British Monarchy, English Church Establishment, and Civil Liberty

British Monarchy, English Church Establishment, and Civil Liberty

British Monarchy, English Church Establishment, and Civil Liberty

British Monarchy, English Church Establishment, and Civil Liberty

Synopsis

Will the British retain the monarchy and the English church establishment into the 21st century? The preservation of the monarchy and of the establishment of the church of England is a matter that cuts deep in fact and theory. The monarchy and the church are symbols of civil liberty, and as such they carry the freight of British national identity. Yet it is difficult to take those institutions seriously now because Britons give too little consideration to serious reforms of any kind for the monarchy or the church. This book suggests possible reforms.

Excerpt

Since the sixteenth century the Church of England has been a moderate reformed church. It now needs to embrace some principles of radical Protestantism or Calvinism. That step will provide the basis for reform of British civil liberty and constitutional law. Two great systems of thought illuminate the way forward. The first system is that embodied in Max Weber The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. That system explains the causes of modernization. Weber thought that radical Protestant religion was the essential element in British modernization. Weber was a German economist and sociologist who was born in 1864 and educated at the universities of Heidelberg, Berlin, and Göttingen. He did much of his work before World War I, and he died in 1920. Little of his writing was published in English until after his death.

Although impressed by some aspects of Marxist theory, Weber recognized the errors in that system. Weber wisely rejected the Marxist notion that economic development had a material cause. Weber's best- known work was his analysis of Protestantism, but he also wrote on the principles of administration or of bureaucracy. He tried to prove that religious ideas were strong influences on the development of economic systems overall, not just in the German, British, and American cases. He studied eastern religions to prove that they had hindered economic development in Asia, despite the early advantages of great wealth and learning there.

Weber correctly defined the ideological causes of modernization, for Protestantism was the cause of European and American economic development, although later scholars provide essential supplements to Weber's account. "Modernization" is one such supplement. It describes . . .

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