Monday, June 30, 2008

Prachanda for stronger relations with India on the basis of new realities

Says Maoists will prove their critics wrong on commitment to democracy.


Asked to clarify his party’s demand for the scrapping of the India-Nepal treaty, he said the Maoists’ perception had been altered by a change in India’s position on the developments in Nepal. New Delhi had earlier advocated the twin pillar policy of a constitutional monarchy and multi-party democracy but had changed its position and said that the new constitutional order should be according to the wishes of the Nepali people.

The India-Nepal treaty itself dated back to the time of the Ranas but now the monarchy had been overthrown and the people’s wishes have been made clear. The treaty was in need of review in the light of the new realities and the emerging order at the conclusion of the peace process that was still under way, he said. To a question whether the Maoists had identified any specific provision of the treaty that was in need of review, he said they had not done that. That could be done only after a review of the treaty by both the sides. At the moment, all they were saying was that it needed a review in the context of the new realities in Nepal.

Mr. Prachanda said he wanted to change the image of the Maoists among the middle classes in Nepal and among the international community. There was some scepticism about the Maoists’ intentions, given their background as insurgents against the monarchy and it was thought that they would be autocratic when they assumed power. Initially there were doubts whether they would participate in the democratic process of elections as it was assumed their strength lay only in the power of arms. However, the Maoists participated in the elections and proved the critics wrong.


Asked about their approach to the Nepali press that had been functioning under a culture of fear and self-censorship following a series of attacks on journalists by the Maoists and other groups that remained uninvestigated, he said the Maoists were committed to press freedom and democratic rights. They would strengthen the provisions on press freedom and ensure that journalists were offered security and full protection.

As for attacks on the press by Maoists, he said the incidents were “wartime hangovers” that happened at the local level and not at the direction of the central leadership. In the case of a radio journalist, Dekendra Raj Thapa, who was reportedly killed by Maoists four years ago and whose body was found ten days ago, the district committee concerned had offered all help and cooperation to the authorities to investigate the case and punish the offenders. The press had played a valuable role in building public opinion against the monarchy and the feudal order and they would always respect press freedom.


We've never heard that one from commies before.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

100th Post: Housekeeping

I expected this to be a sleepy blog to which I posted a couple of times a month. The chief reason I started it was so that I would have a showcase for the various monarchist resources in my sidebar.

I'm posting more than that partly because I found that monarchists tend to share other things with me too, such as a generally traditionalist attitude. I didn't realize this immediately. People who believe that monarchy is the best form of government tend also to take a dim view of modern indoctrinationeducation, today's permissive mores, the mania for changing any tradition just for the sake of change, and the contemporary glorification of ugliness. Monarchists also tend to share other beliefs with me, such as that Woodrow Wilson was the worst president ever, that Lincoln wasn't a particularly good one either, and that most of the problems today's elected politicians are grappling with so ineffectually wouldn't have become problems in the first place with a hereditary monarch in charge.

Since this blog is more active than I originally intended, I decided I had better fill out a profile. I decided to use my Hebrew name, so when you start seeing comments from "Moshea bat Abraham", that's me. (I wanted to post my birthday according to the Jewish calendar, but the site wouldn't let me.) The photo is of Japanese actress Makoto Tsubasa of the Takarazuka Revue. As my interests show, my tastes are as outdated as my beliefs.

The mess in Nepal continues.

NC youths demand YCL’s paramilitary structure dissolved

POKHARA, June 28 - Nepali Congress affiliated Tarun Dal Saturday demanded immediate dissolution of the paramilitary structure of the Young Communist Leaguse (YCL), the youth wing of the CPN-Maoist.

The Tarun Dal has also expressed commitment to take the seven preconditions for joining the next Maoist-led government put forth by the parent party, the NC, to the local level.

The NC youth wing has further warned to carryout a shutdown across the country if the preconditions are not met.

The western region gathering of the Tarun Dal concluded in Pokhara today ratified the decision taken by the gathering held in the capital.

Addressing the gathering’s concluding programme in Pokhara, NC central member Bal Krishna Khand said monarchy was the obstacle to republic implementation in the country, and now the CPN-Maoist’s authoritarian ideology is the hurdle for federal democratic republic Nepal.

Mentioning more problems still lay ahead to institutionalise democracy, he called on the Tarun Dal to be ready to sacrifice if the situation demands so.

During the programme, Tarun Dal chairman Mahendra Yadav said although the Dal’s struggle for “No Monarchy” has ended the struggle for “No Communism” is still left.

Communist leaders can never be democratic, he further opined.

The decision taken by the Tarun Dal’s gathering conducted in all the five development regions will be taken to the Constituent Assembly sitting.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

If I ever take up philately, I'll know where to start.

From isolated kingdom, stamps with an edge

By GABE OPPENHEIM, Washington Post
First published: Saturday, June 28, 2008

WASHINGTON -- The essence of Bhutan is its absolute isolation. A constitutional monarchy in the clouds, it's tucked between the lush Himalayas like a child in his parents' bed. But Bhutan, where many live a two-day trip from the nearest road, has led the world in a basic form of cultural exchange.

The country that didn't get Internet or TV until 1999 and still uses running couriers to deliver mail has produced a record string of the world's most unusual stamps.


Since 1962: The first 3-D stamp. The first scented stamp (rose). The first textured brush stroke stamp. The first bas-relief stamp. The first on metal (it rusted). The first on silk. The first on extruded plastic. The first on a playable record. And now, according to its maker, the first stamp on a CD-ROM (though North Korea might have released one earlier).

"They probably have more firsts in the philatelic world than any country," says Frances Todd Stewart, whose company sells Bhutan's CD-ROM stamp.

The story of a unique Bhutanese philatelic tradition is also one of classic American hucksterism. Stewart's father, Burt Kerr Todd, was a Pittsburgh steel scion who talked his way into Oxford's law program after serving in the Army in World War II. At school, he became friends with a Bhutanese princess who claimed to be the first of her countrymen to cross an ocean. Todd hosted her in America in 1950 and was invited to Bhutan a year later.

In 1962, as Bhutan first used the light bulb, King Wangchuck searched for a new source of revenue. Todd told them to sell stamps.

The breakthrough came in 1967 and involved NASA. After four years of development, a Japanese company Todd contracted was able to splice multiple images, taken from different angles, to create the world's first 3-D stamps, which were also among the first with self-adhesive backing. They depicted astronauts and lunar modules.

Purist collectors didn't like the gimmick, but the stamps sold, and more followed -- including 33 1/3-rpm record stamps that played traditional folk songs and a history of Bhutan.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Her name is Catherine

Kate Middleton says call me Catherine

To the public she is more usually known as Kate. But amid mounting speculation that she is poised to join the ranks of the Royal Family, Prince William’s girlfriend Kate Middleton is said to have let it be known that she prefers the more formal sounding “Catherine”.

Her full name is Catherine Elizabeth Middleton and the 26-year-old has always been known by the more official form by close friends and family.


'Call me Catherine', says Kate Middleton as proposal rumours hit fever pitch

The royal girlfriend has apparently asked that everyone call her Catherine, a name with a much more formal ring and a queenly history.

Some say that Miss Middleton, 26, is trying to give herself a more formal image, befitting a young woman who could one day be married to a king.

But others point out that she has never been called Kate in private - not by her family, friends, schoolmates or university pals.


The press has been rather snotty about Miss Middleton's requests to be called by her name. Though in the nickname department, she has certainly been more fortunate than Sarah Ferguson.

