Tag Archives: Structuralism

Alabama Attorney Lowell A. (“Larry”) Becraft addresses the Lunatic Fringe of the Patriot Movement

MYTHOLOGY & LAW in MODERN AMERICA

I am a great advocate of historical revisionism, but only when the revised history will be more accurate than currently “generally accepted” history….  But sometimes historical revisions are proposed which go the other way—alternative history is not always BETTER….it’s just different…. but so is smoking crack…..

Earlier this month, I had the privilege of meeting Alabama Attorney Lowell A. Becraft in person for the very first time.  He and I had exchanged e-mails before on the general subject of patriot mythology in regards to legal process and substantive.  Such mythology has horrendous consequences, including jail time, fines, and sanctions, for many good people I have known.   I have a Ph.D. from Harvard (1990) and my coursework and dissertation research spanned the fields of archaeology, anthropology, ethnology, history, mythology, religion and sociology (though not necessarily in that alphabetical order).  

One of the most basic and enduring lessons I ever learned (especially applicable to the field of law, was encapsulated in the title of a book by one of American AnthroSome myths have at least a weak basis in historical fact, even if no overarching purpose.  I learned with great interest several years ago about how principles of Admiralty Law were imported from England starting in the 1940s-50s to make off-shore oil fields insurable in Louisiana, and how these usages persist in Louisiana law even today—I had a large claim for household damage that which I sued on and settled after Hurricane Katrina.  I spend many hours with top Louisiana insurance lawyers and really enjoyed what I learned, because I was already familiar with both the British Control and Admiralty Law Mythologies of Modern American Patriot Movement. 

Basically, it seems that starting in 1930, the best land-based oil-wells in Louisiana and East Texas were already showing signs of being finite, limited, and exhaustable if not already exhausted, but everybody knew that the geology indicated more oilfields could be tapped and drilled offshore.  But in the 1920s and 1930s, nobody could drill off-shore because nobody would finance off-shore drilling, which was way more expensive than land drilling.  

And nobody would finance offshore oil-drilling until such operations could be insured, and nobody in the U.S. was willing to insure such constructions.  But the British (e.g. Lloyds of London) were willing to do so, and they imported the principles regarding the insurability of anchored ships out of port to do so.  So in a sense, the widespread myth among Southern Patriots that the British were still in charge as late as the mid-twentieth century, and that the British insisted on using Admiralty law, but both of these facts of modern history have been twisted beyond recognition. pology’s greatest figures, Marshall Sahlins of the University of Chicago (where I also studied, receiving a J.D. in law there in 1992): Historical Metaphors and Mythic Realities.  Quite simply, historical events are either selected and framed in the telling, or else sometimes engineered and staged, to create mythic realities as desired.   

There is another problem though—sometimes people just get wild ideas, and these wild ideas may be based in whole or in part on some sort of confusing real events— and the real events relevant here are: the two oldest institutions, or certainly two OF the oldest institutions, in all of Europe are (1) the Vatican (dating back to the arrival of Saints Peter and Paul in Rome, sometime in the mid-first Century A.D.) and (2) the British Monarch—dating back at least to King Alfred of Wessex, as the first to be called the “King of the English,” but really back to Cerdic or Cedric in 534 (Cerdic or Cedric stands as the first King of Anglo-Saxon Wessex from 519 to 534, in the chronological history described by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle as the founder of the Kingdom of Wessex and (at least symbolic and mythic ancestor of all its subsequent kings in the House of Wessex right up to Henry I (“Beauclerc”) after the Norman Conquest, who reigned 1100-1135.

In any event, I suppose to the modern American mind, weakly educated in history as it is, the persistence of any institution for very close to 2000 years in the case of the Vatican in Rome and 1200-1500 years in the case of the English/British Monarchy seems almost incredible as a historical fact—and it is to be admitted that these two institutions outshine almost all others in Europe in their longevity. It may seem almost mystical that the House of Wessex, which gve rise to the Kingdom of England, and ultimately Great Britain, had itslef replaced the Roman Empire in Britain. Less than 50 years having elapsed from the final collapse of the Western Roman Empire in 476 to the accession of Cerdic or Cedric in 519 or, his possible rise as a conqueror even earlier, at 490 A.D., as celebrated in the slightly racy 1951 novel Conscience of a King by Alfred L. Duggan among others.  

