More Thoughts on Global Crisis

Now I’m into the chapter on the not-so-United Kingdom. Say what you want about Cromwell – and if you’re Irish you can justifiably say a lot about Cromwell – but Charles I was asking for it. You want to unify a kingdom pieced together from inheriting England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales? Okay, fine, good luck, but….

The way Charles chose to do it was to try to establish one unifying religion for both Scotland and England. With himself as the head, as in the Anglican Church, of course.

If you know anything about Presbyterians, you likely know they don’t agree on much. About the only thing they do agree on, is that the ultimate head of the church is God. Charles was supposedly the heir to the Scottish throne. He should have known this.

He couldn’t have found a surer way to get all of Scotland’s dander up if he’d tried. Although having his Anglican archbishop Laud write up a new, Anglican-based prayer-book that all the churches in Scotland were supposed to buy and use on pain of being declared rebels and arrested… well, that came a close second.

If history teaches us anything, it’s that you should never mess with a man’s religion or his kids. Not unless you intend to exterminate a culture, a la the conquistadores and Aztec human sacrifices. Yet Charles decided to mess.

(He was far from the only one in that time period, but you’d think Charles could have watched the messes in Spain and France and decided that was A Bad Idea. But nooo….)

Then when the Scots revolted, Charles doubled down and tried to get a loan from the King of Spain to feed and equip his army. That fell through, due to galleons being captured and Spain having too much of its own trouble. Even if Charles had gotten the money, needing to borrow it from a country your privateers regularly seize ships from is… awkward. As it was, not only did Charles not get the money, but word spread about how he’d tried to get it from the Papist kingdom of Spain, ticking off both Scots Presbyterians and English Anglicans.

Worse yet, said money was supposed to go to an army raised from Ireland (more Papists!) and… there was an officially recorded lack of specific details about where that army was actually going to wreak havoc. And a number of Englishmen had seen their properties confiscated and some of their peers and relatives imprisoned or beheaded for resisting Charles – even just by saying, “hey, we really need peace with Scotland”.

Is it any wonder they might have taken a tiny step to the conclusion Charles meant to use it on them?

…And I’m not even up to the part on Cromwell in this chapter. Yikes.

Let’s just say if there’s one idea that needs to die in the dumpster fire of History, it’s the whole “divine right of kings”. This is a bad, bad, bad idea.

18 thoughts on “More Thoughts on Global Crisis

    1. In this character of the Americans, a love of freedom is the predominating feature which marks and distinguishes the whole; and as an ardent is always a jealous affection, your Colonies become suspicious, restive, and untractable whenever they see the least attempt to wrest from them by force, or shuffle from them by chicane, what they think the only advantage worth living for. This fierce spirit of liberty is stronger in the English Colonies probably than in any other people of the earth, and this from a great variety of powerful causes; which, to understand the true temper of their minds and the direction which this spirit takes, it will not be amiss to lay open somewhat more largely.

      First, the people of the Colonies are descendants of Englishmen. England, Sir, is a nation which still, I hope, respects, and formerly adored, her freedom. The Colonists emigrated from you when this part of your character was most predominant; and they took this bias and direction the moment they parted from your hands. They are therefore not only devoted to liberty, but to liberty according to English ideas, and on English principles. Abstract liberty, like other mere abstractions, is not to be found. Liberty inheres in some sensible object; and every nation has formed to itself some favorite point, which by way of eminence becomes the criterion of their happiness. It happened, you know, Sir, that the great contests for freedom in this country were from the earliest times chiefly upon the question of taxing. Most of the contests in the ancient commonwealths turned primarily on the right of election of magistrates; or on the balance among the several orders of the state. The question of money was not with them so immediate. But in England it was otherwise. On this point of taxes the ablest pens, and most eloquent tongues, have been exercised; the greatest spirits have acted and suffered. In order to give the fullest satisfaction concerning the importance of this point, it was not only necessary for those who in argument defended the excellence of the English Constitution to insist on this privilege of granting money as a dry point of fact, and to prove that the right had been acknowledged in ancient parchments and blind usages to reside in a certain body called a House of Commons. They went much farther; they attempted to prove, and they succeeded, that in theory it ought to be so, from the particular nature of a House of Commons as an immediate representative of the people, whether the old records had delivered this oracle or not. They took infinite pains to inculcate, as a fundamental principle, that in all monarchies the people must in effect themselves, mediately or immediately, possess the power of granting their own money, or no shadow of liberty can subsist. The Colonies draw from you, as with their life-blood, these ideas and principles. Their love of liberty, as with you, fixed and attached on this specific point of taxing. Liberty might be safe, or might be endangered, in twenty other particulars, without their being much pleased or alarmed. Here they felt its pulse; and as they found that beat, they thought themselves sick or sound. I do not say whether they were right or wrong in applying your general arguments to their own case. It is not easy, indeed, to make a monopoly of theorems and corollaries. The fact is, that they did thus apply those general arguments; and your mode of governing them, whether through lenity or indolence, through wisdom or mistake, confirmed them in the imagination that they, as well as you, had an interest in these common principles.


