Thursday, May 23, 2013
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
The consequences were more far reaching than most people realize. The Gaspee Affair (as it tends to be called) prompted the formation of the Committees of Correspondence which led to greater unity throughout the American colonies in fomenting revolution. The greater level of organization as well as the impression that British laws could not only be ignored but that a British warship could be attacked and still have a sizeable portion of the public sympathize with the attackers who went unpunished led ultimately to the events of the Boston Tea Party. With that bit of vandalism, undoubtedly to the surprise of many who remembered the Gaspee Affair, Britain finally decided that enough was enough and took repressive measures. They learned, perhaps a little too late, that when the public embraces criminal behavior and when elected civil officials start to pick and choose which laws they will uphold and which they will not (sound familiar) the country is on a fast track to disaster.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Monday, May 20, 2013
King Edward VII: It seems incredible that a woman of such incredible moral fortitude as Queen Victoria could have an eldest son like Edward VII and it can only call to mind the vast difference between the third and fourth Georges. However, the first British monarch of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, while no paradigm of virtue, was certainly of better quality than George IV. He, at least, waited for the throne with better grace and dignity and he waited quite a long while. Still, while he was undoubtedly a bit of a rascal in his private life, he at least was a much more likeable fellow and proved himself a seasoned and capable monarch. Fashionable, jovial and a man who enjoyed good living, he personified a Britain that was ’large and in-charge’. My opinion of him is somewhat prejudiced by his peacemaking with republican France, to the detriment of Austria-Hungary and Germany. His rather warmer attitude toward Imperial Russia, on the other hand, was certainly a welcome change in my view from the hostility of his mother, if not very whole-hearted. His modernization of the army and navy was also a major positive, the move toward curtailing the power of the House of Lords was certainly not. He avoided war with France over colonial rivalries but set the stage for World War I. Given how that turned out, a little colonial conflict might have been preferable. Still, a steady and sober monarch, far removed from his reputation as heir apparent.
King George V: When I think of George V the image that comes to mind is of a hard working, stable, reliable, methodical monarch. He lacked the style and personality of his father but was a more meticulous monarch and a more upstanding man, even a bit on the authoritarian side. Those looking for a romantic figure would be disappointed but George V was a good, steady monarch for those interested in substance rather than style. He was perhaps more closely familiar with the far flung dominions of his empire than any British monarch before him and things would have gone better had his advice been heeded more often, particularly in the wake of the Easter Uprising in Ireland. World War I was a disaster, though he was not to blame for it and was a commendable wartime monarch. In the aftermath he seemed to have every radical, revolutionary movement plaguing him and that is nothing to be taken lightly. He was a good man and a good monarch but, understanding the unrest he faced in his own country, I will still always have some bitterness in regard to George V for his failure to rush to the aid of his cousin the Tsar and his family.
King Edward VIII: When Edward VIII came to the throne, albeit briefly, it must have seemed to some that history was repeating itself. Again a stern, upright and moral father had produced a rather libertine son and heir. I cannot have a very high opinion of Edward VIII (later Duke of Windsor) who led quite an immoral life in his youth and who put his own desires before his duty to the empire and the royal house he belonged to. Still, I certainly do not hate the man as many seem to. He had no use for the League of Nations, which I would agree with and he was opposed to war which, while considered outrageous today, might have saved the British Empire. I don’t think he would have been a terrible king but his beloved was never going to be queen and I doubt he would have settled for anything less. His abdication was a dereliction of duty, no question, but if that was his nature, surely it was best that he abdicate rather than inflict an unwilling monarch on his country and dominions. I have also never understood those who hold anger against the man, totally despise him and yet still condemn him for abdicating. Makes no sense to me.
