The Harvest, A Science-Politico Novel

Peter Thiel’s blood harvesting was tried by the Soviets a century ago
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Amid the death and mayhem, a moral struggle is underway. The books themselves follow what has become a familiar formula: We meet the main characters. Someone dies or suffers a terrible trauma. Early in Rising Sun , for instance, comes this:. If we lose the ability to make our own products, we lose control over our destiny.

The truth is, our nation is sliding badly. In Rising Sun , the villains were treacherous foreigners. But, since then, Crichton has delighted in bashing a wide class of media and intellectual elites here at home. They wanted an accurate picture of the situation But now reporters came to the story with the lead fixed in their minds; they saw their job as proving what they already knew.

They proceeded from an assumption of universal guilt, in an atmosphere of muted hostility and suspicion. In Disclosure , for instance, we get a columnist named Constance Walsh, who plays the role of radical-feminist minstrel. Women are powerless in the hands of men. Clearly, Crichton is no liberal although he argues that one of his earliest books, A Case of Need , did have a pro-abortion rights message. And that worldview has reached its bitter, frothing apex with State of Fear. In perfect populist fashion, Crichton says he was disgusted by his first Capitol Hill adventure.

The senators all get up and make their statements and leave. No one listens. Holy smokes. There was a lot of posturing and not a lot of real consideration of what people were arguing. But one suspects that Crichton quite enjoys his newfound influence. And I have read State of Fear , and I found it very educational, very knowledgeable, and very entertaining. The book tells the story of environmentalists so determined to hype climate change that they use exotic technology to touch off natural cataclysms crumbling a massive Arctic glacier, triggering a tsunami, and so on , with a willingness to see innocents die for their cause.

According to Crichton, that cause—major limitations on greenhouse gas emissions—is madness.

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The heroes of the book either understand or come to realize this, and we are meant to follow along with the help of graphs, copious footnotes referencing scientific studies, and long, pedantic exchanges between the characters. To wit, here we find one young global-warming believer stuck on a plane next to the heroic skeptic, John Kenner:. The jet flew through the night He sat in the back, staring out the window at the carpet of clouds glowing silver in the moonlight. Kenner sat opposite him. Makes such beauty. Simple example: No one can say for sure if global warming will result in more clouds, or fewer clouds.

But higher temperature also means more water vapor in the air and therefore fewer clouds. Kenner smiled. They call it an estimate, or parameterization, or an approximation. So might the reader. By the time he wrote State of Fear , Crichton had been living in the Hollywood milieu for more than 20 years—and his frustration shows. He creates one character, a pompous bleeding heart clearly modeled after Martin Sheen, and then feeds him to cannibals. Another scene features a dilettante Hollywood environmentalist shocked that a climate-change skeptic would question her scientific authority. I am extremely well informed.

Texas, she proposes. Besides red-state-bashing Hollywood celebrities, Crichton takes aim at environmentalists, whom he portrays as overhyping the global-warming threat for fund-raising purposes. The book is ultimately about something much bigger than global warming. Politicians need fears to control the population. Lawyers need dangers to litigate, and make money. The media need scare stories to capture an audience.

Together, these three estates are so compelling that they can go about their business even if the scare is totally groundless. They invent all the new terrors and all the new social anxieties Foods that are bad for you. Behaviors that are unacceptable. The notion that these institutions are liberal is a cruel joke.

Global-warming alarmism, then, is just one more product of this nefarious cultural conspiracy. Furthermore, Emden was a leading seaport, in close communication with England, and it served as a haven for a number of English divines during the Catholic reaction under Mary Tudor. Recently however, Emden had encountered increasingly serious conflicts with its provincial lord, as well as with various larger and more powerful units of the German Empire and Spanish Kingdom. The City Council was consequently seeking an exceptionally able leader to guide its negotiations and destiny.

He accepted the offer in , and guided the political destinies of this city without interruption until his death in During the years of his service in Emden, he published two new and enlarged editions of the Politica and , and also wrote the Dicaeologica , an immense work that seeks to construct a single comprehensive juridical system out of Biblical law, Roman law, and various customary laws.

In Althusius was elected elder of the church of Emden, a position he continued to hold until his death twenty-one years later. There is a sense in which his two functions of syndic and elder, coupled with capacities for leadership and hard work, enabled him to coordinate the civil and ecclesiastical jurisdictions of the city, and thus to exercise somewhat the same kind of influence in Emden as Calvin did in Geneva. His correspondence contains frequent condemnations of Arminian theological opinions, and in one letter he especially criticized the Pietas of Hugo Grotius on the basis that it would undermine the independent right and liberty of the church by transferring ecclesiastical functions to civil government.

Althusius consciously organized his Politica according to Ramist logic. What was largely new with Ramus, however, was the manner in which he employed these two topics. Where invention had previously been understood as the processes for combining predicates with subjects in debatable propositions, under the influence of Ramism it also came to denote the processes for determining what material belongs to subjects as scholarly disciplines.

And where disposition had previously referred to methods of arranging propositions into syllogisms or inductions, and these into discourses, with Ramism it also came to refer to the methods of organizing material appropriate to any given discipline. An assumption inherent in Ramism is that proper organization of materials is valuable not only for teaching and learning purposes, but also for the discovery and clarification of knowledge.

