Sunday, December 30, 2018

Augustinian Trinitarianism

Augustinian Trinitarianism
Thomas Allen

    Following is a summary of Augustinian Trinitarianism as Levi Leonard Paine presents in A Critical History of the Evolution of Trinitarianism and its Outcome in the New Christology (Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1900). Referenced page numbers enclosed in parentheses are to Paine’s book.
    Augustine significantly changed Athanasian Trinitarianism. Athanasius considered homoousios (same substance) synonymous with homoiousian (like substance). Augustine made a great distinction between the two. He also added filioque (from the Son).
    The addition of filioque to the Nicene Creed radically changed it. “It broke down its monotheism; it reduced generation and sonship to a metaphor; it turned three personal beings into one being revealing himself in tri-personal form; it changed the mediating Logos into absolute Deity” (p. 57).
    Before Augustine, homoousios “meant numerical unity in essences” (p. 62). Also, before Augustine, the Latin Fathers like the Greek Fathers, “held to a trinity of three personal beings united in a generic unity by community of essence. They held to the real subordination of the Son to the Father, distinguishing the Father, as self-existent and the first cause, from the Son as derived and dependent” (p. 62). Augustine changed this concept of the Trinity.
    The Trinitarianism that Augustine developed had little historical background. His Trinitarianism “was mostly a new creation from a new standpoint, which was drawn, not from either Greek or Latin Christian sources, but from the ideas which he had imbibed from his philosophical studies and which he applied in his own original way to the defense of what he wrongly understood to be trinitarian orthodoxy” (p. 62).
    Augustine’s philosophical views were based on New Platonism, which was Platonism heavily modified by Stoicism. New Platonism was essentially pantheistic (i.e., God is equated with the forces and laws of the universe) and monistic (i.e., only one kind of substance, a reality composed of one unitary organic whole with no independent parts). Although New Platonism was close to Stoicism in its materialism, it did retain the spiritualistic aspects of Platonism.
    During Augustine’s time, the great controversy was dualism versus monism; that is, did two substances and separate realms exist in the universe — spiritual and material — or were the two essentially the same. Holding to the ultimate differences between spiritual and matter, Platonism built “its dualistic and spiritualistic philosophy, making God the Supreme Spirit and the creator of the material world” (p. 66). On the other side, Stoicism “insisted on the ultimate unity of all existence, and thus identified God essentially with the world” (p. 66). In the controversy between dualism and monism, New Platonism fell on the monistic side. Consequently, it “substituted a doctrine of evolution from the Supreme One to the lowest forms of matter, in place of the Platonic theory of creation, thus reducing the dualism of Plato to unity, in harmony with Stoic ideas” (p. 66).
    In God’s relation to the material world universe, Platonists were transcendentalists (i.e., the spiritual and transcendent have primacy over the material and empirical). They “held that God is essentially separate from all created things, though explicitly accepting the doctrine of God’s providence and efficiency as active in the upholding and governing of the world He has made” (p. 66). Accordingly, “Platonism is theistic, regarding God as a personal Being whose substance is separated by an infinite chasm from all created or material substance” (pp. 66-67).
    On the other hand, Stoicism “made God immanent in the world” (p. 66). They reduced “Him philosophically to the central principle or force that gives life and activity to all things, thus confounding Him with all the forms of finite existence” (p. 66). Thus, Stoicism “is pantheistic, treating the universe as essentially of one essence evolved out of a spermatic principle which is its only Deity” (p. 67).
    While “Platonism holds to the supernatural, a world above nature, spiritual and eternal, . . . Stoicism is a pure doctrine of nature and natural development and knows nothing of a distinct spiritual kingdom” (p. 67). The Nicene Creed and Constantinopolitan Creed were based on Platonism.
    Augustine’s philosophical views were based on Stoicism and its kindred New Platonism. Therefore, his concept of the Trinity reflects the philosophy of the Stoicism and New Platonism.
    “Augustine’s whole philosophy starts with a monistic doctrine of unity. The world is but the expression of God. Augustine seems scarcely to admit what we call second causes or laws of nature. . . . He reduces the system of natural causation and law to a direct Divine operation” (p. 69). Under his system, miracles do not subvert the laws of nature because no such laws exist to subvert. “God’s own immediate will is the sole cause of all things” (p. 69).
    Augustine, as do most of his followers today, believed that he was a strict trinitarian and was opposing Sabellianism and Arianism. (Sabellianism claims that God is a trinity of attributes, names, functions, or manifestations instead of three coequal Gods or three independent beings; i.e., God is only one person, who reveals Himself in three manifestations, personalities, or functions. Christ is merely an attribute or function of almighty God. Arianism claims that the Logos who became Jesus was the first and noblest being created by God.)
    In explaining and expounding on the Trinity, Augustine seeks to show that “the Trinity is not three Gods but one God” (p. 70). Expressing the Trinity such that it appears to be one God, thus, retaining monotheism, instead of three Gods, tritheism, has always been an extremely difficult problem for Trinitarians. Athanasius attempted to overcome this problem with “the doctrines of generic unity of essence, and eternal generation of the Son, and procession of the Holy Spirit” (p. 71). Thus, “the Father is the alone eternal, self existent God, and that He eternally generated the Son and sent forth the Holy Spirit, so that while there are three divine beings in the Godhead, there are not three eternal self -existent Gods, since the Father is the source of being to the others who are thus dependent and subordinate, though receiving from the Father all divine attributes” (p. 71).
    Whereas Athanasius attempted to explain how three are one, Augustine attempted to explain how one is three. Beginning by treating the Trinity as a problem of faith, Augustine ended up developing it as a problem of reason. Starting with Scripture and revelation, he passed into the most speculative regions of philosophy.
    In developing his doctrine of the Trinity, he gave little attention “to previous theological systems or speculations” (p. 72). However, he thought that he was following his orthodox predecessors: Athanasius and the Nicene Fathers. Nevertheless, he left “traditional Trinitarianism and moved out along the line of his own philosophical ideas” (p. 72), which were monistic. What saved him from reaching absolute pantheism was the clear monotheism of the Bible.
    “Augustine starts from the assumption that there is but one eternal substance in the universe. This one substance is God. God then, as a being, is essentially one” (p. 72). He “held to the idea of a numerical rather than a generic unity of essence. . . . With him, essence, in the case of God, is not abstract but concrete. . . . If God is personal, his essence is personal, that is concrete” (pp. 72-73).
    “For Augustine, then, the trinitarian problem is how this one God, ‘unus Deus’ can be three or a ‘trinitas’” (p. 73), which he assumed to be a fact. Repeatedly, he declared “that one God and trinity are the same thing[,] . . . one divine Being, not three beings” (p. 73).
    Although the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three, they are not three beings. They are three “persons.” However, they are not “persons” in the normal sense of the word. They are “persons” in the sense of being three “distinctions.” They are three “modes or relations of the one essence or being of God” (p. 75). Augustine is presenting a Sabellian trinity. Unlike Sabellius, who started with the “premise of an evolution in God from unity to trinity” (p. 74), Augustine started from the premise of God being three and proceeded to one.
    The key difference between Sabellianism and Athanasianism is that Sabellianism declares that God is one Being, and Athanasianism declares that God is three Beings. “Hence Sabellianism is monistic, while Athanasianism is trinitarian” (p. 75). Thus, Augustine’s description of the Trinity is Sabellianism, a heresy that the Church had earlier condemned, and not Athanasianism.
    Augustine writes, “‘The Trinity is one God; three, but not three Gods. Three what, then? I reply: The Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit’” (p. 75). He continues, “‘If you ask: “three what?” number ceases. When you have numbered, you cannot tell what you have numbered. Only in their relations to each other do they suggest number, not in their essential existence. I have no name to give the three, save the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, one God, one Almighty, and so one beginning’” (p. 75). Thus, he exposes his monism. “The only numbering, he declares, that can apply to God is that of his essence, which is one” (p. 75). Therefore, he “did not regard the ‘three’ as real and distinct existences or individuals” (p. 75). With this, the Sabellians agree.
    “God, for Augustine, is one Being and so one Person, not three Persons. These three are unus Deus, that is, one Personal Being. The three persons so-called are merely three relative forms under which the one God is manifested in the revelation of himself to men” (p. 76). However, he did not “regarded these forms or relations as superficial or transitory” (p. 76), which separated him from the Sabellians. To him, the Trinity “is the essential mode of the Divine existence” (p. 76), with which the Athanasians agree.
