Monday, June 02, 2008

Furuncle Joseph Stalin

Karl Marx famously wrote, "It is not men’s consciousness that determines their existence, but on the contrary, their social existence that determines their consciousness." In other words our attitudes are formed by our material condition. Modern medicine has finally proved that Marx was right. We now know that what may have impelled Marx to create his depressing and gloomy ideology was none other than skin disease. The Times Online reported late last year that:

Karl Marx suffered from a skin disease that can cause severe psychological effects such as self-loathing and alienation, according to a British dermatologist. The father of communism’s life and attitudes were shaped by hidradenitis suppurativa, said Sam Shuster in the British Journal of Dermatology. One of its symptoms is alienation – a concept that Marx, a martyr to boils and carbuncles, put into words as he wrote Das Kapital....

Hidradenitis suppurativa is a disease of the apocrine sweat glands, found in the armpits and the groins. The skin in the affected areas shows a mixture of blackheads, lumps that look like boils, spots and areas that leak pus. Doctors and Marx, who was born in Germany but lived most of his life in London, called them “furuncles, boils and carbuncles”, but Professor Shuster says that they were too persistent and recurrent for that. He searched Marx’s letters and found that he had started complaining of carbuncles in 1864, when he was 46, though it is possible that he had them earlier.

In 1867 he wrote to Friedrich Engels of the boils “on my posterior and near the penis” – areas characteristic of the condition. Marx was often unable to work because of the pain. He wrote to Ludwig Kugelmann in 1867: “I still have a carbuncle on the left loin not far from the centre of propagation, as well as numerous furuncles.”

His pain in the ass may have contributed, not in little measure, to Das Kapital. Booze, sex, human ailment and accident are the unrecognized legislators of history. They shape our world because people shape the world.

An ass, an ass. My kingdom for a carbuncle-free ass.




The Belmont Club is supported largely by donations from its readers.

33 Comments:

Blogger bobal said...

And then there was that man of boils, Job.

6/02/2008 06:56:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

But Job had patience. He anticipated the Penguins in Madagascar whose motto was, "just smile and wave". Which was a smarter move than some might think because the afflictions of Job, like the carbuncles of Karl Marx, were givens.

Marx thought he -- in particular -- had the key to why the universe worked. It's almost as if Job decided that since Yahweh wasn't doing too good a job, he'd do it for Him. Marx would fix things. So he spent his life working on the big picture and came up with dialectical materialism and the path to his Worker's Paradise, where presumably, there would be no furuncles.

I don't want to trivialize Marx's ideas by attributing them all to his physical discomforts, but I think it's worth pointing out that this is why freedom exists: because no one man has the answers for all of us. He's limited by own condition. Marx was a man, and a sick one at that. Too bad subsequent generations of hucksters took to treating him like a prophet. They would have done better thinking for themselves.

6/02/2008 07:05:00 PM  
Blogger El Jefe Maximo said...

If Karl had lived long enough, Lenin or Stalin would no doubt have shot his doctors.

Then again, probably Karl would have been shot first, either as a bourgeois exploiter, or as a "right deviationist" or maybe as a fellow-traveller of the "Trotskyite-Zinovievite Terrorist Center." Carbuncles were probably better.

6/02/2008 08:04:00 PM  
Blogger Fat Man said...

Served him right to suffer. If it it cut the amount he wrote, we are that much better off.

6/02/2008 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger j- said...

The best part of this is that Marx wrote to someone that "at least this is a working class ailment" or somesuch. No kidding. Unsure if this is in the same article, but I vividly remember laughing at it when I read it.

Lenin had the syph, which Marx probably thought was a bourgeois ailment. Stalin was just a garden variety sociopath.

