Monday, January 31, 2011
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Monarch Profile: King Charles I
MM Video: Charles I of Britain
King Charles the Martyr
Saturday, January 29, 2011
The 87-year-old King of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, arrived in Casablanca in the Kingdom of Morocco this week where he was greeted by HM King Mohammed VI. Having just come through a two-month stay in the hospital at New York and therapy elsewhere for an operation to treat a blood clot and a slipped disc, the Saudi monarch is in Morocco for some rest and recuperation. It has not been disclosed how long the King will stay but his brother, Crown Prince Sultan, spent the better part of a year in Morocco under similar circumstances after being treated for cancer in 2009.
In Eastern Europe, HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, Head of the Romanov Imperial Family, released a special message concerning the terrorist attack on Domodedovo airport in Moscow on Monday. Her Imperial Highness said, “New terrible news about the awful terroristic act at the airport Domodedovo plunged me into deep sorrow. I am praying, that the Lord will rest the souls of innocent victims and will ease sufferings of wounded. My condolence is to close people of the killed persons.
I am sure that no disgusting murderer of peaceful citizens will escape just and severe punishment. Our unity and solidarity in struggle against godless and inhuman terrorism (which is aimed at all and each of us) shall be the answer to the attempts to spread panic.” Also, on Saturday, a special Church service was held to honor the memory of the heroic Cossacks of Russia in the Don Cloister of Moscow and to remember the more than 100,000 victims of the Bolshevik repression against the Cossacks. Singled out for special recognition were Cossack leaders Piotr Krasnoff and Anton Denikin who were both leaders in the White army during the Russian Civil War. Obviously many monarchists and representatives of Russian monarchist organization were present to honor these heroic Russians and all those who suffered for loyalty to their Tsar.
HM King Simeon II of Bulgaria, who served as Prime Minister from 2001 to 2005, may, it seems, make a run for the presidency in this year’s elections. That is according to the leader of NMSP, the party he founded when he started his first campaign for political office. He has made no announcement as yet, the only statement being that it is a possibility and that a potential running mate has been more or less decided on should he choose to. The NMSP has pointed out what a relatively more peaceful time his term as PM was compared to today and that his international profile (being a former monarch with experience going back to World War II) would be a benefit to him as President of Bulgaria. All of that is true of course, but it is also true that by getting involved in politics he has alienated some people who may have been neutral regarding the monarchy. His promises to wipe out corruption in the government and raise the status of Bulgaria sounded good (and I do not doubt his sincerity) but were really unrealistic to make, impossible to accomplish in one term and the result was a slip in his popularity. Since serving there have also been allegations of corruption made against the former King himself (which should always be expected in politics) with some saying that he used his position as PM to give ownership to his family of certain properties that had not previously belonged to the past Bulgarian Tsars.
Moving west, on Saturday HH Pope Benedict XVI addressed the Roman Rota which deals with investigations of marriages. Like his predecessor, the Pontiff has been alarmed at how many people seek and are granted annulments, particularly in the United States where Catholics in 2006 had more marriages annulled than the whole rest of the world combined. Concerned at the growing perception that an annulment is simply a Catholic word for divorce with no difference between the two, the Pope urged greater counseling of would-be spouses before a marriage is performed. Although he recognized that not everything can be foreseen, he stressed that the goal is to stop an invalid marriage before it occurs rather than seeking an annulment after the fact. In a phrase which quickly set off the homosexual activist crowd the Pontiff also stated that marriage is not an absolute right for anyone.
In the Low Countries, Crown Princess Maxima of the Netherlands attracted some attention she probably was not planning on when she attended the Dutch opening of the musical “Tango” on Monday. The combination of a thin black outer garment and white undergarment surely caused some embarrassment when the camera lights flashed, showing off the assets of the Princess in the mammary department. Yet, like a trooper, the Princess of Orange took it all in stride, enjoying the show, congratulating the stars and executive producer all with a smile. The news, however, was not so light-hearted in neighboring Belgium where King Albert II has finally accepted the resignation of the royal mediator who has been trying to negotiate a power-sharing agreement between the Dutch and French speaking parties that would allow a government to be formed. The mediator had tried to resign previously but the King did not accept it and urged everyone to try harder to come to an agreement. However, it seems to have done no good, nor did a massive rally in Brussels in which tens of thousands of people showed up to shame their politicians and demand that they form a government. Most identify Flemish nationalists and the Walloon socialists as the main obstacles to an agreement. Belgium now holds the record for going longer than any European country without a national government.
Friday, January 28, 2011
In a way, this is not surprising given the well known extent of the economic crisis in Portugal which many are expecting to go the way the way of Greece due to the huge debts and massive entitlements in Portugal. People from all walks of life are fed up and very few of any political persuasion are happy with the situation. However, that in no way detracts from the great credit due to Portuguese monarchists for their constant efforts to argue, educate and claim the attention of the public toward the restoration of their venerable monarchy. Finding ways to grab public attention can sometimes be more than half the battle these days and the Portuguese monarchists have done that in a harmless but powerfully symbolic way with the use of flags. In 2009, during the night, Portuguese monarchists swapped the municipal flag on the city hall for the old blue and white flag of the Kingdom of Portugal. In 2010 they did the same to mark the birthday of the heir to the Portuguese throne, taking down the green-red republican national flag and putting up a huge blue-white flag in its place in Edward VII Park in downtown Lisbon.
