Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Forgotten Kingdom of Araucania-Patagonia

Almost a century and a half after Orélie-Antoine de Tounens assumed the title of King of Araucania-Patagonia, his descendants still lay claim to the throne of that putative monarchy at the southern tip of South America.


Those who wish for the independence of this putative country have a website here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Act of Settlement

God Save Our King – the Duke of Bavaria

The obsession with appeasing minorities now includes Roman Catholics, who are apparently pining away for want of being able to become King of England, or to marry into the Royal family. I should have thought there were more important issues as Britain sinks into the swamp, but never mind. If we overturn the Act of Settlement then it seems to make sense to go the whole hog, and restore the Stuart (Catholic) line to the throne, from which it was debarred in 1701. This, as my colleague Mandrake discloses today, means turning the Duke of Bavaria, a descendant of James II, into King Francis II. This would be but a small undertaking for a Government that has already brought Britain to its knees, and how we must look forward to it.


Duke Francis of Bavaria given hope of claiming British throne

Jack Straw's review of the law banning Roman Catholics from succeeding to the throne may have some intriguing ramifications. It had been envisaged that any change to the law would apply only to future members of the Royal family, but the present Duke Francis of Bavaria, who claims to be the rightful king of Scotland, England, Ireland and France, is likely to be consulting m'learned friends about how it will apply to him.


Hat tip: Roncesvalles.

Act repeal could make Franz Herzog von Bayern new King of England and Scotland

Monday, December 8, 2008

Yet another argument against the metric system: it annoys kittehs!

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

Someday My Prince Will Come

No doubt many of you have read the charming Someday My Prince Will Come: True Adventures of a Wannabe Princess by Jerramy Fine. If you haven't, here's the official summary:

Most young girls dream of becoming a princess. But unlike most girls, Jerramy Fine never grew out of it. Strangely drawn to the English royal family since she was a toddler, Jerramy finds Peter Phillips (the Queen’s oldest grandson) in a royal family tree when she is only six years old, and decides immediately that he will be her future husband. But growing up with hippie parents (who gave her a boy’s name!) in the middle of a rodeo-loving farm town makes finding her prince a much bigger challenge than Jerramy ever bargained for.

She spends her childhood writing love-letters to Peter c/o Buckingham Palace, and years later, when her sense of destiny finally brings her to London, she must navigate the murky waters of English social circles, English etiquette and English dating. Along the way, she meets Princess Anne (Peter’s mother), befriends Earl Spencer, and parties with the Duchess of York.

Yet life is not the Hugh Grant movie she hoped it would be. Her flatmates are lunatics, London is expensive, and English boys can be infuriating. But just when she thinks it might be time to give up and return to America, Peter magically appears in her life.

Someday My Prince Will Come is a hilarious and heartwarming true story about having the courage to pursue your childhood dream no matter how impossible it seems.


The book is indeed a highly enjoyable read, even though I don't see eye to eye with Miss Fine about everything. Because of Miss Fine's textbook case of Anglomania, I thought my aunt, who is also an anglophile, might like to have the book for Chanukah. (Chanukah didn't used to be a gift-giving holiday, but we kind of picked up the habit to keep our kids happy.) I hadn't gotten around to ordering it when I received a notification from her website:

Dearest All,

The holidays are upon us and I'm sure you're all racking your brains for unique yet affordable gift ideas. Rack no longer!

How about getting your sister, mother, cousin, aunt, niece, friend, co-worker – a personalised, signed copy of Someday My Prince Will Come?!

Just tell me exactly how you want me to sign the book (who it's for, any special message, etc). I will engrave the book in gold pen according to your wishes and airmail it out to you in time for Christmas or Hanukkah. Cost is $30, which includes international shipping. Supplies are limited so first come, first serve. (US orders must be placed by Dec 10th.)

Royally yours,

Jerramy


If anyone else would like a nice autographed copy of this book, you can email Miss Fine at missjfine@googlemail.com.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

This article speaks for itself. No comment necessary.

Words associated with Christianity and British history taken out of children's dictionary

Oxford University Press has removed words like "aisle", "bishop", "chapel", "empire" and "monarch" from its Junior Dictionary and replaced them with words like "blog", "broadband" and "celebrity". Dozens of words related to the countryside have also been culled.

The publisher claims the changes have been made to reflect the fact that Britain is a modern, multicultural, multifaith society.

But academics and head teachers said that the changes to the 10,000 word Junior Dictionary could mean that children lose touch with Britain's heritage.

"We have a certain Christian narrative which has given meaning to us over the last 2,000 years. To say it is all relative and replaceable is questionable," said Professor Alan Smithers, the director of the centre for education and employment at Buckingham University. "The word selections are a very interesting reflection of the way childhood is going, moving away from our spiritual background and the natural world and towards the world that information technology creates for us."

Friday, December 5, 2008

How Obama Got Elected

The great mass of people are not sufficiently interested in politics to learn what is necessary to know in order to make informed voting decisions. Besides that most charitable observation—for it is to Americans’ credit that they value other things more than politics—it remains true that many people are stupid, uneducated, and lacking in practical wisdom. According to Andrew the logic professor, only a minority of his students—people in a selective university who have chosen to take courses in logic—are capable of discursive reasoning. Basic syllogistic steps, repeatedly explained over the course of fifteen weeks, are too much for them to grasp. How, then, can we expect every adult with a pulse to judge the complex matters of public policy?

It is absurd! Democracy is ridiculous, in theory and in practice. Yet, it holds such a commanding hold on the allegiances and aspirations of all. Simply baffling . . .

Thailand’s revolting middle-classes

Remember all those theories about how the emergence of an urban middle-classes is a force for democratisation, because the bourgeoise will demand political rights? Well, in Thailand the precise opposite is happening. The urban middle-classes are rising up and demanding that democracy be rescinded.


Hat tip Eunomia.

The King We Never Had

This was linked by several people on my blogroll, but I saw it first from Wilson Revolution Unplugged:

The Man Who Would Be King

If George Washington had been made monarch, this Texas family might be American royalty today.


Lore has it that President Washington was so well liked after his Revolutionary victory that a group of citizens frustrated with the Continental Congress floated the idea of a coup-d'etat and the installation of King George and the creation of an American monarchy. But Washington, who believed that anyone (anyone!) might make for a good leader, staunched the idea and eventually relinquished his power as commander-in-chief.

Since then, genealogists have been pondering the possibilities had President Washington been a bit more power-hungry. As early as 1908, newspapers published accounts of history buffs who worked their way through the Washington family tree using rules of succession to determine the rightful heir to the theoretical American throne. But without the Internet, branches of the Washington tree would be lost in Ohio, say, or forgotten by lineage sleuths who couldn't quite decipher a family tree made complicated because Washington himself didn't have any children.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Democracy is bad for business

Via the fledging blog A Letter To The Times, two quotations from the 1972 book Panics & Crashes and How You Can Make Money Out of Them, by Harry D. Schultz.

Left to itself the business cycle would probably ebb and flow in small waves at relatively frequent intervals. No government can stop this from happening. All it can ever do is alter the timing. For example, government may stop us having a minor recession every couple of years, one which we would barely notice. Instead, we get the recession in one big glob every 20 years or so, and then we suffer for several years from it.

Why does government do this? To buy time. A politician’s first duty is to get elected. Thus when things look slightly bad the politician feels obligated, for self-survival, to cover up.


Politicians also find inflation a good thing. They can promise wage increases and subsidies. They can announce all sorts of public works projects, knowing full well that inflation will soon offset their grandiose figures.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

This is, I believe, the 19th coup since the Thai monarchy was made ornamental.

Hooray for elected government!

Monday, December 1, 2008

His Majesty, the President

Why Americans Are Reluctant to Admit Their Presidents Are Kings

indeed, it is one of the great ironies of America that the Founding Fathers invested more power in the presidency than ever exercised by George III, a monarch described as a ‘tyrant’ in the Declaration of Independence. The Stadholder of the Netherlands, William V, was explicit. He wrote to John Adams, ‘Sir, you have given yourselves a king under the title of president’.


When our republic was founded, there was a great deal of debate over things like how to address the president; such things as "Your Excellent Highness" [or something similar] were suggested before they finally settled on "Mr. President". And when the White House was first being built, it was referred to as "the President's Palace".

Incidentally, the page has a link to a book called Just How Stupid Are We? Facing the Truth About the American Voter. I'm not familiar with the book, so I don't know if it's just tired America-bashing or if it actually deals with the folly of voting, but a folly it is. Nor do I imagine that voters in other countries are any wiser; indeed, the evidence is to the contrary.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

USA Deathwatch has posted a wonderfully wicked reactionary story by William S. Lind.

