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Dominion (book) Racial right

Dominion, 11


How the Woke monster originated

The following passages are taken from the section ‘Laying Down the Law’ of chapter ‘Revolution, 1076 Cambrai’ of Dominion:

[Pope] Urban’s speech had reverberated to miraculous effect. A great host of warriors drawn from across the Latin West had taken a familiar road. As pilgrims had been doing since the time of the millennium, they had journeyed across Hungary to Constantinople; and then from Constantinople to the Holy Land. Every attempt by the Saracens to halt them had been defeated. Finally, in the summer of 1099, the great army of warrior pilgrims had arrived before Jerusalem. On 15 July, they stormed its walls. The city was theirs. Then, once the slaughter was done, and they had dried their dripping swords, they headed for the tomb of Christ. There, in joy and disbelief, they offered up praises to God. Jerusalem—after centuries of Saracen rule—was Christian once again.

So extraordinary was the feat as to be barely believable—and the news redounded gloriously to the credit of the papacy. Urban himself died a fortnight after the city’s capture, too soon for news of the great victory that he had inspired to reach him; but the programme of reform to which he had devoted his life was much burnished by the winning of the Holy City. Emperors since the time of Charlemagne had fought wars of conquest beneath the banner of Christ; but none had ever sent an entire army on pilgrimage. Warriors present at the capture of Jerusalem reported having seen ‘a beautiful person sitting atop a white horse’—and there were some prepared to wonder if it might not have been Christ himself. Whatever the truth of the mysterious horseman’s identity, one thing was clear: the Holy City had been won, not in the name of any king or emperor, but in that of a much more universal cause.

But what name to give this cause? Back in the Latin West, the word starting to be used was one that, until the capture of Jerusalem, had barely been heard. The warrior pilgrims, so it came to be said, had fought under the banner of Christianitas: Christendom. Such a categorisation—divorced as it was from the dynasties of earthly kings and the holdings of feudal lords—was one well suited to the ambitions of the papacy. Who better to stand at the head of Christendom than the heir of Saint Peter? Less than a century after Henry III had deposed three popes in a single year, the Roman Church had carved out a role of leadership for itself so powerful that Henry’s grandson, the son of Henry IV, was brought in 1122 to sue for peace. In that year, in Worms, where his father had once commanded Gregory VII to abdicate, Henry V agreed to a momentous concordat. By its terms, the fifty-year-old quarrel over the investiture of imperial bishops was finally brought to an end. Although ostensibly a compromise, time would demonstrate that victory was decisively the papacy’s. Decisive too was the increasing acceptance of another key demand of the reformers: that the clergy distinguish themselves from the great mass of the Christian people— the laicus, or ‘laity’—by embracing celibacy. By 1148, when yet another papal decree banning priests from having wives or concubines was promulgated, the response of many was to roll their eyes. ‘Futile and ludicrous—for who does not know already that it is unlawful?’

Increasingly, then, the separation of church from state was an upheaval manifest across the whole of Christendom. Wherever a priest was called upon to minister to the laity, even in the humblest, the most isolated village, there the impact of reformatio could be felt. The establishment of the Roman Church as something more than merely a first among equals, as ‘the general forum of all clergy and all churches’, gave clerics across the Latin West a common identity that they had not previously possessed. In the various kingdoms, fiefdoms and cities that constituted the great patchwork of Christendom, something unprecedented had come into being: an entire class that owed its loyalty, not to local lords, but to a hierarchy that exulted in being ‘universal, and spread throughout the world’.

