Which form of government is the best?
#71
(09-12-2013, 08:26 PM)PeterII Wrote:
MagisterMusicae Wrote:I would never claim that a particular state or government has God as its author, thus, I would not say that God inspired our constitution or chose our leaders. We wrote the constitution, and picked our leaders. If the State has authority over something, or if a ruler is selected, then this State and ruler exercise power as Our Lord said to Pilate, because it was given from heaven.

Quote:We also know that the Church prefers no form of government (cf. Immortale Dei, 4). Thus, the people who are the subjects of the State, may, for a legitimate reason, change the kind of government that the State has. It could be a monarchy. I could be a republic. It could be an oligarchic system. But the power itself that the State possesses does not come from the subjects, they are merely agents of God in forming a government and State.

And if a leader is not selected?  If the people do not want a monarchy, republic, oligarchy, democracy etc.? God's authority and law does not need a coercive political hierarchy to exist.  The people of Israel lived this way until they unwisely chose a King.

Naturally there will always be a leader of some kind. Whether he is officially selected by some ballot or by the general consent of the governed does not particularly matter. The people of Israel always had some leader, be it the Judges, Kings, Moses, Joshua, or any number of other leaders or groups of leaders. They also had their tribes, which had at least a leading family, if not a particular descendant of the founder.

There is no instance in history when a society was not governed in some manner, because as before, to say "society" is to imply a leader, just as to say "subsidiarity" is to imply hierarchy (else there can be no subsidiarity).

(09-12-2013, 08:26 PM)PeterII Wrote:
Quote:
MagisterMusicae Wrote:How about we drop the anti-royal thing. I've written before that we're not talking about monarchy here. We're talking about the Catholic principles behind the State....You claimed that the State stole its powers of governance from the Church. Instead, we see history undeniable shows that these institutions and powers were under public control well before the Church existed

You missed the point.  This isn't about a particular form of government, it is about coercive power.  You are trying to legitimize hierarchies not consented to by their subjects (eg. slaves) who are God's agents. 

I guess I did.

You see, I though you actually meant what you said when you wrote:

(09-09-2013, 10:18 PM)PeterII Wrote: All services were private until government usurped them, mainly from the Church.

If you did not mean that, then a retraction of that would be warranted. Thus my retort was to show that almost all of the powers in a modern state are exactly the same as those in States which rose and feel far before the Church existed.

You ignored that point.

I also don't seem to understand the objection to coercive power. In a family the children certainly must be coerced and trained, and Proverbs even recommends beating children in order to ensure they are well formed.

Slavery has nothing to do with this. The same Church that says the man needs society and government (thus legitimizes coercive power) has also worked to prudently end slavery. In the early years by protecting slave converts, allowing slaves to enter religious life and be freed, calling for laws against the abuse of slaves and eventually ending slavery in the civilized West until the late Renaissance, when her influence waned. Even in more modern times, like in the US, the Church worked to peacefully end slavery.

If the Church can teach both, then I don't understand your objection.

Reply
#72
The people of Israel did not have a central government during the time of the Judges.  The Judges only rose up when needed to deal with a particular circumstance, so there was nothing resembling a State. 

A leader is just someone who has influence, so naturally leaders have always existed. A ruler on the other hand is someone who uses force to gain compliance.  A family can do so, but only because children cannot take care of themselves, literally.  They have not fully developed yet.  A father beating an adult child though is ridiculous and considered assault. Slavery can only be a result of coercive power.

Organized education and healthcare were founded by Catholic orders, not the State.  Why has the State taken over healthcare and education worldwide for the most part?  Where's the necessity? 

 
Reply
#73
(09-14-2013, 12:24 AM)PeterII Wrote: The people of Israel did not have a central government during the time of the Judges.  The Judges only rose up when needed to deal with a particular circumstance, so there was nothing resembling a State. 

A leader is just someone who has influence, so naturally leaders have always existed. A ruler on the other hand is someone who uses force to gain compliance.  A family can do so, but only because children cannot take care of themselves, literally.  They have not fully developed yet.  A father beating an adult child though is ridiculous and considered assault. Slavery can only be a result of coercive power.