OR, it could be that the people who invent these historically fictitious mythologies are all generated and propagated by government agents planted to create chaos and dissent in the Conservative, Patriotic Movement—which they certainly do.

Concession of 15 May 1213             (by Lowell A. Becraft)

There is a baseless theory floating around that King John’s “Concession of 15 May 1213″ with the Pope means that, even today, the Vatican owns both England and the United States of America. Like many groundless ideas that get promoted, advocates of arguments like this one focus on a single fact and then draw wild conclusions.

The “Concession” required payments from the English King to the Pope, but history shows that King John did not make the required payment for the following year. See:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John,_King_of_England

Where the following is found:

“Under mounting political pressure, John finally negotiated terms for a reconciliation, and the papal terms for submission were accepted in the presence of the papal legate Pandulph in May 1213 at the Templar Church at Dover.[177] As part of the deal, John offered to surrender the Kingdom of England to the papacy for a feudal service of 1,000 marks (equivalent to £666 at the time) annually: 700 marks (£466) for England and 300 marks (£200) for Ireland, as well as recompensing the church for revenue lost during the crisis.[178] The agreement was formalised in the Bulla Aurea, or Golden Bull. This resolution produced mixed responses. Although some chroniclers felt that John had been humiliated by the sequence of events, there was little public reaction.[179] Innocent benefited from the resolution of his long-standing English problem, but John probably gained more, as Innocent became a firm supporter of John for the rest of his reign, backing him in both domestic and continental policy issues.[180] Innocent immediately turned against Philip, calling upon him to reject plans to invade England and to sue for peace.[180] John paid some of the compensation money he had promised the church, but he ceased making payments in late 1214, leaving two-thirds of the sum unpaid; Innocent appears to have conveniently forgotten this debt for the good of the wider relationship.[181]”

Some payments to the Pope were made pursuant to this agreement off and on for a little more than the next 100 years, eventually ending. “The last payment ever recorded was a token £1,000 from Edward III in 1333, in expectation of papal favours.” See: http://www.historyextra.com/qa/when-did-pope-rule-england

It is alleged that this concession was a treaty, but if it was, it is subject to another fact regarding treaties: they are often broken. King Henry VIII broke with the Vatican and established the Church of England, seizing Catholic properties. See:   

http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/reformation.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_VIII_of_England

History reveals that both Henry VIII and Oliver Cromwell essentially ended the Papacy’s control over England. See:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_Reformation

The following is stated at the above link:

“The Act in Restraint of Appeals,” drafted by Cromwell, apart from outlawing appeals to Rome on ecclesiastical matters, declared that

 “This realm of England is an Empire, and so hath been accepted in the world, governed by one Supreme Head and King having the dignity and royal estate of the Imperial Crown of the same, unto whom a body politic compact of all sorts and degrees of people divided in terms and by names of Spirituality and Temporality, be bounden and owe to bear next to God a natural and humble obedience.[20]

This declared England an independent country in every respect.

The above (along with lots of other authority) demonstrates that certainly by the time of Henry VIII and Oliver Cromwell, the Pope did not own or control England.  The above theory is thus a false, baseless contention.

But does the English Monarchy or England have any legal control over the United States of America? Please remember that there was indeed (contrary to contentions of the revisionists) an American Revolution. And both English and American courts long ago held that the Revolution severed all legal connections between our country and the English crown/England. 

I described these cases and other matters on my website as follows:

Simple facts regarding the “we are subjects of the British Crown” issue

   Several years ago, some folks developed an argument that “we are still subjects of the British crown” and started promoting it. You are free to believe that argument which will waste your time. Here is a simple refutation of that argument:

1. The Articles of Confederation provided as follows:

 “Article II. Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every Power, Jurisdiction and right, which is not by this confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.”