He therefore proposes to remove certain legal, theological, and ethical material from it by which others in his judgment had confused and compromised its proper operation. He acknowledges, however, that two disciplines may have partly overlapping subject matter, as theology and political science share the Decalogue, and law and political science jointly embrace the doctrine of sovereignty. But he insists that each discipline must limit itself to that aspect of the common material that is essential to its own purpose, and reject what is not.

For Althusius the problem was what to do with such politically relevant, but nevertheless contingent, matters as the varying character and customs of rulers and peoples. The statesman, however, should be well acquainted with these matters. Although Althusius nowhere explicitly discusses this law, it is evident that he consistently employs it. For example, there are no propositions referring chiefly and generically to the city to be found in his opening discussion of politics in general.

They are too restrictive for this level because politics also includes other associations in addition to the city. Nor are they to be located in his discussion of the rural village. They are too extensive for this level because other kinds of local community also qualify as cities. Rather all such propositions will be found in his discussion of the nonuniversal public association that is composed of families and collegia.

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They belong precisely to this level, as they do to no other. The most distinctive feature of the Ramist interpretation of disposition is its emphasis upon method. And this Althusius clearly appropriates. Althusius opens the Politica with a general proposition that indicates the fundamental insight regarding the nature of political science that will be pursued throughout this inquiry, and suggests by implication the limits that will be observed.

He then proceeds by dividing and repeatedly subdividing the subject matter, Edition: current; Page: [ xv ] each subdivision in turn opening with a sub-proposition relating to the general proposition and defining the appropriate material therein. He pursues this method with a tiresome regularity throughout the entire volume until the full implications of the opening proposition have been diligently sought out in their application to all forms and activities of political association. It stands at the beginning of Chapter I, and guides and controls everything that follows. By referring to politics as symbiotics or the art of living together , and to social life as symbiosis or living together , Althusius means to include all human associations in his study.

These he divides into simple and private associations family and collegium , and mixed and public associations city, province, and commonwealth. The latter are discussed in both civil and ecclesiastical aspects because provision for both body and soul is deemed essential to public social life. Although the concentration of this volume is upon the commonwealth, Althusius clearly believes that these other associations are the parts out of which, indirectly and directly, the commonwealth is composed, and that they furthermore share common problems of political organization with the commonwealth.

Indeed, by first setting forth the principles by which these problems are to be met in the smaller associations, Althusius anticipates the major features of his discussion of the commonwealth except for the addition of the attribute of sovereignty, which is proper to the commonwealth alone.

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Symbiotic association involves something more than mere existence together. It indicates a quality of group life characterized by piety and justice without which, Althusius believes, neither individual persons nor society can endure. He repeatedly asserts that piety is required by the first table of the Decalogue and justice by the second, and that the two together are furthermore validated in human experience everywhere.

Thus both divine revelation and natural reason are called upon in political science to clarify the true nature of symbiotic association. Wherever there is symbiosis there is also communication, or the sharing of things, services, and right. The Latin word jus employed in this connection means both right and law.

Although politics is properly involved in each of these three forms of communication, it has Edition: current; Page: [ xvi ] one basic concern with them, namely, the effective ordering of all communication. Therefore, politics is not interested in the goods of the tradesman or the skills of the craftsman, except inasmuch as these goods and skills must be socially regulated for the benefit both of the individual and of the association.

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He has lived, is living, and will live billions of lives, and thus represents an actual living projection of history in the universe itself. The first is that I have experienced difficulty in separating juridical matters from this science. The heroes of the book either understand or come to realize this, and we are meant to follow along with the help of graphs, copious footnotes referencing scientific studies, and long, pedantic exchanges between the characters. Instructor and student evaluations both indicated that the assignment was valuable as a learning aid to most students, and may have helped to connect course materials to more practical real-world examples. Preference will be given to applicants who aim to publish new research findings, or updated or additional material related to their APN project. Search Publications Advanced Search. Effortlessly, Crichton touches on the anti- windmill movement in England, references a article in the journal Science on global energy needs, notes interesting developments regarding the Kyoto treaty, and poses a question about the latest round of nation-by-nation emissions data.

Thus politics may be distinguished from economics. The communication of right jus , however, is proper to politics in an even more basic manner. For by this kind of communication each association is given its political structure, and achieves that form of self-sufficiency appropriate to it. The right that is communicated is in part common to all associations, in part special to each type of association, and in part particular to each individual association.

Communication requires imperium, or strong rule, to be effective. Althusius has no interest at all in theories about human rights. What does interest him is the extent to which any association fulfills the purposes for which it exists. In this sense, an association has a holy vocation even as a person does. Consequently, Althusius is opposed to tyrannical rule not because it is undemocratic, but because it becomes ineffective in supporting the ends for which persons enter and remain in association with each other.

He is opposed, for the same reason, to weak and vacillating rule. His interest in constitutional limitations upon the abuse of power arises from his concern that power be truly and lawfully strong. It is therefore characteristic of his thought that he advocates institutionalized restraints upon rulers in order to maintain effective symbiosis. Such restraints are intended to conserve lawful rule in an association and to correct or remove an erring ruler when necessary, but not to weaken the exercise of rule itself.