    Augustine “regards trinity as an ultimate fact in God” (p. 76). So essential is this notion of the trinity that he saw “the whole universe as, in some sense, trinitarian” (p. 76). Such shows “the essentially Sabellian character of Augustine’s view” (p. 76).
    Whereas “Athanasius describes the relations which exist between three divine Beings. Augustine describes the relations or modes of existence of one Being, manifesting himself under different forms and names” (p. 77). Again, Augustine’s description is Sabellian. For Augustine, the “personal forms are three, but the personal centre, the personality itself, is one” (p. 77), which Athanasius declared to be Sabellianism.
    Furthermore, “Augustine declares that ‘when the Trinity is spoken of number fails.’ ‘Three’ is but a metaphor. Number only applies strictly to God as one. Athanasius reverses this. His position is that number applies properly rather to the Trinity. He insists on the numbering of the persons as essential to the truth against Sabellius” (p. 77). Thus, Augustine and Athanasius sharply disagree on the Trinity.
    According to Augustine, “Jehovah of the Old Testament is at the same time the one God and the Trinity” (p. 78). Moreover, “whenever God appears as a single person (Father, Son, or Holy Spirit), or when any act is performed in the person of either, the whole Trinity is concerned. Thus though the Son only was incarnate, the whole Trinity wrought the incarnation, so that the Son is made to bear a part in his own incarnation. In the same way it was the Son as Christ that died, but the Father also was actively concerned in it, — a view that is perilously close to the old Patripassianism. Everything that Christ did in the flesh, the Father did also” (pp. 78-79). (According to Patripassianism, God the Father also suffered in the sufferings of Jesus Christ.)
    Whereas Athanasius never confounded the Father or the Son with the Trinity, Augustine frequently did. Furthermore, for Athanasius,  the Trinity was always plural; for Augustine, it was singular.
    Unlike the Athanasian Trinity in which the Son is subordinated to the Father, the Augustinian Trinity has no such subordination. The elimination of subordination is a significant and great difference between the two Trinities.
    Augustine’s Trinitarianism eliminates the eternal generation of the Son and the eternal procession of the Holy Spirit as Athanasius conceived them. “For Augustine generation did not involve any real derivation or dependence. The Son is as truly and absolutely God as the Father. God is as self-existent and eternal in the Son and Holy Spirit as in the Father. Each form or mode of the Divine Being involves the whole Divine Being. Subordination, therefore, is impossible” (p. 82) The three persons, or relations as Augustine called them, “can have no essential significance. They are not beings or essences, but only qualities of beings” (p. 82).
    According to Augustine’s doctrine, “Jesus Christ is absolute Deity, the whole of God. He is the Jehovah of the Old Testament, nay, he is in fact the whole Trinity, for God is trinity; one is three and three is one, and so absolutely that the Trinity is properly addressed as a singular being” (p. 82).
    An outcome of Augustine’s doctrine of the Trinity was that it “tended to break down the Christian Athanasian doctrine of mediatorship.” An essential part of the Athanasian argument against Arius was that the redemption of man was “by a mediating being who partakes of divine as well as human nature” (p. 83). However, in “Augustine’s day the Atonement was not discussed. The doctrine of a Divine Redeemer was thrown into the background” (p. 83). Moreover, “Augustine’s view of him as essentially the absolute God led inevitably to a confusion of his mediatorial function with the other functions of the Godhead. The one God in Trinity was made the agent in the atonement as in all other divine activities” (p. 83).
    Following Augustine’s lead, Mediaeval Theology so confused Christ with God the Father that Christ ceased representing Divine mercy and intercession and came to represent Divine justice and punishment. In art, Christ’s face changed from benignant and compassionate to harsh and severe. Augustine’s Trinitarianism led to “a thinly-disguised Patripassianism and Monophysitism” (p. 84). — Christ became the God-man.  (Monophysitism claims that Christ has a single inseparable nature that is at once divine and human rather than having two distinct but unified natures.) God Himself was the Redeemer, not another mediating being. Thus, the mediator and God were confounded together. God descended to Mary’s womb; He endured weariness, hunger, and death. The Creator of man redeemed man with His own blood. Such a description is Patripassians and monistic. Consequently, the whole notion of a mediator, the Messiah, between God and man vanished “into the crude materialism of the early heretics” (p. 85).
    Also, out of the Augustinian Trinity comes the notion that “God is made to send himself, to be born, to suffer and die, and this to save men from the effects of his own wrath” (p. 85). The “God-man is both the Being to be propitiated and the Being that propitiates” (p. 85).
    Another effect of Augustine’s Trinitarianism “was to break down the monotheistic view of God. . . . [M]onotheism lies at the basis of Athanasianism. . . .  Monotheism, or theism, in the philosophical sense, holds that God is a single personal being. It emphasizes personality as the true centre and test of all spiritual substance. . . . Theism holds that God, in whose moral image we are, is such a self-conscious Being. Pantheism, on the contrary, makes self-consciousness, or personality, only a quality or accident of substance, so that there may be only one spiritual substance and yet many persons” (pp. 86-87).
    Augustine relied on the philosophy of the New Platonists to develop his Trinity. The three hypostases are “placed at the head of the New Platonic pantheon, and united by a pantheistic evolution in one eternal substance” (p. 88).
    Although Augustinian Trinitarianism retains the terminology of Athanasian Trinitarianism, the terms are given new meaning. They are “cast in pantheistic form” (p. 88). Thus, “Deity, though one essence, exists by a process of evolution in three hypostases, which have indeed a shadowy sort of personality,” (p. 88) but they are not regarded as distinct personal beings.
    However, Augustine does not “say that the one God exists in three real hypostases, which, in Christian trinitarian language, meant three individual persons” (p. 90). In any event, “his Trinitarianism is monistic. . . . His Trinity is not tripersonal, and hence must be, in spite of himself, unipersonal, unless he drops into the open pit of extreme pantheism and makes God . . . unconscious of himself or of the world that is evolved from Him” (p 91). His pantheistic philosophy makes “the one only true God and the Trinity . . . absolutely the same. This is not monotheism; it is a pantheistic monism” (p. 92).
    Augustine’s great difficulty “was that he did not know what to do with the problem of personality” (p. 92). He bounced between theism and pantheism. This led to the amazing assumption “that in God essence and person are not coincident, so that God may be and is one Being and yet three real persons” (p. 92).
    Another effect of Augustinian Trinitarianism is that it changed “the Athanasian homoousianism from generic to numerical unity of essence” (p. 92).  Augustine changed the Nicene Creed from “three personal beings metaphysically united in a Platonic universal into one being manifested under three modes of personal existence” (p. 92). As a result, he inverted the Trinity. “Its apex became its base. Trinity became unity. Trinitarianism became tri-unitarianism” (p. 92). By that, he changed God into one Being of three persons. Although Augustine refused to come to this logical conclusion, his followers did. Thus, God became “numerically one in essence, yet is three in personal agency; therefore essence and person in God are not coincident” (p. 93).
    The Athanasian Creed was derived from Augustinian Trinitarianism. One clause reads, “We worship one God in trinity, and trinity in unity, neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance.” “This language assumes that the substance or Being is one, while the persons are three” (p. 93). However, like Augustine, it plays on the term “person.” It declares that God is one personal being. Also, it states, “There are not three Gods, but one God.” Thus, the Athanasian Creed is nothing more than concealed Sabellianism. “[I]ts Sabellianism is veiled under the assumption that God may be one Being and yet be three persons, but its real position is that God is one Being, whatever explanation be given of the three persons. Thus its Trinitarianism is only a disguise” (p. 93). Accordingly, Augustinian Trinitarianism gave “a monistic and pantheistic direction to trinitarian dogma” (p. 94).
    Besides his doctrine of the Trinity, “his doctrines of original sin, irresistible grace, the sacraments, and the physical punishments and sufferings of lost souls” (p. 69) also grew from his materialistic philosophy. Free will is simply voluntariness, “which itself is the result of a gracious Divine efficiency” (p. 69). His doctrine of human dependency approaches Stoic fatalism. Furthermore, man’s will has the power to do evil, but it cannot do good except with God’s aid.
    In summary, Augustinian Trinitarianism is based on Stoic, New Platonic immanence. According to the Augustinian Trinitarianism, God “is essentially one; yet He is a trinity, but not a trinity of real personal beings; the personal centre is one. The three persons, so-called, are not subsistences or individuals; they are modes of the one divine existence” (p. 81). Consequently, it is just a form of Modal Trinitarianism that is closely related to the heresy Sabellianism.
    When Trinitarians attempt to explain or expound upon the Trinity, they are at high risk of crashing into the Scylla of Sabellianism or of being swept away in the Charybdis of tritheism. Augustine crashed into the rock of Sabellianism.

