Saturday, June 30, 2007
The belief that democracy will choose good governors, or be to the public good, may be bolstered by an egoistic and flattering delusion of one’s own role in that choice and by a further and vicariously flattering belief that one’s fellows with whom one identifies will likewise choose wise and ethical governors who would typically forgo immediate political advantage for long-term responsibility. For even if one really is discerning enough to know what a good governor looks like before he assumes the power he seeks, and given that such a man could be found more than once in a million, one’s share in the choice is tiny; and even if one appreciates the insignificance of one’s role, then, to maintain one’s belief in the public good of democracy, one has to believe that one’s fellows are en masse similarly perspicacious to discern a good governor from the charming connivers, manipulators, ne’er-do-wells, narcissists, psychopaths, and ruthless egoists who are typically drawn to power, and who competitively make irresponsible grants and promises to gain it.previous
Friday, June 29, 2007
From time to time one wonders what makes people think that modern democracy is so much better than the ways of the past.
You have factors that actively make people believe in certain theories, and you have factors that keep people believing in certain theories. The comfort factor mostly belongs in the latter category.
It can be quite comfortable to believe that we have learnt something from the lessons of history, and that we are applying what we have learnt.
It can be quite uncomfortable to challenge this belief.
Those who do not believe that we have moved on to better conditions can do little about it at least in the short run. Is it not then better to say as Meher Baba and Bobby McFerrin: Don't worry, be happy?
BTW, some things have actually gotten better.
The Rt. Hon. Anthony Blair, as announced well in advance and as reported extensively by media, resigned his position as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom this week.
Tony Blair has done much through his tenure. Here we will give attention to his constitutional reforms. Mr. Blair's legacy in this respect is the ambition to create a "modern constitution," in particular the House of Lords Act 1999.
Just a few months ago, an intentional motion passed to reform tbe House of Lords further, moving for an elected second chamber.
The House of Lords needs reform. Its powers are too weak. It is too much of a partisan institution. However, through the tenure of Mr. Blair as Prime Minister, things have moved in the wrong direction.
Over at his blog Western Defence, Tristan Murphy even moves for abolishing the House of Commons and restoring the House of Lords.
In all the frustration etc. over the Blair era's affair with "modern constitutionalism" and the alleged progress it represents, let's not forget the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949.
Tony Blair has left the stage. The Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown has stepped out of Blair's shadow. According to the Times, Mr. Brown will be giving Lords reform low prirority.
Are we seeing here merely a stay of execution?
There is an alternative. It involves repealing the House of Lords Act 1999, Parliament Act 1949, and Parliament Act 1911.
We should have seen enough now, of modern, unchecked, full-fledged democracy, to see that it is not the way of a sound future.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Often the Great War is talked of as the suicide of Western Civilization and the Old European Order.
It might be a suitable illustration to picture the process as a bridge. Gavrilo Princip lured Western Civilization onto the bridge. The Western Emperor, Franz Josef, and the Eastern Emperor, Nicholas II, walked onto the bridge – at the advice of their advisors, who certainly were not insignificant in this context – in that order. The latter, however, walked onto it with a general mobilization, not leaving it as a "duel."
In the end, it was Woodrow Wilson, the Persona Non Grata of this weblog, who pushed Western Civilization and the old order off the edge of the bridge.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
[T]he two things you never mention in the company of European politicians: the War, and Europe’s Christian heritage. Neither ever happened in the official view of the “new Europe,” and mentioning them is in the poorest possible taste.Well said. There are, however, three things:
- The War, World War II that is.
- Europe's Christian heritage.
- The virtues of the pre-1914 order.
It is time people realized that “human rights codes” are a weapon employed by the state to suppress disapproved behaviour by the individual. They cannot be wielded by the individual against the state, as independent civil and criminal courts could be. They are star chambers used, and designed to be used, to mount show trials, in which persons who fail to snap to attention when commissar issues the latest political corrections may be publicly demonized.Link via The Monarchist.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Bhuwan Thapaliya at the Global Politician writes on the amendment to the Interim Constitution of Nepal to empower the Parliament to abolish the monarchy.
This "Interim Constitution" was put up by the politicians themselves, wasn't it? So they've amended a joke, right? Well, I guess that happens all the time.
By the way, if Parliament interferes in the election, will Parliament be abolished?
At some occasions I have received e-mails from an Ulrich Motte, describing himself in the first e-mail as "a libertarian democrat from Munich, Germany, who knows Otto von Habsburg, and who knew Erik von Kühnelt-Leddihn even better."