Yet another benefit of democracy

The Joy of Curmudgeonry: The Yellow Standard

Now that science has become an industry largely dependent on the supply of public money, as regulated by governments largely dependent on public demands, it is not unlikely that, given no ethos of resistance to extraneous demands, the information that this industry supplies in return for its money will be to some extent determined by those demands, and, as anyone with an ounce of discernment who has read any newspaper recently can testify, the public demands sensation — which is a demand for the significance of the information that is put before it, understandable as significant at the lowest level.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The God That Failed

The God Called Democracy

So, what are the alternatives? Hans-Hermann Hoppe, in his book Democracy: The God That Failed, suggests a true heresy: replace democracy with a monarchy. What?!? A monarchy is the antithesis of freedom! Right? Well, maybe not. Isn’t it just possible that a monarch would protect his possessions better than the term-limited president or mayor? And, in doing so, wouldn’t the monarch also protect the ability of his subjects to produce efficiently and, hence, live freely?

The monarch who acts with good judgment will have something to pass to his heirs while the term-limited president or mayor has to steal what he can, while he still holds power – the constituents and next administration be damned.


Hat tip Wilson Revolution Unplugged.
‘Cold sweat’

BANGKOK—Thoughtful Thais break into cold sweat over a question few ask aloud: What happens when this king goes?

King Bhumibol Adulyadej turns 81 in December. The Chakri Dynasty’s ninth king, he’s the longest-reigning monarch in a world where coup d’ état, war, law or modernization shatters thrones.

“Commoner” King Gyanendra was shown to Narayanhiti Palace’s exit by Nepal’s newly elected regime. The sword toppled Prince Shihanouk in Cambodia (1970) and Laos King Vatthana Laos (1975). Only Thailand’s 205-year Chakri Dynasty remains.

Tradition melding into constitutions buttresses the crown in Britain and Japan. And there’s Hawaii. In a tent outside Lolani Palace, Her Majesty Mahealani Kahau would reinstall the monarchy overthrown in 1893. Her decrees—junking the State of Hawaii, welfare programs, etc.—are good-naturedly ignored.

Jazz-loving Bhumibol had no legal or military clout when he was crowned in 1946. He could inaugurate a gasoline station, though, notes Joseph Wright in his book, “The Balancing Act: A History of Modern Thailand.” The throne was a pawn that the military, the elite and monks bickered over to manipulate. They still do so today.

Yet over the next five decades, this youngster morphed into a monarch who can defuse major crises with a few words. In May 1992, Thailand teetered on the brink. Troops of the corrupt Prime Minister Suchinda Kraprayoon fired into demonstrators led by ascetic Chamlong Srimuang (a Ramon Magsaysay Award recipient in 1992).
Hawaiian group demands restoration of the monarchy

HONOLULU (AP) — Surrounded by royal guards and the occasional tourist, Her Majesty Mahealani Kahau and her government ministers hold court every day in a tent outside the palace of Hawaii's last monarch, passing laws and discussing how to secure reparations for the Native Hawaiian people.

Things are going as expected in Nepal

Nepal Maoists quit government over power sharing

KATHMANDU (AFP) — Nepal's Maoists stormed out of the government Friday, accusing a rival party of holding on to power after being defeated in landmark polls.


Maoists quit Nepal government, demand PM's resignation

KATHMANDU (AFP) — Nepal was thrown into political limbo on Saturday after the Maoists quit the interim government of the newly republican nation and demanded the prime minister's resignation.

Nepal's former Maoist rebels stormed out of the government late on Friday, accusing a rival party of clinging to power despite being defeated in landmark elections in the Himalayan country two months ago.


Nepalese cabinet crisis deepens

Nepalese PM Girija Prasad Koirala is struggling to keep his administration together after Maoist ministers said they were resigning from the cabinet.

Bitter disagreements among politicians mean that more than three weeks after the abolition of the monarchy, the country still has no head of state.


Nepal: the world's newest republic

Monarchists still cling to the hope that if Gyanendra's reputation is repaired, and if the next government fails as most Nepali governments do, some kind of royal revival might one day be possible. After all, abolishing an institution with such deep roots - Nepal was forged in war by the king's ancestors 239 years ago - is no small matter.


Ousted Nepal king slapped with law suit

Pokhrel is challenging the decision by the government this month to allow the dethroned king and his wife to move into an inferior but still a former palace on the outskirts of the capital from the Narayanhity royal palace.


Nepal: The Royal Massacre & the Mystery Unfolding

“Monarchy is over in Nepal”. The same title is being used in fashionable ways by many media in this world. The biggest stake holder and the director of Nepal’s devastation is Nepal’s closest neighbor, India. Even though the intellectuals are familiar with this direction, I would like to show why the world remains anonymous of the India’s sponsorship of terrorism in Nepal. Quite surprisingly, the actors have created a huge mass of junior actors in the hope to make them a lead actor one day. Let’s trace back when the director thought to direct this inhuman movie that might not leave the director an option of bankruptcy if the truth is exposed.

As known to the world, Nepal was a Kingdom and the most peaceful country in this chaotic earth.


But hey, at least they don't have monarchy anymore!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Shetland island secedes

As a Southerner, I sympathize strongly.

Tiny Shetland island declares independence from UK

Kate Kelland
Reuters North American News Service

Jun 21, 2008 11:02 EST

LONDON, June 21 (Reuters) - The owner of a tiny island in off Scotland declared its independence from the United Kingdom on Saturday, saying he wanted the territory, population one, to be a crown dependency like the Channel Islands.

In a declaration on his Web site, Stuart Hill, who owns the 2.5 acre island of Forvik in the Shetland Islands in the North Sea, said he no longer recognised the authority of the British government or the European Union, and cited a centuries-old royal marriage dowry deal as the basis for his claim.

"Forvik owes no allegiance to any United Kingdom government, central or local, and is not bound by any of its statutes," Hill wrote.

Hill, 65, has lived in the Shetland Islands on the edge of the Atlantic since 2001, when his boat capsized there during an unsuccessful attempted to circumnavigate Britain.

He is Forvik's only resident, and his home is a tent on the storm-battered island. He says on his website that he plans to create Forvik's own currency -- the "gulde" -- print his own stamps and raise his own flag.

"There will be no income tax, VAT (value added tax), council tax, corporation tax, or any of the other taxes instituted by the British government," Hill wrote.

Hill's claim dates back to a 15th century arrangement between the Norwegian King Christian and King James III of Scotland when the Shetland Islands were effectively pawned to King James in lieu of a marriage dowry.

According to Hill's studies of the history of the island, in 1669 King Charles II re-confirmed Shetland's status at the time of the pawning, meaning the islands remained directly answerable to the crown -- represented today by Queen Elizabeth II.

"The monarchs and governments of Scotland, and Great Britain and the United Kingdom have for many years assumed powers over these islands of Shetland to which they were not entitled," he wrote.

"By declaring Forvik a crown dependency I am simply re-establishing the correct legal relationship between this part of Shetland and the crown.

Hill said he had written to Queen Elizabeth offering his services as "steward" and recognising her as head of state.

"I also invite anyone from any country in the world, who supports these aims, namely to become free of liars, thieves and tyrants in government, to become a citizen of Forvik," he added.


Hat tip: World of Royalty.

King of the Isle of Man

American claims to be King of the Isle of Man

A SELF-styled monarch is causing a right royal stir – after crowning himself King of the Isle of Man.

