Friday, March 31, 2017

Friday Farming: Blog Mirror; Beef-The secret reason why ranchers are so happy

From Beef:

The secret reason why ranchers are so happy

Secret?  Well if that's a secret, it's one that apparently I was in on, as I've said the same thing here on more than one occasion, as for example:
Lex Anteinternet: The caged tiger isn't happy? Mixed news on the medical front.
 
 Farmstead, Pennsylvania.  The life many left for life in cities.
I sort of feel that this story;
Lex Anteinternet: The caged tiger isn't happy?: Heard in an interview of a doctor regarding depression: "Major depression is unheard of in hunter gatherer societies".
is related to this one: 
As per a new study published online Dec. 11 in the Journal Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders, high stress could increase risk factor for many cognitive functions that can lead to the Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Gayatri Devi, a neurologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said the latest study shows link between high stress levels and chances of developing diseases like Alzheimer’s.
From the Northern Californian.
Truth be known, we were evolved to live out in nature. But we've developed our society to live indoors, with indoor occupations, which is deeply unnatural.  Or, as Beef states:

However, despite these worries, it turns out people who work with the land are in an occupation that lends itself to happiness.Is it the fresh air? Being your own boss? Managing livestock? Building something from the ground up? Growing plants from the soil? What is it that makes farmers and ranchers so good natured, even in the worst of times?
Now, I can't take credit for knowing everything revealed in the article, for example:
Mycobacterium vaccae is the substance under study and has indeed been found to mirror the effect on neurons that drugs like Prozac provide. The bacterium is found in soil and may stimulate serotonin production, which makes you relaxed and happier.
Now, I know that in our deeply urban society, this will be translated by many into "so spend the weekend in the park!"  And indeed, that'd be better than not doing that. But at the end of the day, the glass and steel world we've made is operating against us.  Your nature would rather see you in nature, every day.

Transfer Day: The United States takes possession of the Danish West Indies

The Dannebrog, the Danish flag, being lowered at the Governor's Mansion for the last time on this date in 1917.  Note the fence made of chain and cannon.

On this day in 1917 possession of the Danish West Indies from Denmark to the United States was accomplished, although it appears the official start of US ownership of the islands was the following day, April 1.  The treaty and other events leading to this were addressed earlier on this blog.

The day is commemorated on the US Virgin Islands as Transfer Day.

Patriotic Rally in Philadelphia, Independence Square. March 31, 1917



The Cheyenne State Leader for March 31, 1917: Zimmerman defends his note


Well, at least you have to give Zimmerman credit for not denying the plot.

The Wyoming Tribune for March 31, 1917: Colorado Guardsmen entrain for home.


The Laramie Boomerang for March 31, 1917: Mexican Situation Causing War Department Much Worry


And again, Mexico hit the front pages with concerns on the part of the War Department about Mexican and war.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Colorado criminalizes marijuana

On this day in 1917 Colorado's legislature passed a bill that criminalized marijuana.  The act passed on this date stated:
An act to declare unlawful the planting, cultivating, harvesting, drying, curing, or preparation for sale or gift of cannabis sativa, and to provide a penalty therefore.

Section 1. Any person who shall grow or use cannabis sativa (also known as cannabis indica, Indian hemp and marijuana) that he has grown shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction shall be punished by a fine of not less than ten nor more than one hundred dollars, or by imprisonment in the county jail not more than thirty days, or by both such fine and imprisonment in the discretion of the court.
The bill was in part inspired by the civil war in Mexico.  It was being asserted that Pancho Villa funded his Division del Norte in part through the sale of cannabis. Whether this is true or not, marijuana was not unknown by any means in Mexico and it shows up even in music of the period at least to the extent that it features in the Mexican Revolution ballad La Cucaracha.  The bill was introduced in Colorado by a Hispanic legislator from one of Colorado's southern counties which were and are predominately Hispanic in culture and where there was  strong desire to disassociate themselves from Mexican refugees, including any assertion that they might approve of the use of the drug. 

Colorado was not the first state to address marijuana statutorily.  At least California (1907), Massachusetts (1911), New York (1914), Maine (1914), and Wyoming (1915) had.  Colorado was one of the states that enacted the prohibition of alcohol by that time and therefore not acting on marijuana would have been odd under the circumstances.  It had already been addressed by Federal law to some extent at that time.

There's a certain irony in this, I suppose, in that Colorado is now a pioneer in a national movement that has seen several states decriminalize marijuana, although the irony would be diminished if the entire matter is considered in the context of its times.  It remains subject to Federal penalties, something that has seemingly been lost in the discussion of this topic, and there is no sign that this will change any time soon.  The Federal government, however, seems to have basically stopped enforcing the law on the Federal level for the time being, although that could change at any moment.

Circling back to Colorado, while often not noted in the discussion on this, Denver Colorado has provided a big test of the impact of the change in the law, and not in a good way.  Almost any casual observer who is familiar with Denver over time has noted the impact of the change and Denver, which has had a fairly large homeless population for decades now has a larger, but rather weedy one.  Open begging downtown for cash for marijuana is now common, and encounters with stoned younger people who are part of a marijuana culture will occur at some point if a person spends any time downtown at all.  All of this is the type of discussion that does not tend to occur, for some reason, in discussions over the monetary impacts of the change or on the degree to which the substance itself is dangerous or how dangerous it is.

Suffragettes volunteering for war service.

