Friday, December 18, 2009

Tory Anarchist

The Paradox of “Self-Government”

It doesn’t limit the scope of state power at all; it expands it. This isn’t just because rulers can get away with a lot more so long as they keep up the myth that they aren’t really imposing anything on anyone else but are merely the conduit by which people govern themselves. It’s also because the modern notion of self-government tends to assume homogeneous selves — that is, while older evolved systems of government tended to take into account the diverse interests of society (church, nobility, king and courtiers, peasantry, etc.), contemporary notions of self-government usually acknowledge only a single, general public interest. Today it would be difficult even to say what different interests should be represented in government — small businesses? multiple churches? universities? — since this way of thinking is very much out of fashion, and in any case which interests were represented in government in the Middle Ages were a function of power, not design. Kings had to deal with nobles and the Church, whether they wanted to or not.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

“Conquest is not the victory itself; but the acquisition, by victory, of a right over the persons of men. He therefore that is slain is overcome, but not conquered: he that is taken and put into prison or chains is not conquered, though overcome; for he is still an enemy, and may save himself if he can: but he that upon promise of obedience hath his life and liberty allowed him, is then conquered and a subject; and not before.”

-- Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan

Saturday, December 5, 2009

R.I.P. England

'This isn't the Britain we fought for,' say the 'unknown warriors' of WWII

Many writers are bewildered and overwhelmed by a multicultural Britain that, they say bitterly, they were never consulted about nor feel comfortable with.

'Our country has been given away to foreigners while we, the generation who fought for freedom, are having to sell our homes for care and are being refused medical services because incomers come first.'...

'We're now controlled by Germany and France. What a sad irony!'


Hat tip: .

From the same site:

The Soldiers singing group banned from wearing uniforms at Royal Variety Performance
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1233451/The-Soldiers-singing-group-banned-wearing-uniforms-Royal-Variety-Performance.html#ixzz0Ypk8OE8q


Buy your children toy weapons for Christmas and you could face an armed raid, police warn parents
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1233405/Buy-children-toy-weapons-Christmas-face-armed-raid-police-warn-parents.html#ixzz0YpkC79P7

Amir Khan: If I was white I'd be a superstar
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1233411/Amir-Khan-If-I-white-Id-superstar.html#ixzz0YpkFJcyc

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Human Folly

The Lisbon Treaty. Today.

God help us.
Kate Beaton writes very intelligent webcomics, mostly about literature and history (she has a couple about Emperor Norton I, and has a wonderfully silly sense of humor. Her latest comic is a takeoff on the excessive sexiness of the series The Tudors.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Two links to other blog posts

Declassified Documents #4: Heath was warned that EMU plan could herald European superstate


Dissolving the personal union

An article has appeared in today's Sydney Morning Herald suggesting that Australia should elect another member of the House of Windsor to be our King, separate and distinct from Her Majesty (though, in order to assure a smooth succession, I daresay that the dissolution would not occur until the passing of the incumbent monarch, be it Her Majesty, or her heir, Prince Charles (whether he's Charles III or George VII remains to be seen)).

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Democracy is no protection

No king or queen would ever have allowed any of this.

Europeans Meet (Soviet-Style) to Choose First-Ever EU President

In what has been described as a “slow-moving coup d’état,” Europe over the past several decades has experienced a gradual but significant shift in political power away from individual nation states towards an unelected and unaccountable bureaucracy based in Brussels.

Today, these so-called Eurocrats oversee more than 100,000 pages of EU legislation, much of which has primacy over national legislation and parliaments. Indeed, unelected bureaucrats in Brussels now exercise so much power that they dictate what elected leaders can or cannot do in more than 30 policy areas.

In 2004, European federalists moved to consolidate their power by means of the “European Constitution,” which, among many other things, called for abolishing the national veto in more than 50 additional policy areas. But the ratification process ran into a roadblock in May and June 2005, when French and Dutch voters rejected the document.

Predictably, the authors of the European Constitution were unwilling to let democracy get in the way of their federal ambitions. Instead, they essentially shuffled some of the words, sentences and paragraphs of the document and reissued it in December 2007 as the Lisbon Treaty, in order “to avoid having referendums.”

The Lisbon Treaty, which obligates EU nations to surrender their sovereignty in many areas to centralized decision-making, was supposed to have been quietly rubber-stamped by the parliaments of all member states by the end of 2008. But once again, democracy got in the way, this time thanks to Ireland, where the constitution mandated a popular referendum.

Indeed, Ireland, which accounts for 1 percent of the European Union’s 500 million population, was the only EU member state to put the Lisbon Treaty to a referendum. And sure enough, in June 2008, Irish voters soundly rejected the document.

Unsurprisingly, the Brussels elite were outraged at the audacity of the Irish insubordination and demanded that Ireland hold a second referendum, one that would produce the “correct” answer. EU Thought Police were dispatched to warn the “extremely arrogant” Irish voters of the dire consequences they would face in the event of another ‘no’ vote. In October 2009, Irish voters succumbed to the pressure and produced the desired result.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

No to the Schwarzenegger Amendment

Social life is fraught with peril these days. I'm on a lot of mls for my various hobbies, most of which are utterly nonpolitical. However, just now, someone posted a political editorial he wrote and hopes to publish in the local paper to one of these hobby mls. It has nothing whatever to do with the hobby, he just wanted to tell everyone his opinion.

The gist of the article is, we should ignore the evidence that Obama is not a natural-born citizen of the U.S. and is thus ineligible for the office he is so ineptly holding because America is supposed to be a meritocracy, so our head of state should be the most qualified person who wants to be, whether they were born here or not.

I guess it would be mean of me to email back pointing out that if Obama is indeed foreign born, this makes him guilty of fraud, and I think most people are still sane enough not to want someone who has committed fraud to be a head of state.

Part of his motivation in writing this, he tells us, is that he adopted a foreign child and wishes to make sure that when she grows up, she won't be "excluded" from the opportunity to become president.

We have come to a pass when we consider it unjust that anyone might be "excluded" from holding the most powerful position on earth!

What we need nowadays is a lot more exclusivity.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More disturbing looks at the voting mind

Five-year-olds can predict election outcomes based on photos of the candidates. We can even guess whether a face belongs to a Democrat or a Republican at a rate better than chance, according to a forthcoming study out of Princeton.


Source. The latter study doesn't surprise me at all. Back before I was a monarchist, I sometimes worked at the voting polls. The day of a primary election, I found that after just a couple of hours, I could predict with a high degree of accuracy whether I was going to be asked for a Republican or Democratic ballot. Not only are conservatives better dressed, we're also much better looking. I have given credence to the research indicating that political beliefs are at least partly genetic ever since.

The study, conducted by psychologists John Antonakis and Olaf Dalgas at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, shows that Swiss children as young as five years can predict which candidates are more likely to win French parliamentary elections.

This finding contributes to a large and growing body of evidence, coming from many research groups, which shows that voters seem to be heavily influenced by a candidate’s appearance, and in particular the kinds of personality traits that a politician’s face projects. This result is strange considering the political stakes. We may agree that one candidate looks more approachable or intelligent than another, but why do we then allow these superficial impressions to guide our political preferences?


Source.

If you think about it, voting in a large national election – such as the US Presidential election – is a supremely irrational act, because the probability that your vote will make a difference in the outcome is infinitesimally small. The closest Presidential election in history was the 1960 contest between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon. In that election, Kennedy’s margin in the popular vote over Nixon was 118,574. Disregarding for the moment the complexity of the electoral college system, it means that the probability that any one voter will influence the outcome of the 1960 election was 1/118,574 = .00000843355.


Why Do People Vote?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Prince Albert II sues alleged spymaster

Monaco palace says it's suing alleged spymaster

PARIS — A French lawyer says Monaco's Prince Albert II is filing a lawsuit in the U.S. against an American who claims he once worked as the prince's personal spymaster and is owed back pay.

The palace says that claims by Robert Eringer "smear" the image of the ruling prince and the reputation of Monaco. Lawyer Thierry Lacoste says the prince is suing.

Eringer claims in an interview in this week's Paris Match magazine that he worked for Albert from 2002 to 2007, keeping the prince abreast of potentially shady figures. Paris Match shows a photo of an ID card for the "Monaco Intelligence Service," or MIS, carrying Eringer's picture and number — 001. Its authenticity couldn't be established.

The palace said Friday that MIS has no "legal existence."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Consensual Government?

There is nothing truly consensual about government. It is always and everywhere based on force, intimidation, and violence. When the founding generation formed a confederacy with the Articles of Confederation, and later the Constitution, it was at least a voluntary union of the states. The citizens of each state understood that their state, and all others, was free and independent and sovereign. They were free to participate in the union, or not.


~Malice Toward All, Charity Toward None: The Foundations of the American State

Whenever I start pointing out the reasons that elected government is a bad thing, or even suggest limiting the franchise, people almost invariably recite the phrase, "the consent of the governed".

