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.