The Library of Congress caption provides:  "Photograph shows women from various backgrounds and experiences offering their services in support of (American entry into) World War I at the office of the New York City Women's Suffrage Party on 34th Street on March 30, 1917"

The Cheyenne State Leader for March 30, 1917: Guardsmen mobilzing at Ft. D. A. Russell.


Ft. D. A. Russell was being used for Guard mobilization this time.  It hadn't been a year prior for the Punitive Expedition.

The Wyoming Tribune for March 30, 1917: Germans spur Mexican outlaw murder?


Mexico remained on the front pages even with the US on the eve of war, this time once again in association with the Germans.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Some Gave All: March 29 Designated National Vietnam Veterans Day

Some Gave All: March 29 Designated National Vietnam Veterans Day: By an act of Congress signed into law on this day by President Trump, March 29 will hence forth be National Vietnam Veterans Day.

Wyoming Fact and Fiction: A Few Thoughts on History – From an Old History Te...

Wyoming Fact and Fiction: A Few Thoughts on History – From an Old History Te...: I mentioned, in a speaking engagement a week ago, that new history consistently replaces older history. Things that happened in the past ...

Wait! What about "the Sacred Twenty": Was Lex Anteinternet: Women authorized to join U.S. Navy



Recently we posted this item on women being allowed to enlist in the Navy for the first time:

Lex Anteinternet: Women authorized to join U.S. Navy: Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels authorized the enlistment of women in the United State Naval Reserve Force.  Both officers and enlis...
That was followed by this:
Lex Anteinternet:  Loretta Perfectus Walsh becomes the first female sailor in the United States Navy:  Loretta Perfectus Walsh joined the U.S. Navy, something that only became a legal possibility two days prior when first authorized by the Secretary of the Navy.  She joined at the rank of Chief Yeoman.
Both went right to this blog's top ten of all time.

Well, some may say, what about the Navy's "Sacred Twenty"?

Astute Navy historians and fans (although none posted about it) might have noted that  on May 13, 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt signed a Naval Appropriations Bill authorizing the establishment of the Nurse Corps as a unique staff corps in the Navy.  This followed the establishment of the Army Nurse Corps in 1901.

So, I was wrong, right?

Well, it's not quite that easy.

The "unique staff corps" element of it is the key here.  

Yes, these women served the Navy.  But in a role that was quite a bit different than conventional Navy personnel. At first they were not even provided room and board, which came a couple of years later actually, and instead had to find their own lodging and pay for their own meals.  Basically, they were nurses in a special corps in service of the Navy, but they weren't really "sailors".   They were not included in the Navy's ranking system, although at some point early on their were provided with uniforms.  However, Public Health Service nurses were also provided with uniforms (although the Publish Health Service traditionally becomes part of the department of the Navy during war).

All of which is why Loretta Perfectus Walsh is regarded as the first female sailor. She joined as a sailor.  There were women in the service of the Navy prior to that, albeit just barely, but the nature of their service is a bit murky.

The United States Naval Academy Class of 1917 Graduates.

And two months early.

The looming war caused the Naval Academy to graduate its class of 1917 on this date, in anticipation of the increased need for Naval officers.

Arthur Zimmerman addresses the Zimmerman Note

On this date, March 29, 1917, German foreign minister Arthur Zimmerman addressed his famous telegram. The speech did nothing to calm American anger of the telegram.

I wrote no letter to General Carranza.  I was not so naive.  I merely addressed, by a route that appeared to me to be a safe one, instructions to our representative in Mexico.
It is being investigated how these instructions fell into the hands of the American authorities.  I instructed the Minister to Mexico, in the event of war with the United States, to propose a German alliance to Mexico, and simultaneously to suggest that Japan join the alliance.
I declared expressly that, despite the submarine war, we hoped that America would maintain neutrality.
My instructions were to be carried out only after the United States declared war and a state of war supervened.  I believe the instructions were absolutely loyal as regards the United States.
General Carranza would have heard nothing of it up to the present if the United States had not published the instructions which came into its hands in a way which was not unobjectionable.  Our behavior contrasts considerably with the behavior of the Washington Government.
President Wilson after our note of January 31, 1917, which avoided all aggressiveness in tone, deemed it proper immediately to break off relations with extraordinary roughness.  Our Ambassador no longer had the opportunity to explain or elucidate our attitude orally.
The United States Government thus declined to negotiate with us.  On the other hand, it addressed itself immediately to all the neutral powers to induce them to join the United States and break with us.
Every unprejudiced person must see in this the hostile attitude of the American Government, which seemed to consider it right, before being at war with us, to set the entire world against us.  It cannot deny us the right to seek allies when it has itself practically declared war on us.
Herr Haase [note: a German socialist] says that it caused great indignation in America.  Of course, in the first instance, the affair was employed as an incitement against us.  But the storm abated slowly and the calm and sensible politicians, and also the great mass of the American people, saw that there was nothing to object to in these instructions in themselves.  I refer especially to the statements of Senator Underwood.  Even at times newspapers felt obliged to admit regretfully that not so very much had been made out of this affair.
The Government was reproached for thinking just of Mexico and Japan.  First of all, Mexico was a neighbouring State to America.  If we wanted allies against America, Mexico would be the first to come into consideration.  The relations between Mexico and ourselves since the time of Porfirio Diaz have been extremely friendly and trustful.  The Mexicans, moreover, are known as good and efficient soldiers.
It can hardly be said that the relations between the United States and Mexico had been friendly and trustful.
But the world knows that antagonism exists between America and Japan.  I maintain that these antagonisms are stronger than those which, despite the war, exist between Germany and Japan.
When I also wished to persuade Carranza that Japan should join the alliance there was nothing extraordinary in this.  The relations between Japan and Mexico are long existent.  The Mexicans and Japanese are of a like race and good relations exist between both countries.
When, further, the Entente press affirms that it is shameless to take away allies, such reproach must have a peculiar effect coming from powers who, like our enemies, made no scruple in taking away from us two powers and peoples with whom we were bound by treaties for more than thirty years.
The powers who desire to make pliant an old European country of culture like Greece by unparalleled and violent means cannot raise such a reproach against us.
When I thought of this alliance with Mexico and Japan I allowed myself to be guided by the consideration that our brave troops already have to fight against a superior force of enemies, and my duty is, as far as possible, to keep further enemies away from them.  That Mexico and Japan suited that purpose even Herr Haase will not deny.
Thus, I considered it a patriotic duty to release those instructions, and I hold to the standpoint that I acted rightly.