Copyright © 2018 by Thomas Coley Allen.

More religious articles

Thursday, December 20, 2018

To the Front

To the Front
Thomas Allen

To the front I must go,
In the realm of death, I must live;
To the outer rim of time’s most lethal battle, I must cling;
In Flanders, I must fight and die.
To the front I go,
To be lacerated and punctured,
To bleed and die,
To hear shells roaring up into the sky,
And the agonizing crying of the dying.
I become one of the countless human moles;
I become one of the living dead with corpse-white face.
In the fields of Flanders, I am bathed with slime and mud,
With the stench of dead and dying.
Here pass I my last days in a crazy-quilt of thunder and blood,
Waiting with indifference for death of deliverance.
And when in the mud I lie dying,
My comrades, good and true,
Pass me by, saying,
“I can’t give you a hand,
You’re for the Promise Land.”
After the rats have glutted themselves with my flesh and blood,
And my remains are absorbed in the blood and mud of Flanders,
Another nameless being shall take my place,
As before him did I take another’s,
But that’s all that ever changes.
In the fields of Flanders shall I push up poppies forevermore.

From the Glory of War by Thomas Coley Allen (Franklinton, NC: TC Allen Co., 2006)
Copyright © 2006 by Thomas Coley Allen

Monday, December 10, 2018

Mencken on News Editors and Public Servants

Mencken on News Editors and Public Servants
Thomas Allen

    In 1926, H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) wrote Notes on Democracy in which he expressed his views on democracy and related issues. He was a journalist, satirist, and critic and a libertarian and one of the leaders of the Old Right. In his book, he describes news editors and public servants, pages 145-148. Below is an overview of his discussion on news editors and public servants; my comments are in brackets.
    About newspaper editors, Mencken writes, “Their very lack of sound knowledge and genuine intelligence gives them a special fitness for influencing the mob, and it is augmented by their happy obtuseness to notions of honour. Their daily toil consists in part of praising men and ideas that are obviously fraudulent, and in part of denouncing men and ideas that are respected by their betters.” The typical American editor “is, like the politician, an adept trimmer and flatterer. His job is far more to him than his self-respect.” Furthermore, “the influence of such men upon public affairs is generally evil that their weight is almost always thrown against the public man of dignity and courage — that such a public man cannot hope to be understood by them, or to get any useful support from them.” [Does this explain the old media’s opposition to President Trump?] “Thus they give their aid to the sublime democratic process of eliminating all sense and decency from public life.” [What Mencken writes about newspaper editors is true about editors in other media — especially, television.]
    Mencken continues, “Coming out of the mob, they [editors] voice the ideas of the mob. The first of those ideas is that a fraud is somehow charming and reassuring. . . . The second is that an honest and candid man is dangerous — or, perhaps more accurately, that there is no such animal.” [Again, does this explain the old media’s opposition to President Trump?]
    Then Mencken adds, “The newspaper editor who rises above this level encounters the same incredulous hostility from his fellows and his public that is encountered by the superior politician, cast into public life by accident. If he is not dismissed at once as . . . a Bolshevik, [today, he would be called a racist, homophobe, sexist, fascist, islamophobe, or all these] i.e., one harbouring an occult and unintelligible yearning to put down the Republic and pull God off His throne, he is assumed to be engaged in some nefarious scheme of personal aggrandisement.”
    Mencken remarks, “The democratic process, indeed, is furiously inimical to all honourable motives. It favours the man who is without them, and it puts heavy burdens upon the man who has them. Going further, it is even opposed to mere competence.”
    He concludes with some comments on the competent public servant. “The public servant who masters his job gains nothing thereby. His natural impatience with the incapacity and slacking of his fellows makes them his implacable enemies, and he is viewed with suspicion by the great mass of democrats.” Then he paraphrases Emile Faguet of the French Academy: “Under democracy, . . . the business of law-making becomes a series of panics — government by orgy and orgasm. And the public service becomes a mere refuge for prehensile morons — get yours, and run.”
    [Governments are criticized for waiting for a problem to occur and then reacting. However, when they try to prevent a problem before it occurs, they are also criticized. Recently, people saw this criticism in North Carolina. After adopting a law requiring people to use the restroom, locker room, and the like of their biological birth sex, one would have thought that the General Assembly had ordered a first-strike nuclear attack from the way that liberals and their lackeys in the old media reacted. The law made illegal for a man to say that he felt like a woman and then being allowed to use the women’s locker room so that he could see naked women. {Liberals preferred the General Assembly forcing business to allow men to use the women’s locker room if they claimed that they felt like a woman.} Oddly, some of the most vocal opponents of this law were those who holler rape if a man looks at a woman. Like all good politicians, the legislators succumbed to the boisterous mob led by the lowest of inferior men, i.e., entertainers and leaders of sports teams and sports associations {they must have wanted their male players to be entertained by naked women} and heavily diluted the law.]

Copyright © 2017 by Thomas Coley Allen.

More political articles.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Some Christologies

Some Christologies
Thomas Allen

    Over the centuries, several explanations have been presented about the relationship of Jesus, Christ, and the Son of God. Some of these views follow.
    1. Adoptionism. According to the Adoptionists, Jesus was a full flesh and blood human, but at some point in his life, usually at his baptism, but also at his conception or resurrection, God the Father adopted Jesus as his Christ and Son. Jesus was not divine by nature. Paulianists are an example of Adoptionists.
    2. Separationism. According to the Separationists, Jesus was born as a man. However, at some point, usually at his baptism, God the Son, Christ, entered Jesus and empowered him. Thus, Christ was the God nature, and Jesus was the human nature. Just before the crucifixion, the God nature, Christ, left the human nature, Jesus. Valentinians are an example of Separationists.
    3. Docetism. According to the Docetists, Jesus was completely divine; he was God himself. Thus, Jesus was not really human; he only seemed human. Moreover, he did not really die or suffer on the cross; he only appeared to have suffered. Marcionites are an example of Docetists.
    4. Patripassianism or Modalistic Monarchianism. According to the Patripassianists, Jesus was one of the three manifestations or modes of God; the other two manifestations were the Father and the Holy Spirit. Thus, Jesus was God himself because God is unipersonal. Jesus was the incarnation of God. For Patripassianists, God himself came to earth as Jesus Christ and suffered on the cross. Sabellians are an example of Patripassianists. Today, Oneness Pentecostals represent Patripassianism.
    5. Creationism. According to Creationists, Jesus was specially created as the Son of God and Christ before his conception — usually God’s first creation. Jesus was this preexisting being incarnated, and this preexisting being is usually thought of being to Jesus what the soul is to other men. In any event, he is not eternal and is subordinated to the Father. The Christ of the Creationists is neither deity nor human; he is a super-angelic being. Arians are an example of preexisting Creationists. Today, Jehovah’s Witnesses represent Creationism.
    6. Begottenism (for want of a better term). According to Begottenism, Jesus had only one nature: human; he was never divine or had a divine nature. He was born a man, lived as a man but without sin, died as a man, and was resurrected a man. Jesus is literally the Son of God, i.e., God is his father, who is miraculously endowed and exceedingly divinely inspired far beyond any prophet with an extremely close relationship with God. Jesus came into being when God begot him in the womb of Mary to be his Messiah. The divinity of the Son is that of the Father residing in him and acting by him. Although Jesus only has a human nature and never has a divine nature, some Begottenists believe that he was deified whereas other reject this notion. A major difference between Begottenism and Adoptionism is that Begottenists maintain that Jesus was begotten as the Messiah; he was the Messiah from conception. Most Adoptionists believe that God adopted Jesus as the Messiah after he was born. Photinians and  Socinians are examples of Begottenists. Today, Christadelphians represent Begottenism.
    7. Humanism. Jesus is just a man, a “mere” man, the son of Joseph, albeit an extraordinary man. He lived an righteous life, whose example and teachings should be followed. Apparently, he has no more of a special relationship with God that any other man. He was just another holy man like Zoroaster, Buddha, and Mohammed. Naturally, he is void of any divinity. Today, Unitarian-Universalists represent Humanism.
    Note: Both Monophysites and Dyophysites, which follow, are Nicaean Trinitarians. They believe in three Gods, yet not three Gods, but one God. As stated in the Athanasian Creed, “So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God; And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.”
    7. Monophysitism. According to the Monophysites, Christ, the Incarnate Word, had only one nature: either divine or a composite nature of the human and divine, i.e., Miaphysitism. Related to Monophysitism was Apollinarianism, which maintained that the divine Logos functioned as the mind of Christ, who possessed a real, imperfect human body. Today, Monophysitism as Miaphysitism survives in the Oriental Orthodox Churches. Also, Monophysitism is found in liberation theology.
    8. Dyophysitism. According to the Dyophysites, Jesus is fully human and fully God. He possesses two natures, human and divine, in one person, without confusion of substance. That is, Jesus is 100 percent human and 100 percent God united in one person without any confusion of the two natures. Dyophysitism is the doctrine of Orthodox Christianity. It is expressed in the Athanasian Creed as follows: “Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man. God of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and man of substance of His mother, born in the world. Perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood. Who, although He is God and man, yet He is not two, but one Christ. One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of that manhood into God. One altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person.” Closely related to the Trinitarians are the Nestorians, who also believe the Nicaean Trinitarian Creed; however, they rejected the doctrine of “Mary the Mother of God” and were thus declared heretics. Nestorians were also condemned for declaring that Jesus had two natures: divine and human. Nestorianism survives today in the Assyrian Church.
    Except for Monophysitism, Patripassianism, and some interpretations of Dyophysitism and most followers of Humanism, all of the above Christologies maintain a supreme God who is eternal, immortal, immutable, and impassible. Because Monophysites, Patripassianists, and some Dyophysites have God suffering and even dying on the cross, their God is not eternal (the eternal cannot die), immortal (although he comes back to life), immutable, or impassible (an impassible being cannot suffer). Obviously, two different Gods are being worshiped. One God is eternal, immortal, immutable, and impassible; the other is mortal, mutable, and passible.

Copyright © 2018 by Thomas Coley Allen.

More religious articles.

Sunday, November 18, 2018


Thomas Allen

[Editor’s note: The following is a letter to the editor that appeared in a local newspaper.]
    Rare are political candidates who do not claim to support education. But what do they mean by “education.”  Do they mean maintaining and expanding the current system of indoctrinating pupils on what to think? Do they mean teaching pupils how to think? Or do they mean something else? They seldom say.
    Nearly all, if not all, political candidates favor improving education. How do they plan to improve education? Most answer, “Spend more money.” Apparently, more than a third of the state budget spent on education is not enough. How do they plan to spend more money? They plan to spend it on raising the salaries of teachers. They seem to believe that higher teacher pay equals higher quality of education. If that were true, pupils graduating from Chicago’s public schools would be among the best-educated people in the country instead of among the worst educated because teachers in Chicago’s public schools are among the highest paid in the country. The relationship between teacher pay and the quality of education is poor.
    Other than spending more money and indoctrinating more children at an ever younger age, most candidates seem to have no clue about how to improve education. Moreover, most probably have no clue about what kind of educational system that they want. They certainly are not likely to give the voters any details. At most, they will give the voters slogans, such as “I am for better education” and “we need to raise teachers’ salaries.” Unfortunately, slogans seem to be all that most voters are interested in.

