It’s entirely unfashionable to praise anything at all stemming from the Catholic Church these days just as it’s not just unfashionable but perhaps a hate crime to criticise anything stemming either from Islam or a culture within the Ummah. And yet the world we live in has obviously enough been shaped by the influences of history. That we have different cultures in this modern world does also mean that influences in the past must have been different.
This paper looks at the development of, essentially, civic structures as opposed to clan ones:
Political institutions vary widely around the world, yet the origin of this
variation is not well understood. This study tests the hypothesis that the Catholic Church’s
medieval marriage policies dissolved extended kin networks and thereby fostered inclusive
institutions. In a difference-in-difference setting, I demonstrate that exposure to the Church predicts the formation of inclusive, self-governed commune cities before the year 1500CE.
Moreover, within medieval Christian Europe, stricter regional and temporal cousin marriage
prohibitions are likewise positively associated with communes. Strengthening this finding,
I show that longer Church exposure predicts lower cousin marriage rates; in turn, lower
cousin marriage rates predict higher civicness and more inclusive institutions today. These
associations hold at the regional, ethnicity and country level. Twentieth-century cousin
marriage rates explain more than 50 percent of variation in democracy across countries
If you’re not allowed to marry within the clan then perpetuation of said clan is really rather difficult.
But we can make another observation about the prohibition on first cousin marriage. Think of who does still practice this in large numbers in this modern world. It’s the Pakistani Muslims who have immigrated in recent decades. Who are now responsible – the generations of first cousin marriages that is – for an appalling and entirely out of proportion percentage of dying and deformed babies.
Hmm, maybe there’s been some merit to this Catholic stuff over the centuries then?