King George VI: Back on the right track, with George VI Britain again had an ideal constitutional monarch. I have often said that when I picture “a king” in my mind, it is George VI that I usually see. He was a man of great dignity, high moral standards, a devoted family man and he was disciplined, dutiful and dedicated. His calm and majestic presence was just what Britain needed in World War II and, though he is often left out of the historical narrative, he was a very “hands-on” wartime monarch. More than enduring the blitz alongside his people, he kept up with the war economy, visited the front and was involved in all the major planning sessions for strategy. Even the American supreme Allied commander, General Eisenhower, had nothing but respect and the highest praise for King George VI. He also had the good sense (and persistence) to marry a fine Scottish lady who proved to be a tremendous asset for the Royal Family and the country. His reign is bitter-sweet though as he did see Britain through her “darkest hour” but was also the last King-Emperor and presided over the beginning of the disintegration of the British Empire, mostly due to the government poverty caused by the war.
Queen Elizabeth II: One of the greatest but simplest things one can say about HM the Queen is that she is and has always been worthy of her father. It must be said that her reign has covered the most drastic decline in British power and influence in centuries but none of that can be attributed to her. She follows the advice of her ministers without fail and has been a model constitutional monarch. Warm, friendly, even humorous but at the same time dignified and majestic, no matter what has gone on around her, the Queen has always conveyed continuity, stability and integrity. Few other monarchs have been faced with such rapid and drastic changes as Elizabeth II and she has shown both strength and an ability to adapt in navigating through such waters. Even on the rare occasion when she became rather unpopular, the public eventually realized she had been right all along and that they had behaved rather childishly. The Queen has been an anchor in the storm and has, seemingly effortlessly, upheld the monarchy as a popular institution by her spotless moral values and her matchless ability to never make a mistake. It has been said quite often by now that the Queen has “never put a foot wrong”. That is quite a remarkable thing to say when you think about it -and the most remarkable thing is that it is completely true.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Elsewhere on the continent, a 44-year old man from Zwolle was arrested by Dutch police two days before the recent inauguration of King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands (it was recently announced) for making threats against the House of Orange. The threats were made via text message which prompted one recipient to alert the authorities. The man was released on Monday to await trial at his home. In neighboring Belgium TRH the Duke and Duchess of Brabant paid tribute to International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne this week before visiting the Olympic Museum which is currently being housed on a boat on Lake Geneva while its building is renovated. And, down in Luxembourg Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stephanie visited the historic town of Vianden, talking with the locals and soaking up some of the early history of the Grand Ducal Family’s ancestors. And, further south, more dead royals have returned to return to Serbia. This time it was Prince Andrej, third son of King Alexander I whose remains were taken from Illinois in the United States and arrived on Wednesday at the Royal Chapel in Dedinje. For the British and Commonwealth Royal Family most of the news this week was taken up with the minute details of Prince Harry’s recent visit to the United States. In other news this week, the Prince of Wales and HM the Queen attended the service for the Order of Merit at St James’s Palace. The Order of Merit is about the only royal honor which remains exclusively in the gift of the Queen rather than the government. And, in southern Europe, the King of Spain has had to give up his yacht (I’m rather surprised it has lasted this long) and gossipmongers have started to say nasty things about the Princess of Monaco -file that under “news” that is nothing new.
In the lands of Eternal Asia, in a colorful ceremony (sadly only symbolic these days held for the sake of tradition alone) the 9-year-old prince of Jaipur HH Rajkumar Lakshya Raj Singh was formally anointed as the Maharaja of Sirmaur, a former princely state of India in southern Himachal Pradesh. The ceremony was held at Nahan Palace on Wednesday, giving locals a chance to glimpse some of the old royal splendor of imperial India. Representatives of other princely states were on hand as were a few politicians and some Bollywood celebrities for the occasion. And there has been some very big monarchy-related news out of China recently, though, as usual, it is “too little, too late” to be very helpful. A former government official and historian, Jia Yinghua, has discovered records in the secret archives of the Chinese authorities at Zhongnanhai which explain why the imperial system came to such a sudden and unceremonious halt with the abdication of the last Emperor, acted for by the Empress Dowager Longyu. It seems she was not exactly acting freely but was offered 20,000 taels of silver (1,700 lb) and threatened with beheading by General Yuan Shikai. His efforts to threaten or bribe court officials was apparently extensive, including the Empress Dowager’s closest eunuch Xiao Dezheng and Prince Yikuang who accumulated 2 million dollars in silver in his Hong Kong bank account, mostly from efforts to buy his support for Yuan Shikai taking power and ending the rule of the Qing Dynasty. Evidence also suggests that he convinced friends in the Russian embassy to write threatening letters to the Empress Dowager warning her that the European powers were about to bring down the dynasty anyway. The entire affair was utterly disgraceful. It has also always been perfectly obvious that the agreement signed by the Qing court with the republican leaders for the abdication was never honored by the republican side and should, therefore, be considered invalid.