6/02/2008 08:32:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

Karl Marx wasn’t entirely bad. He supported the Union against the Confederacy. He rightly saw the slave master ideology of the Confederacy to be diametrically opposed to the interests of the working class, both in North America and worldwide. Keeping the United Kingdom and France out of the American Civil War was paramount to Union diplomacy, and Karl Marx agitated against any “multinational peacekeeping force” being sent to the United States. (Another multinational peacekeeping force was sent to Mexico, leading to the installation of Emperor Maximilian.)

In contrast to Karl Marx’s opposition to the Confederacy, the Liberalism of William Gladstone had pro-Confederacy feelings out of sympathy for the “underdog”. Modern leftist sympathies for terrorists may have at least as much ideological lineage to the maudlin sentimentality of Gladstone as to the ideals of Marx. Marxist utopianism has done much damage to humanity since Marx’s death, but let’s not forget that in America’s time of trouble, Karl Marx cast his lot solidly on the side of the Union.

It is an open question how Karl Marx would perceive modern politics. Senator Obama has a propensity to make occasional off-putting comments that would appear to cast himself as part of a master class with more similarity to the New Class as described by Milovan Djilas than anything else. A car is an asset. A horse is an asset. A donkey is an asset. A bank account is an asset. A house is an asset. A slave is an asset. A free citizen is not an asset. Assets are owned. Free people are neither investments nor resources nor assets, but human beings with souls. So, when Senator Obama refers to another human being as an asset, I perceive such a statement as ominous.

Concerning Senator Clinton, Senator Obama said, “Senator Clinton is an outstanding public servant. She has worked tirelessly in this campaign. She has been a great senator for the state of New York, and she is going to be a great asset when we go into November to make sure that we defeat the Republicans. That I can promise you.”

So, I did a Google search for other times when the phrase “she is going to be a great asset” has been used. There were references to employees, college athletes, a yearling horse, and a female llama. I found the reference to a certain llama at Breezy Hill Llama Farm to be quite interesting. Concerning a llama named “Felicity”, the owner wrote, “Felicity is our Red Head. She has an absolutely beautiful face and the best disposition. She is a lover. She is full Peruvian. She is very correct with nice bone structure and a nice tailset. She has beautiful soft silky fiber. She is going to be a great asset to our breeding program.

(The bold emphasis is mine.)

I think the correct and obvious comparison here is not between Hillary Clinton and a female llama, but between the patronizing tone of Senator Obama toward another senator and the patronizing tone of a llama breeder toward his livestock.

6/02/2008 08:43:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

"It is not men’s consciousness that determines their existence, but on the contrary, their social existence that determines their consciousness."

Adolph Bastian would disagree with Karl.

6/02/2008 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

So Marx was a damnyankee sympathizer? Add that to his list of sins.

Paul Johnson of Cambridge chronicled Marx/s ailments in "Intellectuals".

Marx seemingly did not comments on ---or understand---- the key role the Royal Navy played in insuring that Americans alone would get to settle The War Between The States.

Without said Navy, the Czar would have annexed California and other untoward things would have happened as well.

Johnson described Marx as continuously "howling gigantic curses". Do you think he may have been reincarnated as P Buchanan?

6/02/2008 10:16:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

jeez, I'd think being for the Union would be considered one of the things Karl got right. Plantation master/slavery being worse even than the exploitation of labor in the mines and factories, which was bad enough.

6/02/2008 10:34:00 PM  
Blogger nikita said...

And Epicurus had kidney stones, which are one of the most painful conditions known to men. Which explains why his philosophy is so dark and gloomy. Oh, wait...

6/03/2008 01:55:00 AM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

Would that it were the other way around: ideological incorrectness should cause carbuncles, rather than result from them.

6/03/2008 02:09:00 AM  
Blogger Salt Lick said...

“I still have a carbuncle on the left loin not far from the centre of propagation, as well as numerous furuncles.”

Wish I'd had that phrase when I was dating.

