Discussion in 'Never Ending Stories' started by BSmith1068, Sep 15, 2014.
Which is exactly what you did with that careless Caesar quote. I'm well aware of sola scriptura. I'm a firm believer in Scripture not being the sole source of authority. (Ironically you go on an extended straw man of your own here.) I was simply demonstrating the ridiculousness of your point, and how in a historical context it can't even be used to defend monarchism because Caesar was not a traditional monarch. And I find misappropriation of Christ's words to be personally insulting.
You used a lot of words and danced around the actual discussion like you usually do, but you're now backtracking rapidly on your initial claims that tyranny being better than democracy somehow has scriptural weight or religious authority behind it, now that I've actually called it out.
I think you're also laboring under a fundamental misconception as to the origins of democracy. In American democracy, there's a common historical understanding that our rights as citizens do ultimately stem from the Creator. We don't impose a religious test or religious worship, but the divine origin of our democracy is woven throughout our tradition. It's in our Pledge of Allegiance and on our coinage. The popular will is sacred, insofar as the Creator endowed each of us with reason and made all of our souls equal before him alone. This is pretty much a basic Thomistic idea and we don't need go deeper into it than that.
It's all fine and good to oppose the values of modern secularism, which I know you hate and love to rail against, but when you try to falsely read an anti-democratic ideal into the position of the modern church, rather than being your individual opinion, you again fall astray. Of course, I suspect (and you have often hinted at) that the modern Catholic Church is not your church, and that you subscribe to certain medieval or pre-modern doctrinal errors that have since been corrected through Church councils. The historical Church may well have been friendlier to monarchy than it is now, but that's not really the issue at hand.
You quoted as follows:
This should be the end of the discussion, period. The Catholic Church does not pick sides in types of government. You are currently defying the Church with your radical anti-democratic ideals. Of course, you don't claim the Church's blessing for your ideas. You claimed Plato's, a Greek pagan. Telling.
I do deny it. America has featured a far slower decline in public religiosity and Christianity than many other states, and all of the states to place the greatest proscriptions on the Catholic faith and martyr the greatest number of Catholics in the last 2 centuries have been non-democratic. Another historical fact you ignore at your peril.
Certainly, there can be democracies that espouse modernizing anti-religious values, but there can also be democracies that espouse and protect traditional values. Just as you can have anti-Catholic "secular" dictators like Robespierre and pro-Catholic "religious" dictators like Franco. Pro-Catholic monarchs like Charles V, and anti-Catholic monarchs like Frederick the Great. A state's modernism or traditionalism is utterly unconnected to its form of government. The modern Church obviously understands this, and you fail to out of some misplaced longing for secular kings.
Monarchies may claim the divine right, but there is nothing divine in their origin. Some may claim the blessing of God, and good for them, but there's no evidence God himself prefers it. America claims the blessing of God as well, and if Australia fails to, that's Australia's fault, but not democracy's.
I'm not going to respond to every little tangent in your response, What I have responded to is below in the spoiler. If you want to continue the discussion do so by sending me a PM. I don't want to drag this out through this thread and aggravate those not involved any more than they have been already.
True enough if you ignore that the point I made (That the Church is not opposed to monarchy and can hardly be said to be pro-democracy, and the subject and ruler have obligations and dues) is consistent with tradition and magisterial teaching, as the links I supplied indicate. Whether or not Caesar was a "traditional monarch" or not by your definition of traditional monarch is quite beside that point, particularly if you take the quote to be a general reference to ruling powers (rather than being specific to Caesar) and realise that my intention in using that quote was with regards to the historical teaching of the Church in holding no negative injunction against monarchy. This fact (that there is no negative injunction) that monarchy (in particular) is sanctioned under tradition, and is in no way opposed is clear enough in the writings of the angelic doctor (Thomas Aquinas).Aquinas states...
“all should take some share in the government, for this form of constitution ensures peace among the people (Summa Theologiae, I.II. q. 105, answer). while also saying in the same place “the kingdom [or monarchy] is the best form of government as long as it is not corrupt” (answer to the 2nd objection).
The first part is referring to a mixed government (here he refers to the platonic understanding of government types, that I touched on by mentioning Plato) in which he recommends that elements from the three "non-degenerate" forms of basic political constitution are present in the polity, these three being Monarchy, Aristocracy and Republicanism (their corruptions being Tyranny, Oligarchy and Democracy [also referred too as Ochlocracy depending on which author is discussing the doctrine of anacyclosis]). This kind of polity he considers the best overall, since he considers a mixed government to mediate against the instability of the base types which lead them to degenerate into their corrupt counterparts. However apart from this tendency towards degeneration (which is why he favours a mixed government as a prudential artefact to ameliorate against this trend) he states that an uncorrupt monarchy (ie monarchy as an ideal type) is the best. This in itself clearly shows that the Church has no negative injunction against monarchy even as it doesn't proscribe any one type of government as ideal.