Persons enter and remain in association with each other because outside of the mutual communication of things, services, and right they cannot live comfortably and well; indeed, they cannot live at all. Necessity therefore induces association. But the existence of each individual association, as well as the special form it takes, also depends upon the continuing consent of the symbiotes, or members. Althusius is thus led to say that an association is initiated and maintained by a covenant among the symbiotes setting forth their common agreement about the necessary and useful purposes to be served by the association, and the means appropriate to fulfill these purposes.

If there is no explicit covenant, then an implicit one is assumed in the continuing consent of Edition: current; Page: [ xvii ] those who live together. Symbiotic association thus requires a balance between social necessity and social volition. When Althusius distinguishes the two types of private association as the natural and the civil, he is setting forth the two poles in this balance. For the family, however natural, is based upon a tacit or expressed agreement among its members as to the manner of its communication of things, services, and right.

The continued existence of the family tends to confirm this agreement. On the other hand the collegium is not completely voluntary. It arises from a natural need, and presumably is not to be disbanded unless alternative means are available to meet this need.

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This integral relationship between necessity and volition that first finds expression in private associations carries over into public associations, and becomes one of the distinctive characteristics of the entire associational theory of Althusius. Althusius divides the family into two kinds—conjugal and kinship—and discusses the nature of communication and imperium in each. Although the husband is clearly the ruler of the conjugal family, and the paterfamilias the ruler of the kinship family, Althusius is careful to set forth the conjugal obligations that the husband owes his wife, as well as those the wife owes her husband, and the kinship obligations that both husband and wife as paterfamilias and materfamilias owe their children and domestics.

If it is composed of magistrates and judges, or of persons engaged in agricultural, industrial, or commercial pursuits, it is called a secular collegium. If it is composed of clergymen, philosophers, or teachers, it is called an ecclesiastical collegium. These two kinds of collegium are parallel to the two forms of Edition: current; Page: [ xvii ] administration—secular and ecclesiastical—that are to be found in the province and commonwealth. The manner of rule in the collegium follows the general principles that Althusius has set forth for all social authority, except that in the collegium participation by individual colleagues, or members, can be direct rather than, as in public associations, indirect.

There is a leader elected by the colleagues to administer the affairs of the collegium. The public association is derivative from the private association in that families and collegia, not individual persons, are directly constitutive of the city, and indirectly or directly of the province and commonwealth. The same general principles of communication and rule, however, apply equally to both private and public associations. Thus Althusius departs from a distinction common in medieval Roman law between public and private.

Althusius affirms, to the contrary, that the foundation of all associations, whether private or public, is symbiotic life. By appealing to symbiosis in this manner, he denies that private and public associations should have essentially different sources of legitimacy and modes of operation from each other. He also seeks by the same stroke to release politics from the hegemony of juridical conceptions of association. Nevertheless, the derivative and territorial characteristics of the public association still remain to distinguish it from the private. Continuing the Ramist method of dichotomizing, Althusius divides the public association into particular and universal.

The particular, in turn, is divided into the city and the province, and the universal is identified as the commonwealth respublica , or realm regnum. The particular association does not possess sovereignty, while the universal Edition: current; Page: [ xix ] does.

It should be noted, however, that the city of Venice, because it possesses sovereignty, has the status of a commonwealth. Furthermore, while a city is composed of families and collegia, the province is formed of various kinds of local community ranging from the rural hamlet to the metropolis, and the commonwealth is constituted of provinces and such cities as have the rights and responsibilities of provinces in the assemblies of the realm. The city, unlike the private association, does not provide the opportunity for direct participation of individuals as such in the process of rule.

Here an organized community arises out of smaller associations and finds expression in a senate. At the same time, there is a ruler who exercises authority over individuals and particular associations, but not over the organized community itself. Althusius carefully spells out the relations that ought to prevail between ruler and senate in order that symbiotic needs on the municipal level can be provided for effectively.

In brief, the ruler is the chief executive, and presides over the communication of things, services, and right. The senate, on the other hand, determines and defends the fundamental laws of the city, even to the extent if necessary of correcting or removing a ruler who misuses entrusted authority to the detriment of this symbiotic association. For the ruler of the province is responsible not to the organized community over which this person presides, as is the case in all other associations, but to the supreme magistrate of the commonwealth.

The ruler is a prince, duke, count, or other noble who receives this office, whether through heredity or appointment, as a function of the commonwealth, and cannot be removed from this office except in rare instances, and then only by the commonwealth. But, if so, he did not concede very much. Althusius could accommodate himself without undue difficulty to the notion that a ruler might be Edition: current; Page: [ xx ] designated and maintained in office from outside the provincial community, provided the ruler governs the province well.

This is to say that if a province actually meets the purposes for which it exists— if it fulfills its high calling—-Althusius can wink at procedural irregularities, even though he may prefer that they do not prevail. Furthermore, the provincial orders, which collectively compose the organized community of the province, constitute a restraining influence on the misuse of executive power.

These orders are both ecclesiastical and secular, and provide for the observance of both tables of the Decalogue in political life. The reason for this is that both revelation and practical experience demonstrate that symbiotic association cannot long endure without public provision for the souls as well as the bodies of men. The ecclesiastical order, which is especially concerned with the cultivation of piety, is conceived by Althusius essentially according to contemporary Calvinist practice.

