yet able to obtain a liquidation of their claims? Are they to be excluded?" On thinking it over, Morris added to his remarks on the subject, saying, "It was a precept of great antiquity as well as of high authority that we should not be righteous overmuch. He thought we ought to be equally on our guard against being wise overmuch. ... The parliamentary qualifications quoted by Colonel Mason had been disregarded in practice; and was but a scheme of the landed against the moneyed interest."
Gerry thought that the inconvenience of excluding some worthy creditors and debtors was of less importance than the advantages offered by the resolution, but, after some reflection, he added that "if property be one object of government, provisions for securing it cannot be improper."
King sagely remarked that there might be a great danger in imposing a landed qualification, because II it would exclude the moneyed interest, whose aids may be essential in particular emergencies to the public safety."
Madison had no confidence in the effectiveness of the landed qualification and moved to strike it out, adding, "Landed possessions were no certain evidence of real wealth. Many enjoyed them to a great extent who were more in debt than they were worth. The unjust laws of the states had proceeded more from this class of men than any others. It had often happened that men who had acquired landed property on credit got into the Legislatures with a view of promoting an unjust protection against their Creditors. In the next place, if a small quantity of land should be made the standard, it would be no security; if a large one, it would exclude the proper representatives of those classes of Citizens who were not landholders." For these and other reasons he opposed the landed qualifications and suggested that property qualifications on the voters would be better.
The motion to strike out the "landed" qualification for legislators was carried by a vote of ten to one; the proposition to strike out the disqualification of persons having unsettled accounts with the United States was carried by a vote of nine to two. Finally the proposition to exclude persons who were indebted to the United States was likewise defeated by a vote of nine to two, after Pinckney had called attention to the fact that "it would exclude persons who had purchased confiscated property or should purchase Western territory of the public and might be some obstacle to the sale of the latter."
Indeed, there was little risk to personalty in thus allowing the Constitution to go to the states for approval without any property qualifications on voters other than those which the state might see fit to impose. Only one branch of new government, the House of Representatives, was required to be elected by popular vote; and, in case popular choice of presidential electors might be established, a safeguard was secured by the indirect process. Two controlling bodies, the Senate and Supreme Court, were removed altogether from the possibility of popular election except by constitutional amendment. Finally, the conservative members of the Convention were doubly fortified in the fact that nearly all of the state constitutions then in force provided real or personal property qualifications for voters anyway, and radical democratic changes did not seem perilously near. See Beard @ http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/An_Economic_Interpretation_of_the_Constitution_of_the_United_States/Chapter_VI
There is some element of continuity in the spirit of Locke's discussion in his Second Treatise on Civil Government, CHAP. XII., of the Legislative, Executive, and Federative Power of the Commonwealth and Madison's argument for seperation of powers, but the courts are not a political power as such in Locke's theory - Britian's House of Lords functioned similarly to Madison's Judiciary.
However, whereas to the extent that it was a document justifying a political 'revolution', the Declaration of Independence drew on arguments from Locke's Second Treatise on Civil Government in its appeal to British progressives and French Enlightenment revolutionists for endorsement and support as well as to American farmers and proletarians to join the ranks of the Continental Army. The Constitutional Convention was obviously a counter-revolutionary gathering to draw up as the Supreme Federal Law a Constitution that in effect disinfranchised those same farmers and proletarians that fought and defeated the British armies. The primary ideologist for the Constitution was the Federalist, Alexander Hamilton. Whereas Thomas Jefferson based his arguments for an independent republic on the experiences and literature of the Second English Revolution - the so-called Glorious Revolution of 1688 - and its literature, especially Locke's Second Treatise on Civil Government, Hamilton, to the contrary, drew his arguments from the reactionary monarchist book, The Laviathan by Thomas Hobbes and the opportunist Machiavelli's The Prince.