At a time when ‘group think’ seems to be more prevalent than ever, and so many seem apathetic on virtually any subject that does not immediately effect their own person, it is heartening to see such zeal and energy on the part of monarchists. It also does not hurt that, especially in Portugal, the history of the republic has been a history of turmoil, penury and utter failure which stands in stark contrast to the peak of Portuguese greatness achieved under the monarchy. People need to be made to understand that things do not have to remain the way they are and that, as a kingdom, Portugal was once on the cutting edge of scientific advancement and discovery in the world, that Portugal was once among the wealthiest countries in the world and established the first and most enduring maritime empire on earth. The Portuguese can be justly proud of all of that and the monarchists are working to ensure that such pride is revived, encouraged and used to motivate people to reject republicanism and restore the Kingdom of Portugal. For all of that, they are well deserving of all due credit. Monarchists of Portugal, I SALUTE you!
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Filmer wrote extensively in support of the monarchy on the battleground of political theory and also occasionally wrote criticisms of other theorists, philosophers and religions (he did not like Calvinists -not monarchist enough, and he did not like Catholics who were sufficiently monarchist but their loyalty to the Pope made them suspect). Although not the sort of total authoritarian that Hobbes was, Filmer was definitely an advocate of absolute monarchy, no doubt about it. In fact, were he alive today, Filmer would hardly recognize any western monarchy as being a monarchy at all as he was totally opposed to limited, mixed or what would later be known as constitutional monarchy. Royal authority had to be absolute and unfettered according to Filmer for several basic reasons; because justice can only be imposed, it cannot be self-administered; because all power is absolute according to natural law and because monarchs have inherited a divine right that no one on earth has authority to take from them. According to Filmer, democracy was chaos; at best only one step away from anarchy and even mixed government was trending in the wrong direction because it implied that Parliament had at least some power over the King or that there were powers they had which the King could not revoke.
One of the things I like about Filmer is that he challenged problems and hypocrisies in the liberal democratic/republican model that are seemingly obvious but rarely addressed. For example; why does everyone assume democracy to be an absolute good when virtually everyone also agrees that democracy is dangerous, inefficient and inevitably fails? Why is it wrong for the King to have power instead of ‘the people’ but it is okay for some people to have power and not others. After all, at least at that time, even the most radical liberals who championed the cause of “the people” never for a minute considered “the people” to include women, children, criminals, slaves or the retarded for that matter. In short, if it was “unfair” for the King to have power but not “the people”, why was it “fair” for men to have power and not women? Was it “unfair” that adults should have more power than children? One cannot help but be reminded of how, during the period of the American Revolutionary War, Samuel Johnson wondered why the loudest yelps for liberty came from slave owners like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
As a basis for his support of absolute monarchy, Filmer went back to the origins of humanity and the Old Testament of the Bible. He noted, in his most famous work, that the very first governments in the Bible were patriarchies. This was the rule of a father over his family and, given how long Biblical figures lived, they could come to rule quite a large group of families. Filmer reasoned that there was no real difference between a family patriarch and a royal monarch. A family, expanded to a clan, expanded to a tribe, expanded to a nation and patriarchs inevitably became lords, chieftains and kings. So, the rule of a king over his subjects was no different than the rule of a father over his family. He noted that, in the Bible, fathers had absolute power, even of life and death, over their families and yet, because of the paternalistic nature of the relationship, this was not oppressive or negative.
Filmer writes that the original patriarch was Adam, the first man and the one given dominion over the whole world by God. This authority passed eventually from Adam to Noah. Filmer, taking the Biblical story of the flood literally (I add only because believing that the Bible actually means what it says is so novel a concept today) he also held to the theory that Noah sailed with the ark through the Mediterranean and passed his authority over the world to his three sons by granting each dominion over one of the three continents of the ancient world. It was from these three patriarchs, Filmer argued, that all others descend and their descendants eventually becoming the lords, chieftains, princes and finally kings of the nations. Thus, Filmer believed in absolute monarchy as the system established by God, starting with Adam and the commandment for children to obey their parents. It should be noted however that not all royalists were in agreement with Filmer on this point, he was certainly on the side favoring an absolute monarch and rejecting limited monarchy as well as democracy.
Filmer died on May 26, 1653 and many of his most famous works were not widely published until after his death, in part so that they could be refuted by liberal writers of the time. What is interesting is that this coincided with the 1688 revolution and the downfall of the House of Stuart. The works of Filmer were dug up and passed around as examples of royalist villainy; the frightening absolutism of those who believed in the Divine Right of Kings. That is, of course, what King James II believed and those supporting the preeminence of Parliament seized on the writings of Filmer to justify their own position; that the King answers to Parliament rather than Parliament answering to the King. One can only guess what Filmer himself would have thought about his work being used in this way, especially since the monarch who held to the Divine Right of Kings that Filmer so defended also belonged to a Church that Filmer most adamantly opposed.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
The speech the President gave this year was, to my cynical eye, rather predictable and uninteresting. I learned nothing watching it that I did not already know from the expectations put out ahead of time. There was lots of comparisons to other countries (all unfavorable) which was unusual and there were the expected calls for bi-partisanship and the need to cut spending, but also “invest” in the future; the need for greater economic growth but also the need to raise taxes on those dastardly rich folks. The truth, of course, is that none of the talk on the economy will accomplish anything even if it is entirely put into effect. I cannot say I have much faith in either party accomplishing that. The Democrats will tax the “rich” until there is not a job or major industry left in the country, everyone is on welfare and we go bankrupt. The Republicans talk a good game about the need to cut spending but when pressed on exactly what they would cut they can come up with nothing. They won’t risk reelection by touching huge money holes like Medicare or social security because a lot of those ‘Tea Party’ folks are counting on those government programs. Nope, instead they will revert to the Bush tactic of cutting taxes here and there but still spending like crazy and ignoring the big problems resulting in economic disaster.
