Monday, August 21, 2017

Reflections on the Condition of Hungary

August 20 marks the traditional foundation of the Kingdom of Hungary by King St Stephen, celebrated ever since as the National Day of Hungary and so it seems a good occasion to reflect on the state of affairs in the land of the Magyars. The Twentieth Century was not kind to the Hungarians to say the least of it. In 1914, as part of the “Dual Monarchy” of Austria-Hungary, they were dragged into a world war that they did not really want to be a part of. They did their duty but, when it was over, found themselves stripped of the vast majority of their territory which left one third of all Hungarians living in foreign lands. In the turmoil that followed they fell victim to communist revolutionary forces with the usual and horrific “Red Terror” that always accompanies such things. This then resulted in Hungary suffering the indignity of watching Romanian troops parade through Budapest. For some comparison, imagine the reaction if the French army had to restore order in England or if the Chinese marched down the streets of Tokyo and you might have some idea of how Hungarians felt about this.

The first years of Hungary without a monarch were certainly extremely unpleasant and since a great many Hungarians remained supportive of the monarchy, it was only natural that their last king, Emperor Charles of Austria, tried to restore himself to his rightful throne. Archduke Joseph von Habsburg had previously presided as regent, was forced out by the revolution but then returned, only to be forced out again by the Allies in 1919. The trouble still convinced the Hungarians to restore the monarchy, at least in name, the following year. So, for those keeping score, the Hungarian monarchy fell in 1918, was replaced by a regency which ended in 1919, nominally restored the monarchy in 1920 and then had the lawful king make two attempts in 1921 to restore himself, only to be thwarted by the ruling government on both occasions. In other words, the Kingdom of Hungary was never very far from a fully restored reality but something always seemed to get in the way.

In the 1930’s a full restoration of the monarchy seemed very possible in the person of Archduke Otto, the Crown Prince of Hungary and heir to the throne. The Archduke and the Chancellor of Austria, Kurt von Schuschnigg, came to an agreement on restoring the Habsburg monarchy in Austria which had the support of Mussolini in Italy. Schuschnigg had also restored friendly relations with Hungary and many believed that once the Austrian monarchy was restored, Austria, Hungary and Czechoslovakia would come together in a Danube confederation of sorts, presided over by the Habsburg monarch, backed up by the Kingdom of Italy (Mussolini having envisioned another Habsburg-Savoy dynastic alliance). However, this entire plan came to ruin when France and Britain turned against Italy over the war with Ethiopia, pushing Mussolini into the welcoming arms of Hitler and the Italians stood down as the guarantors of Austrian independence. Austria was annexed by Germany and the neighboring countries soon had to make their peace with Berlin.

Hungary became more and more economically tied to Germany, joined in the partition of Czechoslovakia (as did Poland, which is often overlooked) and then becoming a member of the Axis Powers. So it was that Hungary, a kingdom without a king ruled by an admiral without a navy, also joined in the invasion of the Soviet Union. In terms of regaining national territory lost after World War I, it had not been so bad an arrangement. Hitler saw to it that Romania returned at least a large portion of the territory taken after the Great War and after German and Italian forces invaded Yugoslavia, Hungary also regained some lost territory there. However, as everyone knows, the Axis invasion of Russia ultimately proved disastrous with the Hungarian army fighting tenaciously but suffering grievous losses. Admiral Horthy tried to extricate himself by secretly trying to negotiate with the western Allies. When Hitler discovered this he was, of course, furious and Horthy was removed and Hungary was occupied by the Germans.

Hungary, under new management, remained in the war but despite fierce resistance, nothing was able to stop the Soviet Red Army hordes from pushing ever closer. In late 1944 the Soviet troops invaded Hungary and by the end of the war fully occupied the country, installing a pliant communist puppet regime whose strings would be pulled from Moscow. In 1949 the “People’s Republic of Hungary” was declared, ushering in an era of privation, oppression and misery which did not end until 1989 when the countries of Eastern Europe rose up to reassert their independence as the Soviet Union collapsed in on itself out of sheer Marxist incompetence. As with everywhere the communists held power, Hungary had stagnated for decades and fallen far behind the standard of living seen in countries on the western side of the “Iron Curtain” when, in the distant past, the Kingdom of Hungary had, at times, been more powerful than any of them. In this weakened condition, the new, non-communist, Third Hungarian Republic joined NATO in 1999 and then the European Union in 2004.

Since that time, and increasingly so lately, there has been evidence to indicate that the decades of misery in communist captivity was a cloud not without some silver lining. Having been oppressed for so long, the Hungarians have clung more fiercely to their own national identity and the same Iron Curtain which kept the prisoner also seems to have kept out a degree of the liberal mentality which has so devastated western Europe. Not only have the Magyars refrained from wallowing in guilt and self-hatred like most of their western neighbors, they have remained proud of their history and have shown a willingness others have not to see that their people remain in possession of their own inheritance, even when that means defying the powers-that-be. The country has moved, not drastically but certainly noticeably to the political right in recent years, most noticeably under Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Hungary has reasserted itself with constitutional amendments that condemned communism and stressed the importance of the family and traditional family values. A “flat tax” was adopted and a border wall was build to stop the flow of illegal migrants pouring into Hungary. When the EU elites in Brussels scolded the Budapest government and told them they could not behave in this way, the Hungarians told them to go climb a tree. All of which is to their credit.

Prime Minister Orban, of course, should not be ruling Hungary, at least not without having to answer to a Habsburg monarch for it, however, he seems to have done rather well and anyone who is criticized by Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkl, Jose Manuel Barroso and Jean-Claude Juncker must be doing quite a bit right. Where does the House of Habsburg fit into all of this? Well, the head of the house, Archduke Karl von Habsburg, resides in Austria and, while generally on the conservative side of things by European standards, would seem to be somewhat at odds with Orban’s nationalism and so-called “soft” Euro-skepticism. However, his younger brother, Archduke Georg von Habsburg, has lived and worked in Hungary for many years and all three of his children have been born in Hungary so there is definitely still a family connection.

If a Habsburg would choose to get involved, I think it not impossible to imagine a revival of something like Austria-Hungary, though it does not seem very likely at present that Austria would be included. Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland have all, to varying degrees, been at odds with their EU masters over their conservatism, nationalism and desire to keep their own countries for their own people. All of these countries have the House of Habsburg in common, Poland less so but certainly in part. The last Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary had hopes of becoming King of Poland as well and those readers who remember the article about “The Heyday of Hungary” will recall that most of this area, and more, was once united under the Hungarian Crown. It happened before, why can it not happen again? A look at the map of the lands ruled by the King of Hungary shows that it very much corresponds with those areas today most determined to maintain their national distinctiveness and to resist the encroachment of foreign powers and foreign peoples. This could be something to work with and, if the proper policies are pursued of course, I think could be extremely successful.

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Austrian Empire and the Confederacy

The American Civil War was the bloodiest conflict ever fought in the western hemisphere of the world and, as such, attracted a great deal of attention from other powers. Previously, I have discussed on these pages how a war between two factions of republicans actually had a tremendous impact on the monarchist cause in the Americas. Most of the ‘Great Powers’ of Europe had an interest in the War Between the States. The British Empire had an economic interest with southern cotton feeding the textile mills of England while the industrial centers of the northern states were major competitors. Indeed, only a few decades after the war ended with the north victorious, the United States of America surpassed Great Britain as the world’s largest economy and has remained so ever since. The tentative steps of the Kingdom of Spain to rebuild the Spanish Empire in Latin America, the French-backed restoration of the Mexican Empire and the French plans for a “Kingdom of the Andes” in South America all depended on the Confederacy being victorious due to opposition to all such endeavors by the Union government in Washington DC.