At a later occasion he described himself as "a Democrat like Us-presidents Jefferson, Jackson, Cleveland."
First of all, I do not pretend to represent Prof. Hoppe or his views. I will, however, clarify based on my understandings.
Secondly, the topic of monarchy's superiority in the light of the American Republic and the Helvetic Confederation is a topic fit for a lengthy article. I will here address a few issues.
Mr. Motte wrote:
[T]he Habsburg empire was much more socialistic than the democracies of [Switzerland] and the US at that time.Maybe so.
It is true that these republics (I choose not to call them democracies in this context) had great success for a long time. The theory of monarchy and democracy does not preclude this – either the way I see it, or the way I understand Dr. Hoppe sees it. In fact, a republic or democracy can succeed for quite a long time after the monarchy has been overthrown – it may even do better for quite a while. However, as the heritage of sound civilization gets more and more at a distance, things tend to get worse.
Mr. Motte continued:
[O]f course, bad monarchs are much more diffucult to oust from office than presidents.This may be true in theory. What matters in practice, however, is if they really are ousted. Monarchs of old would very likely never have gotten away with what modern politicians do get away with. Abraham Lincoln was reelected.
In reponse to a later article, Mr. Motte wrote:
[C]ontrary to your statement, the more democratic states of the western world, the US and Switzerland, have been the least state oriented ones. Norway is not too democratic, but not democratic enough. The US and Switzerland know popular elections of government members and judges and referenda.The men of 1905 in Norway talked of Switzerland as the "role model." I haven't seen any successful attempt to copy the Swiss miracle.
I would not suggest that Switzerland become a monarchy. Nor would I suggest that those United States should, although I have sympathies with the views of the late Dr. John Attarian on the ousting of the monarchy from the colonies. For those United States, I would rather go with Leland B. Yeager and recommend going back to the older republican traditions.
However, I find it absurd, with the way expansion of the reach and the size of the state has gone hand in hand with expansion of democracy, to order more democracy. That sounds much like pouring fuel on the fire. Is there a tipping point? Do we have to go through a "purgatory" before we reach our "Switzerland?"
Later on Mr. Motte wrote:
[M]onarchies usually have been more socialistic than purely democratic republics. The Austrian empire and the German one were much more socialistic than the most democratic nations, USA and Switzerland.Great Britain was more democratic than Austria in 1848. Yet, Dr. Alan Sked suggests in his The Decline and Fall of the Habsburg Empire, 1815–1918 that there was more of a police state in Great Britain at the time than in Austria.
I can imagine there certainly are those who would put the issue of those United States having the least bad police state in the Western world today up for serious discussion. Strictly speaking, this is something different than socialism, but it is still a matter to be considered.
Even later on Mr. Motte wrote:
I proved Hoppe to be unmoral in various ways. The starting point of his arguing is already wrong: The great thinkers of democracy never described it as anything coming close to any idea of God, but as a lesser evil in a world of evil people.I do not recall Dr. Hoppe having claimed that the "great thinkers of democracy" have likened democracy to a god. Please do refer me to the statement.
There is in fact in today's world a worship of democracy – and has been for quite some time – that makes the metaphor the god democracy – or the god Demos – highly relevant. Using this metaphor does not necessarily imply that one claims that the "great thinkers of democracy" endorse such a god status.
Thus far, finally, Mr. Motte wrote:
Furthermore history [simply] proves [Hoppe] to be wrong. The USA and Switzerland were and are less socialistic than any comparable monarchy.The way I see it – and as far as I understand, this is also the way Prof. Hoppe sees it – monarchy is better than democracy – or less bad if you will – as a general rule – as opposed to a universal rule – in the sense that when all else is equal, monarchy tends to be better than democracy.
One can disprove a universal rule with only one counterexample, but one does not necessarily disprove a general rule with several counterexamples.
As for the phrase "comparable monarchy," the claim in the last sentence of Mr. Motte depends on what one means by comparable. If one does not compare across time, and one does not compare with geographically small states, the statement may be true.
Published with the prior consent of Mr. Motte.
Over the months that have passed since the April Uprising in Nepal in 2006, we have from time to time heard of the concept og both the King and the Crown Prince abdicating in favor of Prince Hridayendra.
Now according to the Sunday Times:
A senior Nepalese politician with close links to the royal family said he favoured the coronation of a boy-king. “What Nepal needs now is a harmless monarchy,” he said.Harmless to whom? To power-hungry politicians?
Guess who is the cry baby? Well, it's not His Royal Highness Prince Hridayendra. The cry babies are the politicians who want all the power for themselves, without anyone checking them. Are we supposed to be surprised?