Friday, May 17, 2013
Thursday, May 16, 2013
It is perfectly understandable that many on the right in America would, in the absence of any concrete evidence, believe that the President had something to do with this. Many of these same sort of conservative groups have, in the past, been lumped together with violent radicals and terrorists by the Obama administration. It is perfectly clear he doesn’t like these people and the feeling is mutual. I make it a rule to have nothing to do with organizations or political parties but even on my own, I have no doubt that, were I known to him, the American president would have as low an opinion of me as I do of him. It doesn’t bother me, but it does strike me as rather disconcerting for those “conservative” republicans with fairly mainstream views who would fall into the same camp. More than those people though, I wonder what, if at all, the people in the monarchies of the world think about this state of affairs. Do they realize what this means? And do the republicans on those monarchies arguing against a hereditary head of state realize what it is they are arguing for?
But even if we are to take President Obama at his word, that he knew absolutely nothing about the Benghazi talking points tampering, the IRS targeting his political enemies (how convenient) and the Justice Department spying on the Associated Press it certainly doesn’t speak well for the accountability of the U.S. government. After all, the advocates of a republic always tout accountability as one of their greatest arguments, yet, here we have an elected president who claims to know next to nothing about all of these major events going on in his own administration. Furthermore, even in this American republic which has a better record than most, is full of departments and agencies like the IRS which have extensive, sweeping powers, which can put you in jail, seize your property and totally ruin your life and they are all being run by people no one ever voted for, who cannot be voted out of office and who often keep their jobs regardless of who the occupant of the White House is. It seems to me that anyone living in a monarchy need only to look at the United States right now and thank God for their reigning sovereign.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Eventually, however, the Muslim forces were able to come together and drive out the Christian presence from the Holy Land, conquering (or re-conquering) Jerusalem in 1187. The Knights Hospitaller relocated their main base to the County of Tripoli until the last Christian foothold in the Holy Land, Acre, was captured by the Muslims in 1291. It was at that point that the Knights Hospitaller withdrew to the island of Rhodes, after a brief stay on the Kingdom of Cyprus where they found the political atmosphere not to their liking. So, at that point, many began to refer to the order as the Knights of St John of Jerusalem of Rhodes. This took time though as Rhodes was then held by the Byzantine Empire (sometime ally and sometime enemy of the Latin Crusaders) and it took more than two years to conquer Rhodes and the surrounding islands which the Knights then held for some time thereafter. Once secure in their new base, the Knights won more battles and earned greater fame. They also got a considerable boost with the unfortunate dissolution of the Knights Templar, many of whom chose to continue their vocation by joining the Knights of St John.
In 1522 Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent sent an invasion force of 400 ships and more than 100,000 troops to conquer Rhodes which was defended by a scant 7,000 knights and their auxiliaries. Obviously, the odds were hopeless for the knights, but they fought with immense tenacity and held out for some six months before finally accepting the Turkish terms for surrender which allowed the survivors to evacuate to Sicily. The Knights were then homeless for a time until the King of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor Charles V granted the Knights the island of Malta in return for a rather unique annual rent payment which was a Maltese falcon to be paid to the Viceroy of Sicily every year on All Souls Day. Today, at least among film noir fans, “The Maltese Falcon” is quite famous even if few know exactly where it comes from. In any event, the move to Malta was of great benefit to the Knights, thereafter known as the Knights of Malta, who settled in and began to grow and strengthen again while still standing guard on the southern frontier of Europe to ward off the ever present Barbary pirates and the occasional Turkish offensive. The Ottoman Sultan was still determined to see the Knights of Malta eliminated and once they reappeared on Rhodes, Suleiman sent another invasion force against them.