The secular order, which addresses itself primarily to the maintenance of justice, is preferably composed of three estates, namely, the nobility, the burghers, and the agrarians. Sometimes, however, the last two are combined in one estate known as the commons. It is to be noted that these orders and estates are essentially the occupational collegia organized on a provincial level.

Representatives of these estates, and in some realms of the ecclesiastical order as well, will meet in convocation where they perform much the same function in the province that the senate does in the city. Their consent is required by the ruler in all major matters confronting the province, such as decisions on war, peace, taxes, and new law. The commonwealth, as previously noted, differs from the city and province in that it alone possesses sovereignty. This is to say, only the commonwealth recognizes no human person or association as superior to itself.

But where in the commonwealth does this sovereignty reside? Jean Bodin, to whom Althusius was highly indebted for so many of the characteristics of his political system, attributed it to the ruler.

Translator’s Introduction

Althusius disagrees. His position, which follows consistently upon the principles he has already elaborated in smaller associations, is that sovereignty is the symbiotic life of the commonwealth taking form in the jus regni, or in the fundamental right or law of the realm. Since the commonwealth is composed not of individual persons but of cities and provinces, it is to them when joined together in communicating things, services, and right that sovereignty belongs. Therefore, it resides in the organized Edition: current; Page: [ xxi ] body of the commonwealth, which is to say in the symbiotic processes thereof.

This organized body is also known to Althusius as the people populus. The communication, or communion, that occurs in the commonwealth is, of course, both ecclesiastical and secular. Ecclesiastical communication has to do with the public expression of true religion, with the provision for public schools in which both religion and the liberal arts are taught and handed down to posterity, and with the defense of church and state from religious corruption. In this last matter, however, Althusius pleads for moderation, provided that the essential articles of faith are preserved.


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The administrators of the commonwealth, who are the overseers of this communication, are of two kinds: the ephors and the supreme magistrate. The ephors do not ordinarily rule over the commonwealth itself, as does the supreme magistrate, but are held in reserve for emergency situations. They bear the fundamental right and power of the people in these situations. There are five duties expected of them, which they perform as a group rather than as individuals. They constitute, or establish, a supreme magistrate when a vacancy arises in the highest office of the realm.

They restrain the supreme magistrate within the limits of the entrusted office. They remove the supreme magistrate who becomes tyrannical. They defend the supreme magistrate from detractors when he is performing this entrusted office properly. And they serve as a trustee for the realm in time of interregnum. The model that Althusius employs most frequently in his advocacy of ephors is the seven electors of Germany. He also manages to find somewhat comparable officials in other nations. They are usually distinguished Edition: current; Page: [ xxii ] rulers of provinces who possess at the same time this general function in the commonwealth.

What happens when there are no properly designated ephors to act in the name of the people? Althusius would respond that symbiotic association so greatly requires persons to perform these duties when the need arises in the realm that each body politic should provide them by some process appropriate to its own traditions. We may assume that such persons will be leading citizens of the commonwealth, each with roots deep in some corporate part thereof. The constituting of the supreme magistrate involves first the election and then, if the electee agrees to the provisions of the election, the inauguration.

The election occurs according to the established practice of the land, and may in some instances be little more than the confirmation of an heir determined by customary arrangement. At the inauguration there is a double oath in which the ruler-designate first promises to uphold the fundamental laws of the realm, as well as any special conditions established at the time of the election, and the people through its ephors then promises obedience to the magistrate when he is ruling according to the prescribed laws and conditions. The actual administration of the commonwealth by the supreme magistrate should be guided, according to Althusius, by political prudence.

This part of Althusian political doctrine involves knowledge both of law and of the changing and contingent circumstances to which law is to be applied. The discussion of law at this point is an extended treatment of the relation of the Decalogue to natural law, and of the role of these two together as common law in the formulation of proper law for particular societies. The discussion that follows of such contingent factors in political life as the character and customs of rulers and peoples gives Althusius considerable methodological diffculty, largely because he is of the opinion, as I mentioned earlier, that this material does not lend itself to general precepts that can properly claim the name of science.

Perhaps this is the reason why this discussion impresses the reader as the weakest and least convincing in the entire volume. On the other hand some of the most striking features in the volume are found in the chapters on ecclesiastical and secular administration. Here Althusius amplifies the basic structure of his thought that Edition: current; Page: [ xxiii ] has already taken shape. The analysis of ecclesiastical administration contains the arguments for a religious covenant between the commonwealth and God that Althusius adapts from Junius Brutus.

It discusses the respective roles of the supreme magistrate and the clergy in the conduct of the church. And it suggests limits arising both from the nature of faith and from the requirements of symbiosis beyond which the effort to compel observance even of the true religion ought not to go. The difference in function should be noted between these councils and the body of ephors, even though some overlapping of personnel could ordinarily be expected. He proceeds to this task by acknowledging the distinction, widely employed since Bartolus, between a tyrant by practice tyrannus exercitio and a tyrant without title tyrannus absque titulo.

But he claims that only the former is a true tyrant because the latter, who never rightfully received the office of the supreme magistrate, is only a usurper. The tyrant without title, therefore, deserves none of the respect usually attributed to political superiors, and as a private person who is an enemy of the people may be resisted and even killed by private citizens. But a tyrant who becomes such after having gained legitimate title to the supreme office can be resisted only by public authorities to whom this responsibility has been entrusted, namely, by the ephors.