[Editor’s note: The following two items are additions to the letter and are not part of the letter appearing in the newspaper.]
    1. Before the era of anti-White political correctness, most historians considered the generation of the founding fathers the greatest generation ever produced in America. None of the founding fathers had a public school education. Most White adults could understand the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution for the United States — something that cannot be said about today’s adults. None had a public school education.
    2. The tenth plank of the Communist Manifesto reads, “Free education for all children in government schools. . . .” Obviously, the United States have fully implemented this plank. If one were to compare the other planks of the Communist Manifesto to the United States, he would discover that the United States have implemented all these planks to some degree, many of them fully, and is about 80 to 90 percent a communist country.

Copyright © 2018 by Thomas Coley Allen.

More political articles.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Inconvertible Paper Money: The Ideal Money

Inconvertible Paper Money: The Ideal Money
Thomas Allen

    Inconvertible paper money is money that is not convertible into full-weight metallic coin, such as gold and silver coin, on the demand of its holder in spite of its promises or guarantees. Proponents of inconvertible paper money consider it the “ideal money” as it has no intrinsic value and it represents no metallic coin, which they believe to be inferior to paper money.
    Inconvertible paper money derives from two sources. First, and the most common today, are bank notes that become inconvertible because of a suspension of redemption in specie. Today’s federal reserve note is an example of this type of inconvertible paper money. When bank notes are no longer convertible to specie, they begin to behave like inconvertible government notes — especially if the government makes them legal tender and if the government controls their issue either directly or indirectly. Government notes are the second source of inconvertible paper money. That is, the government issues its paper money directly. Examples of government notes are the Assignat, the Continental and the U.S. note between 1862 and 1879. This type of inconvertible paper money was much more common before World War I than it is today. (Today, most inconvertible paper money is bank notes issued for  governments by their central banks, which often have the appearance of independence, but which are really subject to governmental control. Although this money is usually labeled as bank notes, functionally, and for all practical purposes, they are government notes.)
    Promoters of inconvertible paper money based their assertion of the superiority of inconvertible paper to metallic coin on several principles. A discussion of the chief ones follows.
    1. Medium of exchange. According to the adherents of inconvertible paper money, it is superior to metallic money as a medium of exchange. Paper money is a convention and does not have any “intrinsic value.” However, by general consent, it may become the medium of exchange of a country. It may become so acceptable that it cannot be distinguished from the acceptance of gold. This is true as long as custom or law forces people to use the paper money. If gold coin is allowed to circulate, its circulation will cease as people prefer to hoard the more valuable money, gold, and spend the less valuable money, paper. If gold coin does circulate, it will trade at a premium to the paper money.
    2. Common denominator in exchanges. Adherents of inconvertible paper money claim that it functions as well as, if not better than, metallic money as a common denominator in exchanges. Producers want an article of uniform quality that can be easily divided to serve as a common denominator in exchanges. Thus, money is a mere convention to facilitate exchanges. Inconvertible paper money can serve this purpose as well as, if not better than, gold.
    What is called “a common denominator in exchanges” is called “a measure of value” by most economists. Gold coin is superior to inconvertible paper money as a measure of value as its value as money is independent of itself. Inconvertible paper money is inferior to full-weight gold coin in that its monetary unit does not measure anything tangible that is independent of itself. For example, the Gold Standard Act of 1900 defines the dollar as 23.22 grains of gold, which means that it has a value equivalent to 23.22 grains of gold. When the redemption of federal reserve notes in gold coin ceased, federal reserve notes had a value of 23.22 grains of gold. However, as federal reserve notes were no longer convertible to gold, the dollar ceased having the value of 23.22 grains of gold. It ceased having an independent unit of measure. Its measure of value became what a dollar could buy, which is a highly inferior measure of value.
    3. Standard of deferred payment. Adherents of inconvertible paper money assert that it can function better than metallic money as a standard of deferred payment. The better a money can ensure the same purchasing power during the duration of the contract or loan, the better it functions as a standard of deferred payments. Advocates of inconvertible paper money claim that it maintains its purchasing power better than metallic coin.
    Inconvertible paper money can perform as a standard of deferred payment (it does so today) as long as it has popular acceptance. How well it performs this function depends on the regulation of its quality — so assert its proponents. Gold often proves inadequate in performing this function. Nevertheless, gold has historically done a better job of preserving value and, by that, its purchasing power than has inconvertible paper money. Eventually, inconvertible paper money loses popular acceptance. Gold never has although governments have often intervened to prevent its use, as occurred in the United States between 1933 and 1974.
    Moreover, the advocates of inconvertible paper money seldom admit that depreciation, as revealed by a premium on gold or silver, is proof that the paper money has failed as a standard of deferred payment. They argue that the value of paper has not fallen; the value of gold and silver has risen. Whenever they do admit to depreciation, the fault is not with inconvertible paper money itself. It is with the government’s failure to use the correct formula or technique, which they are ready to provide, to regulate the quantity of money. If the depreciation occurs during wartime, the argument is that the enemy is flooding the country with counterfeit notes.
    4. Natural limitations on quantity. Adherents of inconvertible paper money argue that it is superior to metallic money because it is not subject to natural limitations as is metallic money. Unlike gold, inconvertible paper money is not subject to any natural limitations. Coins, hoards, ornamentation, plat, and the like along with mines limit the quantity of gold available for monetary use. The only limitation to the quantity of paper money is the speed at which printing presses can run and the speed at which printing presses, inks, and papers can be manufactured. These limitations can be overcome by putting an ever larger number on the paper notes.
    The production of gold can vary significantly over the years. However, the quantity of newly mined gold entering the market is extremely small when compared with the aboveground stock of gold available for money. This high stock-to-flow ratio stabilizes the value of gold and prevents it from changing significantly. With no restriction other than governmental fiat placed on the production of inconvertible paper money, its quantity can increase without limit — or at least increase until it becomes worthless and no one accepts it.
    According to the advocates of inconvertible paper money, another advantage that it has over metallic money is that the cost of manufacturing paper money is extremely low. Mining gold is expensive.
        5. Not exportable. Adherents identify the inability of inconvertible paper money to be exported to other countries as an advantage that it has over metallic money, which is easily transported. Inconvertible paper money is limited in its circulation to the country of issue. (This may have been true in the past, but it is not true today. The U.S. dollar circulates worldwide. Other fiat inconvertible paper moneys also circulate outside their country of issue.)
    Under the gold standard, an overissue of money is halted by the exportation of gold. No such mechanism exists to halt the overissue of inconvertible paper money.
    Moreover, unlike gold under the gold standard, inconvertible paper money is independent of the actions and monetary policies of other countries. Advocates of inconvertible paper money consider this independence to be a great benefit.
    6. Overissue. Adherents of inconvertible paper money firmly believe that if the government follows the correct formula or technique in issuing it, overissue is impossible. So far, no one has found the correct formula or technique, although fiat money reformers have come forth with several techniques to use to issue the right amount. However, the temptation to issue ever more notes is often too great. Governments find issuing new notes easier and more acceptable than raising taxes. One of the few exceptions is the U.S. note: The government reduced the quantity in circulation and eventually redeemed them in gold.
    Under the gold standard, overissue is a self-correcting, short-lived problem. Any excess gold coins will be exported or converted to bullion. Excess convertible bank notes will be converted to gold coin, which will then be exported or converted to bullion. Thus, the overissue is quickly halted and reversed.
    7. Overissue leads to more issue. Adherents of inconvertible paper money who believe that it may be overissued are convinced that the overissue can be halted instead of leading to more issuance. However, the overissue of inconvertible paper money is seldom halted; the overissue nearly always leads to evermore increases in the money supply.
    When gold is the money, supply and demand applies. Demand creates supply; supply satisfies demand. Excess monetary gold is exported or converted to bullion.
    However, paper money is seldom exportable; it can only be used in the domestic markets. (Today, the U.S. dollar is a notable exception. Being the primary reserve currency of the world and the primary currency for buying and selling goods on the world markets, it is highly exportable. This exportation has spared Americans an enormous rise in prices.) When prices begin to rise because of excessive issuance, the government has to issue more notes just to maintain its current level of consumption. This new issuance leads to more rising prices, which leads to more issuance. Thus, a vicious cycle is created. Soon speculators enter the markets to by goods before their prices rise to sell them at a higher price later; thus, prices begin to rise even more rapidly. A prime example of this phenomenon is the Assignat of the French Revolution.
    In spite of all the historical evidence to the contrary, advocates of inconvertible paper money are convinced that no government can issue more notes than the real necessities of the government require. Unlike banks, governments cannot issue notes for profit. Therefore, the issue of government notes is limited to the absolute wants of the government. Most often governments under issue their notes — so assert some advocates of inconvertible paper money.
    8. Stability. Adherents of inconvertible paper money claim that it is more stabile, i.e., maintains constant purchasing power, than is metallic money. An abstract paper monetary unit is more likely to be less variable in value, purchasing power, than gold. Yet, history has shown that the value of inconvertible paper money is much less stable than the value of gold under the gold standard.
    Historically, gold’s purchasing power tends to rise for a decade or two and decline for a decade or two. However, over decades, its purchasing power is fairly constant. (See Roy Jastram’s study on gold’s purchasing power.)
    On the other hand, inconvertible paper money’s purchasing power tends to decline at varying rates. Moreover, the decline accelerated as the currency approaches its death.
    Depreciating paper money fluctuates primarily for two reasons. First, the demand for money varies. Under the gold standard, this variation in demand is smoothed by gold moving into and out of the country. However, inconvertible paper money remains in the country; thus, its value fluctuates with changing demand. Second, the depreciation of inconvertible paper money impairs its circulation. Depreciation affects confidence in the currency. Inconvertible paper money depreciates more rapidly when confidence is falling and less rapidly when confidence is steady or rising. A rise in confidence may lead to a rise in purchasing power for a while. Political events affect confidence more than the volume of money in circulation.
    9. Benefits the working class. Adherents of inconvertible paper money are adamant in that the primary beneficiary of inconvertible paper money is the working class. They present it as benefitting the working class and gold standard as harming the working class. As with most claims of these advocates, the opposite is true. Inconvertible paper money is an egregious tax on production and labor. It leads to speculation, which benefits sharpies at the expense of workers. Initially, depreciating paper money increases the profits of businesses at the expense of consumers, most of whom are workers. However, these excess profits are short-lived as they attract more businesses. Moreover, inconvertible paper money leads to wasteful habits. As it is nearly always depreciating, its loss of purchasing power causes prices to rise. Moreover, prices rise before wages do and faster than wages. Thus, workers must pay more for goods and services with the same amount of labor. Also, most workers lack the means to hoard goods to sell in the future at much higher prices, or even for their own use. Worse, inconvertible paper money undermines the virtues needed to support the social system of the community. It destroys industry, frugality, and economy while promoting extravagance and speculation. Inconvertible paper money is the most effective means to cheat workers as it transfers the wealth of workers to the rich and the government.
    10. Gold is not essential to the monetary unit. Adherents of inconvertible paper money argue that gold is not essential to defining the monetary unit. They assert that gold is no more essential to the monetary unit than brass or wood of a ruler is to the yard or meter. The yard and meter are not defined by the material of which a ruler is made. They are defined by the distance that light travels in a specific fraction of a second. Likewise, the value of the monetary unit is not defined by the material of which money is made. Under the gold standard, it is defined by the value of a specific weight and purity of gold. For example, the dollar was defined as 23.22 grains of fine gold, and, thus, had a value equal to 23.22 grains of gold. Under today’s monetary standard, the dollar is a nebulous abstraction whose value cannot be defined except in terms of itself.
    Defining the value of the monetary unit, such as the dollar, peso, pound, or euro, as equal to the value of what the monetary unit buys gives the illusion of stability. The dollar always buys a dollar’s worth of goods. However, the quantity and often the quality of goods that a dollar buys declines over time. Anyone who has lived during the permanent suspension of the gold-coin standard and later the suspension of the gold exchange standard has personally witnessed the instability of an abstract monetary unit and its constant deterioration and loss of value.
    Inconvertible paper money may be as bank notes for which redemption has been suspended, such as federal reserve notes after 1932, or forced government notes, such as U.S. notes before 1879. No matter which, both derive their initial value as money from the commodity money, e.g., gold coin, that they replace.
    Unlike gold, which has value both as money and as bullion for ornamentation, etc., inconvertible paper money has only one use and that is as money, purchasing medium, a unit of account, and payment of debt and taxes. Therefore, it is low quality money. Lacking quality, it is a poor store of value. Likewise, its poor quality as money makes it a poor standard of exchange value, that is a standard of prices and accounts, or a measure of value.
    Inconvertible paper money does have value, but that value is derived from its use as money, and that value depends on the confidence that people have in it. Also, it depends to a limited extent on the authority and power of the government to force it on the people. Once the value of money degenerates beyond a certain point, the power of government can no longer force the people to accept it, even with the death penalty. Examples are the Assignat and the Continental. Unless the government gives a believable promise that the paper money will soon be convertible on demand in full-weight metallic coin, that confidence declines. Declining confidences leads to declining value, purchasing power, of inconvertible paper money.
    As the value of inconvertible paper money declines, so does the demand for it. When demand declines, its value declines. Therefore, more is needed to make the same quantity of purchases, Thus, its supply must increase to maintain the same level of purchases. Increasing supply leads to further lose of confidence and decline in demand for the money. As a result, general prices continue to rise.
    Inconvertible paper money does function as money although inferior to gold coin. It can serve as a medium of exchange, a standard for the payment of debt, especially when it is legal tender, a measure of value, and even a store of value. However, it swindles creditors and impoverishes workers as it generally loses value over time. Moreover, as it loses value at varying rates, it is a poor measure of value and a poor standard of value. However, unlike gold coin, inconvertible paper money cannot extinguish debt. It merely discharges debt by transferring it to the issuer of the paper money.

