The Simplified Wealth of Nations of Adam Smith, Book 5, Chapter 1v, How to solve religious conflicts
Chapter 1v: How to solve religious conflicts
202 There state can use two very easy and effective remedies to peacefully correct the disagreeably rigorous morals of little sects.
203The first is the study of science and philosophy.
The state could make it universal among those of middling rank and fortune.
It could institute a probationary period for anyone who wished to:
exercise any liberal profession, or
be a candidate for any honourable office of trust or profit.
It should not give salaries to teachers that would make them negligent and idle.
If the state imposed the necessity of learning on the people of liberal professions, it would have no problem providing people with the proper teachers.
The people would soon find better teachers than what the state could provide.
Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition.
If the superior ranks of people were free from superstition, the inferior ranks could not be much exposed to it.
204The second remedy is the frequency and gaiety of public diversions.
The state could easily dissipate the gloom which nurse popular superstition by encouraging proper public amusement through:
painting, poetry, music, dancing, and
dramatic representations and exhibitions.
Public diversions were always hated by all the fanatical promoters of those popular frenzies.
The good humour inspired by those diversions were inconsistent with that mental temper fittest for superstitions or which those promoters could best work on.
Dramatic representations frequently exposed those promoters to public ridicule.
205 Religions do not need to depend on the executive power in countries where the law did not favour any single religion.
The sovereign would not appoint nor dismiss clergy from their offices.
His only concern would be to maintain the peace among religions as with among the citizens.
It is opposite in countries which have a state religion.
The sovereign can only be secure if he can influence the teachers of that religion.
206The clergy of every established church constitute a great incorporation.
act in concert
pursue their interest with one plan and one spirit, as if directed by one man.
Their interest as an incorporated body is never the same with that of the sovereign.
It is sometimes directly opposite to it.
Their great interest is to maintain their authority with the people.
This authority depends on the importance of the doctrine they inculcate for avoiding eternal misery.
The independent clergy will immediately proscribe the sovereign as profane if he:
derides or doubts their doctrine, or
protects those who doubted or derided their doctrine.
They will employ all the terrors of religion to oblige the people to ally themselves to a more orthodox and obedient prince.
The princes who have dared to rebel against the church would be charged with rebellion and heresy.
"But the authority of religion is superior to every other authority."
"The fears which it suggests conquer all other fears."
When the religious teachers propagate subversive doctrines to the people, the sovereign can only maintain his authority through a standing army.
Even a standing army cannot give him any lasting security.
The soldiers are usually drawn from the people.
They can be soon corrupted by those very doctrines.
The sovereign who is unable to influence the state religion's clergy has a precarious rule.
This is proven by:
the revolutions continually caused by the Greek clergy at Constantinople, and
the convulsions continually created by the Roman clergy in Europe.
207 Articles of faith and all other spiritual matters are not within the department of a temporal sovereign.
He is seldom qualified for instructing spiritual matters.
His authority on such matters can seldom be enough to counterbalance the established church's united authority.
The public peace and his own security frequently depends on the church's doctrines.
He should be able to influence their decisions because he can seldom directly oppose them.
He can influence it only by exciting fears and expectations in the church:
the fear of deprivation or other punishments, and
the expectation of further preferment.
208 In all Christian churches, the clergy's benefices are freeholds.
They enjoy them during life or good behaviour.
They could never maintain their authority with the people if they could be easily removed by the sovereign or his ministers.
The people would see them as mercenary dependents of the court.
They would have no confidence in their instructions.
A sovereign who irregularly and violently deprives any seditious clergymen of their freeholds, would only render them and their doctrine 10 times more popular.
They would become 10 times more dangerous than before.
In almost all cases, fear is a wretched instrument of government.
It should never be employed against anyone who desires independence.
Terrifying them only irritates their bad humour.
It will strengthen their opposition which more gentle usage might soften or eliminate.
The French government violently forced their parliaments or courts of justice to enact any unpopular law.
They usually did this by imprisoning all the refractory members.
They very seldom succeeded.
The princes of the house of Stewart sometimes did the same to influence the English parliament.
The princes generally found the parliament equally stubborn.
The English parliament is now managed in another way.
The Duke of Choiseul made a very small experiment about 12 years ago on the Paris parliament.
He demonstrated that all French parliaments could be managed more easily.
That experiment was not pursued.
Management and persuasion are always the safest instruments of governments.
Force and violence are the most dangerous.
But man's natural insolence makes him always disdain the good instrument except when he cannot use the bad one.
The French government could use force.
It therefore disdained to use management and persuasion.
I think that it is so perfectly ruinous to employ force and violence upon the respected clergy of any established church.
Every clergy member's rights, privileges, and personal liberty are more respected than those of anyone of equal rank and fortune even in the most despotic governments.
This is true in all degrees of despotism, from the gentle government of Paris to the violent government of Constantinople.
The clergy cannot be forced.
