Theocracy

All Most theocratic religions are officially anti theocratic, in the sense that supposedly people believe in the official religion because it is simply the truth, not because of state sponsorship, and if anyone doubts the truth, they are supposedly seeking the power that rightly belongs to those who preach what is simply the truth, so it is those horrid heretics that are the theocrats.  Thus the well paid wise progressive from Harvard sees a church in a wooden shack in the countryside, and cries in horror and outrage “Theocracy!”.  Islam, the most theocratic of them all, is openly theocratic in the sense that they claim that God literally rules them, which however means that they have to pretend their doctrine is unchanging.The Roman Catholic Church on the other hand, was after 1277 almost as furtive about theocracy as Harvard.  Official lists of forbidden thoughts, such as the condemnations of 1277, were officially unofficial.  The Spanish inquisition was operated by kings, and the Church, like Harvard, merely advised kings on the truth.

And if the truth requires frequent rewrites of history and the forceful suppression of dangerously inconvenient facts, such is a perfectly legitimate and reasonable response to the irrationally foolish heretics.  We have to help people perceive the truth by lying to them, as for example “hide the decline”.  That is the way you do science.  You delete the data you know to be misleading, and replace it with data that shows  what you know to be the truth because it is the official consensus.  All properly scientific scientists do that, and if they don’t they deserve to lose their jobs.  We know all scientists are reliable, because they are continually peer reviewed to make sure they stick to the consensus of their peers – and if their data fails to correspond to observation, who cares. It is more important that it correspond to the real truth than mere observation.

So how do you tell a theocratic religion if it fails to post a big label saying “Theocracy”?

Theocratic religions are always stronger the closer people are to the center of power, because they originate and are upheld by the center.  That is how you tell a theocratic religion.  That is what a theocratic religion is.

Thus:

  • Washington is more progressive than flyover country, and Cairo more Islamic than the Egyptian delta
  • The American rich are more progressive than the American poor, and the Egyptian rich more Islamic than the Egyptian poor.
  • Ivy League educated Americans are more progressive than Cow University educated Americans, and similarly in Egypt, those with higher status Egyptian educations are more Islamic.

And that is how you can spot a theocracy.

A theocracy that requires improbable beliefs about the next world can nonetheless recruit people who are sane, in that they can recruit people who have the required beliefs about the next world, but base their beliefs about this world on reality testing.   The Jesuits were good at that. But progressivism is a religion, or substitute for religion, which requires beliefs about this world – thus tends to recruit people who are crazy and/or stupid.  And as the required purity of belief becomes ever more and more extreme, the required real or feigned insanity becomes crazier and crazier, as magnificently illustrated by the events surrounding Major Hasan.

The Major Hasan incident illustrates the required craziness, Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman illustrates the required stupidity.

The craziness is illustrated by the fact that when Major Hasan gave a power point presentation on why he was going to murder his audience, they all listened politely and respectfully, is illustrated by the fact that the State Department is installing the guys who raped and sexually mutilated Lara Logan into power in Egypt, is illustrated by the fact that Imam Rauf who is erecting a victory mosque at ground zero on the body parts of his enemies is hailed as a moderate and gets government funding.

If anyone had said of Major Hasan “Hey, this guy is saying he is going to kill us!  Let us lock him up right now and throw away the key”, that would have been raaaciist.  They would have been discriminating.

Our policy of exporting democracy to Muslims is as transparently demented as our policy of affirmative actioning Hasan to Major.  It is as crazy to allow Muslims to vote anywhere in the world as it was to affirmative action Hasan to Major instead of locking him up.

US policy is to export democracy at gunpoint in the expectation that it will turn Muslims into progressives – but quite obviously democracy is having the opposite effect.  Democracy turns them into Islamists – and anyone who could not have foreseen it was going to turn them into Islamists was batshit crazy, willfully blind to the glaringly obvious.

An individual Muslim ruler who decides for war, or, more commonly, actions likely to provoke war, gets a warm glow of religious piety by so doing, but faces the consequences of his actions, because his decision makes a large difference to the likelihood of bombs falling through his roof.  Since most Muslims are not in fact very pious, he, instead of piously deciding for war, swigs down a shot of whiskey, snacks on some pork, then impiously decides for peace and adopts measures to encourage tourism and western investment – for example as the United Arab Emirates does.

A Muslim voter who votes for trouble gets as much of a warm glow of piety as a ruler who decides for war, but since one vote makes no difference, does not increase the chances of bombs landing on his head.  So just as western voters piously vote for redistribution of wealth and preservation of the environment regardless of the consequences to themselves, Muslims piously vote for hatred, murder and war regardless of the consequences of for themselves.

The most peaceable and prosperous Muslim states are long established monarchies with secure hereditary rulers, such as Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.  Muslim party states are considerably less peaceful.  The more power is distributed, the more a Muslim state will act Islamic – the more it will make war upon us infidels.

