Saturday, March 31, 2012
The Exile of the Dalai Lama
One of the most talked about examples is the actor Richard Gere who was very critical that the U.S. was not “doing more” when George W. Bush was President to stand up to China over Tibet yet has remained silent since his favorite Barack H. Obama has been President despite his much cooler, arms-length dealings with the Dalai Lama in favor of maintaining good relations with China. Gere, a Democrat, seemed much more concerned about Tibet when a Republican was in the White House than he is now. In the same way, many of the same people who champion the cause of Tibet and the Dalai Lama were also effusive in their praise of the ANC in South Africa. But, just as many put U.S. party politics ahead of their concerns over Tibet, it seems he ranks below the African National Congress as well since they were almost completely silent when South Africa refused to allow the Dalai Lama into their country for a planned summit on world peace (after being leaned on by the Chinese of course who have been buying up influence in Africa for years). So, obviously, many of those who pretend to care about the situation in Tibet and the continued exile of the Dalai Lama have support that is barely skin deep, all talk and no action, all form and no substance.
Royal News Roundup
Across the North Sea, in Denmark on Monday HM Queen Margrethe II and HRH Prince Henrik hosted a special gala dinner in honor of TRH the Prince of Wales and Camilla Duchess of Cornwall who were visiting the Kingdom of Denmark this week. Later, the Queen and her Prince Consort attended a gala banquet put on by the Academy Council Foundation at Charlottenborg palace in Copenhagen. In Norway, on Monday, HM King Harald V held a special audience with representatives of the Lion’s Club International at the royal palace. On Tuesday the King attended the closing ceremony of the Gorud Youth Conference in Oslo.
In the Low Countries, HM King Albert II of the Belgians met with the Minister of Public Enterprises, Science Policy and Development Cooperation (trying saying that three times fast) this week. HM Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands attended a special celebration for the 25 anniversary of the National Committee at the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam. In Luxembourg HRH Grand Duke Henri met with the Grand Rabbi of Luxembourg, Mr. Alain Nacache, at the Grand-Ducal Palace.
In southern Europe, on Wednesday TM King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia attended the XXIX Edition of the International Journalism Awards ‘King of Spain’ and the VIII Edition of the Don Quixote Award for Journalism in Madrid. Thursday HM King Juan Carlos I of Spain unveiled a special plaque in the Bosnian town of Moster commemorating the arrival of Spanish forces in the area in 20 years ago as part of the peace-keeping force in Bosnia-Herzegovina. This week also saw TSH Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco in the far north, visiting the Sami community of Norway, donning native costume and going for a reindeer sleigh ride.
Across the world in the Pacific Ocean, on Tuesday the people of Tonga laid to rest the late King George Tupou V at the royal tombs in Mala’e Kula in a traditional 2-hour state funeral attended by thousands of grieving subjects, government officials and the representatives from nations around the world.
Finally, there seems to have been some uproar over the editing of the speech made by HM the Emperor at the commemoration of the 1-year anniversary of the Fukushima earthquake-tsunami disaster. There have been accusations of censorship by the state-run Japanese media and protests by outraged citizens that the words of the Emperor concerning the nuclear disaster were cut out from the pre-recorded re-broadcasts of the event. Of course, I would never be in favor of censoring the Emperor under any circumstances as it seems was done here, though it has not been proven as yet. However, the reaction that I have found just in my own poking around (unfortunately) seems to reinforce why the Japanese government tried to keep certain information from the public for fears of causing mass hysteria. I found a great deal of hysterical shrieking on the subject of radioactive contamination and environmental destruction that seems totally out of proportion to the actual facts. Just to remind everyone, the huge loss of life one year ago was caused primarily by the tsunami, to date NO ONE has died from radiation. People should try to keep that in mind before becoming too hysterical. I would not be wild about having a nuclear reactor in my backyard but I do have high-pressure natural gas pipelines in my backyard (front yard too as it happens) and those could cause quite a disaster as well. The point being that no combustible fuel is ever going to be 100% safe in any and all circumstances. Also, the current Prime Minister of Japan, as well as his predecessor, have implemented the gradual elimination of nuclear energy in Japan. However, before anyone starts celebrating, let me remind everyone as well that as things stand now “green energy” is far from sufficient to meeting the needs of a nation the size of Japan and so the country will simply become entirely dependent on imported oil. It is worth remembering that dependency on foreign fuel sources was a big reason for Japan feeling it vitally necessary to expand her colonial empire in the build-up to World War II. Just something to keep in mind. Overreacting is never a good idea.