6/03/2008 03:38:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Maybe Barry's big Ears caused him to become a Closet Marxist?
---

Barack Obama & Trinity United Church of Christ


Having now left Trinity United Church of Christ, can Barack Obama escape responsibility for his decades-long ties to Michael Pfleger and Jeremiah Wright? No, he cannot. Obama’s connections to the radical-left politics espoused by Pfleger and Wright are broad and deep. The real reason Obama bound himself to Wright and Pfleger in the first place is that he largely approved of their political-theological outlooks.

Obama shared Wright’s rejection of black “assimilation.” Obama also shared Wright’s suspicion of the traditional American ethos of individual self-improvement and the pursuit of “middle-classness.” In common with Wright, Obama had deep misgivings about America’s criminal justice system. And with the exception of their direct attacks on whites, Obama largely approved of his preacher-friends’ fiery rhetoric. Obama’s goal was not to repudiate religious radicalism but to channel its fervor into an effective and permanent activist organization. How do we know all this? We know it because Obama himself has told us.

A Revealing Profile
Although it’s been discussed before (because it confirms that Obama attended Louis Farrakhan’s Million Man March), a 1995 background piece on Obama from the Chicago Reader has received far too little attention. Careful consideration of this important profile makes it clear that Obama’s long-standing ties to Chicago’s most rabidly radical preachers call into question far more than Obama’s judgment and character (although they certainly do that, as well). Obama’s two-decades at Trinity open a critically important window onto his radical-left political leanings. No mere change of church membership can erase that truth.

By providing us with an in-depth picture of Obama’s political worldview on the eve of his elective career, Hank De Zutter’s, “What Makes Obama Run?” lives up to its title. The first thing to note here is that Obama presents his political hopes for the black community as a third way between two inadequate alternatives. First, Obama rejects, “the unrealistic politics of integrationist assimilation — which helps a few upwardly mobile blacks to ‘move up, get rich, and move out. . . . ’ ” This statement might surprise many Obama supporters, who seem to think of him as the epitome of integrationism. Yet Obama’s repudiation of integrationist upward mobility is fully consistent with his career as a community organizer, his general sympathy for leftist critics of the American “system,” and of course his membership at Trinity. Obama, we are told, “quickly learned that integration was a one-way street, with blacks expected to assimilate into a white world that never gave ground.” Compare these statements by Obama with some of the remarks in Jeremiah Wright’s Trumpet, and the resemblance is clear.

Obama Speaks
If there is any doubt about the accuracy of De Zutter’s detailed account, we get the same message from this too-little discussed but revealing and important piece by Obama himself.

This chapter from a 1990 book called After Alinsky:
Community Organizing in Illinois was originally published in 1988, just after Obama joined Trinity. The piece is called, “Why Organize? Problems and Promise in the Inner City,” and it shows exactly what Obama hoped to make of his association with Pfleger and Wright.

Obama begins by rejecting the false dichotomy between radicalism and moderation:
The debate as to how black and other dispossessed people can forward their lot in America is not new.

From W.E.B. DuBois to Booker T. Washington to Marcus Garvey to Malcolm X to Martin Luther King, this internal debate has raged between integration and nationalism, between accommodation and militancy, between sit-down strikes and boardroom negotiations.

The lines between these strategies have never been simply drawn, and the most successful black leadership has recognized the need to bridge these seemingly divergent approaches.

6/03/2008 04:37:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

If Steven Hawking had been blessed with robust health, he'd be a rap star.

6/03/2008 04:42:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

After expressing disappointment with apolitical black churches focused only on traditional community services, Obama goes on to point in a more activist direction:

Over the past few years, however, more and more young and forward-thinking pastors have begun to look at community organizations such as the Developing Communities Project in the far south side [where Obama himself worked, and first encountered Pfleger, SK]...as a powerful tool for living the social gospel, one which can educate and empower entire congregations and not just serve as a platform for a few prophetic leaders. Should a mere 50 prominent black churches, out of thousands that exist in cities like Chicago, decide to collaborate with a trained and organized staff, enormous positive changes could be wrought....