The last rock concert was held in 2013 in the Cleveland arena. It featured all the big rock bands lift in North America and most of the remaining rock fans too. The Greater Cleveland Garden Club sealed the doors and pumped in a herbal compound, derived largely from Queen Anne’s lace and Viola odorata, that rectified brain damage in the cranial region connecting hearing to taste. The fans were soon holding their ears and whistling "Dixie," and the ancient Rolling Stones ended up improvising Albinoni on their electrical guitars.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Democracies are temporary in nature; they simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. Democracies can exist until voters discover that they can vote themselves generous benefits from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the treasury, with the result that democracies finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy and deficit spending, which is followed by an economic depression and a period of political anarchy or despotism.


This quotation is often attributed to Alexander Fraser Tytler, apparently incorrectly, but nobody seems to know who really said it. Whoever he was, he was a smart man.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bon Mot from Florence King

Just ran across this typically wicked Florence King remark from a few years back:

"On the new Princess Diana tapes, she says that she threw herself down the stairs even though she knew she was carrying a child. She wasn't just carrying a child, she was carrying England. As soon as the baby was born she should have been beheaded for treason."


Incidentally, this reminded me of the old tradition of a condemned woman "pleading her belly". A pregnant woman was given a stay of execution until the child was born.

A few years ago there was a huge fuss among the pro-abortion crowd when a man was being sentenced for an assault on a pregnant woman that caused her to miscarry. As if it were a terribly difficult question, the press pondered, Should this be treated as a murder? Some politicianette declared that it was "dangerous" to treat a fetus as if it were a human being.

Appalling, yes, but it did inspire a schadenfreude-ish fantasy about liberal brains short-circuiting. Suppose a murderess were sentenced to the electric chair. Naturally progressives are opposed to the taking of guilty lives, it's only innocent ones that can be ended. Next suppose that she was pregnant and requested a stay of execution until she gave birth. Imagine the progressives torn between wanting to prevent the execution of a hardened criminal and terrified of setting the "dangerous" precedent of treating an unborn baby as if it had a right to live!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Democratic Multiculturalism: An Oxymoron

Joseph of Arimathea discusses matters of great interest to me:

Those Jews

A community is more than a marketplace where only the bare rules of exchange maintain order. A political community sees itself as one; it has biological, cultural, and religious connections that tie it together. A multicultural society is by nature a dysfunctional society unless it is ruled by a unified political power. That unified power can rule over the society as a dominant person, family, or class, or it can be the hegemonic population, as with the dominant WASP culture in America. (I deal with related matters in “Genealogical Interest”) Such hegemony displaces the minor cultures and forces them to assimilate or to submit before the dominant culture, and thus, such a society is not really multicultural. Monarchical and oligarchical multicultural empires can exist, but not democratic ones—they unravel through secession or genocide.


For the record, I agree with the blogger that we Jews have tended to go along with destructive liberal beliefs for understandable but ultimately wrong reasons. Also, though I am not a Christian, I am very much in favor of the survival of Christendom.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Daylight Savings Time: One more new-fangled thing I'm agin'.

This is a couple of weeks late, but I've been busy and distracted.

Perhaps daylight savings time makes our lives easier, but according to the following study posted on the National Health Institute website, daylight savings time can also be a cruel April fools joke. As we all lose an hour of sleep when our clocks spring ahead each daylight savings time, fatal traffic accidents increase dramatically leading to a deadly spring break.

Oh dear, this nonsense again. California wants year-round daylight savings time, so that evil power-plant building can be avoided for a few more years. Somehow, the California Energy Commission fails to mention that this was tried in 1973 -- and promptly repealed. You see, when you get up an hour ahead of the sun in winter, it's very dark for a long time, especially in the northern part of the country. And as children stumble around in the dark on their way to school, they get killed in increasing numbers in traffic accidents. So tell me, how much kindergarten blood is it worth to you, to accomodate the superstitions of those who think electricity is a bad idea?

Dammit. I was so glad that at least Indiana hadn't given in to this insanity, but as of last year, it caved in and inflicted DST on its residents. Now only Hawaii and parts of Arizona are holding out.

OK, this I have to admit gave me a warm fuzzy feeling: In September 1999, Palestinians living on West Bank were on Daylight Saving Time while the Israeli government had already switched back to Standard Time. When terrorists smuggled in time bombs, they exploded one hour early, killing three plotters instead of two busloads of people.

Case, an economist, said government studies refute the idea that daylight-saving time results in energy savings, which he called a myth.

Congress's logic was simple. If there's an extra hour of sunlight in the evening, people will turn on fewer lights. The Transportation Department once did a study saying daylight savings reduced America's use of oil by 100,000 barrels a day.

But Ryan Kellogg and Hendrik Wolff, who are working on their doctorates in economics, say the reduced need for light in the evening will likely be negated by the increased need in the early morning.

The folks in Washington apparently hadn't considered this. The daylight savings shift was a three-paragraph item in a 550-page energy bill in 2005. And that study from the Transportation Department? It's more than 30 years old.


For most people, getting an extra hour to sleep when Daylight Savings time ends October 29 is a sweeter treat than Halloween candy. Studies suggest this extra sleep yields a more significant benefit: a 7 percent decrease in automobile accidents immediately following the fall time change, according to one. Unfortunately, this study shows an 8 percent increase in automobile accidents the Monday after Daylight Savings resumes in the spring, when we lose an hour of sleep.

I’ll give you an example of just how sleep-deprived we are as a society. Every year in the Spring, we shift to daylight savings time, and on that day the nation loses an hour’s worth of sleep, and because God’s a good researcher, in the Fall we have a control group, so everybody gets an opportunity for an extra hour’s worth of sleep. Now we looked at traffic statistics in Canada for a couple of years on the day immediately following the shift to daylight savings time in the Spring and in the Fall, and what we found is in the Spring when you lose that hour’s worth of sleep, there’s a jump up in traffic accidents by 7%, and in the Fall when you get the extra hour’s worth of sleep, there’s a decrease by 7%. We are so chronically sleep-deprived as a society that a single hour’s worth of sleep gained or lost will shift the likelihood of accidents by 7% in either direction. That’s scary.
I wish to point out here that God did not inflict DST on His creatures. We must hold Him responsible for such things as tornadoes and bubonic plague, but DST we did to ourselves.

This isn’t the 1940s: and homes and businesses keep their lights and heat on throughout the day, regardless of the time displayed on the clock.

It might actually be a good thing to go on DST permanently. I wouldn't mind. But this switching back and forth is Not Okay.

And a drive-in commercial opposing DST:



Finally, this brilliant defense of DST:

Is DST WORTH IT? Boy, Let me tell you a story about the place I come from.

I live in Indiana (a midwestern US state). Up until last year, we'd never done DST before at all (with a few exceptions in towns whose economies were linked to cities across the border in other, DST-observing states).

Before we had DST, it was HELL. All year, it got dark at like 2:00pm. There was no Little League Baseball, no football (american or otherwise) for the kids. Most of our youth joined gangs, who roamed the incessant darkness in large, heavily fortified bad-mpg SUVs, kicking puppies and beating up old ladies just for fun. There was no Christmas and no birthdays, and if we saw the Easter bunny we ATE HIM.

Though many people had the misconception that we were "America's Breadbasket", in fact the darkness prevented us from raising any sort of sustenance crops and most of us resorted to cannibalism to survive. Most Hoosiers (that's what we're called, it means "land of eternal darkness" in a Native American tongue) eventually starved to death, which was viewed as a welcome respite from the hellish, unstoppable night. Dogs and cats, living together, you get the picture.

Then, we elected a new Governor who brought us into the light (literally). With the introduction of DST, and the seemingly random (almost whimsical, really) distribution of our Counties between two time zones, our lives were changed forever. Now, it's light outside pretty much twenty-four-fucking-seven. Our kids are all on at least six sports teams and never shoot each other anymore. They call you "sir" or "ma'am" (these words were not used before, as it was difficult to discern gender in the darkness), shine your shoes for you, and present you with ice-cold lemonade from stands with amusingly misspelled signs. We discovered oil everywhere, we grow more crops than the world could ever possibly use (which has ended hunger globally) and we're all filthy, stinking RICH. All the women have big perky boobs, all the men are RIPPED, and everybody has an IQ of at least 160.

Yes Sir, I don't know what we'd do if it weren't for good ol' DST. I have to assume that with the new DST-extending rule from our good friends in the US Congress, we'll probably just evolve to a higher state of being and shed these silly, out-dated husks to become super-intelligent beings composed of pure energy.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Bhutan crowns young king to guide young democracy

THIMPHU (Reuters) - With mediaeval tradition and Buddhist spirituality, a 28-year-old with an Oxford education assumed the Raven Crown of Bhutan on Thursday, to guide the world's newest democracy as it emerges into the modern world.

As the chief abbot chanted sacred sutras to grant him wisdom, compassion and vision, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck was crowned Bhutan's Fifth Druk Gyalpo, or Dragon King, by his own father, who imposed democracy and then abdicated two years ago....