Friday, March 30, 2012
Mad Rant: The Republican Illusion
Take someone like myself for example. As I sit here on the Texas-Mexico border, we have yet to hold a primary and the available choices are already down from around 10 candidates to 3 candidates. And, before anyone here has had a chance to vote, we are being told to ignore 2 out of the 3 because Romney already has it in the bag and you would only make things worse by voting for someone else. Also keep in mind that where I live, forget the candidates, I don’t often have even a choice of party. I live in a very predominately Hispanic area that is so heavily and faithfully Democratic territory that for most local offices the Republican Party doesn’t even bother to run candidates. So many people simply vote for whoever has a “D” after their name that the Republicans consider my part of the state a waste of resources to campaign in, so for most local offices ballots have one name beside them -take it or leave it, like it or not, you get whoever the Party chooses to run. Is that what passes for democracy? And I’m sure that in other parts of the state the Republican Party dominates in exactly the same way and if you are a Democrat living in one of those areas you are out of luck.
In a sense, every government anywhere that is or ever has been has been to some extent “democratic” in that people get the government they deserve. No government, no matter how totalitarian it pretends to be, can exist without the support or at least the acceptance of a majority of the people. However, for the most part, countries are governed as their rulers see fit regardless of the popular will. Take the United Kingdom for example, where republican malcontents rail about how “un-democratic” it is to have a hereditary head-of-state rather than an elected one. Yet, the vast majority of laws which govern the modern United Kingdom are made in Brussels by the European Union which is led by a ruling clique and a President that no one in Britain (or any other country) ever voted for. The only people in the EU that are elected have very little power over anything of importance. In fact, in Brussels, the biggest pain in the posterior for the EU ruling elite are those shouting for “freedom and democracy”. It may also be useful to compare the United Kingdom to the current Republic of Italy. In the U.K. the Queen is not elected but has very little power. The Prime Minister is elected and s/he actually governs the country. In Italy the President is elected by Parliament, not by a popular vote of the people, but also has very little power. However, the current Prime Minister of Italy, the man who actually governs, is, in this case, a man who was not elected and, in fact, never elected to any prior office in his life. In which case do the people have more control over their government?
However, the drive persists with the belief in republicanism and democracy assuming an almost religious status. I say “almost” because this belief is a mythology which requires a greater leap of “faith” than even most mainstream religions. Religious figures like Jesus Christ, the Apostles or the Buddha or Confucius are all real people who actually existed and taught people things. In the case of Confucius, his descendants are still alive and well in China today. Yet, when it comes to the republican mentality, people blindly go along thinking that they have “freedom” because they have elections in spite of the fact that governments today, even the most liberal and democratic ones, more heavily regulate the everyday lives of ordinary people than at any other time in history. Everything from the food you eat to the air you breath, the car you drive, the house you live in, even the light bulbs you use are regulated by the State. And the people making these regulations are not like the monarchs of old. They are written by politicians with no vested interest in the welfare of the people or the good of the country, people who are in office for limited period of time and are eager to get what they can while they can and they are influenced by crony capitalists looking to enrich themselves or social activists and other assorted lobbyists with narrow self-interests looking out for number one and no one else.