Drawing from Idealism in the writings of Plato and Plotinus, the mysticism of Paul and Agustine and the Metaphysics of Aristotle and Aquinas' various statements of contempt for the material body in its natural appetites, drives and passions qua 'sinful flesh', stated as in contrast to Intellect, God and Spirit to argue that 'just as' Reason must control the behavior of the body by means of will power individuals for the sake of harmony or heaven must suppress their lower appetites, drives and passions, that 'so must' the State, as what Hegel called 'the embodiment of Reason' control the masses of the appetites of the 'lower classes', and its armed repressentatives rightful use of violent suppression of the rebellious elements among those classes - Machiavelli and Hobbes on this Idealist, mystic and metaphysical basis pretended to present their justification for the ruling power and its authority as based on Nature. Madison, but more specifically Hamilton in particular in an ideological sense drew their statements about so-called 'human nature' from the ruling prejudices of the dominate classes as articulated by Machiavelli and Hobbes to justify State Power as a necessary terror for the maintainance of 'law and order' by the material presence of the State as both a perpetual threat and when needed actual armed suppression of rebellion.
The fictitious man in the abstract so-called 'state of nature' as selfish, brutal, and in a state of war of all against all, has no basis in anthropology.
Thomas Paine's The Age of Reason:
...men are ambitious, vindictive, and rapacious...
Are there not aversions, predilections, rivalships, and desires of unjust acquisitions, that affect nations as well as kings? Are not popular assemblies frequently subject to the impulses of rage, resentment, jealousy, avarice, and of other irregular and violent propensities?...
Thomas Jefferson and Enlightenment Philosophy:
Monticello, October 31, 1819.
To Mr. Short.
As you say of yourself, I too am an Epicurian. I consider the genuine (not the imputed) doctrines of Epicurus as containing everything rational in moral philosophy which Greece and Rome have left us. Epictetus indeed, has given us what was good of the stoics; all beyond, of their dogmas, being hypocrisy and grimace. Their great crime was in their calumnies of Epicurus and misrepresentations of his doctrines; in which we lament to see the candid character of Cicero engaging as an accomplice. Diffuse, vapid, rhetorical, but enchanting. His prototype Plato, eloquent as himself, dealing out mysticisms incomprehensible to the human mind, has been deified by certain sects usurping the name of Christians; because, in his foggy conceptions, they found a basis of impenetrable darkness whereon to rear fabrications as delirious, of their own invention. These they fathered blasphemously on him who they claimed as their founder, but who would disclaim them with the indignation which their caricatures of his religion so justly excite. Of Socrates we have nothing genuine but in the Memorabilia of Xenophon; for Plato makes him one of his Collocutors merely to cover his own whimsies under the mantle of his name; a liberty of which we are told Socrates himself complained. Seneca is indeed a fine moralist, disguising his work at times with some Stoicisms, and affecting too much of antithesis and point, yet giving us on the whole a great deal of sound and practical morality. But the greatest of all the reformers of the depraved religion of his own country, was Jesus of Nazareth. Abstracting what is really his from the rubbish in which it is buried, easily distinguished by its lustre from the dross of his biographers, and as separable from that as the diamond from the dunghill, we have the outlines of a system of the most sublime morality which has ever fallen from the lips of man; outlines which it is lamentable he did not live to fill up. Epictetus and Epicurus give laws for governing ourselves, Jesus a supplement of the duties and charities we owe to others. The establishment of the innocent and genuine character of this benevolent moralist, and the rescuing it form the imputation of imposture, which has resulted from artificial systems, invented by ultra-Christian sects, and unauthorized by a single word ever uttered by him, is a most desirable object, and one to which Priestley has successfully devoted his labors and learning. It would in time, it is to be hoped, effect a quiet euthanasia of the heresies of bigotry and fanaticism which have so long triumphed over human reason, and so generally and deeply afflicted mankind; but this work is to be begun by winnowing the grain form the chaff of the historians of his life. I have sometimes thought of translating Epictetus (for he has never been tolerably translated into English) by adding the genuine doctrines of Epicurus from the Syntagma of Gassendi, and an abstract form the Evangelists of whatever has the stamp of the eloquence and fine imagination of Jesus. The last I attempted too hastily some twelve or fifteen years ago. It was the work of two or three nights only, at Washington, after getting through the evening task of reading the letters and papers of the day. But with one foot in the grave, these are now idle projects for me. My business is to beguile the wearisomeness of declining life, as I endeavor to do, by the delights of classical reading and of mathematical truths, and by the consolations of a sound philosophy, equally indifferent to hope and fear.