Freed from the burden of government his father bore, Wangchuck remains an important symbol of national unity and stability in a country of just 635,000 people undergoing a sometimes traumatic and divisive transition to the modern world.

Prime Minister Jigmi Thinley, as well as describing the king as "strikingly handsome," also calls him "the guarantor of democracy."...

Five decades ago, Bhutan was a feudal, mediaeval place with no roads, proper schools or hospitals and scarcely any contact with the outside world. Today education and healthcare are free and life expectancy has risen to 66 years from less than 40.

For most Bhutanese, credit goes to the outgoing monarch, the 52-year-old Fourth King, who saw that his tiny country, perched precariously between India and China, had to be stronger to survive in a dangerous neighborhood.

He was also the architect of Bhutan's widely admired national philosophy, Gross National Happiness, the idea that spiritual and mental well-being matter as much as money, that material gain should not come at the expense of the environment or culture.

But the Fourth King's rule was not without controversy.

In the late 1980s, tens of thousands of ethnic Nepalis, mostly Hindus living in the southern lowlands, protested that their language and culture were being crushed by the Buddhist north.

Many were forced into exile, and today 100,000 live in refugee camps in eastern Nepal, excluded from this new democracy.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

King of the Mountain

King of the Mountain: The Nature of Political Leadership by Arnold M. Ludwig is a work of evolutionary psychology. Dr. Ludwig studied all of the heads of state of the 20th century for this book, and inevitably came to conclusions that did not gladden him. For the most part, the book brings massive data to support what we conservatives already knew: that this world is a vale of tears and humans are tragically flawed.

The book contains several graphs demonstrating the way that different types of head of state vary. By the criteria Dr. Ludwig chooses, in most of the graphs, (small-d) democrat leaders, such as presidents and prime ministers, always rate the best, with monarchs usually a distant second, with dictators of various sorts off the charts in degrees of disaster. This did not dishearten me, because I have different criteria from Dr. Ludwig about what makes a desirable ruler. The graphs I would have liked to see would have charted numerous subjects which Dr. Ludwig never mentioned: the tax policies, immigration policies, crime rates, government control of education, and degree of regulation of commerce and daily life. With these criteria, I don't have to tell you that European monarchs, at least, would have effortlessly exceeded democrats, under whom all of these things have become an avalanche over the past century.

Another quibble I have is that Dr. Ludwig points out that of all the types of leaders, democrats are the least likely to engage in war. While this is in itself true, I have to point out that the 20th century was the most democratic century in history and also the bloodiest. Before then, while monarchs were constantly declaring war on each other, European wars were mild compared to the horrors that democracies were to unleash upon each other in the 20th. Monarchs may wage more wars, but democrats wage far worse ones.

In his final chapter, Dr. Ludwig tries to find hope for his democratic, probably left-leaning ideals, but admits himself that there isn't much basis for it. He points out the increase in democracies over the past century, but then writes:

Despite these encouraging trends, it is hard to remain confident about their permanence. The problem is that autocratic rule seems to represent the more natural state of affairs among all higher-order primates. The overthrow of fledgling democracies by fascist, authoritarian, and other totalitarian regimes during the past century suggests that representative democracy, a relative parvenu on the historical scene, tends to thrive during stable political times and economic prosperity. When social crises that threaten the livelihood or lives of people arise, they become more prone to lapse to more primitive modes of responding in their selection of leaders and the kinds of government they will tolerate, much as those who learn a second language later in life tend to revert to their native tongue during times of confusion or stress.


One need not agree with all of Dr. Ludwig's premises to see the truth of his conclusions here.

Quotation of the Day

"The whole world is in revolt. Soon there will be only five kings left: the King of England, the King of Spades, the King of Clubs, the King of Hearts, and the King of Diamonds."
~King Farouk of Egypt in 1948, four years before he was overthrown.

The Metric System: Tool for Fascism

Whistle-blowers say council targeted 'metric martyrs' - Telegraph

Three former Hackney Council inspectors have told how they were instructed to single out Colin Hunt, 60 - one of the original metric martyrs - and his sister, Janet Devers, 64, for "enforcement action" because the pair had campaigned against the ban on imperial measurements.
One ex-inspector, who worked for Hackney for four years, said: "The manager told us that we had to teach Janet and Colin a lesson and focus our enforcement efforts on them rather than any other traders who used imperial measures or sold goods by the bowl. We knew it wasn't fair, but if we objected the managers just said we should do as we were told.


Hat tip An Englishman's Castle.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Elected government scientifically proven bogus

Caltech-led researchers find negative cues from appearance alone matter for real elections

PASADENA, Calif.-- Brain-imaging studies reveal that voting decisions are more associated with the brain's response to negative aspects of a politician's appearance than to positive ones, says a team of researchers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Scripps College, Princeton University, and the University of Iowa. This appears to be particularly true when voters have little or no information about a politician aside from their physical appearance.

The research was published online in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience (http://scan.oxfordjournals.org) on October 28.

Deciding whom to trust, whom to fear, and indeed for whom to vote in an election depends, in part, on quick, implicit judgments about people's faces. Although this general finding has been scientifically documented, the detailed mechanisms have remained obscure. To probe how a politician's appearance might influence voting decisions, Michael Spezio, an assistant professor of psychology at Scripps College and visiting associate at Caltech, and Antonio Rangel, an associate professor of economics at Caltech, examined brain activation in subjects looking at the faces of real politicians....

In some experiments, the volunteers had to make character-trait judgments about the politicians--for example, which of the two politicians in the pair looked more competent to hold congressional office, or which looked more likely to physically threaten the volunteer. In other experiments, volunteers were asked to cast their vote for one politician in the pair; once again, their decisions were based only on the politicians' appearances.

The results correlated with actual election outcomes. For example, politicians who were thought to look the most physically threatening in the experiment were more likely to have actually lost their elections in real life. The correlation held true even when volunteers saw the politicians' pictures for less than one tenth of a second.

Importantly, the pictures of politicians who lost elections, both in the lab and in the real world, were associated with greater activation in key brain areas known to be important for processing emotion.


In sum: people choose who to vote for based on their subconscious first reactions to the candidate's facial features.

That is, people who don't just vote a straight party ticket.

Hat tip: FuturePundit.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Good news

Bart Debie has been released. He will now have to be under house arrest, but at least they haven't sentenced him to death, which a prison term would almost certainly have been for him.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Democracy in Action

The entire farce is making me thoroughly gloomy this time 'round. Neither set of candidates will be any good even by the standards of elected officials.

It doesn't help that even those Americans who share most of my values still think this is a great system and that democracy will get us out of the hole we're in. Here I'm referring to the current financial situation as well as to the slow encroachment of civil liberties, which is far more advanced in Europe than here, but I believe it is only a matter of time before we catch up. For the past several decades, the entire Western world has been governed by elected officials, and our freedoms and our money has been steadily chipped away at. Politicians buy votes by promising that they will give special privileges to those who vote for them, or steal money from the productive and give it to the shiftless. That is how democracy works. "A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul." George Bernard Shaw said that. Ironic, considering that he himself advocated a system which robbed Peter to pay Paul.

But otherwise sane Americans close their eyes to all this and insist that by voting for good people, we can get all of the current disasters fixed. Never mind that democracy is how we got into this fix in the first place. Aside from the fact that even the handful of "good people" we've had in office in the last couple of decades have been, to say the least, very severely flawed, the policies proposed by both candidates will only make the situation worse. At least usually my party gives us someone who says he'll roll back all the entitlements and pork. The realistic know perfectly well that he can't even if he tries, but we like hearing it. But this time 'round, we're offering candidates who aren't even making the right promises.

It's becoming increasingly amazing to me that my fellow conservatives still believe that the decay of Western civilization, found throughout what was once christendom, can be reversed with a vote. I keep pointing out to them that there is only one partial case where it was at all. During the Reagan-Thatcher era, some of the creeping socialism was beaten back, though they didn't manage to do anything about abortion-on-demand or no-fault divorce or unrestrained immigration. And what's happened since? All their reforms have been reversed and the tide of socialist economics and speech policing and racial preference and excessive immigration has become a tsunami, and in addition we have a new menace: radical Islam, including sharia in the secular courts.

I keep having vague fantasies about moving somewhere else, but where? At least left-wing Americans can threaten to move to Canada if an election doesn't go their way or if laws they don't like get passed - though they never do seem to actually move there. They stay right here, whining about how terrible it is while they sip their lattés. Where do conservative Americans move to? Or conservative Europeans, for that matter? There is nowhere for us.

Of course, as a Jew, I could move to Israel, and the day when I do so might yet come. The way things are going, pretty soon my chances of getting blown up in a pizzeria will be about equal here as there.

Today I went to the "early voting" centers, which a lot of states have these days to ease the crush around the polls on election day. For blocks around people were having to park illegally, and the lines! I read that on Monday, some people were in line for as long as eight hours. Allegedly this is because of computer troubles that slowed things down and the lines are moving more briskly now, but they're still incredibly long. I have to wonder how many people are looking at this and wondering if adding their vote to the more than 100 million others is really worth it.