Man o War foaled, March 29, 1917

The legendary Thoroughbred Man o War was foaled on this day, March 29, 1917.


One of the greatest race horses of all time, Man o War  was at Nursery Stud, near Lexington, Kentucky.  He won he won 20 of 21 races he was entered into in 1919 and 1920 and took $249,465 in prize money.  He and Babe Ruth shared accolades from the New York Times for 1920 as the greatest athlete of that year.  He won the Belmont and the Preakness in 1920, but was not entered into the Kentucky Derby as his owner believed the young horse to be too young for the longer distance involved in that race.  Because of his spectacular success, however, in 1920 he was retired to stud as he would have had handicap weights the following year that his owner thought prohibitive.  One of his colts was the famous horse War Admiral.  He died in 1947 at age 30, a fairly old age for a horse.

Wetherby Flag Day


The Cheyenne State Leader for March 29, 1917: More Guardsmen needed


The Cheyenne State Leader ran a story about the national mobilization of Guardsmen.  No way Wyoming could have mustered four regiments.

There was a tragic reminder, as well, that April and March are winter months in Wyoming.

The Laramie Daily Boomerang for March 29, 1917. Laramie's Guardsmen ordered to Ft. D. A. Russell as, maybe, the Kaiser makes a peace move?


The Medical Company of the Wyoming National Guard, based in Laramie, was ordered to Ft. D. A. Russell outside of Cheyenne. At the same time, the Laramie paper was hoping against hope that entry into the war might not be necessary.  Who could blame them?

The Connor Hotel, by the way, still stands in Laramie, although I don't think it's a hotel anymore.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Red Dirt In My Soul: Ranchlife In Wyoming: Help!

In case somebody can help:

Help!

A while back I had a reader comment with this:
“Carol, I am 92 and my father, William H. Small, owned two ranches near Ten Sleep . . .

I've been watching the liberal snit over Judge Gorsuch . . .

and trying to determine what's causing it, other than the GOP refusing to hold hearings on Judge Garland.

 Neil Gorsuch

It's been really remarkable.  Some of my liberal friends, including one who is a lawyer, even rejoiced over the Supreme Court reversing a decision he authored, an event that doesn't mean anything at all. To be a judge is to be reversed.

And then I read an article in the National Review on line that I think crystallized it.

Basically, the Democrats are Anti Democratic.

What this is all about is a fear that a Justice Gorsuch would apply the law as written.  Democrats, who probably ought to rename themselves the Antidemocrats, hate that idea, as that would mean that their concepts for social revolution would have to go to the voters. . . who don't want it, or whom they fear don't want it.

At least since the early 1970s, and more likely dating back into the 60s, there's been some, granted a few, Supreme Court decisions of huge import that have no foundation in the Constitution. Obergefell is the most recent of those.  The Obergefell decision is shockingly extra legal and it is based, at its essence, in social theory, not jurisprudence.  The Democrats know that and they fear that a judge that sticks to the law won't make decisions like that.

They can likely rest easy that the damage done by Obergefell is in fact done for the time being a least, although if Roe v. Wade is any indicator it'll slowly become despised.  Indeed, the Democrats have preservation of Roe, which at one time democracy loving liberals, when there were some, such as the The New Republic (before it was the sorry fish wrapper it is today) thought should be overruled.  Now, the liberal Democrats, which has become nearly all of the Democrats, don't trust people or their legislators and would rather be ruled by the Platonic elite, the high nine of elderly sages who would enact their brave new world by fiat.

Well, long term, in the modern world, dictatorships don't last.  We can either have courts that apply the law as written and leave the legislation to legislators, or we can have broad contempt of court until the courts don't matter anymore.  I'll take the former.

Budgeting in the era of Trump: Getting a grasp on the local via the proposed budget. Philosophy, Subsidiarity, Distributism, Socialism, Wisonism, FDRism, . . . oh my! Or, did we really mean that when we said it?


 FDR Handbill.

For decades Republicans, and the majority of Wyomingites are Republicans, have decried the "out of control" Federal budget.  And not without some reason.  The Federal government has grown enormously in the past century.  When this is mentioned the norm is to note the big expansion that came about during the Great Depression, but when we look at all of the 1916 and 1917 newspapers I've been posting for a little over a year now, it's clear that quite a bit of that trend existed even during the Progressive Era.

I've posted on budget matters and the concepts behind them, which are rarely discussed anywhere, here before and indeed I just posted one on the Trump proposed budget.  I have a thread that I may or may not finish started on health care, and oddly enough, that fits into this topic nicely. But I'll address that (probably) elsewhere (probably).