I take the liberty of observing that you are not a true disciple of our master Epicurus, in indulging the indolence to which you say you are yielding. One of his canons, you know, was that "that indulgence which prevents a greater pleasure, or produces a greater pain, is to be avoided." Your love of repose will lead, in its progress, to a suspension of healthy exercise, a relaxation of mind, an indifference to everything around you, and finally to a debility of body, and hebetude of mind, the farthest of all things from the happiness which the well-regulated indulgences of Epicurus ensure; fortitude, you know is one of his four cardinal virtues. That teaches us to meet and surmount difficulties; not to fly from them, like cowards; and to fly, too, in vain, for they will meet and arrest us at every turn of our road. Weigh this matter well; brace yourself up; take a seat with Correa, and come and see the finest portion of your country, which, if you have not forgotten, you still do not know, because it is no longer the same as when you knew it. It will add much to the happiness of my recovery to be able to receive Correa and yourself, and prove the estimation in which I hold you both. Come, too, sand see your incipient University, which has advanced with great activity this year. By the end of the next, we shall have elegant accommodations for seven professors, and the year following the professors themselves. No secondary character will be received among them. Either the ablest which America or Europe can furnish, or none at all. They will give us the selected society of a great city separated from the dissipations and levities of its ephemeral insects.
I am glad the bust of Condorcet has been saved and so well placed. His genius should be before us; while the lamentable, but singular act of ingratitude which tarnished his latter days, may be thrown behind us.
I will place under this a syllabus of the doctrines of Epicurus, somewhat in the lapidary style, which I wrote some twenty years ago; a like one of the philosophy of Jesus of nearly the same age, is too long to be copied. Vale, et tibi persuade carissimum te esse mihi. http://www.epicurus.info/etexts/Jefferson.html
Joseph Priestly was a clergyman, teacher, librarian and scientist who lived from 1733 to 1804. Joseph was the oldest son of a weaver and a farmer's daughter named Mary Swift. Mary died when Joseph's was six years old, and he was adopted by his paternal aunt, Sarah Kelghley. He attended Daventry academy, and studied under tutors as he developed a strong interest in chemistry.
His most important achievement was the isolation of oxygen by heating mercuric oxide. The gas we now refer to as oxygen was originally called "dephlostigated air"! He shared credit for this discovery with a Swede named Carl Scheele. Scheele was the one who figured out that heating liquids results in a release of gas. It was Priestly who, using Scheele's information, first isolated oxygen. Priestly also discovered that the gas captured when fermenting grain (now known as carbon dioxide) when dissolved in water, produces the drink we know as seltzer. Without this discovery we would not have carbonated beverages! He got the carbon dioxide in question from a nearby brewery. The beverage industry would not be the same without Joseph Priestly! In 1766 Benjamin Franklin got him interested in the study of electricity. Priestly was the first to discover that graphite is a good electrical conductor. When he first saw the gummy tree sap from the Americas, he realized it would remove pencil marks from paper, and so, thanks to old Joe, we have the eraser!
Joseph Priestly was a spiritual man, as well, but his religious ideas were contrary to the norm. He was a Unitarian, and known as a religious dissenter. He did not believe in a trinity. Joseph Priestly was a political non-conformist as well, and this didn't sit well with his countrymen. He supported the American Revolution, and the French Revolution, too. Angry at his radical notions about religion and politics, rioters burned down his house in Birmingham, England in 1791 and he was forced to leave the country. Priestly brought Unitarianism to Pennsylvania in the United States, although the religious movement was not called that until some years later. He died in the United States a decade later at the age of seventy-one. http://www.essortment.com/all/josephpriestly_rskm.htm
Holbach, Paul Henri Thiry, Baron d' (1723-1789)
Holbach's On Revelation
How, without the assistance of reason, to know if it is true that the Divinity spoke? But on the other hand, doesn't the Christian religion proscribe reason? Doesn't it prohibit its use in the examination of the marvelous dogmas it presents us? Does it not ceaselessly declaim against a profane reason that it accuses of insufficiency and which it often looks upon as a revolt against heaven?