Now, I am no economist and I tend to look with disgust and bewilderment at all the talk from both sides about free trade and globalization (what a horrific word). Personally, I have not seen what is so great about free trade and pretty much anything with the word “global” in it scares the hell out of me. On the economic front I tend to agree with the Libertarian journalist John Stossel (now on the Fox Business Channel) who said prior to the State of the Union Address that spending freezes will never be enough and he suggested cutting entire departments like the Department of Education and the Department of Energy. Both sound good to me. He also raised the point of the cost of maintaining some 60,000 U.S. troops in Germany and 10,000 U.S. troops in Great Britain. Unless someone tells me what vital interest these forces serve I would say cut those as well. Now, even though I’m no economics expert, I do know simple math and can see that our multi-trillion dollar debt will never be alleviated without taking on entitlements, which is the one thing no politician (even Republicans) really want to do -in any country. Observe what a stink was raised when “Call Me Dave” Cameron mentioned the slightest reform to the massive, bloated beast known as the National Health Service in Great Britain.
I also know that there will never be real economic recovery so long as so much of our economy is held hostage by the massive benefits of the unions. Businesses are going out of business and entire states are going bankrupt because of this. What is the solution? Well, here is where I make everyone freak out. The best idea I can come up with is putting a system in place by which owners and workers are forced to come to an agreement about industry guidelines that both sides can live with and that will be sustainable. Now, I realize that Glenn Beck scared everyone about the short-lived “Blue Eagle Program” and the National Recovery Administration set up by FDR and I realize that many people on the left are going to cry “corporatism” which, they will invariably say, is the same thing as fascism. That seems like quite a leap to make to me. Is having labor and owners working together instead of each trying to exploit the other really so terrible as to warrant the accusation of fascism? If you are that paranoid you perhaps should not watch the State of the Union Address at all or you just might notice those two big fasces on the wall on either side of the podium.
The way things are now, and it seems anyone can take a look around and see this, the unions are only looking out for themselves (leaders more than members I would argue but I will confess to having a bias towards unions ever since the Russian Revolution). They don’t care if they drive their companies out of business because the federal government will bail them out and then taxpayers are on the hook to continue paying them. On the other hand, owners (not unnaturally) are in business to make money, not to provide their workers with heaven on earth. They will always want to pay as little as possible and if union demands and government regulations become too great they have no moral qualms about moving to Red China where they can profit from the virtual slave labor of the Chinese Communist Party. Unions are pulling our economy down and owners are shipping it all overseas. Jesus said the poor will be with us always. I think the same could be said about the rich. They have to work together to stop the ruin both sides are bringing down on everyone.
Anyone who has read this blog for long knows that I despise government, politicians and ideologies in general. I am not married to any “ism” save perhaps for ‘monarchism’ which covers as wide a variety of specific situations and systems as possible. When it comes to issues like this I try to look for what will work with my only guidelines being that private property and the right of people to what they produce are not infringed upon. If that makes me unreasonable I can only be astounded by what passes for “reasonable” these days. Certainly, looking at things as they stand now, I cannot see how anyone can argue that we are doing fine or are headed in the right direction. Those who do, I suspect, are purposely trying to ruin us to further their own revolutionary agenda of international communism, atheism and globalization. That, I will always be against and that is why I remain … The Mad Monarchist.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Monday, January 24, 2011
The royal anthem is the first song. English lyrics:
God bless our gracious king!
Bless him with strength and courage,
bless home and castle!
Guide him with Your Spirit,
tie with Your strong Hand
holy bands of allegiance
around people and sovereign!
The second is the national anthem, which is also one of my favorite anthems, just a beautiful song I think.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Saturday, January 22, 2011
In the Middle East, a degree of turmoil has broken out in the usually pacific Kingdom of Jordan and has resulted in calls for greater restrictions to be placed on HM King Abdullah II. Recent American administrations have been tirelessly advocating more democracy in the Middle East and it seems the Islamic Action Front is in agreement with them. Rising prices and rising unemployment have caused discontent to spread recently and the Islamic Action Front is calling for the dismissal of the current government and for the prime minister to be directly elected or chosen by the majority in parliament rather than being chosen by the King as is currently the case. Support has been growing recently for the Islamic Action Front which is an off-shoot of the now widely known Muslim Brotherhood. They have long opposed the policies and practices of the King which in other areas would be considered modern and progressive.