Here I'm going to address something I've noted here quite a bit before, but which people seem to be otherwise noticing for the first time.  And that topic is, so to speak, where the Federal money hits the road, particularly if it threatens to pick up and take the road out.

Starting off, I'll note that a recent issue of the The New Republic, to which I am a subscriber almost, had an article on this topic just recently.  I say subscriber almost as I've let my subscription lapse.  I've been a subscriber since, I think, 1985 when the magazine was given to me as a gift but it's descended into pathetic and I'm bailing out before it actually sinks.  Anyhow, the recent article was written in a snarky almost "don't you love me?" style by some disaffected "blue" stater who was upset by the last election.  His argument was that the "blue" states (which I think should be the "red" states in keeping with the international political color scheme used everywhere else) should just ignore the "red" states, fund themselves, and then sooner or later the blue states would come crying back, after seeing that they are economic freeloaders.

I think perhaps that author overestimates, massively, the degree to which a lot of red staters don't care about things blue staters do. This usually becomes obvious when we read letters to the editor in the local paper that read like "if you don't ban wolf hunting I won't go to Yellowstone".  Don't come. We don't care.

Which doesn't mean that a lot of this budget stuff, if it actually passes, won't be noticed.

Yesterday we read in the paper that Cody might loose air service, for example.

Apparently Cody's air service is subsidized by the Federal government.  I had no idea whatsoever, and I'll bet most Wyomingites don't either.  I didn't know that the Federal government, outside of administering airports and air travel (which is a type of subsidy, but an absolutely necessary one) subsidized any air travel.  But, it turns out, it does.

It does because it was recognized, when the airlines were deregulated, that the air carriers would abandon small towns.  So a Federal program was put in to subsidize it.

 
British Antarctic Survey Plane at our airport.  Our airport isn't subsidized, so it'll keep on keeping on and maybe even do better if small airports aren't subsidized. 

But, should that have been done?

I don't know.

On one had, I get it.  This is a big state, and air travel is really useful.  Indeed, just recently I looked into trying to fly into Cody as I had a funeral to attend in Powell, and I was in Houston.  I didn't do it, but I could have.

But, on the other hand, it's hard for me to justify the United States paying for subsidized air travel into Cody.

Maybe the state could?

The state does in fact give a little funding to airports, and last year there was some discussion on this in regards to Riverton's airport. But, with a big budget crunch, I doubt that Wyoming has the bucks for subsidized air travel, and maybe philosophically it shouldn't bother.  After all, is it the job of the government to subsidize the quickest means of transportation?

Well, some countries clearly think so, and lots at least build high speed rail.  I don't know that high speed rail doesn't pay for itself, but I do know that I love the conventional speed rail put in by the City of Denver to downtown.  Is it subsidized?  I have no idea.

 

I do know that for a century the Federal government has been involved in funding highway construction, and this became a huge deal during the Eisenhower Administration.  While dressed up in various ways the truth of the matter is that the Federal government just felt that a national highway system benefited everyone, and in particular commerce.

I've noted here before that this amounts to a subsidy of the trucking industry.  Trucker are amongst the most "red" of "red stateers" (in the goofy American color reversal description, i.e., I don't mean truckers are Communist, far from it), and they would not be capable of accepting that they are subsidized, but they are.  If truckers paid fully for their use of the highways, they'd howl, and of course the railroads, with home they are competing, would laugh all the way to the bank. Railroad are already the most efficient and green mans of hauling anything and they'd no doubt welcome the added business that would necessarily come about if the Federal government told the states "pay for your own darned roads".

I don't know what the Federal budget actually does, this go around, for road construction and maintenance, but I have to think that the states must be worried. Generally, I think, there's a general concept that the states like being able to maintain the roads themselves but its in the common good that the Federal government pay for things.

This, sort of, is also the way, very loosely, that a lot of environmental regulation works.  In Wyoming the State Department of Environmental Quality actually administers most of the laws that the EPA does in states that haven't elected to run things themselves.  Now, DEQ is worried what reduced EPA funding will mean to the DEQ.  The answer isn't really clear.

Cutting back on all sort of Federal regulation, via the budgetary process, has long been a conservative dream and many in the state are gleeful that it appears that will occur.  This gets to be less the case, however, when that money falls outside of the conventional regulatory category and into other areas.  The state is now worrying, for example, about the upcoming fire season as its clear that if the budget goes through there's less money to fight forest fires and we're having a hard time with that already.  

Here the equity of things would seem to demand that the Federal government, as the state's largest landowner, fund fighting fires on its own land.  The irony of this, however, is that this is one of the very things those opposed to transferring the public domain, like me, argued about. There's no earthly way the Western states can pay for fire suppression.  None-whatsoever.   We can't do it.  The Feds should.  We need them to.

 
Casper Mountain Fire of 2012.  It was bad.  Federal money helped suppress it.  It's not like the county could afford those fire bombers. 

 

I'll note that at least if you are a sportsmen, budget cuts at the Federal level are really distressing. For well over a century, indeed dating back to at least the Theodore Roosevelt administration, Federal money and Federal programs have been very active in this area.  Moreover, in quite a few of them, but not all of them, taxes on sporting equipment completely fund the programs. There wouldn't be a wild animal bigger than a rabbit left alive in this country, for example, but for sportsmen and the taxes they pay on their equipment.

So cutting this stuff is really distressing.  Its an interesting example of, in many cases, a small segment of the population paying for something that benefits everyone.  Could the states take over in this area?

