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Edmund Burke
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THE NATURE OF TRINITARIAN POLITICS

by James Reed

A Blessed and Holy Christ Mass Season to All

"All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore and teach the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them whatsoever I have commanded you." Matthew 28: 18-20.

"No man can serve two masters, for he will either hate the one or love the other, or he will cling to the one and leave the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." Matthew 6:24.

"He that would be greatest among you shall be your servant." Matthew 20:27.

The League website features a magnificent paper by Assistant Professor Dennis R. Klinck entitled "Towards a Trinitarian Politics." Assistant Professor Klinck is in the Department of English, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon. The paper will take some digesting because it is scholarship at its best - and what better time to digest it than during the more leisurely period just after the Season's main festivities.

As a plain man let me state what I see as the main thesis. Politics is typically dominated by philosophies which are either reductionistic (i.e., everything is matter) or else pluralistic and chaotic, lacking coherence and unity. If God plays a part in the metaphysical or ontological (i.e., what exists) systems of such politics, God is likewise monotheistic or pluralistic, which implies fragmentation.

The doctrine of the Trinity gives us an image or vision of diversity in unity. God's Trinitarian nature implies that God is both Whole, but also diverse, a unified Society. This foundation provides a building block for a functional model of society. God, as sovereign of the world has a trinitarian function of the omnipotent creator of reality, as the benevolent moral guardian of cosmic order and also as a righteous judge.

The metaphysical essence of the Trinity should be mirrored in any healthy society and if it is not, it is certain that in the long- term that society will wither and die on the vine. The Trinity thus supplies a model of the relationship of God to man, of the governor to the governed and a prototype of the constitution of the good and just sovereign. The great philosopher Emmanuel Kant in his treatise, "Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone," compares "an ethical common wealth to a household (family) under a common, though invisible, moral father, whose holy Son, knowing His will and yet standing in blood relation with all members of the household, takes His place in making His will better known to Them; these accordingly honour the Father in Him and so enter with one another into a voluntary, universal, and enduring union of hearts."

Social, political, metaphysical and theological reality is three-fold, not Unitarian or dualistic or even pluralistic Hewlett Edwards points out in "The Cultivation of History." Part of the social dislocation present in the modern world, especially in our alienated financial system with its monopoly on the creation of credit, stems from a "flagrant evasion of obvious truth." As Edwards continues: "Rejection of the tripodal (Trinitarian) framework - the only framework which fits man and society into the universe - has, in its later course, exalted 'Totalitarianism', 'Communism'; and now an oncoming Luciferianism salutes and summons the 'Atomic Age'.

That is the evil that the social credit movement now faces in what will be mankind's most important battle.

Essential reading:
For a better understanding and defence of our Constitutional Monarchical system of government; for a just and responsible taxation system - and pricing system - and for a better understanding of the importance of the Rule of Law as opposed to 'majority rule', the following booklets are invaluable for you to study.

§ "Responsible Government in a Free Society"
§ "The Just Tax"
§ "Australian Heritage Series."


All booklets by Geoffrey Dobbs are available from Heritage Book Services and Veritas Pub. (W.A.)


WHERE THE HEART IS

by Elizabeth Edwards

Elizabeth Edwards' review of Witold Rybczynski's delightful short history of the evolution and development of the Home will be enjoyed by our readers as they take a short respite after the Christmas Festivities. She writes: In this delightful, erudite and extraordinarily interesting book "Home: A Short History of an Idea," Professor Rybczynski explores the history of the Home since mediaeval times, particularly as a continuing idea re-flowering in every emergent household. He is concerned especially with the effects on it of the relatively recent idea of Comfort, drawn out from the possibilities of technology according to individual needs.

In the sense that 'Home is where the heart is,' home always has and always will be the most lively force: indeed, the womb of all willed activity. But it is also the place where one lives, where one goes out from and comes back to, for different reasons and in different modes throughout history. It is this sense of a dwelling that Professor Rybcsynski takes as his baseline. He considers the inter-relation of the building and its contents to the shape of life and intentions of those who live within it.

In modern terms you could ask, how does the modern luxurious machine-equipped flat affect the direction of thought of those who live in it? He specifically rules out of his material the surroundings of the very poor from the earliest ages, as poor folk have little control over the surroundings and so of the on-going development of the idea of the home. Which is a pity, because we all know people who with the aid of an old shawl, a picture, a bowl of wild flowers and a stick fire will make a home out of a hovel.

