You can’t be serious!

Chapter XIV, p. 700

“The events which took place in the autumn of 1689 sufficiently proved that the ill fated race, which enemies and allies generally agreed in regarding with unjust contempt, had, together with the faults inseparable from poverty, ignorance, and superstition, some fine qualities which have not always been found in more prosperous and more enlightened communities. The evil tidings which terrified and bewildered James stirred the whole population of the southern provinces like the peal of a trumpet sounding to battle. That Ulster was lost, that the English were coming, that the death grapple between the two hostile nations was at hand, was proclaimed from all the altars of three and twenty counties. One last chance was left; and, if that chance failed, nothing remained but the despotic, the merciless, rule of the Saxon colony and of the heretical church.”

Excerpt from:
The History of England, from the Accession of James II — Volume 3
Thomas Babington Macaulay

It was generally agreed at the same time that there were many – from the bottom to the top – who profited by engagement in war.  Those at the top got something like a barony and an annual stipend from the governing body; while those at the body were welcome to pillage the slaughtered enemy. And the ultimate reward went to the ruling autocrat who apparently had the decency to commit only to the abstract and therefore less vulgar appeal of power and control. Such was the intense necessity of approbation.

It is offensive to read Macaulay so gleefully dismiss the “ill fated race” for “its faults inseparable from poverty, ignorance, and superstition” at a time when much of the English hierarchy considered reading and writing an effeminate occupation best reserved to lawyers and the clergy while the peerage spent time more manfully drinking claret and hunting. And I cannot but notice the contradiction of purity and intelligence to read the suggested evil of the “heretical church” when the British were equally devoted to St. George’s anglicanism (of which there is little if anything not completely imaginary or fabricated).

The Church of Saint George in Lod, Israel contains a sarcophagus believed by many Christians to contain St. George’s remains.

Pope Gelasius I stated in 494 that George was among those saints “whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose actions are known only to God.”

In 1348 Edward III of England chose George as the patron saint of his Order of the Garter, and also took to using a red-on-white cross in the hoist of his Royal Standard.

The tradition tells that a fierce dragon was causing panic at the city of Silene, Libya, at the time George arrived there. In order to prevent the dragon from devastating people from the city, they gave two sheep each day to the dragon, but when the sheep were not enough they were forced to sacrifice humans instead of the two sheep. The human to be sacrificed was elected by the city’s own people and one time the king’s daughter was chosen to be sacrificed but no one was willing to take her place. George saved the girl by slaying the dragon with a lance. The king was so grateful that he offered him treasures as a reward for saving his daughter’s life, but George refused it and instead he gave these to the poor. The people of the city were so amazed at what they had witnessed that they became Christians and were all baptized.

It therefore comes as a disturbing conclusion to recognize that the government of the western world identifies itself as advanced. Authority and public approval were the two elements associated legally with the current government and spiritually with the dominant religion. Meanwhile it vitalized government and religion to cooperate to promote their own theories of reality. They were essentially alliances built upon bowing to one another when propitious for their joint ambitions.

May 24 – The Bill of Rights establishes constitutional monarchy in England, but with Roman Catholics barred from the throne. Parliament also passes the Act of Toleration, protecting Protestants but with Roman Catholics intentionally excluded. This effectively concludes the Glorious Revolution.

If one were to rewrite history it would immediately dissolve the project to acknowledge that the coalition of enterprise is no easy task. There will inevitably be differences. Some, like religion, are tolerated to varying degrees; others, like abortion rights and sexually, not so much. Nonetheless it is the further inescapable fact that war is a sad alternative to cooperation and accommodation. And who – if not god – really cares? I find it a preposterous contradiction that one is expected to brook religious opinion while others are penalized for not abiding it. The greater disassembly surrounds the doubtful submission to purely mystical theory. I have no objection to anyone thanking their lucky stars for a magnificent day; but I am not about to allow myself to be convinced of its efficacy in the overall scheme.

What unfortunately remains of this heady conversation is not a pathway of cooperation but removal from profit. There is at the very least no easy way to acquire gain other than on a diminished ratio attributable to universality. On the other hand, engineering selective argument and conflict enables more delectable morsels for ravaging.