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Western Civilisation

Until the advent of materialism and 19th c. dogma, Western Civilisation was  superior to anything Islam had developed.  Islam has not aided in the development of the modern world; in fact civilisation has only been created in spite of Islam.  Proof of this resides in the 'modern' world and the unending political-economic and spiritual poverty of Muslim states and regions.  Squatting on richer civilisations is not 'progress'.  Islam is pagan, totalitarian, and irrational.   

Archive - June 2024

The Catholic Church and medieval economic philosophy

Modern economic ideas long pre-date the 'Enlightenment'.

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Faith and Liberty: The Economic Thought of the Late Scholastics - Acton ...


According to modern propaganda, ‘economic thought’ as a discipline, arose only in the 18th century through the work of men such as Adam Smith, or David Ricardo.  The ‘Enlightenment’, so goes the myth, generated ideas about ‘free markets’, individual pursuit of ‘liberty’ and economic exchange, and somewhat complex ideas about economics worked at the regional, national and international levels.  Without such ‘genius’ and ‘innovation’ modern ‘economics’ would never have been birthed.  So goes the fable.


Joseph Schumpeter, an economic historian of the last century, wrote a ‘History of Economic Analysis’ in 1954.  In this book he pays homage to the medieval Scholastics who created almost all of what is later found in the ‘Enlightenment’ on economic theory.


“It is they (the scholastics or schoolmen), who come nearer than does any other group to having been the founders of scientific economics.”


There is nothing much ‘scientific’ about economics.  Gross Domestic Product, developed by Kuznets in the 1930s and used today to gauge economic strength or vitality is a poor metric to assess a country’s economic output.  GDP is just a spending algorithm, with public spending and state spending included which in essence is a false accounting, since state expenditure is either tax or debt.  So much for ‘scientific economics’.


Schumpeter’s assessment is joined by other economic historians including Murray Rothbard, who in his celebrated books, stated that the schoolmen were brilliant social thinkers and economic analysts.  The economic concepts of the schoolmen reached their conclusion in the ‘Austrian’ school of economics, dedicated to free market and libertarian ideals – the very opposite of what the Church is often accused of supporting.  The Austrian school includes Carl Menger, Eugen von Bohm-Bawerk, Ludwig von Mises and F.A. Hayek who won a Nobel in economics in 1974.


The foundations of ‘modern’ economic analysis can be traced back to the 13th - 14th centuries.  Jean Buridan (1300-1358), as Rector of the University of Paris, made very important contributions to the understanding of money and inflation.  It was Buridan and those before him who first described money as a medium of exchange, a market-driven necessity, and not a state-produced product.  Voluntary exchange and not government interdicts were the foundation of monetary value.  The scholastics first described money as portable, divisible, durable with a defined value per unit weight that could not be debased. 


Nicholas Oresme (1325-1382), a student of Buridan’s, is called the founding father of monetary economics, outlining a comprehensive regime of money creation and management in his, ‘A Treatise on the Origin, Nature, Law and Alterations of money’.  This book is the most comprehensive approach to monetary analysis until the 19th century.  It contains for example what is now called, ‘Gresham’s law’, which is the fixed value ratio between 2 units (gold, silver), or 2 currencies.  If the government artificially undervalues one unit over time against the other, it will disappear from circulation.  An example would be that if initially 15 silver units were equal to 1 gold unit, but this was changed to 10, the market would naturally stop using gold and use instead the now artificially created higher value of silver. Thus, the destructive effects of inflation were well known by the 13th and 14th centuries. 


Spanish scholastics and theologians were well acquainted with the reality of high inflation.  The quantity theory of money was formed by Martin de Azpilcueta (1493-1586), who wrote a history of the inflationary effects of American gold and silver on the Spanish economy, a key factor which led to Spain’s decline as an economic and military power, “Thus we see by experience that in France, where money is scarcer than in Spain, bread, wine, cloth, and labour are worth much less.”


