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Author Topic: Representatvie democracy, free markets & the demise of feudalism  (Read 1518 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: August 18, 2009, 02:42:46 AM »

Could representatvie democracy, free markets, the demise of feudalism, the rise of the middle class and the development of a case law legal system have arisen, had there been no Protestant Reformation?

I personally do not think such ideas could have gained ascendancy in a Catholic England/Europe or Catholic New World. Nor do I think Orthodox lands could have produced such ideas. We would not be having discussions about Orthodox unity in North America without its history of religious freedom coupled with political freedom and economic opportunity for immigrant Orthodox peoples stemming from Protestant theology/ecclessiaology and its attendant enlightenment political philosophy. Where/how do you reconcile this? How/wnat/where/why do you place this in God's Providence?
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« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2009, 08:36:12 AM »

Could representatvie democracy,

Instituted in pagan Greece and Roman.

Quote
free markets,

Created in the Middle East from time immormorial.


Quote
the demise of feudalism,

* gratuitous comment on current politics--since removed by moderator *

Quote
The roles have reversed.  The average person employed in the private sector is now relegated as in a feudal system, to an equivalent function of a serf or sharecropper.  The people are held in a vise like grip between two components of servitude, debt and taxes.  Through a combination of incompetent government, and horrendous mismanagement within financial institutions we have placed our children, our grandchildren and ourselves in debt servitude with no end in sight.  If you would like to know about the modern relationships between medieval feudalism and today's neo-feudalism I would suggest a great book by Friedrich Hayek called The Road to Serfdom.


Quote
the rise of the middle class

Happened in the city states of Italy, which last I checked had few Protestants.


Quote
and the development of a case law legal system

Developed in England when it was under the Vatican, and perhaps imported by the Normans from Sicily, which at the time was heavily Orthodox and Muslim (and heavily Arab, btw).


Quote
have arisen, had there been no Protestant Reformation?

I personally do not think such ideas could have gained ascendancy in a Catholic England/Europe or Catholic New World. Nor do I think Orthodox lands could have produced such ideas. We would not be having discussions about Orthodox unity in North America without its history of religious freedom coupled with political freedom and economic opportunity for immigrant Orthodox peoples stemming from Protestant theology/ecclessiaology and its attendant enlightenment political philosophy. Where/how do you reconcile this? How/wnat/where/why do you place this in God's Providence?


The Protestants have helped with providing a model for the jurisdictional mess.  I'm not sure why you are looking fro Providence in that.


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 ialmisry, you have already been warned a number of times to not post politics in the Public Forum, yet you continue to do so.  I also find your political comment quite out of context for what is essentially a historical study, thus potentially derailing this thread.

For posting politics on a public thread yet again, even after the many warnings you have received to not repeat this behavior, you are hereby on Warned status for the next 40 days.  If you feel that this warning is unfair, please feel free to appeal my decision to cleveland, the global moderator responsible for Other Topics.

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« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2009, 08:38:23 AM »

While representative democracy, free markets, the demise of feudalism, the rise of the middle class and the development of a case law legal system are really great, I don't think we can particularly say they are "Divine" or God's Law. If they were, why weren't they enshrined in the teachings of Christianity? They're just part of human history along with two world wars, the Magna Carta, the battle of Hastings, Communism in China, the Khmer Rouge.....
And they could all quite easily change again.
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« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2009, 10:14:02 AM »

Could representatvie democracy, free markets, the demise of feudalism, the rise of the middle class and the development of a case law legal system have arisen, had there been no Protestant Reformation?

I personally do not think such ideas could have gained ascendancy in a Catholic England/Europe or Catholic New World. Nor do I think Orthodox lands could have produced such ideas. We would not be having discussions about Orthodox unity in North America without its history of religious freedom coupled with political freedom and economic opportunity for immigrant Orthodox peoples stemming from Protestant theology/ecclessiaology and its attendant enlightenment political philosophy. Where/how do you reconcile this? How/wnat/where/why do you place this in God's Providence?


