#0015 Trickledown theology (cont.)
A major difference between this reversionist movement and the original feudal movement is the feudal movement carried within its genes a predisposition for evolution; the reversionist movement doesn’t. This new movement seems to carry the opposite genes which seem to have set it on a course of devolution. The Middle Ages is pretty much the story of the Europe’s struggle to find its way again after the fall of the Roman Empire. The Romans had held much of Europe captive for the better part of 500 years. During that time the people, though living a life of enslavement had also been positively influenced by the Roman culture. Their way of life was much affected and shaped by Rome’s technological advancements and its cultural cues. When the Roman empire fell, the Western European culture was forced into an earlier and a much more survival-style way of life. While these poor peasants were thus disposed, small armies of invaders would come into an area and set up shop. Once these marauders came into an area, they were faced with the challenge of holding on to their newly acquired territory. To this end, the leader of the small army (or king) needed to build himself a fortress—a castle surrounded by a high wall, battlements and a moat. The king of the castle would compel the indigenous peasants to help him build the castle and everything he would need to secure his newly conquered territory. Often times he would give (or more often lease) these peasants small plots of land as a reward for their labors. If they hadn’t labored for the king, he would still allow them to build their hovel and setup their farm if they agreed to perform future labor for him or some other form of credit barter. In effect what was happening was that communities were growing up around these castles. When one of the king’s wealthy friends wished to move into his neighborhood, the king would sell him a connected piece of land something much larger than a peasant-sized portion of it; he’d dub the guy a duke or and earl and out of this arrangement would come a sort of a subkingdom. This guy would live within the boundaries of the kingdom, not as another king but as a subordinate aristocrat. As these new aristocrats came into the area looking to build their manors, the more the serfs came around looking for plots of land on which to build their hovels, plant their crops and raise a cow and few chickens. they settled into the neighborhood. This was the environment in which the new medieval society struggled to emerge.
When the serfs would get in a bumper crop of corn one season, or some other similar good fortune would befall them, they would have hopes and visions of being able to rise above their debt and hard life; but this rarely materialized. More often than not, the king or lord of the manor would invoke a higher tax on such occasions. But as this new medieval society began to find purchase outside of the Roman rule, they were in fact able to make their own technological and cultural advancements. Out of this process, there arose needs for new kinds of specialty skills and career advancements for certain select peasants that existed outside the agricultural circles. Merchants, butchers, bakers, law enforcement agents, grooms and squires who did work up at the big house), etc. began to come online. Many of these persons were classified as yeomen and freemen. From out of this bunch we see some finding lives of freedom and limited prestige and even becoming landowners themselves. These were forming a class known in the cities as the Bourgeoisie
In the 11th century, the bourgeoisie emerged as a historical and political phenomenon when the bourgs of Central and Western Europe developed into cities dedicated to commerce. The organised economic concentration that made possible such urban expansion derived from the protective self-organisation into guilds, which became necessary when individual businessmen (craftsmen, artisans, merchants, et al) conflicted with their rent-seeking feudal landlords who demanded greater-than-agreed rents. In the event, by the end of the Middle Ages (ca. AD 1500), under régimes of the early national monarchies of Western Europe, the bourgeoisie acted in self-interest, and politically supported the king or the queen against the legal and financial disorder caused by the greed of the feudal lords. In the late-16th and early 17th centuries, the bourgeoisies of England and the Netherlands had become the financial–thus political–forces that deposed the feudal order; economic power had vanquished military power in the realm of politics.
Bourgeoisie (see: History: Origins and rise)=From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This kind of condition, along with the natural human affinity towards progress helped to create the perfect storm for the emergence of a middle class. The lords were always taxing the serfs to keep them in their place, but despite this some of them rose up above their lowly stations to what would become what we know today as the middle class.
The church is based upon a system that takes most all of its cues from the feudal school of thought. Just like the community of serfs in the feudal economic system were held fast to the way of life that was initiated and perpetuated by the lord of their manor, the general congregations of believers or members are at the mercy of their particular church in that they are instructed—specifically—in what it is they are to believe and not believe in matters of faith. The Protestants profess to embrace what Luther called the priesthood of all believers, which is the idea that each and every person in the church has an inherent authority of priesthood bestowed upon him/her by God; but it’s not embraced in any significant way. Even if it’s preached to the congregations there are so many other safeguards preventing the actual manifestation of such a doctrine to ever get fully implemented in the church in its present state. Just like in the serfdom collective, there are many things professed and promised up to congregants, things which bespeak the worth of them as persons as well as the potential for growth they have—in Christ. These things sound out a powerful message from the Sunday pulpits; but most of what is promised are couched in life-after-death themes which, when all’s said and done—doesn’t amount to much more than a lot of fluff and empty rhetoric. It’s as it was with the serfs and all the hot air the lords and aristocrats of their particular realm would blow up their collective skirts about how their undying fealty and hard work will one day pay off big dividends for them related to their ultimate freedom and a life out from underneath their master’s thumb. You see in both instances it would serve the purposes of the ones holding all the cards. For the lord of the manor to loosen his grip on the collar of the serf and allow him any actual movement in the direction of his personal freedom or self-empowerment would be to leave himself without the use of an invaluable commodity—who else would do the all-important task of laboring around his estate? No, no, it just wouldn’t do to let this fellow move up and out of his present station. So the aristocrat perpetuates these empty promises, dangling them like a bunch of carrots on a stick or like a block of cheese laying just out of reach for the gerbil like serf running in his treadwheel. It is equally counterproductive for the masses of believers to rise up to their God-given potential (in this world, anyhow); because that would leave the priests (AKA: clergy of all brands) without jobs.
In the year 2015AD, in the wake of Ronald Reagan’s trickledown economic theory, the middleclass has begun to disappear. In this, all of the advancements of the post Roman Empire rebuilding crusade which transpired throughout Europe that commenced in the 4th century, are beginning to unravel; and those on the political as well as the religious right seem to be just fine with it. Some of the popular right-winged issues pummeling it like a wrecking ball on a brick wall are: Passing Right to Work Laws in 25 states which promote jobs paying substandard wages; lower wages paid to women doing the same job as their male counterparts; resistance to raising the minimum wage; deconstruction of labor unions; tax cuts for the wealthiest .01% of Americans; advocating for the privatization of Social Security; advocating balancing the Federal budget on the backs of the poorest Americans.
For more info go to…http://votesmart.org/candidate/political-courage-test/27110/bernie-sanders/#.VcatGPlVhBc
Next time we’ll talk more about how and why the conservative religious perspective is all about this trickledown theology.