Emperor Francis Joseph
The northern states were also home to large numbers of European immigrants who had fled their countries after failed revolutionary movements, so there were many Irish republicans in the north who detested the British Empire and many liberal Germans who had fled in the aftermath of the Revolutions of 1848. The only ‘Great Power’ to be seen at least as supportive of the U.S. government was the Russian Empire and this was mostly due to the fact that Britain and France were seen as friendlier to the Confederacy and the Russians hoped to counter this such as when Russia sold Alaska to the United States in order to prevent it being added to Canada by the British in a potential future conflict. The Austrian Empire was not extremely concerned about events in America, having many pressing problems of their own to deal with at the time, but that is not to say that they were not interested at all. Although the Emperor of Austria, Francis Joseph, had opposed the whole adventure, his younger brother was Emperor of Mexico and thus his fate, and that of the Austrian volunteer corps sent to aid him in Mexico, also depended almost entirely on the Confederates winning their independence.

Captain Ross at Gettysburg
As also pointed out previously, the Confederacy was also greatly influenced by the style of the Austrian Empire. The uniforms of the Confederate army were inspired by those of the Austrian light infantry and the first Confederate national flag was inspired by the ensign of the Austrian Empire, both being designed by the Prussian artist Nicola Marschall. The Emperor of Austria also had his own “eyes on the ground” so to speak, in the person of Captain FitzGerald Ross, a British-born officer of the Sixth Austrian Hussar Regiment. He made quite a stir in the southern states with his waxed moustache and braided Hussar uniform, in fact he was almost mobbed by admirers after being persuaded by some Confederate officers to wear his full dress uniform, fur busby, dolman and all, for a ride with them. He witness the Battle of Gettysburg, then went to Richmond, Charleston and then Chattanooga, Tennessee where he observed the fight from the lines of the Confederate General Braxton Bragg. He also visited the Gulf coast, Mobile, Alabama and so on. Like many, he was very impressed by the Confederate military and, like many more, was also impressed by the southern ladies. He became an ardent Confederate sympathizer, even to the point of picking up a rifle and taking part in a battle during his long stay in the south. When Ross finally returned to Europe, no matter what bad news reached him, he remained confident that the south would ultimately win.

Such a thing would have, inadvertently, greatly expanded Austrian influence in the New World given that the establishment of a Habsburg monarchy in Mexico (or rather the ‘reestablishment’) would have given Austria a sort of foothold in the region. Confederate President Jefferson Davis was certainly aware of this and tried to enlist the Prussian observer, Captain Justus Scheibert, as an envoy to Emperor Napoleon III of France. He proposed a sort of Franco-Confederate alliance, pointing out that in the Mexican War (of which Davis was a noted veteran) the U.S. had defeated Mexico with only 12,000 men and that if Napoleon would lift the Union blockade of the southern coast, which Davis believed could be done with ‘the stroke of a pen’ and would ensure a Confederate victory, he would supply 20,000 Confederate troops to aid the Emperor Maximilian of Mexico, explaining that southern troops were adjusted to the climate and familiar with the fighting style of the Mexicans.

Austrian officers in Mexico
However, this, as we know, did not come to pass. Although tempted, none of the European powers ultimately were bold enough to risk war with the United States by recognizing the Confederacy (though Pope Pius IX did address a letter to Jefferson Davis as President of the C.S.A.). When the Confederacy fell, the effort to spread monarchy in the Americas quickly fell apart. The U.S. government dispatched an army to the south Texas border and warned the French to withdraw or face war. Napoleon, not wishing to see the enterprise be for nothing, hoped that the Austrian Empire would take up the French cause of supporting the Mexican imperialists. A further 2,000 Austrian volunteers (roughly) were assembled at the port of Trieste, ready to embark for Mexico and fight for Emperor Maximilian. It was, though, at that point that the Union government stepped in by way of U.S. Minister to Vienna John Lothrop Motley who went to the Hofburg and informed the Austrian Emperor quite bluntly that the U.S. recognized only Benito Juarez as the leader of the legitimate Mexican government and that if the Austrian troops were allowed to leave, the U.S. would consider the Austrian Empire to be at war with the Mexican Republic and the U.S. Navy would take retaliatory action on behalf of Mexico.

The expedition was thus canceled, the Austrian soldiers disbanded and the Austrian Volunteer Corps already fighting in Mexico was promptly recalled. Many had already been slaughtered at the Battle of Santa Gertrudis where, seeing which way the winds were blowing, their comrades of the Mexican Imperial Army had deserted in the middle of the battle to join the republicans. The surrender of General Lee at Appomattox Court House in 1865 had set the dominos to falling, the Austrians pulled out and shortly thereafter the Habsburg Emperor of Mexico was captured and shot, the Austrian Emperor then even having a difficult time retrieving the body of his slain younger brother. The Imperial House of Habsburg had had a presence in the Americas ever since Philip the Handsome and Charles V had held their Spanish crowns until the succession was taken up by the Bourbons of France. In 1864, however, another Habsburg returned to, he hoped, usher in a new era of monarchy in the Americas but with the fall of the Confederacy, it was inevitable that the Habsburgs would once again lose their place in the New World.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Rexisme and Leon Degrelle

I have wanted to talk about Rexisme for a long time but always hesitated to do so because it is a thorny issue and brings up so many other thorny issues and has so many controversial associations that I always drew back. However, as to being controversial, at this point, why not? And, I do think the history of Rexisme and its charismatic and very controversial leader Leon Degrelle, has much to teach us that is pertinent to this day and age. Rexisme or the Rexist Party was founded on November 2, 1935 by Leon Degrelle in the Kingdom of Belgium. The term “Rexisme” is my preference rather than “Rexist Party” as Degrelle did intend for Rexisme to be a national movement rather than only a political party, which is fine by me as I generally detest political parties. It remains even now a rather ‘rare bird’ in the world of Belgian politics in that it was a Belgian nationalist party. As most know, Walloon nationalist parties and certainly Flemish nationalist parties in Belgium are extremely common but a broader *Belgian* nationalist party is hard to come by. However, it was never very pan-Belgian in terms of its support, attracting very few members or voters from the Flanders region.

Rexisme was the brainchild of Leon Degrelle, a native of Bouillon, Belgium born in 1906. His life reads like a boys adventure novel, at least up until the ‘hardcore Nazi’ part. Nonetheless, though he ended his life an ardent and unrepentant Nazi, anyone who says he was not at extremely exceptional individual is being dishonest. Degrelle was Jesuit educated (back when that meant something), studied law but ultimately turned to journalism, writing for a Catholic periodical. During that period of his life, he was sent to cover the “Cristero” rebellion in Mexico, something which would have a profound impact on his life. The Cristeros were Mexican Catholics who rose up against the anti-Catholic persecution of the Marxist PRI government (which is back in power today) and which proved surprisingly successful. However, the Mexican bishops never really supported it and finally came to an agreement with the Mexican government and told the Cristeros to lay down their arms and disperse. They did so, being loyal Catholics, at which point the government massacred most of them.

The example of the Cristeros caused Degrelle to become more militant in his Catholicism and he also became very much influenced by the writings of the French royalist Charles Maurras and the Belgian Jean Denis. From these sources, and others, he began publishing his own periodical for the Catholic Party in Belgium called “Editions de Rex”, taking his inspiration for the name from the Cristero battlecry of “Viva Cristo Rey” (Long live Christ the King). Soon, however, his views came to be at odds with the mainstream Catholic Party and in 1935 he split from them to form his own movement, which he called “Rexisme”. His goal was to lead not only a political movement but a social movement across Belgium, a revival of Catholic morality, Catholic social teachings and greater national unity. Rexisme opposed liberal democracy and promoted corporatism, envisioning a new type of government for Belgium that would do away with the usual democratic process in favor of a more robust monarchy and political representation based on occupation.