My usual retort is that I didn't consent to be governed by people chosen by college students and atheists.

That retort really ought to demonstrate the fallacy of the entire argument. Democrats don't consent to be governed by Republicans who win elections, or vice versa. None of us consent to the rules of the FDA, DMV, EPA, or dozens of other power-mad government agencies, though we follow them if we wish to stay out of prison.

There is no such thing as the consent of the governed, unless you count "not blowing up Capitol Hill" as "consent". Government is about force. The talk about "the consent of the governed" is rhetoric intended to make the subjects of a democracy feel as if they are not sheep being shorn until time for the barbecue. Time for adherents of elected government to come up with a better argument.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Quotation of the Day

"For every monarchy overthrown the sky becomes less brilliant, because it loses a star. A republic is ugliness set free."
~Anatole France

From Wilson Revolution Unplugged.


Source.

Also, a cartoon about Emperor Norton of the United States.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Quotation of the Day

"Louis XIV was very frank and sincere when he said: I am the State. The modern etatist is modest. He says: I am the servant of the State; but, he implies, the State is God. You could revolt against a Bourbon king, and the French did it. This was, of course, a struggle of man against man. But you cannot revolt against the god State and against his humble handy man, the bureaucrat."

Bureaucracy by Ludwig von Mises

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Monarchist News from Around the World

Cambodia's monarchy quietly evolves

PHNOM PENH - Five years on from King Norodom Sihanouk's intricately-scripted departure from the political stage, Cambodia's new monarch Norodom Sihamoni is quietly and finally emerging from his father's shadow.

Enthroned by French colonial authorities in 1941, Sihanouk grew into a national symbol and wily political operator, entrenching himself at the center of the country's political life through his Sangkum Reastr Niyum, or People's Socialist Community, which ruled from 1955 to 1969. Unpredictable to the last, the often tempestuous monarch announced his surprise abdication on October 7, 2004, ending an era that spanned six decades and countless political and royal titles.

The monarchy was officially re-established under Sihanouk in 1993 as part of a United Nations-sponsored peace process and the country has since been governed as a constitutional monarchy. However, Sihamoni, Sihanouk's son and hand-picked successor, was always going to find it hard to live up to Sihanouk's colorful and often controversial legacy.


Iran activist sentenced to death for election protests

The first death sentence has been passed against a defendant accused of involvement in the mass protests in Iran against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election, prompting fears of a wave of executions against opposition activists.

A revolutionary court in Tehran handed the penalty to Mohammad Reza Ali-Zamani, 37, after convicting him of muhabereh – taking up arms against Iran's Islamic system.

The sentence was imposed after he confessed to working for a little-known exile group, the Iran Monarchy Committee, which Iranian officials describe as a terrorist organisation. Prosecutors alleged that he plotted political assassinations with US military officials in Iraq before returning to Iran "aiming at causing disruption during and after the election".


Mujib killers were told that Bangladesh to be monarchy

Dhaka, Oct 7 (IANS) Mutineers who killed Bangladesh’s founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975 were provoked by an army officer with a ’story’ that their country was about to be declared a ‘monarchy’, which would be subservient to neighbouring India, the Supreme Court has been told.

A bench of the apex court, which resumed after many years the murder trial and appeals by some of those convicted and sentenced to death, was told that Lt. Col. Syed Farooq Rahman had made a confession about this before a magistrate. Rahman was later dismissed from the army.

The former officer said that Aug 14, 1975, he “had excited his colleagues, saying that the president would proclaim monarchy in the country on Aug 15, the democracy will be damaged and the country will go under the possession of India and therefore they should depose the government of Sheikh Mujib,” The Daily Star reported Wednesday.

Royal News

Heady odour of the last French Queen set to roll on to market
£1,000 will buy perfume of a tragic royal


A FRAGRANCE worn by Marie-Antoinette, a woman sometimes described as the world’s first fashion victim, has been re-created by a French perfume-maker for an exhibition at the Palace of Versailles.

The perfume, Sillage de la Reine (In the Queen’s Wake), is likely to be put on a sale by the palace, which has been inundated with requests from people who want to smell like the Austrian-born Queen beheaded during the French Revolution. A thousand flacons are set to be made available at a price of around €1,500 (£1,050) each, with the profits being used to restore Marie-Antoinette’s furniture and objects.

Sillage de la Reine, which can be inhaled during pre-booked tours of the Marie-Anoinette exhibition at Versailles, was made by Francis Kurkdjian, one of France’s most celebrated perfume-makers. It is based on the ingredients and methods used in the late 18th century by Marie-Antoinette’s personnel supplier of fragrances, Jean-Louis Fargeon.

The perfume contains essence of citron tree, lavender, rose petal, jasmin, galbanum, iris, musk, tonka bean, ambergris, vanilla, benjamin, cedar and sandalwood. Elisabeth de Feydeau, a French historian, discovered the recipe during research for a biography on Fargeon.

“It is a superb floral bouquet made with entirely natural products,” she said. “It does not have the tenacity or the amplitude of a modern perfume, but when I tested it, everyone wanted to know what it was and everyone complimented me on it. It unleashes emotions that we no longer know.”

In her work, published last month, she says that Fargeon supplied the French court with an array of luxury cosmetics as well as toothbrushes, combs and tongue scrapers that were used to fight bad breath.

Marie-Antoinette’s taste for luxury contributed to the unpopularity of the French monarchy and ultimately turned her — literally — into the first ever fashion victim.


Former member of terrorist FLQ promises 'fireworks' during Prince Charles's visit

Pierre Schneider, once a member of the long-defunct Front de liberation du Quebec, predicted "fireworks" during the visit but refused to offer any details in order to keep them a surprise.

But he said there will be no violence.

"We don't need to commit violent acts, as we did in the past, to get the message across the world that Quebec doesn't want the monarchy," he said.


Gov. Gen takes heat for 'head of state' self-title

Canadian monarchists and constitutional experts are raising strong objections to a speech given this week in Paris by Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean, in which she referred to herself twice as Canada's "head of state" -- a position formally occupied by Queen Elizabeth.

The phrasing is controversial because the Governor General is normally referred to as the "Queen's representative in Canada," a vice-regal delegate who routinely performs the functions of the head of state but does not carry that title.


Dutch royal budget should be cut, lawmakers say

Some 39.6 million euros (54.3 million dollars) have been budgeted for the monarchy in the coming year.



Off with my head?
Our Royal Blogger wonders whether his attitude to the monarchy would have done for him in less enlightened times?


I have also lived for a time in the United States which, of course, prides itself on not being a monarchy. All I can say is that I don’t feel any more free or less tramelled with rules and regulations there than here.


I'm going to add this gent's blog to my blogroll: The Royal Blog.

Albania wants remains of Mother Teresa, king

TIRANA, Albania — Albania wants the remains of Nobel Peace laureate Mother Teresa and the only post-independence monarch to be returned to the country, the prime minister said Friday....

Zog was the small Balkan country's first — and only — post-independence monarch, reigning from 1928 to 1939, when he fled after Albania's occupation by fascist Italy. He died in France in 1961, and is buried at the Thiais Cemetery near Paris.

"The Albanian government took this decision recognizing Ahmet Zog ... as one of the greatest, most distinguished personalities with a major contribution in the history of the Albanian nation," Berisha told a news conference.

Berisha said the king's remains would be re-interred at the former Albanian royal family's private cemetery near Tirana, without specifying when that was expected.

There has been no reaction from the royal family or French authorities.

Albania's communist rulers abolished the monarchy in 1946, but the exiled royals insisted that Zog's son Leka Zog I was the country's legitimate ruler.

Since the fall of Communism in 1991, Albania has been a parliamentary republic. A small royalist party is allied to Berisha's 16-party governing Democrats' coalition.

Albanians voted against restoring the monarchy in a 1997 referendum.

A couple of thoughts on government.

It must be granted that government by persons that were ordained by God, the Rich or a voting majority might not be optimally wise, just or successful. At the same time, the decisive question is not the immaculate perfection of governance. The issue to be decided is why such authority should be regarded, on the basis of logic and experience, to be less benign than the dominance by those who feel deputized by the “logic of history” or that are bureaucratic planners implementing “progress”?


Source.

Whenever an election is held in Iraq or Afghanistan the high turnout is always praised. But no mention is made of what the voters are voting for. They aren't voting for tolerance, pluralism, democracy, or any of the other platitudes advocated by the Bush State Department. Rather, the Sunnis are voting to put themselves in power, the Shia are voting to put themselves in power, and so forth. The turnout is high because no faction wants any other faction to have power, which inevitably means suppression of all other factions, plus control of oil wealth and other perks.