2. On February 6,  1778, the United States entered into a Treaty of Alliance with France (8 Stat. 6).  On July 16, 1782,  we borrowed substantial sums from King Louis XVI of France, via anagreement signed by French Foreign Minister Charles Gravier de Vergennes. It must be noted that there are people who erroneously assert that this loan was really secured from the Brits instead of the French (you can be the judge of their honesty). 

3. Our country and the British Crown signed the Treaty of Peace on September 3, 1783 (8 Stat. 218), the first provision of which reads as follows:

“His Britannic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz, New-Hampshire, Massachusetts-Bay, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New-York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North-Carolina, South-Carolina, and Georgia, to  be free, sovereign and independent States; that he treats with them as such; and for himself, his heirs and successors, relinquishes all claims to the government, proprietary and  territorial rights of the same, and every part thereof.”

See also Nov. 30, 1782 Provisional Treaty and Jan. 20, 1783 Treaty of Cessation of Hostilities.

    Does this 1783 Peace Treaty still exist? All one needs to do to confirm this is to check out a government  publication entitled “Treaties in Force” which can be found in any good library, especially a university library. Under the list of our treaties with Great Britain and the United Kingdom, you will find that this 1783 treaty is still in effect, at least a part of it: “Only article 1 is in force.” Art.1 was the section of this treaty acknowledging our independence. The War of 1812 resulted in modifications of this treaty and so did later treaties.

4. The courts have not been silent regarding the effect of the Declaration of Independence and the Treaty of Peace. For example, the consequences of independence were explained inHarcourt v. Gaillard, 25 U.S. (12 Wheat.) 523, 526-27 (1827), where the Supreme Court stated:

 “There was no territory within the United States that was claimed in any other right than that of some one of the confederated states; therefore, there could be no acquisition of territory made by the United States distinct from, or independent of some one of the states.

“Each declared itself sovereign and independent, according to the limits of its territory.

 “[T]he soil and sovereignty within their acknowledged limits were as much theirs at the declaration of independence as at this hour.”

In M’Ilvaine v. Coxe’s Lessee, 8 U.S. (4 Cranch) 209, 212 (1808), the Supreme Court  held:

“This opinion is predicated upon a principle which is believed to be undeniable, that the several states which composed this Union, so far at least as regarded their municipal regulations, became entitled, from the time when they declared themselves independent, to all the rights and powers of sovereign states, and that they did not derive them from concessions made by the British king. The treaty of peace contains a recognition of their independence, not a grant of it. From hence it results, that the laws of the several state governments were the laws of sovereign states, and as such were obligatory upon the people of such state, from the time they were enacted.”

In reference to the Treaty of Peace, this same court stated:

“It contains an acknowledgment of the independence and sovereignty of the United States, in their political capacities, and a relinquishment on the part of His Britannic Majesty, of all claim to the government, propriety and territorial rights of the same. These concessions amounted, no doubt, to a formal renunciation of all claim to the allegiance of the citizens of the United States.”

     Finally, in Inglis v. Trustees of the Sailor’s Snug Harbor, 28 U.S. (3 Peters) 99, 120-122 (1830), the question squarely arose as to whether Americans are “subjects of the crown,” a proposition flatly rejected by the Court:

“It is universally admitted both in English courts and in those of our own country, that all persons born within the colonies of North America, whilst subject to the crown of Great Britain, were natural born British subjects, and it must necessarily follow that that character was changed by the separation of the colonies from the parent State, and the acknowledgment of their independence.

 “The rule as to the point of time at which the American antenati ceased to be British subjects, differs in this country and in England, as established by the courts of justice in the respective countries. The English rule is to take the date of the Treaty of Peace in 1783. Our rule is to take the date of the Declaration of Independence.”