The means, timing, and other relevant matters for effecting a remedy for such tyranny are thereupon discussed by Althusius. It is altogether characteristic of his basically conservative thought that he recommends caution against coming too quickly to the conclusion that a supreme magistrate who fails or errs in some part of his office is necessarily a tyrant, and insists that a public acknowledgment should be made by a properly constituted body before anyone takes action, except in self-defense, against such a ruler. Thus the controlling principle of these processes remains in the final chapter, as it was in the first, the enhancement of symbiotic association, without which humans cannot live comfortably and well.

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He drew upon an extraordinary number of books from many fields in the composition of his Politica, over of which are referred to in this abridged translation. It may be helpful at this point to identify briefly the major categories of writers the reader will encounter in making his way through the Politica, as well as to suggest the manner in which Althusius employs some of the writers most important to him. The first category pertains to those writers who devote considerable attention to the observation of political processes and possibilities in the light of a few general considerations.

Aristotle, of course, comes immediately to mind in this regard. The empirically oriented approach Althusius follows in the Politica makes this indebtedness clear, and it is also to be noted that he, like Aristotle, begins with an analysis of the family and moves onward to the commonwealth. The Calvinism of Althusius, however, causes him to differ somewhat from Aristotle on the nature of human good, as well as on the degree of human corruption and the extent to which political institutions may consequently have to make provision for this factor. Another writer in this category is Jean Bodin, the sixteenth-century political, legal, and historical theorist.

Althusius was indebted to Gregorius for a myriad of observations about the nature of social organization in just about every area except the ecclesiastical. The second category includes those writers both Catholic and Calvinist who had an interest in constitutional government, and in the ideological and institutional foundations capable of supporting it. The chief ones were the pseudonymous author Junius Brutus of the Defence of Liberty Against Tyrants which was perhaps the best written and most widely read of the political tracts that came out of the French Wars of Religion , George Buchanan a Scot and one of the great humanists of the sixteenth century , and Lambert Daneau a French Calvinist pastor, theological professor, and political writer.

Althusius may be considered the culminating theorist of this group, for he provided their ideas on limiting the power of a ruler with a politically systematic basis they had previously lacked. He did this, of course, by making symbiotic association and its needs the foundation of political doctrine, and by showing what kind of constitutional considerations can be understood to arise therefrom.

A third group upon whom Althusius draws is characterized by a common interest in political prudence, or in what at times finds expression under the topic of practical politics. The teachings of these authors are frequently reproduced in the section on political prudence, which is not a very satisfactory Edition: current; Page: [ xxvi ] treatment by Althusius of contingent factors in politics. Botero and Lipsius, however, are also employed by Althusius in other chapters of the volume in keeping with the approach of the first category of writers mentioned above. Furthermore, the work of Machiavelli most frequently mentioned by Althusius is not The Prince, but the Discourses.

The fourth category is that of legal writers. Among the civilians most in evidence are Bartolus fourteenth century , Paul Castro fifteenth century , and Andreas Gail sixteenth century. The Corpus juris civilis plays a major role in the Politica, not so much as a book of law from which one might deduce political arguments but, together with its better known commentaries, as a seedbed of ideas and concepts that can be built integrally into a political system or used analogically to indicate and illustrate essentially political principles.

The Digest and the commentators thereupon are most frequently called forth by Althusius for these purposes, but numerous references may also be found to the Code, Institutes, and Novels. On the other hand, the Corpus juris canonici is not directly cited in the Politica, although there are important references to a number of canonists, especially to Nicholaus Tudeschi fifteenth century and Diego Covarruvias sixteenth century.

Finally, there is the Italian Nicolaus Losaeus, upon whose De jure universitatum Althusius draws heavily in the third edition of the Politica to describe the internal processes of government appropriate to both collegium and city. The Calvinist theological writers constitute a fifth category. They serve a number of functions. The Biblical commentaries of Peter Martyr Vermigli , Francis Junius, and John Piscator are called upon to give meaning to the concepts of piety and justice as interpretive of true symbiosis, and to describe the ancient Jewish polity that Althusius considers to have been the most wisely and perfectly constructed one Edition: current; Page: [ xxvii ] since the beginning of time.

The sixth category is composed of historians and their writings, especially Carlo Sigonio on ancient Israel and Rome, Emmanuel Meteren on the Netherlands, Jean Sleidan on Germany, Francis Hotman who was also a legal historian on France, and Theodore Zwinger on universal history. Classical writers are a seventh category. Two of them he employed, I think, in a rather fundamental way in his system. I have already spoken of his use of Aristotle.

The other is Cicero, from whom he learned much about the nature of social life and the vocabulary of politics. Would that Althusius had also permitted his often dull and sometimes barbarous Latin style to be influenced by Cicero! On the other hand he often uses classical writers, especially Augustine and Seneca, for quotations that may fit his own point but are taken out of context from the original work. It is also worth noting that while he occasionally calls upon Plato to support his thesis that harmony is an imperative in social life, he also compares him with Thomas More and criticizes both for the unrealism of their utopian views of society.

Both of these men were correctly seen by Althusius as setting forth positions that his own system would have to be able to answer. The same must also be said for one of the works of Alberico Gentili, the Italian Protestant professor of civil law at Oxford. Some of the most lively parts of the Politica occur when Althusius enters the lists against these writers. It may be of some use to the reader to add another category of a different kind, namely, one composed of writers that Althusius for one reason or another tended to overlook.