16 Responses to “Theocracy”

  1. Bill says:

    I’ve objected to this before, but you’re using theocratic in a remarkable and unusual way. Most people would describe Catholic Europe throughout the Middle Ages as theocratic, and both rulers and Church were pretty clear about not denying the theocracy. Furthermore, nobody was claiming that Catholic theology was simple. Rather, it was complex, errors were easy to make, and this justified the attention of both the Church and the state to correct such errors. Mostly, the Inquisition operated by questioning an alleged heretic, finding out that he was in error, pointing the error out to him, and having him say, in effect, “made a mistake, sorry about that, thanks for correcting it.”

    What you are describing is not theocracy, but totalitarianism. People right next to Kim Jong Il cheer him the loudest. People right next to Saddam Hussein cheered him the loudest. People in the establishment cheer the multicult the loudest.

    The bullet points are a bit questionable, too. In Saudi Arabia, the elite are not Islamist but the people are. In Egypt, the elite were not Islamist, the people are. Similarly, Turkey. Similarly, Qatar. The middle east has a (relatively) cosmopolitan elite lording it over a population of fanatics. We have a hyper-parochial, incredibly ideological, fanatical elite lording it over a cosmopolitan population. Now, our elite’s fanaticism is at least a little put on, but still.

    This all seems like reinventing the wheel to me. The guys in charge in the US hold to a kind of echo of Marxism or a heretical deviation from Marxism, but they preserve its essential, insanely ideological character. What they add to it is some spectacularly false propaganda in which free-thinkers all think the same, free-speech-possessors all say the same thing, etc. It’s like the scene from “Life of Brian” where the Jesus-figure says “You’re all individuals” and the crowd recites, in monotone, “We’re all individuals.” The exoteric meaning of multiculti demands is the exact opposite of the esoteric meaning.

    • jim says:

      Mostly, the Inquisition operated by questioning an alleged heretic, finding out that he was in error, pointing the error out to him, and having him say, in effect, “made a mistake, sorry about that, thanks for correcting it.”

      Perhaps my use of the term “simple truth” is misleading, the wrong word. Correcting it to “simply the truth”

      The evidence you present sounds to me very like evidence that they were supposedly not a theocracy, but simply the truth, in that the heretic was not repressed for rebellion, not for lack of respect for authority, but for error. Somewhat similarly, when someone points out that some of the evidence for Anthropogenic Global Warming is fraudulent, the response is not so much that the complainant fails to show proper respect for official science, but that the evidence is overwhelming, indeed so overwhelming as to morally justify making up additional evidence. (Reminiscent of Uri Geller and Mina Crandon, whose feats were supposedly “sixty percent genuine”, the evidence for Anthropogenic Global Warming is supposedly 99% genuine.)

      The bullet points are a bit questionable, too. In Saudi Arabia, the elite are not Islamist but the people are.

      Saudi Arabia originated quite recently in military conquest by religious extremists in the name of God, who had received a divine mission to reimpose Islam at swordpoint on a population they denounced as irreligious or insufficiently religious. Islam is applied from above by force onto a passive populace that submits reluctantly and unenthusiastically. There are religious police everywhere to enforce religious compliance. If someone has a bible, the locals do not riot, are not outraged. Rather, the police arrest him.

      In Egypt, the elite were not Islamist, the people are.

      This is not my perception, but the evidence is less clear than in Saudi Arabia. By and large, the Islamists look one hell of a lot more affluent and educated than the ordinary Egyptian, but we don’t see the clear evidence of the state enforcing extreme religious views on an unenthusiastic populace that we see in Saudi Arabia.

      It is true that the people are more extreme than the Mubarak government in the sense that an election will lead to a more Islamic government than Mubarak’s – but similarly in the US, an election will result in a government more progressive than the ordinary voter – because the ordinary voter is taught that he should be more progressive than he is, and can, in the ballot box, costless comply.

      Similarly, Turkey.

      Ataturk and the army did indeed impose secularism, but the current Turkish government and judiciary is imprisoning intellectuals and elements of the media who display insufficient faith, and appointing people into the elite on the basis of their faith, much like the recruitment and graduation policy of Harvard University. Looks to me that Ataturk’s program fell to the Islamists making the long march through the non military institutions – very much as the progressives did in the US. Being insufficiently religious in today’s Turkey is very like being raaaciiist in today’s America. It can get you into legal trouble, but, much more commonly, will destroy your elite career. If, however you are not a member of the elite, you can usually get away with being as racist/irreligious as you like.

      Similarly, Qatar. The middle east has a (relatively) cosmopolitan elite lording it over a population of fanatics.

      Qatar is officially a theocracy, just as the Anglican Church used to be officially theocratic. What you say is true in that practice the rulers do not take Islam seriously. That is what is apt to happen a theocracy when office is hereditary, rather than recruited on the basis of “merit”

      We have a hyper-parochial, incredibly ideological, fanatical elite lording it over a cosmopolitan population. Now, our elite’s fanaticism is at least a little put on, but still.

      Quite so – and yet, if we go by election results, our elite was elected, or supposedly the creations of people who were elected.

      In a theocracy, election results are not all that indicative of people’s attitude, because people tend to vote for the policies and programs they supposedly should favor, rather than those that they actually favor in their ordinary everyday lives – not indicative in our society, and not indicative in Islam.