In support of the rule set forth in this case, the court cited an English case to demonstrate that the English courts had already decided that Americans were not subjects of the crown:

“The doctrine of perpetual allegiance is not applied by the British courts to the American antenati. This is fully shown by the late case of Doe v. Acklam, 2 Barn. & Cresw. 779. Chief Justice Abbott says: ‘James Ludlow, the father of Francis May, the lessor of the plaintiff, was undoubtedly born a subject of Great Britain. He was born in a part of America which was at the time of his birth a British colony, and parcel of the dominions of the crown of Great Britain; but upon the facts found, we are of opinion that he was not a subject of the crown of Great Britain at the time of the birth of his daughter. She was born after the independence of the colonies was recognized by the crown of Great Britain; after the colonies had become United States, and their inhabitants generally citizens of those States, and her father, by his continued residence in those States, manifestly became a citizen of them.’ He considered the Treaty of Peace as a release from their allegiance of all British subjects who remained there. A declaration, says he, that a State shall be free, sovereign and independent, is a declaration that the people composing the State shall no longer be considered as subjects of the sovereign by whom such a declaration is made.”

(Note: the linked copies of these cases highlight the important parts of these opinions for your convenience).    Notwithstanding the fact that English and American courts long ago rejected this argument, I still encounter e-mail from parties who contend that this argument is correct. For example, just recently I ran across this note which stated:

“In other words, the interstate system of banks is the private property of the King… This means that any profit or gain anyone experienced by a bank/thrift and loan/employee credit union ?? any regulated financial institution carries with it ?? as an operation of law ?? the identical same full force and effect as if the King himself created the gain. So as an operation of law, anyone who has a depository relationship, or a credit relationship, with a bank, such as checking, savings, CD’s, charge cards, car loans, real estate mortgages, etc., are experiencing profit and gain created by the King ?? so says the Supreme Court. At the present time, Mr. Condo, you have bank accounts (because you accept checks as payment for books and subscriptions), and you are very much in an EQUITY RELATIONSHIP with the King.

This note also alleged that George Mercier, who wrote an article apparently popular among those who believe the “contract theory” of government, was a retired judge, which is false. Just because you read it on the Net does not make it true.See:       http://home.hiwaay.net/~becraft/WeAintBrits.htm

 

Barry Taylor, Steve Huber, and Isaiah 59

In RE BARRY TAYLOR: even after a very pleasant lunch with All Saints Rector Stephen Huber on Thursday 18 September 2014 (the day of the failed Scottish Independence Referendum) I still know absolutely no facts or details or real information about the man’s circumstances or the recent history of the past two weeks or so, but I feel the oppressive weight of Isaiah 59:9-11 on my shoulders:

“Therefore justice is far from us, And righteousness does not overtake us; We hope for light, but behold, darkness, For brightness, but we walk in gloom.  Therefore justice is far from us, And righteousness does not overtake us; We hope for light, but behold, darkness, For brightness, but we walk in gloom. we are like dead men. All of us growl like bears, And moan sadly like doves;   We hope for justice, but there is none, For salvation, but it is far from us.”

or if you grew up with the KJV as I did:

“Therefore is judgment far from us,
neither doth justice overtake us:
we wait for light, but behold obscurity;
for brightness, but we walk in darkness.
We grope for the wall like the blind, and
we grope as if we had no eyes:
we stumble at noonday as in the night;
we are in desolate places as dead men.
We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves:
we look for judgment, but there is none;
for salvation, but it is far off from us.”

Steve Huber could not have been any nicer, nor could the stone wall he put up about revealing any details have been any thicker.  It is much easier to attack a man who’s being rude and dismissive to you than one who expresses extreme sympathy and condolences for your sense of loss and talks to you very graciously about life and theology and….everything.

Barry Taylor is apparently in England with his mother now, and will go from there to rest and recuperate in South Africa.  I know this routine: it’s called “running away”.  During the worst summer of my life, at my rock bottom, at my worst times, when I was subject to some of the worst setbacks and disappointments in my life, I went to the Bayreuth Festival in Bavaria, then returned to Harvard to refocus myself on Egypt, then went to England, Greece, and Egypt.  I am a privileged man who has led a privileged life, and I’m glad that Barry’s got similar privileges.  But I still feel that there’s something wrong in the State of All Saints’ Parish….. but Steve Huber has utterly disarmed me from trying to force any issues—-and indeed I have no right to do so…. everyone wants this situation quiet and so it’s going to be kept quiet.  Unlike England and Canada, we have the First Amendment wall of separation between Church and State, and so we cannot demand transparency or public disclosure from Churches as we would if they were part of the government and if (as in England) Parliament still approved the Book of Common Prayer…. (will the UK Parliament soon approve the implementation of Sharia Laws?  Will the Queen or future King still be titled “Fidei Defensor” if that happens?  Luckily, these meditations have nothing to do with Barry Taylor whatsoever).