Before being able to judge divine revelation one must have a correct idea of the Divinity. But where can one find this idea if not in revelation itself, since our reason is too weak to raise itself to the knowledge of the Supreme Being? Thus, revelation itself will prove to us the authority of revelation. Despite this vicious circle, let us open the books that should enlighten us and which we should submit our reason to. Do we find there precise ideas concerning this God whose oracles they announce to us? Will we know what to think of His attributes? Is this God not a mass of contradictory qualities that constitute an inexplicable enigma?
If is as supposed, this revelation emanates from God, how can we have confidence in the God of the Christians, who depicts Himself as unjust, false, hidden away, laying traps for man, amusing himself by seducing them, blinding them, giving signs to mislead them, spreading over them a spirit of vertigo and error.
Thus, from the first steps, the man who wants to assure himself of Christian revelation is cast into mistrust and perplexity. He doesn't know if the God who spoke to him doesn't plan to fool him as he fooled so many others, as He has Himself confessed. In any case, isn't he forced to think this when he sees the interminable disputes of his sacred guides, who were never able to agree on how to comprehend the precise oracles of a Divinity who explained Himself.
The uncertainties and fears of he who in good faith examines the revelation adopted by Christians, must they not be redoubled when he sees that his God only claimed to make Himself know to a few favored beings, while He wanted to remain hidden from the rest of the mortals, to whom that revelation was equally necessary.? How can he know if he is among those to whom a partisan God didn’t want to make Himself known? Must his heart not be troubled at the sight of a God who only agrees to show Himself and announce His decrees to a comparatively small number of men?
Is he not tempted to accuse this God of a dark malice upon seeing that, failing to manifest himself to so many nations, for so many centuries he has caused their necessary destruction? What idea could he form of a God who punishes millions of men for having ignored secret laws that He only secretly published in an obscure and unknown corner of Asia?
And so even when the Christian consults the revealed books everything conspires to put him on guard against the God who speaks to him; everything inspires mistrust against His moral character; all becomes uncertainty. His God, in concert with the interpreters of His so-called wishes, seems to have formed the project of redoubling the darkness of his ignorance. In fact, in order to ease his doubts, they say to him that the revealed wishes are mysteries, that is, things inaccessible to the human spirit. In this case, what is the need to talk? Does a God only manifest Himself to men in order not to be understood? Is this conduct as ridiculous as it is senseless? To say that God only revealed Himself in order to announce His mysteries is the same as saying that that God revealed himself only so as to remain unknown, to hide his ways, to confuse our spirits, to increase our ignorance and uncertainties.
A true revelation, which would emanate from a just and good God and which would be necessary to all men, should be clear enough to be understood by all of humanity. Is this the case for the revelation upon which Judaism and Christianity are founded?
Euclid's elements are intelligible to all these who care to understand; this work causes no disputes among geometricians. Is the Bible as clear, and do the revealed truths not cause any disputes among the theologians who announce them? By what fatality do the Scriptures, revealed by the Divinity Himself, still have need of commentary and demand enlightenment from on high to be believed and understood? Is it not astonishing that that which should serve to guide all men be understood by none of them? Is it not cruel that that which is most important to them should be the least known to them?
All is mystery, shadow, uncertainty, matter for dispute in a religion announced by the Heavenly One to enlighten humanity. The Old and New Testaments contain essential truths for man, and yet no one can comprehend them, everyone understands them differently, and the theologians are never in agreement on their interpretation. Not content with the mysteries contained in the sacred books, the priests of Christianity have invented others from century to century that their disciples are forced to believe, though their founder and their God never spoke of them.
No Christian can doubt the mysteries of the Trinity, the Incarnation, or the efficacy of the sacraments, and yet Jesus Christ never spoke of these things. In the Christian religion everything seems to have been abandoned to the imagination, the whims, the arbitrary decisions of its ministers, who arrogate to themselves the right to invent mysteries and articles of faith in keeping with their monetary interests. It is thus that this Revelation perpetuates itself by means of the church, which claims to be inspired by the Divinity and which, far from enlightening the spirits of its children, does nothing but confound them and plunge them in a sea of uncertainty.