Umm...English Parliament developed into an elective and representative body by the mid-13th century.  By the time of the Protestant Reformation in England, Parliament had been calling many of the shots.  Henry VIII, in many ways, turned the clock back and re-instituted the idea of an absolute monarch amongst the English people and was arguably the last British monarch to wield that much power.
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« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2009, 10:18:38 PM »

Could representatvie democracy, free markets, the demise of feudalism, the rise of the middle class and the development of a case law legal system have arisen, had there been no Protestant Reformation?


Umm...English Parliament developed into an elective and representative body by the mid-13th century.  By the time of the Protestant Reformation in England, Parliament had been calling many of the shots.  Henry VIII, in many ways, turned the clock back and re-instituted the idea of an absolute monarch amongst the English people and was arguably the last British monarch to wield that much power.

Don't "um" me.

What Henry did only underscores that parliamentary government had not become fully institutionalized and part of the fabric of political life in England. Furthermore, Anglicanism broke from Rome but was never really part of the early reformation until the Westminster Confession. And even then, mainly the dissenters embraced the Westminster Confession, although many Anglican churchmen did embrace it and the Church of England then became something other than a pope-less catholicism.

But when the Reformation took place and took hold in Scotland and Presbyterian church government influenced political thinking, it had huge repurcussions for all of England in terms of the Puritans and other dissenters and Anglicanism becoming more truly a part of the Reformation. And then especially in colonial America Puritan and Presbyterian religious and political thinking shaped the future of the new world. Nonetheless, even on the Continent, the rise of the middle class and religious autonomy after the Reformation had huge religious, political and economic ramifications for what we think of as "Western culture" and the institutions and freedoms that were the progeny of such events.

I knew when I posted this that no one was going to be able to admit that without these cultural and religious movements in Western Europe, England and Scotland, we wouldn't be posting here because your Orthodox and Catholic ancestors would have had no place to emmigrate to where they could find religious freedom and economic prosperity.

So, save your "ums."



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« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2009, 10:29:42 PM »

While representative democracy, free markets, the demise of feudalism, the rise of the middle class and the development of a case law legal system are really great, I don't think we can particularly say they are "Divine" or God's Law. If they were, why weren't they enshrined in the teachings of Christianity? They're just part of human history along with two world wars, the Magna Carta, the battle of Hastings, Communism in China, the Khmer Rouge.....
And they could all quite easily change again.

I never said they were divine law. But what a great stroke of Providence (or dumb luck) these events were and consequently alot of Orthodox and Catholic folk had somewhere they could go for a better opportunity than in the old countries they were living in. And they were able to take their religion with them and freely practice it and even preserve some of their ethnic culture! Ain't it grand that God or chance let it happen that way!

Because the divine right of kings and the supreme pontiff in Western Catholicism and the intertwined relationship of emperor and metropolitan in the Eastern Church could never have spahned such notions of religious freedom, individual autonomy, and economic opportunity, coupled with political institutions for self-government. Hence no desirable place to emmigrate to.
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« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2009, 10:51:18 PM »



There is no denying the Renaissance re-discovery of classical learning and thought of the Greeks, Romans and cultures of the Middle East influenced the Reformation and Enlightenment. But my POINT is that, visa vi the Reformation in particular, a cultural tsumami was let loose that gathered all of these phenomena at the same time and in roughly the same place (Germany, Switzerland, Scotland and England) and let loose something that has held sway into our day.*

I just have difficulty digesting the "bite the hand that feeds you" attitude that cannot admit that what we enjoy here in the West is the fruit of Protestantism. The Protestants didn't make your folk convert. Maybe they faced some discrimination when they first got here, but they were always free to keep and practice their religion and ethnicity. Which is more than can be said of some of the Orthodox and Catholic lands that they came from had the shoe been on the other foot!