Back in the Sixties, the left would sometimes theorize about what would happen if we had an election in America and everybody came. The belief was that a 100 percent turnout would mean the have-nots would outnumber the haves at the ballot box and would vote to plunder the nation economically, which they saw as a good thing. I don't know if that's really what would have happened, but the left saw "democracy" as the proverbial two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner. That's how most of the world views it outside of Western Civilization, as we're seeing in Iraq. It should be a warning to everyone about what diversity leads to. Instead, our neocons nurture pipe dreams of a pluralist Middle East where everyone gets along once "democracy" is imposed everywhere.


Source.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Vive la France!

Duke of Vendôme Jean d’Orléans stakes his claim to French throne

It reads like a manifesto for a return to past French glories, with a strong army, a thriving economy and a society united around family values.

The author, however, is no ordinary politician. Jean d’Orléans, 44, the Duke of Vendôme, does not want to become President of France. He wants to be its king.

The man who claims to be heir to the French throne has signalled the start of his campaign to sow the seeds of a monarchist revival with the publication of Un prince français (A French Prince). The work suggests that the 1789 revolution was a mistake, that the French Republic is inherently unstable and that France should renew ties with ancestral tradition.

“The King, contrary to the President, is not subjected to elections,” the Duke, who descends from Louis-Philippe III, says. “And that changes everything. A prince does not govern according to opinion polls. He can therefore listen to everyone, neglect no one, take advice from all and decide in all honesty, guided only by a desire for the common good.”

The problem with being an American

The problem with being an American and becoming disenchanted with certain of the country's actions and beliefs is that you can't say a word about it to anyone who isn't already thoroughly acquainted with your new worldview. Otherwise, the worst sort of person thinks you are on their side, and the best sort (well, second-best sort) thinks that you are their enemy instead of being a purified form of their own side. Friend and foe alike misapprehend everything you say.

You can't just casually say that America shouldn't be butting in on the affairs of every other nation in the world, because Americans and foreigners alike will believe that you mean, "When the twin towers fell, we should have APOLOGIZED to those poor terrorists for having upset them so much! 9/11 was probably an inside job anyway," or "It was terrible the way we kept threatening the poor Soviets, who really just wanted to live in peace with everyone and were only kidding when they stated that they intended to enforce communism on the entire world by military conquest," or some such madness. People who share these sentiments and people who abhor them will both believe that is what you are saying. You can only say it to traditionalists and paleocons who understand that what you mean is that we should have stayed out of World War I.

You can't casually say that you don't agree with the systematic export of the American way of life to every place in the world, for a lot of reasons. For one thing, the belief system we object to isn't actually an American invention. It was created by the Frankfort School, which was made up of German and Italian refugees who came here to spread their nonsense. Arguably, certain weaknesses in our own proper, native worldview, such as a faith in elected government, made us susceptible to the Frankfort School's propaganda and allowed them to incubate their plot here. Indubitably, they used the power and wealth which America would never have achieved without the labor of people who shared none of the School's insane notions to advance their agenda. But we were the first victims of these people, not unlike the carrier of some science-fiction virus which not only transforms the carrier but gives it a compulsion to spread the infection to others. Most of us who value this country believe that the American way is on the verge of extinction, while what's being exported is for the most part a later aberration. If the way of Little House on the Prairie were being exported, that would be all very well, but instead the way of Taxi Driver is what we're spreading through the world.

In short, the rest of the world did pick up the odious habit of wearing comfortable clothes from us, but we ourselves got it from hostile foreigners in a Trojan horse.

Criticisms of the way our economy functions will be taken as an attack on capitalism and property itself, by both those who hate those things and those who esteem them. I don't know of a succinct way to explain that while capitalism is necessary unless you want a half-starved populace without sufficient shelter or medicine, capitalism by itself will not magically transform a society into a moral one. I think that most readers of the monarchist blogosphere will understand this without my explaining in tedious detail, but not many others will. And, of course, those on the left have no comprehension of the fact that capitalism is swiftly vanishing from this continent. I have seen left-wing journalists write, in all sincerity, that "a little more government oversight" would have prevented the recent financial crisis. Um, no.

Focus your criticism on the elected form of government and nearly everyone currently alive, regardless of their nation, will be uncomprehending. History textbooks carefully gloss over the armed aggression by which America and the Soviet Union both forced elections upon Europe and Japan, and how America used military force to help deprive other New World nations of their rightful European sovereigns. That is why, when my other obligations ease a little, I am going to write that series of essays I've occasionally threatened, in which I detail how every country in the world lost its monarchs. Most Americans have no idea that Woodrow Wilson is to blame for much of the "democracy" in the world. Most people of all nations believe that the world just naturally became democratic as we ascended to our current dizzying height of enlightenment. This is on a par with late nineteenth-century books which blithely state that the world has outgrown war. (Also late twentieth-century books which blithely state that the world has outgrown war.)

When I criticize my beloved country, do not take me for one of them. In the words of Confucius, "One cannot be loyal to the sovereign without admonishing him."

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

New addition to my blogroll

New Zealand Monarchy.

Another quotation of the day

"I prefer the old Adam of strife and carnage to the new Prometheus of peace and human rights. Better a world torn apart by Husseins and Qaddafis, better a war to the knife between the PLO and the Likud Party, between Zulus and Afrikaaners, than a world run by George Balls and Dag Hammarskjölds, because a world made safe for democracy is a world in which no one dares to raise his voice for fear that mommy will put you away some place where you can be reeducated."
~Thomas Fleming

Quotation of the Day

“Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”

~James Madison, The Federalist Papers (Federalist Number 10)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Monarchy news

Thai King’s illness deepens uncertainty — Pavin Chachavalpongpun

King Bhumibol, the world's longest-serving monarch, was crowned on May 5, 1950, at a time when the monarchy was weak and vulnerable. In 1932, what is believed to be Thailand's first military coup ended 150 years of absolute monarchy under the current Chakri dynasty and changed the face of Thai politics.

For the next 20 years, Thais lived in fear that their monarchy might actually become extinct. Its long existence had transformed the institution into one of the main pillars of the Thai state. Therefore, for Thais, living without a king was, and is, almost unimaginable.

But the fear gradually subsided as King Bhumibol embarked on a lifelong project to turn the marginalised monarchy into what American journalist Paul Handley has described as the single most powerful component of the modern Thai state.

Regarded by the Thais as semi-divine, King Bhumibol has emerged as a guarantor of stability, occasionally intervening directly in times of political crisis. On occasion, his interventions have stopped the bloodletting between political opponents. The footage of General Suchinda Kraprayoon, a general-turned-prime minister who was one of the leaders of the February 1991 coup, and his opponent Chamlong Srimuang, leader of anti-military demonstrators, prostrating themselves before the King in May 1992 is one of the most memorable images in modern Thai history.


The Supreme Court is a perfectly English idea
Don’t let them tell you this is another American import. It is modelled on the free democracy of Britain in the 18th century


In 1729, Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, arrived in England. By then, he was well into his Grand Tour, studying the political systems of Italy, Germany and the Netherlands. But he was most interested in England since it was here, as Voltaire had suggested, liberty was at its fullest. And Montesquieu was not disappointed. “England is at present the country in the world where there is the greatest freedom,” he wrote in his Pensées.

Seeking to understand the foundations of such freedoms, Montesquieu threw himself into British public life. He sat through interminable debates in Parliament between Robert Walpole and his foes, mingled at the court of George II, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, and declared himself amazed at both the stupidity of the English aristocracy and their childish love of practical jokes (one of which involved Montesquieu, at a country house party, falling through a false floor into a bath of cold water).

But what really impressed Montesquieu was English freedom. In contrast to the fearful royal absolutism of Louis XV’s France, the English enjoyed the right to worship, trade and speak their minds. And this was the direct product, Montesquieu thought, of the English constitution’s separation of powers. It was an idea he was led to appreciate by Viscount Bolingbroke, the Tory philosopher-politician. An opponent of Walpole, Bolingbroke had long accused the King and his ministers of undermining Parliament by buying off MPs. “In a constitution like ours, the safety of the whole depends upon the balance of the parts, and the balance of the parts on their mutual independency on each other.”


From the Bosphorus - Straight : Osman Ertuğrul: 1912 -- 2009

Over the weekend, Turkey laid to rest its last man in the direct line of accession to the Ottoman throne, Osman Ertuğrul who died last week at the age of 97. The complexity of Turkey’s relationship with the dynasty of an abolished monarchy was reflected in the attendence at Saturday’s funeral. As our story today notes, many leading political figures were there as well as religious figures. The industrial Koç family came. So did Yaşar Kemal, the leftist writer and intellectual. As one newspaper noted, perhaps only Ertuğrul in death could assemble such a diverse gathering in life....

On the concept of monarchy: “A monarch is brought up to reign and can be the right person, as he doesn't owe anything to anybody because he is not elected. But on the other hand he may be an idiot.”