It is ironic that it is these democratic-republican types who are today the ones at the forefront of pushing for secularism, most likely to call themselves atheists (proudly) and oppose any support for traditional religion while at the same time displaying such mindlessly slavish devotion to their own faith in the “god” of republicanism. “Republicanism is the answer”, they say even though the vast majority of the worst, most arbitrary tyrannies in the world today are republics. “The world needs more democracy” they say, even though democracy has not exactly worked out well on the countries it has recently been imposed upon. You can point out to them the long list of brutal tyrants who gained power via the democratic process, you can point out how un-democratic their most ideal societies and organizations today are and it does not shake their blind faith in their failed “god”. “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity” are their “holy trinity” and they go on applauding and justifying the French Revolution and every other revolution no matter how horrific the consequences. It reminds me of the words of Lady Thatcher who pointed out that, “Human rights did not begin with the French Revolution” and that when it came to, “Liberty, equality, fraternity’ -they forgot obligations and duties I think. And then of course the fraternity went missing for a long time”.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Monarch Profile: King Carol II of Romania
Crown Prince Carol was recalled to the front and became a general in the course of the war, but Romanian entry into the conflict proved disastrous for herself, a drain for the Allies and a great benefit to the Central Powers. The Germans and Austrians were not so weak as everyone had thought and in relatively quick order Romania was overrun and occupied by two German armies. The Royal Family had to abandon Bucharest and the vast mineral wealth of Romania was channeled toward the German war effort. In the end, Romania would be one of the few Allied powers to end up getting everything she had wanted when the final victory came but, for the moment, the war was over and Crown Prince Carol saw no reason why he shouldn’t pursue his own happiness. In August of 1918 he ran off to the Ukraine to marry his sweetheart, the daughter of a Romanian general, to the shock and horror of the court. It was a terribly delicate time for the monarchy as the stunning defeat of the Romanian forces had undermined respect for the Crown and forced King Ferdinand to give up much of his powers in order to keep the monarchy in place. The King was furious with his son, ordered him placed in a monastery and his marriage annulled. That was in his power, but he could not forever keep his son and his beloved apart and in 1920 she gave birth to his son.
It was expected that the Crown Prince had, with that renunciation, effectively ended his ‘royal career’. However, the headstrong Carol fundamentally objected to the entire process. He felt it was unjust that he should have been forced to marry, forced to choose between his birthright and the woman he loved and he felt he had been coerced into making the renunciation. In 1927 King Ferdinand died and, with a regency in place, Carol’s young son became King Michael I of Romania. One year later Carol and Princess Elena formally divorced and Carol spent most of his time traveling abroad with Magda. However, in 1930 he unexpectedly returned to Romania, renounced his earlier renunciation and proclaimed himself King Carol II. The boy-king Michael was effectively deposed by his father who had support among many in the army and those who wanted to see a stronger and more authoritarian monarch. Obviously this was a time of considerable turmoil for the royal family and particularly as he grew older the young King Michael would never forgive his father, not simply for deposing him (he was too young at the time to be terribly ambitious) but for displacing his mother in favor of Magda who was treated in every way as wife.
During these years the Nazi Party had risen to power in Germany and with the western democracies refusing to take action and the Soviet Union focused on expanding in the Baltic states, Hitler began to re-draw much of the map in Eastern Europe through diplomacy and intimidation. After the start of World War II, borders shifted and Hungary, Bulgaria and the Soviet Union all demanded territorial concessions from the “Greater Romania” the Allies had gifted after the First World War. King Carol II was forced to go along with this as the defeat of France and the resulting domination of Europe by Nazi Germany (which at that time had a non-aggression pact with Stalin) left Romania isolated. Naturally, this did nothing to help the popularity of the King in his own country and made him appear weak abroad. With those concessions it seemed that the reign of King Carol II was doomed. It also did not help that Adolf Hitler personally despised the King. In addition to Hitler’s virulent hatred of royalty in general the fact that the King lived with a woman who was (gasp!) half-Jewish infuriated the Nazi dictator all the more.
