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The Divine Right of Kings and the Start of Political Parties *

Who picks the king? Is it God or do the faithful have a say? A few years ago the English Parliament passed a religious Test to ensure that only Anglicans hold public office, and the King's brother, James, is a Catholic so he is naturally denied a position in the Admiralty. However, James is also the heir apparent to the throne of England, so Parliament tries to exclude James from the succession. Some argue that the throne is the divine right of kings... that is... it is God who selects the king and the Parliament cannot refuse a king based on his religion. These people are the Tories which is an Irish word meaning "a rebel" who supported the King during the English civil war. In the modern day those who support the Monarchy are still called the Tories. Those opposed to the Tories are called the 'Country Party' or Whigs. When it seems as if James will be excluded from the throne, King Charles the 2nd dissolves Parliament. The debate will continue in later Parliaments and the stuff will really hit the fan when King Charles himself converts to Catholicism but that is another story. This division creates the first political parties. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The philosopher John Locke was a Whig. I've read his argument against the divine right of kings and it goes like this: we are all children of Adam and Eve. We are all one family. There is no hereditary line from Adam designated by God as the kingly line. Therefore all of us, any of us, could be designated as king. This equality allows us to place limits on the designated king's power. In the Bible, David was anointed King by the Prophet Samuel, and yet David's power was not absolute. He maintained certain privileges but he was subject to the law like any other man. Thus the claim of absolute rights for kings is absolute bunk. In the modern day we still want a king. We want someone to lead us, to fight our battles, to do what is right so that we don't have to think about it. #I_AM_2_DAMNED_LAZY. It is such a temptation to change the icon on our Facebook page and call it a day, but as difficult as it is, we must take responsibility for ourselves. Certainly we must organize into a government, but for practical reasons those organizations with the most power over individual choice must be as local as possible because no organization, no matter how benevolent, can know the needs of an individual if it is a thousand miles away... even if we all "friend" the President of the United States on Facebook®. It's time to wake up.

Lost in a Dream: Pilgrim's Progress and the Martian

"As I walked through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place [...] and I laid me down in that place to sleep: and, as I slept, I dreamed a dream." [6]

The place John Bunyan found to lay his head was a Bedford prison and the dream he dreamt became a book... Pilgrim's Progress. John is a tinker by trade. (A tinker is a tinsmith who repairs household utensils.) He had become a Baptist preacher giving sermons in the village square but after public religious demonstrations are made illegal (except for Anglican preaching) John is arrested and sentenced to twelve years in prison. In his suffering, the beginnings of a book have come together: a man called CHRISTIAN reads his fate in the Book of Life and he is afraid, but EVANGELIST points to a guiding light. CHRISTIAN must follow the light to a wicker gate and knock. CHRISTIAN has fallen into a mystical dreamworld, and as he sets out on his journey a series of characters attempt to turn him away from his path. The story is allegory, and a thinly veiled sermon on the problem of indifference, the despair of the lost, and the promise of Heaven. Part One of Pilgrim's Progress is published this year and it is an instant success. Over the next 250 years, thousands of editions will go into print. Then it will lose its impact, only later to be restored to popularity. [7] [8] [9]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
In the modern day most people have heard of Pilgrim's Progress and assume it has something to do with Thanksgiving. Well... giving thanks is certainly part of it, but it has nothing to do with turkey and sweet potatoes. It is a book of Christian instruction and a pretty good read even for a non-Christian such as myself. It is written simply, and that is the charm of the book. You know it is a story but the narrative doesn't interfere with the imagination of the reader. It reminds me of the Og Mandino books such as The Greatest Salesman in the World and The Greatest Secret in the World. These are perfect books for the ethical instruction of businessmen and I recommend them highly. For a secular example of a simple narrative carrying a larger, inspiring story, read "The Martian" by Andy Weir. The movie reflects the simplicity of the book. You know that its not real but you don't care. It's simply inspiring. [10] [11] [12] [13]

