Increasingly, I come to believe it important for supporters of freedom to understand not only that liberty is divisible, but that it can only exist, grow and progress in this form.
Interesting in their own right, the below stories go to show just how interwoven freedom is with unfreedom, how she grows with and out of unfreedom and creates structures both of freedom and of unfreedom. Reality is too complex to accommodate visions and hopes of a neat ultimate separation of freedom and unfreedom. This inevitable amalgamation of the opposite forces makes it harder to understand, promote, and defend freedom, for it makes the state, story, and truth of freedom more intricate and a lot harder to grasp and to convey. Yet, if her emulsive quality is ignored freedom will be even more disadvantaged by an insufficient sense of reality in its adherents.
Friends of liberty ought to admit something akin to the marginal revolution, that they so benefit from in their economic reasoning, into their perception of liberty in the real world, and hence replace the crude habit of thinking in categorical dichotomies with the skill of incremental analysis.
(Specifically on this last point, see also Politically Correct Nourishment - Too Much and Too Little Economics.)
In the books appearing below with Amazon links, Deepak Lal argues that two papal revolutions were pivotal for the development of the West, the first giving rise to individualism, and the second producing the legal instruments that made modern free and capitalist societies possible.
In 1075, Pope Gregory VII, in what Lal calls the second papal revolution, put the church above the state and through the resulting church-state created the whole legal and administrative infrastructure required by a full-fledged market economy.
Before that, in the sixth century, pope Gregory I, aka Saint Gregory the Great, launched the first papal revolution that was to change the face of the western world, emancipating the individual from the extended kinship nexus:
These twin papal revolutions arose because of the unintended consequences of the Church's search for bequests - a trait that goes back to its earliest days. From its inception it had grown as a temporal power through gifts and donations - particularly from rich widows. So much so that, in July 370, the Emperor Valentinian had addressed a ruling to the Pope that male clerics and unmarried ascetics should not hang around the houses of women and widows, and try to worm themselves and their churches into their bequests at the expense of the women's families and blood relations. Thus, from its very beginnings the Church was in the race for inheritances. In this respect, the early Church's extolling of virginity and preventing second marriages helped it to create more single women who would leave bequests to the Church.
This process, of inhibiting a family from retaining its property and promoting its alienation accelerated [ ... when in 597] Pope Gregory I [...] overturned the traditional Mediterranean and Middle Eastern pattern of legal and customary practices in the domestic domain.
The traditional system was concerned with the provision of an heir to inherit family property, and allowed marriage to close kin, marriages to close affines or widows of close kin, the transfer of children by adoption, and finally concubinage, which is a form of secondary union. Gregory banned all four practices. [...]
This papal revolution made the Church unbelievably rich. Demographers have estimated that the net effect of the prohibitions on traditional methods to deal with childlessness was to leave 40 percent of families with no immediate male heirs. The Church became the chief beneficiary of the resulting bequests. [...]
But this accumulation also drew predators from within and without the Church to deprive it of its acquired property. It was to deal with this denudation that Pope Gregory VII instigated his papal revolution in 1075, by putting the power of God - through the spiritual weapon of excommunication - above that of Caesar's. With the Church then entering into the realm of the world, the new church-state also created the whole administrative and legal paraphernalia which we associate with a modern economy." (Reviving the Invisible Hand, pp. 155-156)
Do not forget, in those days, the Church is the only all encompassing, truly ubiquitous organisation in Europe, secular powers being strongly localised, fragmentary or of an itinerant kind, as well as far less powerful and hence less comprehensively invasive than modern government.
In Reviving the Invisible Hand, classical liberal Deepak Lal explains how the West came to be - free and capitalist, and thus eventually utterly - different from the Rest:
I have argued in Unintended Consequences that in the High Middle Ages there was also a change in what I have called the cosmological beliefs of the West. Cosmological beliefs concern the world view of a civilization: how people should live. They provide its moral anchor. They are transmitted through the socialization processes in childhood by harnessing the powerful emotions of shame and guilt. Most Eurasian civilizations were shame-based and had similar family values, for agrarian civilizations required stable settled families to operate their settled agriculture. To maintain this stability all these cultures sought to limit the common human but ephemeral passion of love as the basis of marriage. Their values were communalist. It was the first papal revolution of Gregory the Great in the sixth century which changed these hitherto communalist values to the individualist ones which have come to characterize and distinguish the West from the Rest.
This papal revolution, by promoting love as the basis of marriage and advocating the independence of the young, led to the rise of individualism in the West [and produced the calculated effect of dissolving kinship ties and to create a wealth base for the Christian individual, many of whom would bequeath substantial assets to the Church rather than keeping them within the kin, as Lal argues; G.T.].
But to curb the dissolution of family bonds and the resulting instability in family formation this would have caused, the Church created a fierce guilt culture in the Middle Ages. In this guilt culture, sex was sinful and the marriage bond - albeit based on love - was sacrosanct. They thus put a lid on the human passions which their individualism had unleashed.
Reviving the Invisible Hand, pp. 7-8.