Historical Constants

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tbieter
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Historical Constants

Post by tbieter »

Does the following paragraph describe a "historical constant"?
"Wherever a social order, or rather the power that preserves this social order, sees the foundations of the order shaken, endangered not by plans for overthrow but by ideas, there looms on the horizon the possibility of an Inquisition; in this the Middle Ages were no different from today, whether we speak of modern Russia or of modern America. It is plain that this is an everlasting temptation and danger." p. 34
Pieper, Josef, Guide to Thomas Aquinas (1962)
http://www.amazon.com/Guide-Thomas-Aqui ... as+aquinas
________________
"The Inquisition was a group of institutions within the judicial system of the Roman Catholic Church whose aim was to combat heresy. It started in 12th-century France to combat the spread of religious sectarianism, in particular the Cathars and the Waldensians. This Medieval Inquisition persisted into the 14th century, and from the 1250s was associated with the Dominican Order. In the early 14th century, two other movements attracted the attention of the Inquisition, the Knights Templar and the Beguines."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inquisition
____________________

Pieper mentions the Inquisition because Aquinas was a member of the Dominican order. He writes:
"At this point, however, a terrible matter must be mentioned, one which is diametrically opposed to everything that we have said about Dominic's and Thomas' own ethics of teaching and the propagation of truth. This terrible matter is called the Inquisition. It cannot be passed over because the Inquisition - precisely during the lifetime of Thomas Aquinas - very directly affected the first generation of the Dominican Order. It represents , moreover, a taint and a disgrace that cannot be wiped out by any attempts at "historical" explanation.", p. 33 (Emphasis added)

But, I'm primarily interested in an alleged "inquisition tendency" as being an historical constant. I've wondered what other historical instances might reasonably be considered as falling within Pieper's generalization.

One U.S. instance that comes to my mind is that which is known as McCarthyism.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCarthyism

Can you think of any historical examples from any country that either supports or negates the validity of Pieper's generalization?
Skip
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Re: Historical Constants

Post by Skip »

Oh, I think so. People who have power hate to be challenged and will do whatever they can to hold on to power, and since they're in power, they don't actually have to do anything: plenty of mercenaries and zealots are willing to do everything for them.
Advocate
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Re: Historical Constants

Post by Advocate »

I came to this thread looking for discussion about historical constants but i got a discussion about one very specific idea that may or may not be one... :/
tbieter
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Re: Historical Constants

Post by tbieter »

Please describe a state of affairs that you consider to be a historical constant.
Advocate
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Re: Historical Constants

Post by Advocate »

[quote=tbieter post_id=471517 time=1600256757 user_id=45]
Please describe a state of affairs that you consider to be a historical constant.
[/quote]

They would have to be pretty generic. "History does not repeat itself, but sometimes it rhymes." means there is always a variable that is different than before which significantly affects the price, especially when technology is involved.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_law_of_oligarchy is a historical constant. Maybe the one in this post is too, but i don't see enough historical evidence to consider it an ongoing thing.
FlashDangerpants
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Re: Historical Constants

Post by FlashDangerpants »

tbieter wrote: Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:41 pm Does the following paragraph describe a "historical constant"?
"Wherever a social order, or rather the power that preserves this social order, sees the foundations of the order shaken, endangered not by plans for overthrow but by ideas, there looms on the horizon the possibility of an Inquisition; in this the Middle Ages were no different from today, whether we speak of modern Russia or of modern America. It is plain that this is an everlasting temptation and danger." p. 34
Pieper, Josef, Guide to Thomas Aquinas (1962)
http://www.amazon.com/Guide-Thomas-Aqui ... as+aquinas

[...]
But, I'm primarily interested in an alleged "inquisition tendency" as being an historical constant. I've wondered what other historical instances might reasonably be considered as falling within Pieper's generalization.

One U.S. instance that comes to my mind is that which is known as McCarthyism.[/color]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCarthyism

Can you think of any historical examples from any country that either supports or negates the validity of Pieper's generalization?
It's certainly a constant that wherever reformist or noncoforming ideas arrive into any institution where there is a confluence of power, money and control there's the potential for a reactionary heavy handed response to go beyond arguing the case and perform a root-and-branch excision of the idea itslef by removing all the people that believe in it.... But that insitution can be a government, "the aristocricy", church, military, the melodramatic elemnts within academia, and obviously political parties ... basically, things which have large elements of overlap historically and are only became truly seperate things in fairly modern times.