I resolved that in the future I'll avoid this with an absentee ballot, and then this very morning GoV links this:

10,000 absentee ballots in Gwinnett are flawed

The original ballots, designed to be filled out by hand, are flawed because of a printing error. The circle beside the candidate’s name is too thick and somewhat misshapen, and consequently an optical scanning machine won’t be able to read the votes on Election Day.

The county discovered the problem last week during routine testing.

Gwinnett had already mailed out 19,700 flawed ballots before it realized the problem.

Of those, 10,000 have already been marked and sent back by voters, said Lynn Ledford director of Voter Registration and Elections for Gwinnett County.

The printing mistake was not apparent to the naked eye, Ledford said.

The elections office will now have to transfer the votes from those 10,000 ballots onto new ballots so an optical scanning machine can read them, Ledford said. If more of the flawed ballots come back, that number will increase.

County spokesman Joe Sorenson said correcting the errors could be complicated.

“[Election workers] are going to have to take the bad ballots, take a look at what each choice is, and mark that choice for the second ballot,” Sorenson said. “There will be two sets of eyes on each ballot.”

From 200 to 300 election workers will be dedicated to this process, he said.


Guess what county I live in?

And how trustworthy are these "200 to 300 election workers" going to be?

Then I wielded my political power as the citizen of a democracy in another way, by taking the advice of GoV and writing a letter to the Belgian Embassy about the Bart Debie case. I am not going to summarize the case; the two links I posted do so admirably, and you need to read them. I sent an email. Hopefully a lot of people will email, write, and call, and maybe this outrageous sentence will at least be commuted. Nonetheless, it felt inadequate. How much good did it really do?

This appalling miscarriage of justice would not have been possible even a couple of decades ago. Maybe not even one decade ago. Thanks to the internet, I routinely come across left-leaning Europeans, some of them fairly sane people, who say all sorts of condescending things about how those benighted Americans are backward enough to think that laws against "racist speech" interfere with our freedom of speech. Can you imagine, we actually believe that being told what we may and may not say is being told what we may and may not say! And we are skeptical that those who would deprive us of our right to say things that someone, somewhere might interpret as racist would not then choose to deprive us of more of our free speech. We can give them an inch without them taking a mile, honestly! But it is these allegedly well-meaning laws against "hate speech" that have made this atrocity possible.

Notice that this former policeman who was convicted of making racial remarks which another man confessed to making when Mr. Debie was not even present has been denied the right to vote. How long before other such excuses are used to deprive dissenters from exercising our only hope of salvation under the democratic system, the vote?

Even if elected government worked, which it doesn't, the days when Westerners can rely on their vote being counted among the millions of others are numbered.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Links

The Evil Style Queen, who I linked a couple of days ago, has pointed out a couple more posts of interests in her blogs:

Some Bubble Bursting

So Charles and Camilla have married. Where have all those been, who are vilifying the former Mrs PB now, when the unspeakable "Queen of Hearts" was corrupting more than an entire generation of women and girls with her lack of dignity, obsessive self-centeredness and doubtful taste? She was a bad mother (it is well known how she draw her then small children into her marital problems), a bad wife, who did the worst to her husband any wife can do, namely to have a child by another man, she was bad --make that downright contraproductive-- in her job as Princess of Wales and deliberately tried to harm the institution that made her. As the, usually spot-on, Private Eye put it cynically: "In recent weeks (not to mention the last ten years) we at the Daily Gnome ... may have inadvertently conveyed the impression that the late Princess of Wales was in some way a neurotic, irresponsible and manipulative troublemaker who had repeatedly meddled in political matters that did not concern her and personally embarrassed Her Majesty The Queen by her Mediterranean love-romps with the son of a discredited Egyptian businessman."


Style Is An Attitude

Why do I think The Queen is stylish?


Welcome to this Blog

Empress Elisabeth of Austria, shown in the header as a young girl in a painting by Carl Theodor von Piloty and on the left, is emblematic for this Blog.


She also links to Windsor Style.

Monday, October 20, 2008

"U" and "non-U" English

An Intact Sense for Class Distinction Helps to Keep the Language Precise and Beautiful

There are, of course, other class indicators, for example at what time of the day one has what kind of meal, what clothes one wears, houses -- where and how, and whether one likes the late Princess Diana or not. The latter, in fact, managed to draw a sharply defined line between the middle classes, who adored Diana because she displayed ad nauseam all the maudlin and phoney values of which the middle classes are so fond, and the upper-classes, who hated her because she was, as "Private Eye" put it in a meanwhile removed article, "a neurotic, irresponsible and manipulative troublemaker who had repeatedly meddled in political matters that did not concern her and personally embarrassed Her Majesty The Queen by her Mediterranean love-romps with the son of a discredited Egyptian businessman".


Fair warning: there is some profanity in this post. Also some rather mild sneers at American speech, but we can take it. Besides which, much as I love my country, I will readily admit that our accents are terrible.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Quotation of the Day

A democracy cannot survive as a permanent form of government. It can last only until its citizens discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority (who vote) will vote for those candidates promising the greatest benefits from the public purse, with the result that a democracy will always collapse from loose fiscal policies, always followed by a dictatorship.

~Lord Thomas MacCauley or "Alexander Tyler"

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Metric Martyrs

'Metric martyrs' given reprieve

The government is acting to end the prosecution of so-called "metric martyrs" - traders who continue to sell goods using only imperial measures.

The government will shortly issue new guidelines to local authorities to encourage "proportionate" action.

Campaigner Neil Herron called the decision "a fantastic victory".

Last year the EU ruled that the UK could carry on using imperial measures, but some councils have continued to take action against people doing so.

Earlier this month Janet Devers, an east London trader, was found guilty of using imperial weighing scales without an official stamp in a prosecution brought by Hackney council.

Last September, European Union commissioners ruled that Britain could carry on using imperial measurements such as pints, pounds and miles.

But under current UK law, traders must also give a conversion figure if they display weights in imperial measurements.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Mrs. Simpson at the movies

I've been neglecting this blog lately. Work's been using up all of my energy, among other things. But last night I finished my personal Wallis Simpson Film Festival.

The movies I watched were Edward & Mrs. Simpson, Wallis & Edward, Bertie & Elizabeth and The Woman He Loved. (The first three are available through Netflix; the final one isn't on DVD yet and I had to buy an old videotape of it on ebay.)

Of all of them, I have to say that Bertie & Elizabeth, in which Mrs. Simpson and Edward VII are supporting characters, was by far the best movie and the most historically accurate representation of them. We are shown a few examples of Mrs. Simpson's rude and inconsiderate behavior, and the self-centeredness of the future Edward VII, features missing from the movies which focused on them. The movie doesn't depict whatever strategems she used to bind the Prince of Wales to her, but all of the other characters have no doubt that it is ambition and not love that drives her.

The other three movies depict the story of the Prince of Wales and the American divorcée as a love story. Only The Woman He Loved showed the slightest skepticism about this interpretation. For instance, when Lady Furness asks her good friend Mrs. Simpson to "Take care of David while I'm gone" (David, in case any of you didn't know, being the name the Prince of Wales was called by his friends) and returns to discover that Mrs. Simpson has taken this request all too literally, we aren't given any excuse for this underhanded move. Wallis Simpson stole her friend's boyfriend, pure and simple. Also, while the newly crowned Edward VII was fighting to be allowed to marry her, Mrs. Simpson tells her Aunt Bessie, "I don't want to be Queen." Aunt Bessie replies, "Yes, you do. I know what's going on in your mind. You think that would make up for being so poor when you were a little girl." [Not a precise quotation from the movie.] Many historians have speculated that Mrs. Simpson indeed hoped to be Queen. It's likely that, being an American, she genuinely did not understand the constraints a king must live within. Our propaganda promotes the notion that kings are all despots with unlimited power, and I doubt that Mrs. Simpson had the discernment to see through this myth.

The Woman He Loved is also the only one of the movies focused on that pair that acknowledged Edward VII's Nazi sympathies in the least. It was a brief, throwaway scene, however, as if this were a matter of small importance. In Bertie & Elizabeth, by contrast, there is a scene where the titular couple, horrified, watch footage of the newly abdicated Duke of Windsor and his Duchess in Germany, giving the Hitler salute. It is said that when Edward VII abdicated, Hitler mourned, "I have lost a friend to my cause." Bertie & Elizabeth shows such contrast in the character of the royal brothers that the viewer is abundantly relieved that the reign of Edward VII was a brief one.

All of the movies deserve credit for having the actresses who played Wallis Simpson done up to look like the real historical personage, who was hardly a beauty. In addition, all of the actresses adopted the highly artificial manner of Wallis Simpson. None of the movies inflicts Tudors-style explicit scenes on us, not even dimly lit romanticized ones.