Give me 50 Pflegers or 50 Wrights, Obama is saying, tie them to a network of grassroots activists like my companions from Acorn, and we can revolutionize urban politics.

Mystery Solved
So it would appear that Obama’s own writings solve the mystery of why he stayed at Trinity for 20 years. Obama’s long-held and decidedly audacious hope has been to spread Wright’s radical spirit by linking it to a viable, left-leaning political program, with Obama himself at the center. The revolutionizing power of a politically awakened black church is not some side issue, or merely a personal matter, but has been the signature theme of Obama’s grand political strategy.

Lucky for Obama, this political background is unfamiliar to most Americans. There are others who share Obama’s approach, however.

Take a look at this piece by Manhattan Institute scholar Steven Malanga on “The Rise of the Religious Left,” and you will see exactly where Obama is coming from.

Malanga ends his account by noting that religious-left activists often partner with groups like MoveOn.org and attend gatherings featuring speakers like Michael Moore. After the 2004 election, there was some talk of the Democratic party “purging” MoveOn and Moore.

Far from purging its radical Left, however, the Democratic party is now just inches away from placing it in the driver’s seat.

That is the real meaning of the fiasco at Trinity Church.

6/03/2008 06:57:00 AM  
Blogger Elmondohummus said...

I think you're being a bit too reductionist, Wretchard. Marx may have been the most famous of the Young Hegelians, and I don't ignore his role in the evolution of communism, but he was as much stating the zeitgeist of his peers as he was originating philosophy.

6/03/2008 07:16:00 AM  
Blogger Kim Lokken said...

Alexis said, "A car is an asset. A horse is an asset. A donkey is an asset. A bank account is an asset. A house is an asset. A slave is an asset. A free citizen is not an asset. Assets are owned. Free people are neither investments nor resources nor assets, but human beings with souls. So, when Senator Obama refers to another human being as an asset, I perceive such a statement as ominous."

There are those who will jump on everything Obama says as ominous. He could say he wants to install computer terminals in every school, and someone would say his choice of the word "terminal" was ominous. It all depends on what mindset you bring to the debate.
In the context of what he was saying, people can be an asset, a liability, or indifferent.

6/03/2008 07:34:00 AM  
Blogger John J. Coupal said...

The high prevalence of prostate (enlargement?) disease in the many Western senior military strategists/planners supposedly led to the horrors of the First World War. Must have been a grumpy bunch of war planners.

6/03/2008 07:44:00 AM  
Blogger Kim Lokken said...

No the horrors of the First World War were due to Napoleonic tactics running headlong into the Industrial Revolution: riflemen on foot meeting barbed wire, machine guns, chlorine gas, airplanes, and tanks.

6/03/2008 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Doug said:

"Obama’s long-held and decidedly audacious hope has been to spread Wright’s radical spirit by linking it to a viable, left-leaning political program, with Obama himself at the center. The revolutionizing power of a politically awakened black church is not some side issue, or merely a personal matter, but has been the signature theme of Obama’s grand political strategy."

The politics of race is a ticking time bomb. Barack Hussein has correctly perceived this and used it for his personal advantage. Even if we get lucky and Hussein is blocked from reaching the Presidency, the politics of race will remain a hidden danger to be exploited by future demagogues. In my opinion the best way to defuse this time bomb is through having a conservative and competent black man as President or Vice President.

6/03/2008 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

In terms of our short term economic prospects, I'm a decided pessimist. I just read an article that nicely articulated my own pessimism. I disagree with Peter Schiff's opinions about Ron Paul. I preceive Ron Paul as a bungled attempt by the left through under-the-table machinations at introducing a "Ross Perot" to split the right. Ron Paul should never have risen above the background noise and almost didn't. I'm also hoping Peter Schiff is wrong about Barack Hussein (Schiff expressed my worst fears concerning Hussein).