It was also very much a Belgian nationalist party in that Degrelle pressed for the unity of all Belgians, regardless of class differences or language differences and putting greater emphasis on the position of the King was part of that, as was Catholicism in a way since the monarchy and the Catholic Church were two things that traditionally united all Belgians.

There have been, of course, obvious parallels drawn between Rexisme and other parties or movements which are today all classified as “far-right”. Jean Denis, himself soon elected to office for Rexisme, had influenced the corporatist regime of Antonio Salazar in Portugal. The year after forming his party, Degrelle met with Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera, leader of the Falange in Spain, Corneliu Zelea Codreanu of the Iron Guard of Romania, the leader of Fascist Italy Benito Mussolini and, yes, Adolf Hitler of Germany. However, the influence of Hitler and the National Socialists was not great in the beginning. Both Hitler and Mussolini donated money to Degrelle and his movement, but Mussolini donated more and Rexisme had more in common with Italian Fascism as it was then than it had with the Nazi Party in Germany. Race was not really an issue for Rexisme as there were no appreciable racial minorities in Belgium nor did they have much to say about the Jews. Their movement was all about Catholics and the Jews did not really come into it.

To the surprise of many, and the horror of some, Rexisme shot to considerable popularity from the very start. In the May 1936 general elections, after only one year in existence, Rexisme won a stunning string of electoral victories, winning 21 seats in the lower chamber and 8 seats in the Senate. The Belgian King Leopold III offered Degrelle a seat in the cabinet as a result of this success but, buoyed by his victories, Degrelle turned down the offer, thinking that rather than settle for a small part in government, he could build on his success and soon win it all. However, the success of Rexisme also alerted others to the threat he posed to the established order. His call for national unity largely seems to have fallen on deaf ears as almost all of his political support came from Wallonia and Brussels with only a tiny fraction from Flanders. The Catholic hierarchy in Belgium also came out strongly against his movement and would ultimately even find themselves willing to make common cause with the Communist Party in order to oppose him. One cannot help but wonder if Degrelle was reminded of the actions of the Catholic bishops in Mexico to a militant Catholic movement in their country.

Degrelle and Rexisme were shunned by the political mainstream as well as the Catholic bishops as being too extreme, too radical, too militant, too nationalistic and so on. The result, however, of this attitude was to push Degrelle and the members of Rexisme even further away. As time went on, rather than Portugal or Italy, Rexisme became ever more heavily influenced by National Socialist Germany. The periodical of the movement became noticeably more anti-Semitic, a rather inevitable result of their noticing how disproportionately represented the Jews were among their enemies. This is a lesson many today in North America and western Europe would do well to take notice of. By shunning and vilifying Rexisme as simply the Belgian version of the Nazi Party, the result was to push the two closer together. The political fortunes of Rexisme played out like a rocket going off. It shot to great heights very quickly but then plummeted just as quickly in the face of the united opposition of the political and even religious establishment. In the general election of April 1939 Rexisme lost all but 4 of their seats with Leon Degrelle himself losing the Brussels election to Prime Minister Paul Van Zeeland.

The Belgian members of Rexisme thus became even more extreme out of bitterness to the whole political system. They had played the game fairly, played by the rules, had not been threatening or violent, yet they had been vilified, castigated and saw the political establishment unite to block them from electoral success. Why play the game if the other side is not going to play fairly? How things would have gone from there, we cannot know as a little thing called World War II intervened. Despite what some might think given his life subsequently, Leon Degrelle was not a cheerleader for Nazi Germany. He supported the position of King Leopold III that neutrality was the best policy. As in the last war, however, that neutrality was soon violated and after eighteen days of gallant resistance, King Leopold III surrendered to the Germans and was taken prisoner. The members of Rexisme were, to a degree, split by these events. As proud Belgian nationalists, some joined the underground to oppose the German occupation. Others, however, asked why they should support a regime that had opposed them to fight against men like Hitler and Mussolini who had consistently supported them? Many chose to join with the Axis.

Leon Degrelle was one of these, though he did first spend some time in a concentration camp in France, which, again, some may be surprised to know. Degrelle decided to join the Axis war effort, first as a member of a volunteer legion with the German army. As a prominent political personality from an occupied country, Hitler offered Degrelle an officer’s commission, however, Degrelle refused it. Instead, he began as a simple enlisted man and worked his way up through the ranks, very quickly. Degrelle proved to be an amazing soldier, skillful and fearless, which is something no one can take away from him regardless of political opinions. He and his men of the Walloon legion proved so outstanding that they were deemed worthy of transfer to the elite armed formation of the National Socialist Party, the Waffen-SS. In time, Degrelle would rise to the rank of Colonel of reserves in the SS-Sturmbrigade “Wallonie” as part of the “Wiking” division. His exploits on the Russian front were incredible and by the end of his career Degrelle had earned the Iron Cross first and second class, the Knight’s Iron Cross with oak leaves, the Close Combat Clasp in gold and the Infantry Assault Badge in Silver. Hitler famously said that if he had a son, he would wish him to be like Degrelle.

It may also surprise some, given how the local hierarchy had opposed him, that Degrelle always remained a practicing Catholic. A famous photo shows him receiving communion on the eastern front which is not at all unusual given that, as can be seen by his uniform, this was during his service with the regular German military. What is unusual is that, when he and his men were transferred to the Germanic-SS by Heinrich Himmler, they retained their Catholic chaplain. Other than the Imams for Muslim units, the SS did not “do” chaplains at all. Himmler preferred SS men not to have any strong religious ties so that the National Socialist Party and Adolf Hitler would become the sole focus of their devotion. However, Degrelle evidently insisted enough and his unit was impressive enough that Himmler made an exception for him and a Catholic priest was provided to attend to them for the rest of the war.

In the end, of course, Nazi Germany was defeated and the “Wallonie” brigade was effectively wiped out on the west bank of the Oder. Survivors were evacuated to Denmark where Degrelle was able to escape to Norway and fly to Spain where he was given sanctuary. Condemned and sentenced to death by the Belgian government after the war for his collaboration, Generalissimo Franco refused to hand him over and Degrelle lived on until 1994, to the very end defending and praising Adolf Hitler and National Socialism. His hero-worship of Hitler and National Socialism had, it must be pointed out, eclipsed even his own movement, Rexisme, for Degrelle in the end. By that time, he had devoted himself to writing defenses of himself and more so Adolf Hitler, National Socialism and the German vision of a pan-European super-state in which there would be no place for individual countries. He did lose one court battle and was fined for what amounted to Holocaust denial, after the fall of the Franco regime, but was always unapologetic. He famously said that the only thing he regretted about World War II was that Germany had lost.

Considering all of that though, it is important to remember where Degrelle had started and what Rexisme had been all about. Rexisme had been about the social kingship of Christ, a corporatist state, a more revered monarchy and far from erasing Belgium from the map, wanted to strengthen it. The Flemish nationalists who collaborated with the Nazis, dreamed of uniting with their Dutch Protestant neighbors to form a “Greater Netherlands” but Degrelle wanted Belgians to be the core of a revived Burgundy, even adopting the Burgundian cross, today most associated with Spain, as the second symbol of the Rexisme movement. Degrelle referred to this as the “Great Burgundian Renaissance” and it is frankly amazing that he remained adamant about being a Catholic even when the local bishops were so zealously opposed to him. Archbishop Jozef Van Roey of Mechelen and Brussels tried to have him excommunicated though, thanks to Mussolini speaking up for him at the Vatican, this did not happen though Rexisme adherents claimed that Roey was responsible for the threats of excommunication for anyone who voted for them coming from the pulpits prior to their 1939 electoral downfall. Given all of that, it would be hard to explain Degrelle’s continued insistence to be a devout Catholic other than that he firmly believed it to be true. In 1943 he was excommunicated by the Bishop of Namur after coming to mass in his SS uniform but this was lifted by the German Catholic bishop who oversaw the chaplaincy as Degrelle was within his jurisdiction. Whether he was or was not in full communion with the Church remained a controversial subject up to the time of his death, many in the Church saying he was not but Degrelle insisting that he was.