All I know for sure is that in April of 1974, I was confirmed at All Saints in Beverly Hills by the Rt. Rev. Bishop Robert Claflin Rusack, the then brand-new, newly ordained 4th Bishop of Los Angeles, after completing confirmation classes with Canon Noble L. Owings at St. Thomas the Apostle in Hollywood.

The Church was going through the “New Prayerbook” Crisis (which ultimately “gave birth” to the 1979 Prayerbook we still use…which is now so old and well-established most younger folks cannot imagine what a trauma its introduction created…. I had made myself, my mother and my grandparents proud by learning all the basic prayers and creeds (in both of our English 1662 and American 1928 Prayerbooks) by rote before I was ten, and Canon Owings was impressed too.

But then they changed the prayerbook, and I was frustrated and angry then too. I have been a half-hearted Episcopalian ever since. Too brow beaten and bigoted, I guess, ever to try any other Church seriously, but resentful that I had memorized all my prayers and creeds for nothing. I often still mutter things like “and with thy Spirit”, “remission of sins”, “it is meet and right so to do”, “the quick and the dead” during the normal Rite II services they have everywhere.

I have gone to school, worked, and traveled all over the USA, actually, the world, but I had never met the likes of Barry Taylor anywhere, and when I first heard him preach, I was immediately smitten by his amazingly erudite mixture of pop culture, true insight Gospel, and modern skepticism. As I have said, his series of sermons just last month in August, “Drugs, Art, Sex, and Religion” and “Religion without Illusions” seemed like a major watershed transformational event in my own spiritual life, but it was not over.  I needed to learn so much more from Barry…. and now he’s gone…apparently…..

Part of the reason I loved Barry’s sermons so much was that, although I had been loyal to the Church of my birth, it’s just very hard to “buy” the Bible as truth once you’ve completed a Ph.D. in Anthropology and History, focusing on Comparative Religion and Structural Analysis, ready James G. Frazer’s “Golden Bough” and about ten thousand books and articles written since then, including three hundred or more books about Kingship and Sacrifice as rituals essential to the socio-political lives of the people of Africa, India, Southeast Asia, Polynesia, and the New World—and yes, even pre-Christian Europe and the Near East.  But Barry bridged the intelligence gap between Darwin and Freud on the one hand and Jesus and the Apostles on the other.  

Somehow, in Barry’s sermons, going to Church no longer seemed merely a nostalgic retreat into childhood comfort for me.

POST SCRIPT: WHEN I SAY I HAVE BEEN LOOKING ALL OVER NORTH AMERICA AND THE WORLD FOR AN INSPIRING REASON TO LOVE MY CHURCH AGAIN, I’M NOT KIDDING—I have travelled all over and attended Churches everywhere.

My list of favorite Episcopal Churches in the USA starts with St. Thomas on Fifth Avenue, where I was baptized (I was born in Texas but my academically oriented parents “forgot” to have me baptized until they were about to set sail on the Queen Mary, when I was six months old, and they suddenly realized, “our baby isn’t baptized, what if the ship sinks?” And that is how a baby born in Commerce, Texas in April was baptized in October in mid-town Manhattan. I make it back to New York an average of once a year, and always go to St. Thomas—it has the most conservative and traditional liturgy of any church I know.  They have a phenomenal set of choirs and musical program, as well as the most spectacular altar reredos anywhere I have seen in North of Mexico in the USA or outside of Europe.  

Now my parents were married in New Orleans, where my grandmother had grown up, and as it happened I did my undergraduate college years there at Tulane.   From an early age I knew the Christ Church Cathedral as well as Holy Trinity on Jackson and St. George uptown. Confederate General Leonidas Polk is buried at Christ Church on St. Charles Avenue. In addition to being President James K. Polk’s first cousin, L. Polk was the first Bishop of Louisiana, the founder of the Trinity Church in Natchitoches (where my grandmother was baptized and most of her relatives buried), and the only General in that saddest and bloodiest of all American Wars to wear both a grey uniform and a Bishop’s Mitre.