It's convenient isn't it? Having a boy-king whom politicians can raise in the spirit of the new order?
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Yesterday the Norwegian Cabinet met at the Royal Palace in Oslo for the sole purpose of having its climate plan rubber-stamped by His Majesty.
According to a major newspaper here in Norway, the ambition is to be "World Climate Champion." Isn't this nouveau régime great? Meddling in everything is the order of the day. How wonderful?!?
Judging by the following critique, it seems it isn't as bad as it looked in the first place. When environmentalists criticize the plan for not beeing good enough, that often is a good sign.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
His Majesty King Simeon II of Bulgaria celebrated his 70th birthday last Saturday, as Sofia News Agency reports.
Please also feel free to see Lew Rockwell's comment on Simeon II from the August 2001 issue of The Free Market.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Today, seven score years ago, Emperor Maximillian of Mexico was executed at the orders of Benito Juárez, after whom Benito Mussolini was named.
On this day, 90 years ago, His Britannic Majesty George V changed the name of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to the House of Windsor. One can wonder whether that would have happened if those United States had taken the advice of the Founders and stayed out of European conflicts.
Monday, June 18, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
90 years ago today, the Persona Non Grata of this blog gave a Flag Day address – or a propaganda speech if you will – at a place none other than the Washington Monument.
The Persona Non Grata, amongst other things, said:
A Government accountable to the people themselves will be set up in Germany, as has been the case in England, the United States, and France—in all great countries of modern times except Germany.Apart from the fact that democracy had been expanding in Germany for quite a while at the time, this faith in popular government is little more than outright pathetic.
With modern, Wilsonian democracy, every check worth speaking of on popular power has been removed. In the words of Bertrand de Jouvenel, we have "the most cumbersome, and the most burdensome state authority ever yet experienced by our civilization."
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Three score and seven years ago today, the Kingdom of Norway surrendered to Nazi Germany.
Thank you, Woodrow Wilson! Thank you for setting the stage for Nazi rule. Thank you for these years of tyranny that my grandparents – and partly my parents – and their contemporaries had to go through for some five years. Thank you so much!
What would we have done without your intervention?
Saturday, June 9, 2007
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
President O’Thomas and his advisor Mr. O’Ellis recently had the following conversation:
Prez O’Thomas: O’Ellis, we need to make the world safe for kids burning themselves on fires, stoves, etc.
Advisor O’Ellis: Sir, do you mean we have to protect kids from fires and stoves?
Prez O’Thomas: Certainly not! Quite the contrary. We have to make the world safe so kids can burn themselves.
Advisor O’Ellis: Sir, it is the wisdom of the ages that parents should protect their young ones against fire. They have done so from time immemorial.
Prez O’Thomas: It is old. Hence, it is evil. It is not wisdom. We need progress.
Advisor O’Ellis: Sir, things do change. We now have stoves. So parents protect their young ones against these.
Prez O’Thomas: It is the concept that is old. It is thus bad and evil. It must be done away with.
Advisor O’Ellis: Sir, what do we do?
Prez O’Thomas: We need to make kids safe from their parents. We have to go to war to make the world safe for kids burning themselves.
Advisor O’Ellis: Sir?
Prez O’Thomas: Yes, O’Ellis?
Advisor O’Ellis: Didn’t you once say that liberty does not come from government, but from subjects of government?
Prez O’Thomas: Yes, that’s why we need to involve the subjects through war.
Advisor O’Ellis: Very good point, sir!
Prez O’Thomas: And that’s why we need to create real subjection.
Advisor O’Ellis: Sir?
Prez O’Thomas: Since liberty comes from subjects of government, we need real subjects of government. Only then we can have real liberty.
Advisor O’Ellis: Excellent point, sir!
Prez O’Thomas: Thank you!
Advisor O’Ellis: What do we call this war?
Prez O’Thomas: The war to make the world safe for kids’ play!
Advisor O’Ellis: What do we tell Congress?
Prez O’Thomas: That we need to free kids from parental subjection.
Advisor O’Ellis: You are brilliant, sir!
Prez O’Thomas: I know! I am the President!
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
At a recent post an anonymous commenter says:
I'd take this post more seriously if it wasn't from someone who is apparently protecting the crown of a non-existent country.I'd take this commenter seriously if:
- He'd have the guts to post with a name.
- He'd bother to go beyond what's "apparent."
- He'd present some substantial arguments.
Don't you just love those anonymous commenters? Don't you just love their courage? The all time high comes when they try to cast doubt on the seriousness of other people.