There is a lesson here for those who choose to take it. Necessarily, any view of Rexisme will depend on your view of Catholicism as the Rexists saw everything through a Catholic lens. What is important to keep in mind is that, while increasingly unfashionable, Rexisme did not advocate anything that was really out of line with traditional Catholic teachings, be it their disdain for democracy, their corporatist model (a more sophisticated version of the guild system), their support for the monarchy and opposition to things like freedom of religion or separation of Church and state. All of these were positions which the Church, at the time, was still supposed to hold. In other words, nothing the Rexists were calling for should have been considered extreme or radical.

Nonetheless, they were and the liberals, proving the founder of Fascism right about them, swiftly set aside all of their high-minded ideals about freedom and fair play to stop Rexisme from gaining power through the political process. The result was that many saw no reason not to align themselves with the Germans when they arrived. This is happening in many countries today. The liberals know of no greater evil than the Nazis and since just about the whole world agreed that Nazis are bad, the Nazis became their favorite bogey man. However, they eventually found Nazis to be thin on the ground and so have started to create Nazis by expanding the definition of the term. This behavior was reinforced by the fact that whenever they shouted “Nazi!” their opponent would shut up and back away. Naturally, finding how well that works, every enemy of the liberals became a Nazi. Then, after broadening the term to absurd proportions, they also began pushing people toward the Nazi camp by suppressing all opposition to their viewpoint.

I talked about this before in the article about liberals proving Mussolini was right about them by their own actions. The only people not offended by being called Nazis are, of course, actual Nazis. So, after using the term to silence all other opposition, they leave the Nazis as the last man standing, which they probably think is fine because almost the entire world already thinks Nazis are the worst thing ever. However, just as happened with Rexisme, they are pushing people into the Nazi camp who otherwise would never have been with them. Thus, as we are seeing in the western world right now, when people are told that everyone else has a right to their own country for their own people, except for *your* people, when everyone else has a right to the most vitriolic speech, except for *your* people, when everyone else has the right to hold demonstrations and identity-group advocacy except for *your* people, you are probably going to catch on that this is unfair, will find no refuge in the law or the constitution and will either shrink away or drop all reason and moderation and go totally extremist. And, when that happens, the stage has been set for you to find no other open arms but those of Hitler. Such was the case with Rexisme and that is the way the enemies of our civilization want it because, again, they figure the battle against Hitler has already been won.

To close, I will say then that my hope is the defenders of traditional authority, faith, family and folk, will stand up for their people and provide an alternative with deep historical and spiritual roots in western civilization. You will of course be called a Nazi if you do, but don’t help out the enemy by proving them right. Prove them wrong, don’t make it easy for them. It’s not about what they call you, it is about what you believe and what you know is right. I think Rexisme got more right than it did wrong, and I know that saying Rexisme sounds pretty good to me, given what many members later did, will cause some to call me a Nazi. I'm not, I know that, so I don't care. They would call me that anyway so, if they want to categorize things that way, I cannot stop them. Wanting to preserve your people, your faith and your heritage in your own countries is not wrong, letting all the blood, toil and tears of your ancestors be in vain is what is wrong, and to my mind unforgivable. Take your stand and do what is right, that is your only duty. As General Robert E. Lee once said, “You can never do more, you should never wish to do less.”

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Imperial Roots of Ferragosto

Today is Ferragosto, a holiday unique to Italy (and the Republic of San Marino) today identified with the mid-August vacation period. It is made to coincide with the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, however, it has a much wider significance which includes but is not limited to this particular feast day which is so important to Catholics. The roots of Ferragosto go back to at least the year 18BC though, even then, it built upon an already long established custom of a holiday period in mid August after the local harvest period. However, it became an officially period of celebration to mark the occasion on which Octavian (Julius Caesar's heir and nephew) was given the title of Augustus by the Roman Senate, "Augustus" meaning 'exalted' and used as the official imperial title. In other words, it was on this occasion that Augustus Caesar officially became the first Emperor of Rome. Thus, the already existing post-harvest holiday period was expanded and upgraded to be an official, practically month-long, celebration of the exaltation of the first Roman Emperor. This was known as the Feriae Augusti or the 'festivals of the Emperor Augustus'.

Later, in the Christian period, this came to coincide with the Feast of the Assumption and rather beautifully illustrates the way in which the peoples of Europe did not abandon their own culture and customs with their conversion to Christianity. Rather than ban everything that had pagan roots (which would have meant eradicating practically everything, including democracy which liberals claim to be so fond of), pagan customs were folded into the Christian experience. Obviously, these customs would vary from nation to nation as the Germans or Celts had extremely different customs from those of the Greeks and Romans. It is for this reason that Ferragosto is a uniquely Italian holiday. In time it came to be the start of the vacation period in Italy and this was reinforced by the Kingdom of Italy during the Fascist Era. In an effort to encourage Italians to get out of their small towns and see more of the country, the trains would offer discounts on tickets to enable working class people to take a vacation to famous cities or resort towns. The desire of the regime was to foster greater nationalism and social unity in this way by having the people see more of their own country and to allow people other than the upper class to take vacations too.

It says something about the success of this policy of embracing the whole of European culture and not setting Christianity against it that for quite some time the celebration of Ferragosto was legally mandatory in the Papal States.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Charlottesville and the Need to Do Better

As most of you are no doubt aware, there was a bit of dust up in the city of Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday. The original issue was the proposed removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park (formerly named Lee Park but re-named recently for the sake of tolerance and diversity). A disparate group of White people came together under the name “Unite the Right” to hold a demonstration in protest to the removal of the statue. It is worth bearing in mind that General Lee himself was not a slave owner, thought slavery was wrong and had opposed secession. This group included people with varying view points from simple pro-White advocates to actual White supremacists (Neo-Nazis and KKK). Some were, in my view, good and some were clearly bad. However, they agreed on the subject that the statue should stay where it is and they obtained a permit from the city to hold their demonstration.

That was when the problems began. Shortly afterward, the city revoked their permit and “Unite the Right” had to appeal to the courts which did finally rule that they had civil rights like the right to assemble and the right to free speech and so ordered the city to reissue their permit. However, as soon as it became known that these people would be holding their demonstration, leftist groups, “Antifa” among others, called on all of their supporters to rally at Charlottesville on the same day to shut down the event. The original demonstration was scheduled to begin at noon but, long before that, a state of emergency was declared as violence broke out between the two sides and so it was cancelled. The police had been ordered to “stand down” and so it is no surprise that a brawl ensued, injuring many and leading to the death of one woman who was hit by a car that sped into a crowd of leftist counter-protestors.

A few things should be clear from the facts of this situation. On the one hand, the organizers were clearly unconcerned about what sort of image they presented to the American public (or were intentionally ‘clowning’) as you cannot hold a demonstration, preceded by a torchlight procession, with Roman salutes and swastika flags and then cry “unfair” when the other side calls you a bunch of Nazis. These people guaranteed that the statue will be removed and that no one with any official position will go anywhere near them. Secondly, it is also perfectly clear that even if they had been goose-stepping down Emancipation Park in brown shirts, they had gone through the legal process to do it and had every right to be there. The Antifa types who came to challenge them did not, the police and civil authorities did not do their duty and have heaped all the blame on one side. It also, needless to say, made no difference to the mainstream media that the leftist counter-protesters had such flags on display as that of the Soviet Union (which killed more people and invaded more countries than Hitler ever did) as well as one or two of the Spanish Republic, that leftist regime which put more people to death in a few months than the supposedly notorious Spanish Inquisition snuffed out in as many centuries.