Well, not in this era, that's certain.  They don't want to.

That may sound cynical but that's the best evidence.  It hasn't always been that way, however.  The State of Wyoming was a real pioneer in game conservation and the ethos that caused that is still there.  If recent evidence means anything, however, a spirit of "sell it" has taken over the minds of various legislatures.  We would have had to really worry about the Wyoming legislature and the Utah legislature seems seized by delusion right now.  The GOP in Montana is trying to disassociate itself with such views right now, realizing that its caused Democratic gains in the state.  Wyoming Democrats didn't seem to gain, but the legislature did get a clue about 2.5 seconds before Cheyenne threatened to start looking, metaphorically, like a scene from a Sergei Eisenstein movie.

Protestors at the Legislature this year. . . oh wait, that's a poster for the Battleship Potemkin.

This is an interesting example how the principal of subsidiarity doesn't always work in the real world.  Wyomingites would rather live in tents than have the public land sold, and they'd like to fund conservation efforts too.  Most of them don't think the BLM is the Gestapo for that matter.  But if you looked at the bad ideas coming out of our legislature last session, you wouldn't know that. For that matter, if you looked at the junk our representation in Washington supports you wouldn't realize that either, at least as to the public lands and their administration.  Of course, they may know that too, which is why, maybe, they've avoided doing much in the way of public appearances while on recess.

Anyhow, what all this brings to mind is the fundamental question.  What do we think we should fund, and should it be funded locally or nationally?  Put another way, is it fair to the residents of New Jersey to tax them for air travel in Wyoming?  What about highway travel?  

As a nation, we've never really figures this out.

The Cheyenne State Leader for March 27, 1917: Wyoming National Guard Called Back into Service


After just a couple of weeks of civilian life, the Guard was called back into service.  A Colorado unit that had never demobilized was being retained at Ft. D. A. Russell.

Things were back on.

The Douglas Enterprise for March 27, 1917: Guard to get a big send off in Douglas


Douglas residents were going to gather at the LaBonte, long a hot spot in Douglas, to give Company F a big send off.

I don't know if the LaBonte is open again or not, but its still there.  It was open at least as late as the 1980s, and it might be now.

The Wyoming Tribune for March 27, 1917: State Troops Rushing Back


The Wyoming National Guard was in the throws of recovering troops it had only just discharged from active service. 

And the Germans, it was reported, were going to sell the Belgians as slaves.  All while Wilson was "dodging war".

The Laramie Daily Boomerang for March 27, 1917. Laramie's troops not yet ordered to Ft. Russell.


The Medical detachment of the Wyoming National Guard was expecting orders to return to Ft. D. A. Russell, where they'd been only a couple of weeks ago, but they hadn't yet received them.

In other news, a big air force was being planned and the new Russian government was being reported as "very popular".

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Seattle Metropolitans win the Stanley Cup

On this day in 1917 the Seattle Metropolitans became the first US hockey team to win the Stanley Cup.



The Metropolitans were members of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association. They beat the Montreal Canadiens of the National Hockey Association three games to one.


Ketchikan, Alaska. March 26, 1917


Autocephalous? Eh? A Sunday Morning Scene Post.

 
Assumption of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Denver

Usually we post a photo of a church, from our companion blog, Churches of the West.  Every now and then, however, we do something a little different, and this is one of those times.

It occurs to us that yesterday here we used the word "autocephalous" and, while we gave a little bit of an explanation, we assumed a lot in giving it.  Indeed, so much so that the overwhelming number of readers who are likely to stop by here are going to have no idea whatsoever what we were posting about in that context.

So today, we try explain that.  What is "autocephalous".  Well, it's the English translation of the word αὐτοκεφαλία.

Okay, there we go.

Well, that doesn't help at all, does it?

Autocephalous means, let "self headed".  So, when we used it in context it means a Self Headed Church within the Eastern Orthodox Communion.

But what does that mean?

By this point in this article, Eastern Orthodox Christians, well schooled Catholics and some others know what I mean, but most others will not.  And even a few who are vaguely familiar with what is meant by this don't really understand what it is. And frankly, because discussing this area, and particularly discussing the branches of Orthodoxy by a person who is not Orthodox, is tricky, this is dangerous ground where I'm likely to stumble a bit. So this will be the Kindergarten level explanation of autocephaly.

This is a concept that exists in the Eastern Orthodox churches for a variety of historical reasons, most of which I won't touch upon.  But to even grasp any of that, you have to start with the Apostolic churches.  Those are the churches that can trace their establishment back to the Apostles. 
 
 St Peter and St. Paul Orthodox Church, Salt Lake City Utah.  This is an Located quite near downtown, the church features the quote, above the front door; "It was in Antioch that they were first called Christians.".  The Antiochian Orthodox Church is the branch of the Orthodox Church associated with Orthodox Arabs, one of several Apostolic churches with strong Middle Eastern roots and a retained Middle Eastern presence, although they are much threatened there today.  Salt Lake, which of course is associated with the Mormon faith, has at least three Orthodox churches as it also has a Greek Orthodox cathedral and a Russian Orthodox church.  All of these churches are Eastern Orthodox and are therefore in full communion with one another.