However, Professor Rybczynski begins with buildings. The earliest secular buildings of any size were largely influenced by the Benedictine monasteries, those preservers of skills and technology. Houses were designed as all-purpose halls in which everybody did everything; all everyday living took place. They were usually crowded with family, servants, retainers and guests. Cooking, eating, working, amusement, bathing, sleeping, entertaining, all took place in the one great hall open to the rafters overhead. Furniture was portable and foldable. Trestle tables were dismantled and put against the wall when not in use for dining, working or writing. Stools and benches were moved to where they were needed for conversation or work.

There might be one fixed bed in a corner out of the way, for important personages, and sometimes beds were built into the wall, like cupboards, but others were either foldable (and parked against the wall in daytime) or portable, used as seats. Where there was a bed, several people slept in it, but most of the simpler folk slept on the floor. There was no privacy at all; life was carried on in a crush of company. There was little place for privacy, for abstract thought: anyway for ordinary people this was already accepted in the religion that was the foundation of their busyness.

When free towns grew up outside the feudal system, and the burgesses had fairly capacious houses of their own, they automatically adapted the same system. Town houses were usually of several storeys. The tradesmen and merchants ran their businesses on the ground floor, with the living quarters above. Again, the living quarters consisted of a single large chamber, the hall, open to the rafters, where all living activities took place.
There could not have been much furniture, and what there was, was mostly portable, or collapsible. Again, households were always extremely large, as they included apprentices and servants as well as large families, all living together in the one hall. This system continued for a surprisingly long time.

The Meaning of Arrangements in a Household
From our point of view four centuries on, it would seem to be extremely uncomfortable and inefficient. But comfort, Mr. Rybczynski says, was not then the sine qua non of a household. What of it was there was appreciated, but not of primary importance, and indeed comfort was scarcely present as an idea. Not till the eighteenth century did it become the major consideration. This was not because they couldn't do it -- technology capable of a great increase in comfort already existed -- but tradition was such that people simply had not turned their attention and invention to that end. Perhaps the influence of the Benedictine monasteries extended also to a monastic aestheticism in the interests of a great ideal. Thus the meaning of arrangements in a household was not merely utility.

There was present very strongly an idea of suitability to a hierarchy, as part of a ceremony, almost a rite, to which living, including housekeeping, must be dedicated. The mode of people's dress, the manner of its adorning, meant how they fitted into society. Different foods and dishes, often elaborate, were symbolic of something quite other than nutrition or delicacy. Everything had a meaning other than its function, and just as important. This was not, at any rate at first, simply a matter of regulation, but because that was the way people thought. Chairs were not thought of mainly for their ease to sit in: they were a symbol of authority. The master of the house sat in a chair: everyone else on stools or benches.

This convention persisted even to the etiquette at the court of the Sun King, Louis XIV of France, long after it had faded elsewhere and chairs were not uncommon in humble homes. At the court, armchairs were reserved for the King, chairs without arms for superior courtiers, backless stools for some of the nobility, and unpadded folding stools for lesser notables.
As the number of these stools was strictly controlled -- there were only 1,325 at a time when the daily population of Versailles numbered thousands -- most of the helpless courtiers must have had a weary time (not to mention ' bad legs'!) just standing. How glad they must have been when Louis XV changed all that!

Towards the end of the Middle Ages the advantages of privacy began to be recognised. Kitchens had already split off the hall, and rooms, as they became smaller, could be devoted to separate functions: used to separate different groups of the household -- family from servants, for instance, or parents from children. The household became less of a public place, and a new age of the family began.
Removed from the crush and busyness of the hall, without the continuous distraction (and having to clear your manuscripts off the table for dinner!) it became more possible to read or write or pursue difficult trains of thought or experiment, and the new ideas spreading across Europe. The slow birth of the Renaissance had begun.

The Incorporation of the Idea of Comfort
Smaller rooms for special functions made it feasible to have more furniture designed for a purpose, and not necessarily collapsible or portable. In consequence pieces were valued as they never had been before, for their beauty, their utility and their comfort. The idea of comfort was born.
Professor Rybczynski follows the history of its incorporation into the home through the centuries until the present day. He shows how the intention of comfort at length made its way into the high fashion of the French court, pushing back the extreme discomfort of traditional ceremony with the concession of elaborate rococo style. But the beautiful rococo chairs were also comfortable: they were carefully padded; the elaborate chests were also functional.