I can imagine two different things coming from this; those who made up “Unite the Right” will shrink away into obscurity having again portrayed themselves as simply the Nazi Party USA (one of the organizers was Richard Spencer who some may remember from his “Hail Trump! Hail Victory!” speech) or this will ratchet up the extremism on the part of the White identity types who can reasonably say that while others have been allowed to demonstrate, they were not and that while others have been allowed to speak, they are not. Racial or ethnic advocacy groups are allowed for everyone but them and thus there is no need to bother with staying within the law. The law only applies to certain people. So, I am not much of a prophet, I think it will either get calmer as more people just accept the situation or it will not if they choose to fight back.

No doubt some are already wondering what any of this has to do with traditional authority or the cause of kings. Well, for one thing, it displays the hypocrisy of the liberal republican form of government, as I have mentioned numerous times in the past. All of their “liberty” and “fairness” and “rule of law” only seems to apply in the abstract, never when it really matters. You have rights until a crisis arises and President Lincoln suspends habeaus corpus, President Wilson puts you in jail for playing German music or President Roosevelt confiscates your property and puts you in a concentration camp. You have the right to elect you leader, until you elect a leader the ruling class disapproves of and then he is blocked at every turn. You have the right to free speech and assembly until someone shows up, causes a brawl and then the whole thing is shut down on the grounds of being unsafe. You can say what you want, unless the powers-that-be determine what you are saying is “hate speech” in which case they can shut you down. Fail to enforce immigration laws and you’re a “sanctuary city” but fail to issue a marriage license to a gay couple and you go to jail (see Kim Davis). Liberalism sounds so great in the abstract but in practice it means, liberty for “us” but not for you.

Secondarily, I also noticed a number of people on our own side making the case, and God bless them for it, that monarchy, traditional values and authentic Christianity are the only things that can “unite the right”. Unfortunately, and this is where we need to do better, I could not agree. Yes, me, the “Mad Monarchist” could not agree that this was a truthful statement. Why? Because the fact is, we are not united even among ourselves and I certainly know as I get the angry messages almost on a daily basis. For some, usually the Catholics, it is a sectarian issue as only Catholic monarchies will do. Even there, many problems arise over what the definition of “Catholic” is these days. The ones who tell you it is perfectly simple are also the ones who usually say Pope Francis is of course not Catholic at all. See the problem? Monarchists do not agree on the map, they do not agree what people deserve to have their own countries and for many of those who do, they cannot agree on who should be the monarch of those countries. The best example of this is the royalists of the various branches of the House of Bourbon. In France, Spain, Parma and the Two-Sicilies, in every case there is division over who should be the monarch now or who should be the monarch if there was to be one.

This is a source of tremendous frustration for me and if you want to know more about a particular example, illustrating what this leads to, I refer you back to my past article, ‘France: Republican By Default’. Monarchists probably get tired of my scolding but it is something that must be learned because the republicans have certainly learned it and used it to their advantage. President Adolphe Thiers referred to the republic as the form of government that “divides us least”, which was sadly true and should make every monarchist deeply ashamed. There were also more mocking comments comparing the Count of Chambord to George Washington as the “Founding Father” of the Third French Republic. Likewise, republicanism in Spain first reared its ugly head due to the inability of Spanish monarchists to unite behind one monarch. After fierce fights between the rival branches of the Bourbon dynasty, it was decided to start over from blank paper and bring in a monarch of the House of Savoy. Yet, the old divisions refused to be reconciled, ending in King Amadeus abdicating in disgust and going back to Italy at which time the First Spanish Republic came into being. Once again, two Bourbon rivals refusing to reconcile on who should take the throne ended up with there being no throne at all.

I could go even farther and say that many monarchists have become so entrenched in their partisan divisions that, were it up to them, the western world would be engulfed in near total anarchy since no agreement, no treaty, no decision by governments or crowned heads could ever have validity. This comes into play, for example, concerning those countries which, in my experience, many monarchists outside of those countries think should not exist at all. The Kingdom of Belgium, for example, should not exist according to many monarchists. Never mind that the crowned heads of Europe all agreed that it should, that doesn’t matter to them. The Kingdom of Italy, likewise, should not exist according to many (non-Italian) Catholic monarchists, never mind that it was finally endorsed by the Pope with the Lateran Treaty by which the Holy See recognized it and in return the Kingdom of Italy was made an officially Catholic monarchy. No, for many, the Lateran Treaty is worthless paper and even the disgraceful depths the Italian Republic has sunk to is not enough to make these people think maybe the Savoy monarchy wasn’t so bad after all and just maybe Pope Pius XI and Pope Pius XII knew what they were doing.

If you cannot agree on who is a monarch, who should be a monarch or which peoples are even deserving of a country, I find it hard to believe there could ever be any appreciable unity on actual matters of policy. Concerning the United States, I am not even sure what is being proposed. Again, I have seen plenty of diversity of opinion among monarchists as to whether the United States of America should even exist. For the record, though I would have opposed independence in 1776, I regard the United States as being valid ever since His Britannic Majesty King George III saw fit to recognize the independence of the 13 former colonies. I don’t have to be best pleased about it, but it happened and I accept such agreements as binding. American monarchists do not agree on the status of the country itself, is there agreement among American monarchists on any significant policy? The protesters of “Unite the Right” probably do not agree on all that much among themselves but they do agree that the majority White/European population of the United States is being displaced and they all oppose this. Could monarchists in this country agree or disagree with that position with any appreciable amount of consensus? Unfortunately, I tend to doubt it.

Mark Steyn (a Canadian United Empire Loyalist) once said something to the effect of, mainstream society will be debating trans-gender bathrooms when the mullahs nuke us. If monarchists do not shape up, we will be arguing over whether the Duke of Bavaria should be the King of England, whether the Duke of Calabria or the Duke of Castro should be King of the Two Sicilies whenever Italians stop wanting their own country, whether a Habsburg or a Hohenzollern should be German Emperor whenever Germans finally stop wanting to be a republic or whether the man in white in the Vatican is really the Pope or not when the last descendants of western civilization are killed off. By and large, proper western civilization has already collapsed, what remains to be seen is whether the people whose inheritance it is will have a future or not. I don’t want monarchists left out of that struggle but, as I said to all those who criticized the (very easily criticized) “Unite the Right” crowd; where were you? Where was your demonstration?

Believe it or not, there have been some, or at least something of the sort but, again, because we are so divided, they attract a mere handful and thus no one pays attention to them. Recently, I commented that the problem with many royalists is that they don’t want to join the fight unless they know and approve of what the result is going to be, which is rather like refusing to play a game unless you already know you’re going to win. I was told that the “traditionalists” (for lack of a better term, I know it’s tossed around a lot) simply don’t want to commit suicide in a hopeless fight. That may be true and it may be that I have too pessimistic of an outlook. I have heard that the younger generations are more traditional than the more current ones but, to me, that hardly seems a difficult record to achieve and the swiftness from which we have moved from class equality to racial equality to gender equality to ‘people are born gay’ and now ‘people are not born male or female’ must have blinded me to the underground surge of traditionalist values that are about to burst forth in the coming years. In any event, as I’ve said before, being a Texan, I favor fighting every battle like it’s the Alamo. Which is to say, fight every fight as if it is your last, never mind about whether you can win or not. Personally, the utter and absolute hatred I have of the enemy, makes any fight worth it no matter what the odds are.