Copyright © 2017 by Thomas Coley Allen.

More articles on money.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Mencken on the Maker of Law

Mencken on the Maker of Law
Thomas Allen

    In 1926, H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) wrote Notes on Democracy in which he expressed his views on democracy and related issues. He was a journalist, satirist, and critic and a libertarian and one of the leaders of the Old Right. In his book, he describes the maker of law, pages 131-139. Below is an overview of his discussion on the maker of law; my comments are in brackets.
    “In the United States, the general democratic tendency to crowd competent and self-respecting men out of the public service is exaggerated by a curious constitutional rule, unknown in any other country.” Although its “aim is to preserve for every electoral unit a direct and continuous voice in the government; its actual effect is to fill all the legislative bodies of the land with puerile local politicians, many of them so stupid that they are quite unable to grasp the problems with which government has to deal.” [For example, the Representative from Georgia who thought that islands floated like boats and would sink or capsize if too many people were on the island.]
    Often no competent man is available in a district to represent it. [Many competent men live in most districts; however, they do not want to degrade themselves to the level of a democratic politician described by Mencken.] According to Mencken, the competent man “is usually so enmeshed in operations against the resident imbeciles and their leaders, and hence so unpopular, that his candidature is out of the question.”
    [Mencken seems convinced that if Congress and State legislatures were filled with competent men the Eighteenth Amendment prohibiting the sale of alcohol would not have been adopted.] “[P]liant and unconscionable jackasses” in Congress allying with members from “all the more backward States” forced the Prohibition Amendment through Congress. “[T]he votes of even more degraded noodles, assembled from the backwoods in the State Legislatures, that put the amendment into the Constitution.”
    Mencken believes that “[i]f it were possible for a congressional district to choose any man to represent it, as is the case in all other civilized countries, there would be more breaks in the monotony of legislative venality and stupidity, for even the rustic mob, in the absence of strong local antipathies, well fanned by demagogues, might succumb occasionally to the magic of a great name.”
    Because a representative must reside in the district that he represents, “a depressing gang of incompetents, mainly petty lawyers and small-town bankers” become the predominant representatives. Moreover, “in intelligence, information and integrity,” the House of Representatives “is comparable to a gang of bootleggers — a House so deficient in competent leaders that it can scarcely carry on its business.” [This is an excellent description of the Congress that President Trump faces.] Another result “is the immense power of . . . corrupt and sinister agencies [lobbyists].”
    Mencken has a low opinion of the average Southerner in the House of Representatives. According to him, the average Southern Representative “got his early education in a hedge school, he proceeded to some preposterous Methodist or Baptist college, and then he served for a time as a school teacher in his native swamps, finally reaching the dignity of county superintendent of schools and meanwhile reading law. Admitted to the bar, and having got a taste of county politics as superintendent, he became district attorney, and perhaps, after a while, county judge.” After running for Congress three or four times, he is finally elected. Such a man is unfit “for the responsibilities of a law-maker. . . . He is an ignoramus, and he is quite without the common decencies. Having to choose  between sense and nonsense, he chooses nonsense almost instinctively.” Before he went to Washington and began meeting “lobbyists, bootleggers and the correspondents of the newspapers, he had perhaps never met a single intelligent human being.” Moreover, officialdom disdains him. “His dream is to be chosen to go on a congressional junket, i.e., on a drunken holiday at government expense. His daily toil is getting jobs for relatives and retainers.” He is “a knavish and preposterous nonentity, half-way between a kleagle of the Ku Klux and a grand worthy bow-wow of the Knights of Zoroaster. It is such vermin who make the laws of the United States.” [Mencken’s description of the typical Southern Representative is less accurate today. However, it is still accurate if applied to Representatives from across the country by changing the names of some organizations. For example, the Klan is irrelevant today, except in the minds of those who believe the Southern Poverty Law Center. Today, all Klan organizations of more than two or three members are governmental fronts.]
    As for Senators, they “are measurably better, if only because they serve for longer terms.” Having a two-year term, a Representative “is constantly running for re-election. Scarcely has he got to Washington before he must hurry home and resume his bootlicking of the local bosses.” However, a Senator “may safely forget them for two or three years, and so, if there is no insuperable impediment in his character, he may show a certain independence, and yet survive.” Occasionally, some Senators may attain “a laudable mastery of the public business, particularly such as lies within the range of their private interest.” Moreover, they may “show the intellectual dignity and vigour of genuine statesmen.” Nevertheless, the average Senator “is simply a party hack, without ideas and without anything rationally describable as self-respect. His backbone has a sweet resiliency.” Moreover, “it is quite impossible to forecast his action, even on a matter of the highest principle, without knowing what rewards are offered by the rival sides.” These Senators prefer “their jobs to their dignity.”
    [Mencken gives an accurate, but unfortunately, description of the people who govern the United States and make their laws. Nothing has changed for the better since he wrote.]

Copyright © 2017 by Thomas Coley Allen.