*I am aware that another cultural tsunami may be underfoot that will completely un-do these freedoms and that the recent trend toward a re-gathering within Catholicism and Orthodoxy may be the preparation necessary to withstand the onslaught of a renewed tribalism sweeping the world, whether seen in ethnic cleansing, special interest policitics or complete cultural disintegration.
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« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2009, 12:28:23 AM »

I never said they were divine law. But what a great stroke of Providence (or dumb luck) these events were and consequently alot of Orthodox and Catholic folk had somewhere they could go for a better opportunity than in the old countries they were living in. And they were able to take their religion with them and freely practice it and even preserve some of their ethnic culture! Ain't it grand that God or chance let it happen that way!

I'm not sure that an absence of persecution should be considered good fortune or "Divine Providence" or even "dumb luck".
Rather, it is the result of the triumph of human Reason over ignorance. Basic human rights are not a a matter of "luck".
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« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2009, 08:28:32 AM »

I never said they were divine law. But what a great stroke of Providence (or dumb luck) these events were and consequently alot of Orthodox and Catholic folk had somewhere they could go for a better opportunity than in the old countries they were living in. And they were able to take their religion with them and freely practice it and even preserve some of their ethnic culture! Ain't it grand that God or chance let it happen that way!

I'm not sure that an absence of persecution should be considered good fortune or "Divine Providence" or even "dumb luck".
Rather, it is the result of the triumph of human Reason over ignorance. Basic human rights are not a a matter of "luck".
And the Scottish equally embraced the triumph of reason in enlightenment thought and the principles of governance that they found in Presbyterian representative organizarion, the principes of religious freedom and individual conscience from the reformation and they were always fiercely independent

What IS Providence or luck is all those things coming together in a relatively short period of time in a relatively concentrated geographic area at a time when trade and travel were increasing and the new world had been discovered and was being settled by alot of people for whom individual and religious freedom and economic opportunity were paramount.
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« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2009, 09:41:31 AM »



There is no denying the Renaissance re-discovery of classical learning and thought of the Greeks, Romans and cultures of the Middle East influenced the Reformation and Enlightenment. But my POINT is that, visa vi the Reformation in particular, a cultural tsumami was let loose that gathered all of these phenomena at the same time and in roughly the same place (Germany, Switzerland, Scotland and England) and let loose something that has held sway into our day.*

I just have difficulty digesting the "bite the hand that feeds you" attitude that cannot admit that what we enjoy here in the West is the fruit of Protestantism. The Protestants didn't make your folk convert.

You obviously don't know the history of what happened in Alaska once it was sold, nor what the Calvinists did to the Romanian Orthodox in Transylvania, amongst other things.


Quote
Maybe they faced some discrimination when they first got here, but they were always free to keep and practice their religion and ethnicity. Which is more than can be said of some of the Orthodox and Catholic lands that they came from had the shoe been on the other foot!

Do you know anything about what happened to those under the heel of the Brithish Crown, who remained loyal to the Vatican after Henry gave himself a divorce?

Quote
*I am aware that another cultural tsunami may be underfoot that will completely un-do these freedoms and that the recent trend toward a re-gathering within Catholicism and Orthodoxy may be the preparation necessary to withstand the onslaught of a renewed tribalism sweeping the world, whether seen in ethnic cleansing, special interest policitics or complete cultural disintegration.

Speaking of that, do you know anything about the history of Ireland?
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« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2009, 09:44:01 AM »

I never said they were divine law. But what a great stroke of Providence (or dumb luck) these events were and consequently alot of Orthodox and Catholic folk had somewhere they could go for a better opportunity than in the old countries they were living in. And they were able to take their religion with them and freely practice it and even preserve some of their ethnic culture! Ain't it grand that God or chance let it happen that way!

I'm not sure that an absence of persecution should be considered good fortune or "Divine Providence" or even "dumb luck".
Rather, it is the result of the triumph of human Reason over ignorance. Basic human rights are not a a matter of "luck".
And the Scottish equally embraced the triumph of reason in enlightenment thought and the principles of governance that they found in Presbyterian representative organizarion, the principes of religious freedom and individual conscience from the reformation and they were always fiercely independent
Something that they arrogated to themselves but denied the Irish. Like they say:"They came to Ulster and prayed to God, and then they preyed on the Irish."