      The

      • Bill says:

        No, the punishment was always for rebellion. Heretics always got many chances to repent and shut up before they were punished. Even very late in the process, after they had repeatedly chosen not to repent and shut up, they could usually choose to repent and shut up and get off without significant punishment. This is what happened to Galileo for example.

        Catholics are required to believe what the Church teaches, whatever that may be, and the Church is the final arbiter of what it teaches. So, I think Europe in the Middle Ages was theocratic and explicitly theocratic. The official truth was that the responsibility which went with the King’s power was to protect both the physical & moral safety of his subjects and to assist the Church in protecting their souls. Normally, all non-Catholic religions were illegal, for example (with special forbearances granted now and again to Jews).

        I’m not sure what would resolve the disagreements about the middle east. The Anatolian interior (far from the power centers of Mediterranean Turkey) are quite conservatively Islamic as far as I can tell. The pattern since Ataturk has been an Islamic population trying to put into place an Islamic government with the military repeatedly using or threatening violence to stop them. Whether that is eventually going to happen again is yet to be seen, but it is looking good for people power right now. On Saudi Arabia, I could be convinced, but I am under the impression that it follows the pattern of other Muslim countries with rural and peripheral areas violently and fanatically Islamic while the elites are more cosmopolitan.

        • jim says:

          Bill wrote

          No, the punishment was always for rebellion. Heretics always got many chances to repent and shut up before they were punished. Even very late in the process, after they had repeatedly chosen not to repent and shut up, they could usually choose to repent and shut up and get off without significant punishment. This is what happened to Galileo for example.

          Catholics are required to believe what the Church teaches, whatever that may be, and the Church is the final arbiter of what it teaches. So, I think Europe in the Middle Ages was theocratic and explicitly theocratic.

          Masatoshi Nei and Naoko Takezaki measured the genetic distance between human races and apes: “The Root of the Phylogenetic Tree of Human Populations” They found that the distance between races was quite large, typically around half the human chimpanzee distance or so. They also found that some races had considerably less genetic distance between that race and the hypothetical common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees than other races.

          Like Galieo, they were asked to repent and recant, and did so. So if the Medieval Catholic Church was explicitly theocratic, so is Harvard.

          Catholics are required to believe what the Church teaches, whatever that may be, and the Church is the final arbiter of what it teaches. So, I think Europe in the Middle Ages was theocratic and explicitly theocratic.

          At the time that they published, it was permissible to believe that genetic differences between races were real and substantial, that races were diverse, but equal. The reaction to the proposition that some were more closely related to the common ancestor of man and ape was so hostile, that the existence of genetic differences between races was also prohibited. Rather suddenly official truth became that humans were diverse culturally but not genetically, that races were just labels for continent of origin, so that Persians are “Asians” and Chinese are also “Asians”, so Chinese are the same race as Persians, which doctrine was quite suddenly imposed not just in Academia, but on everyone in the English speaking world, and I expect most of the rest of the world also. The main finding of their paper became impermissible after it was published. So everyone is required to believe what Harvard teaches, whatever it may be, even though it changes from time to time, and Harvard is the final arbiter of what it teaches. So Harvard is theocratic and, by your standards, explicitly theocratic.

          Because this paper pissed off our elite, Muslims in England are “Asians”, and the English have trouble figuring out what to call Chinese, since they are supposed to call them “Asians” also, but many Englishmen have trouble using a single word for two rather different categories. If only Nei had not attempted to estimate the distance between races and the hypothetical ancestor of man and ape, Britons would probably still be calling Muslims Muslims and Pakistanis Pakistanis.

          The pattern since Ataturk has been an Islamic population trying to put into place an Islamic government with the military repeatedly using or threatening violence to stop them.

          That pattern has ceased to apply in Turkey, where today Ataturkism has much the same consequences for one’s career as “racism” has in the US.

          It never applied in Saudi Arabia, which originated in armed conquest by holy fanatics over a population that subscribed to other versions of Islam.

          The military are everywhere less Islamic than the rest of the elite, just as in the US they are less progressive than the rest of the elite. but the rest of the elite are disturbingly Islamic. It is like the State Department versus the Pentagon. The Islamic (non military) part of the elite, then attempt to rouse the masses to give themselves a stronger hand against the military, but the masses are rather passive and unenthusiastic. In vast areas of the middle east there was not until recently a single mosque except in urban centers from which the elite rule. The mosques in the middle east are for the most part located where the power is, not where the people are.

          Observe the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood. They are very much at home in Western elite academia, because even though their ideology is theoretically completely different, they are the same class of people. They get along much as farmers and pigs did in the final scene of “animal farm”.

  2. Bill says:

    Like Galieo, they were asked to repent and recant, and did so. So if the Medieval Catholic Church was explicitly theocratic, so is Harvard.

    It doesn’t bother me much to call our current elite theocratic. Not the word I would use, but it’s fine. What bothered me is the claim that *all* theocracies deny that they are theocracies. That just isn’t true. It’s a characteristic of leftism, not of theocracy. Observe that Harvard would vehemently deny any charge that they were against academic freedom (in its modern meaning), whereas a Medieval university would vehemently deny any charge that they were in favor of academic freedom (in its modern meaning).