Ferry tragedy 'may fuel democracy push'

Mateni Tapu'eluelu, of pro-democracy newspaper Kele'a, has clear memories of the 2006 pro-democracy riots in the capital Nuku'alofa in which eight people died and more than $100 million in damage was caused.

They were the most violent civil protests ever seen in the Pacific and were fuelled by Tongans' anger that the country's move away from the monarchy and towards a more democratic political system was taking too long.

Tongans now had more reason than ever to seek a change of government, Mr Tapu'eluelu said.


Wait, they should switch to democracy because people who want it kill a lot of people in their rallies?

He said the people were very aware the king had left the country when they needed him most.

"The people will look at the monarchy as not the kind of system that will provide them with proper leadership during a crisis like this.

"The calling now is for democracy and making sure that it does happen as soon as possible."


Nepal's Deposed King Gyanendra Expresses Concern About Country

A year after he stepped down, Nepal's deposed King Gyanendra has expressed concern about his country. The end of the monarchy had raised hopes of bringing political stability to the tiny nation, wracked for a decade by a Maoist rebellion.


...Wait, by ending the legitimate government and giving in to the people who were causing the trouble, they hoped to attain stability?

The king handed power to political parties in 2006, following weeks of street protests. This paved the way for Maoist rebels to end a violent insurgency, sign a peace deal and come to power.


They had the opportunity to stop being violent, because violence had finally given them what they wanted! How nice!

Ex-king "very perturbed" at turn of Nepal events

Nepal's deposed King Gyanendra said he was "very perturbed" at the lack of progress in establishing peace and prosperity for the people of the Himalayan nation a year after the end of the monarchy.


Ending monarchy doesn't bring peace or prosperity. Who knew?

Brussels Journal

A couple of recent Brussels Journal posts discuss monarchy in history a bit. Not monarchist, but of interest to monarchists.

Music and the Rise and Decline of Western Civilization

Ohmyrus believes, like myself, that the West is in decline, not just in relative terms as a percentage of the global economy or population but in real terms. He points to structural flaws in our democratic political system, which “tends to divide people, pitting one race against another and one economic class against another” and is by the nature of its short election periods not well suited for long-term planning. European civilization reached its peak when it was pre-democratic, and Muslims have found it easier to penetrate democratic than pre-democratic Europe. In nineteenth century Britain, Queen Victoria and the aristocracy were not as powerful as their ancestors had been, but they wielded more power than today. Power was divided between the monarch, the House of Lords and the House of Commons in Parliament. This corresponds to what ancient political theorists such as Aristotle would have called a good balance between the monarchic, the aristocratic and the democratic elements of society.


“The Catastrophe” - Part 2: What the End of Bronze-Age Civilization means for Modern Times

...Ionians gradually resettled in parts of Greece beyond Attica, extending their sense of enlightened order well beyond their home base – in particular to the coastal areas of what is today Turkey. The Ionians, unlike the Dorians, discarded many of the institutions of the Bronze Age, most especially kingship, but also the habit of the fortified city. Where kingship remained in the Ionic world, it persisted only as a ritualistic vestige. The new dispensation in Ionia inclined to the democratic. Doric institutions, as at Sparta or in Crete, remained tribal and hidebound. Spartan hegemony in Laconia gives some idea of the original Doric attitude to the conquered – utter dominating bigotry and, in practice, enslavement or Helotism. Originally it would have been contempt sprung from envy: the envy of the savage who sees across the borders into the ease and luxury of a more highly developed way of life and schemes how he might profit by the labor of others.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Confederate Royalty

This week is the annual used book sale of the American Association of University Women. Of course I attended, as I do every year. One of my finds was a book I owned in the 90's but somehow or other lost: A Southern Belle Primer, or why Princess Margaret will never be a Kappa Kappa Gamma by Marilyn Schwartz.

The question raised in the subtitle is answered in the Introduction:

It was a sultry afternoon in 1985 when the British princess [Margaret] was being feted in a chic Dallas home. A crowd of local belles gathered, excited to meet a member of the British royal family. Of course, Princess Margaret was hardly the only royalty present. There were at least six former duchesses of the Tyler Rose Festival and an ex-Queen of the Memphis Cotton Carnival. The Southern royalty all arrived on time. The British royalty was an hour late.

Not only that, but she arrived wearing pink chiffon in the middle of the afternoon (this might have been overlooked if her shoes had not been a different shade of pink). But what really caused talk was when Princess Margaret began walking around the room puffing on a cigarette. No one could believe it. She was in the living room of the president of Neiman-Marcus, for goodness' sake.


There is an entire chapter which continues to tongue-in-cheek talk as if the Princess of the Azalea Ball or the Queen of the Pilgrimage were genuine royalty. The story is told of a wealthy man who tried to make his daughter Queen of Fiesta in San Antonio, Texas, only to find that instead a penniless girl whose mother and Grandmother had been Queen of Fiesta was chosen. Her "royal blood" was considered more important than money. And an Englishman who attended the coronation of Elizabeth II is quoted as saying that that of the King and Queen of Mardi Gras in Mobile, Alabama was far more lavish.

It seems Southerner and monarchist Florence King was right when she said, "The itch to crown someone, if only a Corn Harvest Queen, pervades our populist heartland."*

Southerners are old-fashioned people. Not that we haven't been contaminated by the modern age like everyone else, but the decay is less advanced here than in much of the country. And I really think that most Southerners, traditionalists and romantics that we are, are royalists at heart. If we had won the War of Northern Aggression, I wouldn't be surprised if President Jefferson Davis had been succeeded by a king.

Another anecdote from A Southern Belle Primer is of interest, particularly to detractors of Sarah Ferguson, such as myself. It also illustrates that nations which lack titles must instead depend upon byzantine codes of behavior as class markers. After several pages of arbitrary but nonetheless ironclad rules one must follow to be a respectable person in the South (potato salad is not eaten off good china), Miss Schwartz relates:

One has only to look at the Duchess of York's visit to Houston in 1989 to see just how seriously this is all still taken.

Fergie arrived in November, wearing a summer dress and white shoes. Eyebrows were raised all over town. Reporters talked about those white shoes on the ten o'clock news. The shoes were still the topic of conversation the next morning on the radio talk shows.

Finally, Her Majesty's press secretary issued a statement that there were no such seasonal rules in Great Britain. [Ed.: And they call England civilized?]

"Well, she should have realized she was in Texas," a newspaper quoted one observer as saying. "I would rather wear my crown crooked than wear white shoes after Labor Day."


* Reflections in a Jaundiced Eye.

Monarchy News

From an Illinois news site, an item of interest to royalwatchers:

Queen for a day

Sonja Haraldsen stopped by the Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio for a visit on Sept. 12. Sonja also goes by the title, "Queen of Norway." She took the tour and "enjoyed time in the museum shop," according to Wright Preservation Trust staff. Don't know if she bought anything.

In case you're curious, Sonja was born on the Fourth of July (1937). According to Wikipedia, she has been the wife of King Harald V for 41 years. The couple dated secretly for nine years because of Sonja's non-royal status. The future king informed his father that he would never marry if he couldn't marry Sonja, which might well have ended the monarchy altogether since he was the only heir.

She became queen upon her father-in-law's death in 1991 and subsequently has done her share of traveling. In 2005, she became the first queen to visit Antarctica. One of the perks of her job is that she was automatically appointed Rear Admiral in the Royal Norwegian Navy and Brigadier General in the Royal Norwegian Army.

No word on what she thought of Wright, but at least she didn't say, "Off with his head!"


I fear that many of my fellow countrymen associate the word "royalty" with the phrase "off with his head". In any case, ordering the decapitation of the great architect would seem rather pointless, as he died in 1959.

There is a very nice photo of Her Majesty at the website.

Malta: a babe in arms

The 1974 parliamentary coup which transformed Malta from monarchy to republic was another first. Should this be on the candidates list for National Day? It remains memorable for the way it was done more than for its effect. Had anybody started a debate or called a referendum on whether Malta should shed it last remaining shreds of Monarchy a majority would have been found. The PN Opposition would have been outmanoeuvred, too embarrassed to defend a British Queen. Blessed by consensus, the transition may have eluded notice. Instead the new republican constitution, (little more than an amended version of the earlier one) was forced upon the country under threat by the government to seize absolute power on the pretext that Article 6 of the constitution which mere said that the constitution was supreme was not itself entrenched requiring a two thirds majority for its amendment.
The constitutional amendments including the stopping of this loophole were agreed to by the opposition under apparent duress. No revolution took place on December 13th. There was no break in legal continuity and the Government was allowed its two thirds majority. Instead of consensus granting ownership of the change to all parties, we had coercion and we still have resentment.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Monarchy in Fantasy Fiction

A few days ago I was looking for monarchist sites and discovered that about a year ago, there was much discussion in the sci-fi/fantasy blogosphere about monarchy in speculative fiction. It apparently started with a couple of pompous posts by critic Jonathan McCalmont, in which he takes cheap swipes at fantasy readers. Judging from these two posts, he subscribes to the fantasy(!) of an enlightened, peaceful high-tech future where war and authority don't exist:

So I think the question should really be, is it possible to write epic fantasy that isn't conservative? China Mieville's Iron Council can be seen as an attempt to ground fantasy in real politics but as Mieville himself seems to discover, even real politics lead to bloodshed and authoritartianism in fantasyland. I would argue that the very tropes of fantasy itself, with its reliance upon violence and moral simplicity, make it impossible to escape the whiff of authoritarianism.