American David Drew Howe posted a notice in the London Gazette in January this year claiming legal right to the Manx crown.

When the newspaper notice went unchallenged, he crowned himself 'undisputed' King.


The pretender's website.

EDIT: It seems the people of Man are unimpressed. Here is a petition to keep him away. Here is a page about the various inconsistencies in his statements. It seems he has been cheating at Wikipedia to get his own name onto the page about the Isle of Man. (I just checked it, and as of this moment he is not mentioned.) He has admited his "enquirer" is "entirely ego driven". (I believe His Majesty meant "inquiry".)

But on at least one occasion, he has behaved in a properly royal fashion, when he used his admittedly small claim to fame for charitable purposes: King of Mann Asks Friends and Celebrities to Help with AIDS Charity. I get the impression he's a rather silly person, but even silly people can have noble impulses.

Presidents vs. Kings, Boyfriends vs. Husbands

American Elections - Confessions of a Former Monarchy

American elections: like a sixteen-year-old girl, we are ever questing for our new hero. He must be someone who will treat us like an equal while protecting us from all the things we can’t handle about adult life. He must do this with the understanding that we get to dump him in a few years. Sooner, if he’s really, really abusive....

Yes, a King. I know, most Americans labor under the odd conviction that a king is a tyrant is a king. But deep down, a King is what all human beings want. We want the husband who is always going to be there, not the boyfriend we will dump in a few months for someone just as inadequate. We want someone to play the role of Head who is there because he is destined to be there by the relation of his birth and ours, not because he was hot this semester and ”we” decided he was our new steady.

Yes, a King would take our - well, taxes - just like any other leader. What he would give in return, however, sets him apart. Almost any wife understands the difference. It’s the difference between a home and a shack - however palatial the shack may be. It’s the opportunity to bear true faith and allegiance to a Person, not just a text. It’s the different kind of self-knowledge that comes from attaching yourself to a husband whose character makes its powerful impression upon your own. It’s learning to get along with someone who is presumably there for the long haul - not just until next mating season. It’s knowing you belong to each other equally - but in different ways.

Am still plundering "Unqualified Reservations".

Against Political Freedom

(How's that for a provocative title?)

...when we look at the astounding violence of the democratic era, it strikes me as quite defensible to simply write off the whole idea as a disaster, and focus on correcting the many faults of monarchism. Certainly, it's hard to imagine how the Civil War, WWI, WWII, the Holocaust, etc, could have occurred in a world where the Stuarts, Bourbons, Hohenzollerns, Hapsburgs and Romanovs still reigned and ruled. The royal families of old Europe had their squabbles, but conscription, total war and mass murder were not in their playbooks.


Personal freedom is the freedom to engage in all other acts that satisfy you directly, and that do not infringe the rights of others. For example, the other day I quoted Navrozov quoting Hobbes, who lists the following personal freedoms:

to buy, and sell, and otherwise contract with one another; to choose their own abode, their own diet, their own trade of life, and institute their children as they themselves think fit; and the like.

Note that democracies tend to do a rather poor job of respecting these Hobbesian liberties. The only two that are customarily still respected are abode and trade of life - the Universalist democracies, at least, do not assign their citizens housing or jobs. They are massively obsessed with the regulation of buying, selling, and contracting, they manage enormous programs of official education, and they are not without their dietary laws.

Furthermore, there are some rather obvious candidates for "the like" in a modern society. For example, one might have freedom of medicine - absolute ownership of your own body, and the right to choose what experts help you maintain it, or what chemicals, devices, or procedures they may employ. Or freedom of association - the absolute right to choose who you work and play with, when and why. Or freedom of finance - the absolute right to manage your own property and dispose of it as you see fit.


On the border between personal and political freedom are freedoms such as freedom of the press, which can be defined as personal freedoms, but which as such affect relatively few people in a relatively minor way. Not many people are intellectuals who like to write for the public - there are probably more windsurfers, for example, in the world. Banning windsurfing would be a personal cost to those that like to windsurf, but not so much to anyone else.

Of course, infringing the freedom of the press harms the freedom of those who like to read - a much larger group, if still hardly the majority. But suppose the freedom of the press is infringed only on political subjects? Or only trivial subjects? For example, suppose it's illegal to insult the King, as it is in Thailand?

When I compare freedom of medicine, for example, to freedom of political publishing, I can't help but feel that the former is much more important. Am I crazy? Perhaps I am crazy. If so, perhaps someone will write in and tell me.


Elsewhere:

But the crucial point is that a government whose legitimacy is a consequence of property rights, not public opinion, has no reason to manipulate public opinion or otherwise deceive its residents. And plenty of reason not to.


This is one of my main points about monarchy. A monarch knows that he, in a sense, owns his country and that it will most likely be passed on to his great-grandchildren. He has a vested interest in taking good care of it. A politician knows that it is not "his" country, that he is only going to be around for a few years, and all he can really think about is making a splash while he can, and scrambling to keep his place. If monarchs still ruled Europe, the EU would be a pipe dream silly bohemians talked about while smoking opium. Non-ornamental monarchs would never have delivered their people over to such an entity as politicians eagerly have. And if you think American politicians won't do the same, bear in mind the Democrats' love of the UN, approval of the EU, appeals to "international law", yammering about an "international court" which will decide if we can go to war against a bloodthirsty regime which has funded people who attacked us, etc. And if you think Republican politicians will protect America from the internationalist aspirations of Democrats, I agree. They will protect us from it just like they protected us from abortion-at-whim, no-fault divorce, the Miranda rights debacle, the welfare system which supplies a steady stream of criminals to keep us in line, etc. etc.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tuvalu

Tuvalu votes to maintain monarchy

A referendum in Tuvalu has voted in favour of maintaining a constitutional monarchy.

The referendum, at the end of April, asked voters whether they wished to have a president as head of state.

The Pacific News Service reports the results were in favour of the constitutional monarchy, with 1,260 people voting in favour, while 679 were against the proposal.

However, voter turn out was low, with around 2,000 people taking part of the 9,000 eligible to vote on the island.

Meanwhile, Tuvalu has become a member state of the International Labour Organisation, or ILO.


Hat tip radical royalist.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Monarchist cartoon



Hat tip: Count Robert Décsey von Deés.

In similar news, Satan says "Don't go to church."

Britain should get rid of the monarchy, says UN

The UN Human Rights Council said the UK must "consider holding a referendum on the desirability or otherwise of a written constitution, preferably republican".

The council has 29 members including Saudi Arabia, Cuba and Sri Lanka.


Oh, well, certainly England should be concerned with what Saudi Arabians and Cubans have to say about their respect for human rights.

Luckily, it seems the British aren't having any of it:

The monarchy costs each adult in Britain around 62p a year but even groups representing taxpayers said there was no case for getting rid of it.

Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "With so many human rights abuses around the world the UN should be busy reporting on issues of starvation, execution and the denial of the vote to huge numbers of people around the world.

"Saudi Arabia and Cuba should pay a little more attention to their own human rights record."


ABOLISH THE MONARCHY UN REPORT TELLS BRITAIN

Amnesty International revealed last week that hundreds of people have been kidnapped and murdered in Sri Lanka by shady forces allied to the government. But it is not the only country with an appalling record of its own queueing up to have a go at Britain.

The UN report also includes criticisms of the UK’s record on treating migrants from Sudan – whose government stands accused of killing at least 200,000 people in Darfur.