    Do you have a link, by the way to the Nei&Takezaki thing? I don’t know of this academic repression, and a quick google was not that informative.

    On the elite vs population thing in the middle east, are you claiming that, say, urban MDs and engineers are more Islamic, on average, than, say, rural carpenters and agricultural laborers?

    • jim says:

      Observe that Harvard would vehemently deny any charge that they were against academic freedom (in its modern meaning), whereas a Medieval university would vehemently deny any charge that they were in favor of academic freedom (in its modern meaning).

      They used a phrase that translates as “academic freedom”, and vehemently declared they were in favor of it. If they were around today you might explain to them the difference between the modern meaning and their meaning, and then they could tell you whether they would vehemently deny the modern meaning – but the difference between the modern meaning and their meaning is not easy to discern, and different historians give different accounts, nineteenth century accounts differing drastically from twentieth century accounts. Regardless of what the difference is, if they had really had academic freedom in either sense, then the Church would not have been a theocracy either.

      If we look at various documents that could be said to be lists of forbidden thoughts, they were not the official findings of the Church, not produced by the Pope in conference with the holy Synod at the Cathedral, at least not at first. They were seemingly just one cleric denouncing other clerics, often quite controversially. But strangely, the effect was very much as if these were findings of the Pope in conference with the holy Synod at the Cathedral

      The condemned theses of 1277 were “condemned”, not “forbidden” – yet strangely the result was much as if they were forbidden.

      For the most part, the Church no more itself engaged in direct repression than Harvard does. The Church advised Kings on the acceptability of certain arguments. The goons of the Spanish inquisition were not answerable to the Church. Perish the thought! They were answerable to the King. The Church’s role in the inquisition, like Harvard’s, was supposedly merely advisory. The religious authorities inform the secular authorities of the truth, and the secular authorities act accordingly.

      However, though I don’t think the medieval church is a counter example, at least not after 1277, Islam is a counter example, so revising “All”, to “Most”

      If you want to call the system before 1277 theocratic (which I would not) then yes, that was a very different system to our own, and could be described as officially and openly theocratic, though I would be inclined to describe it as not theocratic at all. I suspect that the system after 1277 was rather more furtive precisely because the system after 1277 was much more repressive, much less logically and morally defensible. Because it was directed at internal rather than external enemies, more pretense was required.

      If you call the pre 1277 system theocratic, you could argue that not all theocracies pretend otherwise. And, of course, Islam is definitely theocratic, and claims to be directly ruled by God, so on reflection Islam refutes my claim that all theocracies are furtive about it. Islam is not in the slightest furtive about it. I don’t think, however, that the Medieval Church post 1277 refutes my claim. Today’s theocracy is very much in the style and tradition of the Medieval Church.

      Do you have a link, by the way to the Nei&Takezaki thing? I don’t know of this academic repression, and a quick google was not that informative.

      Academic repression is never reported, so you cannot google it.

      What you can google is that before this paper appeared, people could, and did, say that genetic differences between races were significant.

      And then: “Since the rate of evolutionary change may vary from population to population …” Oops!

      Swiftly followed by a recantation and repentance which not only recanted the proposition that some populations might be more evolved than others, but also recanted the proposition that there were significant genetic differences between one race and another. After this recantation, we learn that humans are genetically very homogeneous, much more homogeneous than other species, and genetic differences between populations insignificant. Races, it seems, are purely a cultural construct.

      Followed by the mainstream media revising race to refer to continent of origin, so that Persians are “Asians”, and Chinese are also “Asians”, and Pacific Islanders are also “Asians”. It becomes impermissible to categorize race as if race was something that could be physically observed. There are no such thing as Mestizos any more. Race is all in the mind. Since Nei’s recantation and repentance, the politically correct are no longer capable of determining someone’s race by merely looking at him, or at least they are not supposed to be. Indeed a thought crime trial on this subject is happening in Australia right now, wherein a newsman, Andrew Bolt, is being punished by the courts for making the horribly racist error of thinking he can tell someone’s race by looking at him.

      On the elite vs population thing in the middle east, are you claiming that, say, urban MDs and engineers are more Islamic, on average, than, say, rural carpenters and agricultural laborers?

      Or at least put more effort into pretending to be Islamic. I infer this to be the case not from direct observation of rural carpenters, but from the location of mosques, the class character of Islamic clerics, and the class character of the people that have been sent to perform terrorist acts against Americans. The terrorists tend to be urban MDs and such, and the preachers of terror fit right into ivy league academia.

  3. Bill says:

    The condemned theses of 1277 were “condemned”, not “forbidden” – yet strangely the result was much as if they were forbidden.