"Even real politics lead to bloodshed and authoritartianism[sic] in fantasyland"? Well, now we know the difference between fantasyland and the real world: in fantasyland, politics leads to bloodshed and "authoritartianism". In the real world, it seems, that never happens.

Mr. McCalmont's screeds at least led to interesting discussion for bloggers with more interesting things to say. All of them are published authors in the genre.

In the wake of the USA presidential election, Deep Genre is thinking about politics, class, and fantasy and science fiction. by Kate Elliott

Is fantasy an inherently conservative genre? Does it look back to an “idealized past” or represent a fetishization of, say, feudalism and aristocracy? If you write about monarchy, are you authoritarian in your heart of hearts? Are all “traditional” fantasies, or “epic” fantasies, or “heroic” fantasies, about restoring the hierarchical status quo and/or wrapped around a monolithic and absolutist vision of good vs. evil? What is up with these modern day fantasy writers who write novels set in reactionary monarchies and don’t write a story about overthrowing the monarchy and establishing a democratic government like the one they are fortunate enough to live in? Is there something *wrong* with them? Or are they just pandering to the audience that reads this reactionary pap and dreams of that happy day when they were the lost prince seeking to reclaim his stolen throne?...

I tend to think that many of these elements, where they do appear, come about as a result of lazy world-building rather than political agency. Lazy world-building is an issue of craft, not politics.


On Fantasies and Kings by Lois Tilton

The question still remains, however: What is it about monarchy that seems to be so attractive to fantasy authors? Or conversely, what is it about fantasy that seems to find monarchy so attractive?

Fantasy is the oldest kind of story, rooted directly in myth, the tales of gods and other wondrous beings who did wondrous deeds at the beginning of time. Moreover, fantasy continually revisits its roots, seeking to revive and capture that primal wonder.

It is for this reason that there is always a backwards-looking strain in fantasy fiction, usually not because of any reactionary political leanings of the authors, but because this branch of fantasy seeks the divine, the numinous, the wonder of those times when myth was alive....

Throughout most of known human history, up until the last hundred years or so, the default form of the state has been the kingdom. Human history, as generations of schoolchildren have complained, is the coming and going of kings. If we look into the past for historical models for our stories, what we find are kingdoms and kings, with a few aberrant states here and there departing from the near-universal model, just to make things more interesting.


Miss Tilton seems to be the only one in this discussion to whom this occurred: that most of human history has been monarchical.

Caliban and his Mirror: Fantasy and Politics (or not) by James Enge

Why do so many fantasies involve young sons of widows who grow up to kill the monster, defeat the king, marry the princess and rule the kingdom happily ever after? Some point out that these stories are very old; this is true, but it's just begging the question. A story appeals to audiences because it speaks to them emotionally.


There’s Something About Monarchy by Marie Brennan

Fantasy gets a lot of guff for its kings and queens. I won’t even get into the critics who call everything “feudalism-lite” without the blindest clue what feudalism actually means; let’s just agree they’re generally talking about a hierarchical and hereditary aristocratic system with a single ruler on top....

Writing it all off as laziness is an equally lazy cop-out, though, because I do think monarchies (of many flavors) offer certain useful features that, say, democracies do not.

On the practical level, they offer scope to the individual. Look at modern democracy: if you tried to write a plot about political machinations in the U.S. Congress, how many characters do you think it would have to involve? I’ve just finished revising a novel involving the seventeenth-century English Parliament, so I speak from experience when I say it’s a beast to do. There are committees; there are bureaucratic procedures. Things get complicated. You would probably fare a little better with, say, the Roman Senate, or ancient Greek democracy, where there were fewer representatives, fewer people voting for them, and fewer political hoops for individuals to jump through. But if you want to catapult a character into power in a democratic system, step one is that you have to persuade or buy enough votes to get the guy in to begin with. And then your problems have only started.

Contrast that with a monarchy, where a pretty face and a bit of encouragement took George Villiers from a minor gentleman to the Duke of Buckingham in seven years flat. He ended up one of the most powerful men in England because a couple of guys wanted to replace the King’s favorite, and the King obligingly took the bait. Monarchies — at least of the sort we’re discussing — tend to be less bureaucratic, less bound by institutions and procedures; individual personalities, whether that of the king or his close advisers, have a great deal of scope in which to act, and you can build a reasonably plausible court plot by introducing two or three important people and a handful of minions....

The other feature monarchies offer is that, frankly, they’re more mythic. I don’t mean they’re cooler; I like living in a democracy, and think it has many awesome advantages. But let’s face it, we don’t have so many timeless legends about how Arthur convinced a plurality of nobles to vote him president, or how Winston Churchill will return from death when England needs him most.


Monarchy is not unknown in science fiction, by the way. David Weber and John Barnes are two examples of this.

Monarchy news from around the world

Bangkok tense before rally

BANGKOK - CONCERN is mounting in Bangkok over a major rally planned tomorrow by the red-shirted United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) - but the movement's leaders yesterday promised it will be a peaceful gathering....

UDD leaders were careful to emphasise that they were not against the monarchy as alleged.

'We want a constitutional monarchy,' Mr Veera said. But he added: 'True power must come from the Thai people. The ultimate goal for us is rule of law and justice; we want all Thais to be equal, with no double standards.'


Israel offers medical aid to king of Tonga

Although he has worked hard to shed his playboy image since his succession to the monarchy in 2006 and his coronation in August 2008, Tonga's King George Tupou V cut a very dapper figure in his cream suit and shoes on Monday, when he emerged from a Foreign Ministry stretch limousine on the grounds of Beit Hanassi and was welcomed by President Shimon Peres and ADC Brig. Gen. Hasson Hasson.

The king is on a private visit to Israel, but the Foreign Ministry decided to add a little pomp and ceremony to the occasion by having Peres invite the monarch and his entourage to lunch.

Among the Israeli guests there were former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, former deputy Foreign Minister Yossi Beilin, the head of the Foreign Ministry's Pacific desk Michael Ronen, plant breeder and geneticist Dr. Harry S. Paris of the Volcani Institute and Benjamin Glaser, director of Hadassah University Hospital's Endoctrinology and Metabolism Service in the Division of Internal Medicine.

As a result of Western influences, leading to a change in lifestyle, many of Tonga's citizens have developed diabetes. Glaser told reporters that Israel is ready to send medical teams to help control the disease and considerably reduce its prevalence.

The Nepalese want their king back

Referendum sought to decide the fate of monarchy, Hindu state

Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal (RPP-N), the only party supporting monarchy in Nepal, has demanded referendum to decide the fate of Monarchy in the country.

In a memorandum submitted to Constituent Assembly Chairman Subash Nembang, the party has also demanded referendum whether to turn Nepal a secular state from the only Hindu state in the world.


Nepalese march in support of the monarchy

Hundreds of supporters of the former royal family took to the streets of Kathmandu on Friday to protest the abolition of the monarchy. One year ago Nepal’s Maoist government legislated to abolish the world’s last Hindu monarchy. This turned the country into a secular republic. The protesters are angry that the people did not get a say in the decision and are demanding a formal referendum on the subject. They carried a huge petition which they claimed was signed by more than two million people.


RPP-N demands referendum on monarchy and Hindu state

Rastriya Prajatantra Party Nepal (RPP-N) has submitted a memorandum to Constituent Assembly (CA) chairman Subash Chandra Nemwang demanding a referendum on the fate of monarchy and whether Nepal should be a Hindu state with signatures it collected from various people in the country during a month-long campaign, Friday.

Turmoil in Uganda

Kampala riots supply excuse to suppress monarchs

The riots that shook Kampala and several parts of Buganda Kingdom between September 7 and 12 brought loss of life and destruction of property, but they also presented President Yoweri Museveni with the perfect opportunity to bury the issues of monarchy and ethnicity that have long bedevilled him.


Uganda: Kabaka Misses Museveni Meet

The Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Mutebi II has turned down yet another invitation by President Yoweri Museveni to a long-anticipated meeting at which it is hoped the strained relationship between the kingdom and central government will be discussed, Sunday Monitor has learnt.

Credible sources within the kingdom's palace told Sunday Monitor that President Museveni had agreed to meet at State House Nakasero, reportedly on Thursday afternoon but the Kabaka called off the meeting almost at the last minute, citing other commitments.