This was undoubtedly the most famous battle and “finest hour” for the Knights of Malta but they carried on for quite a while afterwards. Because of their island location they became as much a naval power as they had been a cavalry force in the Holy Land. They sent ships to fight with the Christian fleet at the battle of Lepanto and their war galleys escorted Christian vessels in the Mediterranean to protect them from pirates and hostile powers. When money became scarce they began to hire out their ships to the navies of France and Spain. Money became an ever bigger problem, especially after the spread of Protestantism meant that many who had previously supported the Knights would no longer do so and many Catholics had other priorities closer to home to deal with and could no longer make their usual donations. So, the Knights of Malta adapted and despite being a Catholic order did their best to make friends with Protestant powers as well. The increase in mercenary work, usually for France, also meant that at times the Knights of Malta would be allied with their old enemies the Turks while fighting against the Catholic Spanish who had once been their saviors. Still, they did the best they could to survive and carry on. They remained secure on their island fortress of Malta until 1798 when the French forces of Napoleon Bonaparte conquered the island on their way to Egypt.
Protestant countries founded several different orders inspired by the Knights of Malta and there are numerous groups which make use of the name, or some variant of it, with no real connection at all to the original order (much like the Knights Templar). The Sovereign Military Order of Malta is the only valid continuation but, again, it is for all intents and purposes something new. Among those royals who have been granted ranks in the Knights of Malta are King Juan Carlos I of Spain, Prince Albert II of Monaco, King Albert II of the Belgians, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg and Vittorio Emanuele Prince of Naples (former Crown Prince of Italy). There are over 10,000 members of the order around the world, membership is by invitation only and until recently was exclusive to the aristocracy. Today, however, the lower ranks are open to commoners while the higher still require an extensive pedigree.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Monday, May 13, 2013
King George I: If nothing else, one can at least say that Britain’s first German monarch was a colorful character. A distant relative thrust onto the British throne by the 1701 Act of Settlement, something which further cemented the notion that the King reigned ‘by the grace of Parliament’ rather than the grace of God. He had no burning desire to be King of Great Britain and had already proven himself a fairly competent Elector of Hanover. He is known for his mostly “hands-off” approach to governing, which gave rise to the first British Prime Minister as we would understand it today, for his mistresses, his contempt for his eldest son (a Hanoverian tradition) and his inability to speak English. Still, he understood English law and government better than most of his subjects realized, he kept a steady hand on the wheel and if his British subjects did not understand him, he likely understood them just as little. Hanover was always his home and his first concern, he hadn’t sought to be king and certainly launched no invasion to bring it about like the Prince of Orange but he nonetheless made the most of it. He was not a likeable character but was probably at least somewhat better than most think.
King George II: Like his father, there is not an overabundance with which to recommend George II. He hated his son just as his father had hated him, though he was more kind to his wife (not difficult) and the British Empire grew considerably under his reign. Still, he spent some lengthy periods in Hanover and was always more concerned with Germany than with, for instance, the British North American colonies. The 1745 Jacobite uprising gave him quite a scare but he was certainly no coward, being the last reigning British monarch to lead his troops on the battlefield. Overall, he was a fairly effective monarch, fulfilling the traditional requirements for a successful monarch; securing the succession, defending his throne, winning victories in war and enlarging his domain. Still, he tended to put Hanover before Britain, was not a very likeable person and his forces were positively brutal in Scotland in the aftermath of the ‘45. So, all in all a successful monarch but one I could never muster a great deal of enthusiasm for.
King George III: It is a shame that George III will probably always be remembered most for losing “the United States” and for going “mad”. He really deserves to be counted among the greatest of British monarchs. For the first time since Queen Anne the country had a monarch who didn’t speak with a German accent and who was as thoroughly “British” as he could be. Unlike his predecessors, he took an active role in the government of his kingdoms and far from being harsh or tyrannical was almost invariably a voice of fairness and consideration. Also unlike his predecessors, King George III was a man of upstanding moral integrity, a faithful husband, devoted father and a man of great generosity while still having enough of George II in him to appreciate a balanced budget and deplore extravagance. Still, tradition being tradition, he and his eldest son never got along very well, mostly because of the extent to which the King disapproved of the rather weak moral fiber in his son. It should not be forgotten though that while losing what became the USA, he won the wider war and although he would not forget he was able to put the past behind him without holding a grudge, establishing diplomatic relations with the United States and going to war with revolutionary France after his old enemy Louis XVI was murdered by the mob. He also certainly secured the succession (in a big way) and was, in every way, a monarch any of his subjects could be proud of.