Organized education and healthcare were founded by Catholic orders, not the State.  Why has the State taken over healthcare and education worldwide for the most part?  Where's the necessity? 

I just wanted to comment; in Italy after the local ruler there was a guy called a Podesta. It's a derivative of the Latin Potesta or power. He was the one that could read, write and do math. All problems were brought to him and he judged as the OT Judges. If it was a pasturing, or sheep getting mixed in with a neighbor, or unfair money, stuff, this Podesta's word was final. I know this wouldn't work today but I've dreamed a little about it.

tim 
Reply
#74
Peter,

I'll be offline for several months from here on in, but thought I'd leave this last comment.

(09-14-2013, 12:24 AM)PeterII Wrote: The people of Israel did not have a central government during the time of the Judges.  The Judges only rose up when needed to deal with a particular circumstance, so there was nothing resembling a State.

Exactly my point. Israel did have leaders, perhaps we see here a very good form of subsidiarity, where the tribes, towns and cites managed most of their affairs, but we did see some central authority when it was needed.

But even if we ignore the lack of a strong authority on the national level, we can't pretend that the towns did not have such. "The State" in Catholic terminology is a mere institution. In practical application it can mean a nation, state, county, city, township, town, etc.

Thus, there was a "State" in Israel under the judges. In fact, there were, perhaps, several states.

You seem to be stuck on "central government" and State being the same thing.

(09-14-2013, 12:24 AM)PeterII Wrote: A leader is just someone who has influence, so naturally leaders have always existed. A ruler on the other hand is someone who uses force to gain compliance.

That's a very odd distinction to make. It seems then it's just a matter of personal judgement as to whether a leader is unduly influencing and thus using force. The distinction seems unclear and arbitrary, and further it presumes force is per se evil, yet the Church uses force (even if not physical) to coerce her subjects into good behavior for the good of their soul, so I would find it hard to justify that viewpoint. If it is "force" that is bad, then that should equally apply to Church and State.

(09-14-2013, 12:24 AM)PeterII Wrote: A family can do so, but only because children cannot take care of themselves, literally.  They have not fully developed yet.  A father beating an adult child though is ridiculous and considered assault.

Does not a father exert (rightly) a moral influence over his adult child? Should he not try to dissuade his adult daughter or son from marrying badly?

Again, as per the encyclical and Catholic social tradition, the family is very much like an older, but not perfectly mature child. Man needs society even for his family life, because family cannot provide for all his needs.

For example, if the father beat the adult child, but all beyond the family is superfluous (as you have suggested previously), then how is the father punished for this assault. Is it the child's responsibility to punish his father? Do you not see how this is just passing the anarchy problem to a lower level?

As my over the top example showed, there are natural institutions (like marriage), which are greater the the family, and even putting aside the supernatural ends, the natural ends of marriage being higher than any particular family, but for the good of the human race, there must be a higher authority to regulate this institution. Even in the golden era of the Church, the State recognized and protected the sacramental institution, because it was also a natural institution, but the State also regulated the institution as well.

Man's nature demands a natural authority over him. How that authority is set up is not important. That it be set up in agreement with his nature and following the natural law, and since the Church, Her doctrine, is undeniable.

(09-14-2013, 12:24 AM)PeterII Wrote: Organized education and healthcare were founded by Catholic orders, not the State.  Why has the State taken over healthcare and education worldwide for the most part?  Where's the necessity?

I thought we were talking about the State, generically. Why do you then reference the actions of particular modern states?

For my part, I do see those as unnecessary in a Catholic state, yes, but that's not an argument against the State having authority. We're saying that the State should not have authority in those areas.

Regarding organized education, the modern school is the result of Charlemagne. Obviously, he worked very closely with the Church (since it was Churchmen who were the most educated) in establishing schools, but it was not the Church on her own setting up schools, but the State and Church working together to provide education. A study of the history of this "education reform" as it is called, will demonstrate why both the State and Church were needed.
Reply
#75
(09-14-2013, 08:19 AM)Tim Wrote:
(09-14-2013, 12:24 AM)PeterII Wrote: The people of Israel did not have a central government during the time of the Judges.  The Judges only rose up when needed to deal with a particular circumstance, so there was nothing resembling a State. 

