Friday, May 2, 2014
On the Legitimacy of Monarchs
I say that because, even in the days when actual Jacobites were still alive, men who had actually fought with “Bonnie Prince Charlie”, they recognized then that times were changing and the temper of society was not as it had been in the past. Many came to America and settled in the piedmont of North Carolina. When the American War for Independence broke out, there was no talk from these men of “German Georgie” but rather they rallied to the Crown and in support of King George III, recognizing that the monarchy under a different royal relation than they would have preferred, was far better than supporting godless republicanism. The Jacobites had, in a way at least, been fighting for the “Divine Right” but more or less since the victory of King William III, the Crown ruled by the right of Parliament. However, the American rebels were denying any right for a Crown at all, further than that, they were denying even a place for any Crown at all in national life. This was, obviously, something no Jacobite would find it easy to tolerate. If the people had turned against the very idea of monarchy; how on earth could they be expected to understand the significance of royal bloodlines and dynastic legitimacy?
Next we come to the Carlists who are a very unique case to say the least of it. Here was a group of legitimists who lost the war, lost many wars in fact only to finally have their cause prevail in the end at which point they refused to accept victory and resumed the war (though only in words and mostly confined to the internet these days). In some ways, the Carlists remind me of the pro-Orange majority of the Church of England back in 1688. They were a church that existed only because of the principle of non-resistance to royal authority that was arguing that the church must resist the royal authority. Similarly, the Carlists were absolute monarchists who were driven to rebellion by the actions of the last absolute monarch of Spain, King Fernando VII, who declared his daughter rather than his brother to be his heir and successor. However, he did not do this by the traditional legal process but simply decreed it on his own absolute authority and so, after his death, the Carlists rebelled against his daughter and proclaimed his brother Don Carlos to be the true King of Spain. For myself, I have no doubts that the Carlists were on the side of the angels in their cause, however, one could make a legitimate case that, after a certain point, they were doing Spain more harm than good by continuing on rather than seeking some sort of reconciliation. Eventually, the country went to ruin, the empire fell away and even if they had been militarily successful, the Carlist heir would have had far less of a realm to rule as a result of the long succession of wars.
However, as we know, that was not the end of it as there are still people claiming to be Carlists and in opposition to the existing Spanish monarchy in spite of the fact that King Juan Carlos is the undisputed, senior male descendant of King Carlos IV. Like him or not, he is the legitimate King of Spain, period, end of discussion. The problem is that the modern-day neo-Carlists started changing the standards by which they judged royal legitimacy. With the death of the Duke of San Jaime, it ceased to be based on bloodline legitimacy and became all about religious and political ideology. Of course, even in that they could not agree with themselves and broke up into communist and anti-communist factions (as absurd as that seems) and it basically came down to “the legitimate heir is whoever we think is best”. Now, obviously, one does not have to be much of a monarchist to see that this is a mentality totally at odds with the very idea of hereditary monarchy and which is much more akin to some sort of republicanism. It no longer is accepting whomever Heaven shall provide and turns into accepting whoever I think is best. And, just like in Britain, these neo-Carlists (aside from the leftist lunatics) aid the republican cause by attacking their monarch and monarchy at every opportunity seemingly oblivious to the fact that Spanish society is about as far from being staunchly monarchist and traditional Catholic as one can possibly be. To the extent that they acknowledge it all, they blame it all on the King. This is absurd and unfair and it is easy to see why.
It is also a fact that the Falange, the National Movement, was never solidly monarchist and traditional in the first place. Originally, the Falange was, in fact, staunchly republican and, I would argue, some of their more left-leaning and populist policies probably helped the Spanish public get to the point that it is today. It was very modernist and revolutionary but those parts were simply pushed aside after the rise to prominence of Franco who was not a political ideologue but simply a monarchist and traditional conservative. It was Franco who basically forced the Falangists and Carlists together into one movement (the regionalism of the Carlists also being forced to give way to national unity just as certain elements of the Falange program had to give way to accommodate the alliance). So, to sum up, Spain has come a very long way since the days of absolute monarchy and wars over bloodline legitimacy. The legitimate monarch is on the throne of Spain and tearing him down will not bring the old Spain back. The only options available for that are the same options that have always been available; coercion or persuasion of which the only realistic option is persuasion. That means defeating your enemies in the voting booth which can only be done by converting society to a more traditional way of thinking because if the King of Spain falls the result will not be the emergence of another Franco but the emergence of a (God forbid) Third Spanish Republic.
In explaining some of the myriad of dynastic disputes to one perplexed person, I was asked why everyone else in the world could not be like Japan; just have one monarchy, one dynasty and no arguments about it. My reply was that we all could but it would require doing something that few people, even some monarchists, seem able to do which is to regard the monarch as sacred and inviolable. If you like and agree with the monarch, wonderful, if not; blame the advisors, blame the politicians, pull the whole world down around the monarch if you like, but the monarch must remain sacrosanct and above all such things. What the world needs right now is a change in values, a change in the heart and in attitude and if that happens, political change will follow naturally and genuinely. I would encourage everyone to push for and strive for and argue for a more traditional society, a return to basic common sense and natural law but I would also urge everyone to not assist the republicans by making an enemy of any monarch but rather display a steadfast loyalty and devotion that is stronger than any passing trends of social fashion.