King George IV: When it comes to character, George IV was everything his father was not; licentious, lazy and wasteful. Still, he was not a terrible monarch though certainly not a great one. He may have been extravagant but he had a tremendous sense of style and he left Britain a more grandiose country than he found it. Yes, he was a scoundrel, but also a patron of the arts, a driver of fashion and a great builder. Those are about his only redeeming qualities though, aside perhaps from reviving highland dress in Scotland. His reign (and regency) coincided with some of the greatest moments in British history, the passing of historic legislation and at least he did not manage to mess any of that up though, based on what his ministers wrote some may have suspected him of trying. He was not a monarch one could admire, though many found him likeable. He did have sense enough to realize at least to some extent when politicians were trying to take advantage of him and his political views shifted after inheriting the throne. So, not a great one, not very praiseworthy but neither can it be said that things went to ruin under his watch.
King William IV: The “Sailor King” William IV often seems to get lost in between his colorful and controversial brother and the historic reign of his niece. Overall, my impression of William IV is as a pretty good, solid monarch. In sharp contrast to his brother he was frugal, plain and blunt which was probably a good thing on the heels of the fuss and feathers of George IV. William IV could behave in ways rather lacking in “majesty” but he was a man of strong leadership, good instincts and common sense. Since the reign of his father the politicians had become more and more dominant, which mostly continued under William IV though he was the last monarch to appoint a prime minister of his own choosing. He provided steady leadership during his time on the throne and had the wisdom and fortitude to hold on to life long enough for his niece to succeed him without a regency -probably saving the country from a great deal of trouble.
Queen Victoria: In some ways, Queen Victoria can be seen as being more revered than she should be and yet, I at least cannot help but have the greatest admiration for her. She made her share of mistakes over the years but she had a presence few other English sovereigns could ever hope to match. Like Elizabeth I, she gave her name to an era and on the world stage it was the Victorian era that was far greater. The Queen deserves at least some of the credit for the great, powerful, dynamic force that the British Empire became during her reign and she was an admirable woman. A very devoted wife, a reluctant (but frequent) though dutiful mother and a woman of impeccable moral fortitude. Queen Victoria made the monarchy widely respected again as well as a force for good in society with the outreach to the poor, the working class and her strident opposition to racial bigotry. Like a few others, it is hard to separate the Queen herself from the image of the Queen but that image was so great and remains so brilliant that it seems a pity to even try. The first to made Empress of India, the British Empire may have grown larger after her time on the throne yet it is still the reign of Queen Victoria that stands out, in my mind at least, as the pinnacle of the British Empire. Plus, she really was the “Grandmother of Europe” and anyone who doesn’t love their grandmother must have something wrong with them.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Saturday, May 11, 2013
King Ferdinando II of the Two-Sicilies, part of the Spanish Royal Family, annoyed the British by siding with Don Carlos. They were also concerned by the growing discontent in the Two-Sicilies and the increasing support for a republican revolution. Why were the British or French concerned at all? What was Sicily to them? The answer, of course, was that Sicily was right next to the British naval bastion of Malta and straddled the main seaway to the Suez Canal which was just starting to be built the year before Garibaldi and his men landed at Marsala. The French and British were therefore greatly concerned about any unrest that might disturb this enterprise upon which so much of global commerce was to depend. The British even sent warships to encourage the Neapolitan navy to stay away while Garibaldi and his men were landing (once the troops had disembarked the Neapolitans destroyed one ship and captured the other).