6/03/2008 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger William said...

Hmmm alternatively,
One could argue Marx was supporting the centralization of government power, a primus of the Union's justification of its prosecution of the war.

More likely he was just put off by the southern 'aristocrats' attitudes and carbuncle free posteriors.

6/03/2008 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger Benj said...

"A skin disease that can cause severe psychological effects such as self-loathing and alienation" - The (silly) article notes that Marx's disease began to afflict him seriously when he was in his mid-40s. His "theory" of alienation dates from the Economic and Political Manuscripts which he wrote in his 20s. he was still a young man when he composed The Communist Manifesto. Marx's carbuncles may not be unrelated to his hard-assed line on the bourgeosie in Capital, but
(what the hey) try Conrad on the sepulchral city of Brussels in "The Heart of Darkness" or Engels'"The Condition of the Working Class in Britan" (written when Fred was in his 20s.) Or check some Dickens or Blake...Or recent accounts of slave labor in contemporary Chinese factories!

...The standard defense of Marx focuses on his prescience regarding globalization as per Hitchens - "Every time you read some facile article on 'globalization' and reflect that capitalism has-well anticipated by Marx- created an economy but by no means a world society, you may want to reflect on your kinship with other sellers of labor power, in Timor and Bolivia, and consider what interests you have in common. You may have fewer chains to lose than they, but you may also be reminded of the famous slogan of 1848."

But that's all a little abstract. What makes Marx necessary, though not sufficient, for understanding our world is his clarity about that strangest of commodities - labor power. It's Marx who understood first (and for all time) that when time-on-the-job becomes money and the standard way of life/struggle, it generates a basic tension between bosses/supervisors and workers over HOW much effort will be expended/product produced - See Marx's great line re the foundational alienation of working classes "be there payment high or low." He's still the Man when it comes to understanding the nature of work in largescale capitalist enterprises. Nobody naturally wants their TIME to belong to someone else...

If you can't stomach Marx's genius, you can get another version of his insights in Simone Weil's great essay on Factory Work. (She's also the author of "The Poem of Force" - one the greatest essays on the Iliad. A subject that might be of more interst to Clubbers than class struggle.)

6/03/2008 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger Fred said...

Doug,

I just got finished reading that article by Stanley Kurtz over at National Review, and then found that you had posted some of it here.

So, what is Barack Obama's suffering that his Leftism is a response to? Methinks it may be a childhood abandonment issue. Also, he was surrounded by socialists/Communists. His grandparents joined a renowned "Red" Church on Mercer Island outside of Seattle. The thing I don't get: his grandfather was in Patton's army as it marched across Europe. The man would have been confronted with the awful realities of totalitarianism, Nazi and Communist, while in Europe. My best guess is that grandpa (and grandma)were socialists before WWII. It was, after all, actually a more vibrant political movement in America then than it is now. Plus, the fellow-travelers in those days KNEW who they were and generally did not hide it. Today's fellow-travelers have no idea what ride it is at the fair that they are getting on to. And that goes for the many college graduates who are on the Left. They have no idea of the roots of their beliefs and values. Not a clue. It just feels right to them; resonates with what their teachers taught them. Yet, no knowledge of where these ideas come from and whether or not they are valid, practical, or moral.

6/03/2008 01:57:00 PM  
Blogger MaYHeM said...

The unilateral association of slavery with confederacy is the largest white wash in history.

As they say, the victor writes the history books.

Confederacy vs Federalism
PERIOD! Drop the charade.
Support the 'Union' isn't a good thing to a Libertarian.

Slavery would have died on it's, with or without the so called Union.

6/03/2008 02:05:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Fred,
Agree about the abandonment issues.
Had a friend in college who was identical wrt constantly making choices which would supposedly establish the identity he was trying to promote at that particular time.
(Obama's "need" for "street cred," ...can you imagine a 30 year old Clarence Thomas pursuing "street cred!" Somehow he quickly outgrew his young radical stage.)
---
Our son has a friend whose mom's dad was Navy officer in WWII. Dad's family came from Haitian aristocracy, far as I can tell.