Another, rather troubling to this blogger, development has arisen in Great Britain. Once again calls are being made to “amend” the succession laws in favor of equal primogeniture. As I have in the past predicted that this issue would come up again and again, almost entirely by those wishing to undermine the monarchy, I have been proven right once again (how long until everyone just gives up and agrees with me … really) only this time it is not religion that is the dominant issue, it is gender. The excuse for bringing up the argument is the upcoming wedding of Prince William, who seems to be going out of his way to take an ‘out with the old, in the with the new’ approach. The “fairness” brigades are out in force again, howling at the injustice that will take place if Prince William has a daughter as his first born who would then be set aside in favor of a young brother should a boy come along. Now, one might think that making a fuss over children that have not yet been born to a couple not yet married might just be making much ado about nothing. Of course, to think that would also mean you have some semblance of sense which these people do not have. On the contrary, sufficient dust has been raised on this issue to prompt a response from the office of Prime Minister “Call me Dave” Cameron. The PM’s office pointed out that changing the succession is no simple trick (and that the government has just a few more pressing issues to deal with) and would have to involve the cooperation of all the other Commonwealth Realms that are still in personal union with the British Crown. After all, if Britain changed the law and Canada or Australia did not it would mean that Prince William could be succeeded by his daughter in Britain but his son in Australia -which would rather complicate things.
Yours truly, and many others, have often pointed out that this whole issue is absurd. The idea that male primogeniture is “unfair” to girls flies in the face of the fact that (hold on to your chairs) monarchy is inherently unfair! I would argue that democracy is as well but that is another issue. Modern Europe seems to have a problem grasping this simple fact that I had pounded into me from the time I was knee-high to a duck: life isn’t fair. Never has been, never will be -deal with it. Yet, the trend is certainly going in the direction of gender neutrality, at least in Europe (and to a lesser extent Japan). In the rest of the world such a thing is never even discussed. Yet, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway and finally Denmark have all cleared the way for more queens in the future and the loss of the old male-line royal houses. Great Britain, Spain, Luxembourg and the little Principalities of Monaco and Liechtenstein are still clinging to male preference but the current climate seems stacked against them (at least for those other than Liechtenstein and Monaco which generally do as they please). I will admit that this is not as serious an issue as the overall survival of the monarchy, but personally I will be very relieved when some other issue will jump to the top of the news sheets and this can be forgotten again.
Finally, to end on a happy note, there is another royal engagement to mention. This time it is HIH Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia, head of the House of Hohenzollern and heir to the German Kaisers. The Prince (how much nicer it would be to say Kaiser Friedrich IV) announced yesterday that he is engaged to marry HSH Princess Sophie von Isenburg. The Princess grew up in Hesse and Freiburg im Breisgau, studied in Berlin in the area of business administration and is currently working at a consulting firm for a nonprofit organization in Berlin. Not wasting as much time as his fellow royals in Monaco or Britain, the Prussian prince plans to marry later this year in Potsdam and will coordinate the event with the 950th anniversary of the House of Hohenzollern. The Mad Monarchist congratulates the happy couple and wishes them a long and prosperous union. Hoech der Kaiser!
Friday, January 21, 2011
Thursday, January 20, 2011
I speak in jest of course because, as most know, China has been moving toward a more free economy in recent years while the U.S. (particularly recently) has been moving ever more rapidly in the socialist direction. When it comes to capitalism, I am under no illusions that it is a less than perfect system. I support it only as far as I am an ardent and absolute supporter of private property rights. However, it does not take the greatest powers of observation to see that efforts to impose economic egalitarianism do not work. Communism has been tried and in every case it has failed. Socialism has been tried and we need only look at the world around us, particularly in Europe, to see that it does not work. As things stand now, my biggest problem with capitalism is that it seems to be the only system which can make a nation wealthy enough to think they can afford socialism.
It simply goes against the laws of nature for anyone or anything to thrive in bondage. There should be no great surprise (and yet there is) that when you punish affluence and reward penury the result is a society with fewer wealthy people and more poor people. Why should a person work harder for a little extra money if they can get by just as comfortably doing nothing? Why should a person try to improve their financial situation if the only result is that they are put in a higher tax bracket and have their earnings taken from them? If you can keep more of your money in country or state A than you can in state B, who would not up and move to country or state A and leave B to reap the rewards of their own stupidity? Even those who harp the loudest about the need to punish the rich and help the poor see their actions part company with their words when it comes to themselves or their industry. That is why no one makes movies in Hollywood anymore but instead go to Canada or New Zealand -because making anything in California is far too expensive. Yet, even with such a punishing tax code California is still deep in debt and the North American equivalent of Greece at this point.
This is not a difficult concept to grasp. Socialism does not work! Even for those more moderate types who advocate it, they can only grasp at straws that have no real impact on the actual overall situation. We have seen this at least since the French Revolution when the agitators of treason stirred up hatred against the monarchy for claiming that Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were living lives of idle luxury in the lavish surroundings of Versailles, indifferent to the suffering of the people. This, of course, was not true but given the predilection of humanity toward greed and envy it worked. Yet, cutting off the heads of the King and Queen and starving the poor little Dauphin to death did not fill the stomach of one peasant. It did not make so much as one penniless French worker a wealthy man. The forces of revolution have never, despite their claims, NEVER lifted up anyone. All they have ever done was to bring a greater share of misery to the entire population.