Garibaldi captured Palermo and his ranks slowly grew as locals volunteered to join him. The Neapolitan army also had a problem with desertion. A key element was the local aristocracy who responded in various ways to the crisis, none of them very helpful to Francesco II. Some fled the island immediately as soon as Garibaldi landed and these were those most supportive of the Bourbon monarchy. Obviously, they would be no help. Most, however, considered the cause of Francesco II lost and decided to make common cause with Garibaldi who promised to respect their rights and privileges. This would later cause a degree of rebellion and banditry by those peasants who felt Garibaldi had sold them out by not tearing down the aristocracy completely and redistributing their lands. King Ferdinando II had shown that he would do whatever was necessary to maintain his rule, be it promising a constitution only to revoke it later or shooting down rebels and shelling entire cities to rubble. If he had still been around things might have been different but few had confidence that Francesco II was made of such tough stuff. The pragmatic types looked at the situation and reasoned that the Bourbons were doomed and their only options for the future would be a united Italy ruled by Giuseppe Mazzini and his radical republicans or a constitutional monarchy ruled by King Vittorio Emanuele II. Mazzini was unthinkable so these invariably suppressed their distaste for Garibaldi and supported his red shirt army to maintain the existing social order.
In a last, desperate effort to avoid disaster and win back popular support, King Francesco II issued a constitution in June but it was to no avail. After the “now you see it, now you don’t” constitutions of his father, very few people were prepared to believe that the King was serious about constitutional government and simply ignored him. More volunteers joined Garibaldi though the Neapolitan army still had some sizeable garrisons on the island. In July Garibaldi captured Milazzo with 5,000 men after the overall Neapolitan commander refused to reinforce the garrison there. His caution did him no good and a few days later he surrendered Messina to Garibaldi by which time it was the rebels who held a significant numerical advantage and the remaining garrisons surrendered quickly. Throwing caution to the wind (and alarming the government in Turin) Garibaldi wasted no time and transferred his forces over to the mainland at Calabria. After that, a string of victories ensued as many Neapolitan forces deserted, some even joining the red shirts and most of those who did offer resistance did so with little support or coordination. The army and navy seemed to melt away, King Francesco II fled Naples and made his last stand at Gaeta.
Friday, May 10, 2013
In southern Europe, HSH Princess Charlene of Monaco said in an interview that she is ready to be a mom, at least once the new Princess Charlene Foundation is up and running smoothly, which she figures will take a couple of months. I think it is safe to say that the public is ready as well. A little heir to the throne to carry on the Grimaldi-Polignac line would be good news indeed. I think Andrea Casiraghi would make a fine ‘Prince Albert III’ but the Casiraghi trio would probably be happiest to just carry on with their current lifestyle rather than having royal responsibilities to worry about and they and Princess Caroline are probably hoping for Albert to have a son more than anyone. Over in Spain there was some welcome news for a Royal Family that sorely needs some as the Spanish court announced it was suspending the charges against the Infanta Cristina, which were ridiculous to begin with. Also in Spain, HM Queen Sofia attended ’Red Cross World Day’ in Malaga. This event commemorates the founding of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in a different Spanish city every year. Last Saturday the Queen was on the Greek island of Spetses to celebrate Easter with her family, including the former King Constantine II.
And, up in the Low Countries, the Grand Duke and Duchess of Luxembourg presided over the opening of the Spring Fair at Luxexpo on Saturday and in The Netherlands the first official engagement for the new King and Queen went off without a hitch, though it was a solemn occasion. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima attended a special ceremony to honor the Dutch forces who were lost in World War II. When the war came to the country the Dutch resisted for four days before capitulating to the Germans. Many Dutch served in the underground resistance, some fought in the Allied armies in special units and Dutch colonial forces fought against the Japanese in what is now Indonesia. In other news the local officials are now expressing regret over the arrest of two Dutch republican protestors during the recent inauguration ceremonies, saying it was a mistake caused by a shift-change. Personally, I don’t think they should be apologizing at all, arrest them all I say! The Duke and Duchess of Brabant also reportedly commented on the Dutch inauguration, being very impressed by the outpouring of public support for the new monarch and Princess Mathilde (again, reportedly) said she hopes Prince Philippe will be given a similar reception when he becomes King of the Belgians, but added that of course the Belgians are not the same as the Dutch.