More political articles.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Valentinian Christology

Valentinian Christology
Thomas Allen

    As shown below, the similarities between the Gnostic Christology and Trinity of the Valentinians and the orthodox Trinitarians are striking. The Valentinians were teaching a Christology very similar to the Christology of the Trinity Doctrine expressed in the Athanasian Creed about 350 years before the proclamation of the Athanasian Creed.
    Valentinus (c.100-c.160) was a teacher in Rome, who almost became Pope. Before coming to Rome in about 140, he had studied in Egypt. About 160, he died in Cyprus. He claimed to have received his ideas from Theodas, a disciple of Paul. Valentinianism survived into the fifth century.
    Valentinus’ teachings merged Christianity with Greek and Oriental speculation. He developed a metaphysical system that incorporated Christianity with paganism and Greek philosophy, primarily Platonism. His theology fluctuated between Gnosticism, esotericism, and orthodox Christianity of his time.
    Valentinus believed that Christ’s flesh was spiritual. Although Jesus ate and drank, he did not defecate. Because Jesus’ body received heavenly substance, it only appeared to need food. (This idea of Jesus conflicts with the New Treatment: Jesus was “like his brethren in all things” [Heb. 2:17]. Like the Valentinians, the Trinitarians also have a Jesus who is incompatible with the New Testament Jesus.)
    Fundamental to the Valentinian Christology is Christ’s deity and preexistence. Furthermore, Christ is a special emanation of God and embodies all the powers of God. They believe that the fullness of the Godhead consists of three persons: Wisdom (Sophia), Truth (Aletheia), and Word (Logos). Jesus was the manifestation of these divine powers. Thus, Christ is the fullness of the Godhead. Pressense described Valentinus’ concept of the Father and the Son as follows:
The principle of all things — the Immortal, the Ineffable, He who deserves the name of Father in the absolute sense — is an unfathomable abyss. He is linked neither to space nor time; He is above all thought, and, as it were, shut up within Himself. Around Him is eternal silence. The Father is not willing to remain in solitude, for He is all love, and love can only exist where it has an object. Thus He produced by emanation the Intellect and the Truth. The Intellect is the consciousness which the Father has of Himself; it is the only Son, His living image, who alone makes known the Father, The Intellect is at the same time the Truth, because of this identity. The Intellect and the Truth produce the Word and the Life. This is the great quaternion of the absolute. The Intellect finds its perfect expression in the Word; that expression is not a mere symbol, since it is also the Life. The Word and the Life produce Man and the Church. . . . The transcendently divine blends with the essentially human. . . . The Intellect and the Truth give birth to the Christ and the Holy Spirit (Pressense, pp. 26-27, 29)
(For further description of Valentinus’ ontological metaphysical speculation, see Pressense, pages 27-33 and Hase, pages 78-80.)
    Further, Valentinus taught that the God of the Old Testament, i.e., Yahweh, was not the Supreme God.
    Valentinians divided into two schools: the Western (or Italian or later) and the Eastern (or Oriental or earlier). According to the Western School, Jesus came down from heaven with a special incorrupted human body. The virgin Mary birthed this human Jesus. Later, either at the birth or baptism of this human Jesus, the divine Christ joined the human Jesus. Thus, Jesus possessed two persons or natures: One is fully human and the other is fully divine. According to the Eastern School, Christ, who has a purely spiritual body, is born through the virgin Mary. The divine person of Jesus absorbs the human person, and, by that, makes Jesus one person. Thus, the Eastern School was partly Docetic.
    The Valentinians were ahead of the Trinitarians in recognizing Christ, the Son of God, as consubstantial (homoousios) with the Father, which is an essential element of the Trinity Doctrine. Moreover, Valentinus may have been the first to teach the doctrine of three hypostases and three persons of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This notion, he got from Hermes and Plato. (Hermes was a recorder of Egyptian mythology and paganism.) Unlike the Platonists, whose “hypostases” was impersonal, Valentinus’ “hypostases” was personal.
    As the Valentinus’ notion of three persons in the Godhead was between that of the Arians and the Sabellians, Trinitarians adopted his idea (indirectly via his techniques) to avoid and to condemn the Arians and Sabellians. (The Arians believed that the Son was a created being and subordinate to God. Sabellians believed that the Son, as well as the Father and Holy Spirit, was an aspect or manifestation of God.) Like the Valentinians, the Trinitarians adopted a trinity doctrine of a triune God of three distinct persons (or Gods) in one person (or God). (One motivation for adopting the Trinity Doctrine was to distinguish and separate Christianity from the absurdity of Jewish Monotheism, as Gregory of Nyssa (c. 335 – c. 395), one of the greatest Trinitarian theologians of the fourth century, stated it.)
    However, the Trinity of the Trinitarians differs significantly from the Trinity of the Valentinians in one important aspect. For the Trinitarians, God the Father and God the Son are coequal. For the Valentinians, the Son is subordinate to the Father. Another important difference between the two is that according to the Trinitarians the three persons of God are male. According to the Valentinians, the Father and Son are male, and the Holy Spirit is female.
    Another essential component of the Trinity Doctrine is the eternal Son. Valentinians taught the eternal generation of the Son, i.e., the eternal Son. God the Father is the eternal Father of the eternal Son. However, they seem to mean that the Son is eternally begotten out of the Father instead of eternally being with or in the Father.
    Similar to the Christology of the Valentinians is the Christology of the Trinitarians. Trinitarians have the preexisting God the Son coming down from heaven to earth and uniting with a human body. However, according to the Trinity Doctrine, Jesus consists of two persons: a human and God. He is 100 percent God and 100 percent human. Yet, he is one person. That is, the Trinitarian Jesus is one person with two wills and two minds. Thus, the Trinitarian Jesus is not a personal man; he is human nature without personal substance. He becomes an abstraction void of personality united with God.
    According to the Valentinians, Christ, who emanates from the Intellect, the consciousness of the Father, the Supreme God, has of Himself, is the highest anointed. Jesus, who is born of Mary is the “ensouled body” that the Savior puts on. The Savior is a lesser anointed, who is also called Jesus, Christ, Word, Son, and All. Jesus was earthly with a human body into which the heavenly Savior descended, yet the Savior’s body was apparently not material. The spiritual Christ departs just before the crucifixion — thus, Deity does not die — and the human body, Jesus, suffers and dies.
    Both the Trinitarian Christ and the Valentinian Christ are similar to the Docetic Jesus. According to Docetism, Christ is not a man; God took the form of a man to Himself. According to the Trinitarians, when God the Son became man at the incarnation, he gave up none of his divine attributes by taking manhood to himself. Like the Trinitarians, the Valentinians hold that Christ is not a true or real man because God subjected all his properties to His divine personality while He preserved a complete and functional human nature. Thus, both the Trinitarians and Valentinians agree that Jesus Christ is not “a true man”; he is God united with human qualities.
    Nearly all Trinitarians maintain that only the human bodyof Christ died on the cross. God the Son, Christ’s divine nature, left the body of Christ at the crucifixion, for God cannot die. (If he died, he would no longer be immortal or eternal.) Valentinians hold the same doctrine of the crucifixion. Christ, i.e., the divine nature, left Jesus, i.e., the human nature, before Jesse died. The primary difference between the two is that for Trinitarians, the human nature left the God nature at death whereas for Valentinians, the God nature left the human nature before the human nature died.
    According to the New Testament, the Son of God died on the cross. Propitiation is by the death of the person of Jesus. However, for Valentinians and Trinitarians, the divine person did not die; only a human image or body died. Both have the divine person experiencing death without having to die.
    Nevertheless, Valentinians and Trinitarians do differ on their view of Jesus Christ. For the Valentinians, Christ is deity and Jesus is human; that is, Christ and Jesus are two distinct persons. Therefore, Jesus dies, but Christ escapes death. (This notion that Christ did not die conflicts with Paul’s teachings: Romans 14:9.)
    For the Trinitarians, Jesus and Christ are one person, although he is two distinct persons, divine and human. According to the Trinity Doctrine, Jesus has both a divine person, the Logos, and a rational human soul. Therefore, Jesus’ human nature retains a human mind and will, and he also has a divine mind and will. Nevertheless, Jesus has only one person in himself. Thus, Trinitarians have more difficulty in explaining Christ’s death without the Son of God dying than do Valentinians.
    Like the Trinitarian Jesus, the Valentinian Jesus consists of the deity and a rational human. Both have Jesus with two souls, but with only one ego, the divine person, dominating. Both believe that the divine must dominate Jesus, or else he would sin. Basically, the difference between the Valentinian and the Trinitarian doctrine of two natures of Jesus is that the Valentinians present theirs in a clear and undeniable fashion, while the Trinitarians present theirs in a hazy and incoherent way.
    Although the Valentinian Jesus had both a human mind and will and a divine mind and will, the divine controlled. Most Trinitarians maintain the same position: Jesus’ divine mind and will controlled his human mind and will. Both have the divine suppressing, at least to some degree, the humanity of Jesus. Thus, Jesus never sinned and could never sin. One significant difference between the Valentinian Jesus and the Trinitarian Jesus is that the Valentinian Jesus is two different persons: one divine, and one human. The Trinitarian Jesus is one person in spite of having two minds and two wills.
    According to the Valentinians, the human body of Jesus descended from heaven and passed through Mary. Thus, Jesus’ human body preexisted in heaven. This Valentinian doctrine, the Trinitarians reject.
    A great problem that Trinitarians have encountered over the centuries is explaining the two natures of Jesus and the crucifixion of Jesus without God dying on the cross while avoiding Gnosticism. Even today, some Trinitarians, e.g., Congdon, accuse many evangelicals of preaching a Docetic and Valentinian Christology.
    So that ordinary people can understand the Christology of the Trinitarians as expressed in the Athanasian Creed, Lord Bacon, a Trinitarian, translates it:
He believes a Virgin to be a Mother of a Son; and that very Son of hers to be her Maker. He believes him to have been shut up in a narrow room, whom heaven and earth could not contain. He believes him to have been born in time, who was and is from everlasting. He believes him to have been a weak child carried in arms, who is the Almighty; and him once to have died, who only hath life and immortality in himself (Norton 82-83).
In other words, God is contained in a womb and stable but is omnipresent. He is eternal yet born in time. He is a vulnerable infant yet omnipotent. He died but is an eternal, immortal God who cannot die. This is the Christology that a good Christian believes whether he realizes it or not. Except Mary being the mother of her Maker, i.e., God, Bacon’s description of Christ fits the Christology of the Valentinians.
    The similarities between Valentinian Christology and the Trinitarian Christology are remarkable. Both hold that Christ was deity and a hypostasis [a person] of the Supreme God. Further, both have him descending from heaven and having two complete natures. While the divine nature performs the miraculous and  salvific works of the Supreme God, the human nature experiences the life of a human body capable of hunger, pain, and death.
    In developing their Christology, the Trinitarians did not copy the Valentinians. Their Christologies are similar because both used the same technique in interpreting the Holy Scriptures. Both read the Scriptures through the thick lens of Platonism. As for the differences, they primarily result from the Valentinians incorporating more paganism and Gnosticism than the Trinitarians. The notion of a God-man and even a Triad (Triune) God comes from paganism. These notions certainly did not come from the staunchly monotheistic Old Testament or the staunchly monotheistic writers of the New Testament.
    Although the teachings of the Valentinians were extremely similar to that of the Trinitarians, they are condemned as a major enemy of orthodoxy. Perhaps the similarity is a cause of the Valentinians being condemned as heretics.
    When theologians develop a doctrine and especially a dogma, they seem not only to discard Occam’s razor, but, to the contrary, they seem to adopt its inverse. (According to Occam’s razor, when two theories are competing, the simpler explanation is to be preferred as it is usually the better of the two.) Do they do so to keep the masses ignorant and depended on them and, thereby, increase their status and importance? They seem to strive to create the most complex, incomprehensible doctrines and dogmas that they can.
    Further, most theologians seem to believe that when a few passages appear to disagree or conflict with many passages in the Bible, the many should be interpreted in light of the few. The few should not be understood in light of the many. Thus, the best doctrines allow or even demand the few to govern the many. For example, 53 scriptures support the doctrine that Jesus is God, while 386 scriptures show that he is not God (Holt, p. 311).
    One of my bosses said, partially joking, that the best way to get data points to fall on the curve is to draw the curve first and then plot the data. Some doctrines of the Church seem to have been developed this way. First, the doctrine is declared, and then verses are found to support the doctrine or are forced via interpretation to support the doctrine. Better yet, is to write the doctrine so that it can void any scripture that contradicts it. An example is the doctrine of the dual nature of Jesus (Jesus is 100 percent human and 100 percent God, yet he is only one person); the doctrine itself makes everything that Jesus says that proves that he is not God irrelevant.