The new form of domesticity was embodied in new forms of furnishings. When the purpose of furniture was use and comfort, close attention to shape produced the chairs of Sheraton and Hepplewhite, patterns that for ease have never been surpassed. (They actually allowed new postures of sitting comfortably). By the end of the eighteenth century comfortable and elegant furnishings were available to a broad clientele.

During the nineteenth century vast improvements in the heating and lighting of houses improved their comfort too, and with the use of gas and electricity and a shortfall of domestic servants in less wealthy households, pioneer housewives started to think about making domestic arrangements more efficient and less labour intensive. They thought about planning the kitchen and about the application of the new sources of power to domestic equipment.

One of the illustrations in this book depicts a row of electric pans and jugs of about 1900. Vacuum cleaners came in at about the same time, electric washing machines in 1909, dishwashers in 1918. They were mostly adaptations of hand-operated machines already in use. The history of these improvements and appliances must fascinate any housewife, and others too; but there is no space to go into details here. Incidentally, they all appeared at a much earlier date than I, at any rate, realised -- and in America, of course, where the servant problem was more acute.

Artistic Statements
So for 200 or more years the motive behind the development of the home was the idea of comfort and utility. Mass production had made physical comfort accessible to all, not only to the well off. But Professor Rybczynski contends that after 1918 the governing idea behind building and furnishings began changing: interior decorators (we must remember he is talking about the houses of the wealthier people) began to design for the idea of fashion, what was modern and 'new' and 'progressive' and technologically possible. Building technology could produce the cube and the box, and produce the cube and the box it did, in all sizes.

The fashion for white arid sparse interiors replaced the (doubtless overdone) patterning of high Victorian and Edwardian rooms: furniture, what there was left of it, had to fit in with this modernism first, even if the result was not very comfortable. Chairs must make an artistic statement in the newest materials -- say stainless steel and leather, or webbing -- and not necessarily allow easy sitting. The ruling idea had changed from comfort and utility, together with good looks, to fashion, with maybe some comfort, and maybe not.

Demand for visual space brought back the all-purpose Hall with its multifarious activities, abolishing intimacy and privacy to the bedrooms. Crowding was in again, not this time because it was necessary, but because open-plan was stylish and getting together fashionable. But it is neither efficient for living, nor altogether comfortable, though perhaps good practice in mob psychology. We could well ask ourselves what sort of thought and activity is encouraged by such a style of living.

But what is a home for? Is it just for showing off?
Although on the whole people with less money did not very willingly follow suit, they still wanted comfort. But lacking a genuine late twentieth century embodiment of comfort to meet their needs, they have to grab at bits and pieces from the past, either real or bogus, no fill the gap. Professor Rybczynski urges a return from a sterile and for so many people unacceptable aestheticism to utility (which does not preclude good looks) and comfort in the home. We should in fact re-apply our knowledge of ergonomics to the development of planning, layout and furnishing the house to make it a proper home.

For what is Home? Certainly it is not merely a house, despite the obnoxious habit of transatlantic house-agents of using 'house' and 'home' interchangeably. Nor is it just a matter of furniture and accessories -- a furnished house is not a home, either. There is a human component: it must be truly and faithfully lived in. And that involves the purpose it is used for, and the free choice of arrangements and all the fittings that makes it suitable and delightful to those who live and work there.

Home a Workshop of the Spirit
Home is practically the only place where ordinary people are gloriously free to choose what they want to do, and what sort of surroundings to do it in. For the home is a workshop of the spirit, the living space in which t extends itself from the immaterial to the material. It is that free choice in a loving spirit that makes a home. But just as purpose affects the design of a house, so to some extent does the design make different purposes possible, and so affects the culture of which the dwelling is a part. Professor Rybczynski gives an enormously enjoyable account of the way in which one strand of this cultural inheritance was built up and shaped, battledore and shuttlecock, between idea and physical expression of idea.
These are the roots of our future. They are there for each one of us to draw on and use ourselves to make a small portion of the future according to our own ideas, and in doing so contribute to the on-going possibilities for those who follow us.

Originally published in the Home journal (a review of politics as seen from the home) 1989.

© Published by the Australian League of Rights, P.O. Box 27 Happy Valley, SA 5159