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Thursday, May 29, 2014

More future names for children and animals borrowed from the past

In addition to names for cats and pamphlets, The Past offers good baby names for those looking for something traditional yet unique, like every name in the following paragraph from Hotman's Francogallia:

Rest assured, little Clotilda and Gontran will not suffer the indignity of requiring the first letter of their surnames to be invoked in order to distinguish them from their same-named classmates.

17 comments:

Withywindle said...

A friend of mine in college planned a horrible middle name for his children for use when being stern. E.g., "Susie, how nicely you're playing!"; vs. "Susan Jadwiga Jones, remove your hands from your brother's neck right now!"

Miss Self-Important said...

But two medieval king names together works in more contexts. For example, both "Gontran Lothair, go to your room!" AND "I am Gontran Lothair, King of Kindergarten Class 1A!" have a lot of potential.

Jacob T. Levy said...

This may be my all-time favorite MSI post.

Miss Self-Important said...

Whence stems your great love of Hotman?

Jacob T. Levy said...

In my book's intellectual prehistory of liberalism, the monarchomachs along with Althussius and the common lawyers represent the ancient constitutionalist and pluralist alternative to social contract theory and rationalism. Then the post-Glorious Revolution use of Hotman in particular in England, e.g. by Molesworth, cements the story.

Wrapping my head around the monarchomachs properly was a particularly important part of wrapping my head around Montesquieu properly-- not that his ancient constitutionalism is theirs, but figuring out the difference really helped me see a bunch of things clearly.

Partly separately, I've got interests in the history of uses and interpretations of the Roman law, so Hotman strikes the "legal humanism" chord as well as the "monarchomach/ constitutionalist" chord.

Miss Self-Important said...

Do you think the ancient constitionalists and social contractarians were at odds, or were two different approaches (historical/legal vs. anthropological/rational) to the same conclusion (popular sovereignty, except partially in the case of Hobbes)? Also, I didn't know Hotman had a life in English thought; I'm looking at him next to Bodin and Loyseau. What became of him in England?

Withywindle said...

Two illegitimate children with a barmaid in Kent. Hotcakes Hotman and Hotlips Hotman. Hotcakes became known as the Tottenham Hotman, and Hotlips became known as the Nottingham Hotman. Not to be confused with their half-siblings Rotterdam Hotman (a barmaid in Zeeland) and Mahatma Hotman (a barmaid in Colombo).

Jacob T. Levy said...

I think there were genuine differences, having in part to do with "inferior magistrates" and local jurisdictions.

Robert Molesworth, an important ancient constitutionalist Whig, translated Francogallia in, I think, 1711, and published it with a substantial introduction explaining that (as Thatcher is said to have said when dropping a Hayek book on the table) "THIS is what we believe." True Whiggism (what others would call the commonwealthman or country ideology) was all of a piece with the defense of the Gothic constitution, and all the good liberal causes of post-1700 English Whigs found their defense in this 1574 morass of French constitutional history. (I love Francogallia, but it's a mess.) A very strange thing to think, in lots of ways, but perhaps no stranger than finding people doing the same thing with Locke or Sidney a century and change after their time.

Anyway, Molesworth's became one of the standard statements of True/ commonwealth/ country Whiggism, multiply republished during the 18th century including in 1775-- and his justification of the Glorious Revolution and of anti-absolutism provided, I think, a very different set of themes into Whiggism (and thence into liberalism) from Locke. He and Locke certainly weren't "at odds"-- they were political allies-- but he doctrines differ substantially.

Check out the preface; it's widely available online (and the chances are good that the English Francogallia you're reading is Molesworth's translation anyway).

Miss Self-Important said...

Withywindle: Is Mahatma having gender identity confusion?

JTL: Yes, I don't mean to suggest that they're identical approaches or even that they yield identical results, since the legal or constitutional results of the arguments from immemorial custom and feudal institutions could easily differ from the legal implications of social contract theories. It's convenient that Locke's rational government happens to very closely resemble that of England, but it need not. What I wonder is whether the political goal of these two efforts is roughly the same - to defend some version of popular sovereignty against monarchical absolutism?

One difference I do think persists is the lack of absolutism in the ancient constitutionalists, monarchomachs etc. The people are the foundation of government and may resist tyrants, but they are not absolutely sovereign and they can't usually resist as "the people," but have to look to magistrates to do that. The intermediate institutions do not exist at the pleasure of the sovereign. That seems to change with social contract theory - the sovereign, whether it's the people (Rousseau) or the monarch (Hobbes), is absolute, and creates and sustains all mediating institutions at its pleasure. Even in Locke, the whole people resists the government, because presumably no magistrate could speak on its behalf.

On the Anglicization of Hotman, maybe I'm missing some obvious point, but why on Earth would the English take up a nationalistic French constitutionalist when they had their own English version in Coke and Spelman and the other 17th C. writers Pocock discusses whom I've never read?

abrahamandsarah said...

This is almost as good as forgotten biblical names.

Miss Self-Important said...

But isn't there always somebody in an Appalachian holler naming their son Jedediah? I wonder if the same is true of rural France with Clothair.

Andrew Stevens said...

Is Mahatma having gender identity confusion?

That's a good question. Is Mahatma gendered? If I wanted to give a woman the "Great Souled One" title, would I have to alter Mahatma to make it feminine? Anyone know Sanskrit?

Jacob T. Levy said...

"One difference I do think persists is the lack of absolutism in the ancient constitutionalists, monarchomachs etc. The people are the foundation of government and may resist tyrants, but they are not absolutely sovereign and they can't usually resist as "the people," but have to look to magistrates to do that. The intermediate institutions do not exist at the pleasure of the sovereign. That seems to change with social contract theory - the sovereign, whether it's the people (Rousseau) or the monarch (Hobbes), is absolute, and creates and sustains all mediating institutions at its pleasure. Even in Locke, the whole people resists the government, because presumably no magistrate could speak on its behalf. "

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. That's exactly the difference, and it's tremendously important, notwithstanding the anti-absolutist commonalities.

abrahamandsarah said...

Sure, you might find a Jedediah, but you won't find anyone called Elhanan or Jair.

My fiancé's last name is actually really close to "Clothair".

Miss Self-Important said...

AS: *Crickets.* Sanskrit specialists have yet to migrate to this blog.

JTL: So is your books recovering this pre-history of liberalism to improve on liberalism's over-reliance on sovereignty?

A'nS: Is she French?

abrahamandsarah said...

Her family is French Canadian, but she is from Kentucky.

Jacob T. Levy said...

on unity, not sovereignty as such, though the one correction implies the other. (And, as I conceive it, liberalism's history in addition to its prehistory-- Montesquieu, Constant, Tocqueville, Acton, Figgis are in the history proper.)