Syria, whose previous president killed 25,000 in suppressing an Islamist rebellion in Hama, accuses the UK of discriminating against Muslims.

And most bizarrely, Iran – where a woman was stoned to death for adultery last year – takes issue with Britain’s record on tackling sexual discrimination.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A hoopskirt movie I will skip.

One of my criteria for seeing a movie is, do the female characters wear hoopskirts? If they do, I'll probably watch it. (I will also watch movies for the sake of fedoras, classic jazz, mermaids, or Grace Kelly.)

I will not, however, be wasting any time on The Duchess beyond the two minutes I spent watching the preview. The morbidly curious amongst you can view it here. Keira Knightley is reason enough to avoid a movie, but this movie is based on the novel Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman.

Georgiana was a friend of Marie Antoinette's. She used drugs, drank to excess, squandered her considerable fortune, mounted up gambling debts of the equivalent of $6 million in today's money, made little effort to hide her many adulterous affairs (one of which resulted in an illegitimate child), suffered from eating disorders centuries before they became fashionable, and promoted progressive political causes.

She also happens to be related to the late Princess Diana; apparently not a direct ancestress, but a Spencer nonetheless. The preview makes sure we don't miss the point by opening with a photo of Diana before going back to the 18th century, where we see a beautiful woman being forced into an arranged marriage to a cold, distant, philandering man. I know, the parallel is terribly subtle, isn't it?

I won't watch the movie, but I can't help but be annoyed at the very thought of all this rubbish being stuffed into the heads of moviegoers who probably, like me, just want to see hoopskirts.

Hat tip World of Royalty's Cinderella, who seems far more favorably disposed towards this movie than I.

The Monarchist Blogosphere

Unqualified Reservations

I think it's pretty clear that, if you lived in 1750 and a djinn appeared to you, explained the history of demotism in the next 250 years, and gave you the option of erasing all of it and just sticking with legitimism, you'd have to be a fairly perverse and sadistic fellow to decline the offer. It's difficult to even scrape together 10^6 victims of legitimist government, let alone the 10^8 plus that Communism and Nazism racked up - not forgetting the million or so killed in the ruthless Universalist city-bombings of WWII, which were certainly war crimes by the standard of anyone who can produce a river of tears for the sufferers of Guantanamo.


This post linked to this blog, which I have just begun to explore. It looks quite promising; he describes democracy as "the polyester leisure suit of political arrangements".

What truly sets Liechtenstein apart as a country is that it has not succumbed to the foolish democracy fad which has ruined all other modern nations.


When I tell people I'm a neo-monarchist, the usual response is to question my motives: “Oh, so you wish you were king?” No, I don’t actually (jester, perhaps, but certainly not king).

It’s an ugly side effect of democracy: the assumption everyone must be grubbing after power, stemming from our being taught, falsely, that in a democracy all have equal chance of acquiring power.

More on Nepal

Monarchy gone, but no consensus on government

As Nepal's last King, Gyanendra, leaves the Narayanhiti Royal Palace in Kathmandu, ending a 240-year-old dynasty and paving the way for the emergence of a republic, Nepal’s political parties have fallen on each other in a squabble for power. Days of debate and discussions among the parties, including the rebellious communists, have resulted in little more than confusion about the formation of a stable government.

Initially the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), which led a bloody decades-long revolution that killed more than 12,500 people, wanted it all, demanding both the post of President and Prime Minister in the coalition government. The Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, more popularly known as Prachanda, made it clear that the communists would take the top posts until a rebellion by the other parties in the 601-member Nepal Constituent Assembly drove them into retreat and spared the post of president. Nonetheless, shut out of claiming the post, the Maoists now want the presidency reduced to a non-political entity.


What did you expect?

This editorial casts some light on why this happened. I have cut and pasted without correcting the grammatical errors; the author's first language is not English.

King Gyanendra talking to a senior journalist-who claims in a write up to have been influenced by the ideologies of the likes of Marxism and Leninism had an opportunity to meet the then king some two years plus back.

“Your majesty I am not a royalist… I am influenced by Marxism and Leninism, I am a member of a communist party as well”, writes Nim Kanta Pandey, the chief editor of the Jan Dharana Weekly today, June 12, 2008, providing reference to his historic meet with the then king-in the state of suspension some two years back.

“Pat replied the King, I was too a communist during my school days…I too was a member of a communist party”.

“Member of a communist party….?” I asked.

“A real communist is the one who fights against injustice and discrimination, studious by nature, forward looking and rebellious as well”, said Gyanendra quotes journalist Pandey.

“Perhaps, I made a blunder by taking on to the foot steps of my ancestors…I wish to see a peaceful transition…I will never prove to be a hurdle to a peaceful change”.

The easy manner with which the former King accepted the verdict of the people to establish a federal democratic republic perhaps goes in line with the “ideologies” that the former King adhered to when he was a school student.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

From the Far East - Nepal on a rocky path to democracy

Watching the goings on between the Maoist rebels and the government, it was only going to be a matter of time before the monarchy in Nepal came to an end.

The insurgency had been going on for too long, leaving at least 12,000 dead and more than 100,000 displaced, according to conservative estimates.

The death knell for the monarchy sounded in 2001 when the then crown prince Dipendra went on the rampage and slaughtered most of the royal family.

A 240-year-old dynasty was effectively ended by a young man intoxicated on a cocktail of drugs and alcohol. All because his parents would not let him marry the girl of his choice.
Cambodian perplexed by enigmatic letter from King Sihamoni's father

Phnom Penh - Cambodia's royal palace officials on Sunday strongly denied an enigmatic letter distributed to the press by former king Norodom Sihanouk indicated that his son, King Norodom Sihamoni, might abdicate. But the palace did not say what the letter actually meant, while Sihanouk himself remained silent. The letter and its possible interpretations has caused a stir in some quarters with a national election looming in July.

In copies of the letter, handwritten in French and distributed Friday, Sihanouk speaks of a looming crisis for the Cambodian monarchy "in the near or far future", using the French words "chances" and "deposee."

He also speaks of a "simple life" abroad in Paris.

The monarchy is a pillar of the Cambodian constitution, and the king, seen as a demi-god by many ordinary people, is widely recognized as a symbol of stability.

Sihamoni took the throne in 2004 after his octogenarian father abdicated, citing old age and ill health.

Sihanouk may be the only monarch in the world to abdicate twice - once in favour of his own father so he could take a political role in the 1950's, and again, after many hints and false alarms, four years ago.

Sihamoni, 55, is popular with the public and politicians alike for his quiet manner and stately bearing. Unlike his father, he rarely makes public speeches or statements.


Cambodian king cheers celebration of border temple anniversary

Hawaii continues a tradition begun under Kamehameha IV

Monarchy tribute soldiers on
Participants in King Kamehameha Day parade put on a good show for viewers along route, on TV


For many parade watchers, it was a chance to gather under sunny skies and cheer on a one-of-a-kind event: The second oldest parade in America, and the only one that celebrates a king.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Noblesse Oblige

Prince Charles Pays 350-Year-Old Debt

A 350-year-old debt left by King Charles II to a clothes company has finally been paid by the Prince of Wales.

Prince Charles handed over the sum of £453.15 during a visit to The Commandery History Museum in Worcester.

The Clothiers Company of Worcester had never forgotten the Royal Family owed them money after King Charles II failed to pay when he commissioned them to make uniforms for his troops in 1651.


Hat tip: The Royalist.

