On this day in 614, the Edict of Paris was formally proclaimed. Or maybe it was 615. It’s always amazing to me that we can know the day and month of something but not the year. Regardless, it is considered the French Magna Carta — although almost exactly 600 years earlier. When I was first introduced to the Magna Carta, it made no sense to me. The idea that the king was above the law was so foreign to me. But that is the way things were traditionally. People get upset about the Nazis, but they are actually pretty typical of the history of humanity.
Just as the Magna Carta only applied to the barons, the Edict of Paris applies to the nobility. It also, as is always the case for these things, determines who is included. For example, Jews were not allowed to hold royal office. But they were allowed to take Christians to court — for all the good it would do them. The thing about rights is that who is included is always critically important. Look at just how limited the group was that included “all men” that were created equal.
It’s also interesting that the Edict of Paris was all about creating a stable society. Yet the libertarians will tell us that all we need is commerce and the magic of the free market. The Edict was all about shoring up support for the weak monarch. Why was that necessary? After all, libertarianism is “natural”! It is supposedly the way people lived before modern political systems corrupted them. It’s a wonder that any of this was necessary, except maybe the human tendency to build armies and just take what you want. But all that doesn’t matter because in the libertarian utopia, humans will be perfect!