This same doctrine is explicated all the way through the tradition of the Church as you can read in the encyclicals Au milieu des solicitudes and Diuturnum by Leo XIII, among many other teachings and documents of the Church on the topic.
Quote me saying precisely that or it didn't happen and you are arguing a strawman. The argument I made is that democracy is the most degenerate political system and I haven't gone back from that one step. When I concurred that the Church doesn't prescribe a particular ideal form of government, I was making the point that I haven't recommended any particular ideal as a counterpoint to the negative injunction I made (In previous posts I referenced monarchy as a counterpoint to democracy, but I didn't say "monarchy is the best". This being quite apart from the fact I quoted Aquinas saying as much in this post to refute your imprecations against me) and that your assertion that I claimed the Church did is wrong.
You rightly said the Church doesn't recommend any one form of government (in fact it says no specific form of government is divinely ordained, and they have no moral capacity apart from how they interact with the divine and natural laws, and trend towards the ends to which mankind is oriented ie: virtue, truth, salvation and God.) and yet you imply the origin of American democracy is divine. I leave it to the observer as to which of us is more self-contradictory or opposed to ecclesiastical tradition.
At any rate to say spiritual equality before God and his judgement, equates to equality in the world in the political realm or in anything else, is an obvious non-sequitur (the opinion doesn't follow from the premise). Humans are inherently unequal in their capacities and abilities as an obvious brute fact, and pursuit of equality is an impossible quest which necessitates ever more intrusive coercions to pursue, as well as an ever shifting tableau of "preferential groups" to be the beneficiaries of these coercive policies. This fact is true even apart from the spiritual truth that all souls are equal before God, both in their worthiness for salvation and before the throne when they will be put to account for their sins.
If you are claiming that the Church's dogma has changed you are in at the very least material heresy eo ipso dogma is unchangeable. Indeed to claim as such is to repudiate the dogma that the Church is infallible in its dogmatic teachings. (Ie what the Church through its ordinary magisterium has proclaimed, declared and defined as true, remains so today.)
If on the other hand you are merely claiming that I am out of tune with contemporary ecclesiastical philosophical opinion (quite apart from formal dogma and doctrine to which all Catholics are obliged to assent) on this particular topic (ie that democracy is degenerate and the least good form of government) than you would be correct. However being out of tune with contemporary theologians on this topic does not conflate to me being in error, and even less does it make me a heretic, since traditional Catholic views regarding things peripheral to dogma and doctrine remain licit and valid schools of thought and in no way put one in a position contrary to the Church (indeed the fact the Church historically [indeed referencing these traditional positions in numerous documents] has favoured my position for a far greater period of time than democracy has been fashionable in the circles of theologians attests otherwise, particularly given dogma and doctrine has not changed). This should be very obvious by the simple fact that I quoted encyclicals at you via the Vatican website. If the Church had repudiated Leo XIII and declared his personal magisterium and theological teaching heretical, it wouldn't put his encyclicals on the official website would it.
Furthermore if you say that the Church's dogma and doctrine can change with the times, than you are (as I mentioned before) in agreement with the modernist heresy (As so defined as a heresy by the Church).
I quoted Plato stating democracy as the most degenerate form of government 1) because he actually said it and is a famous and well regarded philosopher 2) because I was talking with LOE, so it would be meaningless to quote an ecclesiastical figure at him to whom he would attribute no authority and dismiss out of hand and 3) because the specific political doctrine of anacyclosis I was referencing has its classical origin with Plato and is traditionally embedded within the Church's consideration of political matters (as I referenced above when I quoted Thomas Aquinas). I showed clearly that the Church's traditional and historical teaching is firmly against liberal democracy by providing clear links to the encyclicals of Pope Leo XIII where its base assumptions are denounced. I'm 100% sure you read those links.
The real issue here is your claim that modern liberal democracy is an especially degenerate form of government. Rhetorically, now you're falling back on the fact that the church simply doesn't proscribe monarchy, but this is rather different from what you claim, hundred and twenty year old encyclicals lacking in infallibility aside. The burden isn't on me to prove democracy's special morality, but on you to prove its special immorality. I don't believe the historical facts justify such a thing, and you have been light on historical facts to somehow prove that democracy (rather than the Enlightenment or technology or Marxism or some other thing) has introduced all these new and terrible morals into society.