You can tax the rich into poverty (or tax them into relocating to Singapore) but that will not make the poor rich. Putting royals on bicycles will not enable anyone to afford a Mercedes and taxes and regulations that force aristocratic families to sell their ancestral estates will not give everyone their own manor house. It is as simple as this: trying to impose and enforce absolute equality is a losing game and always will be. The government, no government on earth, no constitution that has or will ever be written can make life “fair” or give anyone so much as one free lunch. The sooner everyone realizes this the better off everyone will be. We need practical solutions that recognize the truth of natural law and the human condition. We do not need political ideologues who think they can create a Utopia anywhere this side of the Kingdom of Heaven. We need to accept that the politician-class does not have all the answers, that independence and freedom are not the same things and that we are entitled absolutely to everything that is our own and nothing that is not. When that happens, the world will be better. Not perfect, but better. However, at current rates, by the time that change comes, I shall most likely be the late…Mad Monarchist.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
He was born Rodrigo de Borja y Borja on January 1, 1431 to a family from Játiva in Spain. He entered the Church and, as was sadly commonplace, he had an advantage in advancing up the clerical hierarchy due to some influential relatives. When he was 25 he was made a cardinal by his uncle Pope Callixtus III and later was appointed vice-chancellor of the Holy See. From the very start there was no shortage of corruption in his career, amassing bishoprics, granting favors in return for favors given and so on, which, was sadly not exactly unheard of at the time. However, he also gained an often overlooked reputation for diligence. He never shirked his duties, was a master of administration and tireless in his work, rarely missing a meeting in 35 years of service at the papal court. His talent is evidenced by the fact that even after the pope was someone other than his uncle his service was still appreciated and retained by successive pontiffs who could not fail to recognize his great abilities. Still, he was not working so hard with no reward in mind; he had his eye on the top job.
In 1492 he put all of his wealth and accumulated experience and highly placed contacts into doing all he could to secure his election to the Throne of Peter. With the aged Patriarch of Venice casting the deciding vote Cardinal Rodrigo de Borgia was elected Supreme Pontiff, taking the triumphal name of Alexander VI. The new pope was someone who understood the power of spectacle. Just prior to his election he had organized the first (and probably only) traditional Spanish bullfight in the city of Rome to celebrate the final victory of Ferdinand and Isabella over the Moors (and any fan of the bullfights cannot be all bad in my book). His papal coronation was no less lavish though as it occurred on August 26, the heat of the Roman summer caused the new pope in his numerous and heavy vestments to faint twice. To be sure, the Church faced numerous difficulties when he came to the throne but, lest anyone think that his election was entirely ill-gotten, keep in mind that his rather worldly reputation was well known but his talents as a diplomat and administrator were also well established and many genuinely considered him the best man for the job at the time, even if not the ideal candidate in terms of personal virtue.
Spain and France were rivals over Naples and the Turks were ‘large and in charge’ across most of the Mediterranean. There were also feuding cardinals within the Church as Italian family vendettas infected the Holy See. He set to work dealing with these issues in the fashion of an Italian prince more than a pontiff. He formed the League of St Mark with Venice, Milan and Rome; married one of his son into the Spanish royal family and another to the Neapolitan, tried to impress and win over the Turkish ambassador by a lavish welcome and ceremonial reception and he dealt with the one of the primary forces in the feud in the Sacred College by essentially buying off the della Rovere family. He also intervened in the discoveries of the New World and passages to the east by dividing unclaimed lands between Spain and Portugal to ensure peace between these two Catholic powers.
Of course, anyone not already familiar with Alexander VI might have been a bit confused by the mention of his sons. He had them. That was the biggest and most obvious sign of the moral failure of Pope Alexander VI. Throughout his life he had a total of six illegitimate sons and three illegitimate daughters by a number of mistresses. Though, if he should have any credit for it, he did finally settle on one mistress and remain ‘faithful’ to her. This was the one really major fault of Pope Alexander VI and he made no effort to cover anything up. At various times his children lived with him and he never made any effort to claim they were anything other than what they were. He arranged beneficial marriages for them, granted them high offices and so on just as a secular Italian prince and father would have done. Certainly his most notorious offspring was his son Cesare who was sufficiently ruthless to win the praises of Machiavelli. Perhaps the most unfortunate was Alexander’s daughter Lucrezia who was badly treated by her father and most of the men in her life and whose reputation has suffered simply by being the daughter of Alexander VI and sister of Cesare. However, such a reputation was quite undeserved as she was actually quite a kind, generous and pious woman.
Alexander VI won some diplomatic fights against the French over Naples and he had to deal with a renegade monk, Girolamo Savonarola, in Florence. After a very long ordeal that alleged visionary finally lost the popular support he once had and was put to death. However, one of the attacks he made against the pope that hit a soft spot was the fleshy worldliness of the pontificate of Alexander. There are a great many lurid tales about Alexander VI, each more shocking and pornographic than the last. Rest assured however that these are false without a shred of evidence to support them. For their origin one need look no farther than the political enemies made by the pope, rival families within the Church and nationalistic Italians who were not happy about having a Spanish rather than an Italian pontiff. Of course, these scandalous rumors were known to Alexander himself, but he took no notice, famously saying, in a rather libertarian sort of way, “Rome is a free city, where everyone can say or write whatever he pleases. They say much evil of me, but I don’t mind”. Still, the propaganda campaign waged by his enemies (often those previously defeated by the campaigns of Cesare de Borgia) took a terrible toll on the prestige of the papacy.