Uganda Government News: M7 defends monarchy restoration

President Museveni has defended the restoration of cultural institutions in Uganda.

The institutions were restored in 1993 following their abolition in 1966 by the late President of Uganda Apollo Milton Obote.

Last week, the Minister of Trade and Tourism, Kahinda Otafiire, blamed the current crises in cultural kingdoms to President Museveni's insistence to restore them, adding that the kingdoms are now manifesting themselves through several avenues such as demonstrations.

However, President Museveni insists that the restoration of the kingdoms was a demand from the people of Uganda who wanted monarchies to protect and promote their cultural norms.

He adds that as long as the monarchies follow the Constitution, then government will not have a problem with them.


I am not responsible for Buganda crisis -Museveni

President Museveni has said that while he restored the traditional institutions, he is not responsible for the current standoff between the government and the Buganda Kingdom .

The president who was addressing a special session of parliament earlier today said that he only restored the kingdoms for ‘people who cherish monarchies’ and also expected the traditional rulers to follow the constitution instead of indulging in politics.

The Minister of trade, Maj. Gen. Kahinda Otafiire recently blamed president Museveni for the current crisis because he pushed for the restoration of traditional leaders.


Ten Killed as Pro-Monarchy Rioters Shut Down Capital

Nairobi — Ugandan police have used excessive force during clashes with rioting supporters of a local monarch in which at least 10 people died, according to a human rights watchdog.

The clashes erupted on 10 September in the capital, Kampala, sparked off by a planned visit by King Ronald Muwenda Mutebi of Buganda kingdom to the central district of Kayunga on 12 September.

Kayunga is part of Buganda kingdom, but a minority community in the area is opposed to the trip. Kingdom officials say the central government is trying to thwart the visit.


A Statement By H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda

I have come to address you about the sustained unconstitutional behaviour of His Highness Kabaka Mutebi, the Mengo Kingdom officials and the Kabaka’s Radio, CBS.


Mengo forget federo - VP Bukenya

VICE-President Gilbert Bukenya has said the kind of federalism Mengo is advocating for cannot be granted in modern Uganda. He urged Mengo to accept the regional tier system for the good of the Buganda Kingdom.

"Once democracy overtakes the monarchy, you are wasting time or dreaming when you talk of going back to the absolute federalism of the monarchy we used to have before the colonialists," Bukenya told Sunday Vision.

He said the days where all the power was in the hands of kings, who would even order the killing of a person if they wanted, were over.

"When the British came in, they started taking away power from the king and gave it to the chiefs. That was the beginning of the process of reducing absolute monarchism."

Queen Elizabeth: The Queen Mother

A royal life well lived and well captured

It’s not reality that human kind cannot bear very much of, but niceness. Sweetness of temper, gentleness of manner, a belief in public service, deep love of family. That’s really what gets people’s goats.

Or so it would seem from the reaction to William Shawcross’s biography of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. It is a totally absorbing and highly readable account of a remarkable life. But its arrival has been greeted in some quarters with all the warmth you’d expect from Hugh Hefner welcoming Mother Teresa to the Playboy Mansion: “I’m sure you’re very nice, lady, but you ain’t got quite what we’re selling here . . .”

Shawcross’s book is genuinely revelatory — he has had access to archival material, private correspondence and taped interviews that have not previously seen the light of day — and he uses them to write compelling history. Reviewers with genuine historical expertise, such as Peterhouse’s John Adamson, have lavished praise on Shawcross’s writing.

But several media voices — feature writers on The Guardian, tabloid royal reporters, Richard Ingrams in The Independent, even Jenni Murray on Woman’s Hour — have found it hard to disguise their disappointment that Shawcross has presented a balanced, detailed and factual account of a distinguished public life. Why, they chorus, isn’t there more gossip and scandal, more snideness and bitchiness, more backstairs intrigue and princessy haughtiness, more bad blood and pure spite?...

many that royalty can be worth watching only if it’s enmeshed in scandal, sexual intrigue or silliness, we risk missing the really big story, which Shawcross succeeds in capturing.

The Europe into which the Queen Mother was born was a continent of crowned heads. From St Petersburg to Sofia, Vienna to Berlin, Madrid to Constantinople, monarchy was as much part of the natural order as the rhythm of the seasons. All that collapsed in her lifetime, pitching Europe into years of hideous tyranny and slaughter. She understood instinctively that the crust on which civilisation rested was eggshell-fragile. She appreciated, in her bones, the importance of constitutional stability, of providing the nation with a focus of loyalty above partisan and ideological division, and of domesticating the monarchy without cheapening it, so that it could keep pace with the times but never become a victim of fashion. One reason she reacted so viscerally against Wallis Simpson is that she recognised in the Duchess of Windsor precisely the sort of adventuress who saw monarchy as an exercise in projecting glamour, not incarnating service.


The Queen Mother: Her life was filled with optimism, a sense of duty and a love of young people

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Democracy

A Republic, if You Can Keep It by Christopher Merola

This Thursday, September 17th, 2009, will be the 222nd anniversary of the signing of the US Constitution.


Prior to the 17th Amendment, Senators looked out for the concerns of their own states. This was a Republican body of legislators that kept the US House, a Democratic body of legislators in check. For the last 96 years, we have operated more like a Democracy, not a Constitutional Republic as our founding fathers intended.

James Madison, known as the father of the United States Constitution to many historians, had this to say about the dangers of Democracy in the Federalist Papers (Federalist Number 10):

“Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”

Listen to what John Adams had to say about Democracy:

“Democracy will soon degenerate into an anarchy, such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes and no man’s life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure..."

Democracy is supposed to be about equality, but since it is rule by a majority, it does not take much for a majority of bad ideas to rule the day.

Thomas Jefferson had this to say about the failure of a Democracy:

“A Democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.”

Now listen to what Ben Franklin had to say about a Democracy:

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!"

Again, listen to John Adams on Democracy:

“Remember, Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a Democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”


Alexander Fraser Tyler, a professor in Edinburgh, Scotland in the 1800’s. Tyler, who also went by the alias of Lord Woodhouselee, had this to say about the failure of Democracy (Elements of General History: Ancient and Modern. Oliver and Boyd, 1870):

"A Democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A Democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every Democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Monarchy: The fastest thing in the universe

The only things known to go faster than ordinary light is monarchy, according to the philosopher Ly Tin Weedle. He reasoned like this: you can't have more than one king, and tradition demands that there is no gap between kings, so when a king dies the succession must therefore pass to the heir instantaneously. Presumably, he said, there must be some elementary particles -- kingons, or possibly queons -- that do this job, but of course succession sometimes fails if, in mid-flight, they strike an anti-particle, or republicon. His ambitious plans to use his discovery to send messages, involving the careful torturing of a small king in order to modulate the signal, were never fully expanded because, at that point, the bar closed.

- Terry Pratchett, Mort
Alexis de Tocqueville was right in predicting that once Americans discovered they could elect leaders that would buy their votes with other peoples' money, democracy would become a farcical bidding war. Now we are here.
~Bob Bauman

Friday, September 11, 2009

"When I see the city of New York from my window -- no, I don't feel how small I am -- but I feel that if a war came to threaten this, I would like to throw myself into space, over the city, and protect these buildings with my body."

~Ayn Rand, THE FOUNTAINHEAD

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Persuasion

The essence of elected government is that it gives power to those who are able to persuade the populace to give it to them. In an elected government, the chief prerequisites for power inevitably become such things as charm and a willingness to pander.

It is only to be expected that such people manage to quite thoroughly persuade that same populace that elected government is in their own best interests, against all the evidence.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Monarchist news

Going through the links Google Alerts gave me with the word "monarchy" in them was irritating this week, because a lot of the articles turned out to be about the Kennedys. You know, "the end of America's experiment with monarchy" yada yada. Last year when it still looked like Hilary Clinton would likely win the Democratic nomination, I searched for American monarchist webpages and found a handful of editorials whining that because our list of presidents was supposedly going to go "Bush - Clinton - Bush - Clinton", we had actually become a monarchy. If only!

Spanish political leader presents the King with the party's plans to end the monarchy

Cayo Lara, who last December succeeded Gaspar Llamazares as General Coordinator of the Izquierda Unida left-wing coalition, was received by the King this Monday, in his first visit to Zarzuela Palace since taking over the IU leadership.

He’s been an outspoken critic of the monarchy over the past months and is reported to have given a detailed outline of the coalition’s plans to bring about the III Republic – and with it, the end of the Spanish monarchy. The Second Republic was established with the Republican electoral victory which deposed Alfonso XIII in 1931, forcing the current King’s grandfather into exile.


Royalty 101: Who is the Spanish Royal Family?