For example, medieval publicists, as distinguished from medieval legists both civil and canon, find little place in the expression of his political doctrine. The one major exception is the German Lupold of Bebenberg, who recurs with some frequency throughout the volume. Another generally disregarded group is English writers, in this instance even extending to legal authors.

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The lawyers Henry Bracton and Sir John Fortescue could have spoken quite relevantly and sympathetically to Althusius on a number of points. So could have the theologians John Wyclif and Richard Hooker, although the former for largely differing reasons from the latter. Finally, one must call attention to the fact that prominent Lutherans and Arminians are scarce in the Politica. But, if so, how does one explain his extensive and generally appreciative use of a number of Catholic writers?

Perhaps the answer is better to be attributed to the absence of much interest in systematic political theory in those religious circles prior to There is some evidence that during Edition: current; Page: [ xxix ] this period serious political writing among continental Protestants was largely the work of orthodox and near orthodox Calvinists. I should observe in closing this section that further material on the relation of Althusius to some of these writers is to be found in the introduction that Friedrich provided his republication of the Politica in its original language.

The original Latin text presents a number of problems to the translator. Perhaps the most imposing of them is that a large accumulation of references to other books, of identified and unidentified quotations from them, and even of lengthy condensations of borrowed material has been superimposed upon an otherwise well-ordered and clear general structure. This has been done by inserting everything into the text itself without the use of any footnotes and in a manner that gives the impression of great clutter.

An abridgment is therefore appropriate. And it is fortunate that the Politica lends itself readily to this solution. It may be helpful to some readers to learn that a German translation of the entire Latin text has been proceeding for several years under the sponsorship of the Johannes Althusius Gesellschaft at the University of Dresden.

The retained material is identified by Roman numerals for chapters and by Arabic numerals for the sections thereof that Althusius employs. The omitted material, except for mere references to other writers, is indicated by elision marks bracketed elision marks indicate an unacknowledged omission by Althusius in a quotation from another author and there is a complete collation of the translated Edition: current; Page: [ xxx ] material with the chapters and section numbers of the edition for those who may want to check certain points further. Furthermore, he at times permitted his own arguments to be carried by means of it.

Consequently, I have retained references when they either are important to the basic structure of his thought and to his chief arguments with contemporaries, or enable me to fulfill the duty of a responsible translator to present a reasonably accurate reflection of the general types of sources upon which an author draws. When references have been retained, however, they have been reduced as far as possible to footnotes.

I have also brought paragraph divisions more into keeping with present usage, indicated major transitions in his thought by the device of leaving blank lines, and in several instances grouped chapters together under an appropriate title. These revisions have been made in the interest of readability. Another problem is that of style. Althusius wrote in a pedantic manner with little grace and much redundancy. Indeed, one of the ways of detecting unacknowledged quotations still a common practice in his day is to pay careful attention to occasional improvements in his style.

Not all borrowings can be detected in this way, however, because some of his most frequently used sources, especially legal ones, were equally insensitive in such matters. I have decided to retain these redundancies for several reasons, but chiefly because often each word in the sequence bears a slightly different meaning from the others, and a translator should avoid condensation, however tempting, as a means of achieving stylistic improvement.

Again, Althusius frequently joins clauses that are not of parallel construction, and amalgamates a number of them into a confusing sentence that, if diagrammed, would look like a crab-apple tree. In these instances I have usually broken up the sentences, and changed infinitives to gerunds and gerunds to infinitives to achieve somewhat parallel construction.

Still again, I must call attention to his transitions. Some Edition: current; Page: [ xxxi ] are false and some are missing. But mostly they so abundantly flourish that they are often meaningless. The next problem confronting the translator is that of rendering key words. I have decided in most instances to render them in such a manner as to retain for the English reader the opportunity of seeing these words in their relationships. The final problem is one of determining the best means for presenting in this translation the various references Althusius makes to other writings.

After considerable thought and experimentation I have decided upon the following procedures. The purpose is to show as clearly as possible the connotations Althusius probably had in mind in using the quotations. For the most part Althusius read the Bible not only as a Calvinist but also as an Aristotelian, and the social connotations he finds in many passages are not often present in modern translations. It is to be noted that his biblical quotations are taken usually from the late sixteenth-century Latin translation by Emmanuel Tremellius and Francis Junius, but occasionally from the Vulgate.

Second, quotations from the Corpus juris civilis are also newly translated. At the same time, I have changed the method of referring to material in the Corpus juris civilis from the old one employed by Althusius and all other scholars of his time to the one in general use today. Thus, for example, the citation 1. And 1. Third, the Decretals of canon law, which are employed by Althusius only occasionally in citing passages from the canonists, are also referred to in this translation by the modern method of citation. Thus c. Fifth, whenever an English translation of a work cited by Althusius has been known to me, I have listed it rather than the Latin title.

The reason is simply one of convenience for the English reader. In the list of literary sources, however, I have placed the Latin title and except for classical works publishing data in parentheses after the English listing. In making such changes, I have attempted to follow contemporary use in political, legal, and theological literature. Unfortunately, however, contemporary use is not always consistent.