Such are the affects of the revelation that serves as the basis for Christianity, the reality of which it is not permitted to doubt. God, we are told, spoke to men; but when did He speak? He spoke thousands of years ago to selected men who he made His organs; but how can we be sure that this God spoke if not by relying on the testimony of the very men who say they received his orders?
These interpreters of the divine will are thus men; but are men not subject to fooling themselves and others? How then can we know if we can trust in the testimony given by these organs of heaven about themselves? How can we know if they weren't duped by their lively imagination or an illusion? How can we today discover if it is true that Moses conversed with his God and that he received from Him thousands of years ago the laws of the Jewish people? What was this Moses' temperament? Was he phlegmatic or enthusiastic? Sincere or dishonest? Ambitious or disinterested, truthful or a liar?
Can we rely on the testimony of a man who, after having performed so many miracles, was not able to lead his people away from idolatry and who, having passed 47,000 Israelites by the sword has the audacity to declare that he is the gentlest of men? Are the books attributed to this Moses, which report on so many events that occurred after his death, authentic?
Finally, what proof do we have of his mission if not the testimony of 600,000 crass and superstitious, ignorant and credulous Israelites, who were perhaps the dupes of a ferocious legislator ever ready to exterminate them, or who never knew of what was to be written afterwards about this famous legislator? What proof does the Christian religion give us of Jesus Christ's mission? Do we know his character and his temperament?
What degree of faith can we put in the testimony of his disciples who, by their own admission, were crass men of no learning, consequently susceptible to being taken in by the artifices of an artful imposter? Would the testimony of the most learned people of Jerusalem not have been of greater weight for us than that that of a few ignorant men who are ordinarily the dupes of those who want to fool them? http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/holbach/1750/on-revelation.htm
EVERY national church or religion has established itself by pretending some special mission from God, communicated to certain individuals. The Jews have their Moses; the Christians their Jesus Christ, their apostles and saints; and the Turks their Mahomet; as if the way to God was not open to every man alike.
Each of those churches shows certain books, which they call revelation, or the Word of God. The Jews say that their Word of God was given by God to Moses face to face; the Christians say, that their Word of God came by divine inspiration; and the Turks say, that their Word of God (the Koran) was brought by an angel from heaven. Each of those churches accuses the other of unbelief; and, for my own part, I disbelieve them all.
As it is necessary to affix right ideas to words, I will, before I proceed further into the subject, offer some observations on the word 'revelation.' Revelation when applied to religion, means something communicated immediately from God to man.
No one will deny or dispute the power of the Almighty to make such a communication if he pleases. But admitting, for the sake of a case, that something has been revealed to a certain person, and not revealed to any other person, it is revelation to that person only. When he tells it to a second person, a second to a third, a third to a fourth, and so on, it ceases to be a revelation to all those persons. It is revelation to the first person only, and hearsay to every other, and, consequently, they are not obliged to believe it.
It is a contradiction in terms and ideas to call anything a revelation that comes to us at second hand, either verbally or in writing. Revelation is necessarily limited to the first communication. After this, it is only an account of something which that person says was a revelation made to him; and though he may find himself obliged to believe it, it cannot be incumbent on me to believe it in the same manner, for it was not a revelation made to me, and I have only his word for it that it was made to him.
When Moses told the children of Israel that he received the two tables of the commandments from the hand of God, they were not obliged to believe him, because they had no other authority for it than his telling them so; and I have no other authority for it than some historian telling me so, the commandments carrying no internal evidence of divinity with them. They contain some good moral precepts such as any man qualified to be a lawgiver or a legislator could produce himself, without having recourse to supernatural intervention. [NOTE: It is, however, necessary to except the declamation which says that God 'visits the sins of the fathers upon the children'. This is contrary to every principle of moral justice.--Author.]
When I am told that the Koran was written in Heaven, and brought to Mahomet by an angel, the account comes to near the same kind of hearsay evidence and second hand authority as the former. I did not see the angel myself, and therefore I have a right not to believe it.
