[In which Nigel Carlsbad dons the robes of a Jesuit schoolman. All casuistry, no Aristotelianism. Also doubles as an anti-absolutist tract. I was going to devote a different essay to that, but this one might suffice.]
King Clothar had ordered all the churches of his kingdom to pay into his treasury a third of their revenues. But when all the other bishops, though grudgingly, had agreed to this and signed their names, the blessed Injuriosus [Bishop of Tours] scorned the command and manfully refused to sign, saying, “If you attempt to take the things of God, the Lord will take away your kingdom speedily because it is wrong for your storehouses to be filled with the contributions of the poor whom you yourself ought to feed.” He was irritated with the king and left his presence without saying farewell. Then the king was alarmed and being afraid of the power of the blessed Martin he sent after him with the gifts, praying for pardon and admitting the wrongfulness of what he had done, and asking also that the bishop avert from him by prayer the power of the blessed Martin.
— Gregory of Tours, History of the Franks, Book IV, Ch 2, illustrating the influence of sacerdotium over imperium, in contradistinction to absolutist pretensions
A thorough draining of the swamp in America, or in just about any other country, would unavoidably require a certain degree of repression beyond the more basic things like lustration of civil servants. In any state of emergency, dissent is intolerable. Outlawing of combinations, acts against political meetings and clubs — these were all completely normal tools used by Pitt the Younger, Metternich, Guizot and others to maintain a grip in the midst of tumult.
However, such seeming acts of right-wing self-preservation against foreign and domestic enemies can often be misleading as to their actual outcome in securing the traditions of their host countries from reform-minded political ambitions. The case of Pitt the Younger and the treason trials in England of the 1790s is one such case. The received wisdom is that it was a triumph of reaction over radicalism, with lasting effects for decades after until 1832. In actuality, it was much more ominous.
To have defended the French Revolution in the 1790s was no mere innocent opinion. With the armies of the National Convention and then the Directory toppling royalty, creating republican client-states and upsetting the until-then predominant cabinet style of waging war as a mostly private affair between sovereign persons in favor of the levee en masse, then in such circumstances the defense of the Revolution was potentially an act of sedition against all standing royalty, including one’s own Sovereign.
The Confederacy — what a weirdly polarized phenomenon for the denizens of the American nation, a nation which many still vainly hope is not just a proposition. On one side, you have people who just want to read a fine hagiography of Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee, fly a battle flag to show their pride, and admire an honorable monument as they sit at a park bench. On the other side, you have people who want topple all these monuments, torch all the flags, and burn “I HAVE A DREAM” onto the forehead of every normie with an accent, or else The Nazis Will Rise Again if they do not. (There’s also a third side of honest adherents to the Old South legacy, but they are politically irrelevant.)
It is understandable that the CSA is such a captivating image. The lost cause of an America before the first 8 amendments of the Bill of Rights were incorporated into state constitutions. An America when the Constitution was just the Articles of Confederation++. An America where the mudsill knew its place… kind of.
I am not a neo-Confederate, though.
You young men who have been born since the Revolution, look with horror upon the name of a King, and upon all propositions for a strong government. It was not so with us. We were born the subjects of a King, and were accustomed to subscribe ourselves ‘His Majesty’s most faithful subjects’; and we began the quarrel which ended in the Revolution, not against the King, but against his parliament.
— Rufus King (Federalist Party)
You know, the post office in every community ought to be the people’s contact with the government. We ought to make more of it. The post office is a natural for co-operation between the people and the Federal Government.
— FDR as quoted by Frances Perkins in The Roosevelt I Knew (1947) [source]
Selig Perlman was one of the great labor historians in the institutionalist tradition of Richard T. Ely and John R. Commons. Unlike theorists focusing on class struggle, he viewed unionism as creating a “job and wage consciousness” instead, which intersected with a so-called “scarcity consciousness” on part of the psychology of the wage worker, in which his perception of limited economic opportunity precludes him both from entrepreneurialism and any grand scheme of socializing production, instead focusing on immediate pragmatic goals of raising wages, reducing hours, reducing workplace hazard, etc. Impressive, given that Perlman was a Russian-born Jew drunk on the Marxist theory of Plekhanov, until he got deconverted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison… deconverted into something no less peculiar.
On July 4, 1838, the well-esteemed congregationalist minister Hubbard Winslow gave out an oration at Old South Church attended by the municipal authorities of Boston, in commemoration of the anniversary of American independence.
Having graduated from the Yale Divinity School by 1825, in 1832 he had succeeded the Rev. Lyman Beecher as Pastor of the Bowdoin Street Church in Boston. Lyman Beecher was the father of, most famously, Harriet Beecher Stowe, among 12 other children who would cement the family legacy as advocates of temperance, abolition and women’s suffrage. Lyman Beecher himself was the co-founder of the American Temperance Society in 1826.
As such, I would reckon that Winslow is a decent proxy for the state of Boston Brahmin opinion at the time, and of the more conservative Old Light (non-revivalist) wing of evangelicalism.