Prince Radu's withdrawal favours liberal candidate Crin Antonescu

Prince Radu Duda announced today his withdrawal from the run for Romania's presidency. PNL-s general secretary Radu Stroe believes that this move will favour liberal candidate Crin Antonescu, because many supporters the prince has are also PNL fans. "The real monarchists are at PNL" Radu Stroe declared for RFI.

According to Rad Stroe, Radu Duda did not receive the best advice and he shouldn't have lost time with his candidacy. He believes that despite the events that triggered his candidacy are complex, Crin Antonescu will be the first to take advantage by Radu Duda's decision to resign.

According to Stroe, no social-democrat was ever a monarchy supporter. The only possible monarchists are among the liberals, the ex-Christian-Democratic National Peasants' Party and maybe people of a certain intellectual and cultural standing "that are usually judging with their own head".

Radu Stroe used the chance to declare that the liberals are genuine monarchists and said that it was inconceivable for Radu Duda to attract the pro-monarchy electorate to support him for Romania's presidency. "The true pro-monarchy electorate supports the monarchy, not the presidential elections and a president. Only superficial monarchists would have voted for him", Stroe concluded.


Too Much Involvement in Nepal's Internal Issues is Big Mistake for India

India knows that Nepal can only remain an independent and sovereign country because of its monarchy. Indian interest is not served by the Nepalese monarchy. So, everybody suspects the mysterious conspiracy against the Royal Palace Massacre was created by RAW of India.


Sir Peter Maxwell Davies: 'We owe the Queen an awful lot'

As Sir Peter Maxwell Davies turns 75, the firebrand composer and Master of the Queen's Music talks about his mellowing attitudes towards the monarchy, how his neighbours in the Orkneys helped him through a financial crisis - and why he intends to write about the MPs expenses row


The Hoppe Effect by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

This article is adapted from chapter one of Freedom, Property, and Society: Essays in Honor of Hans-Hermann Hoppe, edited by Guido Hülsmann and Stephan Kinsella.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Voters.

The Big Sort: Why the Cluster of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart

Two people with opposite opinions listen to the same report, and both hear confirmation of their preexisting beliefs. The reaction seems almost automatic, and in a sense it may be. Psychologists at Emory University tested thirty men in the months before the 2004 presidential election. Half were strong Democrats, and half were strong Republicans. The men were hooked to MRI machines and then asked to listen to and assess clearly contradictory statements from George W. Bush and John Kerry. The brain scans showed that as the subjects processed what the candidates said, they essentially turned off the sections of th brain associated with reasoning. Meanwhile, the scans revealed lots of activity in the parts of the brain associated with emotions, pleasure, and judgments about morality. "We did not see any increased activation of the parts of the brain normally engaged during reasoning," psychologist Drew Westen said. "What we saw instead was a network of emotion circuits lighting up...Essentially, it appears as if partisans twirl the cognitive kaleidoscope until they get the conclusions they want, and then they get massively reinforced for ir, with the elimination of negative emotional states and and [the] activation of positive ones"


Via Nonlinear Droppings.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Other Boleyn Girl

I've linked history_spork here before. They've just posted a new sporking of the abysmally ahistorical The Other Boleyn Girl. The one starring Natalie Portman, that is. There's another version, which Netflix only recently got, but it's very badly made, so I don't recommend bothering at all with that one.

Actually, I don't recommend the Portman version either. But nobody warned me in time.

Queen Catherine (after the birth of another stillborn son): No brother for you, Mary…

Princess Mary: Bloody hell!

Queen Catherine: …to make this country safe!

cutecoati: To make her safe, rather, because one living son would have spared her the whole mess.

cloudlessnights: And us this movie?

cutecoati: There's that, too.


Warning: language.

Why not? Most of us are ruled by cats anyway.

THE KITTEN WHO WANTED TO BE AN EMPRESS.

Then the teacher came to a little white kitten. “And what do you want to be when you grow up?” she asked the kitten.

“I want to be an empress,” the kitten answered.

“An empress?”

“Yes,” the kitten said. “I want to have absolute power and tell everybody what to do and no one can challenge me or I’ll chop all their heads off.”

“I’m not sure that’s a practical ambition, dear,” the teacher said gently.

“Why not?” the kitten demanded. “You said ours was a country where anything was possible. You said that if we really worked hard, we could grow up to be anything we wanted to be.”

“Technically, I did say those things,” the teacher admitted.

“Well, I want to be an empress,” the kitten declared.

“But, you see,” the teacher explained patiently, “we have a democracy, or more properly a republican form of government, which is guaranteed in our constitution. That means that no one can have absolute power, because all power ultimately derives from the people.”

“Phooey,” the kitten said. “It’s not really a democracy if you can’t grow up to be anything you want to be. And what I want to be is an empress.”

Throne and Atlar

Aunt Dorothy's eyes sparkled on the day she sneaked off to see the Queen
In an exclusive extract from her new book, Mary Kenny says our complex relationship with the British monarchy was laid bare during Queen Elizabeth's coronation


I do not seek to advocate or disparage either a monarchy or a republic as an ideal constitutional framework. I simply note that the disappearance of a monarchy from the 26 counties of Ireland after independence left a certain gap in the country's public life of ceremony, pageantry and ritual.

Tax havens being destroyed

Where is a tax dodger to stash his hot money these days?
Simon O'Donovan on why the noose is tightening after this week's Liechtenstein expose


By August of last year, just three tax havens -- Monaco, Andorra and, yes you've guessed it, Liechtenstein -- had refused to sign up to the OECD guidelines.

Not that it seems to be doing them much good. Denied the information they sought by the Liechtenstein government, the German intelligence service, the BND, reputedly paid a former employee of one of the banks based in the tiny principality €5m for a list of 1,600 German citizens who had accounts with the bank. The British tax authorities are also understood to have paid for information on British tax dodgers.

With one brutal move the Germans have blown Liechtenstein's banking secrecy, once regarded as the tightest of any tax haven, wide open. From now on, no one using a tax haven to hide their ill-gotten gains will ever be able to feel totally sure that the taxman or the cops won't find out what they are up to. Which, of course, was exactly the result the Germans were aiming for.


That bank employee should be shot.

And would it be tactless to remind everyone that Germans were the reason we needed bank secrecy to begin with?

Australians still love their Queen

God (and Young Liberals) saving the Queen

AT A restaurant on the fringe of Chinatown, a group of youths hang on every word of the Liberal senator Cory Bernardi as they eat Chinese food with spoons. It is an unusual scene, with the gathering singing God Save the Queen before they eat.

This is the world of young monarchists: teens who were children during the republic referendum, speaking in rounded British vowels, laughing at jokes about Malcolm Fraser.

''We would have ended up like Argentina if the loans affair had … gone ahead,'' says Jessica Noot, 19, a Young Liberal and member of the Australians for Constitutional Monarchy. ''I love the royal family and all that sort of thing - what girl doesn't? - but that's an aside. It's a constitutional thing. I love the system we have.''

There is a push for youth involvement in the monarchist movement - beyond the Young Liberals who join its ageing ranks. The Australians for Constitutional Monarchy is led by Thomas Flynn, 32. It has a Facebook presence and is poised to launch an essay prize for young people.

Another organisation, the Australian Monarchist League, has begun its own push into schools with the publication of seven papers detailing the constitution. It has a Twitter page and YouTube clips.

How Democracies Become Tyrannies

How Democracies Become Tyrannies

Flash forward fifty years to the election of Barack Obama and a hard left leaning Democrat Congress. What Americans want today, apparently, is a government that has no intention of leaving any of us alone.

How could Hoffer have been so wrong about America? Why did America change so quickly? Can a free people willingly choose servitude? Is it possible for democracies to become tyrannies? How?

The answers to these questions were famously addressed in a few pages tucked within the greatest masterpiece of the classical world: Plato's Republic. On the surface, and to most reviewers of Plato's writings, the Republic is a dialogue on justice and on what constitutes the just society. But to careful readers the deeper theme of the Republic is the nature of education and the relationship between education and the survival of the state. In fact, the Republic is essentially the story of how a man (Socrates) condemned to death for "corrupting" the youth of Athens gives to posterity the most precious gift of all: the love of wisdom.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Eastern Monarchies

Red shirts not condone Jakrapob splinter group

The red shirts do not agree with the communist-leaning strategy adopted by fugitive suspect Jakrapob Penkair, red-shirt co-leader Jatuporn Prompan said on Thursday.

Jatuporn confirmed the red shirts had severed ties with the Jakrapob-led splinter group.

"We want democracy under the King as head of state, therefore our activities are limited to attack Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda or lower figures to prevent an escalating fight trangressing the constitutional monarchy," he said.