Cardinal Cajetan (1468-1534) in 1499 wrote ‘De Cambiis’ or ‘On Exchange’, which vindicated the foreign exchange market from a moral standpoint.  He also wrote that the current value of money is affected by its perceived future value and the predictions of future market strength.  War, poor harvests, a looming state bankruptcy, extravagant public spending, rumours of large tax increases, an expanding or declining empire, disease, government competence or incompetence, a succession crisis, all these and many more would affect the currency’s value.  This is now termed ‘economic expectations theory’.


Subjective value economics was also developed by the Church.  This concept states that the real value of money is based on perception as much as real value.  Also confidence plays an important role.  Pierre Olivi (1248-1298) proposed a value theory based on subjective utility.  He and others in the 13th century argued that the value of a good is derived from the subjective analysis of its utility or desirability.  A pearl for example has a much greater perceived value than the utilitarian, practical working horse, due only to desirability and perception.  Further elaboration of these ideas was developed by San Bernardino of Siena, a notable economic thinker in the 15th century and Cardinal Juan de Lugo (1583-1660), in the 17th


Subjective value is an extremely important economic insight.  It is not found in Smith’s works, where he attributes a good’s value to its labour content.  This theme was picked up by Marx to elaborate his apocryphal analysis of economic Communism.  The value theory of economics is the right approach to understand a unit’s value, not the labour theory of exchange.  Smith and Marx have everything backwards.  A good does not derive its value from the labour cost, but the labour expended on the good, derives its value from the customer’s valuation of the final product.  Hence the pearl and horse analogy.


Alejandra Chafuen in, ‘Faith and Liberty: The Economic Thought of the Late Scholastics’ (2003), meticulously proves that the scholastics and medieval thinkers developed the ideas around free markets, free exchange, goods valuation, monetary policy, inflation and currency values.  From prices and wages to money and value theory, the Scholastics anticipated all of the ‘Enlightenments’ propositions.  Such Catholic innovations are well known to many scholars, but are deliberately kept out of the media, educational systems and textbooks. 


El Cid and the great victory at Valencia against the Musulman Jihad

June 15 1094.

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Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar "El Cid": The name El Cid is Moorish, it means ...

Today in history, on June 15, 1094, one of the most remarkable feats in the long war between Islam and Christianity took place: the great kingdom of Valencia, which had been under Muslim control for more than 350 years, capitulated to the warlord Roderick Díaz of Vivar — better known to posterity as “the Cid” (from the Arabic honorific al-sayyid, “the lord”).

In the late eleventh century, the Almoravids, a North African group committed to jihadist teaching, began to pour into Spain from Africa to aid their Spanish counterparts, the Moors, against the Reconquista—the centuries-long Christian attempt to liberate Spain from Islam.  The Cid’s premiere modern biographer, Professor Ramón Menéndez Pidal (d. 1968), summarizes the mood and stakes as follows:

With the Almoravid invasion, the struggle between the two civilizations had reached its height… [W]ith the invasion of the desert races and the recrudescence of Islamic fanaticism, a new chasm opened out between the two. And, on the Christian side, it was the Cid who, as the leader of the resistance against the victorious invaders, showed himself the most determined to carry on the war without giving or seeking quarter. … [I]t was upon the Cid that the task devolved of resisting, unaided, the whole might of Islam.

Toward the end of the year 1093, a secret plot between the Almoravids and the Moors of Valencia, which had only recently become tributary to the Cid, resulted in the overthrow of its king, Yahya al-Qadir, who had “increased their [Valencians] hatred by being a friend to the Christians” — that is, by being a vassal to the Cid. During the uprising, fanatical Muslims discovered al-Qadir trying to abscond out of Valencia dressed in and concealed by a woman’s burqa. To cries of “Allahu akbar,” the mob slaughtered him as an apostate and hurled his body into a camel dung pit.