When also I am told that a woman, called the Virgin Mary, said, or gave out, that she was with child without any cohabitation with a man, and that her betrothed husband, Joseph, said that an angel told him so, I have a right to believe them or not: such a circumstance required a much stronger evidence than their bare word for it: but we have not even this; for neither Joseph nor Mary wrote any such matter themselves. It is only reported by others that they said so. It is hearsay upon hearsay, and I do not chose to rest my belief upon such evidence.
It is, however, not difficult to account for the credit that was given to the story of Jesus Christ being the Son of God. He was born when the heathen mythology had still some fashion and repute in the world, and that mythology had prepared the people for the belief of such a story. Almost all the extraordinary men that lived under the heathen mythology were reputed to be the sons of some of their gods. It was not a new thing at that time to believe a man to have been celestially begotten; the intercourse of gods with women was then a matter of familiar opinion. Their Jupiter, according to their accounts, had cohabited with hundreds; the story therefore had nothing in it either new, wonderful, or obscene; it was conformable to the opinions that then prevailed among the people called Gentiles, or mythologists, and it was those people only that believed it. The Jews, who had kept strictly to the belief of one God, and no more, and who had always rejected the heathen mythology, never credited the story. http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/thomas_paine/age_of_reason/part1.html#2
Yet it really isn't the deist or atheistic conclusions reached by the French Enlightenment and Thomas Jefferson that stir up opposition to it and righteous indignation against it and Jefferson. What has the Texas School Board of Education so riled up and actually motivates their revisionist history of the enlightenment to exclude Jefferson from it, is, together with Patrack Henry's 'give me liberty, or give me dealth', the slogans 'inalienable rights to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness' and 'government by the consent of the governed'. These ideas, concepts are what is really under attack because these political axioms lead to communism.
Setting aside the revisions of it by Locke in his Second Treatise on Civil Government, and Jefferson's revisionist version of it in the Declaration of Independence, 'government by the consent of the governed', together with Patrick Henry's 'give me liberty, or give me death' results in the fighting minds of the proletarian warriors as we re/connect with the revolutionary tradition of the English proletariat.
Poor propertyless and proletarian Levellers and the Diggers came to recognize as it was originally stated by Rainsborough's concept of republican democracy: 'government by the consent of the governed' is inevitably in opposition to not just property qualifications. For participation in government the proletariat becomes an opposition to private ownership of the productive forces. Logically and as an historical inevitibility, the proletariat recognize the need for socialism and communism.
"Just as Cartesian materialism passes into natural science proper, the other trend of French materialism leads directly to socialism and communism.
"There is no need for any great penetration to see from the teaching of materialism on the original goodness and equal intellectual endowment of men, the omnipotence of experience, habit and education, and the influence of environment on man, the great significance of industry, the justification of enjoyment, etc., how necessarily materialism is connected with communism and socialism. If man draws all his knowledge, sensation, etc., from the world of the senses and the experience gained in it, then what has to be done is to arrange the empirical world in such a way that man experiences and becomes accustomed to what is truly human in it and that he becomes aware of himself as man. If correctly understood interest is the principle of all morality, man's private interest must be made to coincide with the interest of humanity. If man is unfree in the materialistic sense, i.e., is free not through the negative power to avoid this or that, but through the positive power to assert his true individuality, crime must not be punished in the individual, but the anti-social sources of crime must be destroyed, and each man must be given social scope for the vital manifestation of his being. If man is shaped by environment, his environment must be made human. If man is social by nature, he will develop his true nature only in society, and the power of his nature must be measured not by the power of the separate individual but by the power of society. These and similar propositions are to be found almost literally even in the oldest French materialists. This is not the place to assess them. The apologia of vices by Mandeville, one of Locke's early English followers, is typical of the socialist tendencies of materialism. He proves that in modern society vice is indispensable and useful. [Bernard de. Mandeville, The Fable of the Bees: or, Private Vices, Publick Benefits] This was by no means an apologia for modern society.