It's certainly not a truth that when these dangerous ideas arrive they always provoke an inquisition. Other options include splitting the institution with a either walkout or ejection/excommunication; accomodation and compromise, or just agreeing this new idea is lovely and joining in, or else full on revolution.

But if you want a related sort-of-historical-constant, Tocqueville is the man. I'm afraid I can't remember where, but in discussion of the French revolution he pointed out that the sort of regimes that carry out those inquisitions tend most often to fall when they loosen up a little and reform; it provokes an expectation of much more that is inevitably disappointed, and such regimes typically aren't manned by people of good will who are well disposed to such reforms, so they tend to be applied inconsistently anyway. Think Perestroika for instance, which was supposed to be the big reform of the USSR, but turned out to be nothing but a turning point as it slid to collapse a few years later. That idea from Tocqueville is very relevant today, it's an important part of political thought in modern China where they are terrified of the prospect and see Perestroika as a terrible mistake that resulted in death and chaos.

That said.. all of those alternative options can still result in an inquisition anyway. So off the top of my head, the best example of the disruptive idea getting accepted but then causing a bunch of inquisitions and revolutions which ultimately end up in more of both for a really long time... would be the Marian reforms which converted the Roman army from a semi-permanent militia to a permanent professional army. Initially these were wildly successful and fixed many social and political issues that arrise when conquering distant foes using a bunch of farmers on temporary military service. But in doing so, they completely upended Roman society, caused massive political and economic problems, and the next wave of big ideas came in answer to those. Mostly these were over the question of land reform - which is hardly a military issue right? But in answer to the military reform, which caused new crises elsewhere, the Gracchi brothers got murdered, Sulla instituted a secret police and did a whole lot of murdering, and Julius Ceasar did all that stuff he did, effectively ending the Roman Republic, all in a series of clamp downs on ideas that threatened various interests at different times over a troublesome century or so of dicatorships, proscription and purges.
Advocate
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Re: Historical Constants

Post by Advocate »

[quote=FlashDangerpants post_id=471942 time=1600435397 user_id=11800]
[quote=tbieter post_id=162537 time=1394826105 user_id=45]
[color=#FF0000]Does the following paragraph describe a "historical constant"?[/color]
"Wherever a social order, or rather the power that preserves this social order, sees the foundations of the order shaken, endangered not by plans for overthrow but by ideas, there looms on the horizon the possibility of an Inquisition; in this the Middle Ages were no different from today, whether we speak of modern Russia or of modern America. It is plain that this is an everlasting temptation and danger." p. 34
Pieper, Josef, [i]Guide to Thomas Aquinas [/i] (1962)
http://www.amazon.com/Guide-Thomas-Aqui ... as+aquinas

[...]
But, I'm primarily interested in an alleged "inquisition tendency" as being an historical constant. I've wondered what other historical instances might reasonably be considered as falling within Pieper's generalization.

One U.S. instance that comes to my mind is that which is known as [b][u] McCarthyism.[/u][/b][/color]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCarthyism

[color=#FF0000]Can you think of any historical examples from any country that either supports or negates the validity of Pieper's generalization?[/color]
[/quote]

It's certainly a constant that wherever reformist or noncoforming ideas arrive into any institution where there is a confluence of power, money and control there's the potential for a reactionary heavy handed response to go beyond arguing the case and perform a root-and-branch excision of the idea itslef by removing all the people that believe in it.... But that insitution can be a government, "the aristocricy", church, military, the melodramatic elemnts within academia, and obviously political parties ... basically, things which have large elements of overlap historically and are only became truly seperate things in fairly modern times.

It's certainly not a truth that when these dangerous ideas arrive they always provoke an inquisition. Other options include splitting the institution with a either walkout or ejection/excommunication; accomodation and compromise, or just agreeing this new idea is lovely and joining in, or else full on revolution.

