The Incas and Bad Philosophy

The Incas and Bad Philosophy:

Since we were debating -- somewhat far afield of the original topic -- relative blame for the destruction of the Aztecs and the Incas, it is worth seeing what an earlier expert had to say about it. (h/t: Arts & Letters Daily.) Montesquieu was one of the Enlightenment thinkers, who developed the idea of "the separation of powers" into a doctrine that is now the basis for numerous free governments.

Also germane to the discussion: Montesquieu was educated at the Catholic College of Juilly, where Saint Genevieve stopped one day to pray -- and a spring burst from the ground. The miracle, and the sense that the waters were holy, caused it to become a place for pilgrims to visit; then an abbey formed there to serve the pilgrims; then an orphanage for the children of knights killed on Crusade. The abbey became a royal academy.

If the Church is to have the blame for what Cortez did in its name, then they must also have the praise for the saintliness of a lady; for the faith of the pilgrims; for the kindness to the orphans; for the teaching of the monks; and for the instruction of wise men whose ideas blossomed into the foundation of our modern age. Later thinkers, who have no interest in the Church or the glory of its God, nevertheless stand on their shoulders.

If you will blame them for a wrong of their ancestors, then you must also give them that due. If they are forever to blame for wrongs, then let them be forever praised for the right.

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