The bottom line is, we need to shape up, we need to improve and we need to stop fighting among ourselves and start fighting the enemies of all we hold dear. Those enemies still want to see “the last king strangled with the entrails of the last priest” and they don’t care who that king or priest are or what their opinions or dynastic branch is. We really need to put our divisions aside, draw a line in the sand and say the enemy will go no farther. From there, we push on but, as I know I’ve said before (sorry for being repetitive), right now we should at least be able to agree on the need to stop the bleeding before the patient dies.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Annexation of Hawaii

It was on this day in 1898 that the Hawaiian flag was lowered from Iolani Palace and replaced by the flag of the United States of America, signifying the transfer of sovereignty to the American government from the short-lived formality that was the Hawaiian Republic, a legal fiction which had served as a stepping stone from the former Kingdom of Hawaii to the island chain becoming a U.S. Territory. How had it all happened? It was certainly not like other examples of colonial expansion but for all of that it does serve as a more easily understood lesson to what many modern monarchies (and republics) are in danger of succumbing to. The Kingdom of Hawaii was not actually conquered by the United States, rather, it was lost due to a slow process of demographic decline, an increasingly different population not loyal to the Hawaiian Crown and finally by this new population using their power to take control of the country and make it a part of the country they had come from.

Unlike some other parts of the world, western (in this case American) forces did not come to topple a primitive and barbaric heathen people to save them from darkness and suffering. Hawaii had its own savage history to be sure, but all of that was a distant memory long before 1898. King Kamehameha the Great subdued the other chiefs of the islands, uniting them under his rule and ending the many years of sporadic warfare between the Hawaiian people. This was the start of the establishment of the Kingdom of Hawaii. In 1819 he was succeeded by his son King Kamehameha II and it was during his reign that Protestant Christian missionaries came to Hawaii from the United States. They converted the Royal Family to Christianity and this, in turn, brought an end to certain native customs and taboos which were barbaric. With the 1840 Constitution of King Kamehameha III, the Kingdom of Hawaii officially became a Protestant Christian monarchy. Catholic and even Mormon missionaries arrived later but never attracted many converts. The Kingdom of Hawaii was not a country of ignorant primitives when Americans started to arrive on its shores in growing numbers, rather it was a civilized, though simple, Christian monarchy with all of the trappings of any other well established sovereign kingdom.

Then, more and more Americans started coming to Hawaii but the native population, previously reduced by wars and diseases brought by the first European visitors to the islands, was assured that this was a good thing. The Americans bought land from the natives, employed them and caused the economy to prosper. Members of the Royal Family married Americans and any concern that the Hawaiians were being displaced in their own country were hushed up by those who stood to benefit. To be welcoming was the order of the day and to think about the economic prosperity all of these newcomers brought with them. King Kalakaua, a jovial man, embraced this attitude and encouraged more foreign workers to come to Hawaii during his reign, which started in 1874. He signed an agreement with the United States that proved very beneficial and granted the U.S. Navy the use of Pearl Harbor for the establishment of a base and port facilities. He had big plans, encouraged his people to be educated abroad and when Britain and Germany started expanding in the Pacific, envisioned the Kingdom of Hawaii forming a Polynesian Confederation to block them. However, King Kalakaua found out that the many foreigners he had appointed to high office were more loyal to their own people than they were to him.

In 1887, fearing the King was about to take more direct control of matters, the Americans in Hawaii staged a sort of armed uprising and forced King Kalakaua to sign a new constitution, thereafter known as the "Bayonet Constitution" which stripped the monarch of almost all of his powers. The Kingdom of Hawaii was still to be democratic of course but the franchise was restricted to those who owned land and, by this time, most of the land was owned by Americans. Furthermore, in the interest of goodwill and compassion of course, Americans were allowed to retain the U.S. citizenship while still being nominal subjects of the King of Hawaii. In many ways, the fate of the Hawaiian kingdom was sealed then and there and King Kalakaua died a bewildered man, bitter at his betrayal by the foreigners he had believed were his friends, who had always assured him that their presence and growing influence in the kingdom was for the best and would benefit everyone in the end. It was, of course, not true. They were Americans and not Hawaiians, their first loyalty was to the United States and not the King of Hawaii, their kinship was with those like themselves and not those native to the islands.

Even today there is a degree of mystery that hangs around how all of this was accomplished. Why had the King only encouraged more foreigners to come to Hawaii when clearly his own people were being displaced in their own country and the American influence grew ever stronger. One shady individual many have questioned was one Elias Rosenberg, who appeared one day and was quickly appointed King Kalakaua's chief adviser and who disappeared only three weeks before the "Bayonet Constitution" was forced on the kingdom. In any event, the King died in 1891, leaving the throne to his sister Queen Liliuokalani. Her reign was not to be a long one. Immediately, she began working on replacing the "Bayonet Constitution" with a new government framework which would restore some of the powers of the monarchy as well as broadening the franchise among the native Hawaiian population. Unfortunately, there were already too many Americans and they had too much power for this attempt to turn back the clock to succeed. The foreign population reacted swiftly and launched a republican coup in 1893 to prevent the Queen from changing the constitution. Sailors and Marines from a nearby U.S. warship intervened to prevent any disorder, naturally siding with their own countrymen. Queen Liliuokalani was deposed and a republic was declared which immediately sought annexation to the United States of America.

In 1895 the Hawaiians attempted a counter-revolution to overthrow the republic and put the Queen back on the throne. Needless to say, this was again too little, too late as the American presence had long become far too large and too powerful to dislodge. The uprising was crushed at its outset and Queen Liliuokalani was arrested and put in prison. However, by the following year, the republic pardoned the Queen and released her, being in full control they had nothing to fear from her being at liberty. The native Hawaiian population had, by then, become too greatly displaced to ever pose a threat to the new American regime. A year later, in 1897, the President of the United States signed the treaty of annexation (thus making Hawaii only the second U.S. state, after Texas, to join the Union by treaty) with the official ceremony being held the following year on August 12. Queen Liliuokalani spent the rest of her life in legal battles with the U.S. government, trying to obtain compensation for her loss, mostly to no avail. She was finally granted a pension of $1,250 a month in 1911 but by that time she did not have long to collect as she died in 1917.

The Hawaiian Royal Family is still around today, the current leader of the family being a former member of the state legislature for the Republican Party, his election being rather unusual for what is possibly the most solidly Democrat Party state in the country. In the 1990's the U.S. government, in the person of President Bill Clinton, did officially apologize for the American takeover of the Kingdom of Hawaii but, of course, that accomplishes nothing and it never means much when someone apologizes for something he or she did not do to people who were themselves not the actual victims. Nothing changed. After many years as a U.S. territory, Hawaii became the 50th state of the Union in 1959. Bad laws can be repealed, mistaken policies can be corrected but demographic changes can never be undone and Hawaii is a perfect example of this hard fact. As of 2010 only 10% of the population has any native Hawaiian or even any Polynesian ancestry at all whereas the majority is of foreign descent, primarily the 39% Asian and 25% European/American with the rest being of mixed ancestry or smaller groups. Many are content with this situation, but many are not, however, they are far too few to have much of an impact on the democratic process. The natives of the Kingdom of Hawaii have proven the truth that, "demography is destiny".

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Why North Korea is NOT a Monarchy

North Korea has been in the news a great deal recently and though I have addressed this before (five years ago), it is something that comes up again and again: is North Korea a monarchy? Obviously, people ask this question because the dictator of North Korea is the son of the previous dictator who was the son of the founding dictator of North Korea. Leadership in the country is hereditary and this is associated with monarchy so people tend to make the leap that the “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” is therefore an absolute monarchy rather than the communist dictatorship it is alleged to be. The simple answer to this question is, “no”. Just because the leadership of the country is hereditary no more makes North Korea a monarchy than the fact that the Holy Roman Emperors of the German Nation were elected makes the First Reich a republic. Korea, like most countries, has its own monarchical tradition, its own style of kingship and system of traditional authority which existed prior to its annexation by the Empire of Japan. What exists in North Korea is very clearly not that and nothing at all even like it.