Cyrus, tolerant monarch

We Jews remember Cyrus of Persia fondly because he allowed our faith to exist in peace.

Ancient Persia comes alive in British exhibition

While the Athenians often defined their own democratic system in opposition to Persian monarchy and autocracy, recent scholarship has acknowledged the highly tolerant and adaptable nature of the Ancient Persians. The Achaemenid king had the title of "king of kings" as well as "king of lands," revealing the flexible nature of his rule: while the different corners of the empire were mostly ruled by satraps (governors) from the central Persian royal family or nobility in order to preserve loyalty, local kings frequently retained their thrones and countries were permitted to function as they wished, as long as the Achaemenid king received his financial dues. In return for the reaping of wealth from around the empire, the Achaemenids promised security and protection, and to back such promises they had formidable military power.

[...]

Interest in the Achaemenid Empire was renewed in 19th century Iran, and was used during the reign of the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in 1971 to reawaken nationalism when the 2,500th anniversary of the foundation of the Persian Empire by King Cyrus the Great was celebrated. Thanks to his appearance in the Old Testament, Cyrus I has been hailed in the Western world as an upholder of religious tolerance and human rights. When he conquered Babylon in 539 B.C., he reinstated religious tolerance and allowed various exiled peoples, including the Jews, to return to their homes.

The Cyrus Cylinder, discovered in 1879, on which is carved Cyrus's statement on entering Babylon, has become, perhaps simplistically, an icon of human rights. There is even a replica at the United Nations in New York. The Cylinder forms the final stage of the exhibition, suggesting that it symbolizes Ancient Persia's principal legacy. However, it is evident from the earlier displays that we can learn more today from the tolerance, flexibility and adaptability that were central to the Achaemenid Empire's administration than from an official royal statement.


Hat tip Paleojudaica, who wasn't nearly as impressed with this as I am.

Monday, June 9, 2008

For Catholic readers.

And non-Catholic ones, come to that. You might all enjoy this livejournal. The owner has recently had a book published which I keep forgetting to buy. He is a religious Catholic and makes delightfully snarky posts about his faith's detractors:

CLAIM: Catholic belief is unscriptural.

This is true. During every Mass, there are two readings from the Old Testament and two from the New Testament, including (always) a Psalm and a reading from one of the Gospels. But this is all for show. In fact, Catholics are forbidden from reading the Bible. The only Catholic who is allowed to own a Bible is the pope, and he won't tell the rest of us what it says.


His post about The Da Vinci Code is also not to be missed. (For me, ridiculing that book and movie is something of a hobby.)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Stiff Upper Lip

Bring back the stiff upper lip by Gerald Warner

Happily we can still expect similar stoicism today from our armed forces; but the civilian population has turned into a rabble of emotionally incontinent psychobabblers. The Diana debacle was the turning point when, assisted by the media, self-respect was supplanted by self-indulgence.

Hundreds of thousands of hysterics indulged in an orgy of grief over a woman they had not known. When the Queen, as so often throughout her reign, gave an example of dignified restraint and, very appropriately, took her grandsons to church, she was reviled. Manipulating this inversion of British values was the greatest exponent of the quivering lip and onion-in-the-hankie, which-camera-am-I-on pseudo-grief, Anthony Lynton Blair.


I couldn't agree more. Recently I learned that the rabble criticized the Queen for behaving properly when Diana died. All my sympathy was for Her Majesty; wasn't it bad enough that she had had to tolerate having that unstable tramp in her life for all those years?

The column contains some lovely examples of Britishness: "By God, sir, I've lost my leg."

Allow me to cite an example of stiff-upper-lip-ness I got from one of Florence King's books, which she recalls from memory: In 1943, Lou Costello learned that his one-year-old son had drowned. Mere hours later, he went on the air to do his radio show as scheduled. He was as hilarious as always and no one knew what had happened until the papers the next day. The judgment of the papers? "Trooper" was the word that appeared over and over.

Contrast that with the behavior of singer Sade, which I read about in the 80's. In the middle of a concert, she stopped singing and told the audience, "Hold on to your loves, I've lost mine." She then went into her dressing room and cried for two hours before being persuaded to finish the concert. Later she and her boyfriend made up from their tiff.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Unqualified Reservations

I am currently plundered Unqualified Reservations. Mencius Moldbug is a Jewish reactionary Jacobite. (And here I thought I was the only one.) He delves far into the philosophical origins of the modern world, much further than the Frankfort School.

Further, he understands things that a great many traditionalists and paleoconservatives cannot seem to grasp, why today's conservative parties (i.e. the American Republicans) are unable to do more than slow down the avalanche into progressivism.

I can no longer say that I am a Republican, with a capital or a small R. I still vote for them because they are the lesser evil. I do not agree with the assessment of some paleoconservatives that Republican politicians or pundits are corrupt "sellouts". Their hearts are in the right place, for the most part. They cannot restore sane laws or mores because the rot has gone so deep in society. We would be foolish to look to politicians for our salvation. They are merely our tools, and do our bidding. The trouble is what we bid them to do. Below, M.M. illustrates why:

A reset is not a revolution

There is an immediate problem with this: as we've seen, modern "democracies" do not allow politicians to formulate policy. It is a violation of their unwritten constitutions, and an unwritten constitution is just as hard to violate as a written one. Therefore, even when the Outer Party manages to win the election and gain "power," what they find in their hands is more or less the same sort of "power" that the Queen of England has.

My stepfather, a mid-level Washington insider who spent twenty years working as a staffer for Democratic senators, caviled vigorously at the idea that the Democrats are the "Inner Party" and Republicans are the "Outer Party." He pointed out that between 2000 and 2006, the Republicans held the Presidency and both houses of Congress.

I pointed out that he was actually underplaying his hand. During this period, Republican nominees also held a majority on the Supreme Court. By the eleventh-grade civics-class "separation of powers" theory, this would have given the Grand Old Party complete domination over North America. Without breaking a single law, they could have: liquidated the State Department and transferred sole foreign-policy responsibility to the Pentagon, packed the Supreme Court with televangelists, required that all universities receiving Federal funds balance their appointments between pro-choice and pro-life professors, terminated all research in the areas of global warming, evolution and sexual lubricants, etc, etc, etc....

Why did the Republicans not use their formal control over the mechanisms of Washington to cement real control, as the Democrats did in 1933? There are many specific answers to this question, but the basic answer is that they never had real power. In theory, the Queen has just the same power over the UK, and if she tried to use it all that would happen is that she would lose it. Exactly the same is true of our own dear Outer Party, on whatever occasion it should next get into office. It may get into office again. It will never get into power. (Although it retains the power to fill many juicy sinecures.)

Democracy isn't working out that well in Kuwait.

In Democracy Kuwait Trusts, but Not Much

In a vast, high-ceilinged tent, Ali al-Rashed sounded an anguished note as he delivered the first speech of his campaign for Parliament.

“Kuwait used to be No. 1 in the economy, in politics, in sports, in culture, in everything,” he said, his voice floating out in the warm evening air to hundreds of potential voters seated on white damask-lined chairs. “What happened?”

It is a question many people are asking as this tiny, oil-rich nation of 2.6 million people approaches its latest round of elections. And the unlikely answer being whispered around, both here and in neighboring countries on the Persian Gulf: too much democracy.

In a region where autocracy is the rule, Kuwait is a remarkable exception, with a powerful and truculent elected Parliament that sets the emir’s salary and is the nation’s sole source of legislation. Women gained the right to vote and run for office two years ago, and a popular movement won further electoral changes.