The worst tales of excess may be discounted but there is still plenty of material with which to justly criticize Alexander VI for. He totally disregarded his vow of chastity, was not above giving or taking bribes and used his offices throughout his career to enrich himself and his family. However, in the interest of fairness, it should also be remembered that Alexander VI never tried to change Church teaching to justify his own misbehavior. He upheld Catholic doctrine as was his duty even if he did not always practice it himself. After he declared 1500 a Holy Year he invented the custom of a special door being created to open at the start of festivities and to be closed at the end. The tradition of the ‘Holy Door’ in St Peter’s for such occasions is one still practiced to this day. The jubilee celebrations helped fund the campaigns of Cesare (as did the sale of offices and indulgences) but it also gave pilgrims a rather close look at how the leadership of the Church lived and as many as were impressed were also outraged. Not long after, Pope Alexander VI fell ill and died on August 18, 1503, whether from malaria or poison has never been concretely determined.
It all started last week when Italian police arrested a man near Lake Nemi, south of Rome, loading part of a two and a half meter statue of the Emperor onto a truck. It was at this location that Caligula once had a villa, a floating temple and a floating palace. The remains of these buildings had been uncovered by the regime of Mussolini but were destroyed in World War II. The statue the man was trying to make off with is in Greek marble and portrayed Caligula as a god (he had himself deified in his own lifetime) and is estimated to be worth a million euros. Once the man was taken into custody and questioned he later led police to the place where he recovered the statue, believed to be the final resting place of Rome's third emperor. Excavations are already underway and time will tell what treasures remain to be found.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
This came naturally to the young Marquis de Montcalm whose family had a long history of military service. Yet, he was also a curious and intellectual type and while others were engaged in less productive activities in camp the young Montcalm could be found reading Greek and German literature. During the War of Austrian Succession he proved his courage further, first serving as aide-de-camp to the Marquis de La Fare. Alongside the Chevalier de Levis, who would be one of his top subordinates at the height of his career, Montcalm fought at the siege of Prague and in 1743 was promoted to colonel and given command of the Regiment d’Auxerrois. He served with Marshal de Maillebois in Italy and was honored with the Order of Saint Louis in 1744. In 1746 he was wounded five times before being captured at the battle of Piacenza and for his heroism was promoted to brigadier general after his release and returned to duty in Italy. He was wounded again at the battle of Assietta and aided in lifting the siege of Ventimiglia. After the war was over, in 1749, he raised a cavalry force of his own, the Regiment de Montcalm.
With the outbreak of the French and Indian War the struggle was on that would determine whether North America would be dominated by England or France and although the French lands were far more extensive than the British colonies on the coast, the French were at a great disadvantage due to their greatly inferior numbers in America. While France dispatched trappers, traders, missionaries and diplomats to do business with, convert and make friends with the Indians it was the British who sent over colonists and established large and rapidly expanding population centers which gave them a significant advantage. In 1756 His Most Christian Majesty King Louis XV dispatched the Marquis de Montcalm to New France (French Canada) with the rank of major general to take command of all French forces in North America after the capture of Baron Dieskau. For Montcalm it would be his last war but also the height of his career and the scene of his greatest victories.
Upon his arrival, Montcalm was less than impressed with the situation in New France. There was not much that was up to his high standards and although he was polite and diplomatic with his Indian allies he also abhorred their methods of making war. He squabbled with the local governor and received precious little support from the homeland. Yet, the Marquis brought a new sense of professionalism to the French war effort in America and against all odds he won a string of stunning victories over the British. Despite being heavily outnumbered the Marquis de Montcalm took the offensive and began methodically reducing the British presence in upper New York. In 1756 he won a great victory that secured French control of Ontario with the capture of Fort Oswego. The devout Marquis credited God with the victory and erected a memorial cross in thanks. The following year his skillful siege tactics resulted in the capture of Fort William Henry, a name perhaps most famous for the Indian massacre of British soldiers and civilians who had evacuated the fort. Much blame has been heaped on Montcalm for this but, in fact, he never ordered such an atrocity, was horrified when he learned of it and acted quickly to stop the killings even to the extent of offering his own life in exchange for the parolees.
It was, however, the battle of Fort Carillon in 1758 that was to be the masterpiece of Montcalm’s military career. With only 3,800 men he successfully repelled a British army of over 16,000. The British lost 2,000 men killed or wounded while the Marquis lost only 352. Again, Montcalm attributed the victory to God and erected another memorial cross in thanks for their deliverance. It was the height of French war effort in North America and the height of the career of the Marquis. Despite being at every disadvantage, the French had not only defeated the British campaigns against them but struck back to the point that the very presence of the British in America was imperiled. However, stirred to action, things soon changed as the British sent over massive reinforcements from the home islands with the intention of wiping out the French presence in Canada once and for all.