Allen, Thomas. “Early Church Theories of Christ.” Franklinton, North Carolina: TC Allen Co., 2009.

Brons, David. “The Gnostic Society Library: Valentinian Theology.” Accessed December 27, 2017.
Cash, Billy “Origen’s Trinitarian Theology.” April 21, 2010.

Chandler, Kegan A. The God of Jesus in Light of Christian Dogma: The Recovery of New Testament Theology. McDonough, Georgia: Restoration Fellowship, 2016.

Congdon, David W. The Fire and the Rose. “American Evangelicalism Christology: The Heresies of American Evangelicalism, Part III: Christology: Part III: A Docetic Christ.” July 28, 2006. evangelicalism_28.html. Accessed December 27, 2017.

“A Correct Christology.” Accessed Dec 27, 2017

Craig, Ryann Elizabeth. “Anastasis in the Treatise on the Resurrection How Jesus’ Example Informs Valentinian Resurrection Doctrine and Christology.”

Fahy, Paul. “Early Christological Heresies.”  Understanding Ministries: 2012.

Hase, Charles. History of the Christian Church. Translators Charles E. Blumenthal and Conway P. Wing. New York: D. Appleton, 1870.

Healy, Patrick J. “Valentinus and Valentinians” Accessed  Dec 27, 2017.

Holt, Brian. Jesus God or the Son of God: A Comparison of the Arguments. Mt. Juliet, Tennessee: Tell Way Publishing, 2002.

Neidhart, Ludwig. Biblical Trinity Doctrine and Christology. Augsburg: 2017.

Norton, Andrews. Statement of Reasons for Not Believing the Doctrines of Trinitarians, Concerning the Nature of God, and the Person Of Christ. Cambridge: Brown, Shattuck, and Company, 1833.

Pressense, E. De. The Early Years of Christianity: Heresy and Christian Doctrine. Translator Anne Harwood. New York: Nelson & Phillips, n.d.

Copyright © 2017 by Thomas Coley Allen

For more religious articles

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Centralism Versus Decentralism

Centralism Versus Decentralism
Thomas Allen

    Wilhelm Ropke in The Social Framework of the Free Market (1958, translated by Elizabeth Henderson, 1960) compares centralism and decentralism and describes the differences between the two. (Page numbers in parentheses are references to his book.)
    In the American political economy terminology, centralists (whom Ropke calls centrists) promote the Hamiltonian-Lincolnian political economy, which is what the United States have today, and the decentralists (whom Ropke calls decentrists) promote the Jeffersonian-Calhounian political economy. To the centralists, America is an idea, an abstraction. To the decentralists, America is a place, concrete.
    Centralism and decentralism apply to all social, political, and economic aspects of life. In general, they express a great contrast in ideals and views of society. Centralists emphasize the larger community: the state, a puissant central government, the collective, big businesses, central banks, and even the utopian world state. Decentralists emphasize the smaller community: the individual, the family, voluntary associations, small businesses, and local and State or provincial governments. Hierarchical churches like the Catholic Church where religious power is concentrated falls under centralism. Churches like the Baptists where religious power is dispersed falls under decentralism. Thus, centralists favor the consolidation and the concentration of political and economic power. Decentralists favor the dispersion and deconcentration of political and economic power.
    The following list compares centralism and decentralism:
    Centralists believe, favor, and prefer:
        –    a strong central government with the globalists preferring a puissant global government.
        –    people dependent on the government; thus, welfare programs and national health care.

    Decentralists believe, favor, and prefer:
        –    federalism and local government.
        –    people not dependent on the government.

    Centralists believe, favor, and prefer:
        –    macroeconomics.
        –    large-scale industry; technical and organizational rationality.
        –    centralized planning enforced by the government.
        –    large-scale governmental intervention in the economy, collectivist economy, socialism, and monopoly.
        –    dependent wage earners; workers in a subordinated and dependent relation to centers of decision.
        –    the vertical, close, and personal relation of subordination and authority of big business and socialized industry, i.e., vertical, organizational dependence.
        –    a market that depends on the boss.
        –    people occupying positions that are above and below each other; subordination of people.
        –    trade unions, which subordinate workers to union bosses, instead of independent workers.

    Decentralists believe, favor, and prefer:
        –    microeconomics.
        –    the peasantry, crafts, middle class, and small firms.
        –    a wide distribution of private property.
        –    a free market, free enterprise economy.
        –    an economy planned by the markets, competition, and free prices.
        –    decentralization of economic decisions among millions of separate producers and consumers as the indispensable condition of freedom, justice, and well-being.
        –    independence of workers.
        –    independent market parties where the buyers and sellers are horizontal and loose if not impersonal, i.e., horizontal market dependence.
        –    dependence upon the client or the supplier through a market that is wide enough to do away with rigid personal relationships.
        –    people occupying positions side by side with each other.

    Centralists believe, favor, and prefer:
        –    huge associations, giant cities, and urbanized areas.
        –    social rationalism, i.e., the individual is small and eventually dwindles to a statistical figure, a building brick, a mathematical magnitude encased in equations, something that can be "refashioned."
        –    optimism about the success of his constructions and refashioning.
        –    equality and uniformity.
        –    mobility.
        –    socialization of education.
        –    the welfare state, especially one that extends well beyond the truly needed.

    Decentralists believe, favor and prefer:
        –    the lovers of nature and of the human scale.
        –    rural areas and small towns.
        –    thinking and acting in terms of human beings and knowing and respecting history.
        –    skepticism or pessimism thus basing his arguments realistically and unsentimentally on human nature.
        –    inequality, diversity, multiformity, and social articulation.
        –    stability.
        –    stratification of society with respect for natural developments, a modicum of variety and of horizontal and vertical social articulation, family traditions, personal inclinations, and inherited wealth.
        –    men having the happy feeling of being in the place where they belong.
        –    variety and independence in every sphere, but not particularism or parochialism.
        –    personal responsibility and private charities to aid the needy.

    Centralists believe, favor, and prefer:
        –    doctrinaires, dogma, doctrines, and ideologies.
        –    man centered.
        –    man can perfect man.

    Decentralists believe, favor and prefer:
        –    established principles: a hierarchy of norms and values established by reason and sober reflection instead of by passions and feelings.
        –    ultimate and absolute convictions that require no proof because it is absurd not to believe in them.
        –    God centered.
        –    only God can perfect man.