All of the recognized Orthodox Churches and the Catholic Church are Apostolic churches.  While people like to imagine that they're fighting tooth and nail all the time (which is grossly exaggerated, quite frankly) this is a historical fact, not a matter of theological debate.  Indeed their principal, but not sole, item of debate is what that means between themselves as the Catholic Church takes the position that St. Peter had primacy amongst the Apostles in a true jurisdictional sense, while the Orthodox have taken the position from some point a thousand or so years ago, and probably back a bit further than that, that St. Peter had primacy as "the first amongst equals".  This is a significant matter in that Peter was the Bishop of Rome and therefore, in the Catholic view, the successor of St. Peter as the Bishop of Rome is the head of the Christian Church, where as the Orthodox take the view that the Bishop of Rome is the first amongst equals. As there are a variety of Eastern Orthodox churches there is some variance in how this would be said, but that's basically it. That's not, it should be noted, the sole topic at issue in the debate between them, but it's a significant issue.

 St. Peter holding the keys to the kingdom. To the Orthodox, Peter is the first of the apostles, but equal to the rest.  To Catholics, he had primacy.

There exists a schism between the Eastern Orthodox and the Catholic Church that has existed for some time, more or less since some point in the 11th Century although it was healed briefly in the 15th Century and came back into existence also in the 15th Century.  I'm not going into that here but I'm noting it only to note that there are other schisms that play into this overall story.  For example, there exists a Polish National Church and the Old Catholic Church, both of which are also Apostolic, tracing the lineage of their Bishops through the Catholic Church.  The Eastern Orthodox also have at least one schism I'm aware of, that being the Old Believers.  And there are at least two Protestant Churches that claim to be Apostolic Churches as well but which are not recognized by the Catholic Church as such (and I don't think they are by any main branch of the Eastern Orthodox, although in some quarters there was a little flirting with this at one time).  These churches are those in the Anglican Communion and the Lutheran churches.  This is a bit muddied in the case of the Lutheran churches, actually, and there's some differing view within that community.  The Methodist church also claims apostolic succession in a complicated fashion which we'll only barely touch on. A few other groups do as well, but for the most part those get increasingly complicated and strained.

While this post is not intended to serve as a theology lesson, the Catholic Churches and all of the Orthodox churches, including those Orthodox Churches such as the Coptic Church which are not Eastern Orthodox but rather Oriental Orthodox, all hold that ordination must be done by a validly consecrated Bishop and in the proper form and they always have, going back to Apostolic times. Again, as I am not a theologian I'm not going to get into it, and it is complicated to a degree, I'm not going to try to set this out in any advanced form. But the gist of it is that in the view of the Apostolic Churches in order to have valid Holy Orders and Sacraments you need a Bishop who confers Holy Orders in the proper form.  So, that's why the Orthodox of all types and the Catholic Church recognize each others sacraments as valid even though there is a schism between them, and that's why the Catholic Church recognizes the same as to a church like the Polish National Church.  Practices within the church differ as to how this should be done, but the churches recognize each others Communion and Confession, for examples, as perfectly valid.

It's interesting to note in this context, and it serves, I hope, to demonstrate the point, that both the Eastern Orthodox and the Catholic churches recognize the validity of the Holy Orders and sacraments of the Oriental Orthodox, who are quite different in some ways, and quite similar others, to both of them.  Due to historical developments, these churches were only able to send representatives to the first three ecumenical councils; the First Council of Nicaea in 325, the First Council of Constantinople in 381 and the Council of Ephesus in 431.  History conspired to prevent their attendance at later councils.  Most Americans are completely unfamiliar with these churches but, in some larger cities in some parts of the country, you can find examples of them, usually the Coptic Church of Alexandria or the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.

Saint Mary's Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in Denver Colorado. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is a non-Chalcedonian (Oriental Orthodox) church. This church is located in north eastern Denver. Parishioners always wear white on Sunday's in this denomination, in recollection of their Baptismal garments. 

Before we go further, lest we create confusion and anger, all of these churches recognize the usual form of Protestant baptism as valid (but not some that are outside of the usual form) and at least the first marriage of any type, including marriages that have no religious ceremony at all, or are non Christian, except in the cases where their own members marry outside of the church without a dispensation.  As this isn't a treatise on these topics I'll stop there lest I create more confusion than I already have.  But, it's interesting to note that all of these faith would never "re Baptize" a baptized Christian that was baptized in the usual form (there are exceptions in some faiths that use different forms, IE., not really the standard Christian baptism). 

Whew. . . that's a long winded introduction to autocephalous. 

Okay, back to that. 

In the Eastern Orthodox world, and in the Orthodox world in general, history has meant that the various Bishop's seats became very spread out early on and there were very real difficulties in their communicating with each other.  In the Catholic world, at the same time, this was much less the case.  In Eastern Orthodoxy, therefore, there came to be a day during which the Patriarch of the Church found that it would best serve the Orthodox in some areas if their churches became self governing.  So, for example, the Russian Orthodox Church was made autocephalous.  It had its own Bishops, etc., and it was made autocephalous by the Patriarch of Constantinople so that it could govern itself.  

Holy Transfiguration of Christ Cathedral in North Denver.  This Cathedral is a Cathedral of the Orthodox Church in America, a church which traces its origin to the Russian Orthodox Church after the Russian Revolution.  Russian Orthodoxy in the United States has a bit of a complicated history on the topic of autocephaly post 1917.  There are two bodies that descend from the Russian Orthodox Church in the US today, and I frankly don't quite understand the relationship between the two, but this Cathedral in Denver reflects part of Denver's Russian Orthodox community.  The church dates to 1898. 
Now, as this can get really confusing, it should also be noted that various Oriental Orthodox Churches are also self governing and as that would lengthen this thread out infinitely, I'm not going into that.  As noted above there are more than one Oriental Orthodox churches, they are all in communion with one another, and they are all self governing.  They all have relationships with the Eastern Orthodox and the Catholic church in modern times and they are all fairly close given the history cited above. 
I should further note that while the rift between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church has not been fully healed (while I'd also note, as noted above, that rift is less of a rift than others suppose) the Eastern Orthodox are all Eastern Orthodox.  So just because the Russian Orthodox Church has a different head than the Greek Orthodox Church does not mean that they are not in full communion with each other.  Indeed, I'd note that at least members of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in the Ukraine simply refer to the Russian Orthodox Church as "the Greek Church".
 
