ed west on how the church created the west

THIS is the best article i’ve read all week! possibly all month. in fact, it’s soooo interesting, i’m going to read it over and over again! (pretty sure i’ve got it memorized already actually…. (*^_^*) )

by ed west, The Church v the Family appeared in The Catholic Herald a couple of weeks ago:

“So why is Europe different? The answer is the Catholic Church. Christianity in our minds is linked to ‘family values’, as Right-wing politicians used to say before an imminent sex scandal, but from the beginning it was almost anti-family, and Jesus told his disciples to leave theirs. Whereas Judaism had been heavily kinship-based, Christ voiced the view that the noblest thing was to lay down one’s life for a friend – a gigantic moral leap. This universal ideal was spread by St Paul who famously stated that there would be neither Jew nor Greek, ‘for ye are all one in Christ Jesus’.

“Although both large Abrahamic faiths are universalist, western Christianity was far more jealous of rival loyalties, such as could be found in the clan, and wanted to weaken them. St Augustine of Hippo and St Thomas Aquinas both encouraged marrying out as a way of widening social ties, and in Summa Theologica Aquinas objected to cousin marriages on the grounds that they ‘prevent people widening their circle of friends’. He wrote: ‘When a man takes a wife from another family he is joined in special friendship with her relations; they are to him as his own.’

“The influence of the Church caused Europeans to be less clannish and therefore made it easier for large territorial magnates to forge nation-states.

“Another consequence was the nuclear family, which developed in the North Sea region around the turn of the millennium. It was influenced by the western European manor system of agriculture, under which peasants managed their own farms let out to them by the lord of the manor, owing him obligations of work. This encouraged adult children to move out of the family home, whereas in most cultures three generations lived together under a paterfamilias.

“With the nuclear family came a move away from group identity and towards the western concept of individual rights and liberalism. It was a revolutionary idea and in parts of the world where the clan still rules it is still an alien one.”

(^_^) read the whole thing on west’s blog!

previously: whatever happened to european tribes? and st. augustine and st. thomas aquinas and big summary post on the hajnal line

(note: comments do not require an email. manorialism.)


  1. I posted this at Ed’s site (where it’s awaiting approval) and thought I’d repost it here:

    The Most Clannish Catholics in Europe Award has to go to the Catholics of Northern Albania and Montenegro. They still are tribal, still practice the Kanun of Lek which regulates things such as blood feuds, and are generally the strongest mafias amongst Albanians locally and throughout Western Europe and North America.

    Where I hail from, uber-Catholic West Herzegovina, Franciscans wouldn’t allow marriages between a man and a woman up to and including sixth cousins. IIRC, that goes beyond regular Church Law although I’m not sure.

    My maternal grandparents were sixth cousins but three times removed. They just barely made the cut and it took a whole two weeks of research through the old documents to make it right in the eyes of God :)


  2. “The answer is the Catholic Church”: yes and no. His references are so old that he’s really talking about the old Catholic Church of the five patriarchs, before the Roman Catholics flounced out in 1054.


  3. Pretty sure Ed’s been reading HBDChick. :) He channels Sailer a lot, so not a big leap down the blogroll.


  4. “A remarkable individual, but what was interesting from my point of view was that Mrs Sharland was my father’s first cousin, and yet I had not even heard of her, let alone met her.”

    Personally, I think this is almost as sick as extreme clannishness. Complete disregard for extended family?!

    Growing up in a tight-knit family has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life — and I’ve had lots of great experiences. When I was young it was my westernized friends that were envious when I said “I’m going to hang out with my cousin,” or “I’m going to have dinner at my aunt’s,” etc. Not the other way around. Within the framework of your theories I’d say the English are too outbred. Just look at what’s happening over there due to their pathological levels of misplaced altruism.

    IMO there is a middle ground between extreme familial clannishness and extreme individualism. Obviously the optimum is much closer to northwest Europeans, but I do believe these societies have gone too far in the other direction.


  5. sprfls:
    “Personally, I think this is almost as sick as extreme clannishness. Complete disregard for extended family?!”

    I think you’re right; we (Brits, myself, my family) would be a lot less miserable and atomised if we had more contact with our extended families. My 7-year-old son in particular would love to be around a bunch of other related kids.


  6. sprfis

    “Personally, I think this is almost as sick as extreme clannishness. Complete disregard for extended family?!”

    I think there is an optimal point and if an out-breeding population grows too big so the blood ties between individuals gets too diluted then that population will go through that optimal point and then past it.

    I think England hit the optimal point sometime between Newton and Darwin and then went past it as the population grew too large and blood ties too weak.

    So unless a population specifically manages their level of average relatedness then an in breeding population following the out breeding program would lead to a sequence of:

    clan-based dog eat dog society
    -> optimal “us” = “them” society
    -> individualist-based dog eat dog society


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