For those who, like me, love early-20th-century clothes, cars and music, all the movies are a feast for the eyes and ears. Edward & Mrs. Simpson had the additional bonus of opening with the old song, "I've danced with a man who's danced with a girl who's danced with the Prince of Wales."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Royalty over Politicians

I gather most of my fellow countrymen watched the debate tonight. While they were doing that, I watched Bertie and Elizabeth, about how bravely George VI and his Queen did their duty during the Second World War. Seeing the courage of English civilians during the blitz was far more uplifting than anything I could possibly hear about what's going on today. And as a descendant of Englishmen, I cherish such glimpses of an England that no longer exists.

There was a delightful anecdote. The Dowager Queen - the mother of Edward VII and George VI - told her family that she had followed the exhortations to the public to give rides to servicemen. "I gave a ride to an American. Wonderful man. But I think he had no idea who I was." If that's true, it's priceless.

The movie is excellent, and I recommend it to everyone. As a bonus, it is the only movie I know of that portrays Wallis Simpson as the selfish gold-digger she likely was, rather than romanticizing her story.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

5 Myths About Those Civic-Minded, Deeply Informed Voters

4. Voters today are smarter than they used to be.

Actually, by most measures, voters today possess the same level of political knowledge as their parents and grandparents, and in some categories, they score lower. In the 1950s, only 10 percent of voters were incapable of citing any ways in which the two major parties differed, according to Thomas E. Patterson of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, who leads the Pew-backed Vanishing Voter Project. By the 1970s, that number had jumped to nearly 30 percent.

Here's what makes these numbers deplorable -- and, in fact, almost incomprehensible: Education levels are far higher today than they were half a century ago, when social scientists first began surveying voter knowledge about politics. (In 1940, six in ten Americans hadn't made it past the eighth grade.) The moral of this story: Schooling alone doesn't translate into better educated voters.

A new monarchist blogger has joined us!

Welcome, Lord Soleil!

He also links to another new blog I haven't seen before, Monarchist Initiative.

The Waste of Democracy

On this blog I try to only post about things directly relevant to monarchy, with occasional excursions into tradition. But elsewhere on the Net I do sometimes post about the contemporary political scene.

I am very disgruntled by the options Americans are being presented with this November, and to make matters worse, most members of the party I'm registered with (I can't truly call it mine any longer) don't seem to see any trouble with our offerings. I've already made a few posts about what's wrong with our candidates and gotten a pile of angry responses, many containing factual errors which they should have checked up on. In a way, I understand; since we're going to be saddled with one option or the other, it's only human to try to convince oneself that at least one of the options is a good one. It's hard to get on with getting your job done and the dishes washed and everything else when you're convinced that disaster is looming (which I am). (Not that things are any more disastrous than they've been for the last several decades.)

So today I was thinking about some more points I would like to make in future posts, and realized that I probably won't have the time and energy to support my points as thoroughly as I would prefer, as I have a lot of work over the next couple of weeks. Indeed, just thinking about it, and doing the research online and in various print publications, and the stress of some of the nastier comments, has me feeling tired.

Similarly, most publications, TV shows, and blogs are currently full of dirt on and dissection of the various candidates, just as they are before every election.

It occurs to me that the democratic process is an enormous waste of time, energy and money.

Suppose this were a monarchical country. Most likely we would have been hearing everything about the king since the day he was born. In other words, we would already know our ruler well, instead of having to get to know a new set of people every two years. And rely on the journalists to do a fair and competent job of finding out everything about him and relaying the information to us. And we have to read the opposing reports, figure out whose word to trust, argue about it with half the people we know, and decide who would be the best choice. That's not even mentioning the huge amounts of effort politicians put into campaigning and journalists put into following them around, etc. etc.

Just imagine if all that time, energy and money were being put into constructive pursuits.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

2008: Proof that we need to bring monarchy back

I know I've been neglecting this blog of late. I shall return, never fear. Work's been using up too much of my energy the last few weeks. I haven't had time to check the various Google alerts I set up for monarchy-related news to link here. However, when things ease up a little I'm going to start a series of historical posts. At this moment I'm not sure when that will be, of course....

I don't intend to talk much about my country's impending elections here, but today I will. Just to say that I'm deeply disappointed in the party I'm registered with (Republican, of course), and this fall, for the first time since I was old enough to drink, I'll be voting Libertarian.

The only bright spot I can see is that whichever disaster we inflict on ourselves this November, it's got to open a few people's eyes to the perils of elected government.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Tory Historian points out the utter historical inaccuracy of the new movie The Duchess, which is based on the life of Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire, the way Love At First Bite was based on Bram Stoker's most famous novel.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Often when one says that one is in favor of monarchy, the sneering response is, "Oh, you want to be king, huh?"

This makes no more sense than responding to someone's support of elected government with, "Oh, you want to be president, huh?"

Friday, August 22, 2008

Demoralised Georgia may renew itself by restoring its monarchy

by Gerald Warner

As war-torn Georgia struggles to assert its sovereignty and redefine its identity, there is now a growing possibility that the country may have recourse to an option that has been simmering on the political agenda for the past 18 years by restoring its ancient monarchy and recalling the head of the Bagration dynasty to the throne.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Islamic terror cell 'may have been plotting to attack Queen'

The cell, which included Britain's youngest ever terrorist, arrested on his way home from his GCSE chemistry exam, was found with information about the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh along with the Prince of Wales, the Duke of York, the Earl of Wessex and the Princess Royal.

Also on the list were Princess Michael of Kent, The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and The Duke and Duchess of Kent.


I can't think of any words adequate to express my outrage, so I won't try.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Democracy is the exaltation of mercy at the expense of justice.
~Gustave Flaubert

The whole dream of democracy is to raise the proletarian to the level of stupidity attained by the bourgeois.
~Gustave Flaubert

Several from here:

Democracy consists of choosing your dictators, after they've told you what you think it is you want to hear.
~Alan Corenk

Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half the time.
~E. B. White

Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.
~George Bernard Shaw

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.
~H. L. Mencken

Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule - and both commonly succeed, and are right.
~H. L. Mencken

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Queen Elizabeth's Glittering Gowns

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has opened the Royal Wardrobe and Jewelry Box to celebrate her 80th birthday. It is to the State Rooms of Buckingham Palace one must travel to view some well known dresses and exquisite gems. Seven decades of the Queen's life are traversed through 80 gowns and jewels.

Violence threatens Kashmir peace

Observers are almost unanimous that the land row is an effect rather than a cause of antagonism between the two regions.

They say the simmering discontent dates back to the ending of the monarchy in Kashmir in 1947.

The monarch, Maharaja Hari Singh, was a Hindu who belonged to the main ethnic Dogra community of Jammu.

"When the monarchy ended and a popular government was installed under the leadership of Sheikh Abdullah, the power base shifted to the valley of Kashmir which has a larger population than Jammu," says Professor Noor Ahmed Baba of Kashmir University.

He argues that the people of Jammu felt disenfranchised then and that feeling remains even now.


Emphasis added.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Tonga's King bows to his people

AS the sun rose over Nukua'lofa on the day Tongans traditionally crowned their king, long shadows cast in the heart of town was a grim reminder of how things had changed in the island kingdom.

No longer would the king have all the say. And the empty spaces - where only foundations of buildings remain after fed-up Tongans rioted and torched them in 2006 - became monuments to democratic reform in the Friendly Isles.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Nepal after monarchy is at risk of civil strife

Ya think?

The monarch has been deposed and a republican president installed. The world applauds or is indifferent. Let me be the voice of dissent. Nepal is making a profound mistake.

Fragile societies which have multiple fissures and fractures along ethnic, religious and social lines are far better off with a constitutional monarchy where the sovereign is a convenient and comfortable symbol transcending different groups within the country and providing a unifying symbol. By getting rid of the institution of monarchy, Nepal runs the risk of descending into chaos with endless fratricidal civil wars.

Remember Afghanistan had a king. It may not have been the greatest place to live, but at least there was a measure of peace, freedom and progress. The monarchy was eliminated and then began the long agony of the Afghan people who were now Khalq or Parcham supporters, Pusthuns, Tadzhiks or Hazaaras, but Afghans no longer. With all its faults, the existence of a constitutional monarchy would have enabled greater balance and harmony in a poor volatile country.


France has seen several republics and more constitutions because after the revolution, they were unable and unwilling to have an act of healing which is implied by the word “restoration”. In Belgium, the only Belgian is the king. The rest are either Flems or Walloons and if it had become a republic, the country would have split long ago to the economic and social detriment of all its residents. Closer home, Thailand is a good example of a country that has preserved stability and embraced prosperity under a universally revered king. It is not a coincidence that a Moslem army chief in Thailand dutifully bowed before his sovereign. The jury is out on the crown prince who has many detractors. The Thais should in their own interests ensure that the institution of monarchy continues.