Mom and dad met at Beserkley, similar to Barry's folks. Very active anti-war folks, mom got a phd and has been connected w/various govt funded social programs ever since.

Dad conducts a Summer orientation camp for Beserkley foreign students in the Big Sur area.
Dad has always done well w/investments, mom, now divorced, has reacquired her hippie/Eastern attire and associates.

Son went off to College and started a tutoring business, utilizing programming skills he picked up from our son, he now administers the business from back here on Maui!

All in all, very entrepreneurial socialists, just like the overwhelming majority of millionaires in Seattle and Silicon Valley.
 
 
 

6/03/2008 03:18:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Years ago, I went to Highgate Cemetery in London to visit the grave of Karl Marx. I took the underground to Highgate and arrived at the cemetery in the early evening. To my dismay, they had already locked the cemetary gates (why do they do that?). However no one was looking so I jumped the gate and proceeded to look for Karl's grave. To my surprise, I met another guy who had also just snuck in. The two of us eventually found Marx's grave (it's quite imposing with a large statue of Marx's head). As we approached the grave, we were intercepted by a local communist who's task it was to stand vigil at the grave (for some odd reason, people like to vandalize Marx's grave). The communist quickly saw that we were harmless tourists without mischievous intent and became quite friendly. It was amazing to listen to him talk about Marx. Marx was like Jesus to this guy.

Before parting company, I asked the communist if there were any other interesting graves at Highgate Cemetery and he replied that there were numerous famous capitalists buried there. As I visited the other graves, I kept seeing this weird epitaphs, e.g. "So-and-so fell asleep". Nobody buried at Highgate Cemetery seems to have "died". Instead, they all "fell asleep".

6/03/2008 03:28:00 PM  
Blogger Wadeusaf said...

What a horrid notion, looking at life, love and laborious presidential philosophy through Karl Marx hind end.

Linc'in Abe to Marx, a pox upon ya.

Link'in Marx to the Betty Ford Center, Car-bunko's nightmare.

But pain, and insuffer-ability do tend to be standard fare for genius. The bigger the pain the greater our collective gain.

By such a measure would not McCain be the greater of the three prominent pols? But while none of them is a capable of boiling down the issue McCain has the most experience dealing with infectious circumstance sans antiseptic.

6/03/2008 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

His grandparents joined a renowned "Red" Church on Mercer Island outside of Seattle.

When my mom, long gone, grew up in Seattle, long ago, Mercer Island was vacant except for the deer. Get there by boat. These days it seems a strange place for a red church. Anyways, everything has gone downhill since Mercer Island was a game park. One wonders if it makes any difference who wins an election any more. Once the good stuff is gone, it's gone for good.

6/03/2008 03:53:00 PM  
Blogger Lesley said...

Another horrid creature, Jean-Paul Marat, suffered from a skin disease. Marat was murdered by Charlotte Corday while in his bath - you all recall the famous painting by Jacques-Louis David.

6/03/2008 03:54:00 PM  
Blogger SC&A said...

Well, that exonerates Uncle Karl.

It wasn't his fault- he was ill, you see.

I wonder what disease Uncle Joe Stalin was afflicted with?

6/03/2008 04:17:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

Karl Marx's reputation will diminish in retrospect, just as Mao's did. I remember the argument that Mao would be "greater than Jesus Christ". That his theory of "People's War" and a perpetual "cultural revolution" were watersheds in strategic and political thought.

A couple of years ago an old friend who is now an academic went to China to talk about the need to "struggle" against environmental danger. He lectured to a crowd of Chinese students and laced it with references to the Long March. Halfway through the lecture on of his polite students raised his hand and said, "excuse me, Professor, but what are those incidents you are talking about?"