This blog has as its icon the late Lt.-Col. Strutt of the Royal Scots. Anyone bothering to read the blog intro – accesible just below the blog title and description – would find that out. Of course, not everyone can be expected to use their time reading it. However, when one makes claims about the blog or its author, I don't find it unreasonable to expect that kind of courtesy.
The text below the photo is a caption text. If a photo is of a person, it is quite normal that the text refers to that person. The text above the photo identifies the name of the person. The 'About Me' box identifies the author of this blog. Anyone taking his time to make comments about this blog or its author should have ample time to comprehend the difference between Lt.-Col. Strutt and the author of this blog.
Moreover, the mission of this blog is clearly stated in the description below the title of the blog. One might be tempted to ask what is apparent about a commenter who chooses to emphasize a caption text of a photo, which it should be clear is not the author of this blog, over the blog's description just below the blog's title.
Now, the commenter might perhaps be forgiven for his perception of the "apparent" were it not for the fact that the Lt.-Col. – as the caption text states – was a protector of the Austro-Hungarian Imperial-Royal Family, and not a protector of the Austro-Hungarian Crown. The Lt.-Col. was a protector of this family at a time when Austria-Hungary very much was dissolved. The Austro-Hungarian Royal Family actually still exists, although it normally these days goes by the name of the Habsburg Family – or the House of Habsburg.
One might say that the difference between the Royal Family and the Crown is insignificant, but it is not. If one is not referring to the physical object to place on a royal's head, or currency, the difference between protecting the Royal Family and the institution of the Crown when it comes to Austria-Hungary was quite significant indeed in 1919 – especially when it comes to a Lt.-Col. sent on a mission at the initiative of His Britannic Majesty George V.
Basing a one sentence comment on what is "apparent," but cannot be apparent to everyone, there is in addition no substantial argument.
My readers are of course free not to take me or my blog seriously. A similar freedom belongs to me. I will take no commenter seriously who posts anonymously, bases his comment on what first comes into mind as "apparent," and has no substantial argument.
Saturday, June 2, 2007
[W]e democrats celebrate June 2 with a vision of what Britain could be: a democratic republic with an elected head of state, a representative of the nation who is chosen by us, the people.Heard of H.L. Mencken? He is known to have said:
Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.Mr. Tatchell further says:
Let's be clear about one thing: monarchy is incompatible with democracy.And that is supposed to be an argument against it?!? Please do explain!
Mr. Tatchell goes on:
According to the elitist values of the monarchical system, the most stupid, immoral royal is more fit to be head of state than the wisest, most ethical commoner.I keep forgetting the superb capability of modern democracy to choose the wise and the ethical. Please do forgive me!
Mr. Tatchell continues:
Monarchs get the job for life, no matter how appallingly they behave.And Abraham Lincoln – the "log cabin" President – was reelected after having brought a terrible war – according to Wikipedia, in a landslide.
I'll take the kings and queens of old over modern politicians any day, and I'll take the monarchs of our time over politicians too. I recall what J.R.R. Tolkien so brilliantly has been quoted for saying:
My political beliefs lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs) – or to 'unconstitutional' Monarchy ... Give me a king whose chief interest in life is stamps, railways, or race-horses; and who has the power to sack his Vizier (or whatever you care to call him) if he does not like the cut of his trousers.Further down Mr. Tatchell says:
This enshrinement of bigotry is not surprising. After all, the monarchy is a relic of despotic feudal power - a left-over from an era of absolute power, where a supposed divinely-ordained ruler literally lorded it over the British people.Absolute? If there ever was an absolute rule, it's that of modern parliaments. Mr. Tatchell seems to be in need of being reminded of something the great Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn said:
There are totalitarian and monolithic tendencies inherent in democracy that are not present even in a so-called absolute monarchy, much less so in a mixed government which, without exaggeration, can be called the great Western tradition.There certainly isn't much left of a mixed government in the present day United Kingdom, but removing the remnants of it can hardly be moving in the right direction.
Moreover, Mr. Tatchell tells us:
The monarch still retains a number of anti-democratic reserve powers, including the powers to summon, prorogue and dissolve parliament. These powers could be crucial in sensitive or uncertain political circumstances. The prime minister's exercise of royal prerogatives requires royal approval. Such approval has never been withheld in modern times, but why should royal authority be necessary in the first place?Please do tell us why not, sir! Why is your pathetic belief in the sanctity of popular rule so great? Please do tell us!