On learning of the Valencians’ treachery and murder of his vassal, the Cid’s “anger was kindled, and his soul was inflamed,” writes the Muslim chronicler al-Maqqari. Like a fierce storm, he came and with extreme violence thrashed the Valencian countryside, taking all the castles and suburbs up to the city’s very walls. He “fought so fiercely,” writes Ibn al-Qama, who was present in Valencia, “that the Moors were terrified at the havoc he played among them.”

Months passed, and mass starvation soon plagued the besieged Moorish kingdom, but the Muslims continued to hold out on the conviction that their Almoravid allies would eventually come to their rescue. At long last, an immense host of Almoravids was espied marching to Valencia’s relief.

Acting fast, the Cid, who was camped outside the walls of Valencia, destroyed all of the bridges leading to the city and flooded the countryside with water from the canals, so that only one strip of land, which he now controlled, was dry. Done none too soon, a massive dust storm heralded the arrival of the Islamic hordes of North Africa.

[Now] when the news came that the Africans had arrived at Alcira, the Valencians, frantic with joy, rushed to the walls to scan the horizon for signs of their saviors and watch by night the twinkle of the numberless fires of the Almoravid bivouacs… And all the time the citizens prayed unceasingly for Allah’s aid against the Cid and agreed in council to plunder the Christian camp and the stores and hostels of the suburb when the battle reached the wall.

When morning came, the Cid and the Valencians awoke to a strange sight: empty fields. The jihadist saviors of Valencia had retreated in the dark over the flooded plains, abandoning the city to its fate.  A contemporary chronicle allots two sentences to this ignominious event: a large “army of Moabites [Almoravids], swiftly on its way to relieve the siege, approached Valencia. But they did not dare to commit themselves to battle with Roderick. Greatly fearful of him they dispersed by night and retired to their bases in confusion.”

Black despair now fell on the Moors of Valencia: “they were like drunkards who understand not one another,” wrote Ibn al-Qama; “they became as one that falls into the sea.” Their mood was not helped by the Cid’s army. Completely unopposed, it now surrounded the city’s walls and loudly reviled the oath-breaking Muslims with vows of unrestrained vengeance. Topping it all off, the famine had reached the point that “the poor were driven to eating the flesh of human corpses.” With no hope, Valencia finally surrendered to the Cid — “may the curse of Allah fall on his head!” to quote al-Maqqari — on today’s date, June 15, 1094, after a nearly nineteen-month-long besiegement, and Roderick Díaz of Vivar became its undisputed lord — literally, its sayyad, Cid.

Although there is much more to say about the Cid’s exploits against the jihad, it is perhaps his conquest of Valencia that, when closely examined, truly underscores his remarkable nature. As Roderick’s modern biographer, Pidal, explains:

It savors of madness that a single man, unsupported by any national organization and lacking resources even for a single day, should appear before [the walls of] Valencia determined upon restoring a rule that had been overthrown this second time by an enemy [the Almoravids] who had proved irresistible to the strongest power in Spain [Emperor Alfonso VI]: that he should dream of doing what the Christian Emperor had failed to do, and in the teeth of the Moslem Emir’s opposition [and succeed is] … the most extraordinary achievement ever performed in Spain by anyone but a king.

This article was abstracted from Raymond Ibrahim’s Defenders of the West: The Christian Heroes Who Stood Against Islam (Chapter 2 of which is dedicated to the Cid).

Catholics created the idea of International law

The Age of Discoveries were also an age of introspection and criticism.

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Bartolome de las Casas with indians of America Pictures | Getty Images


When the ‘New World’ was discovered by Columbus, conflict between an advanced civilisation and a pagan, primitive culture was guaranteed.  Millions of Ameri-Indians over 4 centuries were killed by Whites, through war, enslavement, and mostly disease.  Some 10 million are thought to have perished in about 400 years.  The fiction that the Ameri-Indians were peace-loving environmentalists developing an advanced stone-base civilisation is now accepted within education and the anti-White, anti-Western paper mills called ‘journals’ and ‘academic writings’.  It is ridiculous. 


