Wednesday, February 09, 2011

John Fea on the American Revolution & Concept of Just War:

Outstanding article from Dr. Fea here. If one is some kind of orthodox Christian and a non-American, a British or Canadian citizen, for instance, one might scratch one's head at the attempts of Christian Americanists -- the sophistry and mental gymnastics they have to go through -- to reconcile everything about the American Founding with their creed.

A taste:

... But in the 1770s, cases for war against England failed to conform to classic Christian arguments used to support what we commonly refer to today as a "just war." In fact, just war arguments, often associated with historic church leaders such as Augustine and Aquinas, were rarely if ever employed by Revolutionary-era Protestant ministers and were certainly not employed by the founding fathers.


... John Wesley, the famed 18th-century English evangelical, could not understand why the colonists demanded more liberty than they already possessed as members of the British Empire. The colonists, he wrote, "enjoyed their liberty in as full manner as I do, or any reasonable man can desire."


Was the English government as "tyrannical" as the colonies claimed? And if it was, did the level of tyranny justify armed conflict? After all, Great Britain offered more freedom to the inhabitants of their empire than any other nation in the world.

I'm obviously no fan of King George III, or, for that matter the British Parliament against whom America's Founders rebelled. However, to call them "tyrants" seems a bit of a hyperbolic stretch, unless we accept quasi-anarchist libertarian arguments that ANY government that exceeds libertarian maximums (including those of every single American President) is in fact "tyranny."

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