Emperors and kings, although they might try to take a stand against it, would repeatedly find themselves left bruised by the attempt. Not since the age of Constantine and his heirs had any one man exercised an authority over so wide a sweep of Europe as did the bishop of the ancient capital of the world. His open claim was to the ‘rights of heavenly and earthly empire’; his legates travelled to barbarous lands and expected to be heard; his court, in an echo of the building where the Roman Senate had once met, was known as the ‘Curia’. Yet the pope was no Caesar. His assertion of supremacy was not founded on force of arms, nor the rank of his ministers on their lineage or their wealth. The Church that had emerged from the Gregorian reformatio was instead an institution of a kind never before witnessed: one that had not merely come to think of itself as sovereign, but had willed itself into becoming so. ‘The Pope,’ Gregory VII had affirmed, ‘may be judged by no one.’ All Christian people, even kings, even emperors, were subject to his rulings. The Curia provided Christendom with its final court of appeal. A supreme paradox: that the Church, by rending itself free of the secular, had itself become a state. [pages 233-235]

Once the papal state was formed, Tom Holland mentions the formation of the first university and, very relevant to our research, the formation of so-called canon law. He then writes:

[St] Paul’s authority on this score was definitive. ‘The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbour as yourself.”’ Here, for Gratian, was the foundation-stone of justice. So important to him was the command that he opened the Decretum by citing it. Echoing the Stoics much as Paul had done, he opted to define it as natural law—and the key to fashioning a properly Christian legal system. All souls were equal in the eyes of God [bold by Ed.]. Only if it were founded on this assumption could justice truly be done. Anything obstructing it had to go. ‘Enactments, whether ecclesiastical or secular, if they are proved to be contrary to natural law, must be totally excluded.’

Much flowed from this formulation that earlier ages would have struggled to comprehend. Age-old presumptions were being decisively overturned: that custom was the ultimate authority; that the great were owed a different justice from the humble; that inequality was something natural, to be taken for granted. Clerks trained in Bologna were agents of revolution as well as of order. Legally constituted, university-trained, they constituted a new breed of professional. Gratian, by providing them with both a criterion and a sanction for weeding out objectionable customs, had transfigured the very understanding of law. No longer did it exist to uphold the differences in status that Roman jurists and Frankish kings alike had always taken for granted. [Remember: for the Merovingian and Frankish kings it was not the same to kill a blond-haired, blue-eyed man as it was to kill a Mediterranean mudblood—Ed.] Instead, its purpose was to provide equal justice to every individual, regardless of rank, or wealth, or lineage—for every individual was equally a child of God…

Image of pages from the Decretum of Burchard of Worms, an 11th-century book of canon law.

How, for instance, were the Christian people to square the rampant inequality between rich and poor with the insistence of numerous Church Fathers that ‘the use of all things should be common to all’? The problem was one that, for decades, demanded the attention of the most distinguished scholars in Bologna. By 1200, half a century after the completion of the Decretum, a solution had finally been arrived at—and it was one fertile with implications for the future. A starving pauper who stole from a rich man did so, according to a growing number of legal scholars, iure naturali—‘in accordance with natural law’. As such, they argued, he could not be reckoned guilty of a crime. Instead, he was merely taking what was properly owed him. It was the wealthy miser, not the starving thief, who was the object of divine disapproval. Any bishop confronted by such a case, so canon lawyers concluded, had a duty to ensure that the wealthy pay their due of alms. Charity, no longer voluntary, was being rendered a legal obligation.

That the rich had a duty to give to the poor was, of course, a principle as old as Christianity itself. What no one had thought to argue before, though, was a matching principle: that the poor had an entitlement to the necessities of life. It was—in a formulation increasingly deployed by canon lawyers—a human ‘right’.

Law, in the Latin West, had become an essential tool of its ongoing revolution. [pages 238-239]

Countless times I have said that white nationalists, who are generally sympathetic to Christianity even though they are not all Christians, are ignorant of the history of the West in general and of the Church in particular. It is amusing to see them anathematise the current pope, as if his liberalism were a phenomenon of our century. They constantly complain in their forums: ‘Alas, the Jews have subverted Christianity!’ In fact the first, baby steps to equalise men by law, based on St Paul the Jew, had already been taken a millennium earlier.

One reply on “Dominion, 11”

Calling this Judaic, ugliness-loving law “natural” is a pristine example of Christian newspeak. It boggled my mind when I first tried to internalise it – as I had to turn the words into their opposites, like with those Soviet school books denigrating Hitler. (Meaning that I would call this law unnatural or anti-natural, not that I raped my mind to conform, of course.)

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