The monarchies of Oman, Kuwait and the Arab Emirates have proved themselves much more tolerant, progressive and citizen-friendly than the republican dictatorships that were established in countries such as Egypt and Iraq. One could even argue that the Shah’s dispensation in Iran was better for half its citizens (women) than the present dispensation!


That last sentence is not even remotely a stretch. Read Reading Lolita in Tehran.

This editorial isn't really monarchist:

Clearly, a monarch is not needed in mature civil societies and functioning democracies.


Yeah, clearly.

Another detail of the case against elected government

Mortgage Crisis, the Dollar and its Future, Part 1

Of course governments do not want a fixed monetary policy. The Fed board of governors does not want to be replaced by a laptop computer. Nor do politicians want to give up the power to be expedient and irresponsible with other people's money—all in the name of good intentions, of course. They have a vested interest in inflation. They do not want a system that would restrain the lavish spending that buys voter support for their reelections. They do not want to give up playing god with the economy and the populace. Their good intentions for both can be financed in only two ways: 1) by taking money away from the people (taxation), or 2) by taking value away from the money (inflation). Taxation is not sufficient; there is no way the voters would accept taxes high enough to equal what they lose through inflation that finances the politicians' schemes.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Parliament may stop swearing allegiance to Her Majesty

MPs want to ditch historic oath to Queen

The 22 MPs want the Commons and the Lords to be allowed to swear allegiance to their constituents and the nation rather than to the monarch.

The cross-party group, led by Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker, says MPs' "principal duty" should be to the people who elected them.


Tony Banks was caught on television crossing his fingers during the oath and Dennis Skinner was heard on a microphone adding "and all who sail on her" after the words Queen Elizabeth.

On another occasion the MP for Bolsover murmured: "I can't swear allegiance to a Queen who refuses to pay taxes."


How incredibly juvenile. And their insistence on pledging an oath to laws they themselves make smacks of the modern tendency to reject genuine religion in favor of making oneself the God of one's own universe, decreeing what is good and what is bad according to one's own whims. Already elected officials (and not just in England) have gotten entirely too full of themselves, believing that God does not exist if He's not allowed to be mentioned in public places, that science can be changed by decree if it conflicts with the goals of the state, and that they can jettison centuries of tradition and build something better in its place. Now they are whining to be allowed to stop making a ritualistic acknowledgement of a symbolic authority above themselves.

As a tangent: this is why governments hate religion. Oh, governments will use religions when it suits them for their own ends, but they still hate them, and historically have usually discouraged them when they could. The very existence of religion means that there is an authority above that of the king/parliament/Supreme Court. Jews and Christians in the Roman Empire were both persecuted for refusing to revere statues of the Emperor or put statues of Zeus et al in their synagogues and Churches. The Soviets actively worked to wipe out religion (and failed, to their own amazement). The Nazi High Command was pagan and intended to eventually replace Christianity with faux Odinism. Wholly secular government is not a thing to be contemplated with pleasure.

Hat tip: An Englishman's Castle.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

"I would definitely prefer a limited monarchy, for I would sooner be subject to the caprice of one man, than to the ignorance and passions of the multitudes."
~Noah Webster, Minuteman and lexicographer

Sir Patrick Moore

I have just read the autobiography of the wonderfully politically incorrect, old-school Englishman, astronomer Sir Patrick Moore. Here are a couple of relevant excerpts. The first comes right after he said some nice things about Mrs. Thatcher. (I too admire her, even if she was elected; as politicians go, she was a giant.)

Yet even her Government did not have an unblemished record, and was guilty of the betrayal of Rhodesia. Whatever you think about 'white rule', the Rhodesia of the 1970s and 1980s was peaceful and prosperous. Left on their own, the Rhodesians would steadily have broken down the barriers between the races. Unfortunately nothing would satisfy our Labour Government except the overthrow of the régime, and the Tories to their discredit, kept up the pressure. The country was handed over to Mugabe, a thug of the worst type. Today our present Government is plotting to betray Gibraltar in the same way, but not for a moment do I believe that the Gibraltarians will surrender. After all, they didn't surrender in 1940.

If I had to select one country which had an excellent political system I would go for Liechtenstein - all 79 square miles of it. I had the whole story from one of the close relatives of the Ruling Prince (I met him in a shop in Vaduz, the capital; I had gone in to buy some camera film). There are two political parties, and elections are held every four years, but as the aims and objectives of the two parties are identical nobody bothers to vote and the Ruling Prince goes on ruling, financing the administration of postage stamps, a false teeth factory and the manufacture of cuckoo clocks. There is a police force - he's a very pleasant chap - and a prison, which I gather is used as a supplementary hotel during the tourist season. I put one question to my charming acquaintance: 'Look, you have been an independent state ever since the thirteenth century. How have you managed it?' He gave me a knowing smile. 'It is easy, my friend,' he said. 'We are no bloody good to anybody!'

Perhaps there is a moral there....


What he was saying about Rhodesia, I am discovering is the story of most of the Third World. All those "little fighting countries", as the mother of one of my classmates once put it, have been impoverished and unstable for as long as I have been paying attention to such things, so I assumed they have always been so. Only when I started reading monarchist blogs and essays did I discover otherwise! Under colonial governments and/or monarchies, they were peaceful and prosperous. In most cases, it was communist forces, or their watered-down versions of the same thing such as British Labourites, who toppled the beneficent governments they had, plunging them into chaos and leaving them at the mercy of the biggest thug on that particular block. The history of democracy is a bloody one indeed.

On a more cheerful note, he discusses his involvement in the Mars probes:

The worst blunder of all was with Mars Climate Orbiter, a spacecraft launched in 1999 to improve our knowledge of the Martian surface. During the approach manoeuvre, instructions were sent to it in Metric units, blissfully regardless of the fact that it had been programmed to work in Imperial. The result was predictable: Farewell, Climate Orbiter. As I remember saying, this was yet another case of the evil of creeping Metrication!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Gerald Warner columns

Garibaldi and the Risorgimento paved the way for Fascism and EU

It pains me to contradict Daniel Hannan, whose relentless bombardment of the Evil Empire based in Brussels is an inspiration and a joy to read, but in praising Garibaldi and the Risorgimento he has got hold of the wrong end of the stick. The forcible unification of the geographical expression called Italy was a dress rehearsal for the European Union.

The Italian preunitary states were nations which Piedmont - the Prussia of the Italian peninsula - incorporated by conquest into an artificial, bureaucratic and despotic entity called the "Kingdom of Italy". The much-abused Bourbons of the Two Sicilies were popular monarchs who spoke the local dialect, kept the national debt and taxes down, and ensured their subjects had cheap food.

They were demonised by that sanctimonious old windbag Gladstone (and no, Daniel, an "Italian Gladstone" is an oxymoron) who took time off from saving fallen women to denounce the Bourbon monarchy as "the negation of God erected into a system of government". That phrase would accurately describe the European Union. The true negation of God was the extravagant cynicism with which Cavour and Napoleon III, at Plombieres in 1858, plotted a war in which thousands would die: "a plausible excuse presented our main problem", wrote Cavour.


Plumed hats, rapiers and heaving bosoms

erald Warner celebrates the unexpected appearance of one last ‘swashbuckling novel’, and mourns the loss of a genre that taught boys honour, courage and chivalry

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Things going as expected in Nepal. Unfortunately.

Nepal hit by language row

KATHMANDU (AFP) — A row erupted Monday in Nepal over a decision by the country's new vice-president to read out his oath of office in Hindi, the main language of neighbouring India, rather than Nepali.

The newly-republican Himalayan nation's Supreme Court ordered Parmananda Jha, who was sworn in last week, to explain his use of a foreign language.


V-P defensive as anti-Hindi protests grow

KATHMANDU: For the fourth day in a row yesterday, tumultuous protests continued in Kathmandu, the Terai plains and other regions of Nepal with thousands of students burning the effigy of newly elected Indian-origin Vice-President Parmanand Jha, and demanding an apology from him for taking his oath of office in Hindi.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The French Fuhrer: Genocidal Napoleon was as barbaric as Hitler, historian claims

Until recently, the French would have been incensed by any comparison between Napoleon and Hitler.

But to their rage and shame, new research has shown that France's greatest hero presided over mass atrocities which bear comparison with some of Hitler's worst crimes against humanity.

These reassessments of Napoleon have caused anguish in France. Top politicians backed out of official ceremonies to mark what was possibly Napoleon's greatest victory, the battle of Austerlitz, when Napoleon's Grande Armee defeated the combined armies of Austria and Russia in just six hours, killing 19,000 of their adversaries.

A street in Paris named Rue Richepanse (after Antoine Richepanse, a general responsible for atrocities in the Caribbean) has recently had its name changed to Rue Solitude.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

News

Tongan king to give up absolute rule

Closing a session of Parliament a week later, the king said, "Let us rebuild a new capital and a new Tonga."