"Fourier proceeds directly from the teaching of the French materialists. The Babouvists were crude, uncivilised materialists, but developed communism, too, derives directly from French materialism. The latter returned to its mother-country, England, in the form Helvetius gave it. Bentham based his system of correctly understood interest on Helvetius' morality, and Owen proceeded from Bentham's system to found English communism. Exiled to England, the Frenchman Cabet came under the influence of communist ideas there and on his return to France became the most popular, if the most superficial, representative of communism. Like Owen, the more scientific French Communists, Dezamy, Gay and others, developed the teaching of materialism as the teaching of real humanism and the logical basis of communism. http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/holy-family/ch06_3_d.htm
Taken to its logical conclusion, The Enlightenment, the democratic revolution becomes the means by which the propertyless proletariat can achieve government by consent of the governed. Real majority rule by the working class majority rather than minority rule by the economic elite, the domination of property in the polis requires its abolition - the abolitions of private ownership of the means of production and distribution, the displacement of bourgeois democracy by proletarian democracy that will legislate the private possession of the productive forces from the class property of the few to the public property of the many, the working classes.
Labor Party Praxis is an organization and e-group that is committed to participating in the self-organization of the working class as a class and, consequently, a political party. History has shown that every class struggle is a political struggle.
Based on monopoly possession of the productive forces, the most powerful, economically dominant class is the most powerful politically dominant class. Those who own do not work, and those who work do not own. It is only when the working class is a community of owners of the productive forces and agriculture that we will become the most powerful, economically dominant class.
The productive forces are forms of wealth derived from the mode of appropriating labor and/or the products of labor. The capitalist mode of appropriation -- the result of the capitalist mode of production of commodities -- produces capitalist private property. The form of wealth is capital, and the economic domination of capital compels the individual members of society -- having no means of production of their own -- to capitalize their labor ability, that is, to sell their labor power in order to live.
Labor Party Praxis challenges this arrangement, and fights for a society in which the working class becomes the ruling class. We posit that winning the battle of democracy, taking the productive forces from the capitalist class, and transferring those means of social production and distribution from the private sector to public property could accomplish working class ownership of the means of social production.
The struggle by the working class for state power is a political struggle that requires an active and energetic American Labor Party that competes in the electoral arena against the Democratic Party as well as the Republican Party. The formation of an American Labor Party must be financially based in, and accountable to, the trade unions, and socially based in the class as a whole. This requires nothing short of internal revolutions in the trade unions -- throwing out of office the Democratic and Republican parties' advocates and representatives in the trade unions, and by replacing these with union representatives and officers that are committed to building the American Labor Party.
This is the praxis -- the practical-critical, revolutionizing activity in the self-organization of the working class. The focus is on this praxis as a strategy toward winning the battle of democracy in order to become the majority in the American House of Representatives, and to engage in class war with the Senate, Presidency, Judiciary, and their Constitution.
The struggle for democracy is necessarily the struggle for a Labor Party majority in the House of Representatives -- comprised of workers (industrial workers, agricultural workers, service workers, salaried medical professionals, sanitation workers, etc.) and members of oppressed ethnic and gender communities who are also overwhelmingly working class. This working class majority in the House of Representatives will:
1. Legislate the repeal of the Taft-Hartley Law;
2. Restrict the Labor Relations Board to working-class members;
3. Place the Civil Rights Commissions in the oppressed ethnic and gender communities;
4. Legislate a Living Wage equal to the Median Income;
5. Reduce the working-day from eight to six hours a day in order to re-employ the sectors that capital has displaced and tossed out as a surplus population;
6. Legislating the expropriation of all plants and factories and agribusinesses that refuse to implement these changes or move abroad;
7. Legislate free health care facilities for everyone in America regardless of national origin;
8. Legislate the free movement of workers in the NAFTA countries and formation of cross border trade unions;
9. Legislate free public education with open enrollment from kindergarten through graduate school, open to all who live in America without regard to race, ethnicity or national origin;
10. Legislate the funding of these programs with a progressive income tax, capital gains tax, and inheritance tax written into the tax code, so that capitalists who try to worm out of these taxes by loopholes will go to prison, and the expropriation of any and all capitalist businesses that refuse to continue to invest in those taxed companies or seek to relocate.
Labor Party Praxis will be in the trade union movement and the Labor Party fighting for these perspectives. We urge all to form or join unions, join the Labor Party, and participate on these e-group discussions. This list is independent of the Labor Party and is unmoderated. Join us!
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