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