The announcement, the news agency said, is part of that promise.

Already this year, two other countries saw the end of monarchy.

In March, Bhutan held elections that ended more than 100 years of royal rule in the South Asian nation and transformed it into a democracy.

Two months later, neighboring Nepal declared itself a republic following the elections for a new Constituent Assembly that abolished a 239-year monarchy.


Nepal Sees Shaky Start as Monarchy Gives Way to Republic

Nepal's Maoists, which won the largest number of seats but fell short of a majority in April's general elections, had said they will not form a government because their choice of president was rejected by rival lawmakers.

However, the Maoists offered to reverse a decision to boycott forming a government in a compromise that could steer the newly republican country out of a new political crisis. The preconditions set by the Maoists include the need to end the alliance of Nepali Congress (NC), the Communist Party Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) and Madheis People's Rights Forum, to prepare a common minimum program and give the vote of confidence to the government for at least two years.

The Maoists' continued involvement in mainstream politics is seen as crucial to the survival of the peace process. They are also the only party with enough seats to form a stable government.


Let's review that key sentence: "The Maoists' continued involvement in mainstream politics is seen as crucial to the survival of the peace process." By whom? Newly arrived aliens who have never before heard of Maoists?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Nepal Maoists rethink opposition

It was the first major decision by the assembly since lawmakers decided to abolish the 239-year-old monarchy and declare a republic, part of a peace process that ended a decade-long civil war with Maoist insurgents.


As usual, the phrase "peace process" is a euphemism for something appalling, in this case for accepting the status of a conquered people.
Governments, if they endure, always tend increasingly toward aristocratic forms. No government in history has been known to evade this pattern. And as the aristocracy develops, government tends more and more to act exclusively in the interests of the ruling class — whether that class be hereditary royalty, oligarchs of financial empires, or entrenched bureaucracy.

~Frank Herbert, Dune

I guess monarchists have as much right as anybody to be oversensitive.

Monarchists upset by beer ad

A pro-monarchy group says a billboard advertisement is bordering on political advertising in support of a republic.

The Australian Monarchists League says two billboards in Sydney have urged consumers to "Forget the monarchy, support the publicans".

League national chairman Philip Benwell says the wording of the ad by South Australian beer company Coopers is an attack on the constitutional monarchy.

"This particular advertisement is designed to get people to support publicans, but it's also saying 'Forget the monarchy', and that's what we object to," he said.

"Why couldn't they say 'Forget the Republicans, support the publicans?' Why do they have to attack the monarchy?"

A spokesman for Coopers says the advertisement ran on billboards for just a short time and is not a major issue.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Monarchy in the news

Former anti-monarchist and palace bomber likely to be elected Nepal's first president

Hooray for democracy!

The Last Tsar Was Michael, Not Nicholas

The 90th anniversary of the massacre of the Romanovs in Yekaterinburg has been raised to a new dimension thanks to the city of Perm. Since 1991, a growing number of Perm residents have argued that the last legitimate ruler of Russia was not Nicholas II, but his younger brother Michael. Recently, their cause got a mighty boost -- from Britain, of all places.

Donald Crawford, the co-author of "Michael and Natasha: The Life and Love of Michael II, the Last of the Romanov Tsars," is adamant that "legally, albeit just for one day, the last Russian tsar was not Nicholas, but Michael." Michael's secret morganatic marriage to Nataliya in 1912, in a Serbian church in Vienna, was a scandal. The tsar forbade him to set foot in Russia, impounded his property and deprived of a chance to succeed.


Monarchy still best, Romanov heiress tells Russians

YEKATERINBURG, Russia - Russians should not rule out the benefits of returning to a monarchical system, a leading descendant of tsar Nicholas II said on Thursday while marking her ancestor's killing 90 years ago.

"Concerning monarchy, it's for the Russian people to decide themselves if this option suits them," said Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, who on the basis of her ancestral line claims to be Nicholas's heir.

"It gives a nation something eternal they can rely on.... Forgive me, as head of the imperial house I couldn't think otherwise, but it's our people who should choose for themselves," she told reporters.


Belgium: Last hope?

July 21 is usually a day of celebration in Belgium, yet on Monday King Albert II will have to contemplate no less than the disintegration of his kingdom as he addresses his people on their national holiday.

Following Prime Minister Yves Leterme’s resignation last week, after only four months in office, the prospects of a division of Belgium into two separate states along linguistic lines is becoming ever more real. The crisis began with the inconclusive result of the June 2007 general election: nine months later an extremely fragile five-party coalition was finally cobbled together, but only because the decision on the key question of decentralisation was postponed until July 15. When a compromise between the francophone and Flemish parties could not be found, the government collapsed.


Dead dreams of kingship

This is a very strange story: the tale of a dashing young Habsburg archduke who, some thought, was destined to become King of the Ukraine at the end of the First World War. His enthronement would have fulfilled the dreams of many, including the soldiers of the 'Ukrainian Legion' which he had commanded. And for the archduke himself, who had learned fluent Ukrainian and wore an embroidered peasant shirt under his uniform, it would have been the realisation of all his ambitions.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Has this chap written any books I can order?

Chavs become protected species in new PC witch-hunt by Gerald Warner

The great Chav debate waxes ever more furiously. Its most recent escalation has been provoked by Tom Hampson, editorial director of the Fabian Society, in a leader for the Fabian Review that has not yet officially been published. Mr Hampson is deeply exercised about the use of the term "chav" and wants it banned (what else?).

"You cannot consider yourself of the left and use the word," declares Hampson. Not a problem in my case, Tom. "It is deeply offensive to a largely voiceless group," he insists. This suggests a lack of empirical evidence to support his case: whatever else chavs may be, they are certainly not voiceless. "It is distancing," he bleats on, "turning the 'chav' into the kind of feral beast that exists only in tabloid headlines." Poor Mr Hampson - he obviously does not get out much.

That does not prevent him indulging in some insightful social analysis: "The middle classes have always used language to distinguish themselves from those a few rungs below them on the ladder - we all know their old serviette/napkin, lounge/living room, settee/sofa tricks." Hah! Got your number, Ms Mitford! (How she would have adored being described as "middle-class".) Clearly, you have to get up pretty early in the morning to put one over on Mr Hampson in the U/Non-U class struggle. With a bolshie attitude like that, however, he is unlikely to accumulate desirable invitations (he would probably call them "invites") on his chimneypiece.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A couple of links from an interesting site

The Impact Of Decline Upon Weights And Measures

Our community is discarding the useful weights and measures learnt by centuries of experience by replacing Imperial with Metric measure. The following article is from Keefe university, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, England. It is about the proposed metrication of the United Kingdom but it clearly reveals the defeat of commonsense that metrication entails.


The Inspiration And Nature Of Democracy

Whenever the notion of democracy is criticised, contemporary citizens (circa 2000) often ignore the logic of the arguments but simply reiterate that ancient Greek civilization proved the value of democracy. It certainly did, but the example of ancient Greek civilization is the opposite of a recommendation for democracy. Ancient Greek civilization rose to wealth and power as a series of city states each ruled by a monarch, who the Greeks referred to as a tyrant. The start of the decline of ancient Greek civilization was marked by the Peloponessian war in the 5th century BC, which was effectively a rebellion against the traditional rule of tyrants. The status quo was championed by Sparta and the rebellion by Athens, who had replaced their tyrant with a forum of wealthy citizens. The Athenian approach was to let the forum decide issues via a discussion followed by a vote, and this is generally considered as the birth of democracy.


The site in general is worth exploring. I think most monarchists will find it more or less to their tastes; like us, he is unimpressed by most things about the modern world.

New Links added

In going through my monarchist links looking for items to add to Social Monarchy, I came across several blog posts. Most of these blogs I don't subscribe to, many of them I largely disagree with, but they had individual posts of interest to monarchists.

So I just added a new link list to my sidebar for those posts. Be sure to explore them.

Achewood

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A day-late Bastille Day link

I can't believe I missed this yesterday. Hat tip Royal World, Gerald Warner points out the true nature of Bastille Day.

Bastille Day celebrates murderous origins of French Republic

Pompous parades will today celebrate the event that triggered the French Revolution, that is to say, the most appalling bloodbath anterior to the Russian Revolution. Seven prisoners were released from the Bastille - four counterfeiters, an accomplice to murder and two lunatics - whose return to the community was hardly beneficial. The attack on the prison, reserved for the well-off, was orchestrated by the Marquis de Sade and Camille Desmoulins on behalf of the Nine Sisters masonic lodge.

There followed the September massacres, the marriages republicains in which people of opposite sexes were stripped naked and lashed together in obscene postures before being drowned, mothers forced to watch their children being guillotined and the massacre of 400,000 Catholic royalists - the majority of them women and children - in La Vendee. Sounds like the perfect excuse for a celebratory knees-up.