I remember wondering why, if Marxist economics was so intellectually sound, you couldn't make a killing on the stock market with it. It's pretty darned useless as economics and survives largely in sociology and philosophy.

A lot of the power of Marxist thinking comes, I believe, from the circumstance that it sounds profound. But really good ideas reappear in various guises. Markets, the wisdom of crowds, game theory, choice, algorithms, stepwise refinement, undecidability, halting, economy of force, price. Really good ideas speak to generations because when we find ourselves in tight physical and intellectual spots, the ideas give us a way of identifying a way out.

Marxism, at least in my experience, never provided a way to solve anything. It provided a way to talk about things; and of seeing things, but always from the wrong end of the telescope.

The idea of alienation is of course, not original to Marx. But there was something gloomy, musty and cockroachy about his ideas, from which he never escaped. Most of what leftists regard as the exhilirating bits are really the Leninist bits. The comradeship; the conspiratorialism. That's really the emotional juice of the Left; what really addresses "alienation", not the theories of old Karl. No one really reads Marx in the left except for some of its intellectuals.

I realized no one needed to read him. He was just the veneer for a certain attitude; a way of making it respectable. And now that Karl is one his way to the intellectual dustbin of history, new ways have been found to legitimize the Life. Environmentalism. Islam. One has the benefit of the open air; the other the prospect of eternal life in another musty universe.

6/03/2008 05:29:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Speaking of Jean-Paul Marat it helpful to understand the French Revolution of 1789 and the United States in terms of the the first the religious civil wars in France in the 1500's. At the time Huguenot's constituted 2 million out of 16 million french. They were French Calvinists. Tensions with Catholics came to their climax in in what became known as the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre of 24 August – 17 September 1572, Catholics killed thousands of Huguenots in Paris. Similar massacres took place in other towns in the weeks following, with death toll estimates again ranging wildly, from thousands to as high as 110,000. An amnesty granted in 1573 pardoned the perpetrators. Finally, 1589 Henry IV, recanted his Huguenot Calvinism in favour of Roman Catholicism, issued the Edict of Nantes. Subsequent French kings drove the Huguenots out of France. These same civil wars were visited on Germany in the 30 years wars 1619-49 where whole Calvinist principalities like the Palatinate were totally decimated of their population.

There were calvinist churches all over Europe but over the next two centuries they all went into slow decline until the mid 1800's when the the decline went into high gear along with all the other churches in Europe.

Two things that are important to remember in this narrative. The French having turned on the religious revival brought by the Huegonauts--two hundred years later turned on the Catholics. The first revolution was unsuccessful but it laid the groundwork for the second successful revolution in france which turned in exactly the opposite direction.

The other thing to remember is that while the calvinist revolution in France failed. It succeeded in the USA. Why? When you read stories about early americans coming to america to seek freedom from persecution-- a majority were calvinsts. That includes Dutch reformed, Huegonauts, Swiss Reformed, German reformed, Swedish Reformed, scottish presbyterians, english puritans and others. Even the American anglican church was heavily influence by calvinism. So the religion of the USA at the time of the US revolution was calvinism.

It changed quickly thereafter. But calvinists left their mark in the founding documents. Many of the men in first continental congress were preachers and they were mostly calvinists.

(Yes I know of Jefferson's deism and franklin's unitarianism. Calvinism was the sea they swam in.)

Apropos to this conversation is an argument I heard made by a calvinist preacher recently that people listen too much to their own souls. That especially when a soul is troubled -- you can't trust it. That the cure is for men to preach the life giving words of the bible to their own souls--and also to pray to God.

Here's the MP3 of the talk. The pure fire of it will warm you on a cold night. It also shows why the Huegonauts so alarmed the the french catholics. And also why putting out such a fire sent french catholicism into the cold and dark and then to the grave.

6/03/2008 06:31:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home


Powered by Blogger