But they lived in and I spent my elementary school years in Dallas, where I was in the boys’ choir under Russell John Brydon, Jr. at the Church of the Incarnation on Central Expressway, while occasionally enjoying the extravagant displays of wealth at the place somewhat sarcastically called “St. Michael and all Minks” (aka “St. Michael and all Angels”).

During my Harvard years I got to know Christ Church on Cambridge Common, where George & Martha Washington prayed after George took the Command of the Continental Army in the summer of 1775, to rise up against the monarch for whom he had until then prayed as “Our King and Sovereign Lord.”

And then I spent some time working in Palm Beach, Florida, and there my son was Baptized at Bethesda-by-the-Sea on the Feast of the Epiphany in 1993. Later on I lived in Pinellas County and attended the Cathedral of St. Peter there.  I could go on listing all the Anglican Churches in which I have knelt down to pray….but it would grow quite tedious…. from Maui to Fort MacLeod, Moose Jaw, and Moncton in Canada to Manchester, Magdalene College and All Saints Margaret Street in England, to Malta, Montego Bay and Mumbai in what used to be outposts of Empire….it would get VERY tedious….

Symbolic Attacks, Disasters, and Massacres as Political Manipulation and Staged Ritual “Historical Metaphors” of “Mythic Realities”

http://www.les-attentats-du-11-septembre-vus-par-une-conspirationniste.com/photo-1984814-10-NYT-1921_jpg.html

(Don’t worry….Almost all of the posts in this link are in English). The French seem far more sophisticated in understanding conspiracies and lies in government than the Americans or British… The Classical Structuralist, father of modern French theoretical anthropology and student of mythology and comparative religion (Claude Lévi-Strauss’ inspiration and predecessor), Georges Dumézil wrote about this phenomenon in myth and legend in the 1920s one book and a separate review article, “Le crime des Lemniennes: rites et légends du monde égéen,” (1924), and “De quelques faux massacres,” Revue turque d’anthropologie (1927).

So is all the world a stage, and is “official” world (political) history nothing but staged ritual “historical metaphors” of “mythic realities?”  Such an interpretation is consistent with the studies not only of Dumézil but of more recent structuralist anthropologists Clifford Geertz and Marshall Sahlins.  It is perhaps because of the French leadership in the structured study of mythology that they understand political realities so much better than the more idealistic British and American populations.   The French population is increasingly turning towards Marine Le Pen and the Front National while the American electorate apparently ignores Ron Paul and 9-11 truthers as “delusional” in Newt Gingrich’s cynical words….

The problem is that in the modern world, we expect “news” to be “true” and our expectation that the Government is honest with us is so great that most people do not consider very deeply the possibility that the government is den of lying thieving criminals who go into government precisely because they know that this is the one business, where the criminal mind is rewarded most extravagantly, with the least possible consequences…  I honestly cannot say I ever believed the 9-11 mythology, but I have never seen such a convincing array of data that the figure of 6,000,000 murdered in the concentration camps was in fact a pre-fabricated mythological number itself.  The significance of this array of newspaper quotes and articles is hard to contradict.  I am totally open to anyone who wants to dispute the possibility that all these predictions of 6,000,000 deaths and the final figure of 6,000,000 after WWII is merely a coincidence.  I have neither the time or the inclination to go into deep historical research about this point myself, but I believe that this is an excellent example of historical revisionist research—in that it suggests, even if it does not prove conclusively, that the “historical” fact was envisioned first as a “mythic reality”, and then enacted, and performed and the incorporated into “constitutional” mythology—which no one ever dares to challenge.  

This is a valid rendition of a structural anthropological theory to explain a modern historical and political pattern…. from the destruction of the Battleship Maine to the Bombing of Pearl Harbor to  the Tonkin Gulf Incident and finally…. all the events of the decade between Ruby Ridge in 1992 and 9-11-2001…