Ancient and medieval republics and democracies, although fewer in number, still were plenty religious and respected the conservative traditions you hold dear, so I think you're misappropriating blame here for the liberalization of society. You could just as easily blame the feckless and indolent aristocratic elite of Europe for the growth of "modernism," or a million other factors. Meanwhile, in the 21st century the global population of Catholics is still growing, and most of the states in which it is growing are thriving democracies. Many of the states in which it is shrinking are democracies as well, but this divergence indicates that it is not the preference of government, but rather other factors, that are leading to religious growth or decline.
As for your personal opinions on absolute monarchy (i.e. tyranny), you spoke favorably of the so-called divine right of kings (which was in many cases used to subvert the Church) and we all know you've spoken longingly of (presumably absolute) monarchy on many occasions. In spite of the fact that the absolute monarchy was very much an Enlightenment invention, and as you yourself said, medieval monarchs were subject to checks and balances similar in many cases to modern democratic checks on executive power.
Let's also take into account the fact that the democracy that Plato derided was the kind where, in the tiny city-states of the time, literally the entire body of citizens in some cases would gather to decide on issues. So he came up with the concept of the republic which most "democracies" (which are in truth democratic republics) have adopted elements of today. We aren't living in the democracy Plato criticized, and there are plenty of checks to prevent mob rule and guide public morality. That they occasionally fail is not a function of democracy but simply historical contingency.
It's all fine and good to rail against liberal democracy, but here you are on an online video game forum engaging in a free exchange of ideas in a civil debate with those of other religious and political views. You're actively participating in liberal democratic traditions even now. If you were serious about opposition to all the technological and moral currents of modernity, you would forswear this silly forum and take monastic or other religious vows. That you are even here, rubbing elbows and playing secular games with secular people, reflects a certain...Levitical attitude, in which one makes a show of one's own morality while not exactly considering how one's actions might not accord with one's rhetoric.
And I don't begrudge you that. Freely debating here is one of the many freedoms our liberal democracy provides. And we are all, in the end, sinners, are we not?
As for changes in church tradition, I just mean the rules of fasting, liturgical language, purgatory and so on have been changed over the years. The church has shifted aesthetically and ideologically over the years, and maybe I'm imprecise in differentiating tradition from dogma, but our church obviously changes with the times, although it will never change its core doctrines.
And I don't see a problem with a friendly disagreement, but I'll have this be my last word on it if you don't want to keep hashing it out.
In which theocrats argue about whether a facile oligarchy or out-and-out tyranny will better execute the will of their hateful god
Feel like I'm livin' in Iran these days
Of course the difference being you don't and never will. Same arguments, different decades; it's been this way for centuries, I assure you. None of you are original.
Originality is overrated.
Is it just me or is #nes down?
The battlestation is fully operational.
We're here to make a statement, not a manifesto.
Merry Christmas, NESing community. What is dead may never die.
And a happy New Year
I’ve been off work today with a nasty case of manflu, putting me in quite the reflective mood. Perhaps this is as good a time as any to share my NESlife story...
Back in 2004, I was 21 years young, in the process of finishing my undergraduate degree (BSc Games Computing), while at the same time playing lots of computer games. One of them was Civilization 3, and there was a particular game I played as the Celts that I turned into an AAR here on Civfanatics. For one reason or another, it gained quite a following.
Otherwise it was not a happy time for me. I finished uni, I came home, a couple of weeks later I went with my family all the way over to New York to visit my aunt there. It should have been exciting times... But I felt totally lost in life - I felt completely unemployable, I felt like a joke, I was totally locked into anxiety and had a very limiting view of the world. And it stayed that way for a long time.
My parents did not have broadband internet. Most days I would stay in bed all morning, play computer games all afternoon (EU2 and BF1942 being favourites - against AIs), and get online via dial-up modem once they'd gone to bed. I kept coming back to Civfanatics - I was struggling to find the motivation to finish the Celtonia AAR, despite the large following it had. In the meantime I had a nosy through the other forums. I remember seeing a strange subforum full of rules and stories; at first I wasn't really interested, and I had games of StarCraft Broodwar to play with my precious online time (the one game that worked well on a 56k modem), but the maps intrigued me - they would've been those early, angular-coastline world maps that you had back in the day.
Time flew by. Then one day, someone called 'das' posted in my AAR, with something along the lines of "this would make a great NES". I believe it was 2005 by this point, when I started to take a serious look at this whole NESing thing. I realised that, rather than narrating an AAR, or playing a game against AI, I was far more interested in creating a story that others could participate in, a world and a story that would create itself.