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
This can also be said about the term “nationalism” which tends to have negative connotations today. And, it is true, nationalism can be a very dangerous thing. Yet, it does not have to be and even in the days when nationalism was extremely weak in Europe (for example) because people identified themselves by their faith first and foremost, there was still clearly identifiable nationalities which were distinct from each other. A Belgian, a Bavarian and an Italian may have all been part of the empire but that certainly did not mean they were all the same. Today, however, people of first world countries at least seem to be pushed more and more to think that nationalities do not exist and they are getting away with it, in part I think, because of a lack of national pride. Again, some will probably dispute that but I am talking about a deep-seated, rationale, informed national pride and not some sort of cosmetic or emotional pride that is barely skin deep. I am not talking about people who paint their faces and wave flags at football games but those who understand and appreciate who they are, where they came from and what their people to survive and prosper forever and always. There is a big difference between the two. The one is prepared to toil on, even against hopeless odds, for the sake of his country while the other is what a certain despicable revolutionary once termed, “the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot”.
A perfectly good example of this is Mexico. There is no shortage of superficial pride amongst the Mexican people. Travel anywhere in which there is a sizeable Mexican population and you will see Mexican flags everywhere, Our Lady of Guadalupe detailed on the backs of cars and a great deal of talk and show about Mexican pride. Yet, there are now more Mexicans living in the United States than in Mexico. That reveals a lack of the sort of pride I am talking about. Someone with the sort of pride I am talking about would not leave their country for greener pastures elsewhere, but would stay and work day in and day out, even enduring hardship, to make their country better, to make it the place that was so successful others would be looking longingly there as the greener pasture. The difference though, perhaps because Mexico is not a first world country, is that no one is trying to discourage real pride amongst the Mexican people. Read a history book in a school in Monclova or Saltillo and you will never find anything about Mexico fighting an unjust war (though the vast majority have been with themselves) nor will you find much about misdeeds done to other peoples. These things are not universally ignored, but they are certainly not emphasized or over dwelled upon.
This is certainly not the case when it comes to first world countries. At least not anymore. I can remember a time (and I’m not that old) when American schools tended to encourage the belief that the United States had always been right and, on the rare occasions when mistakes were made, these either worked out for the best anyway or were recognized and quickly corrected. It is not so anymore nor has it been so for quite a few years in most European countries. I recall how shocked I was when first told that in British schools children are actually taught that there country was in the wrong during the American War for Independence and that the Americans had been right. I expected American school books to teach that but had always assumed that in Britain they would teach that Britain was in the right and America in the wrong. Not so. The British seem to get the worst of it sometimes, probably because of the British Empire which was so much more successful than the competition. Yet, virtually every European country these days is being told that they should not be proud of their countries but, in fact, should be ashamed of them. There is always something to point to (truly, because peoples consist of men and women rather than angels -and even some of them were bad) and even when it can be hard to find there is always collective guilt to fall back on. I remember being quite bewildered seeing such a case made in Norway. As any student of history can recall, no Scandinavian country was ever a major colonial power, yet there are held collectively guilty for the “crimes” of others who were.
The list of specific examples, however, is endless and in most cases involves colonialism and/or imperialism. Presumably this is because of the dominance of Marxists in the education systems of the first world and Marxists tend to see everything in terms of a “land grab”. As usual, the most deadly poison is that which includes some non-lethal material to help the lethal bit go down easier. Again, every country and people has done something or some things that were wrong so those aspects are heavily emphasized. Yet, by that same token, every country and every people have done a great deal that was good and these things are seldom pointed out, at least in terms of the first world countries in question. So, to use the British example again, unsavory actions on the part of the British Empire, like the Opium War, are emphasized while positive actions, like the suppression of the Thugee in India, are downplayed or ignored. In the case of the Spanish Empire, brutality toward the Native Americans is emphasized while the eradication of human sacrifice is downplayed or ignored. There is a difference, despite how things seem today, in whitewashing history and expecting entire countries to continuously flog themselves for crimes decades and sometimes centuries in the past.