Nor does there seem to be any other unfailing guide. Therefore I must acknowledge a degree of arbitrariness in this endeavor. Seventh, the location of material within works by particular authors is abbreviated as follows. A very large group of works is divided first into books or volumes, tomes, or parts , and then into chapters. For these works a Roman numeral is used to indicate the former, and an Arabic numeral to indicate the latter. Whence II, 3. If there is a further division of the chapter, then another Arabic numeral is used.

Whence II, 3, 4. If the work is divided only into chapters, or only into chapters and divisions thereof, then Arabic numerals alone are used. Whence 3, or 3, 4. But if the divisions of a work do not lend themselves to this system of citation, then the following abbreviations are used: ann. During the course of my labors on Althusius, which produced first a dissertation and now this translation, the following libraries have been indeed generous in the books and services they have made available: the University of Chicago Library, Bridwell and Fondren Libraries of Southern Methodist University, the Newberry Library of Chicago, the University of Pennsylvania Library, the Princeton University Library, and above all the Harvard Law Library where George A.

Strait has been exceptionally helpful. My study of Althusius has been encouraged by many persons, but I especially want to express appreciation to James Luther Adams of the Harvard Divinity School, who originally stimulated me to make this study; to Gerhardt E. Meyer of the University of Chicago, who critically assisted it along the way; to Father Stanley Parry of Notre Dame University, who, by making his unpublished translation of the Politica available to me at an earlier stage in my labors, kindly aided it; to Decherd H. Turner, Jr. The road to modern democracy began with the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century, particularly among those exponents of Reformed Protestantism who developed a theology and politics that set the Western world back on the road to popular self-government, emphasizing liberty and equality.

Only at the end of the first century of the Reformation did a political philosopher emerge out of the Reformed tradition to build a systematic political philosophy out of the Reformed experience by synthesizing the political experience of the Holy Roman Empire with the political ideas of the covenant theology of Reformed Protestantism. That man, Johannes Althusius, presented his political philosophy in a classic work, Politica Methodice Digesta, first published in , expanded in , and revised in final form in It presented a theory of polity-building based on the polity as a compound political association established by its citizens through their primary associations on the basis of consent rather than a reified state imposed by a ruler or an elite.

The first grand federalist design, as Althusius himself was careful to acknowledge, was that of the Bible, most particularly the Hebrew Scriptures or Old Testament. The covenant motif is central to the biblical world view, the basis of all relationships, the mechanism for defining and allocating authority, and the foundation of the biblical political teaching. The biblical grand design for humankind is federal in three ways. First, it is based upon a network of covenants beginning with those between God and human beings, which weave the web of human, especially political, relationships in a federal way—through pact, association, and consent.

In the sixteenth century, this world view was recreated by the Reformed wing of Protestantism as the federal theology from which Althusius, the Huguenots, the Scottish covenanters, and the English and American Puritans developed political theories and principles of constitutional design. Second, the classic biblical commonwealth was a fully articulated federation of tribes instituted and reaffirmed by covenant to function under a common constitution and laws. Any and all constitutional changes in the Israelite polity were introduced through covenanting. Even after the introduction of the monarchy, the federal element was maintained until most of the tribal structures were destroyed by external forces.

The biblical vision of the restored commonwealth in the messianic era envisages the reconstitution of the tribal federation. Most of the American Puritans and many Americans of the Revolutionary era, among others, were inspired by the biblical polity to seek federal arrangements for their polities. This order will establish appropriate covenantal relationships for the entire world.

The grand designs of Emanuel Kant 3 and Martin Buber 4 draw heavily on that vision. This is true even though there were distinctions between Jewish and Christian, Catholic and Protestant, and religious and secular grand designs within the biblical tradition. It is meant to provide a basis for organizing all aspects of the polity and its social order, based on Scriptural law and teachings.

Moreover, it is comprehensively federal; that is to say, every aspect of the polity is to be informed by federal principles and arrangements in the manner of the network of biblical covenants. Each is oriented toward some higher degree of human harmony to be attained in the fullness of time.

Each grand design in some way combines the political and the redemptive dimension as well in the quest for the good commonwealth, if not the holy one. A federalist grand design is one in which the universe is understood in federalistic terms and the comprehensive polity is constructed accordingly. Althusius must be considered a figure located at the intersection of the major trends of Western culture in the transition from medieval to modern times.

One of the Protestant Christian grand designers, he straddled the Reformation and the opening of the modern epoch. Accordingly, he made an effort to synthesize and somewhat secularize Reformed Protestant thought on the ideal polity and to push it in concrete, practical directions. In the struggle over the direction of European state-building in the seventeenth century, the Althusian view, which called for the building of states on federal principles—as compound political associations—lost out to the view of Jean Bodin 7 and the statists who called for the establishment of reified centralized states where all powers were lodged in a divinely ordained king at the top of the power pyramid or in a sovereign center.

While Althusian thought had its exponents until the latter part of the century, after that it disappeared from the mainstream of political philosophy. It remained for the Americans to invent modern federalism on the basis of individualism and thus reintroduce the idea of the state as a political association rather than a reified entity, an artifact that is assumed to have an existence independent of the people who constitute it.