DaftNES was of course massively over-ambitious, something that set the pattern for almost all my subsequent projects. But I was hooked. I had little change in circumstances and no shortage of free time; my parents weren’t willing or able to push the issue - it brought up too many questions on how they raised me, and how we all related to each other, I was stuck in the situation that had broke me to begin with. The last few social contacts faded away. A crazy normality continued. I'm not sure what I would've done if I didn't have the likes of DaftNES2 or NESLife3 to work on. But in the back of my mind I was always conflicted about it - self-sabotage crept into everything. Years later, I'd look back on this with tremendous shame at 'losing' the best years of my life.
It wasn't until 2010, at the age of 27, that I found the guts to make a serious change in my circumstances. I started volunteering at an animal sanctuary, I started jogging/running, and in September that year, I accidentally moved about as far as possible from my home town while still staying on the island of Britain - down to Portsmouth on the south coast, to do a 1-year MSc in Digital Media (turns out my old BSc did open a door after all). To my credit it was all my idea; to my family’s credit, they did not make a fuss and were very happy to help financially.
It wasn't a magic solution - I didn't get my first proper job until several years later, and I still carried a large amount of shame and feelings of failure. But I tried to make the best of it. I drifted through friendships until I found a little social circle that was just right for me (everyone had geeky interests and there was lots of drinking involved). I joined groups and I did stuff. But I was still NESing - pixel-art tribal NESes were my obsession at this point. I think NESCraft was my last big project of the 'good old days'.
Enter February 2014. Exactly on the day I was starting my first full-time adult job, for a fairly big UK company (ironically, an online jobs board), 'that' game of Neptune's Pride was reaching its climax. Aside from me being a sore loser, I was hurting for other reasons - I was perceiving this new, cold, apathetic attitude in the community - a little unfairly as it turned out. But it stirred up feelings of shame and failure, having apparently wasted so much time and energy, not just my roleplay and diplo efforts in that game, but maybe all my years of NESing. The timing could not have been worse. Thereafter it wasn't just the lack of free time; I deliberately turned my back, only half-heartedly dropping in on the Frontier from time to time. Part of me enjoyed watching NES dwindle to a flicker. You all sucked; it was time for grown-up life.
Except, grown-up life was not something magical. My job also sucked. So crazily, I quit my job the following year. I had an abortive summer of freelancing in 2015. I did a GameJam, and a Hack Day in a pub. I joined a life-coaching group. I still had no idea what I really wanted to do. By the autumn (fall) I managed to land a job at a creative agency. It was okay at first. Gradually, in 2016, it got quite a bit better. And that year I also realised that I'd met some really awesome friends here in Portsmouth..
But I still play quick games of BF1942. Hell, I still play SC:BroodWar from time to time on the east asia servers (the only ones that still work for me). I actually still have the Celtonia Civ3 save games, and I've recently started playing again with my new Steam version of Civ3. I've even been working on a (typically late) update today for my latest NES. Nothing has changed me into a different person. NESing has been a perfectly valid part of my experience. In our time we have pushed intellectual and creative boundaries.
TLDR: I now look back at my NESing experience and I don't see something sad, like the only way I could pretend to feel part of something. It was, and is a real experience with real people. Anytime I drop in on #NES I get reminded of that. You've all been important to me (sorry for the feels).
Today I was looking through some of my old NESLife3 updates and I was thinking, if this is my greatest achievement in life, I'm ok with that
PS Happy New Year, indeed
I remember when I was a Grade 9, logging in from to read Civ 3 Stories and Tales on Civfanatics: Vanadorn's Roman epic, Tr1cky's ridiculous Deity games, das' 'By a Single Decision', the Celtic Peacekeepers, and more. You seemed like an unapproachable storymaking graphic art-ing god to 15 year old me. I'm still glad, after all these years, that you became part of the NESing community.
Also, I think we all need to sign contracts of conduct with each other before we ever, ever play Neptune's Pride again. I've heard jokes about games being friendship destroying, but that one comes closer than anything else I've ever seen.
It really was something. We should play again.
Time is a healer, I suppose I'd play again, knowing full well what to expect. I'd also like to continue our game of Stellaris at some point
I was looking at das's 'By a Single Decision' thread. I saw comments already mentioning NES from 2004 - how far back did NES start?? And all those old names I fondly remember!
Here is the first NES, by uknemesis. EQ did a nice little collection of early NESes. So you can see that it all began in the spring and summer of 2002.
You couldn't pay me to play NP again.
Separate names with a comma.