Quote
What IS Providence or luck is all those things coming together in a relatively short period of time in a relatively concentrated geographic area at a time when trade and travel were increasing and the new world had been discovered and was being settled by alot of people for whom individual and religious freedom and economic opportunity were paramount.

You talking about the Spanish and Portuguese empires?
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« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2009, 10:03:13 AM »

Several Western European political movements, as well as more than one major revolution, were self-professedly inspired by sections of Book IV of Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion, which lays out his most radical ideas about government.

In its earlier stages, the Brits referred to the upheavals in North America as "The Presbyterian Revolt."
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« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2009, 10:54:12 AM »

Could representatvie democracy, free markets, the demise of feudalism, the rise of the middle class and the development of a case law legal system have arisen, had there been no Protestant Reformation?

I would say yes, but.

While there is no question that Protestanism greatly influenced all of that, I do not believe it is the sole or main cause. Jaroslav Pelikan's Jesus Through the Centuries: His Place in the History of Culture shows that it is one of the elemental teachings of Christ that has been most influential in the transformation of civilization for the better, that is, that all of us (men and women, adults and children, of any race or nationality) are equal in God's eyes.

There is no doubt that the American Constitution (that great model for democracy, individual rights, rule of law, and free markets) was greatly influenced by the appeal of the Shining City on the Hill, the New Jerusalem, that was and is a concept dear to Protestants (and some Orthodox like me). There is no doubt that the nation that produced this remarkable document was primarily Anglo-Saxon AND Protestant. There is also no doubt that capitalism first flourished in Anglophone countries (See the work of Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto), and that capitalism and political freedom are intimately linked (see the work of Milton Friedman).

So, I believe the root cause is the teachings of the Lord. Contributing factors do include Protestanism, as well as the exposure of the masses to the Holy Scriptures and all matters written by the introduction of the printing press; the rise in living standards in the West; and the American Revolution itself.
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« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2009, 11:02:32 AM »

Could representatvie democracy, free markets, the demise of feudalism, the rise of the middle class and the development of a case law legal system have arisen, had there been no Protestant Reformation?


Umm...English Parliament developed into an elective and representative body by the mid-13th century.  By the time of the Protestant Reformation in England, Parliament had been calling many of the shots.  Henry VIII, in many ways, turned the clock back and re-instituted the idea of an absolute monarch amongst the English people and was arguably the last British monarch to wield that much power.

Don't "um" me.

What Henry did only underscores that parliamentary government had not become fully institutionalized and part of the fabric of political life in England. Furthermore, Anglicanism broke from Rome but was never really part of the early reformation until the Westminster Confession. And even then, mainly the dissenters embraced the Westminster Confession, although many Anglican churchmen did embrace it and the Church of England then became something other than a pope-less catholicism.

Fixed quote tags and nothing more...  -PtA

you didn't say anything about it being institutionalized but about it "gaining ascendancy".  It is a matter of historical fact that the realm of England had an elected Parliament which wielded some amount of power over the crown for some 300 years before Henry.  While Henry certainly acted an absolute monarch by the time of his schism, there was still a strong tradition of some sort of representative government in England.

I have no problem in admitting that the Protestant confessions did much to advance the cause of republicanism and led to the downfall of monarchy.  However, the roots of such political systems DID exist in Catholic Europe.
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« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2009, 11:41:36 PM »

Could representatvie democracy, free markets, the demise of feudalism, the rise of the middle class and the development of a case law legal system have arisen, had there been no Protestant Reformation?


Umm...English Parliament developed into an elective and representative body by the mid-13th century.  By the time of the Protestant Reformation in England, Parliament had been calling many of the shots.  Henry VIII, in many ways, turned the clock back and re-instituted the idea of an absolute monarch amongst the English people and was arguably the last British monarch to wield that much power.

