Sunday, January 2, 2011

Charles J. Reid on Brian Tierney Part 3- From American Creation

Hello My Name Is Gratian And I Think I Have Something To Add To This Discussion

Hello again American Creation family! I hope you all remember me in that I do not think I have posted here since Summer. This was due to the time consuming re-launching of my real estate business after it turned out that the oil had not ruined the part of the Gulf Coast I live in forever after all. Anyway, I am going to dive in and pick up right where I left off: Charles J. Reid's review of Brian Tierney's book, The Idea of Natural Rights: Studies on Natural Rights, Natural Law, and Church Law 1150 to 1625. Before doing so, I think it wise to summarize where we were in the discussion 4 months ago, the first two parts in this series, and the concept of a "zone of autonomy" being at the core of the Christian argument for natural rights.

Four months ago we were involved in a debate over my challenge to the idea articulated by Ed Brayton, Gregg Frazer, and Jon Rowe that, "that the Bible nowhere speaks to the concept of unalienable rights, especially an unalienable right to religious and political liberty." I pointed to the work of Brian Tierney and his contention that the pre-Aquinas development of Canon Law heavily impacted the evolution of the Western Legal Tradition which in turn had great influence on our founding era idea of natural rights. Then I followed that general overview of Reid's book review with a post that began to sort through some of the details. I started with Reid's brief summary of the contributions of Justian, Gratian, and the "decretists" as he follows Tieney's account of the evolution of the idea of natural rights.

The "decretists" were the Canonists that sifted through the works of Gratian per Justinian and attempted to address some of the inherent contradictions they saw in his work. In the process they began to articulate a coherent case for natural rights that I think is summed up best by Rufius,

Rufinus began, "'a certain force instilled in every human creature by nature to do good and avoid the opposite.' ' This force, he continued, "'consists in three things, commands, prohibitions, and demonstrations. . . . It cannot be detracted from at all as regards the commands and prohibitions . .. but it can be as regards the demonstrations, which nature not command or forbid but shows to be good."'

The "demonstrations" alluded to above are actions that the Bible neither commands nor prohibits and leaves to each man's own discretion as to whether "nature" shows it to be "good". It is my contention that our discussions of the differences between "Classically Conservative" vs. "Classically Liberal", "Enlightenment" vs. "Christendom", and "French Revolution" vs. "American Revolution" should all start with the question of, "Liberty" or "License" per Locke via Hooker.

Thus, my question to Brayton, Rowe, Frazer, is how we can even begin to have this conversation about the "Christian" idea of rights until we enlarge the historical discussion to include the men I have mentioned above and their contributions to the Western Legal Tradition?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Marx or Locke From 3rdWAVElands Part 3

I am on a roll with the Marx or Locke thing on my real estate blog.  Here is the money quote:

You mean the country that has been dominated by the economic theory of John Maynard Keynes for the last 100 years? That's right at the heart of the Keynes theory of economics is the welfare state that believes in the justice of taking private property from one group and giving it to the other. In direct contradiction of the philosophy of John Locke and a violation of our founding principles found in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Make no mistake, this happens no matter what party is in power.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Marx or Locke From 3rdWAVElands Part 2

This post is from my real estate blog again but it hits on a theme that I write about quite here quite often: Property Rights.  Here is the money quote:

In fact, one can make a very good argument that the main catalyst to the American and French Revolutions was the uniting of the working class(Proletariat) and small business(Bourgeois) class to overthrow monopoly of the elite.  If true then this was a serious threat that needed to be squashed. Sure enough by 1815 the elite of Europe called a congress to restore "order "and claim back much of what they had lost.  It was called the Congress of Vienna and the order that it established lasted in Europe until the uprisings of 1848.  Which just so happens to be the year that Marx wrote his "Manifesto" that sought use the issue of property rights to divide these same two groups that had risen up to challenge the elite 75 years earlier. Maybe there is more to this story than meets the eye?...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Marx or Locke From 3rdWAVElands

This is a post from my real estate blog but references a theme I hit on here as well. Here is the money quote:

On the other hand, Locke felt that the right to property was an inalienable right given to man by God. He thought it essential that man be allowed to keep the fruit of his labors for him to pursue happiness. Furthermore, he was absolutely against one group of people using the power of government to take property from the other. As was stated, this was the idea that was at the core of our founding as a nation.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Statistics Do Not Lie

Here is a post from my Real Estate blog 3rdWAVElands that is relevant to what I have written here about Toffler's Third Wave.  It comments on a post from Richard Florida who is brilliant and has some great insights into catalysts to innovation.  This theme also ties in with some of my posts about Goldstone and the creation of the modern world.  Here is the post.


This is from my Real Estate blog 3rdWAVElands but is relevant to a lot of what I blog about here about Toffler's Third Wave.  So here it is


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Strauss and Reason vs. Revelation

There has been a lot of discussion about Leo Strauss lately in the comments section of this blog so I decided to do a post on a part of this University of Chicago Press excerpt of the book Reading Leo Strauss by Steven B. Smith. The following jumped out to me because it focuses on the reason vs. revelation debate that is very famililar to this blog:

"The great theme of Strauss’s life work—what he himself referred to as “the theme of my investigations”—is the theologico-political problem, a term he drew from his early studies of Spinoza. At the center of the theologico-political problem is a choice or conflict between two comprehensive and apparently irreconcilable alternatives: revelation and reason, or as he refers to them metaphorically, Jerusalem and Athens. The difference between Jerusalem and Athens is not simply a philosophical or theological problem; it is at heart a political one. It is a matter of authority and who holds ultimate authority. Does final authority rest with the claims of revelation and all that it implies or with one’s autonomous human reason as the most fundamental guide to life?