Holy Transfiguration of Our Lord Church in Ninilchik Alaska.  This community has had a Russian Orthodox Church since 1846, but this structure dates to 1901.  It is a regular Russian Orthodox Church in the Orthodox Church of America's Diocese of Anchorage, subject to the jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church in America, which is one of two bodies that formed in the U.S. to govern Russian Orthodox Churches following the Russian Revolution.  The Orthodox Church in America is an autocephalous Eastern Orthodox church that started to govern its affairs separately when Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow directed all Russian Orthodox churches outside of Russia and was originally the Russian Greek Orthodox Church in America.  It was granted autocephaly by the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia in 1970 and changed its name at that time, although the validity of that action is disputed by some.

Got it? Well good to go.

So, um. . . aren't you going to complete the pictures for the other churches referenced above.

Well. . . I will, but only with great trepidation.

Is there autocephaly in the Catholic Church?  Well, the Catholic Church doesn't use that term, and the answer would be, I think basically no, in the sense of the term as used above.  That's because autocephalous in the Orthodox sense means those churches basically report to no one, although they are in communion with each other.  I.e., all Eastern Orthodox are in communion with one another (save for schisms, such as that of the Old Believers) and all Oriental Orthodox are in communion with one another (keeping in mind that this doesn't mean that they believe that only their own Holy Orders and sacraments are valid, it doesn't mean that, as the Orthodox and the Catholic churches all recognize that in regards to each other).  But the Catholic Church does have several Rites and those Rites are in fact mostly self governing.
 
Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Lander Wyoming.  This church was unique in Wyoming (and might still be) at the time I took this photograph as the Priest there was "bi ritual", which meant that he could offer the Divine Liturgy in the Latin Rite and an Eastern Rite, and the church did in fact conduct services at different times in different Rites.  Things like this are not terribly uncommon in some localities.  Additionally, it is not terribly uncommon in some localities for Catholic churches to host an Orthodox parish community if they lack their own church.

This is confusing for people who aren't familiar with the Catholic Church and indeed many people use the term Roman Catholic Church and the Catholic Church interchangeably. In fact, Catholics don't use the term "Roman Catholic" officially at all, although its become so common that many Latin Rite Catholics have fully adopted the term.  The Latin Rite of the Catholic Church is the largest Christian denomination in the world and so the confusion is natural enough, but there are also twenty three non Latin Rite Catholic churches.

Yes, twenty three.  That means that are twenty four churches within the Catholic church.

Each one of these churches has its own primate, i.e. a cleric who is its head. For example, the relatively well known Maronite church has Patriarch Moran Mor Bechara Boutros al-Rahi ( بشارة بطرس الراعي the 77th Maronite Patriarch of Antioch.  He's also a Cardinal.

What, the are non Latin Rite Cardinals in the Catholic Church?  

Yes, there are.  And of course, there would be.

All of this is noted as the various twenty four churches in the Catholic Church are in fact mostly self governing.  They all have a primate who is at the head of their church, just like the autocephalous Orthodox churches do.  They differ, however, in that the Pope is the overall had of the Church, and the Pope is also head of the Latin Rite as he's the Bishop of Rome.

Now, just to keep the complication level up, recall that the Orthodox also recognize the Bishop of Rome as the first of the Bishops. They regard him as the first among equals.

So, there isn't autocephaly in the Catholic Church, but there is quite a bit of independence between the various Rites.

Well then, (straying into dangerous territory) what about the Protestant churches you mentioned.  Aren't they basically autocephalous churches in schism?

Well, I suppose that would depend on your views but neither they nor the Catholic church regard them that way.  And part of that, from the Catholic point of view, has to do with Apostolic succession.
 
Let's start with the Anglican Communion, which is the group of Protestant churches (although they do not all view themselves that way, for which Apostolic succession is most frequently claimed.  This is enormously complicated by the fact that the Anglican Communion itself is a collection of churches with widely varying views on almost every topic.  Some in the Anglican Communion, and usually those who view their church as a type of Catholic church not in communion with Rome, hold Apostolic succession to be both real and necessary.  For example, John Newman, while an Anglican cleric and a prime mover in the Oxford movement, wrote "We must necessarily consider none to be really ordained who has not been thus ordained".  Newman, of course, later came to the conclusion that Anglican orders were not valid and he converted to Catholicism, becoming a Cardinal.  Many conservatives in the Anglican Communion continue to hold this opinion and regard their church as a separated one with valid Apostolic succession dating back to the schism that took place under King Henry VIII.  Of note, most of the bishops, but not all of the priests by any means, went with Henry when he separated the English church from Rome.

Church of the Holly Family Anglican Catholic Church in Casper, Wyoming.  This church would nto be recognized as Catholic by the Catholic Church, but it is part of the conservative branch of the Anglican Communion that regards the Anglican Communion as a separated Catholic church.