In any given year during the 15th century the Aztecs in Mexico and the Incas in Peru would sacrifice 150.000 humans to their pagan nature gods, including celestial worship (Venus, the Moon, the Sun), and fertility cults.  This entails over 1 million people per decade were murdered to spill their blood to appease the fantasy-spirits of the natural and celestial world, and to guarantee rain, harvests, victories in war, or the continued aggrandizement of the pagan priestly elite.  Over a century there could have been more than 5-10 million murdered by the Aztecs and Incas. 


This atavistic savagery does not include those who were killed during the endless wars between tribes and states; nor those who died in slavery.  The Mayan and other ‘civilisations’ were famously destroyed through eco-devastation as trees were cut down to produce lime and whitewash for the grand temples and pyramids.  The collapse of the eco-system ensured the self-immolation of the Mayan empire in the 10th century.


When the Spanish began the subjugation of the Ameri-Indians, we can see that as early as 1511 in sermons and letters by de Montesinos in Haiti and others, laments on the brutal treatment of the natives.  Spanish policy was condemned for its barbaric attitude towards the natives, its violence, enslavement and disregard of property rights and natural law rights of the native people.  Out of Christian conscience was born international law.  There is no evidence that native Ameri-Indians spent any time reflecting on such rights and ideals.  Their culture was perfectly at ease with the barbarism of human sacrifice and slavery. 


Through these efforts the Spanish Church produced the Laws of Burgos (1512) and of Valladolid (1513) which governed how Spanish officials were to interact with the ‘natives’.  These legal codes were premised on natural law and property law and rights.  De Vitoria and other jurists used St. Thomas Acquinas’ system of natural law rights to argue that the native Ameri-Indians had a God-given right to their land, their bodies and their families.  De Vitoria argued that ‘just war’ did not exist because some Ameri-Indians rejected the gospel or that they lacked ‘reason’ or civilisation.  Their inherent natural law rights negated those arguments. 


Las Casas shared Vitoria’s position on native natural law rights, and that the natives should be dealt with kindly, with patience and that the Spanish abandon the Aristotelian-Greek-Roman concept of slavery as being part of the natural order.  God given natural law rights made slavery an illegal and immoral practice.  By 1550 many Spanish theologians had developed a code of international law and concepts designed to protect the rights of any people or group including the Ameri-Indians.  International law would build on these foundations and find detailed expression in the 17th century through Christians such as Grotius and many others.


The main point is that during the 16th century Christian Spaniards viewed their civilisation’s activities in the ‘new world’ and found many of them to be without merit, wanting and un-Christian.  Ideas on reform, changes to legal texts and codes and binding instruments of agreement and principles, issued by the Spanish state as well as the Vatican were pursued and created.  No other culture or civilisation has ever done this namely analysed itself, its actions and their outcomes and decided that a great change was mandatory. 


The 'Renaissance' was just a continuation of the Medieval

No great cleavage exists, in some areas there is a retrogression, not improvement.

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The ‘Renaissance’ period as a clear cleavage and dividing line from the medieval does not exist.  The ‘Renaissance’ is simply a continuation of the ‘Medieval’, the names themselves meaning little and entirely contrived.  Is 1453 and the end of the ‘100 years’ war’ a ‘Medieval’ or a ‘Renaissance’ event.  No one in 1453 called the era either of these concocted and specious names.  1453 was part of the same era, culture and history as 1353, 1253 or 853.  Henry VI who lost the English possessions in France would never have understood why his era was the beginning of a ‘Renaissance’ as it was embroiled in a quite medieval civil war. 


These arbitrarily divided categories are quite obviously part of the same process of development, cojoined in a millennium of history and culture.  If the ‘Middle Ages’, did not exist, there is no ‘Renaissance’ or rebirth, the new birthing of something which is never defined, except for the usual hoary myth of a return to ‘Roman splendour’, a military empire, founded upon white slavery, which was outside of public works, technologically primitive, a society where 1/3 were slaves and most of the rest poor and illiterate.  ‘Classical civilisation’ has much to condemn it.