However, they may be managed as easily as any other.
The sovereign's security and the public peace depends very much on how the sovereign manages them.
It is in the preferment which he has to bestow on them.
209 In the Christian church's ancient constitution, the bishop of each diocese was elected by the joint votes of:
the clergy, and
the people of the episcopal city.
The people did not long retain their right of election.
When they had it, they almost always acted under the clergy's influence.
The clergy soon grew weary of managing them.
They found it easier to elect their own bishops themselves in the same way as the abbot was elected by the monks of the monastery.
All the inferior ecclesiastical benefices comprehended within the diocese were collated by the bishop.
He bestowed them on such ecclesiastics as he thought proper.
In this way, all church preferments were in the church's disposal.
The sovereign might have some indirect influence in those elections.
But he had no direct means of managing the clergy.
The ambition of every clergyman naturally led him to court his own order more than the sovereign.
210 Through most of Europe, the Pope gradually drew to himself:
First, the Consistorial benefices
These were a collation of the territories of bishops and abbies
Afterwards, most of the inferior benefices within each diocese.
The bishop was given only what was barely necessary to have decent authority over his own clergy.
This arrangement worsened the condition of the sovereign than before.
The European clergy formed into a spiritual army which could be now be directed by one head on one plan.
The clergy of each country was a detachment of that army.
Its operations could easily be supported by other detachments around it.
Each detachment was independent of the sovereign who maintained it.
Each depended on the foreign sovereign in the Pope.
He could at any time turn it against each sovereign, supported by the other detachments.
211 Those arms were most formidable.
Before the establishment of arts and manufactures in ancient Europe, the clergy's wealth gave them the same influence over the common people as those of the great barons had over their vassals, tenants, and retainers.
The mistaken piety of princes and private persons bestowed on the church the great landed estates.
With those estates came the same jurisdictions as those of the great barons, and for the same reason.
In those great landed estates, the clergy or their bailiffs, could easily keep the peace without the king's support.
No one could keep the peace without the clergy's support.
The clergy's jurisdictions in their particular baronies were equally independent.
They were equally exclusive of the authority of the king's courts, as those of the great temporal lords.
The clergy's tenants were like the tenants of the great barons.
almost all tenants at will and
They could be called out to fight in any quarrel which the clergy engaged them in.
In addition to the rents of those estates, the clergy had a very large portion of the rents of all the other estates in every European kingdom in the tithes.
Most of the revenues from both rents were paid in kind, in corn, wine, cattle poultry, etc.
The amount greatly exceeded what the clergy could themselves consume.
There were no arts nor manufactures which they could exchange for their surplus.
The clergy could only derive advantage from this immense surplus by employing it in the most profuse hospitality and extensive charity.
The ancient clergy's hospitality and charity was very great.
the poor of every kingdom, and
many knights and gentlemen who travelled from monastery to monastery for subsistence under the pretence of devotion
The retainers of some prelates were as many as those of the greatest lay-lords.
There were perhaps more retainers of all the clergy combined than those of all the lay-lords.
There was always much more union among the clergy than among the lay-lords.
The clergy were under a regular discipline and subordination to the Pope.
The lay lords were not.
They were always jealous of one another and the king.
The union of the clergy's tenants and retainers would have made them more formidable than those of the great lay lords even if they were fewer.
The clergy's hospitality and charity gave them the command of a great temporal force.
It very much increased the weight of their spiritual weapons.
Those virtues procured the clergy the highest respect and veneration of the poor who were fed by them.
The possessions, privileges, doctrines of the clergy appeared sacred to the common people that their violation became the most wicked act.
The sovereign frequently found it difficult to resist the confederacy of a few great nobles.
He found it more difficult to resist the clergy's united force in his own dominions when they were supported by the clergy of neighbouring dominions.
We may wonder how he was able to resist the clergy in such circumstances.
212 The clergy's privileges in those ancient times appear most absurd to us today.
For example, the benefit of the clergy is their total exemption from the secular jurisdiction in England.
It was the natural consequences of the state of things then.
How dangerous must it have been for the sovereign to punish a clergyman who was considered sacred?
The sovereign could only leave him to be tried by the ecclesiastical courts.
Those courts would restrain their members from committing enormous crimes to protect their own order's honour.
213 Around the 10th-13th centuries in Europe, the Roman church was the most formidable combination ever formed against the government.
It is also against mankind's liberty, reason, and happiness.
These can only flourish where civil government can protect them.
The grossest superstitions were supported by the private interests of so many people in the Roman church.
This kept them safe from the assault of human reason.
Human reason might have been able to unveil some of the delusions of superstition.
But it could never have dissolved the ties of private interest.
If the Roman church had been attacked only by the feeble efforts of human reason, it would have endured forever.
But that immense and well-built fabric which could never be shaken by all human wisdom and virtue was naturally weakened and then destroyed in some parts.
It is now likely to crumble entirely perhaps within a few more centuries.