Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mad Rant: Learning from History

As someone who is a history lover I am constantly frustrated by both the endless arguments over history and the failure of so many people to learn anything from it. Sadly, it often seems true that, “The only thing we learn from history is that we never learn anything from history”. First, there are the arguments and endless debates over it. Consider this: today science is probably the one thing upheld above all else as being sacrosanct and beyond question. How many times have you heard the phrase “you can’t argue with science”. To a degree this is true. Science is a way of explaining and understanding the natural world and there are certain laws in nature that cannot be disputed. Argue about gravity all you want but if you drop a hammer it will still fall. However, especially in the advanced scientific studies of our time, much of it involves things that are microscopic, things no average person can see, touch, taste or smell for themselves. Given that, I am often surprised that there are not even more arguments about science. History on the other hand, is constantly argued about, it is “a set of lies agreed upon” as someone (I think Napoleon) once said. Yet, taken on its own, history is something that should never be argued about. It is simply what happened, it cannot be changed and should be evident to all. We live it every day.

However, it seems we love to argue about history mostly because we never want to admit when we have made a mistake. This was not always the case, but it certainly is so today and drives me up the wall. The constant, willful ignorance on daily display absolutely staggers the imagination. Monarchists should feel this particularly deeply because history is on our side. When you look at history and see what happened, nothing could be more obvious than that the world should be embracing monarchy joyfully and gratefully. When the British monarchy fell they got a military dictatorship under Oliver Cromwell who made practically everything illegal. When the French monarchy fell they got the Reign of Terror, when the German and Austrian monarchies fell they ultimately got Hitler, when the Russian monarchy fell they ultimately got Stalin, when the Chinese monarchy fell they got the bloodiest civil war in history and then Chairman Mao, when the Iraqi monarchy fell they ended up with Saddam Hussein and the list goes on and on and on. On every continent, with very few exceptions, the story is always the same. Moreover, it is not as though people got rid of their monarchies and ended up with something that was a little worse, it was almost always *infinitely* worse. You would think, after even just one or two of those examples, the people as a whole would have caught on by now!

You can see the same thing in other areas. When it comes to politics, outside of monarchy I’m not very strident. It seems to me that it should be pretty simple; try things until you find what works and then do that. Look around, see what works for others and if something doesn’t work -stop doing it; if it does work -do more of it. One area I do get rather passionate about is when dealing with socialists and/or communists (most of the communists of history were actually socialists as they never survived long enough to make it to actual communism). I have often screamed at the bickering politicians on my TV screen, “WHY ARE WE STILL ARGUING ABOUT THIS?!?!” Attention all socialists and/or communists! Attention! This has been tried! Look at Cuba, look at North Korea, look at the Soviet Union, I could name a long list of examples: IT DOESN’T WORK!!! The evidence of history is obvious and yet, constantly, year after year, hordes of people, like so many lemmings, keep scurrying like mad toward that same old cliff.

I am really at a loss to understand it. When I was in college I, like most people, had almost exclusively socialist professors but one at least was honest enough to be open about it. He was a card-carrying Marxist and made no effort to hide the fact that he was out to convert others to the “red religion”. I put it to him, if Marxism was so great and the answer to all the ills in life, why were the people in Soviet Russia so poor? Why was East Germany so vastly worse off than West Germany? Why is South Korea a veritable paradise compared to the 1984-brought-to-life nightmare that is North Korea? His only answer was, of course, that in all of these countries (and more) they just had not implemented Marxism properly. They just didn’t really understand it and do it right. I could not restrain myself from pointing to the absurdity of the notion that in all the schools and universities in all of the Soviet Union, Red China, the Communist bloc and so on with all of their millions of disciples, in all of that, none of them had managed to figure out what this one professor of geography on the Mexican border had. Seriously? It’s, it’s just mind boggling … absolutely mind boggling.

Take a long look at China right now and the communist-bandit government that sits in Peking pretending to have legitimacy. The Chinese have at least been sensible enough to see that the path of Maoism was a pathway to extinction, though they still wave the red flag and the massive portrait of the Chairman still hangs over the Tiananmen Gate. Today socialists all over the western world (where economies are collapsing like dominos because of their “egalitarian” policies) nearly wet themselves with excitement over the “success” of the state-run economy of Red China. Look at the rate of growth, they say, look at how the PRC is poised to become the new economic superpower in the world. Yeah, okay, calm down comrade Sparky, a great deal of the “success” of Red China is a charade, though I will repeat again that they are not as suicidally stupid as many in the west seem to be. Nonetheless, there is still widespread poverty in the interior and in the countryside of China and the statistics showing growth all come from the government which has a vested interest in appearing successful. They are flushed with pride at merely coming within sight of a somewhat comparable standard of living to western, First World countries on the part of a relatively small segment of their own society.