To understand why North Korea is the way it is, it is necessary to go back to the founding dictator of North Korea; Kim Il Sung. Sung was a communist partisan leader in the employ of the Soviet Union, fighting the Japanese at the end of World War II. When the Soviets occupied the northern half of the Korean peninsula, Sung became the communist dictator of North Korea as the protégé of the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. He also had ties with the Chinese Communist Party but, in those days, the Chinese communists were themselves heavily dependent on the Soviet Union and so while it was the Chinese who intervened in the Korean War against the UN and South Korean forces, the DPRK was always a Soviet satellite and received a steady flow of foreign aid from the Soviets for about as long as that regime existed, after which Communist China became the primary patrons of North Korea. Kim Il Sung, in many ways, took Stalin as his example but it is important to note that Sung outlived almost all of the other post-war communist dictators. He died in 1994 and so he had seen Stalin, Mao Zedong, Ho Chi Minh, and others go to their deaths and had witnessed the aftermath.

Kim Il Sung was not best pleased by what he witnessed in the Soviet Union following the death of Stalin. He saw Nikita Khrushchev try to put a kinder face on Soviet Communism with his admission of past mistakes and campaign of de-Stalinization. Kim Il Sung thought this was horrible and he never got along terribly well with Khrushchev because of that. It also made him determined that his work would not be undone by his successor the way Stalin’s had been. In 1980 he publicly declared that his successor would be his son Kim Jong Il. It would later be firmly established in law that the leader of the country must be a descendant of Kim Il Sung, though not strictly hereditary as the leader can choose which of his children are to succeed him. Each has taken care to choose the heir most like themselves and the least likely to change anything. All of this, of course, was seen as quite outrageous in the rest of the communist world and for the very same reason it is being discussed here; a son succeeding his father as leader seemed much too monarchical for any sort of communist regime to consider.

Nonetheless, Kim Il Sung was adamant and could easily point to the changes in other communist countries to justify his actions. How else could he be sure that another successor would not do to his image what Khrushchev had done to that of Stalin? No, far better to restrict the possible candidates to his own offspring who would be most like himself, both genetically and by upbringing. He also began to cultivate a cult of personality more grandiose than was seen in any other communist dictatorship and that too would play a part, making him, his wife and son a sort of unholy trinity for the officially atheist country. By doing this, Sung also ensured that his successors would not stray from the path he had forged for if they did, it would discredit their father and thus discredit themselves in the process. The entire concept was based on political calculations and not respect for tradition. Sung’s own wife, for example, always referred to Sung as “General” rather than “husband” because, as with any Marxist state, your individual identity is only worthy in its relation to the state, not to other people. Terms such as ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ or ‘mother’ and ‘father’ were also, particularly in Confucian societies, inherently hierarchical and thus out of step with the egalitarian ideals of communism. Pol Pot would have people killed for using such terms in his communist state in Cambodia which is why everyone referred to each other as ‘brother’ and ‘sister’ with Pol Pot famously known only as “Brother Number One”.

By the time Kim Jong Il succeeded to the dictatorship of North Korea upon the death of his father in 1994, this whole system and the mythology built up around Kim Il Sung was more firmly cemented in place than ever before. They were determined that nothing should change. They had seen the Soviet Union try to reform and collapse in on itself in the process. They had seen the dictator of Romania executed on camera and they had seen China abandon its Maoist roots under Deng Xiaoping. Nothing of the sort would happen in North Korea where the promise of Kim Jong Il was that absolutely nothing would change under his rule. He did not, however, become the President of North Korea which is another way in which North Korea does not follow any sort of monarchical pattern. He inherited leadership from his father but not the political office of his father. Kim Jong Il was never the President of North Korea because his father Kim Il Sung was the President and would always be the President (and so he still is, despite being long dead). Rather, Kim Jong Il ruled North Korea as General Secretary of the Worker’s Party of Korea (which is to say the communist party though even North Korea no longer even pretends to be communist but claim to operate on a purely unique system of their own design).

Usually, the people in North Korea simply refer to their dictators by their honorific titles. Kim Il Sung was “the Great Leader” and Kim Jong Il was “the Dear Leader”. Likewise, just as Kim Il Sung was declared “Eternal President”, allowing for none to come after him, following the death of Kim Jong Il in 2011, he was declared, “Eternal General Secretary” and his son and successor, the current dictator Kim Jong Un, was made “First Secretary”. Despite all of the “Dear Leader” nonsense, there is evidence that Kim Jong Il was never very popular in North Korea and that he himself knew that the outpourings of affectionate devotion from his people was coerced and not genuine. This seems likely given that he came to power just after the fall of the Soviet Union when the generous financial support Moscow had always provided to its client in Pyongyang suddenly stopped coming and the North Koreans were finally forced to confront the effects of their economic policies which were the height of financial stupidity.

There were also rumors (and that is often all one has to go on concerning the DPRK) that the rule of Kim Jong Il had been bad enough that, before it was over, some wanted to be rid of the “Kim Dynasty”. However, not only would the members of the family be expected to oppose this, it would also go against the wishes of their founder Kim Il Sung who had ordered that the leadership remain with his family until the revolution was “completed”, whatever that means. Kim Jong Il certainly intended things to carry on as they had done but he was presented with a problem in finding a suitable successor. His oldest son, Kim Jong Nam, was suspected of wanting to change things, to perhaps make North Korea a communist dictatorship more like the Chinese model. This was not acceptable. The second son, Kim Jong Chul, was also considered unworthy though we know very little about him other than he’s a fan of Eric Clapton and was described by the dictator’s former Japanese cook as acting “like a little girl”. So, in the end, it was the younger son, Kim Jong Un, who was deemed the most reliable and least likely to change anything. He even adopted a hair style similar to that of his grandfather, Kim Il Sung, to associate himself with North Korea’s founder and most popular dictator.

In 2011 Kim Jong Il died and power passed to his son Kim Jong Un, continuing the dynasty in this nightmarish regime which describes itself as a “thriving socialist society”. Kim Jong Un was originally described as a puppet of the military or older relatives but lately all such talk has mostly vanished, particularly after having an uncle and his own older brother killed. Whether the Kim family will carry on remains to be seen but for our purposes here, it is sufficient to understand that the hereditary nature of this regime is based entirely on pragmatic politics and nothing else. Monarchy is officially classified as a form, indeed the most common form, of “traditional authority” and there is nothing “traditional” about the rule of the Kim family, by Korean or any other standards. The succession is not strictly hereditary but rather restricted to the descendants of Kim Il Sung nor is the highest office hereditary as each dictator has assumed power with the title of a different office than the one before. It is simply a mechanism for maintaining a regime in precisely the manner envisioned by its creator, as a way to ensure that there will be no innovation, no changes and no loss of power for the leadership. In that regard, and perhaps none other, one must admit the Kim family has been successful. They have outlasted the Soviets, the Warsaw Pact countries and have remained on their own path unlike other Asian communist states like China or Vietnam. Despite what many have said about the leaders of this regime, portraying them as silly and laughable, they are not funny, they are not stupid and they know what they are doing. Were it otherwise, they would not still be here, still bedeviling countries far more powerful than their own.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Odd World of Royalist Conspiracy Theories

There is a man, probably unknown to most younger Americans today, named Lyndon LaRouche who was once fairly well known as someone who was constantly running for president without ever winning. He ran on his own at least once as I recall but usually as a Democrat though he never made any headway, never won a primary and thus was never actually nominated. An ardent socialist from a French-Canadian family, he was known for his many and diverse conspiracy theories and his, perhaps, most overriding conspiracy theory involved monarchism and, in particular, the most prominent monarchy in the world, namely the British monarchy. There have, of course, been numerous individuals throughout American history, and doubtless in other countries, who have portrayed the British as the villains of the world but I do not know of any who took it to such an extreme as Lyndon LaRouche or of any other who so particularly singled out the British Royal Family as the authors of this villainy.