This topic became serious enough in the Anglican world that it ended up being a topic addressed by Pope Leo XIII who found that Anglican claims to Apostolic succession were "absolutely null and utterly void".  This was due to the changes that were made to the very Protestant and radical King Edward VI.  It is for this reason that Anglican clergymen entering the Catholic church as Priests, which has not been uncommon in recent years, are ordained as Catholic Priests.  And this points out the difficulty in this topic as Apostolic succession is not necessarily regarded as important by all Anglicans.  The Anglican Communion has a wide variety of views on matters, ranging from liberal to conservative, and one of the things they vary on is the nature of Apostolic succession.  To complicate maters even further some Anglican conservatives regards some of Anglican Priests as validly consecrated and others as not being, including Bishops, but as this isn't a treatise on that topic, I'll not go into it.  I'll conclude, however, by noting that Pope Leo's proclamation was troubling to certain branches of the Anglican Communion who have attempted to rectify it by having ordinations done by Old Catholics, which the Catholic Church regards as schismatic.  Old Catholic holy orders are valid, in Catholic eyes.
 
Anglican Church of the Holy  Trinity in Toronto, Ontario.  Sort of reflecting the history of Canada and Toronto, this very traditional church is apparently a liberal Anglican Church.  Toronto was once a bastion of English conservatism in Canada, which it certainly is not today.

Something similar sort of oddly may, or may not have, happened early in the history of the Methodist Church, but it's not really known for sure.  The Methodist movement was started by John Wesley but it wasn't originally a separate church, but a movement within the Anglican Church.  Wesley instructed his followers to receive the sacraments from Anglican Priests, and stated; "We believe it would not be right for us to administer either Baptism or the Lord's Supper unless we had a commission so to do from those Bishops whom we apprehend to be in a succession from the Apostles."  So he clearly viewed Apostolic succession as necessary.  At some point his views may have modified, as the Methodist started to ordain their own ministers.  However, some also claim that Wesley was secretly ordained by a visiting Greek Orthodox Bishop, so he had, they claim, Apostolic succession.  The formal split of the Methodist from the Anglican church came in 1805, and as I know little about it, I'll stop there.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Wy0JhQeLGFo/TXopCP34fLI/AAAAAAAAAoo/9TKsYG2uqBo/s1600/IMGP0380.JPG
Holy Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church, Denver Colorado., built in 1887.  It's difficult to photograph, as it's nearly always in perpetual shade as very tall buildings have been built up around it. This is, unfortunately, compounded here as these photographs were taken on a very dreary day.  Of note, the church declares that it is the Holy Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church, but in modern terms it's usually called the Holy Trinity Methodist Church or the Holy Trinity United Methodist Church.  Separation from the Anglican Church came in 1805, but the name of the Methodist Church continued to reflect its origin for many years thereafter.
Anyhow, I don't think anyone would regard it as autocephalous in the way we've been discussing it, although its history is interesting in regard to the view of its founder on Apostolic succession.
 
 
I guess that leaves us with the Lutheran Church.  Interestingly there is a split of views, sort of like that in the Anglican Communion, but perhaps more pronounced.

The Lutheran Church really took hold in Scandinavia, and there the church very much takes the position that it has preserved Apostolic succession.  Indeed, in the Scandinavian countries the Lutheran churches take the position that they did not create a new church at all, but rather that the Lutheran movement in their countries simply improved the existing church.  This position is taken to a lessor degree, however, in Germany, whose Lutheran churches were merged by order of the government with the Calvinist churches in 1817.  Still, the conservative elements in Germany, and some in Scandinavia, have taken the step of receiving ordinations in their communions from schismatic Catholic bishops of the types discussed above to attempt to make certain that their Holy Orders and sacraments are valid.  Other Lutheran groups, however are indifferent to the question, in part reflecting early church governance under Luther.  An aspect of this, additionally, is that in Germany the sitting Catholic bishops did not go along with Luther, not one, so there were no ordinations thereafter that could have been regarded as valid, from a Catholic prospective.  In Scandinavia, however, the sitting Catholic Bishops retained their positions, which is somewhat ironically due to the conversion of the countries being forced by the crown, which had promised not to do it, but there were changes (apparently) to form, although I can't comment on them as I do not know what they were.  It's clear that the Catholic Church does not regard the Lutheran Church as schismatic but completely separated, just as the Anglican Communion is regarded, so no autocephaly here.
 
As a complete side note, its interesting that when faced with the same dilemma that the German Lutherans were faced with early on, and maybe the Methodist were, that being no Bishops who would ordain Priests for them, the Russian Old Believers made a completely different choice.  They took Apostolic succession so seriously that they simply lacked any clergy at all as their ordained Priests died.  The pain of this was deeply felt and in recent years they have obtained ordained Priests from Orthodox Bishops that are willing to ordain Priest for them and with whom they are theologically comfortable, but for many years this ultra conservative group, fully supportive of Apostolic succession and fully aware of the need of valid sacraments, went without as no Bishop would support the. The Russian Orthodox Church as tried to bring them back in, and has even apologized to them for acts during the separation, but they aren't having that, so far.

The Wyoming Tribune for March 26, 1917: Guardsmen Return To Service


Guardsmen nationwide was the headline in the Wyoming Tribune, as opposed to the State's troops as discussed in the Laramie Boomerang. 

Cheyenne's paper was noting that Colorado cavalry, just arrived at Ft. D. A. Russell fresh from border service, was now set not to muster out at all.  Late in the process of mustering out, it didn't look like they were going to.