Because of this, many people seem to think the gang of criminals in Peking is doing everything right and that they are the example to follow. This is only possible because the bar has dropped so low. Anyone willing to take an honest look at history in China would note that there was a time when, forget a few coming close to the average of western Europe, China was far, far beyond Europe and every other corner of the world in prosperity, social stability, education and scientific and technological innovation. Of course, that was back when the traditional Chinese imperial system was still going strong. Am I saying you absolutely cannot have one without the other? Not exactly, but that is how it worked out. That IS a fact of history. It should at least make people stop and think: “Under our traditional system, which we developed ourselves and which was adapted to our own culture, values and customs, we achieved the peak of our civilization and were the most advanced empire on earth. Under this new system we have to kill and enslave people to maintain order and have lost tens of millions to starvation. Hmmm…maybe we were a little hasty in ditching the imperial system to embrace a foreign ideology totally alien to our civilization.” It’s worth thinking about.

I know people probably get tired of monarchists pointing to the failure of the Weimar Republic in Germany and the provisional government in Russia and the eventual rise of Hitler and Stalin but that’s only because their presence in the world so blatantly illustrates what a blunder it was to abolish those two monarchies. Any rational person would think that just one ‘Joseph Stalin’ would be enough to put people off the idea of overthrowing their monarchy or at least think really long and hard about the potential consequences. The man butchered tens of millions of people -intentionally! Given that so many of the deaths in China were due to starvation because of idiotic policies, it is quite possible that Stalin intentionally killed more people than any other figure in history. That shouldn’t be something we easily shrug off. Furthermore, it wasn’t *just* Stalin, it was also Hitler, Pol Pot, Kim Il Sung, Mao Zedong, Ho Chi Minh, Idi Amin, Ayatollah Khomeini, Saddam Hussein, Colonel Qaddafi and so on and so on (and so on). The historical record is pretty clear folks. Yeah, I know, there was George Washington and pals but even after a couple hundred years of history the American experience remains the exception rather than the rule. In fact, most countries that have intentionally tried to copy the American model as closely as possible have failed miserably so something tells me there was more to it than simply having the right political “formula”.

So, what is it? Why can’t people see what is right in front of their face? Why, after Cromwell, is there even a single republican in any English-speaking country? Why, after the Reign of Terror, has France returned to the vomit of republicanism time and time again? If the long list of genocidal tyrants, terrorists and even a cannibal or two is not enough to shock people back to their senses, what on earth is it going to take?! It seems so blatantly obvious that I must be mad indeed if what I see so plainly remains unseen to the majority of the rest of the world. Surely this is not some great secret? After all, when republicans are pressed to name a truly terrible monarch, most must reach back centuries in time, some over a thousand years if they want to dig up someone like Caligula or Nero. Monarchists, on the other hand, can point to a horde of contemporary examples in the world around us today and a long list of even worse examples going back only a few decades of truly horrible leaders of republics. It is also true that whereas most monarchists recognize the few truly terrible royal figures of history and do not celebrate them at all, there are (and I really can’t believe my eyes at times like this) still people in Russia who march under portraits of Stalin!

This alone is enough to make me a reactionary and totally reject the Whig version of history. If mankind were constantly improving over time, one Reign of Terror would have been sufficient to learn the lesson. One Mao should have been enough to make every country cling to their monarchy with passionate devotion. That this has not been the case speaks quite ill for the “enlightened” nature of mankind. It is a wonder any royal would even want the position of reigning over a country in this day and age. Who would want to pick up the burden of Charles I, Louis XVI, Maximilian of Mexico of saintly Nicholas II and ‘reap their old reward: the blame of those they better, the hate of those they guard’, “The cry of hosts ye humor, (Ah, slowly!) toward the light: -Why brought ye us from bondage, Our loved Egyptian night?” Yet, so many do, believing the same utopian lies, repeating the same mistakes, suffering the same disastrous fates and yet doing it all over and over again. We can only carry on sounding the alarm, and this we must do, but the famous sheer ignorance of people in large groups never ceases to make me a very alarmed, very frustrated and very - Mad Monarchist.

7 comments:

  1. When People find out that I am a monarchist, they invariably bring up King Henry VIII or King George III as an example of "Why I'm wrong".

    I did, however, manage to get a leftwing democrat to admit that the King George III was a scapegoat during the American revolution..

    As she said, "Every movement needs a focal point for their rage."

    Said I, "What about the Prime minister and parliament? If any problems existed, they were the fault of Parliament, not the King."

    For some reason people have trouble understanding the principle that insanity is defined by repeating failed activities with the expectation of different results each time.

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  2. The fact that Leftist don't want to acknowledge what monsters people like Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Ect actually were. Is because deep down they know that is where their policies, if implemented, will take the country, it happens every time No exceptions.

    Another reason for Tyranny success is the divided, purposely ignorant masses, in democracy you have too many ungrateful people to make the system work, and the dumbing down of society is one reason why they reject Monarchy, even though as you have said Monarchy is the best form of government through out time.

    Lets look at countries like Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Japan, Look how internally stable they are, they have a single unifying country, culture and language, with a Monarch to help give the people focus. Now lets look at China, Libya, Egypt, France, Hell even the Untied States, You have Civil War, Famine, inequality, Internal instability, (France is in its 5th Republic now?) Hell the United States is falling apart at the seems with our Kleptocracy in-charge and sowing the seeds of discontent.