    Ropke does not specifically discuss the armed forces under centralism and decentralism. Centralists favor a large standing army and a navy and air force large enough to project power regionally and, if resources allow, even globally. However, centralists prefer a disarmed citizenry (a heavily armed citizenry can thwart the centralists’ plans and their lust for power). Conversely, decentralists prefer a heavily armed citizenry and a small armed force. The armed force should be sufficient to defend the country from invasions, but not large enough for offensive wars or foreign adventures.
    Decentralism is not particularism or parochialism with “a narrow-mindedness which can’t see the forest for the trees” (p. 233). According to Ropke, a decentralist is a convinced universalist who “keep[s] his eye on a larger community which is all the more genuine for being structured and articulated” (p. 233). However, God is his center, “and this is why he refuses to accept human centers” (p. 233). The decentralists “should cultivate a universal approach to all intellectual, political, and economic matters and reject narrow views and actions and, above all, intellectual, political, and economic regionalism and nationalism; on the other hand, we should prize variety and independence at all levels and in all spheres, on the basis of the common patrimony of mankind, which is beyond all levels and spheres” (p. 234).
    The centralist is a moralist. Ropke describes the moralism of the central as follows:
[The centralist is] a moralist of the cheap rhetorical kind, who misuses big words, such as freedom, justice, rights of man, or others, to the point of empty phraseology, who poses as a paragon of virtues and stoops to use his moralism as a political weapon and to represent his more reserved adversary as morally inferior. Since, again, he looks at things from on high, well above the reality of individual people, his moralism is of an abstract, intellectual kind. It enables him to feel morally superior to others for the simple reason that he stakes his moral claims so high and makes demands on human nature without considering either the concrete conditions or the possible consequences of the fulfillment of those demands. He does not seem capable of imagining that others may not be lesser men because they make things less easy for themselves and do take account of the complications and difficulties of a practical and concrete code of ethics within which it is not unusual to will the good and work the bad. The “left” moralist all too often reaches the point where his big words of love and freedom and justice serve as a cover for the exact opposite. The moralist, with his lofty admonitions, becomes an intolerant hater and envier, the theoretical pacifist an imperialist when it comes to the practical test, and the advocate of abstract social justice an ambitious place-hunter. These moralists are a world apart from the decentrists’ attitude . . . that man does not primarily exist for the sake of human society but for his own sake, “and if each one of us exists in the best possible manner for his own sake, he does so for society as well.” . . . The centrist’s moral ideal frequently enough amounts to a desire to make the world into a place where . . . everyone is nursing his neighbor, which presupposes a centralized compulsory organization (p. 230).
(His description of the morals of the centralist is essentially the description of the morals of the Yankee and the Puritan.)
    Ropke strongly opposes the concept of equality and believes that trying to achieve it and even the chimera of “equality of opportunity” results in disaster. About trying to achieve equality of opportunity via socialization of education, he writes:
[I]f equality of opportunity is to be achieved by socializing education, envy and resentment will only be acerbated. If everybody has the same chances of advancement, those left behind will lose the face-saving and acceptable excuse of social injustice and lowly birth. The weakness of mind or character of the overwhelming majority of average or below-average people will be harshly revealed as the reason for failure, and it would be a poor observer of the human soul who thought that this revelation would not prove poisonous. No more murderous attack on the sum total of human happiness can be imagined than this kind of equality of opportunity, for, given the aristocratic distribution of the higher gifts of mind and character among a few only, such equality will benefit a small minority and make the majority all the unhappier (p. 223).
(Perhaps, this explains the problem that the country is having with Blacks, especially those involved in Black Lives Matters, Antifa, Social Justice, and other similar groups. Not only have Blacks been given “equal opportunity,” laws have been written and are enforced that give Blacks more than equal opportunity. Blacks are given a legal and social advantage over Whites. Yet they still fall behind, not because of any discrimination, but because of their innate, genetic, inabilities.)
    Unfortunately for mankind, centralization is much easier than decentralization. Moreover, expanding the powers of the government is much easier than contracting them. The centralist’s “path is bound to lead to regions where the air of freedom and humanity becomes thinner and thinner, until we end up on the icy peaks of totalitarianism, from which nations can hardly hope to escape without a fall. The trouble is that once one takes this road, it becomes increasingly difficult to turn back” (p. 234).
    A major danger of centralism is that it encounters no checks on itself. Its obsessions become uninhibited. Moreover, it comes to know no limits. Centralism leads to loss of freedom, humanity, and the health of society. (Examples are Germany under the rule of the national socialists and Russia, China, North Korea, and other countries under the rule of the communists.)
    Ropke quotes John Stuart Mill’s description of centralism:
If the roads, the railways, the banks, the insurance offices, the great joint-stock companies, the universities, and the public charities, were all of them branches of the government; if, in addition, the municipal corporations and local boards, with all that now devolves on them, became departments of the central administration; if the employes of all these different enterprises were appointed and paid by the government, and looked to the government for every rise in life; not all the freedom of the press and popular constitution of the legislature would make this or any other country free otherwise than in name. And the evil would be greater, the more efficiently and scientifically the administrative machinery was constructed (p. 235).
    One of the dangers of centralism is that many centralists do not want to be centralist and many do not know that they are centralists. They are the classical liberals (as opposed to neo-liberals and progressives) or conservatives who reject federalism, the anti-collectivists who flirt with monopolies or government intervention in the economy, and humanist and others who support the economic integration of countries. (To Ropke’s list, can be added free-market economists like the Friedmanites who support centralized banking and a managed monetary system in lieu of the classical gold standard and decentralized banking. Also, classical liberals, conservatives, and libertarians who are racial nihilists can be included in the list.)
    Ropke comments on the work environment under centralization:
People used to occupy positions side by side with each other, but now they are above and below each other, and the relation is charged with the constant tension of close personal contact within a limited, fixed group. With the diminution of individual independence, this is becoming the fate of the masses, and we all know the strain it puts on human relations. Intrigues, place-hunting, informing, ill will, bootlicking, envy, jealousy, and all the other poisons of close contact spread like the plague in all large organizations and companies, as experience has shown again and again. Neurotics are in a position to make life hell for hundreds and thousands of people, and . . . there is a more than even chance that it will be precisely neurotics who get to the top and into a dominating position, because of their assertiveness and officiousness (p. 236-237).
(As power becomes more concentrated in the central government, ever more neurotics are drawn to the central government, especially in management positions.)
    About centralized planning and collectivism, Ropke writes:
[I]t is one of the most damning things to be held against collectivism in any shape or form that, with the exception only of the few who hold the power to plan and direct, it presses men inescapably into vertical and personal relations of subordination and so robs them of freedom. If the socialists, incorrigible centrists as they are, demand such an economic order in the name of freedom, they afford a most depressing proof of the aberrations of which man is capable when he is blinded by political passion (pp. 237-238).
    Ropke makes three recommendations to reverse the centralization of the economy:
First, we should do everything we can to brake or even reverse the process of dwindling independence whenever and wherever this is possible without real damage to economic rationality. Secondly, we should do everything we can to mitigate the rigidity of vertical subordination as much as the structure of productive organization and the nature of the market economy permit. Thirdly, we should do everything we can to strengthen the counterweights in fields other than labor dependence, the most important of these counterweights being private property (p. 241).
Moreover, decentralists should not look to government to enforce these recommendations. Instead, they must support “all the forces, whatever they be, which counteract concentration” (p. 241). To carry out these recommendations requires “[p]ainstaking research . . . to discover how, ultimately, the government itself, by means of its laws, its tax system, and its economic and social policies, continuously and injudiciously weights the scales in favor of industrial concentration and makes things difficult for small and medium firms and all others who aspire to independence” (p. 241).
    Although centralists preach the virtue of diversity, they are the destroyers of true diversity. They seek to reduce all to a uniform mongrelized oneness — one hybrid race, one culture, one religion, one government, one economy, etc. On the other hand, decentralists seek to preserve true diversity. They want to preserve the various races, cultures, and nations (people) and countries (territories) with many free and independent governments and economies (but not autarky or protectionism as that requires centralization), etc.
    Today centralism appears as:
    –    globalization with a one-world government (the United Nations and its various organizations) and one-world religion (ecumenism).
    –    the European Union and climate change treaties as steps toward world government.
    –    war on Confederate monuments to destroy history and diversity.
    –    homogenization of the male and female sexes into meaninglessness by promoting feminism to make women men, effemination of men to make them women, homosexuality, transgenderism, etc. to destroy the family.
    –    political correctness to destroy freedom of speech and thought.
    –    multiculturalism and multiracialism with large-scale, uncontrolled immigration into Europe, Canada, and the United States to destroy their race and culture as the White race and Western Civilization are the greatest impediments to global consolidation — hence, racial and cultural amalgamation.
    However, decentralization is beginning to return as evidenced by:
    –    secession movements, such as the breakup of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia and numerous secession movements in Europe and the United States.
    –    nullification, such as California declaring itself a sanctuary State and thus defying federal law.
    –    the collapse of imperialism, at least in its more overt form.
    –    the growing populist-nationalist movements in the Western world, that is, defensive nationalism, which seeks to preserve race, culture, nation (the people), and country (the territory), and not aggressive nationalism, which is imperialism.
    For more than 150 years the Hamiltonian-Lincolnian political economy has dominated the United States, and the U.S. government has exploded in size and has become ever more powerful. With the election of Donald Trump as President, centralists are being forced on the defense. Many supporters of Trump are decentralists of the populist-nationalist movement. Even heretofore centralists are becoming decentralists as they defy the U.S. government with nullification and join decentralists with talk of secession.

Copyright © 2017 by Thomas Coley Allen.

More political articles.