Don't "um" me.

What Henry did only underscores that parliamentary government had not become fully institutionalized and part of the fabric of political life in England. Furthermore, Anglicanism broke from Rome but was never really part of the early reformation until the Westminster Confession. And even then, mainly the dissenters embraced the Westminster Confession, although many Anglican churchmen did embrace it and the Church of England then became something other than a pope-less catholicism.

Fixed quote tags and nothing more...  -PtA

you didn't say anything about it being institutionalized but about it "gaining ascendancy".  It is a matter of historical fact that the realm of England had an elected Parliament which wielded some amount of power over the crown for some 300 years before Henry.  While Henry certainly acted an absolute monarch by the time of his schism, there was still a strong tradition of some sort of representative government in England.

I have no problem in admitting that the Protestant confessions did much to advance the cause of republicanism and led to the downfall of monarchy.  However, the roots of such political systems DID exist in Catholic Europe.
Thank you. I did not mean to imply that protestantism contributed what I have attributed to it as its contribution in an historical vaccum. It certainly built on foundations laid before it (like the Renaissance) and England had certainly developed concepts of rule of law and representative govt. befor the reformation. But "Catholic" England was always a bit unlike the Continent with its British/Celtic Church; its Roman/English Church and finally the more continental Norman Catholicism. There was always some push back first from the Brits/Celts, then from the English. The Church in the British Isles was never quite in the pocket as Rome might have wished. So what took place there prior to the reformation, although it may not support the premise of the original post, it nonetheless may compliment it.
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« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2009, 11:47:31 PM »

Speaking of that, do you know anything about the history of Ireland?
[/quote] - QUOTE BY ialmisry

I am not talking about later protestants and the later imperial politicies of Great Britain. I am referring to what the original reformation un-leashed politically as much as religiously.

Neither am I denying abuses by protestants.

But you are so bitter toward protestantism so as to be virtually irrational in your replies and your vehemence makes some of your replies almost incomprehensible.
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« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2009, 11:52:33 PM »

Speaking of that, do you know anything about the history of Ireland?- QUOTE BY ialmisry

I am not talking about later protestants and the later imperial politicies of Great Britain. I am referring to what the original reformation un-leashed politically as much as religiously.

Neither am I denying abuses by protestants.

But you are so bitter toward protestantism so as to be virtually irrational in your replies and your vehemence makes some of your replies almost incomprehensible.

Spot light too bright?

Rather than thinking that my view of Protestants (of which I once was) is too bitter, you might consider that your picture of Protestantism is too rosy.
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« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2009, 01:39:35 AM »

Spot light too bright?
Well, I'm certainly not being enlightened.
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« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2009, 03:04:33 AM »

Rather than thinking that my view of Protestants (of which I once was) is too bitter...

Oh, we do.  It's nice seeing all of the indirect self-loathing going on though.  If you disdain past versions of yourself, it's likely that you just hate yourself altogether.  Freud!

From what I can tell, you've gone from being right (Islam) to righter (Protestantism) to rightest (Orthodoxy).  Eat some humble pie and chill out, or you're going to have an aneurysm.
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« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2009, 06:43:55 AM »

Spot light too bright?
Well, I'm certainly not being enlightened.

Covering your eyes does that.

Rather than thinking that my view of Protestants (of which I once was) is too bitter...

Oh, we do.  It's nice seeing all of the indirect self-loathing going on though.  If you disdain past versions of yourself, it's likely that you just hate yourself altogether.  Freud!

From what I can tell, you've gone from being right (Islam) to righter (Protestantism) to rightest (Orthodoxy).  Eat some humble pie and chill out, or you're going to have an aneurysm.

Well, you stepped in it from the get go (besides quoting Freud, which a lot of psychiatrists and psychologists avoid doing.  Too passe and discredited):I've never been a Muslim.

As for the OP, he has stated some vague glory of Protestantism, so vague that when there has been a call on it (British Imperial policy, the existence of parliament, the absolutism of Henry VIII, etc.) he has wiggle room out of it.