The ’Renaissance’ usually starts at the time of the Musulman destruction of Constantinople in 1453.  Years before this cataclysmic debacle and the erasure of the Christian capital of the Christian Eastern empire, a migration of the educated, the elite, the merchant class and those with means and money from Constantinople to the West and especially Italy, the birthplace of the ‘Renaissance’, had occurred.  The ‘rebirth’ of the ill defined ‘classicism’ was the product of a Christian wave moving East to West, bringing with them the money, technology, treasures and libraries of Eastern Christendom.  If this migration of Christians and their knowledge and money had not occurred, the ‘Renaissance’ would not have existed. 


It was not a ‘rebirth’ from the immaterial, pace the Western ‘histories’, nor a recrudescence from darkness into light.  It was a showering of Christian Byzantine education and influence into Italy, itself richer and more prosperous from trade and eras of internal peace, protected from the Musulman Jihad by the fast-ebbing empire of Byzantium and the Christianised Balkans which fought against the Ottoman hordes, preventing a complete seizure of central Europe.  Petrarch the ignorant knew little about what prompted an increase in learning or sophisticated ‘intellectual’ pursuits, many of those then as now, as sterile and useless and any sophistry in the days of Plato.  It was ironically Christian civilisation which produced the ‘Renaissance’.


We see this in the art and architecture of the ‘Renaissance’ which carried on the same themes as that of the Medieval period, finding an apogee in the Catholic Baroque, itself the most quintessentially religious art ever produced.  Giotto, Cimbabue and countless others in the 14th century anticipate Renaissance art and set the foundation for the development of techniques and paintings in the 15th.  There was little that was new in the 15th or 16th centuries regarding art or architecture.


Secularism as a 16th century trend was self-evident in every country and region long before 1450, with the ‘reformers’ of the 14th century and many of their followers quite secular, material and often irreligious.  The Church itself and its hierarchy of dignitaries were criticised during many centuries for their materialism, pomp, corruption and secular attitudes, ruling as Barons in some cases, controlling armies and engaging in political and military disputes.  All of this led to ‘reforming’ tendencies and outbreaks.


In science there is a retrogression in the 16th century.  Copernican theory has still not been mechanically proven (which shocks the bien pensant but is entirely true) and was a philosophical not a scientifically premised theory.  Many other theories explain natural and celestial phenomena.  Alchemy, astrology, a belief in witches all witnessed fantastic growth during this period.  Even during the ‘scientific revolution’ of the 17th century, Galileo’s achievements were premised on centuries of work by others dating back to the 13th century, as were Newton’s, structured on medieval Scholastic experimentation. 


Kenneth Clark the atheist art historian remarked in his ‘Civilisation’ about the 16th century:

“Guercino spent much of his mornings in prayer, Bernini frequently went on retreats…Rubens went to Mass every day…Saint Ignatius Loyola the visionary soldier turned psychologist…(a Catholic culture) for a half century that could produce these great spirits.”


During the 16th century Popes Julius II and Leo X invested enormous sums into art and architecture, often taxing Catholics into outrage and rebellion to fund the endeavours.  Bramante, Michelangelo, Raphael and scores of others have left the world richer and more civilised for it.  Some of the greatest works of human conception emanated from the deeply religious of the 16th century and their patrons.  The printing press was created in 1450, along with dozens of sundry other inventions.  Dissemination of writing, ideas, treatises and broadsheets is a decidedly medieval invention, taking generations to find expression in the technology and automation of Gutenberg. 


The myth that the ‘Renaissance’ was a rebirth of something is utter bunk.  This era was the continuation of the Medieval, impelled by the fleeing Christians of Byzantium and the capital of medieval Italy created through trade and commerce.