    Condemned means heretical. Heresy was illegal. Explicitly illegal. Openly advocating for a condemned proposition was a way to land in jail or dead, especially if you were getting people to listen to you or were important in some way. There was an Index of Forbidden Books until 1966 — these books were supposed to be made illegal by Catholic governments and often were. The Church was busily condemning heresies as recently as the 20th C (Modernism and Americanism by St Pius X and Leo XIII). Even in England, where the Church’s hand was pretty light, there were heresy laws and prosecutions—St Thomas More famously defended and conducted heresy prosecutions.

    I’m completely baffled by your resistance. It was illegal to be non-Catholic. It was illegal to profess heresy. Nobody made any bones about any of this. The Church did not directly rule (ie set taxes, decide who to go to war with). So, in that sense, Europe was not a bunch of theocracies, only the Papal States were a theocracy. But there was an established orthodoxy, an established legislativd, judicial, and investigative system for rooting out the un-orthodox, and the civil authority was empowered with punishing the un-orthodox. All explicit and out in the open (and thus superior to the current system).

    but the difference between the modern meaning and their meaning is not easy to discern

    Oh, come on. You can’t tell the difference between (1) “It’s wrong to punish someone for being Devil’s advocate” and (2) “It’s wrong to punish someone for advocating for the Devil.” Medieval universities were more free than modern universities because they really believed (1). Modern universities claim to be more free by claiming to believe the vastly stronger (2). But they don’t protect (2), rather they promiscuously violate both (1) and (2).

    • jim says:

      Condemned means heretical. Heresy was illegal. Explicitly illegal. Openly advocating for a condemned proposition was a way to land in jail or dead, especially if you were getting people to listen to you or were important in some way.

      It might mean that in practice, and I expect it frequently did, but that was not what it officially said. The condemnations of 1277 said of each of the alleged errors that they were “manifest”. So if you were teaching these errors as truth, you were knowingly lying, as climate skeptics supposed are. Similarly Andrew Bolt is supposedly not being charged with heresy, but with racial hatred. If one has a sufficient audience, it is racial hatred to say that race is something one can see with one’s eyes, since everyone knows that races are entirely socially constructed and there are no significant genetic differences between races. No one in 1277 was charged with heresy as a result of the condemnations. The only explicit and direct threat in the condemnations of 1277 was that the treatises of Aristotle were not to be read in public or private at the University of Paris on penalty of Excommunication. Excommunication was not fatal (at least not in theory) and, just as there is little today to stop people from uttering “racist” thoughts on their blogs, provided the blog is not readily traceable to their place of employment, there was nothing to stop people from publicly reading Aristotle outside the University of Paris – nothing official anyway. The authorities did not want the authority of the university applied in support of Aristotle or rationalism, rather than trying to suppress Aristotle and rationalism altogether. Since you could publicly read Aristotle outside the university without over penalty, I suppose you could publicly teach rationalism outside the university. Of course a rationalist has a suspicious resemblance to a Deist, and a Deist is a heretic, but a rationalist can always blandly deny being deist, and if the authorities wanted to argue that rationalism led to deism, they would have to argue that official Christianity was irrational, which of course they were forbidden to believe.

      Since you could publicly read Aristotle outside the university, presumably you could publicly believe in rationalism outside the university – of course, this supposedly meant you were an idiot, since rationalism is supposedly a manifest error likely to lead to eternal damnation, but since you were allowed to do it, rationalism did not make you a heretic. Similarly today, ordinary people are allowed to ignorantly believe that they can see racial differences with their eyes. It is only racial hatred if you influentially and authoritatively tell people you can see racial differences with your eyes, when everyone knows that races are purely social constructs.

      There was an Index of Forbidden Books until 1966 — these books were supposed to be made illegal by Catholic governments and often were. The Church was busily condemning heresies as recently as the 20th C (Modernism and Americanism by St Pius X and Leo XIII). Even in England, where the Church’s hand was pretty light, there were heresy laws and prosecutions—St Thomas More famously defended and conducted heresy prosecutions.

      This argument seems to imply that parts of the west were theocratic until quite recently, yet obviously something major happened in 1648. I would call the theocratic period 1277 to 1648, and recent efforts to whitewash this period suggest that the politically correct can see the resemblance between that period and the present.

      I’m completely baffled by your resistance. It was illegal to be non-Catholic. It was illegal to profess heresy. Nobody made any bones about any of this. The Church did not directly rule (ie set taxes, decide who to go to war with). So, in that sense, Europe was not a bunch of theocracies, only the Papal States were a theocracy. But there was an established orthodoxy, an established legislativd, judicial, and investigative system for rooting out the un-orthodox, and the civil authority was empowered with punishing the un-orthodox. All explicit and out in the open (and thus superior to the current system).

      I want a definition of theocracy that makes most of Europe from 1277 to 1648 theocratic, but does not make a Elizabethan England theocratic, because I want a definition of theocracy which tells us why you don’t get Shakespeare or Newton in theocracies

      All today’s movies are produced within a politically correct worldview, while all Shakespeare’s plays were produced within worldview that contradicted the Church of England. Therefore, today a new Shakespeare would be, like Andrew Bolt, illegal. Therefore, today we have theocracy, and in Elizabethan England they did not have theocracy, even though there was in Elizabethan England an established religion, an established legislative, judicial, and investigative system for rooting out those of incorrect religions, and the civil authority was empowered with punishing those of the incorrect religion.