When Romania entered World War II under Antonescu the former King offered to form a Romanian government-in-exile on the Allied side but Great Britain and the United States opposed such a move. After all, such a government would have doubtlessly clashed with the agreed upon Soviet domination of Eastern Europe after the war. He even made a similar offer to Joseph Stalin but communism and royalty simply do not mix and the Soviets didn’t even bother replying. Romania would be in their sphere of influence in any event and they knew it. Through it all, Magda never left his side. After their marriage in Brazil the former King titled her Princess Elena of Romania but the court around his son, needless to say, never recognized it. The couple had to move more than once because of the effects of climate on Magda’s health, improving only after their move to Portugal. However, it was there that the former King Carol II died, unexpectedly, of a heart attack on April 4, 1953 at the age of 59. He was buried there in Portugal and after her death in 1977 his Princess Elena was buried alongside him. It was not until 2003 that their bodies were removed and transported to Romania for reburial. However, old animosities still remained and neither of his sons attended the ceremony and while he was buried in a royal chapel along with the remains of other, long past, Romanian royals, his wife had to be buried outside as her royal status was not recognized by the family. Even in death, the controversy and divisiveness that characterized the rule of King Carol II of Romania still remained.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
War of 1812 Wednesday, Part I, Causes and Background of the War
To understand the causes of the War of 1812, which was a conflict many in the United States did not want, it is essential to know a little bit of the global politics of the day. During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, following the French Revolution, Napoleon Bonaparte had made France the ruler of continental Europe. The French were able to defeat Spain, Prussia, Austria, Russia and other powers with Great Britain alone holding out because her naval mastery kept Napoleon from invading the British Isles. As a result, both sides declared blockades against each other to bring economic pressure to bear against their enemy. This effected the United States which, as a neutral power, had been making money hand over fist selling supplies to both sides. The United States protested these blockades, but against the naval might of Great Britain, could do very little about it, nor were all Americans sympathetic to the French regime of Napoleon.
The British later apologized for the incident, but the overall situation continued. The United States tried to retaliate by passing the Embargo Act which stopped all foreign trade, and as a result almost ruined the entire economy of the New England states which depended on commerce for their livelihoods. It also hurt southern states which could not sell cotton or tobacco to Britain, virtually shutting off their only income. After 15 months this nonsense was stopped, but none of the other actions taken had any effect either. Moreover, when the United States promised to restore free trade with any nation that lifted her restrictions, Napoleon pretended to do so hoping to incite America to join his war against the British. He would soon get his wish and actions such as this only made Britain view America as not only less than neutral but supportive of the dictator Napoleon and his conquest of Europe.
That same year, negotiations with Britain continued to go nowhere and the aggressiveness of the United States was growing, fueled by a desire for expansion and conquest. President James Madison forbid all trade with Britain and asked the Congress to prepare for war with the British Empire. The country, however, was not united on the subject of war. The so-called "War Hawks" were mostly from the southern and western states under such men as Henry Clay of Kentucky and John C. Calhoun of South Carolina. They were eager most of all for the conquest of Canada. During the American Revolution Canada had been invaded but British and Indian troops under Sir Guy Carleton had defeated the attempt and many in the US were anxious for revenge. National arrogance played a great part in this. Many Americans were so convinced of the superiority of their country and government that they believed the Canadians would welcome their invasion with open arms. One politician, commenting on the weak defenses to the north remarked that the Kentucky militia alone would be enough to conquer Canada. Indeed, with Britain locked in combat with Napoleon, Canada seemed like a huge, undefended prize simply waiting to be taken.
This view was not universal though. Many New England states were totally opposed to a war with Britain. Conquering Canada mattered little to them in comparison to how their economy would be ruined by cutting off all trade with the British Empire. The problems so far had already taken a heavy toll on their businesses and many were not prepared to tolerate conditions becoming any worse. Many people in the US also sympathized with Great Britain carrying on the fight against Napoleon and were not happy with the prospect of effectively entering a world war on the side of a French dictator bent on conquest. The divisions became so heated that the same month war was declared riots broke out in Baltimore against the anti-war Federalists which raged for four months. The War of 1812 was probably the most unpopular war the United States ever fought up until the Vietnam conflict. Yet, as many as there were who opposed the war, there were many more who favored aggressive action against Britain. These people believed in the "Manifest Destiny" of the United States to rule all of North America and war with Britain seemed the perfect way to finally wipe out the British-backed Indians hindering US occupation of the Northwest Territory, grabbing the vast expanses of Canada as well as perhaps taking Florida from Britain's Spanish ally.