The climactic battle for Quebec came at the Plains of Abraham in 1759. Initially, the Marquis de Montcalm did quite well, repelling several British attacks and foiling their efforts to land troops in areas better suited to the attack. Finally, the British army of General James Wolfe managed the seemingly impossible and reached the Plains of Abraham, launching their attack. The Marquis de Montcalm came out to meet him and the resulting battle is often credited with deciding the fate of modern Canada. Wolfe was killed but the French were defeated and as they were falling back the Marquis himself was also mortally wounded. When told that he would not long survive, Montcalm said he was grateful as it would spare him the sight of seeing New France surrendered to the British. He spent his last moments with his confessor and the Bishop of Quebec, passing away at midnight, September 14, 1759 after which, as per his wishes, he was buried in a shell hole. He was later reburied alongside French and British troops who died in the battle of Quebec.
Monday, January 17, 2011
The glorious royal anthem of the Kingdom of Thailand, very loyal and very proper, as played at the start of each broadcast day on Thai television.
We, servants of His great Majesty,
prostrate our heart and head,
to pay respect to the ruler, whose merits are boundless,
outstanding in the great Chakri dinasty,
a great of Siam,
with great and lasting honor,
(We are) secure and peaceful because of the royal rule,
The fruits of your virtues preserve
The people in happiness and in peace,
May it be that
whatever you will,
according to the hopes of your great heart
as we wish (you) victory, hurrah!
Sunday, January 16, 2011
When I first put this up I got alot of complaints from Bonapartists about the background music. So let me make this clear: I know Napoleon ended the revolution, I know both Bonapartes banned the song, BUT, I consider Napoleon a 'child' of the revolution and his empire as a result of it, he even said the completion of it. That is why it was chosen.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Consider also that, during her reign, she did many things that would cause most any other monarch to be dismissed as a total failure. Starting from a position of friendship she managed to tick off the most powerful nation in Western Europe at the time, supported rebel forces (even republican ones) against the lawful monarchs, had a fellow queen put to death (setting a dangerous precedent for that family), she failed to ever marry and secure the succession by producing legitimat offspiring (which especially at that time was considered probably the first and foremost duty of any monarch) and she suffered one of the most humiliating English defeats at the hands of a rebel army in Ireland. Not looking good is it? She was also vain, jealous, spiteful and, possibly worst of all for a ruler, extremely indecisive. And yet...and yet...she was great. England beat the odds, put down the first roots of a global empire, humbled the mightiest powers in Europe, experienced a flowering of art, music and literature all under her reign to the point that even her most bitter enemies could only stand amazed at what she accomplished.
This week HRH the Infanta Cristina, younger daughter of Their Majesties King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia of Spain, visited St Petersburg, Florida (formerly a Spanish possession) to open the Dali Museum, the largest collection devoted to the Spanish artist outside of Spain. The Infanta and her husband have long been associated the project and after a celebratory gala on Monday night the formal ribbon-cutting was held on Tuesday. In Rome, HH Pope Benedict XVI met on Friday with Their Imperial Highnesses Grand Duchess Maria and Grand Duke George of Russia. The head of the Imperial House of Romanov brought the Pontiff a message from the Patriarch of Moscow and the Pope commended the Grand Duchess for her efforts in uniting the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia and in exile. The Grand Duchess presented Pope Benedict with a painting showing the visit of a son of Tsar Alexander II to Pope Leo XIII. The final step was also taken this week toward the beatification of His Holiness Pope John Paul II who will soon be declared blessed.
In Belgium, loyalist groups are closing ranks and planning mass demonstrations to demand an end to the political stand-off that have kept the Belgian parties from forming a government for seven months. Recently, the royal mediator, exasperated by the refusal of Flemish nationalists to come to an agreement, offered his resignation. Belgian King Albert II finally refused to accept the resignation and urged the mediator and the parties to come to an agreement quickly. The parties agreed to resume negotiations but there are still no hints of an impending compromise. The only up side to this on-going trouble is that parties which agree on so little would seem unlikely to agree on the division of the country and it seems more people have lately begun to appreciate the part of the King, the only figure in Belgian national life to stand above parties and regional divisions. In neighboring Holland, HM Queen Beatrix along with the Prince and Princess of Orange received HM the Sultan of Brunei in The Hague on what the Queen called “an exceptional visit”. The Dutch Queen has never been to Brunei and this was the first official visit by the Sultan to the Netherlands. The Sultan, who controls the vast oil wealth of Brunei, was in the Netherlands to visit Dutch oil companies.
While Great Britain continues to be all a-buzz with wedding plans, HRH Prince Harry has also made some news this week over a potential trek to the north pole. The Prince has expressed his desire to join a group of British soldiers, wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan (some even missing limbs) who will be making a 200 mile journey to the north pole from March to April. That, of course, could conflict with the marriage of his brother Prince William and there are also reportedly military obligations Prince Harry might have to prevent his participation. Prince Harry is patron of the Walking with Wounded charity that is organizing the expedition. A Clarence House spokeswoman said that Prince Harry, “would still very much love to join the expedition, and if he can he will, however his military training commitments mean he will not know for some weeks whether this is going to be possible, so in the meantime he is following preparations closely”.
Friday, January 14, 2011
The Queen, who is also a great artist in her own right, has suffered a great deal over the years from arthritis but she has never showed any sign that anything could get the better of her. She ruffled some feathers (and brought a smile to my face -that's usually how it works) when she addressed the recent increase in non-Danish and non-European immigrants living in Denmark and stressed the need for assimilation, the preservation of the Danish identity and once even suggested that Denmark might not be the right country for everyone to run to if they are not prepared to adapt to the prevailing culture. She has been a treasure and Denmark is fortunate to have her. She is also the first Danish monarch named Margrethe since the time of the Kalmar Union in 1412. Her motto is quite appropriate: God's help, the love of The People, Denmark's strength. Queen Margrethe II has done an admirable job and The Mad Monarchist sends her and all her people heartfelt congratulations on the anniversary of her accession. Long live the Queen!