      I want a definition of theocracy that enables me to express the thought that Elizabethan England was not theocratic, and twenty first England is theocratic like fourteenth century England.

      Before 1277 and after 1648, heresy was an alternative religion, with is own congregations, priests, and prayers, as well as its own doctrines. Between 1277 and 1648 heresy was dangerous thoughts, such as rationalism. Big difference. Religions cause stagnation and social decay when they broadly forbid thinking, so we want a definition of theocracy that emphasizes that feature. Your definition of theocracy makes Elizabethan England theocratic, which it obviously was not.

      Indeed, it is often perfectly legitimate to prohibit alternative religions. The druids engaged in human sacrifice. Many religions aspire to replace the currently dominant religion using fire and sword. Often they make a start on doing so, as Roman Catholicism did in Elizabethan England. Such religions should be suppressed. We don’t want to call the Romans theocrats for suppressing Druidism, nor the Elizebethans theocrats for suppressing Roman Catholicism. All Shakespeare’s plays assume either paganism is true, or atheist materialism is true, or Roman Catholicism is true, and he nonetheless received royal patronage, despite the fact that every play of his has a heretical world view. Therefore, Elizabethan England is not a theocracy, since they were only worried about the kind of Roman Catholicism that conspires to murder Queen Elizabeth, not worried about irreligious thoughts, or even religious thoughts of the wrong religion.

      We should be suppressing Islam in the way, and to the extent, that Elizabethan England suppressed Roman Catholicism. That would not make us a theocracy, and we should not use a definition of theocracy that makes Elizabethan England a theocracy. Shakespeare is proof that it was not. Indeed, had Elizabethan England not forcibly suppressed Roman Catholicism, Shakespeare could not have existed, since Roman Catholics of the time, even if not in power, would have made it dangerous to produce plays with a materialist or pagan worldview.

      In which case, 1277 to 1648 was theocratic because it prohibited rationalism, rather than any of the reasons you list, but in theory at least, it was not illegal to argue rationalism – not even in the university of Paris. If you argued rationalism in the University of Paris you might get excommunicated, which would not only result in eternal damnation, but worse than that, loss of tenure. The only thing explicitly forbidden was was teaching Aristotle within the university of Paris. Thus, by my definition of theocracy, wherein Elizabethan England was not theocratic, the Roman Catholic Church between 1277 and 1648 was furtively theocratic.

      Before 1277, and after 1648, it was no only theoretically legal to argue rationalism or paganism or such, it was actually legal.

      The trouble with the definition of theocracy that you are using is that it makes most of Europe theocratic from around 700AD to the early twentieth century, which is like using a definition of socialism that makes both England and Soviet Russia equally socialist. It fails to make important distinctions.

      Using such a broad definition of theocracy, then we have always been theocratic, with overt Christian theocracy being directly replaced by covert PC theocracy. This is not a very useful definition, since we would like a a definition that distinguishes the period 1277 to 1648, when Europe stagnated due to theocracy.

      The problem with Muslim theocracy, and the problem with Christian theocracy from 1277 to 1648, and the problem with political correctness, is that it broadly suppresses all unauthorized thought. Before 1277, to be a heretic, you pretty much had to not only think unauthorized thoughts, but think unauthorized thoughts characteristic of a religious congregation that was in active defiance of the holy see. After 1277, you could get in trouble just for thinking thoughts that might lead people to doubt religion.

      It is the difference between Randy Weaver’s family being shot up because Randy Weaver was a member of a revolutionary white supremacist organization, and Andrew Bolt being prosecuted for saying he can tell people’s race merely by looking at them. Both are oppressive, both are objectionable, but in one the oppression is considerably more pervasive than the other, has broader effects on society.

      Theocracy is bad because it produces scientific, technological, and economic stagnation. So we don’t want a definition of theocracy that makes Elizabethan England theocratic, and we do want a definition that makes most of Europe from 1277 to 1648 theocratic.

      And such a definition makes Europe from 1277 to 1648 only furtively theocratic.

      • Bill says:

        Your desiderata for a definition of theocracy are remarkably similar to the left’s desiserata for the definition of fascism. The definition of fascism is whatever it needs to be to categorize Hitler and the enemy-of-the-week as fascists, so that Hitler’s nastiness can be ascribed to fascism.

        Similarly here, you want a definition of theocracy which produces the result that “it produces scientific, technological, and economic stagnation” which you seem to regard as some kind of fact, bolstered by your rather strange understanding of the history of England and of Europe.

        There was no noticeable increase in freedom of thought under Protestant monarchs in England. If anything, the reverse was true. Prior to Luther, the Church was pretty relaxed about enforcing heresy laws, except when a heresy got big enough to be threatening. Although Henry VIII, the first Protestant King of England, was merely a murderous, narcissistic thief, his Protestant progeny faced the difficult task of rationalizing his behavior. They faced this task by becoming or pretending to become religious fanatics (i.e. Henry was right because he was serving the Truth and anything is OK if you are serving the Truth) and converting England by fire and thongs. This was true of Henry’s son Edward and of Elizabeth, and the pattern continued and culminated in Cromwell. Of course, murderous fanatics need their boogeymen, so the fantasy of “Bloody Mary” was invented. Mary was no worse than Edward or Elizabeth, and better in the sense that her violence was retributive.