In the nineteenth century, one party of German thinkers seeking the unification of Germany on federal principles, epitomized by Otto von Gierke, rediscovered Althusius. They remained peripheral even to students of modern federalism since modern federalism was so strongly connected with the principle of individualism that there was no interest in considering the Althusian effort to deal with the problems of family, occupation, and community along with individual rights in establishing political order.

Only recently, as we have come to see the consequences of unrestrained individualism, both philosophically and practically, have political scientists begun to explore problems of liberty in relation to primordial groups—families, particularly, and ethnic communities. Here it was discovered that Althusius had much to offer contemporary society. Martin Buber was perhaps the first to suggest how Althusian ideas could serve people in the twentieth century. In his Paths in Utopia, he based his political works in part on Althusius.

There is some dispute among scholars regarding the relationship between Althusius and federalism. Otto von Gierke, the first scholar to try to restore Althusius to his rightful place in the history of political thought, saw him as essentially a medievalist seeking to reconstruct medieval corporatism for a postmedieval and changing time. On the other hand, Carl Friedrich, the first important figure in the twentieth-century Althusian revival, viewed Althusius as being somewhere between medievalist and a precursor of modern federalism.

As a student of federalism in all its forms and a federalist, this writer would suggest that it is necessary to look to Althusius not only in historical perspective as a transitional figure from medieval corporatism to modern federalism, but as a source of ideas and models for a postmodern federalism.

Premodern federalism, before the seventeenth century, had a strong tribal or corporatist foundation, one in which individuals were inevitably defined as members of permanent, multigenerational groups and whose rights and obligations derived entirely or principally from group membership. Modern federalism broke away from this model to emphasize polities built strictly or principally on the basis of individuals and their rights, allowing little or no space for recognition or legitimation of intergenerational groups.

A postmodern federalism must reckon with one of the basic principles of postmodern politics, namely that individuals are to be secured in their individual rights, yet groups are also to be recognized as real, legitimate, and requiring an appropriate status. Althusius is the first, and one of the few political philosophers who has attempted to provide for this synthesis.

Needless to say, his late-medieval thought cannot be transposed whole into the postmodern epoch in the latter part of the twentieth century. However, in part because he wrote in a period of epochal transition from the late-medieval to the modern epoch, much of his system, its ideas, and even its terminology, may be adaptable to or at least form the basis for a postmodern federalism. This essay does not pretend to be able to make that adaption or synthesis.

At most it will suggest some lines of thought Edition: current; Page: [ xli ] and investigation that can lead us in that direction. They may be summarized as follows:. Pactum covenant is the only basis for legitimate political organization. More than that, Althusius develops a covenantal-federal basis for his ideas that is comprehensive. Not only is the universal association constructed as a federation of communities, but politics as such is federal through and through, based as it is on union and communication in the sense of sharing as expressed in the idea that its members are symbiotes.

While there can be different forms of a federal relationship and the ideal of sharing can be realized in different ways, federalism remains essentially a relationship and sharing its guiding principle. The polity, then, is a symbiotic association constituted by symbiotes through communication. The family is a natural association based on two relationships: conjugal and kinship. Since the nuclear family is a conjugal relationship, even it is covenantal. Naturally, the collegium or civil association in both its secular and ecclesiastical forms is covenantal. Mixed and public associations are equally covenantal with the city as a covenantal republic formed of a union of collegia, the province a covenantal union of cities, and the commonwealth a covenantal union of provinces this is so even though Althusius talks of the rights of the province as an arm of the commonwealth and not simply a union of cities.

Covenants for Althusius are the ways in which symbiotes can initiate and maintain associations. They are products of both necessity and volition. On one hand this is what makes the good polity a res publica or commonwealth. On the other it also makes it possible to be a consociatio consociatiorum, a universitas composed of collegia, since the people can delegate the exercise of sovereign Edition: current; Page: [ xlii ] power to different bodies as they please according to their sovereign will.

The problem of indivisible sovereignty raised by Jean Bodin became the rock upon which premodern confederation foundered. Thus the medieval world of states based on shared sovereignty had to give way.

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It was not until the American founders invented modern federalism that a practical solution to this problem was found enabling the development of modern federation as a form of government. Althusius provided the theoretical basis for dealing with the sovereignty question over years earlier no doubt unbeknownst to them and gave it the necessary philosophic grounding.

The revival of interest in Althusius in our time has accompanied the revival of possibilities of confederation. The European Union is the leading example of postmodern confederation; there are now three or four others as well. Although Althusius himself does not develop a theory of confederation per se, his particular kind of federal thinking in which he sees his universal association as constituted by comprehensive organic communities has clearly had something to contribute to an emerging postmodern theory of confederation.

Althusius further understands political sovereignty as the constituent power. This is at once a narrower and more republican definition of sovereignty the plenary character of which is harnessed as the power to constitute government—a power that is vested in the organic body of the commonwealth, i. This Althusian concept has important implications for contemporary international law that is grappling with the problem of how to mitigate the effects of the principle of absolute and undivided Edition: current; Page: [ xliii ] sovereignty inherited from modern jurisprudence in an increasingly interdependent world.

Even where the principle is not challenged, the practical exercise of absolute sovereignty is no longer possible. Moreover, there are an increasing number of situations in which even the principle cannot be applied as it once was. One way out in such cases has been to vest sovereignty in the constitutional document itself in what Althusius would refer to as the jus regni.