This has gone on, in places around the world, to reach farcical proportions. And, again, one cannot help but sense a Marxist worldview at work considering that in almost every case considerable amounts of wealth are being transferred; to help “make up” for past misdeeds of course. The government of the United Kingdom sends millions of pounds to Zimbabwe which is ruled by a socialist dictator with plenty of blood on his hands and who spends far more on his own recreation than on education in his country. A country, by the way, which was part of the old Rhodesia which Britain cut ties with because they refused to go along with the campaign to end racial discrimination, yet the dictator Mugabe never tires of blaming every misfortune in his country on the racist misdeeds of the old British Empire. So, a British government which did nothing wrong is paying money and being blamed for the racism of a past regime they cut ties with for being racist by a modern day dictator who actually carries out racist policies. It is simply incredible.
There are plenty of other examples, just as ridiculous. Not too long ago Italians were treated to the sight of Prime Minister Berlusconi apologizing for the colonial past of Italy to none other than the brutal dictator Muammar Gaddafi as well as paying the Libyan tyrant billions in “compensation” for the actions of the Fascist regime decades ago. Keep in mind, Gaddafi had barely been born when Italian rule in Libya ended and Berlusconi himself was a mere child at the time. Would anyone expect the new Libyan government to apologize for the actions of Gaddafi? I doubt it, and why should they when they were not responsible? Yet, an Italian prime minister is expected to apologize as though he or his government were in any way responsible for the actions of Mussolini. In 1972 Japanese Prime Minister Tanaka apologized for actions during and prior to World War II to the People’s Republic of China which has the blood of tens of millions of people on its hands. Keep in mind, this was the leader of a government that had already denounced the actions for which he was apologizing, in power in the country under a totally different national framework and totally different constitution than that which had done wrong. And yet he was apologizing to a government that was not in power at the time those things were done but which was the exact same government, dominated by the same political party, which had killed or caused the deaths of tens of millions of people. It is absurd to say the least of it.
Why is all of this being done? Perhaps because the educational system across the first world is dominated by revolutionary (usually Marxist) elites who make sure that the history everyone learns is one long litany of vicious misdeeds. Is it any wonder that these same countries are all depopulating? I’m sure there has been no study of it and I doubt there is any way such a thing could be proven but, personally, I cannot help but believe that there is something going on deep in the subconscious mind of the peoples of these countries. Having been told for decades that they are the worst peoples in the world, it seems that they have all decided (without making a conscious decision or even being aware of it) that the world would be better off without them and that they do not “deserve” to survive. It has gone beyond wallowing in self-pity to outright self-hatred and self-flagellation on a national and even semi-global scale. It is a mentality that has been pounded into the heads of whole populations over decades. It is also noteworthy that a tactic is used that the Marxists are very fond of which is the choice between two extremes; you either embrace Marxism or else you don’t care about the poor at all. You either believe that you and your people have been a plague on humanity for all time or else you are trying to whitewash history and think you’re better than everyone else and you’ve never made a mistake. That often shocks people into shameful agreement even though a mere moment of reflection would tell anyone that life is not so simple as that.
It should not be too difficult to grasp the concept of being able to resist the extremes of being a humorless, xenophobic jerk or wallowing in self-pity and negativity until your people literally no longer wish to survive. As it stands now, it does not surprise me at all that countries across the First World, from the United States to the United Kingdom to Japan have all had considerable numbers of people killed in terrorist attacks by their own people. When the educational system is dominated by a point of view that says "_____(your country) is evil and has always been evil and has been cruel to everyone in the world" it only surprises me that even more young people are not driven to hatred of their countries and a desire to see them wiped out. A simple look at the birth rates show that most no longer consider their nations worthy of survival so it's not that great a leap to think they should just be finished off more quickly. It doesn't have to be this way. A little healthy pride is not a bad thing and, while most may be beyond saving, a less extremist view should be worked toward. People should feel shame at doing wrong. People nor countries should be ashamed simply for being successful.
Just a bit of opinion from The Mad Monarchist