Protest news, 1979

National Iranian Radio and Television (NIRT) news report, 1979

News anchor Suzie Ziai on NIRT International channel covering the chaos which was taking place in Iran during the last days of the monarchy. Fascinating!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dominion

Dominion

In Dominion, each player starts with an identical, very small deck of cards. In the center of the table is a selection of other cards the players can "buy" as they can afford them. Through their selection of cards to buy, and how they play their hands as they draw them, the players construct their deck on the fly, striving for the most efficient path to the precious victory points by game end.

From the back of the box: "You are a monarch, like your parents before you, a ruler of a small pleasant kingdom of rivers and evergreens. Unlike your parents, however, you have hopes and dreams! You want a bigger and more pleasant kingdom, with more rivers and a wider variety of trees. You want a Dominion! In all directions lie fiefs, freeholds, and feodums. All are small bits of land, controlled by petty lords and verging on anarchy. You will bring civilization to these people, uniting them under your banner."

"But wait! It must be something in the air; several other monarchs have had the exact same idea. You must race to get as much of the unclaimed land as possible, fending them off along the way. To do this you will hire minions, construct buildings, spruce up your castle, and fill the coffers of your treasury. Your parents wouldn't be proud, but your grandparents would be delighted."

Dominion is not a CCG, but the play of the game is similar to the construction and play of a CCG deck. The game comes with 500 cards. You select 10 of the 25 Kingdom card types to include in any given play -- leading to immense variety.

Historical Notes

Subversive Book Asserts Rule By Law, Not King

In 1644, Samuel Rutherford, a Presbyterian theologian, published Lex, Rex, the now excessively scarce, enormously important treatise on limited government and constitutionalism. Only four copies have fallen under the hammer within the last thirty-five years.

Lex, Rex is the first treatment of rule by law, not by men, based upon the separation of powers and covenant between king and subjects, (foreshadowing the social contract). It laid the foundation for the later thinking of political philosophers Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. As such, this volume sowed the seeds for modern political systems, including that of the United States.


Alas.

Port in a storm

WINNIPEG - When it comes to fixed income investments, the name says it all. Whether they’re bonds or guaranteed investment certificates (GICs), investors know they will receive a regular payment as long as they hold the security.

But fixed income investments evolved out of the most unstable of all human endeavours: war. Their origins date back to the Italian Renaissance when city states began funding wars by issuing debt that paid the creditor a fee. At the time, payments could not be called interest because the Church had banned usury (money-lending). Soon enough, though, almost every European nation wanting to wage war was raising money in this manner.

These investments, however, were anything but secure, Harvard historian Niall Ferguson writes in The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World. The Spanish monarchy, for instance, defaulted on its debt almost ten times during the 16th and 17th centuries, making even the most badly managed nations of the modern world look credit-worthy by comparison.


A constitutional presidency? Heads of state vs. heads of government

In many American minds, the system of constitutional monarchy has always appeared more similar to ours than it would seem at first glance. Despite the “window dressing” of kings and queens, we imagine that constitutional monarchies have a political culture rather similar to our form of a republic, all else being equal.

Yet there is one key difference at the highest level. A constitutional monarchy does not invest its head of government with the same prestige as its head of state. It has become clear in recent years that the modern news cycle has turned such intangible royal authority into a very real component of the national life.

Europe

Spanish Royal family defy Eta with their annual holiday to Mallorca

QUEEN SOFIA of Spain was shopping in Mallorca last week with her two daughters when she spotted Montse Lezaun, the mother of one of two policemen killed in a car bomb by Eta, the Basque separatist group, only a few days before.

The two women had met only once, at the policemen’s funeral, but Sofia, looking like any other holidaymaker at the Mediterranean island resort, waved and went up to Lezaun. After chatting for several minutes, they parted with kisses and promised to stay in touch.

Some might call it a public relations exercise but the spectacle of casually dressed royals doing their bit on the front line against Eta is bolstering affection for a monarchy that cannot take public approval for granted.


Pro-monarchy flag swap angers Town Hall

Lisbon Town Hall has initiated legal proceedings against a pro-monarchy group named the ‘Armada 31 Movement’ after the group used a ladder to climb to the town hall’s veranda and replaced the municipal flag with the monarchic flag.

The swap took place under the veil of night, in the early hours of Monday morning and was only detected when the first town hall employees arrived. Meanwhile the municipal flag, which bears the city’s coat of arms, has disappeared.

Armada 31 Movement has already admitted to being responsible for the swap and said it was “much simpler than anyone could imagine”, entailing a handful of people, a three-metre ladder, and “some caution”, due to the amount of policing in the area.

The group described the incident as an “act of ideological guerrilla warfare” that intended to “reinstate monarchic legality”. They also claimed it was the first celebration of the 100th anniversary of the creation of the republic, which will occur on October 5th, 2010.

Lisbon Town Hall has taken measures to verify the circumstances in which the incident occurred and placed a formal complaint with “the appropriate authorities”.


BOWED OVER TO BE BRITISH

By Brian Reade 13/08/2009

A historic moment has just passed us by without sufficient recognition.

Buckingham Palace aides have announced that the Queen's subjects are no longer required to lower their heads and walk backwards until they leave the room.

In other words, bowing and scraping to accidents of birth has been shown the door.

Does this make you feel like you're finally part of a mature, modern democracy? Well, let's put this breakthrough in perspective. Here's when other countries stopped bowing and scraping to unelected heads of state: USA 1776, France 1792, Portugal 1910, China 1912, Russia 1917.

They stopped because their people told them they didn't want to be ruled by a medieval monarchy. We, on the other hand, have been forced by the Health and Safety Executive to stop bowing and scraping in case someone sprains an ankle.

Makes you feel proud.


Be proud that you took so long to follow our bad example, England.

Turmoil in the Middle East

Democracy in Afghanistan is wishful thinking
In a feudal society that long picked leaders according to religion and tradition, the winner of today's election may be seen as illegitimate – simply because he is elected.


This historical reality poses a major problem for the US. Democracy is not a coat of paint. A feudal society in which women are still largely treated as property and literacy hovers below 10 percent in rural areas does not magically shortcut 400 years of political development and morph into a democracy in a decade. The current government of Afghanistan's claim to legitimacy is based entirely on a legal source – winning an election. Yet this has no historical basis for legitimizing Afghan rule. The winner of today's election will largely be seen as illegitimate because he is elected.

The tragic mistake, which we warned against, was in eliminating the Afghan monarchy from a ceremonial role in the new Afghan Constitution. Nearly two thirds of the delegates to the loya jirga in 2002 signed a petition to make the aging King Zaher Shah the interim head of state, and only massive US interference behind the scenes in the form of bribes, secret deals, and arm twisting got the US-backed candidate for the job, Hamid Karzai, installed instead.


Iran says West behind post election riots

According to Iranian sources, Muhammad-Reza Ali-Zamani, a member of an anti-revolutionary group known as Monarchy Organization of Iran confessed, in Iran's Revolutionary Court prosecuting Iran's post-vote rioters, to contacting American agents in Iraq and then attempting to overthrow the Islamic Republic.

According to PressTV, Qashqavi slammed London for harboring key "terrorists," including members of the Monarchy Organization of Iran.


Ayoon Wa Azan (Saving Iraq: Rebuilding a Broken Nation)

continue then today with a book that I read entitled “Saving Iraq: Rebuilding a broken nation” (where the meaning of broken here is either destroyed or collapsing). The book is written by Nemir Kirdar, a prominent Arab banker and the CEO and founder of the investment bank Investcorp....

Moreover, Nemir Kirdar is a “Royalist”, and one of the supporters of the Hashemite monarchy in Iraq. His world was shattered by the military coup of 14/7/1958, which took away his friendly meetings with King Faisal II and the leaders of that era. After the defeat of Saddam Hussein and the liberation of Kuwait in 1991, he started criticising the suspicious leaderships that were forming abroad and preparing themselves to inherit power from the Baath Party in Iraq. In this vein, he was asking at the time why we should not return to the Hashemite rule in Iraq, in a federation with Jordan, led by King Hussein, the experienced moderate ruler with a stable country. In the author’s opinion, the 1958 coup was devastating and catastrophic and a “black Monday”, opening the way for the several coups that followed and exacerbated the damage done, leading up to the disaster of the occupation of Iraq.


King for a Day
While protestors take to the streets in Tehran for democracy, another group of Iranians meets in Cairo for the return of monarchy.


As the streets of Tehran demand freedom, a different group of Iranians gathered in Cairo last week to commemorate the 29th anniversary of the death of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Iranian monarch deposed by the 1979 Islamic revolution. The Shah was granted refuge in Egypt by President Anwar Sadat and died in Cairo soon after.


Malays And Rulers Cannot Be Separated

IPOH, Aug 5 (Bernama) -- The Malays and Malay Rulers cannot be separated and whoever conceives that the system of Constitutional Monarchy in the country is no longer relevant is a traitor and is trying to stoke the sentiments of the Malays, said the general secretary of the 4B Youth Movement, Datuk Wira Jamaluddin Abdul Rahim.