Mr. Tatchell questions further:
Likewise, The Queen has to give her royal assent to every bill passed by parliament, before it can become law. Even if this is only symbolic, why should the monarch have this power at alI?Why not?
In the event of a hung parliament, The Queen will make the crucial decision as to which party leader to call to form a government - a highly-charged decision with huge political ramifications.And the point is?
Furthermore, Mr. Tatchell tells us:
The monarch can also dismiss an elected government.Oh?!? That's scary!!! There actually is a check on the popular power. Now, we can't have that, can we?
Mr. Tatchell goes on further down:
I favour a low-cost, purely ceremonial, elected president, like the German and Irish presidents. This would ensure that the people are sovereign, not the royals.And ensure absolutely no brake on popular sovereignty – or to be more precise, rule of the representatives of the mob. Thank you! I am really relieved!
Mr. Tatchell concludes:
It would give us the most important safeguard of all: if we don't like our head of state, we can elect a new one.Most important safeguard of all?!? Yes! Where is your proof, sir? If it is so obvious that this is the most important safeguard, I should be able to see that, right? But I don't. So where are your substantial arguments?
God save Her Britannic Majesty! Long may she reign over the United Kingdom and her other Realms!
Over at The Monarchist, a relatively fierce debate has been going on between monarchists and republicans.
It will have simply entered a new phase of its historical evolution, a phase in which the democratic state has grown mature enough to discard the last remnants of its non-democratic, aristocratic past, and thus divorce itself from its useless marriage to crown.Matured? Into what? Into the ever growing, far-reaching state of our times? If you prefer calling that maturing, please feel free!
"J.J." further says:
Call me a Whig is you must, but I believe none of this is disrespectful to history, but rather honors our history of growth and progress. Quintessentially British values, by the way.I, for one, will not call him a Whig, but a believer in the misconceived, flawed, and misguided Whig Theory of History of which Prof. Dr. Dr. Hans-Hermann Hoppe has said:
The Whig theory of history, according to which mankind marches continually forward toward ever higher levels of progress, is incorrect. From the viewpoint of those who prefer less exploitation over more and who value farsightedness and individual responsibility above shortsightedness and irresponsibility, the historic transition from monarchy to democracy represents not progress but civilizational decline.Moreover, "J.J." says:
It is only through our fortunate history of British colonization that Canadians are today a free enough people to realize the problems of the monarchical system, and debate alternatives.I have lived under one of the successor republics of the British Empire. That successor republic has not done well. It can certainly be claimed that comparing the Dominion of Canada with the Republic of Kenya is unfair. However, I have also lived in a Europe "freed" of monarchical rule of which William Gairdner so brilliantly has said:
[A] graph of the past century would show that liberty and local control has retreated everywhere in the "free" world as monarchy has declined."J.J." goes on:
I'm a conservative because I believe in classical values such as common sense, rationality, fiscal restraint, individualism, and human dignity.Prof. Hoppe has called democracy "soft communism." It is true that democracy is about who rules, not how it is ruled, but there are certain tendencies in democratic rule that favor certain policies over others.
The UK electorate kept the now ennobled Baroness of Kesteven in office for 11 years. While she did not leave office because she was directly thrown out by the people, the so-called welfare state was intact when she left. Ronald Reagan, who unashamedly said "government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem," presided over a growing federal government.
The track record of modern democracy to deliver "classical values" is – to be modest – not impressive. During the seven decades of Soviet Communism, one could often hear – and one still does – the claim that this was not true communism. One can be tempted to ask those who have their faith in modern democracy and "classical values" when they think democracy will "deliver." One should also ask what is the most important; rule of the majority or "classical values?"
I reject the unscientific, irrational, unproven, collectivist doctrines of the socialist left, but also the equally irrational supersticions and tradition fetishes of the reactionary right.One might ask what is so rational about the faith in modern democracy, given its track record. Anyone claiming monarchy to be irrational should study Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Bertrand de Jouvenel, and Hans-Hermann Hoppe for starters. And they can have Leland B. Yeager's Monarchy: Friend of Liberty and "Deogolwulf"'s Monarchy for pre-meal appetizers.
Furthermore, "J.J." says:
One would find people like me far closer to the mainstream of any modern conservative party than any of the authors on this site, which is simply part of my larger argument about republicanism being a natural component of a larger cultural evolution.Larger cultural evolution? Modern democracy was brought about by political fights, revolutions, and wars. Remember the French Revolution and the war to make the world safe for democracy from history classes? If you want to call it cultural evolution, by all means, please do feel free. I, however, prefer calling a spade a spade, and a revolution a revolution.