But if you want a related sort-of-historical-constant, Tocqueville is the man. I'm afraid I can't remember where, but in discussion of the French revolution he pointed out that the sort of regimes that carry out those inquisitions tend most often to fall when they loosen up a little and reform; it provokes an expectation of much more that is inevitably disappointed, and such regimes typically aren't manned by people of good will who are well disposed to such reforms, so they tend to be applied inconsistently anyway. Think Perestroika for instance, which was supposed to be the big reform of the USSR, but turned out to be nothing but a turning point as it slid to collapse a few years later. That idea from Tocqueville is very relevant today, it's an important part of political thought in modern China where they are terrified of the prospect and see Perestroika as a terrible mistake that resulted in death and chaos.

That said.. all of those alternative options can still result in an inquisition anyway. So off the top of my head, the best example of the disruptive idea getting accepted but then causing a bunch of inquisitions and revolutions which ultimately end up in more of both for a really long time... would be the Marian reforms which converted the Roman army from a semi-permanent militia to a permanent professional army. Initially these were wildly successful and fixed many social and political issues that arrise when conquering distant foes using a bunch of farmers on temporary military service. But in doing so, they completely upended Roman society, caused massive political and economic problems, and the next wave of big ideas came in answer to those. Mostly these were over the question of land reform - which is hardly a military issue right? But in answer to the military reform, which caused new crises elsewhere, the Gracchi brothers got murdered, Sulla instituted a secret police and did a whole lot of murdering, and Julius Ceasar did all that stuff he did, effectively ending the Roman Republic, all in a series of clamp downs on ideas that threatened various interests at different times over a troublesome century or so of dicatorships, proscription and purges.
[/quote]

Well i'll be damned, you Do have an intellectual bone in your body.
Belinda
Posts: 3984
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:13 am

Re: Historical Constants

Post by Belinda »

tbieter wrote: Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:41 pm Does the following paragraph describe a "historical constant"?
"Wherever a social order, or rather the power that preserves this social order, sees the foundations of the order shaken, endangered not by plans for overthrow but by ideas, there looms on the horizon the possibility of an Inquisition; in this the Middle Ages were no different from today, whether we speak of modern Russia or of modern America. It is plain that this is an everlasting temptation and danger." p. 34
Pieper, Josef, Guide to Thomas Aquinas (1962)
http://www.amazon.com/Guide-Thomas-Aqui ... as+aquinas
________________
"The Inquisition was a group of institutions within the judicial system of the Roman Catholic Church whose aim was to combat heresy. It started in 12th-century France to combat the spread of religious sectarianism, in particular the Cathars and the Waldensians. This Medieval Inquisition persisted into the 14th century, and from the 1250s was associated with the Dominican Order. In the early 14th century, two other movements attracted the attention of the Inquisition, the Knights Templar and the Beguines."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inquisition
____________________

Pieper mentions the Inquisition because Aquinas was a member of the Dominican order. He writes:
"At this point, however, a terrible matter must be mentioned, one which is diametrically opposed to everything that we have said about Dominic's and Thomas' own ethics of teaching and the propagation of truth. This terrible matter is called the Inquisition. It cannot be passed over because the Inquisition - precisely during the lifetime of Thomas Aquinas - very directly affected the first generation of the Dominican Order. It represents , moreover, a taint and a disgrace that cannot be wiped out by any attempts at "historical" explanation.", p. 33 (Emphasis added)

But, I'm primarily interested in an alleged "inquisition tendency" as being an historical constant. I've wondered what other historical instances might reasonably be considered as falling within Pieper's generalization.

One U.S. instance that comes to my mind is that which is known as McCarthyism.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCarthyism

Can you think of any historical examples from any country that either supports or negates the validity of Pieper's generalization?
I can't think of any country that is not an example of the principle. Obviously a conservative regime will aim to keep the status quo which is invariably that the elite group has a nicer time than the others. Modern examples of conservative regimes are the several islamic republics, or North Korea, or Putin's Russia.

It remains to be seen whether or not the US will turn our to be conservative or liberal. When the populace are half asleep all the time they are always predictably conservative. Elites have mechanisms to keep the populace compliant.
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