        I have no clue why you bring up Newton, whose example cuts violently against your point. Newton was a heretic (by both Catholic and Protestant standards) who scrupulously avoided public profession of his heresies. Even late in life, he was very circumspect about them (I wonder why?). And yet, somehow, he managed to make progress in natural philosophy.

        Newton was born under Charles I, widely believed to be a crypto-Catholic. He came to Cambridge under Charles II, who surely was a crypto-Catholic, and completed the Principia just after Charles’s death, under the reign of James II who was not at all crypto about his Catholicism.

        Shakespeare is an equally strange example. The Renaissance was characterized by a renewed interest in the Pagan past. If anything, that renewed interest was stronger in Catholic Europe than in Protestant Europe. Offhand, I can’t think of anything in Shakespeare which would have run him afoul of the Inquisition, but I’ve never really thought about it. Nevertheless, Shakespeare also was quite clear in his head about the absence of freedom of expression in England. His plays tow the Tudor/Stuart line and tow the line of the natural and divine nature of the monarchy as well. If there is something in his work which would have offended the Inquisition, he just would have changed it, affecting nothing.

        I misremembered what the condemnations of 1277 were about, but I have no idea what point you are trying to make with them now. One Bishop instructed a university in his Diocese (the most important university in Europe, though) to stop teaching the truth of a list of propositions. The penalty of excommunication is a juridical penalty which normally attaches to disobedience, so that is the right penalty. One Bishop does not (did not) have the power to declare a proposition heretical for the whole Church (I misremembered that the Pope had done it—he does have that power). Whether anybody in the Diocese of Paris was prosecuted for heresy because they taught any of the condemned propositions, I don’t know. But now I doubt it.

        After some googling around, I notice that most historians seem to think the condemnations of 1277 were scientifically progressive, since, by mandating that certain bits of Aristotle were to be understood as false (at the U of Paris), they made it easier for scholars to claim other bits of Aristotle were false.

        Finally, the Late Middle Ages really were not all that stagnant. The renewed interest in the classical past which led to the Renaissance happened then. Wikipedia lists some pretty significant advances in science, technology, and the arts. Unless you are going to blame the Black Death on theocracy, it’s hard to see how you can lay the problems of the Late Middle Ages on theocracy.

        The fact that PC makes obviously false empirical claims about the world and that it is powerful in universities is crippling for inquiry into areas touching on these claims. Furthermore, the way that PC is, cancer-like, expanding the number of obviously false claims that it makes is really disturbing. But it’s more like the Soviet Union than it is like Medieval France. The Soviet Union had badly trained economists, badly trained biologists, and corresponding problems in those fields for similar reasons. But, how do we explain the lack of progress in, say, physics? I think the rise of peer review is much more important than theocracy (however defined) for this.

        • jim says:

          Your desiderata for a definition of theocracy are remarkably similar to the left’s desiserata for the definition of fascism. The definition of fascism is whatever it needs to be to categorize Hitler and the enemy-of-the-week as fascists, so that Hitler’s nastiness can be ascribed to fascism.

          It is an observable fact that Islam is stagnant because thought is risky and frequently forbidden, and theocratic Europe from 1277 to 1648 was stagnant because thought was risky and frequently forbidden , but Elizabethan England was not stagnant, presumably because heretical thought was not forbidden, and was frequently celebrated. We need a word that includes both Islam and most of Europe of that period, but excludes Elizabethan England. If you don’t like “Theocracy”, what would you suggest?

          I have no clue why you bring up Newton, whose example cuts violently against your point. Newton was a heretic (by both Catholic and Protestant standards) who scrupulously avoided public profession of his heresies. Even late in life, he was very circumspect about them (I wonder why?). And yet, somehow, he managed to make progress in natural philosophy.

          Newton was born under Charles I, widely believed to be a crypto-Catholic. He came to Cambridge under Charles II, who surely was a crypto-Catholic, and completed the Principia just after Charles’s death, under the reign of James II who was not at all crypto about his Catholicism.

          James II was overthrown and fled, in large part for unsuccessfully attempting to do what most other rulers in Europe successfully did. Therefore, not a theocracy, as demonstrated by his flight. That the Kings were crypto catholics, means not a theocracy. James II had to flee, Newton did not. In the rest of Europe, things were the other way around.

          Shakespeare is an equally strange example. The Renaissance was characterized by a renewed interest in the Pagan past. If anything, that renewed interest was stronger in Catholic Europe than in Protestant Europe. Offhand, I can’t think of anything in Shakespeare which would have run him afoul of the Inquisition

          In Elizabethan England, Roman Catholicism was illegal, and was attempting the armed overthrow and/or murder of Queen Elizabeth. Shakespeare, in so far as he took any Christian religion seriously, was a Roman Catholic, and allowed this fact to show in his plays. In Roman Catholic Europe, you could not allow Protestantism to show in your plays. ‘

          his plays tow the Tudor/Stuart line and tow the line of the natural and divine nature of the monarchy as well.

