Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Do None Harm

A new year is a new beginning but, for most people, also a time to look back and take stock of where we are and how we came to be "here". As stated in my overview of 2012, I think the Diamond Jubilee and the many royal visits connected to it, helped just nudge the monarchist cause over into positive territory. Some, I know, will say that displays an Anglophile prejudice on my part, but they would be wrong. It is simply a fact that the House of Windsor (formerly known as Saxe-Coburg-Gotha) is more important to the pan-monarchist cause than most simply because the head of that house happens to reign over many countries and so anything that causes an upsurge in popularity for HM Queen Elizabeth II and her family is a positive thing not just for the British monarchy but also for all the other Commonwealth Realms over which Her Majesty reigns. The only other monarchies that I would say have a wider significance today would be those which are remarkable for the great lengths of their existence. It would be downright earth-shattering, for example, if things were to go badly for the monarchy of Denmark which has a longevity unmatched amongst the crowns of Europe. And, outside of Europe, if the monarchy were to ever fall in Japan, well, to quote an old song, "Turn out the lights, the party's over".

The past year has certainly seen plenty of bad news for monarchies. I have been most distressed by events in Spain. The Kingdom of Sweden is also of great concern but it seems whenever things there get too bad there has been some good news, like a marriage or a royal birth, to regain the good graces of the public. There is also the case of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan where things are looking worse than at any point in at least my own memory and the downfall of the monarchy there could have dire consequences for many, many peoples far beyond the Jordanian borders. Likewise, where some hope exists for the restoration of monarchy, things seem stuck in neutral. Polls are taken which return positive results but these are never acted on (probably because of those positive results but, then again, I have a suspicious nature wherever politicians are concerned). I have often been asked how a monarchy can be restored these days and the usual answer is by the existing political process, such as a referendum and/or constitutional amendment(s). Personally, I do not like monarchies ever being subject to referendums, plebiscites or even opinion polls, but this is the world we live in and so there are ultimately only two options: politics or politics by other means and I'm sure everyone knows what I mean by that and I don't see that being a possibility anywhere at the moment.

The first thing to remember about monarchies being restored is that such a thing is so rare as to be considered almost impossible to anyone living in a monarchy. That doesn't mean monarchists should ever give in, it just means that if you have a monarchy you must support it to the hilt and don't quibble or become lax or lazy because in most cases, once it is gone it is gone forever. You must consider it a life or death struggle because that is certainly how the enemy views it. If you don't believe me, just consider how many times monarchies have been replaced by republics that were either single-party republican dictatorships or by democracies which quickly adopted constitutional amendments to forbid any royal restoration. You can vote for any party, no matter how deplorable, but a royalist one and you can legally change your country to anything, even a Marxist police-state, but not even the most ceremonial sort of constitutional monarchy. Every crown strikes mortal terror into the hearts of republicans, and if you don't believe me, look at the blowhards of the news media even in the United States when they have to discuss the Royal Family (and oddly enough, you can just say "The" Royal Family in the USA and everyone will automatically know which one you are talking about).

The two most prominent royal restorations in recent decades have been in Cambodia and Spain and neither of those are really examples one could easily follow. In Cambodia the monarchy was restored after a foreign country invaded, toppled the genocidal communist dictator then in power, after which the country came under the rule of the UN which allowed a referendum that came back in favor of restoring HM King Norodom Sihanouk to his rightful throne (and who we just lost this last year). In Spain it was a little easier, the monarchy basically being restored by the command of Generalissimo Francisco Franco and later confirmed by the public with the government making it clear that HM King Juan Carlos reigned by legal, ancient right and not by the will of any one person. An important point though is that in both of these cases there was not an entrenched republican system in place at the time these votes were held.  Going farther back into history there are more examples but, in those cases, voting seldom had anything to do with restorations but rather it came down to the military support of other monarchies back when monarchy was the rule rather than the exception when it came to government. Such is sadly no longer the case and, as I have often lamented, even where monarchies still exist today, they often have a republican mentality within a monarchist structure so that even when monarchies like those in the NATO alliance intervene overseas they do not press for constitutional monarchy in the same way the USA or others press for constitutional republics. Indeed, they often join in.

This brings me to my main point for today that I wish all monarchists would accept and which I wish monarchies around the world would have taken up long ago and that is the promise to "do none harm". It seems simple doesn't it? Yet, so many times, it seems many leaders in monarchies and even monarchs themselves have found it difficult. If Europe had adopted such an attitude, there would have been no First World War (and thus more unlikely that there would have been a second). If France had adopted such an attitude there might be no United States today (oops!) or, let us say, perhaps the United States would be a little bit different and have a Viceroy rather than a President. It pains me to say it but the USA has directly or indirectly accomplished or aided in the downfall of a number of monarchies and efforts at restoration. Without the United States there might today be a monarchy in Mexico, a Kingdom of Hawaii, the Philippines and Cuba might (just might mind you) still share a monarchy with Spain and Laos, Vietnam and Manchuria might all have their own monarchies and Korea might still be united under a monarch (albeit a Japanese one). And, again, if monarchies would at least agree to do each other no harm, World War I and thus World War II and thus the era of de-colonization might have all been avoided and royal governments would still be the norm rather than the rarity around the world today.

All I am saying by all of this is that it would be nice if there was just a little bit more solidarity amongst the monarchies of the world, especially as they are becoming an increasingly endangered species. One of the few monarchs to recognize this in his own time was the late German Kaiser Wilhelm II who fumed that the crowned heads of Europe should have come together to oppose the United States over the war with the Kingdom of Spain and who was astounded that the King of England and Tsar of Russia should have allied with republican France against Imperial Germany. I also think of it when I consider how the British and Austrian ambassadors were so sad to see their countries going to war in 1914 when there was absolutely no reason or justification for doing so. Today, the monarchies of the world do not have much of a voice on the world stage, having been surpassed (largely because of the world wars) by republican powers like the United States and (increasingly) China but it would still be nice if they would stick up for their own kind more and be as proud of their own system of government as republicans are of their own (though God knows why).


  1. I could not agree with you more! Excellent thoughts MM. Maybe a royal coup or two on the continent and in the UK might clean things up a bit in that direction. Of course then again it might just backfire and bring those monarchies down. It seems one place to start is in the realm of education. The historical value of monarchy must be recovered in the understanding of future generations.

    1. But that is the problem. The best backing for monarchy outside of religion is in history. However, governments and academia today intentionally minimize or water down history and try to make it look as dull as possible, not teaching it as a thing to learn lessons from but rather as some quaint and irrelevant collection of information.

  2. If there is going to be an occasion in which monarchies protect each other from eventual extinction, now is the time. For too long, monarchs have usually been acting in the interest of their countries as their first priorities and attacked one another to increase their own hereditary inheritance of territories despite having family ties. In World War I, Britain should not had gone to war against Germany.

    The only time I remember a monarchy being taken down by a referendum was in Italy in 1946 (the one in Vietnam was an obvious fraud). Other than that, republicans and other enemies of monarchy always use violent force and absurd lies to accomplish their malicious goal. If we decide to use the same method as the republicans, then it might be valid to say that we are no better than them. But, if we don't, I still don't know how we could win or survive forever.

    1. The Italian one was also extremely fraudulent, even more so than Vietnam considering what "free" and "democratic" countries controlled the referendum...


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