I've just returned from the 33rd Conference of the American Chesterton Society with exciting news, apparently Protestantism is a sham inflicted upon us by the corporate elite!
Hehehe, well who knows... But I've been on this site as long as anyone and I found it very surprising to hear Hilare Belloc's thesis on the over-arching cause of the reformation. I knew from reading the Servile State that after the Reformation it was apparent that the lords looted the monasteries.
"What! this large national movement to be interpreted as the work of such minorities? A few thousand squires and merchants backing a few more thousand enthusiasts, changed utterly the mass of England?" Yes; to interpret it otherwise is to read history backwards. It is to think that England then was what England later became. There is no more fatal fault in the reading of history, nor any illusion to which the human mind is more prone. To read the remote past in the light of the recent past; to think the process of the one towards the other "inevitable;" to regard the whole matter as a slow inexorable process, independent of the human will, still suits the materialist pantheism of our time. There is an inherent tendency in all men to this fallacy of reading themselves into the past, and of thinking their own mood a consummation at once excellent and necessary: and most men who write of these things imagine a vaguely Protestant Tudor England growing consciously Protestant in the England of the Stuarts.
But, does anyone have any evidence against the notion that it was what would become the aristocracy who started the reformation in Britain? Did people take Belloc seriously. I've read recently that he's been found correct time and time again, but always seen as a heavy handed Catholic reactionary in his day (which makes him quite a hero to me) who no one took seriously because he wrote in a vulgar manner and not only for scholars.