A leader is just someone who has influence, so naturally leaders have always existed. A ruler on the other hand is someone who uses force to gain compliance.  A family can do so, but only because children cannot take care of themselves, literally.  They have not fully developed yet.  A father beating an adult child though is ridiculous and considered assault. Slavery can only be a result of coercive power.

Organized education and healthcare were founded by Catholic orders, not the State.  Why has the State taken over healthcare and education worldwide for the most part?  Where's the necessity? 

I just wanted to comment; in Italy after the local ruler there was a guy called a Podesta. It's a derivative of the Latin Potesta or power. He was the one that could read, write and do math. All problems were brought to him and he judged as the OT Judges. If it was a pasturing, or sheep getting mixed in with a neighbor, or unfair money, stuff, this Podesta's word was final. I know this wouldn't work today but I've dreamed a little about it.

tim 

The Irish, before being oppressed by the English, had a decentralized system of competing Tuaths.  All they managed to do was Christianize Europe. 
Reply
#76
(09-05-2013, 03:45 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote:
(09-05-2013, 12:23 PM)Tim Wrote: Because we all suffer from Original Sin, all forms of government are corrupt. We should be suspicious of all of them especially Monarchies which God Almighty warned against. Gotta go my char ladies want me to move.

tim

I understand what you intend Tim, but I'm not sure we can say it as you do here.

The State is a perfect society. It is in man's nature to be social, and thus, the State was divinely ordained and given all of the means to attain its proper end. Thus any government of such a State, which is a necessary accident of such, is per se good.

Because of Original Sin and fallen human nature, those who exercise this power are constantly tempted toward corruption and abuse. When such corruption happens, we can certainly say that such a particular government is not good, but that does not make the institution of the State itself corrupt.

The Church does not prefer any form of government. She only insists that the government recognize the rights of the Church.

St. Thomas seems to argue that government by one when that one is virtuous is better, and when corrupt, government by many is the lesser evil.

History has shown that it is possible to have both rule by one or rule by many in a Catholic State.

I would agree with all of this.

Didn't St. Augustine write that christianity could flourish in any political state provided that authorities simply allowed their citizens to “render unto God the things that are God’s"?  It was a long time ago, so my memory is gray.  Assuming this is so, the best form of government is the one that would not restrict or relinquish freedom of worship, which would lead me to believe government by many is 'less' likely to implement draconian measures than a single corrupt ruler?

Perhaps overly simple on my part. A great thread.
Reply
#77
(09-14-2013, 11:38 PM)The Tax Collector Wrote:
(09-05-2013, 03:45 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote:
(09-05-2013, 12:23 PM)Tim Wrote: Because we all suffer from Original Sin, all forms of government are corrupt. We should be suspicious of all of them especially Monarchies which God Almighty warned against. Gotta go my char ladies want me to move.

tim

I understand what you intend Tim, but I'm not sure we can say it as you do here.

The State is a perfect society. It is in man's nature to be social, and thus, the State was divinely ordained and given all of the means to attain its proper end. Thus any government of such a State, which is a necessary accident of such, is per se good.

Because of Original Sin and fallen human nature, those who exercise this power are constantly tempted toward corruption and abuse. When such corruption happens, we can certainly say that such a particular government is not good, but that does not make the institution of the State itself corrupt.

The Church does not prefer any form of government. She only insists that the government recognize the rights of the Church.

St. Thomas seems to argue that government by one when that one is virtuous is better, and when corrupt, government by many is the lesser evil.

History has shown that it is possible to have both rule by one or rule by many in a Catholic State.

I would agree with all of this.

Didn't St. Augustine write that christianity could flourish in any political state provided that authorities simply allowed their citizens to “render unto God the things that are God’s"?  It was a long time ago, so my memory is gray.  Assuming this is so, the best form of government is the one that would not restrict or relinquish freedom of worship, which would lead me to believe government by many is 'less' likely to implement draconian measures than a single corrupt ruler?

