Were the Middle Ages intolerant? Yes, they were intolerant of that which they viewed as wrong. Were they ignorant? For many people yes, the majority were uneducated though probably still more educated than is generally thought but there was also a minority of very highly educated people and many of the scientific theories and discoveries that are attributed to later thinkers actually originated in the Middle Ages. St Thomas Aquinas was certainly no intellectual featherweight! But, finally, what about royal absolutism? Monarchs in Medieval times were “absolute” but they were far from arbitrary. They did not rule through brute force but through what were essential free contracts between parties that were to their mutual benefit. This was the basis of the feudal relationship; security and the use of land provided in exchange for certain goods or services.
Not only was there no “government” as we would recognize it today, but even the monarchies were decentralized into subsidiary monarchies. This sort of relationship reached upward to the King, the Holy Roman Emperor and (for some) the Pope while also reaching downward to the princes, dukes, barons and free commoners. Yet, no one, not even bound serfs, could be forced to provide any good or service. It was, in many ways, the sort of privatized society that libertarians uphold as the ideal. Taxes were low, in some cases even nonexistent and only collected temporarily in times of necessity. At each level these “monarchies” were autonomous, entering freely into contracts with each other for support, profit and protection. Whether a prince or a landowning commoner, what you possessed was truly your own and no one could arbitrarily take it from you or tell you what to do with it; hence the old saying that, “an Englishman’s home is his castle”.
Mad Monarchist, The Mad Monarchist 17 Comments
[4/15/2018 6:15:23 AM]
Fundie Index: 7
Submitted By: Michael