Despite those gains, Kuwait has been overshadowed by its dynamic neighbors — Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar — where economies are booming under absolute monarchies. Efforts to overhaul Kuwait’s sclerotic welfare state have stalled in its fractious and divided Parliament, and scandals led the emir to dissolve the chamber last month for the second time in less than two years, forcing new elections.


Hat tip: Unqualified Reservations, which all of you need to read.

Elected Government is Bad for Minorities

I mean here statistical minorities, as the political connotations of the word are such that it is now sometimes used to refer to groups which are statistically the majority.

I am not ignoring the institutionalized bigotry which has existed for pretty much all of known history, including monarchical history. Think of the words pogrom and ghetto.

But did things improve with the introduction of elected government? South Africa and Nazi Germany had elected governments. My own country had slavery for nearly a century after becoming a democracy, and Jim Crow laws for another century after that. Until a few decades ago, it was commonplace for hotels and apartment buildings to be "restricted" - a euphemism for "no Jews allowed". And changing these laws and practices was a hugely painful process for everyone, involving riots and a war that, on the Union side alone, killed more Americans than any other war. (Confederate American casualties were exceeded only by World War II.)

Further, while progress has indubitably been made in terms of bigotry, at the same time many measures allegedly intended to improve the lot of "minorities" are actually making their lives worse. For example, the welfare system, which rewards women for having out-of-wedlock children who are statistically at far higher risk of delinquency or drug use. Does this make the lives of these individuals better? Does it improve their image in the eyes of others? Clearly not. Once again, elected government purports to solve a problem which it patently does not.

Monarchy is no more a miracle cure for the depressingly innate human tendency to bigotry than is democracy. However, if one reflects for a moment, its advantage for minority subjects should be clear. The point is often made that while a politician owes his allegiance to the party that supported him and the constituencies that elected him, a monarch is the ruler of all of his people, owing them all his protection and care.

If you really are a statistical minority, you don't have enough votes to indebt a politician to you. Only if the statistical majority can be made to sympathize with your plight do you have any hope for the preservation of your rights in a democracy.

Abdication of Responsibility

One of my guilty pleasures this winter was reading the amusing Someday My Prince Will Come by the silly but charming Jerramy Fine. It was there that I learned that the royal she set her sights on, Peter Phillips, grandson of Her Majesty, did not have a title because his descent is through the female line. The Queen apparently offered to grant him a courtesy title, but his mother declined the offer to spare him the pressures of life with a title.

Right now I'm watching Forbes Top 20 Young Royals. I'm not an avid royal watcher; to be one in this day and age, one has to be able to learn that a Swazi princess is a rapper without distress. Still, if one is keeping abreast of news concerning the world's remaining monarchies, skimming over fluff articles about how Prince Someone is dating a pop singer is unavoidable.

The show mentions that Charlotte Casiraghi of Monaco, along with Peter Phillips' sister Zara and a few others, was not given a title because her mother wanted her to be free of the "burden" of living with and up to it.

My visceral reaction was disapproval. If anything, young people today are desperately in need of things to live up to and of pressures. Moreover, the world needs its royals, today in this egalitarian age more than ever.

Like Louis-Philippe I of France, the "Citizen King", attempts to pretend that one is ordinary when one is not fool no one, they only cheapen the concept of high standards. Depriving a royal child of his rightful title is an evasion of responsibility.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

New Essays linked

I'm adding new links to my sidebars tonight. Here are a couple of especially good esssys:

Why Hate Monarchs? by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

Democracy has turned out to be not majority rule but rule by well-organized and well-connected minority groups who steal from the majority. It has also spawned exactly what Woodrow Wilson desired most: autocratic and centrally consolidated government. It is not a coincidence that government has grown as the franchise has been extended: more and more groups have been given the opportunity to help themselves to the liberty and property of others.

Twentieth_century democracy has made everyone's property vulnerable to public confiscation. Kings of old would have been overthrown in short order if they had tried to grab 40 percent of people's earnings, or told them how big to make their toilet tanks, or determined how schools taught every subject. One reason we put up with it now is the myth that says we are governing ourselves. That is why we turn a blind eye to petty tyrannies in our midst as well as to war atrocities when they are imposed by "our" government.


The Debasement of Knighthood

The bestowing of a knighthood on a degenerate individual like Mick Jagger exposes a tactic of the Revolution employed in both the spiritual and temporal orders. That is, when the Revolution cannot do away with a noble or aristocratic institution, it tries to debase it.


This site has a great deal of Catholic content, so the many Catholic monarchists might like to explore it.

Prince Charles attacked for talking sense

Prince Charles rebuked for 'old fashioned' views

"People think they can all be pop stars, high court judges, brilliant TV personalities or infinitely more competent heads of state without ever putting in the necessary work or having natural ability,'' he wrote in a memo to an unnamed member of staff, after another employee inquired about promotion opportunities.


How controversial!

This sensible statement is characterized by the article as "Servants should not aim above their station, according to the heir to the throne."

Dismayingly, "Prince Charles was not even spared attack from the conservative British media."

Paleomonarchists

A few weeks back, I mentioned that people who are interested in monarchy seem to belong either to the "Charles camp" or the "Diana camp". Tonight I'm reading Theodore's Royalty and Monarchy site, and Theodore has noticed the same division, though he doesn't put it the same way. Moreover, he confirms my suspicion that the two camps have different general beliefs:

What is a neomonarchist? Neomonarchists see monarchy as entirely separate from Left/Right political divisions. Their own political views are likely to range from liberal to moderately conservative, or they may not be very interested in politics at all. While respectful of the religious traditions associated with royalty, they are usually not particularly religious themselves. Neomonarchists are primarily concerned with the support of existing constitutional monarchies, such as the ten currently reigning in Europe, and it is this model of monarchy that they would advocate in the case of any possible restoration. Many of them enthusiastically follow the lives of contemporary royals, and are inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt when they are criticized. Neomonarchists tend to be socially liberal and so are unlikely to object to non-traditional marital alliances such as that of the Crown Prince of Norway with an unwed mother who had confessed to using drugs. They embrace multiculturalism and see monarchy as a potential unifying figure in Europe’s increasingly diverse countries, as exemplified by Denmark’s part-Chinese Princess Alexandra and the Prince of Wales’s interest in Islam. They enjoy contemporary popular culture and welcome royals’ interactions with it. Most importantly, neomonarchists are those royalists who have made their peace with modernity and do not see any fundamental conflict between monarchism (they may prefer to say “interest in royalty”) and liberal democratic values. Not especially prone to nostalgia, they are nevertheless often quite fascinated by the royal personalities of past eras, and have no problem sympathizing on a human level with members of autocratic royal families such as Russia’s Romanovs while rejecting everything that these royals stood for ideologically.

