In the course of plotting the downfall of her rival (Queen Lola) for influence over the child-king we will call Baby Joey, Dido has inveigled a soldier of small brain (Bobo) to perjure himself against Lola, by accusing her of Doing the Dirty Deed with him. To win his cooperation for this dangerously self-incriminating confession, Dido has Done the Dirty Deed with Bobo, since he evidently carries his brains in a small sack below his waist.
Now the comment:
The precedent that Dido has unwittingly set here, of giving the Church political power over the monarchy, frankly makes my blood curdle, regardless of how it has served to so deservingly topple Dido herself. The problem is that a policy or course of action doesn’t always have to end in disaster for it not to be a disastrous policy in the aggregate. And if there’s one policy I hold to be unequivocally disastrous, it’s a lack of separation between church and state. Eeek.
Eek, indeed. It's not as though the Church has actually been given "political power" over the monarchy. Is it necessary to count the number of swords and soldiers? What has happened is that the new Pooh-bah has arrested both Lola and Dido on suspicion of mucking around with royal succession-type prerogatives. That is a moral authority over Upper Class individuals in the 1%. Somebody has to keep an eye on them. Ask King David about Nathan the Prophet.
Now, granted we live in the age of the Total State, in which there is no aspect of life that is not the business of the State, but still it is astonishing how people will react with reflexive reactions of reflexivity to the thought that any organization might have powers independent of the Men With Swords. One is reminded of Mussolini's dictum: "Everything within the state; nothing outside the state; nothing against the state." The commenter seemed delightfully unaware that up to this point, the State and Church had been equally unseparated -- except that hitherto it had been the kings and queens appointing (and assassinating) Poo-bahs. Why is it only a "lack of separation" if the Churchy People stand up on their hind legs and bark, not when the Men With Swords grind their hobnailed boots into Churchy faces, (or buy compliant smiley faces for the pulpits)? Ochone! So deeply has the totalitarian sensibility wormed its way into our hearts.
After all, it's not as if the tale up to now has shown the State to be run by earnest, fair civil servants determined to treat the People with loving solicitude. But let someone (the new Poo-bah) actually stand up for the People, and suddenly we are shaking in our booties?
Oh, sure, it's likely to end badly; but everything in this narrative ends badly. It's a fiction. That means it is deliberately constructed to achieve an emotional effect. But here is a comment from a book on the Modern Democratic State entitled happily enough The Modern Democratic State. Speaking of the medieval period, A.D. Lindsay wrote:
"It was perhaps equally important that the existence and prestige of the Church prevented society from being totalitarian, prevented the omnicompetent state, and preserved liberty in the only way that liberty can be preserved, by maintaining in society an organization which could stand up against the state."Naturally in the comm box someone wrote regarding the surprise of this plot development:
"The adjustment of the relation between these two societies was, of course, no easy matter. The history of the relations between Church and state in the Middle Ages is the history of a long dispute waged with wavering fortune on either side. Extravagant claims by one side called forth equally extravagant claims on the other. The erastianism of post-Reformation settlements was the answer to earlier imperiousness on the other side. But the disputes between the secular power and the papacy, however long and embittered, were boundary disputes. Neither party denied that there were two spheres, one appropriate to the Church, the other to the state. Even those partisans who made high claims for their side did not deny that the other side had a sphere of its own. They only put its place lower than did their opponents. The Christian always knew that he had two loyalties: that if he was to remember the apostle's command 'to be subject unto the higher powers,' he was also to remember that his duty was 'to obey God rather than man.' There are things which are Caesar's and things which are God's. Men might dispute as to which were whose, but the fact of the distinction no one denied.”
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. Surprise is their chief weapon.Ho Ho. We have learned our history at the hands of Monty Python. They are confusing the Spanish Inquisition with the secret police and SWAT teams of the modern scientific state. In fact, the Spanish Inquisition always gave advance notice that a tribunal was coming to town. (The idea was that suspected heretics would have a chance to repent.) IOW: Everyone expects the Spanish Inquisition!
Kamen, Henry. The Spanish Inquisition (Yale University Press; 1997)