Many Firsts *

* The first fire engine is introduced in Philadelphia. It is a wagon mounted with a "see-saw" water pump. The design is attributed to Richard Mason. [14]
* The first medical pamphlet is published in America entitled, "A Brief Rule in Small Pocks or Measles." [15]
* The first chrysanthemums arrive in Europe. [16]
* The first woman doctor. It is a doctorate of philosophy from the University of Padua. Her name is Elena Cornaro Piscopia. [17]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1678, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. Prime Minister of the United Kingdom - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 15 November 2015. “Political parties first appeared during the Exclusion Crisis of 1678–1681. The Whigs, who believed in limited monarchy, wanted to exclude James Stuart from succeeding to the throne because he was a Catholic. The Tories, who believed in the 'Divine Right of Kings', defended James' hereditary claim. These parties dominated British politics for over 150 years, with the Whigs evolving into the Liberal Party and the Tories into the Conservative. Even today, Conservatives are often called 'Tories'.”
  2. Exclusion Crisis - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 15 November 2015. “The Exclusion Bill sought to exclude the King's brother and heir presumptive, James, Duke of York, from the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland because he was Roman Catholic. The Tories were opposed to this exclusion while the 'Country Party', who were soon to be called the Whigs, supported it.”
  3. Test Act - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 15 November 2015. “The Test Acts were a series of English penal laws that served as a religious test for public office and imposed various civil disabilities on Roman Catholics and Nonconformists. The principle was that none but people taking communion in the established Church of England were eligible for public employment, and the severe penalties pronounced against recusants, whether Catholic or Nonconformist, were affirmations of this principle.”
  4. Tory - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 18 November 2015. “The Tory ethos has been summed up with the phrase 'God, King and Country'. Tories generally advocate monarchism, are usually of a High Church Anglican religious heritage, and are opposed to the liberalism of the Whig faction.”
  5. Divine right of kings - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 18 November 2015. “It asserts that a monarch is subject to no earthly authority, deriving the right to rule directly from the will of God.”
  6. John Bunyan [1678]. Pilgrim's Progress, The pilgrim's progress, from this world, to that which is to come, American Book Exchange. 
  7. The Pilgrim's Progress - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 21 October 2015. “The Pilgrim's Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come; Delivered under the Similitude of a Dream is a Christian allegory written by John Bunyan (1628–1688) and published in February, 1678. It is regarded as one of the most significant works of religious English literature,”
  8. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 310-311. “John Bunyan: 'The Pilgrim's Progress,' Part I” 
  9. Stationer - definition of stationer (2015). Retrieved on 19 November 2015. “A bookseller who had a regular 'station' or shop at a university, unlike most booksellers, who were itinerant vendors.”
  10. Og Mandino. The Greatest Salesman in the World. Bantam. ISBN 055327757X. 
  11. Andy Weir. The Martian. Crown. ISBN 9780804139021. 
  12. The Martian (2015). IMDb (2015). Retrieved on 19 November 2015. “During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.”
  13. Triangulation 163: Interview of Andy Weir (VIDEO). YouYube.com (August 11, 2014). Retrieved on 19 November 2015. “Andy Weir is the author of 'The Martian,' a science fiction novel that follows astronaut Mark Watney as he becomes stranded alone on Mars.”
  14. Alex Shrugged notes: Although I find several references to Richard Mason's design, I can't find an exact date when he made the first one.
  15. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 310-311. “Thomas Thatcher: "A Brief Rule in Small Pocks or Measles," first medical treatise published in America” 
  16. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 310-311. “First chyrsanthemums arrive in Holland from Japan” 
  17. Elena Cornaro Piscopia - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 19 November 2015. “Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia, also Helen Cornaro (pronounced [pisˈkɔːpja]; 5 June 1646 – 26 July 1684) was a Italian philosopher of noble descent, who was the first woman to receive a doctoral degree from a university.”

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