Perhaps overly simple on my part. A great thread.

Christianity can flourish anywhere where it is tolerated, however the Church has stated that the state has not only a duty to tolerate Christianity, but a duty to support it.
Reply
#78
(09-14-2013, 08:38 AM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: Peter,

I'll be offline for several months from here on in, but thought I'd leave this last comment.

(09-14-2013, 12:24 AM)PeterII Wrote: The people of Israel did not have a central government during the time of the Judges.  The Judges only rose up when needed to deal with a particular circumstance, so there was nothing resembling a State.

Exactly my point. Israel did have leaders, perhaps we see here a very good form of subsidiarity, where the tribes, towns and cites managed most of their affairs, but we did see some central authority when it was needed.

But even if we ignore the lack of a strong authority on the national level, we can't pretend that the towns did not have such. "The State" in Catholic terminology is a mere institution. In practical application it can mean a nation, state, county, city, township, town, etc.

Thus, there was a "State" in Israel under the judges. In fact, there were, perhaps, several states.

You seem to be stuck on "central government" and State being the same thing.

(09-14-2013, 12:24 AM)PeterII Wrote: A leader is just someone who has influence, so naturally leaders have always existed. A ruler on the other hand is someone who uses force to gain compliance.

That's a very odd distinction to make. It seems then it's just a matter of personal judgement as to whether a leader is unduly influencing and thus using force. The distinction seems unclear and arbitrary, and further it presumes force is per se evil, yet the Church uses force (even if not physical) to coerce her subjects into good behavior for the good of their soul, so I would find it hard to justify that viewpoint. If it is "force" that is bad, then that should equally apply to Church and State.

If I am stuck on the "State" and "central government" being the same thing, it is because you have not resolved the conundrum: who determines sovereignty?  If a village is a State, then does it not have a right to declare itself independent and enact its own laws that may be contrary to institutions above it?  The same could be said for any institution regardless of size.  Indeed, it is a matter of personal judgement. 

Also, the Church does not use coercion, it uses influence.  No one is forced to be a practicing Catholic (an unwilling baptism is invalid) and the Church does not claim canonical authority over non-Catholics. 
Reply
#79
The Church can use both temporal and spiritual coercion on those who belong to her society (namely, the baptized), and the Church has always done so--from the current Code:

Can. 1311 The Church has the innate and proper right to coerce offending members of the Christian faithful with penal sanctions.

Can. 1312 §1. The following are penal sanctions in the Church:

1/ medicinal penalties, or censures, which are listed in ⇒ cann. 1331-1333;

2/ expiatory penalties mentioned in ⇒ can. 1336.

§2. The law can establish other expiatory penalties which deprive a member of the Christian faithful of some spiritual or temporal good and which are consistent with the supernatural purpose of the Church.

(NB: in Canon 204, "Christian faithful" are defined as the baptized; also, the above is based on the 14th Canon from the Council of Trent's Decree on Baptism).

Reply
#80
(09-18-2013, 09:24 AM)SaintSebastian Wrote: The Church can use both temporal and spiritual coercion on those who belong to her society (namely, the baptized), and the Church has always done so--from the current Code:

Can. 1311 The Church has the innate and proper right to coerce offending members of the Christian faithful with penal sanctions.

Can. 1312 §1. The following are penal sanctions in the Church:

1/ medicinal penalties, or censures, which are listed in ⇒ cann. 1331-1333;

2/ expiatory penalties mentioned in ⇒ can. 1336.

§2. The law can establish other expiatory penalties which deprive a member of the Christian faithful of some spiritual or temporal good and which are consistent with the supernatural purpose of the Church.

(NB: in Canon 204, "Christian faithful" are defined as the baptized; also, the above is based on the 14th Canon from the Council of Trent's Decree on Baptism).

What the Church does with its own members is irrelevant, as those members are voluntary.  You obviously can't force someone to have the Catholic Faith, and those deemed as heretics or apostates are conveniently left to secular powers to deal with. 
Reply




Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)