To summarize the views of LaRouche and his movement, this man believed that the British Empire was and still is alive and well, despite all evidence to the contrary. He maintains that the supposed global super-power, the United States of America, is, in fact, not even an independent country but is, rather, simply one of the pawns of the British Empire which still dominates the world and that HM Queen Elizabeth II is the unquestioned and absolute ruler of this British Empire which secretly dominates the world. He has claimed that the Queen maintains her position by being at the top of a vast, global, drug cartel network and has never missed on opportunity to accuse the British Royal Family of being responsible for every tragedy and atrocity that has ever come about. Some of these have gained more traction than others, such as his assertion that Diana, Princess of Wales, did not die as a result of a drunk driving accident but was assassinated by British secret agents on orders from the Duke of Edinburgh.

However, while LaRouche insists that the British monarch is the mastermind of this sinister conspiracy, he by no means limits it to the British royals alone. He has often referred to an Anglo-Dutch empire of drug traffickers and, in fact, concludes that since 1688 the Dutch took over the British Empire and set all of this up, so while the House of Windsor is on top today, it is only thanks to their Dutch co-conspirators of days gone by. He, of course, has also played up the German ties of the British Royal Family, past and present, such as by portraying Prince Philip and the late consort of the Dutch monarch, Prince Bernhard, of being Nazis and that the Anglo-Dutch royals are still carrying on the Nazi campaign of genocide on a global scale. He also once made a point to write that Prince Philip was Danish as if this was equivalent to being a Nazi German so, presumably, the Danish Royal Family is implicated as well as the British, Dutch and German royal houses. So, the British Empire rules the world through drug trafficking, except it is actually the Dutch empire under another name and is run by German royals who are all Nazis. Are we clear now?

LaRouche was a very big fan of Franklin D. Roosevelt, but certainly all recent American presidents have simply been the puppets of this Anglo-Dutch British Empire in his view. All of this may seem quite entertaining for southern Europeans but, rest assured, LaRouche does not let you off the hook either. After all, he also asserts that the Anglo-Dutch empire, run by Germans, was established in order to supplant the Venetian empire which dominated European affairs and held all of Europe in its grip previously. So, in the annals of the secret history of the world according to Lyndon LaRouche, before the British Empire dominated the world through banks and drug cartels, it was the Venetian republic which did so, all of the supposedly powerful kings of Spain and France, the German and Italian princes simply being the powerless puppets of the villainous and all-powerful Doge of Venice!

Does this sort of thing happen in other parts of the world? Not to any great extent from what I can tell. I have never heard of any equivalent in Africa or the Islamic countries. In Japan the native monarchy is certainly not talked about in such a way though I have seen a few examples in Japanese entertainment of portrayals of the (again) British monarch being the one who secretly calls the shots, that the British royals and hereditary aristocracy are still the ones really in control of the country, they just do everything behind the scenes so as not to attract notice. That being said, I have to believe this is simply a tool of imaginative fiction and I doubt very seriously anyone in Japan actually believes that. The only non-western equivalent I have ever heard of is the conspiracy regarding the late Qing Dynasty which is prevalent among the more bizarre elements of the Han Chinese nationalists though, obviously, in a country like Communist China, it is hard to know how much of this to take seriously since it is all necessarily based on rumors and such. As conspiracy theories go, it is a fantastic one.

According to these Han-supremacists, depending on which version of the conspiracy you choose to believe, the Great Qing Empire is, like the British Empire, still alive and well and still ruling China secretly, behind the scenes. Some versions of the story say that the Manchu princes themselves are running the show, others that it is simply a conspiracy of Manchurians in general who maintain Manchu supremacy over the Han Chinese. This is quite an accomplishment considering that the Han account for about 92% of the population of China while the Manchurians are practically nonexistent. Even simply counting those with some Manchu ancestry would still be a statistically irrelevant number. Nonetheless, the Han-supremacists who push this conspiracy, carrying on the anti-Manchu sentiment of the late Qing period, believe that the Chinese government and military are riddled with Manchurians who manipulate policy, kill off Han Chinese rivals and guide national affairs. Probably their most well known accusation is that the former “one child policy” was actually a secret program of genocide by the Manchurians to wipe out the Han population.

The idea that there are anti-Han Manchurians in control of China at a time when non-Han minorities have been reduced to a miniscule fraction of the Chinese population is clearly absurd but hardly more absurd than LaRouche arguing that U.S. President Obama, the son of a man imprisoned by the British colonial authorities in Kenya, would be the pliant stooge of the British monarch. It is no less absurd than the conspiracy put forward by the recently deceased Jack Chick that the Islamic religion was created by the Pope as an instrument of the Catholic Church, that the Catholics, Muslims, Jews, pagans and Freemasons were all playing for the same team against his version of “true” Christianity. How can anyone possibly believe any of this?

A simple explanation is that they take certain actual facts and then build absurdities on top of them. The “one child policy” was real, after all. The British Empire did fight the Opium Wars with China and the Catholic Church did absorb many pre-Christian customs of pagan Europe. The Italian city-states and the Dutch republic were major banking centers and London today is one of the financial centers of the world. The conspiracy theories mentioned above take these facts, expand on them and the next thing you know, the Queen is running a drug cartel, Qing princes are ruling Communist China and the Jesuits are the papal assassination squad. As it stands, very few people believe these stories and those who do find them attractive, I think, because they allow people to believe themselves powerless and thus not responsible for the sad state of affairs in which they find themselves. It may reduce people to being powerless dupes but at least it means someone else is to blame, it is not your fault and all you have to do is believe it and support those who told you the “truth”. You do not have to actually take any action as these all-powerful forces would easily thwart you after all, so it is also extremely convenient and requires very little effort on your part, which is how most like it.

There a myriad of these types of conspiracies, aimed against various groups, large and small alike and they can be quite irritating. I find them irritating because, for one thing, secrets are hard to keep and most people with a sinister agenda are quite open about what they are doing because they do not think it is sinister. Focus on winning the game, not dissecting the motives of the other player. I also find it irritating because it gives permission for people to stop taking responsibility for their own actions or, more usually, their inaction. It encourages people to see themselves as victims and there are few things more destructive in the modern world than the victim mentality. It also leads to the same sort of thing that the tens of thousands of Christian denominations led to in western religion which was an ever increasing amount of skepticism. When people do not know what to believe, when there are so many different narratives that are being pushed, people simply give up, stop believing anything they hear and, again, become inactive.

Most intelligent people, I would think, can easily see that conspiracies such as the unseen, all-powerful British Empire or the secret society of Manchurian loyalists are complete and utter nonsense. However, conspiracies do exist. Many people, in America for example, said that all talk of the “Deep State” was a silly conspiracy theory but we now know it to be completely true. Conspiracies exist but they are rarely, if ever, secret or, at the very least, do not stay secret for long. It is also true that not everything that looks like a conspiracy actually is, often it is simply a group of like minded people, working toward the same goal who thus inadvertently assist each other and this can be easily portrayed as a conspiracy even when nothing of the sort was going on. Again, what matters is what they are doing, not who is doing it or how much they coordinate with each other. So, for a monarchist perspective, I would say it does not matter to me so much whether the French Revolution was a Masonic conspiracy, it only matters to me that I think the Revolution was horrible and should have been prevented or stopped. I would oppose anyone favoring the French Revolution whether they were a Freemason or not.

I would also add, frivolously, that these types of conspiracies do make me laugh in as much as the enemies of monarchy tend to have a loftier view of existing monarchs than many monarchists do. While monarchists lament the powerless state of western monarchs, the enemies of monarchy like LaRouche followers still think they are the most powerful people in the world, secretly dominating world affairs behind the scenes. Sometimes, one must simply appreciate the irony of the situation.
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