    1. Those guys. Yes.

      And then It Got Worse. Part of that being riots and revolt in Ireland where they’d strip people naked (mostly English) and run them off into the night. Normally this would be harrowing but survivable, given it almost never snows in Ireland, or gets that cold.

      …Did I mention this was the Little Ice Age?

      Best estimates is that cold killed about 2,000-4,000 people harried into the night. And the papers hyped it up to over 100,000. And here was Charles planning to foist an Irish army on London….

      Liked by 2 people

  1. You look at various nobles and kings, and you wonder, “What were they thinking?”

    Then, if there are records of what they were thinking, it’s almost inevitably worse than what they actually did.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. The intertwining of church and state (or rather, lack thereof) was something Dietrich Bonhoeffer noticed when he was in the US before WWII broke out. Specifically how it made it much easier for the government to put pressure on church to conform to politics, even if that politics went against church doctrine. That was something the US Church wasn’t dealing with in the way the Lutheran Church back in Germany was.

    Thing is… that entire concept of “religion and state are separate things” didn’t really *exist* as a concept until the US. Throughout all of human history, the state has backed *some* kind of religion officially. And you can arguably say the current US political state is too… it just doesn’t call itself a religion these days even though it’s not too hard to see how it has all the trappings of one.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yeah.

      The normal mode of religion is close linkages with leadership, and to force compliance in public rituals by everyone nearby.

      Getting away from both, even temporarily, is weird.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. “The Church” in this case is any type of religion. All states until *very* recently have backed religions as far back as we have human records. Before the Christian Church became the state region of Rome, there was the Pax Romana and it’s synchronized gods and goddesses. Rome swapped what religion it officially backed, it didn’t start backing a religion out of nowhere.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Nevertheless it persecuted the Church for centuries. Later backing it did not mean that the concept of separation was not reinforced by it.


  3. Considering that Glencoe seems to have come relatively soon after these feats of genius, much of the ‘Why?!’ there makes more sense to me.

    Considering how many generations there were between the 1600s, and 1770s…

    American revolution made sense to me before, but it manages to make more sense now.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Historically, assuming the mantle of THE protector/arbiter of their nations faith has been a huge source of legitimacy for rulers and governments.

    The Roman Republic did it, and it is actually much older than the Romans.
    The Chinese Emperors did it. The first ever cities were (probably) ruled by God-Kings.

    So Charles was probalbly just trying to shore up his rule by blindly following an millenials old traditon.

    And yes, he went about it in the stupidest way possible.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Nooooo. The Roman Republic didn’t assume anything like that. Most of the senatorial families had somebody doing a stint as a priest for some god, some year or another. But the closest to what you’re describing is when all the women met up to do the Bona Dea festival thing at the house of whoever was the senior consul for the year (because his mom or wife was automatically priestess of Bona Dea for that year).

    The Pontifex Maximus could be anybody (usually of high rank), but until Caesar messed with it, they couldn’t leave Rome or touch ground or a bunch of other things, and they had to live in the Domus Publica for a year. Most of the other priesthoods had some kind of taboo that made you have to clock out of public life for a season or a year, although some just had a bunch of guys or women who organized and carried out some annual festival or sacrifice or games.

    Now the Etruscans, and Rome when it was an Etruscan-run kingdom, did vest sacred powers in the king. But when the Republic started, they offloaded all the kingly religious responsibilities and law, onto the Pontifex Maximus, the Collegium Pontifices, and the Rex and Regina Sacrorum (the Rex Sacrorum had to be a married patrician, and the Regina Sacrorum had a lot of duties too). There was also the Flamen Dialis and his wife, the Flaminica Dialis, and some other important ones.

    But yeah, generally the Consuls didn’t do anything but hang out while various priests did the priest and diviner work. They were more official civic worshippers than anything priesty.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh, and the Vestal Virgins. Who were sorta part of the government, in a way, but not really. Government-funded. And since a Vestal Virgin gave Rome the land for the Campus Martius (IIRC), they had various kinds of leverage. But mostly they were responsible for hearthfires continuing to work… that was their focus.

      Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s