Continued next week with "1812 - The First Year"
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Favorite Royal Images: A Roman Emperor
Monday, March 26, 2012
Consort Profile: Empress Xiaozheyi of China
Tongzhi had reigned as the “Son of Heaven” since he was five years old, coming to the Dragon Throne in 1861 but it was his mother who was the real power. When the time came for a bride to be chosen for the Emperor it was Tongzhi himself who insisted on the knock-out book-worm Alute as an ideal bride for himself and certainly few would have disputed the wisdom of such a choice. Alute was equally famous for her great intelligence, her great virtue and character as well as her great beauty. One would have been hard pressed to imagine someone better suited to be an empress. Empress Dowager Cixi, on the other hand, was not so impressed but, nonetheless, on September 15, 1872 Alute formally became Empress consort to Emperor Tongzhi while the other candidates, favored by the Empress Dowager, were given the consolation prize of becoming concubines. However, their lives were to be rather boring as Emperor Tongzhi favored Alute more than any other and spent almost every night with her, hardly, if ever, calling for any of his other concubines. Even as a youth, Tongzhi had a reputation for, shall we say, a great deal of diverse romantic experience, but all that seemed to change with his marriage to Alute and while his mother might have been pleased with that, she was not at all pleased that he was spending all his time with his wife to the neglect of the consorts she favored and he was soon taking some interest in actually ruling China. She didn’t like that either and was inclined to put the blame on his new wife.
Emperor Tongzhi became increasingly bad tempered as well as increasingly ill because of this state of affairs and Empress Alute became more and more depressed, however, she had enough intellect and sufficient will to hold out hope. When she was allowed to tend to her husband her thoughts were always on his recovery and what changes they would make when that time came. Eunuchs reported to the Empress Dowager that Alute often complained about her dominance of the government and interference in her life and that of her husband. Needless to say, the Empress Dowager did not take kindly to this and began to view her daughter-in-law not only as a hindrance to her but as an actual threat and perhaps her son as well, though that was of course blamed on the influence of his over-intelligent wife. Reportedly, the Empress Dowager listened in on one such conversation and then burst into the room in a rage, attacked Alute and ordered her to stay away from the Emperor, having her eunuchs take the Empress away and keep her more or less under guard.
|Empress Dowager Cixi|
Immediately though many believed she had killed herself in despair over her situation and on the advise of her father. However, there are some problems with this story which cause many to doubt it. For one thing, it would have been no small trick for her to get a message out of the Forbidden City to her father without the knowledge of the Empress-Dowager, to say nothing of him being able to freely reply back. If this did happen, was his response authentic? Given how he had always been so close to his daughter it seems at least slightly questionable that he would advise her to take her own life. Likewise, the sudden onset of so terrible an illness has caused some to believe that she had been poisoned, probably on orders from the Empress Dowager who was certainly not above such tactics. The angry reaction of the Empress Dowager to any kind words about Alute would seem to support this theory. Additionally, even if it was simply a death from natural causes, the fact that her food allowance had been cut so dramatically would have weakened her health and made her more susceptible to illness, so the Empress Dowager would still not be totally free from blame in that case. So, what was it? Did she die of natural causes as the court claimed, did she commit suicide or was she poisoned by a spiteful mother-in-law. We may never know for sure and so the true fate of the tragic Empress Alute will likely remain one more of the many secrets held within the massive walls of the Great Within.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Royal News Roundup
Alas, also in an eastern direction, in the Pacific Ocean, as we reported earlier, this week saw the passing of HM King Siaosi Tupou V of the island Kingdom of Tonga who died in hospital in the former Crown Colony of Hong Kong at the age of 63. While other members of the family, including his heir and brother, were at his bedside the Tongan Queen Mother held a special prayer service in Nuku’alofa. The King came to the throne in 2006 amidst a great deal of turmoil between the supporters of the monarchy and those who wished to see it shorn of its powers, and it was because of that trouble that his formal coronation was not held until 2008. Even then it was only after the King had agreed to defer many of his key privileges to the Prime Minister. Later economic troubles and continued agitation by “pro-democracy” groups obliged the King to give up most of his sources of income, and make no mistake about it -that matters a great deal. Look at the British monarchs after King George III or the penultimate King of Italy; when monarchs lose their economic independence from the government, they frequently become sidelined. Hopefully, slim as that hope may be, the new King of Tonga will reduce this trend and continue to provide real leadership for his people and country.