Discussion of male primogeniture

This piece is from a feminist website:

Queens, Virgins, and Sluts

Warning: There is some strong language on the site. Not a great deal, but it's there.

(I hope to post more parts of this is anyone's interested in reading it. And let me clarify I'm an American and I don't actually dislike the monarchy or think it should be abolished, I just don't like some of the sexism that comes with it)

The monarchy in Great Britain is one of the few monarchies in Europe that still has male-preference primogeniture. For the unfamiliar, basically that means that when the throne is vacant, it goes to the oldest son. Only if there are no sons can it go to a daughter. If there are no children at all, it goes back through the line of the next son back a generation. For example, if a King had a girl first, and then a boy, the boy would get the throne even though he's younger than his sister. If he has no sons and one daughter, she gets the throne. If he has no children at all, it would go to his younger brother or his brother's descendants.

Getting passed [sic] the general unfairness of getting anything simply because you were born to the right family at the right time, it's also unfair in another sense. It's astonishingly outdated and sexist. That's the reason the monarchies in Sweden, Norway, and Belgium, among other places, changed it to absolute primogeniture, which is where the eldest child, regardless of gender, takes the throne. One of the main reasons Britain hasn't changed like those other countries is that it just hasn't come up since Queen Victoria's children. Every monarch since Queen Victoria has either had a sons first, or hasn't had sons at all. If the current Queen had had a younger brother, she would not be reigning right now unless the law had been changed in her favor.


This raises several points. To begin with, the one she mentions in passing, the "general unfairness" of inheritance. It's unfair to the newborn heirs, true, but it is entirely fair to the deceased who bequeath the inheritance. Having worked to create or maintain something, a person has every right to pass it on to their own blood, rather than have the government seize it in the name of "fairness". It doesn't seem to have occurred to anyone that the reason people today are less likely to save money, or invest it in something lasting, but instead spend it on having fun, is that inheritance taxes mean that there is no point in saving. The importance of being able to leave a legacy cannot be overstated. Without it, we would quite literally still be living in caves.

Capitalists point out, with much truth, that people work to invent things or build companies and so on so that they can enjoy wealth and a feeling of accomplishment. What we seem to have forgotten is that one of the most powerful reasons that people work is to create something that will last longer than we will: a nation, an estate, a company, a house, a dynasty, even a code of values. (That last is one more thing it's become increasingly difficult for us to pass on to our children!) With a code of law which is constantly changing, criminally high inheritance taxes, and a compulsory education system which is designed to subvert the values many parents would prefer to teach their children, it is very difficult to believe that anything one builds will last for one's entire lifetime, let alone past it. I love capitalism, but nonetheless, greed is not enough.

Admittedly, it is not "fair" to the various babies who are born to commoners that they won't get to be king. (Here we are assuming that being a monarch is a desirable state, which is highly debatable. It's a difficult and often thankless job.) However, is it "fair" to the entire citizenry of a nation to subject them to the abuses and shifting sands of democracy, just so that no child will have his feelings hurt by not being able to expect to be king?

So let's talk about male primogeniture. This is going to be rather depressingly pragmatic, but bear with me. When our most vital institutions are under fire, one is forced to bare the dreary cynical purposes they serve as well as the more uplifting and dignified.

The reason for primogeniture in the first place is that, to be blunt, the first child or two is more likely to be legitimate. (Richard Coniff discusses this widespread phenomenon throughout the animal kingdom as well as among humans in his amusing work of evolutionary psychology, A Natural History of the Rich.) If a wife is going to be unfaithful, then in a less decadent era than our own, it will generally take her a few years to overcome her own scruples and worries. In addition, husbands are likely to be less attentive - and less vigilant - once they've had her for a few years and have an heir or two. (Mr. Coniff points out that Camilla Parker Bowles was faithful to her husband for several years after their marriage and produced two legitimate heirs before her affair with Charles resumed.)

So why was primogeniture male? It wasn't only because for most of history, people have had a low opinion of women's ability. It was because a lord or a king was likely to have to draw a sword and lead soldiers into battle, and women can't do that. (I know that in our enlightened age I am supposed to pretend that women are just as strong as men. I decline to join that lie. I spent my school years being beaten up by boys so that my feminist teachers could feel liberated by not telling them not to hit girls.) All right, there is a very small percentage of women who can, but even if a queen just happened to be that sort, her country wasn't about to let her go risking the royal womb that way. They needed her to be producing heirs. In an era when child deaths were common, there could never be too many heirs.

A certain anti-feminist blog I came across in my search for articles about monarchy asked, “Why did women ever succeed to the throne at all?” He then explains:

Those who managed to get themselves into power wanted to cling to it by any means, including passing it on to their children. A breakdown in the royal succession often led to civil war and foreign invasion, and everyone wanted to avoid that. The worst outcome for a monarch was to die childless. It is no surprise that the Royal daughters became Plan B. If the King had a daughter but no sons, then she would often succeed to the throne in order to maintain political stability. At the same time, do not imagine that Royal women in the past were passive idiots; they were just as rich and arrogant as the men, and they maneuvered on their own behalf.

Male primogeniture, like much else in society, is a cultural reflection of human nature, not some sinister misogynist conspiracy.


And by the way, there were more female heads of state before feminism, when most nations were monarchies, than there have been since Women's Lib.

Perhaps that much, male primogeniture, really is outdated, in an era when a prince in the army is kept well away from harm. But I prefer to leave this custom as it is, if only because we have made too many changes already over the past horrific century. There is no very good reason to change this one, therefore we should not change it.

Monarchical links

Tonga’s reforms should be in royal time

While rumours fan out across the Pacific that pro-democracy supporters plan to disrupt the forthcoming coronation of Tonga’s King George next month, we hope any basis these rumous may have are already scotched, and any plans they intend to realize, are aborted. The pro-democracy movement in Tonga has already done enough damage to Tonga’s social fabric of late. Democracy is good for Fiji, but not necessarily good for Tonga. Not if a one-size-fits-all template is contemplated and not if it is simply a means of change for change’s sake.

Democracy is good for Fiji because of the multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-cultural character of our history and national composition. Democracy here allows those outside of our traditional indigenous hierarchical system a chance to improve their respective lots without succumbing to it. Without democracy, the indigenous system would put everyone at the mercy of chiefly blood. That’s OK if you’re a chief, but what if you’re not? What chances have you of rising to the top like cream in a bottle if you have no ‘ratu’ or ‘adi’ or similar entitlement in your ancestral CV?


Of course, monarchy is actually beneficial to diverse nations as well, because a monarch represents all of his people, not just the party that elected him or the lobbies that funded his campaign, etc. Nonetheless, the editorial makes excellent points.

THOUSANDS TURN OUT FOR SCARVA PARADE

THE Royal Black Institution is a wonderful organisation in a position to give a lead to the wider community, its Sovereign Grand Master has said....

During the course of his address Sir Knight Farr referred to the first resolution of faith, which he said should be the most important thing in our lives.

"The Red Cross (on the collarettes) is the ultimate symbol of Christianity and it is from that symbol and the message of sacrifice and salvation it conveys we can draw the courage to stand up and declare the Christian values and principles so essential in today's world," he continued.

"It is continually said we live in a changing world and we must change or be left behind. That may well be the case in some aspects of life but not when we come to the faith we profess. We all know right from wrong, let us practice what is right and discard all that is wrong....

""Because we live in such a democracy, the Crowned Head is the ultimate guardian of freedom from any excessive or foolish acts by Government.

"As we become more deeply entwined within Europe and more powers are ceded to its authority, we must be vigilant that our monarchy and way of life are not sidelined to be replaced by something which would be alien and indeed harmful to our well being and tradition."

Monday, July 14, 2008

David Davis: rebellious, risk-taking...but patriotic

After David Davis decided to fight a by-election on the issue of civil liberties, many people branded him an "eccentric". As someone who has spent the past two years studying the English eccentric, I must protest.

Unlike the notorious Regency eccentric John "Mad Jack" Mytton, Davis does not have a pet giraffe that joins him for Sunday lunch via a trapdoor in his dining room.

Nor does he employ an ornamental hermit to live in his garden, like 18th-century landowner Charles Hamilton, who forbade the man to cut his beard or nails, leave the grounds, talk to the servants or wear anything other than a camel-hair robe.

But the most worrying thing about the coverage of today's vote has not been the definition of eccentricity used, but the sneering tone - not just about Davis, but the assortment of 25 other candidates. In 1859, John Stuart Mill warned: "That so few now dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of our time." Almost 150 years on, that danger is just as real.

Society has become so risk-averse and litigious that eccentricity is squeezed out. In 2007, when an admirably idiosyncratic architect in London trimmed his front hedge into the shape of a whale, he was asked to remove it by the local council; they felt it endangered passing pedestrians.


The author of this article has written an entire book about the English eccentric. I'm going to have to order a copy "dispatched", as they so delightfully put it, across the Pond.

Hat tip: An Englishman's Castle.