What is a paleomonarchist? Paleomonarchists are faithful to the original political framework of the French Revolutionary era, in which support for monarchy was one of the two fundamental issues (the other being religion) defining the Right, as opposed to the anti-royalist, anti-religious Left. Therefore they see their support for monarchy as an integral part of a counterrevolutionary rightist worldview—perhaps the most, but by no means the only, important political issue. They tend to be drawn to the most traditional and hierarchical forms of Christianity, particularly Eastern Orthodoxy or pre-Vatican II Roman Catholicism. Paleomonarchists tend to see today’s constitutional monarchies as, at best, pathetic shadows of what they used to be or, at worst, “window-dressing for socialist tyranny” (as one such correspondent of mine put it). They are unimpressed with democracy and yearn for the restoration of traditional monarchies such as those of the Bourbons, Hapsburgs, and Romanovs. Paleomonarchists may be rather indifferent to contemporary royalty, and find it hard to admire ceremonial heads of state who appear to embrace or at least tolerate so much of what traditionalists detest (socialism, secularism, multiculturalism, relaxed moral standards, pop culture, etc.). They would like princes and princesses to adhere to the old standard of marrying only persons of equal rank, or at least not single mothers. They tend to be skeptical of the multicultural transformation (via mass immigration) of Europe and resent the apparent enthusiasm of royals such as Prince Charles for it. In stark contrast to neomonarchists, paleomonarchists reject much of modernity, and monarchism is only part of their desire to “turn back the clock.”


I definitely want to turn back the clock.

I also agree with Theodore about this:

However, I part company with some other reactionaries in that I have a generally favorable view of contemporary royalty, and do not believe they can be blamed for failing to resist various unfortunate trends occurring in their countries over the course of the twentieth century. The reason for this is simple: democracy and egalitarianism have been incredibly powerful trends; consequently, without exception, every modern monarch who refused to become a “rubber stamp” lost his throne (and in the case of King Louis XVI and Tsar Nicholas II, his life). The most recent example of this phenomenon in Europe was Greece’s King Constantine II, whose attempted defense of his rights (and the Greek constitution) against the overambitious Prime Minister George Papandreou may have been heroic but ultimately led to the fall of the Greek monarchy.


I think it's best if the remaining royal families can continue playing an ornamental role so that they'll be in place when the world faces the fact that democracy isn't working out very well.

A Mature Nation Needs Magic

Magical Monarchy by George Will is mostly a lightweight column dismissing monarchy: "Even if magic can coexist with television and tabloids, does a mature nation need magic, particularly magic emanating from monarchy in a nation too susceptible to snobbery?" He seems surprised to note that a 19th century king had illegitimate children, as if bad behavior were a new invention.

However, I found this historical note intriguing:

Tony Blair, the 10th prime minister of Elizabeth II's reign, was not yet born when she ascended to the throne. Winston Churchill was then the first among her ministers. How much has changed since her June 1953 coronation? The decision to televise it was deeply controversial. Most television sets were in pubs, where, it was feared, decorum among the lower orders might lapse during the ceremony.


Mr. Will does not seem to notice that he has explained in this column why monarchy is necessary. He notes, though in passing, the collapse of the Empire and the moral decay of England over the course of the 20th century... which took place in concert with its continued democratization.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

We Americans are totally committed to egalitarianism. Really, we are.

American Princess

Some are born into it…
A few marry into it…
But others have to earn it…

On American Princess, twelve ordinary women are transformed into proper ladies with a chance to win a British title, a dance with their very own prince charming and $50,000 in cash!

Kings and Human Failings

My friends know I've become a monarchist, but we don't talk about it much. Most of them think I'm a little crazy, but they thought that before, so no worries.

When I sometimes can't restrain myself from pointing out that some problem is the result of elected government, they often point out that monarchs could theoretically be prone to the same failings. When I pointed out the well documented irrationality of voters, one friend pointed out that a king has exactly the same neurological quirks as a voter. When I pointed out that politicians are tempted to allow unrestrained immigration because they want a voting bloc to which they can pander to get re-elected, another pointed out that a king might be tempted to do the same thing so that he can collect more taxes.

These are valid points, except that history shows that kings don't behave in the ways proposed, or at least very seldom. The problems of the 20th and 21st centuries are, for the most part, historically unique. This tells us that monarchs are not, in practice, particularly prone to these flaws.

Author Florence King is a monarchist. Her father was an Englishman, which is where she got it from. In one of her books, I believe Reflections In A Jaundiced Eye, there was a chapter entitled "Why I Am A Royalist", but it wasn't an especially good defense of monarchy. Then again, she's primarily a humorist (whose humor requires a degree of erudition to appreciate), so advocating a political platform isn't really her field.

(She refers to herself as a royalist, but according to the dictionary, a royalist has a particular person or dynasty he wants on the throne. A monarchist simply wants there to be a throne. I lean towards the Hapsburgs, if only because it would be poetic justice after Woodrow Wilson dismantled their empire, but I'd be just as happy with a Stuart, a Romanov, or a Windsor.)

Miss King says that the chief objection people raise to monarchical government is hereditary insanity, and then explains that monarchs who go off their heads are always more famous because they make for more interesting movies and novels, whereas most kings were boringly good.

The fact is that when kings really went bad (i.e. James II), it was possible to remove them, though it doesn't seem so to people accustomed to being rid of everyone automatically after two to four years.

But more importantly, when a king went bad, it usually only inconvenienced a handful of people. Courtiers might fall out of favor, even be imprisoned or executed, but the vast majority of subjects, who never came into contact with the court, would be unaffected by his folly. When some politician, lobbyist, or agent of the alphabet soup goes bad, every single person in the nation is affected, and getting rid of their pernicious measures can take decades... or forever.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Bhutan exhibit

Photo exhibition celebrating 100 years of Monarchy opens

June 3: A special photo exhibition celebrating 100 years of monarchy opened at the National Museum in Paro yesterday. The exhibition will continue till December 17 this year.

The exhibition is a pictorial account of the successive monarchs starting from Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck, the first hereditary monarch of Bhutan, to His Majesty Jigme Khesar and their contributions to the kingdom and the people.

Make kings, not war

Dehumanizing the Enemy
Mass democracy, mass warfare, mass barbarism.


by Andrew Cusack

The twentieth century was the most democratic in human history. It was also the bloodiest, and these two factors are inextricably linked. For it is the rise of mass democracy during the nineteenth century and into the twentieth that led to wars not between sovereigns, but between entire peoples which, even in the darkest depths of stalemate (as during the First World War) leaders dared not sue for peace, because a propagandized electorate would not accept negotiations with an enemy it had been told was sub-human.

In many ways, the period from the defeat of Napoleon to the First World War was the last (or rather, pray, merely the latest) golden age of Western civilization. Great leaps were made in art, science, technology, and learning, while at the same time (with some notable exceptions) the all-important traditional forms were maintained. But, contrarily, steaming beneath this last breath of the Old World, was the rise of large-scale mass democracy.

In Great Britain, France, Spain, Italy, and the nascent Germany, electorates which had started out limited and aimed at the upper and upper-middle classes, those with a stake in society, gradually but continually expanded to include the merchant, smallkeepers, and eventually working classes. (Though every European country denied women suffrage until into the twentieth century). The growth of the electorate weakened the power of both the king and the aristocracy and changed the composition of the ruling classes. In order to maintain its domination, the political class (spanning both “left” and “right”) had to take mass culture into greater consideration, in order to deftly manipulate the masses and thus control increasingly democratic political structures.

It was not always so. In the age of monarchs, king warred against king. Armies went to war because their commander, the king, told them to (or because they were paid to), and this was largely enough in a more rigidly hierarchical age. One king defeated another, terms were decided upon, perhaps a province or some other bit of territory was handed to the victor, and peace was then restored.


Also:

The British and Americans denied the enemy their rightful status as human beings with ultimate co-equal status. Mass meetings were held decrying the menacing Hun and posters frequently depicted the Germans as subhuman ape-like monsters.


Great. That had to increase the appeal of the later "Ubermensch" propaganda.

