Friday, August 19, 2011

THE ORIGINS OF POLITICAL ORDER: PART III- : From Pre-Human Times to the French Revolution by Francis Fukuyama "THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, CELIBACY, AND THE REFORMATION - The Roots of Rugged Individualism"

About the Author: Francis Fukuyama

Francis Fukuyama is the author of numerous books, including The End of History and the Last Man, State-Building: Governance and World Order in the 21st Century, and America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy. He is a former professor at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University and is currently a senior fellow at Stanford University's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.


Reminding his audience of Karl Marx, a great admirer of the British  system, quote “England’s present is everybody elses future”, Francis Fukiyama acknowledges his own affection for England while at the same time wanting to correct some of Western cultures understanding of British influence over the formation of democracies. 

Studying the History of England, the author posits to the reader, one thing notable is that “it is a very peculiar country”. For this and other reasons, it is unrealistic to suppose that other countries followed it’s lead in their own development. On the other hand, while China did not establish the first State (that happened in many places e.g. Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the valley of Mexico), Fukiyama contends the Chinese established the First Modern State.


“Modern” in this context means not hiring your cousins and your friends into government but based on Civil Service Examinations creating rational bureaucracies and centralized administration. They did this in 3 B.C. Using the Three Basket Theory, Fukiyama suggests the correct question is why aren’t other democracies like China started out to be?

Basket One: The State and it’s institutions are all about power and in a hierarchy it is all about enforcing rules over a territory; Basket Two: The Rule of Law and it’s institutions are community standards of justice that are considered superior to whoever happens to be running the government; Basket Three: The Institutions of Accountability: today associated with Democracies and elections.

When Institutions of Accountabilty arose in England in 17th century, it established the accountability of the King to Parliament at a time when parliament represented only 10% of the population. The richest 10%. This demonstrates that a country can have accountability without having democracy. In the China example, the government civil servant was accountable to take into consideration the interests of their citizens yet there was no democracy.


Basket One: The State is all about power: Baskets Two and Three are all about limiting State power. Thus, the President of the U.S. has the power to nuke the modern world but that power is limited by the Rule of Law and the Rule of Accountability. Thus, in the States effort to gain power, it pits itself against the family, as well as, the Universal Law of Human Nature. That Universal Human Nature, contrary to the theories of Thomas Hobbes, is a biologically provable proposition about human beings attraction to sociability and kinship.


Humans are biologically drawn to people with whom they share the original number of genes. With these people, they are altruistic. "The corruption of Nepotism stems from this altruism", Fukiyama points out. "I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine".

The State seeks to break that bond by disallowing hiring practices of unqualified relatives and conflicts of interests. This came through the Civil Service System based solely on citizenship and not the tribal ties from which the first states arose.


In China starting at 1100 B.C., wars for centuries diminished the population of thousands of rival tribes (3500 to 4000 tribes). These tribes were obliterated and became almost non-existent, depleted to only seven states. This allowed for the conquering Westen state of Chin in 227 B.C. to subdue all it’s rivals and establish a new Civil system The system, of necessity, was based on who is left and competent to run things. This falls apart in 300 AD with the conquering Han Dynasty. Patronage starts all over again. The first modern state goes out of existence. 


The effort to acquire a competent fighting force was taken to it’s weirdest level by the Ottoman’s who raided the Balkans, kidnaping boys from 12 to 19 yrs of age and then enslaving them as the Ottoman military. These youngsters were made into officers or administrators, not allowed to marry or to have children. The Ottoman's did this to breakup the family for purposes of conscription.The effect was to break the back of nepotism, corruption, and favoritism. The military slavery method was much more efficient and effective.


The dynamic in Europe of constant warring taught the aristocrats that they could conscript peasants to fight the wars for them but to finance the wars they needed to tax. To tax, they created institutions. The bureaucracies and then administrators to run them was similar in construction to the one’s used by the Ottoman’s.

The French Paulette

In Pre-revolutionary France, the Royal Edict of 1604  resulted in making offices hereditary, a step in the creation of a permanent class of judicial magistrates called the noblesse de robe. The edict provided that for an annual payment to the crown of one-sixtieth of an office’’s value, that office could be sold or bequeathed rather than revert to the crown on the death of the holder.

The edict took its name from Charles Paulet, who proposed the measure and obtained control of the collection of payments.The Paulette provided the crown with needed revenue By the time of the French Revolution, all the public offices had been sold off to rich private individuals.

“The French Revolution divested all these old elites of their estates, their offices, and ultimately their heads”, Fukiyama says.


Religion is the only source of laws outside the Rulers themselves that provide a source of law that the Ruler doesn’t actually make. This is true in the world of Israel, Christianity, Islam and the Hindu world of India. In each of these instances, there are judges who are the hierarchical authority for interpreting these rules: The Imam in the case of Islam, the Brahmin in the case of Hinduism, the Priestly Caste in the case of India. In these civilizations, the ruling class has to go to the religious to be sanctified. In the case of India, you cannot be a Rahja without going to a Brahmin.

The only world civilization that did not have this Rule of Law type of civilization is China.

Fukiyama believes the reason for this is that the Chinese never had a transcendental religion. They did have ancestor worship. This does not require worshiping the Emperor’s ancestors but only one’s own ancestor. Thus, no Chinese Emperor has felt there was a higher source of law they had to obey.

This notion continues to today with the Chinese Communist party.


Francis Fukiyama likes the Catholic Church as the heroes of the modern Western State. “In the post-Carolingian period in the early Middle Ages, bishops and priests could marry and they could have children. Guess what they did? They all started to turn their benefices over to their children. They got involved in court politics and all wrapped up in the clan shenanigans with all the local princes in Italy and Germany.”

In the late 11th century came the rise of Pope Gregory VII. Gregory the Great, was a titanic historical figure very much like Martin Luther who would come after him by a few centuries. Gregory realized that unless the church eliminated this biological principle of the ability to have children among it's priets and hierarchy, it would not have the moral authority to become an independent institution. Until then, the emperor was appointing Church bishops. Married priests did not like this celibacy ruling nor did the Emperors and Princes. This creates a two generational war of the Pope vs the Kings and Princes.

At this point, as the wars drug on, the Church established it’s independence and created it’s own juridical system apart from the royals. All bishops and priests were now appointed only by the church. From this came the first Ecclesiastical Lawyers, called Canon Lawyers. This became the first  establishment of legal authority outside the emperor. It is the oldest established legal system in the Western world. It happens first in the church and then gets transferred to the secular realm.


In the research of Francis Fukiyama, he finds the Christian West looks to the separation of church and state as an act of moral authority instituted by the Catholic Church completely freeing individuals to pursue freedom independent of European rulers. Fukiyama contends it was the Catholic Church and not the Reformation that established the roots of rugged individualism.

Editor - Judy Joyce

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