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Full Version: Merovingian Anarchy versus Carolingian Centralization
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(05-09-2013, 12:56 AM)rbjmartin Wrote: [ -> ]
(05-08-2013, 11:43 PM)DoktorDespot Wrote: [ -> ]Furthermore, the author takes issue with Charlemagne's ban on usury and prohibitions on working on Sunday. I do not have much to say about this other than it was obviously his attempt to conform the Kingdom to Christian morality. The description of bans on usury as a "monetary crank theory" is quite ironic.

What do you make of the bishop of Verdun's position on usury, then? Also, I thought the author did a fine job addressing this when he explained that borrowing money in the early middle ages typically wouldn't have been for capital investments but for life or death necessities, thus accounting for why charging interest to a borrower would be seen as immoral. In the case of capital loans, it would certainly be moral. So a distinction must be made.

I have spent a good bit of time attempting to research this vague reference to the "Bishop of Verdun." I am certain this is a reference to Desideratus who is discussed comonly in works on the morality of usury and interest. Desideratus procured a loan for his diocese from the Merovingian King Theodebert, promising to repay the money with interest as a condition for the loan. Certainly, he would have then had an interest in justifying his actions as being moral and ethical. Bishop Desideratus also died in the year 550 A.D., when Christian thought on these issues had not fully developed. Certainly by the time of Charlemange, usury was regarded as a sin, rather than a lack of charity.
DoktorDespot,
It appears that you take issue with many of the author's assertions regarding the historical facts he cites in his essay. That is a legitimate criticism, and I don't have the knowledge of the historical details or time and access to the necessary resources to dispute either of you. My interest in his discussion surrounds the political and economic theoretical implications (because I'm a believer in the benefits of decentralization, subsidiarity, and some forms of anarchism). It doesn't make much sense for us to attempt to pursue a theoretical discussion if the factual bases of his claims are disputed, so I'm going to bow out here.
(05-09-2013, 12:30 PM)rbjmartin Wrote: [ -> ]DoktorDespot,
It appears that you take issue with many of the author's assertions regarding the historical facts he cites in his essay. That is a legitimate criticism, and I don't have the knowledge of the historical details or time and access to the necessary resources to dispute either of you. My interest in his discussion surrounds the political and economic theoretical implications (because I'm a believer in the benefits of decentralization, subsidiarity, and some forms of anarchism). It doesn't make much sense for us to attempt to pursue a theoretical discussion if the factual bases of his claims are disputed, so I'm going to bow out here.

Oh, I I am not trying to shut down the conversation or anything - I think this discussion of the implications you mentioned is very important and intersting (and I happen to share your views on the benefits of decentralization and limited government etc.) However, there is a tendency among supporters of these ideas to take historical facts and twist or distort them to support their ideological ideas. I think one can make a good case for decentalization or forms of anarchism, but the unncesarry appeal to history only weakens the argument when it is inaccurate.

So, as for the general idea - I think that the "Dark Ages" or Medieval period in general offers a pretty compelling model for society with limited involvement in the issue of individuals. Certainly the overlapping spheres of authority and loyalty in the Medieval period demonstrate that all power and order need not come from the state. As I said initially, I think even the reign of Charlemange is very tame compared to the amounts of centralization that we see today.

Most importantly though, I think these Medieval patterns of rule gives us examples of the State serving as a means to an end (that end being the protection of people, their property and maintenance of basic morality) as opposed to what we see evolving later (and continuing to this day,) where the state serves as an end in and of itself.
(05-09-2013, 09:58 AM)cgraye Wrote: [ -> ]To this day, whenever I see the word "Merovingian", I hear it in my 11th grade history teacher's voice.

I hope I am burned into the brains of my students one day.
(05-09-2013, 12:58 PM)DoktorDespot Wrote: [ -> ]So, as for the general idea - I think that the "Dark Ages" or Medieval period in general offers a pretty compelling model for society with limited involvement in the issue of individuals. Certainly the overlapping spheres of authority and loyalty in the Medieval period demonstrate that all power and order need not come from the state. As I said initially, I think even the reign of Charlemange is very tame compared to the amounts of centralization that we see today.

Most importantly though, I think these Medieval patterns of rule gives us examples of the State serving as a means to an end (that end being the protection of peopole, their property and maintenance of basic morality) as opposed to what we see evolving later (and continuing to this day,) where the state serves as an end in and of itself.

I think these are good observations. Thank you.
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