Just imagine, if these people had their way, the U.K. could be just like the Federal Republic of Germany with their disgraced, scandal-ridden President or perhaps the Italian Republic where an elected President with no power appoints a Prime Minister with extensive powers who no one in the country ever voted for at all. Maybe they would be lucky enough to have someone as powerful and democratic as the President of France whose only reaction to a bloody rampage by the terrorist Mohamed Merah was to crack down on what people do on the internet -and lawyers doubt he can even do that. Or, maybe the U.K. would be as fortunate as the United States where every four years people go into hysterics about how the entire fate of the universe hangs on “this” election and people get divided up into warring camps that always seem on the verge of open violence against each other and with every election ending with roughly half of the country positively hating the leader of their country. And remember, that’s the republic with the “best” track record. Still, as a friend of Britain, I should also give a word of friendly warning to the British people, if they ever become so separated from their senses as to embrace republicanism, you should be prepared for an absolutely monumental tidal wave of arrogant, self-satisfied smugness as such the world has never seen from the shores of the United States that though it may have taken a couple hundred years, you have finally admitted that “America was right” all along. Just be prepared for it.
Friday, March 23, 2012
Defending the Spanish Empire
We also cannot avoid the racial aspect. This presents some uncomfortable facts and, in a way, does not paint a very good picture for the advocates of racial integration. The Spanish Empire led to the birth of an entirely new ethnic group unseen on such a scale elsewhere, certainly in the British Empire. Although there was always some mixing, for the most part, British colonists kept themselves segregated from the native populations in America, Africa, India or Australia. They also brought over more families (women included) to their New World colonies. The Spanish, largely, did not do this and the Spanish settlers who did come had no hesitation about mixing with the natives. The result was the mestizo ethnicity, originally a half-European, half-native mix but with the native becoming more dominant over time due to their greater numbers. This ethnic group is by far the dominant majority in Latin America and they tend to more closely identify with their native roots than their Spanish ancestry. This has led to some exaggerated nostalgia for the pre-Columbian civilizations in addition to the lingering hostility toward Spain. Again, this hostility is misdirected.
Spain is often criticized for the destruction of the native civilizations of Latin America such as the Incas and the Aztecs, with the Aztecs probably being the most famous. This is unfair, to some extent at least, for two basic reasons. In the first place, one cannot blame an entire nation for the misdeeds of a few. It is also often forgotten that, when Columbus was first dispatched on his famous voyage of discovery, Queen Isabella was adamant that the natives not be enslaved or mistreated but were to be regarded as free peoples “for as such they are”. It is also often forgotten that, initially, such as in Mexico with the Aztecs, the Spanish tried to work through the native leadership. Contrary to popular belief, Montezuma II was not the last Aztec emperor, nor was he even the next-to-the-last. It is also true that the Spanish did not arrive in the New World and immediately carry out a campaign of genocide to wipe out the native people. The vast majority of natives who died did so as a result of disease. Was it the Spanish who brought these new diseases? Yes, but it was inadvertent and the spreading of disease was something even Europeans didn’t fully understand at the time.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Monarchist Profile: Jose Maria Gutierrez de Estrada
|General Santa Anna|
Like many, all of this had an impact on the worldview of Gutierrez de Estrada. The United States was expanding and growing more powerful. Gutierrez advised strengthening Mexico’s position by becoming more closely allied with the nations of Europe and Central America. However, no long-term policy was ever possible because of the chronic instability in Mexico City. No government could ever get much done since, no sooner had one strongman gained the presidency than he was overthrown by another and so on and so on in seemingly endless succession. Gutierrez felt this particularly when he was sent as ambassador to Great Britain to prevent the British from recognizing the Republic of Texas and to oppose American annexation of Texas (the event which ultimately sparked the disastrous Mexican-American War). However, Gutierrez was unable to get anywhere in this mission because he had barely arrived in Britain when the government that sent him was overthrown and replaced by another. The conservative President Anastasio Bustamante offered him the position of Foreign Minister but Gutierrez turned it down, being thoroughly disgusted with the state of affairs in Mexico and convinced that only a firmly established monarchy could save his country from the chaos of republicanism.