    Why these countries have not clinged to their Monarchy I will never know. we must fight back the leftists and say to their faces "I am a proud Reactionary!"

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  3. Oh, but we do learn from history, sir. Not just that we don't learn from history.

    To paraphrase A.J.P. Taylor, we learn from the mistakes of the past how to make new ones.

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  4. Magnificent post, MM. One only has to emerge from the London underground on a saturday afternoon to have the same lunatic leaflets thrust into your hand by the same lunatic fanatics who, as you rightly summize, cannot accept the failure of their own political philosophy. Here in the UK, most leftist activists are from comfortable middle and upper middle class backgrounds. Their feelings of self loathing find a welcome home within these marxist lunatic brigades, internalising personal inadequecies and lashing out at the society which has given them every opportunity imaginable. These people are not just ignorant of history and in complete self denial, they are also spoiled brats.

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  5. I have said this in the past, but will repeat it here.

    The reason people argue over History is simply because History is the narrative that embodies their beliefs. It serves to justify the positions they hold to.

    Republicanism and Monarchism are both ultimately religious Ideas. Irrespective of how much one says they have no Religion, everyone has a Religion, for Religion is not “ belief in, and reverence of, gods and supernatural powers”, and in the end more time and words are spilled over how Religion teaches us Morality and ethics and how we live than over belief in a god. This is important, because ultimately Religion is a set of beliefs about the nature of our existence, that tells us who we are, where we came from, and how we should live. The entire Modern Republican Philosophy is ties to an explicit understanding of man that was formulated in the Enlightenment by thinkers like John Locke or jean Jacques Rousseau. Monarchism is rooted in tradition and in an Ancient understanding of what it means to be Human, and what sort of creature we are, and how we should live, but is not as well defined as Modern Republicanism because it is so Ancient and primal. In a way so is Republicanism, if you included things like the Roman Republic or other Ancient Republics, but let’s face it modern Republics, including America, are not really the same thing as Rome was.

    All religions teach a set of moral and ethical values and cultural precepts, which move from being abstractions by way of a shared Mythology. By Mythology here I don’t mean “made up story”, I mean a story that transcends the context of the story and that embodies a Timeless Truth.

    Thus, while I shy away from the term “Christian Mythology’ because modern Atheists use the term to depict Christianity as a fiction or as equivalent to Greek Myths and thus not Real, the term is apt in this context as Christians follow the Life of Jesus of Nazareth, and other Biblical Figures, as more than just History, but as reflective of a Higher, Timeless Ideal we should use to model our own lives around.

    The same exists for Republicanism.

    The general, shared Republican narrative is that greedy, arrogant layabout Lords and all powerful, cruel Monarchs ruled over an oppressed people. The people were poor and had nothing, but worked tirelessly for scraps whilst being heavily taxed to finance the lavish lifestyles of the Aristocracy and Monarchy, who only exploited the workers to empower themselves, and didn’t care for the masses. The people had no rights and were mere slaves, living miserable lives of crass servitude under the heavy oppressions of these horrid Elites, until brave men rose up to overthrow them, in the name of the People, and the people followed them in Revolution to cast down the Evil of oppressive Kings, and realised that Monarchy itself was the problem and produced these ills. They realised that the true power always lay in the People, and the People are the only Truly legitimate Authority, so a Government of, for, and by the People is built.

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  6. This general narrative, and the Narrative of Democracy being the only way we can be Free, and all other systems of Government removing our Rights, has been broadly accepted as Dogma, so much so that Democracy is now seen as a Synonym for freedom. To merely say something is not Democratic is to say it is an oppressive Dictatorship. It has also become generally accepted, despite the complete lack of evidence and plenty to oppose it, that merely by being a Democracy a society will become culturally similar to America or Europe, and embrace the same Ideas westerners have.


    It’s so engrained that we as a society now naturally favour the revolutionary, and apply this general narrative not only to the American or French Revolution, but to virtually all Revolutions. This was basically the same framework of a Narrative used when Mubarack was being ousted by the recent Egyptian Revolution, for example, and was the Narrative offered when the Shah in Iran was overthrown. The fact that after it became apparent that an American or European style society would not form and that the Government that did form was actually worse than the one that came before it didn’t really dissuade people from this, because they still try to interpret the events via the lens of the narrative. Hey are now saying that Egypt has lost its Democracy and Democracy must be restored, and the History of Iran is now interpreted as “One strong man replaced another” with no deeper analysis needed since it was decades ago.

    The point is, people see the world via their narratives and paradigms and when information contradicts this, rather than simply follow the logic they choose to either ignore the new data or spin it so that it fits somehow into the structured models they already use. It is rare for people to actually question the paradigm they employ in understanding the world and much more often they prefer to try to fit everything into the existing structure instead.

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  7. The last paragraph makes a lot of sense. It is seen in the history of science, time and time again. Like the Sun revolves around the world and the Earth is flat. Yet this was known to be false from before the building of Stonehenge.

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