          Perhaps, like most of his audience, he simply believed it to be true. That monarchy was natural was uncontroversial. That it was divine was only slightly controversial. Roman Catholicism, however, was exceedingly controversial yet he was unafraid to put some Roman Catholicism in his plays. And whatever he may have believed or not believed about monarchy, you get better stories if kings rule by natural and/or divine right. Complaining that he favorably depicted the existing English monarchy and their right to rule is just complaining he was politically incorrect by twentieth century standards of political correctness. By and large, the English Kings did rule pretty well. By remarkable good luck, the bad guys generally did lose, and the good guys generally did win, which may be the reason that England wound up dominating the world. Thus Shakespeare probably depicted the winners as rightful rulers and good guys because they really were the good guys, not because they were the winners. And if in reality the winners were not always the good guys, still makes a better story if the winners are good guys, so adjusting history in favor of the winners may well reflect the demands of story, rather than censorship.

          After some googling around, I notice that most historians seem to think the condemnations of 1277 were scientifically progressive, since, by mandating that certain bits of Aristotle were to be understood as false (at the U of Paris), they made it easier for scholars to claim other bits of Aristotle were false.

          This is, as you might expect, PC madness, since the scientific method, and reason itself, were among the things condemned. The PC also rewrote history against Roger Bacon and the scientific method, and in favor of the inquisition and the Roman Catholic Church: For advocating the scientific method, Roger Bacon was put in solitary confinement on bread and water. In the new and improved version of history, however, he was merely put under house arrest for advocating astrology – which rewrite of history suggests that I am not the only one that sees the resemblance between modern and medieval theocracy.

          Furthermore, the way that PC is, cancer-like, expanding the number of obviously false claims that it makes is really disturbing. But it’s more like the Soviet Union than it is like Medieval France.

          The Soviets consciously revived political institutions of the Mongols, and the Maoists consciously revived political institutions of the Legalists. It is pretty common for evil regimes of today to display conscious awareness of their relationship to evil regimes of the distant past in the same country.

          The Soviet Union had badly trained economists, badly trained biologists, and corresponding problems in those fields for similar reasons. But, how do we explain the lack of progress in, say, physics? I think the rise of peer review is much more important than theocracy (however defined) for this.

          By an interesting coincidence, the rewrite of history in which Roger Bacon is the bad guy, proposing astrology, and the inquisition is the good guy, freeing those foolish scientists from the baneful influence of Aristotle, first appeared in the 1947 at about the same time as peer review came to be generally applied in the sciences.

          In the nineteenth century, a lot of people put forward the argument that there was conflict between science and religion, and Roger Bacon was the first martyr of this conflict. The politically correct do not like this account at all, and indeed dislike it so much that they are apt to write out of history the facts that support it – which I interpret as indicating that they recognize the religious character of political correctness, recognize the resemblance between medieval and modern theocracy.

        • jim says:

          here was no noticeable increase in freedom of thought under Protestant monarchs in England. If anything, the reverse was true. Prior to Luther, the Church was pretty relaxed about enforcing heresy laws, except when a heresy got big enough to be threatening. Although Henry VIII, the first Protestant King of England, was merely a murderous, narcissistic thief, his Protestant progeny faced the difficult task of rationalizing his behavior. They faced this task by becoming or pretending to become religious fanatics (i.e. Henry was right because he was serving the Truth and anything is OK if you are serving the Truth) and converting England by fire and thongs. This was true of Henry’s son Edward and of Elizabeth, and the pattern continued and culminated in Cromwell.

          That would be the Cromwell under which there were one hundred and one violently different versions of Christianity contending for supporters, plus atheism and rationalism, and the Jews returned to England.

          Just as Roger Bacon being put on bread and water in solitary confinement for advocating the scientific method disproves your version of history, the multitude of sects and the return of the Jews under Cromwell disproves your version of history.

          Under Cromwell, the Jews returned to England. Under PC, the orthodox Jews are leaving, and the rest are converting to progressivism.

  4. Amazing site check it out!…

    Found this amazing site which has relation with this one, check it out and tell me what you think!?…

  5. seo services says:

    http://www.soubix.com Thanks for that awesome posting. It saved MUCH time 🙂

  6. George Stamos says:

    I’m not going to spend hours attempting to correct you redefinition of facts and truth after all most blogs are about personal deception than accuracy. But, specifically your definition of science is wrong, and your logic contradictory. Truth and fact are independent of belief and to define science as just a good old boys club of self and public deception is to deny the very existence of the technology you used to post this silliness. Read and learn: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method#Truth_and_belief

    • jim says:

      I define science as the scientific method.

      Official science, is, however not a good old boys club, nor is it science at all, but a theocratic religion. Peer review is the consensus of the most holy synod.

  7. orioles says:

    orioles
    If you are a trader or just interested in getting yourself into proprietary trading, make sure you take a look orioles

Leave a Reply