ne immediate spiritual and social effect of Christianity was the internalisation of man, the privatisation of the spirit. From that followed a man’s shift from the public square into his own house or chapel. Such a man lost the all-abiding interest in politics demanded by the Hellenic world — and now mandated by our democracies. Mediaeval Christians were happy to focus on their God and their family, letting the bellicose paladins boss things in the capital. The princes, in their turn, left the people pretty much alone — they were neither able nor willing to interfere with the familial organisation around which people’s lives revolved: guild, parish, village commune, township and of course what we now call extended family. Thus aristocracy, and by inference small government, is the most natural form of government in the West (a term I use interchangeably with Christendom in any other than the purely geographic sense
or as long as the initial pulse shot into our body politic by Christianity didn’t attenuate, aristocratic society could handle capitalism with few problems. The society was not only hierarchical, but also mobile — witness the fact that only about 1% of British peerages predate the 19th century. Once that pulse died away, the square peg of the economy had to be jammed into the round hole left by Christianity. That was never going to succeed, and it hasn’t. What this proves, I think, is that there is no contradiction between the aristocratic society of Christendom and capitalism. There is, however, a glaring one between the democratic contrivances of modernity and Godless
capitalism. Sooner or later, the resulting spiritual deficit will not only destroy our culture, family and social dynamics, but it’ll have exactly the same effect on the economy. As Aristotle put it, a society that pursues wealth rather than virtue will end up using this wealth against itself.
Universal franchise ipso facto means universal conscription at war time. If a mediaeval prince had to beg his vassals to spare a few soldiers, today’s democrats can conscript the whole population — and severely punish those who resist. This, as much as technological advances, accounts for the inordinate casualties of modern wars. The ‘progressive’ 20th century boasts somewhere between 300 and 500 million victims, half of them in wars — more than all other centuries of recorded history combined.
But I don’t think taxation comes into play at all. An 18-year-old footballer can play for a top club, but he can’t be its manager. By the same token, it takes a sage and experienced voter to manage his country (which enfranchised citizens do indirectly). Statistically, those under 25 can’t be confidently predicted to fall into that categority. So they shouldn’t vote. However, the qualities required for warfare aren’t the same as those without which responsible voting would be impossible. As anyone walking the streets of south London will tell, an 18-year-old is perfectly capable of killing, even if he’s unable to get a job and therefore pay taxes.
To summarise: one has to be a citizen to serve in the army, and a taxpayer to vote, but one neither has to have the vote nor to pay taxes to be a citizen. One-man-one-vote isn’t a sine qua non for a society of citizens — and neither is it the sole possible alternative to tyranny. The opposite belief made its historical entrance only in the 20th century, not coincidentally the most murderous period of history.