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Machiavelli and The Mayflower is a book that explains the behaviour and attitudes which separate Europeans from each other and from the North Americans.

A European behavioural typology is found by plotting a political axis agains a religious one: the political axis uses the work of Niccolo Machiavelli in The Prince as the model for behaviour and attitudes resulting from feudal, and later, constitutional monarchy; the philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau in The Social Contract is used to identify European republican values finding their origins in the French Revolution: on the one hand Machiavelli shows extreme individualism and, on the other, Rousseau outlines extreme collectivism.

The political model of European behaviour is completed by a religious one, which compares two millenia of Roman Catholic Christianity with half a millenium of protestant Reformation. At two doctrinal extremes of Chritianity, reference is made to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, to Immanuel Kant, and to C.S. Lewis and, at the opposite doctrinal extreme, Max Weber is quoted on Calvinist behaviour, particularly as it affects Capitalist values in Europe and in the United States. Catholicism exhibits a doctrine based on divine pardon and dogmatism, whereas Calvinism promotes the doctrine of predestination and encourages pragmatism.
The importance of religious values in determining values is proven by the fact that Europeans have perished in religious wars from the Crusades to the 30 years war and the Battle of the Boyne. Politically, wars have also originated from the factors of power and survival that are explained in The Prince. If Europeans have been willing to kill for them, these values are tryuly basic to our soicety. The misunderstanding that results from differences in religious and political values lies at the heart of the cultural insensitivity that destroys international relations, both collective and individual, not only between Europeans, but also between Europeans and North Americans.

Taking Catholicism and Calvinism as two religious poles, and monarchy and republic as two political/constitutional ones, the book shows a grid of European countries which groups nationals who show similar behavioural characteristics. If each Christian European makes a binary choice between Catholicism and protestantism and lives either under a monarchical or a republican constitution, then he or she would have one of four combinations of religious and political values: if the vertical axis on the grid goes from Catholicism to protestantism and the horizontal one spans from monarchy to republic, then the four stereotypes of behaviour appearing in the corners of the grid are, REFormist/REPuplican, ROManist/MONarchist, ROManist/REPublican and REFormist/MONarchical; the terms can be shortend to four typologies called REFREP; ROMMON; ROMREP; REFMON: for example, those from largely Roman Catholic and republican France would show ROMREP characteristics, whereas those from largely protestant and monarchical Britain, are REFMONs. There are more ROMREPs in Europe (45% of the population taken from the country sample west of the ex iron curtain) than the other three categories combined, leaving the REFMONs (12%) REFREPs (9%) and ROMMONs (14%) in a significant minority.

Christians in Western Europe, who consitute 80% of the population, fall into one or other of these four corners of the grid, but may evolve along the religious and political axes over time as their frame of beliefs changes; for example, a Swedish REFMON in Italy could take on progressively more ROMREP characteristics over time as he or she assimilates the local culture of the national majority.
Where two ROMREPs would tend to understand each other, a ROMREP and a REFMON may not; on this basis, more culture gap separates the French from the English than any other European nation. The Americans are the archetypal REFREPs, as the Mayflower ethic was rooted in European Calvinism and the American Republic was founded to combat British imperialism using European republican ideals (i.e. those of Jeremy Bentham, John Locke, David Hume and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.) The this-worldly, Moral Absolutism of American Calvinism is the major cultural distinguishing factor that divides the North Americans from their continental European cousins; it leads to inductive reasoning and to pragmatism which are both far removed from the dogmatic, deductive reasoning patterns of Roman Catholic, "Cartesian" Europe.


Further reading

ISBN 9782953386707


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