Immigration

I'm sure I don't need to point out why the current unrestrained immigration from Muslim countries into Europe and America is a problem. Nor do I need to enumerate the ways in which the alien customs of these immigrants is being used by leftist politicians to further erode our traditions.

I would like to point out that no Western nation would be having these problems if we still had functioning monarchies. A monarch is a part of his nation and works to preserve it. He has a proprietary attitude towards it, which, contrary to the prevalent modern belief, is a good thing, motivating him to protect it.

A politician contemplates those clamoring for admission to his realm and is not able to think of anything except, "A new bloc of registered voters I can pander to!"

The Reformation

Last night was the season finale of my guilty pleasure, The Tudors. Anne Boleyn has just been executed, and with implied references to Sir Thomas More, the scriptwriters managed to draw our attention to the fact that being loved by this king was no guarantee that he wouldn't someday put you to death.

(Actually, that makes Henry VIII more like a modern politician than like most monarchs.)

As I was watching, it suddenly occurred to me that Catholics contemplating the Tudor period must often think, "See? We told you this was a bad idea."

Nepal and Tonga

The Count Robert Décsey von Deés has linked two very interesting articles today:

Nepal parties fight for power in new republic

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Nepal's leading political parties were locked in a power struggle on Monday as celebrations of the end of the monarchy and the dawn of the world's newest republic ebbed.


Already it starts.

End of Nepalese Monarchy is warning for Tonga’s Royal Family

Yes, all the world's royals must step carefully in this day and age, not to give small-r republicans any excuse, lest their nations be abandoned to politicians. It's funny, the nature of politicians is universally recognized to be contemptible, and jokes about "politicians" in general are told casually and constantly, transcending partisan affiliation, and yet it never occurs to anyone except libertarians and monarchists that perhaps we should not subject ourselves to them. But point to one less-than-perfect monarch, and people take this as "proof" that monarchy is bad.

History leaves little doubt that a return to monarchy in time is inevitable. What worries me is the havoc likely to be wreaked on humanity over the next century before we return to the natural form of government.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Ceremonial Monarchy Still A Threat To Evildoers

Royal World linked this New York Times article by someone vaporing about the British monarchy. They rightly recognize that even an ornamental monarch is a threat to their horrid objectives. The author seems especially upset by the respect for human dignity shown by monarchists. After reading it, I feel the need for a bath.

Nepal's traditions are already under fire.

A bad monarch is a far better thing than a bad republic.

Nepal's new republic puts Gurkhas at risk

Yet now another obstacle is looming to his dream of joining the historic regiment – Nepal's newly elected government wants to scrap it altogether.

The threat comes from the country's powerful Maoists, who swept to office in April amid growing discontent at the poverty that entry into the Gurkhas has long provided an escape route from. Last week they abolished the 240-year-old monarchy, ordering King Gyanendra to vacate his palace in downtown Kathmandu. But royalty is not the only institution at odds with their far-Left agenda: they also view the Gurkhas as a "militia" from the imperial age.


Hat tip Royal World.

Monarchy and Stability

Thailand May Use Force to End Protest, Samak Says

The army cannot rule out another coup, which would be the 19th since the nation's absolute monarchy ended in 1932, Supreme Military Commander Boonsrang Niumpradi said May 29.

The PAD claims Samak is a proxy for Thaksin, who pledged to stay out of politics following his overthrow. Samak's People's Power Party, which won a national election in December, includes politicians from Thaksin's now-dissolved Thai Rak Thai Party.

``My government is not a puppet government,'' Samak said. ``We are a government serving the King.''

The 80-year-old monarch is revered as a symbol of stability in the nation of 66 million people, many of whom have his portrait in their homes.


Well, they're trying. And I don't imagine that I know the solutions to Thailand's problems when I know nothing about Thailand. But 18 coups since the king was made ornamental is not a good sign.

In Nepal, the drawbacks of republican government have already started.

Nepal press slams Maoist's warning to media against criticism

KATHMANDU - Nepal's journalists on Saturday slammed Maoist leader Prachanda for warning the media against criticizing his party at a rally celebrating the nation's transformation from monarchy to republic.

He told journalists, and in particular Kantipur Publications, which publishes two leading news dailies, not to criticize the Maoists, the English-language Kathmandu Post reported.


Nepal’s ex-King Gyanendra & Future of Monarchy In The World…

Why is Nepal ending its monarchy? So where do royals still have power? Once they’re gone, do they ever return? What does a royal do when they’re sacked


'Monarchy in Nepal might stage a comeback’

We can hope.

The People and Power

This author believes in the republican form of government and has a couple of today's prevalent errors, but his essay nonetheless has a few insightful paragraphs about monarchy.

Democracy: The Philosophic Principles and Mechanisms Part II by John M. Joyce

Next, let me consider monarchy. Monarchs generally identify with the polity which they rule over to a very great extent. They see themselves as representing the polity and all the people within it. For a monarch, the stronger and wealthier his polity is, and the stronger and wealthier his subjects are, then the greater he, the monarch, must be and will be perceived to be by others. No monarch, in theory, would knowingly and willingly undertake a venture, or follow a course of action, that led to the destruction of his polity and its people. There is also a sort of tribal-chieftainship air about monarchy: many monarchs throughout history have viewed themselves, and encouraged their subjects to view them in this way also, as head of the family. However, it must not be forgotten that monarchy can also be viewed as a heritable strongman dictatorship and some monarchs in the past have certainly acted in vile ways against other polities and against their own subjects – ways which we more commonly associate with dictators.

The strongest concepts which surround monarchy are those which reinforce the subjects’ views about themselves. When a monarch accentuates family, that will find a resonance amongst his subjects. When a monarch identifies himself as head of the most widely held religion within his realm, that will also find resonance. When a monarch appeals to his subjects to rally round him and defend the realm against an obvious aggressor then that, too, will resonate with the people. It is easy to see why thirty-one monarchies still exist today – absolute monarchies have the ability to transform themselves into constitutional monarchies by persuading themselves that this act preserves their dynasties (the importance of family, again) and strengthens, and makes greater, the realm. In fact, modern constitutional monarchs probably believe that they are greater and better than their ancestors were, for they have taken monarchy and their dynasties to the very pinnacle of symbolism and made the removal of their dynasties very difficult to accomplish. For many of their subjects, now citizens, the monarch today still embodies some idea of nationhood and identity and he or she commands a symbolic power whilst in reality having little, if any, real power.

So, those monarchies which are still with us today have ceased to be ruling monarchies and have become reigning monarchies – no vestige of the strongman dictator king now exists; but what of those which have vanished? In the main their polities still exist – Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Iran, India, Burma, Egypt, Brazil and so on. Monarchy would appear to have been good at instilling national identity into the people. What went wrong with those monarchies that no longer exist is that they ceased to fulfil the purpose of government. They concentrated wealth in the hands of the monarch and the (aristocratic) courtiers and this undermined the economy (Iran) and they abused their subjects by acting like dictators (France). They slipped away from the generally accepted norms of family life and alienated their peoples and failed to be observant enough of the majority religion (Egypt). They failed to defend the realm adequately or they led their realm into a situation which very nearly destroyed it (Germany). It’s the same old story: when power is concentrated in the hands of one person it is inevitable that the purpose of government will eventually be forgotten in favour of the maintenance of the position of the ruler at all costs. The only thing which has allowed some monarchies to survive is the relinquishing of power and the adopting of a symbolic and unifying role within the polity.