He had, during his many years of exile lobbying, suggested numerous princes for the Mexican throne, one of them being the Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian. When the French Emperor Napoleon III finally came around to the idea, he enlisted Gutierrez in persuading the young Hapsburg to accept the Mexican Crown. This Gutierrez did with his usual determination, pleading, promising and impressing upon the Archduke that he was the only man who could save Mexico from total ruin and disaster. With the victory of the liberal party in Mexico Gutierrez was joined by other Mexican monarchists such as the venerable General Juan Almonte who joined in the chorus. When Maximilian at last let it be known that he would consent it was Jose Maria Gutierrez de Estrada that spoke for the Mexican delegation that came to Miramar to formally offer him the throne. His words were intense and powerful:
“Prince: The powerful hand of a generous monarch [referring to Napoleon III] had hardly restored liberty to the Mexican nation, when he dispatched us to Your Imperial Highness … Without you, Prince -believe it from these lips which have never yet served the purpose of flattery- without you, all our efforts to save the country will be in vain … May it please Your Imperial Highness to fulfill our prayers and accept our choice. May we be enabled to carry the joyous tidings to a country awaiting them in longing anxiety.
“These are the sentiments which in the name of our grateful country we lay at the feet of Your Imperial Highness. We offer them to the worthy scion of that powerful dynasty which planted Christianity on our native soil. On that soil, Prince, we hope to see you fulfill a high task, to mature the choicest fruits of culture, which are order and true liberty. The task us great, but greater is our confidence in Providence.”
|Gutierrez offers Maximilian the Crown of Mexico|
As we know, Maximilian said he would accept if a referendum showed that the Mexican people truly desired him and this the French forces quickly organized. Once that was done Gutierrez again led the formal delegation in offering Maximilian the crown, which he finally accepted. Gutierrez was the first to drop to his knees, take the hand of the Archduke and shout, “God save His Majesty Maximilian I! God save Her Majesty Charlotte, Empress of Mexico!” The others quickly joined in the cheer. On their way to Mexico the Imperial couple stopped in at Rome to call on Pope Pius IX and stayed at the palace which was Gutierrez’ home in exile. When the Pontiff returned the visit Gutierrez had tears running down his face as Pius IX stepped inside his home. The loyal Mexican did not accompany his new sovereign back to his homeland, saying that with the establishment of the monarchy the great work of his life was accomplished and that he wished to retire.
Emperor Maximilian still named him as his personal representative to the courts of Europe. However, the ever more reactionary Gutierrez was sometimes disturbed by the news that reached him from Mexico. Like many in the staunchly conservative camp, he was inclined to believe that Maximilian was being far too soft on his republican enemies and did not go far enough in restoring the preeminent position of the Catholic Church in Mexico. Nonetheless, he was confident that he had done all he could do and that the future of Mexico would be brighter for his many years of effort. Because of that it is, perhaps, fortunate that he did not live to see the monarchy he worked so hard to restore come crashing down. Jose Maria Gutierrez de Estrada passed away in Paris in 1867, shortly become the Second Mexican Empire came to an end and Emperor Maximilian met his own tragic fate.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Mad Rant: Learning from History
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!
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.
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.
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!
Subscribe to: Posts (Atom)