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
The first Chinese monarchist person and/or group (pretty much a one man show I think) that I was ever contacted by was that of a Sino-American from Hawaii named Ji Yao Sui. He claimed to be the successor of the ancient Zhou dynasty, though also a relative of the Great Qing for good measure, and claimed to be the legitimate, “secret” Emperor of China. If there was any doubt about the veracity of his claims, suffice it to say he also claimed to be a practicing Jew, a representative of the late Ming dynasty as well and spent as much time pleading for money to pay his legal bills than he did on anything else (he claimed he was the victim of ‘persecution’ on the part of the Hawaiian police). Obviously, a joke that even I, in my very naïve early monarchist years, was able to recognize instantly. Still, he carpet-bombed a lot of forums, chat rooms websites and emailed a ton of people so his name and claims ended up with an internet presence out of all proportion to his actual importance.
Next on the list of Chinese pretenders we have one Mr. Lee Chee Chuan. He is the purveyor of the website for the so-called Imperial Qing Restoration Organization. I say “so-called” because (as his name implies) Lee Chee Chuan, who styles himself as “His Imperial Highness” claims descent from the Tang rather than the Qing dynasty and because, as his website states, his goal is not the restoration of the Qing dynasty but rather, “To officially pass the mandate of heaven from the last ruling Qing dynasty back to Han Chinese dynasty.” On another page it is stated that the goal is to “restore” the Qing Emperor only so that he may abdicate in favor of a Han candidate (presumably Mr. Lee Chee Chuan himself). So, despite the name and their use of the Qing Imperial flag, the Imperial Qing Restoration Organization is not at all about a restoration of the Qing Empire. The website also voices support for the Manchuria independence movement (mentioned below) which would also seem to run contrary to any idea of a full restoration of the Great Qing Empire as it existed prior to the 1911 Revolution. Also, as with the Zhou claimant above, this group is not based in China (for obvious reasons) but rather is headquartered out of Malaysia.
Next we have the, evidently serious, Manchukuo Temporary Government. This rather unique organization, when you boil it down, is simply a Manchurian separatist group which seems to have most of its support in Japan and which lists among its aims the revival of the wartime Japanese model of the “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere”. Now, one could point out that (tragically in my view) the Manchurian people are effectively extinct today and that linking to the expansionist policies of World War II Japan is making a nearly impossible goal even more impossible to attain but if it were only the idea of reviving the Empire of Manchukuo and becoming allies of Japan and so on, I would at least have no objections. However, aside from the appropriation of Manchukuo symbols and history there seems to be very little about this organization that has anything to do with the actual Manchukuo Empire or the Manchurian people at all. One could even argue that they are not even monarchist. Rather than advocate for the restoration of the Manchukuo imperial line (which is different from that of the Great Qing as in Manchukuo the heir of the last Emperor was his brother who was married to a Japanese noblewoman) but rather this group practices democracy as well as advocating it. Originally, oddly enough, they claimed the late last Emperor of China as their Emperor from their founding in 2004 (proclaiming themselves a constitutional monarchy in 2006) but later had elections for a new “Emperor” in 2008. That choice, listed as Aisin-Gioro Hrkit, seems to have lost interest in the project and after being MIA for two years was declared dead by the government in 2010 and after new elections one Aisin-Gioro Sungai was declared “Emperor Yi” of Manchukuo. Most of their officials do not seem to be Asian at all, let alone Manchurian, and one can make of them of what you will. They were enterprising enough to offer anyone Manchukuo citizenship and have passports for sale along with other items so we can also say that, while they may not be anywhere on the Chinese (or Manchu) mainland, capitalism is alive and well with the Manchukuo Temporary Government.
Finally we have the one organization, again not one I would call genuinely monarchist, which does at least claim to operate in China and given their platform that may well be true. That is the Imperial Chinese Court Regency, also known as the Imperial Revival Movement, headed by another pretender claiming to be of noble descent. They are definitely not about restoring the last monarchy to rule in China, nor do they really seem to be about restoring monarchy at all. Rather, they wish to unite all the noble families of the Chinese Empire of the Han nationality to hold the mandate of heaven prior to the fall of the Ming dynasty -so Manchurians need not apply and the Yuan Dynasty does not count either- into a social club existing within and in support of the Chinese Communist Party and the People’s Republic of China. Unlike the previous two organizations mentioned, they are no friends of the Dalai Lama of Tibet and helpfully suggest that he surrender himself to the communist authorities, beg for mercy and then perhaps be restored to a ceremonial position in Tibet. Their goal is to form, from candidates put forward by the assembled dynasties, a collective of rulers whose leader will be elected to the position of ceremonial emperor and upon whose death the leader of another clan will be chosen to succeed him and so on. They claim to support constitutional monarchy for China yet they also support the retention of the People’s Republic of China, which would seem to me to make as much sense as the barefoot boy with shoes on who stood sitting in the grass one cold summer’s day in the middle of the night.