I don't know what he means by puting quotation marks around "Catholic" in the phrase "Catholic England."  Besides producing one pope for the Vatican, England also produced the atonement theory so popular in Latin scholastic theology (Anslem, who also defended the filioque), invented and promoted the Immaculate Conception, and housed Our Lady of Welsingham (whose image I venerated in a Western Rite Church just this Sunday) was a major pilgrimage site. Then there's Duns Scotus, William of Ockham,....England was well within the realm of the Vatican.

I am also not sure what is the point of arguing that England was "a bit unlike" the rest of the Patriarchate of the West, as Geneva and various German states were far more Protestant than England.  Did Sweden-Finland, whose Prostestantism resembles Anglicanism, make any of the accomplishments attributed to English Protestants?

When the OP states: "What IS Providence or luck is all those things coming together in a relatively short period of time in a relatively concentrated geographic area at a time when trade and travel were increasing and the new world had been discovered and was being settled by alot of people for whom individual and religious freedom and economic opportunity were paramount" I don't know what people he is talking about. Jamestown was founded by the English equivalent of the conquistadores. Plymouth was interested in religious freedom for itself (if you were not Puritan enough, you found yourself in Rhode Island in short order, if you were lucky.  Btw, that includes another lovely thing that Protestantism helped promote: the Witch Hysteria of the period), and conformity (one of the reasons that they left Holland was fear of influence from the dominent Dutch culture). Australia was a penal colony where a lot of Irish loyal to the Vatican were dumped.  Canada was started by French strongly loyal to Catholicism (the vestiges of which can still be seen glaring) and English who chose the king against the new American Republicanism. I still haven't seen an explanation for the larger success of the Spanish and Portuguese Empires.

How "The Protestants didn't make your folk convert. Maybe they faced some discrimination when they first got here, but they were always free to keep and practice their religion and ethnicity. Which is more than can be said of some of the Orthodox and Catholic lands that they came from had the shoe been on the other foot!" can be posted with a straight face is beyond me.  The Irish, Welsh and even the Scotts (especially the Highlanders) can only laugh (if not cry) at such a claim.  Even today, the Vatican is not allowed to restore bishops to traditional sees in England.

"Because the divine right of kings and the supreme pontiff in Western Catholicism and the intertwined relationship of emperor and metropolitan in the Eastern Church could never have spahned such notions of religious freedom, individual autonomy, and economic opportunity, coupled with political institutions for self-government. Hence no desirable place to emmigrate to."  The Protestants produced plenty of absolute monarchs (in Norway, for instance, that is exactly how it became Protestant). The OP also ignores that Protestantism in Russia existed because of immigration to it.  Finland became Finnish and autonomous under the czar, not the Swedish king.


The OP is going to have to be clearer on what he is claiming and what is his evidence, beyond his problems of digestion.

« Last Edit: August 20, 2009, 07:01:46 AM by ialmisry » Logged

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philalethe00
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« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2009, 12:04:03 PM »

@BrotherAidan
I agree. Russia has not had a capitalist("free-market") regime until recently, Greek people tend to view the modern bourgeois state(their previous political organisation, after the Fall, was communitarian and within the Church) as sth hostile and tyrannical, and John Calvin had been the first heterodox Christian to justify the capitalist profit which, after that, became, I think, sth like an epidemic. 

I humbly think that sociologist Max Weber has done a good work of explaining how the imaginary and not positive theology of Calvinism in specific promoted decisively all these elements and, especially, the "spirit of capitalism".  Smiley

Moreover, there is something important to note on ialmisry's post:
Ancient Greece had not a representative democracy, it had indirect democracy. Is has been stated that it was the best the world has ever known, after the democracy of Mount Athos's autonomous state.  Wink Smiley
« Last Edit: August 20, 2009, 12:13:28 PM by philalethe00 » Logged

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"When the world laughs, the saints, in crying, draw the Divine compassion onto humans."(Paul Evdokimov)
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