Thursday, January 31, 2013
Monarch Profile: Sultan Ali Shah of Terengganu
At the time, however, with the inevitable difficulties of war, the reign of Sultan Ali Shah went forward with ‘business as usual’ as much as possible. The only major change came on October 18, 1943 when the administration of Terengganu was transferred, in name at least, to the Kingdom of Thailand. This was due to the treaty negotiated between the Empire of Japan and the Thai government of Marshal Plaek Pibulsonggram by which Thailand cooperated with the Japanese campaign in Southeast Asia in exchange for four border regions, including Terengganu, from Malaysia. This was, of course, significant, but it is possible to make too much of it. It was mostly a shifting of legal responsibility from the Japanese authorities to those of Thailand, however, in Terengganu very little changed. Japan and Thailand were both in agreement that Sultan Ali Shah was the legitimate monarch and he would continue to govern his own people to the same extent as he had before and it is not as though the area had been totally independent previously. In effect, it was simply that instead of the King of Malaysia (or even the King of Great Britain) the area would be under the jurisdiction of the King of Thailand.
On November 5, 1945 the 13-member State Council, with British backing, declared Sultan Ali Shah deposed and named Tengku Ismail as the new Sultan of Terengganu as Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah though he was not formally enthroned until 1949. Officially, the British said this was because of the cooperation of Sultan Ali Shah with the Japanese. The British army also expressed their official disapproval of his divorce of his wife (the daughter of the Sultan of Abu Bakar of Pahang) and remarriage to a woman of dubious background. Rumors also spread of the debts and poor character of the Sultan, which he denounced as simply a campaign to blacken his reputation. It is true that not every royal who cooperated with the Japanese was so punished and Sultan Ali Shah always maintained that it was his refusal to sign the Malayan Union treaty that motivated the British to get rid of him. The legality of how he came to the throne during the Japanese occupation was also brought up, however, once again, this was a rather shaky justification given that there was no doubt that Ali Shah had always been the legitimate and designated heir of his father. However, little could be done as Britain was back in charge again and they clearly did not want Ali Shah on the throne. Nonetheless, he disputed his removal and continued to argue the injustice of the case for the rest of his life.
The former Sultan Ali Shah died on May 17, 1996 still insisting that he should have been the legitimate monarch. He had, in fact, outlived his replacement, Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah, who died in 1979 (even serving a term as King of Malaysia) but it was his royal line which carried on and which continues to reign over Terengganu to this day.
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Monarch Profile: King Charles I
The Trial and Regicide of Charles I
King Charles the Martyr
Favorite Royal Images: Queen of The Netherlands
The Mad Monarchist salutes HM Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands for more than thirty years of dedicated service to her people and her country. Lang Leve de Koningin!
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Consort Profile: Queen Lakshmibai of Jhansi
The Rani was not anxious for trouble and had no desire to see bloodshed in her country but all the same she came to be viewed as an enemy of the British early on after a group of mutineers massacred those at a British post, including the women and children, for which the Rani was assumed to be responsible (though this was a mistaken assumption as she actually had nothing to do with it). Further complicating things was the fact that some of the mutineers tried to take advantage of the war to seize control of Jhansi for themselves. This was not an uncommon problem in the course of this early conflict which had begun spontaneously with no central leader or strategy. However, Rani Lakshmibai was able to overcome them, Jhansi was won back and the Rani restored it to some of its former glory and even assembled an army of women warriors to fight alongside the male army. Given that, it should not be considered shocking that she had first presented herself as an ally of the British because of how the rebels had treated her and her country but the British rejected her hand of friendship due to the misplaced blame placed on her for the earlier massacre.
“We fight for independence. In the words of Lord Krishna, we will if we are victorious, enjoy the fruits of victory, if defeated and killed on the field of battle, we shall surely earn eternal glory and salvation”. Enduring a siege, bombardment and final attack, she and her forces offered heroic and determined resistance to the British onslaught before the fight became clearly hopeless. As her forces were being overrun the Rani finally determined that she would have to escape the palace and attempt to join with other rebel groups to continue the struggle. Wearing a disguise, she took her son and a few guards and slipped out on horseback in a harrowing escape. She managed to find other compatriots and they made their next stand at Kalpi where the Rani again played a leading role in the defense of the place before again being overcome by the attacking British army. Still, once again, she and the other leaders managed to escape again and regrouped at Gwalior. However, while the other leaders concerned themselves with politics they ignored the urging of Rani Lakshmibai to prepare to defend the place from the inexorable advance of the British. Finally determined to leave the area, the Rani was in the process of leaving when the British caught up with her, including the cavalry of the Eighth King‘s Royal Irish Hussars. She dressed as a sowar and charged the enemy, going down fighting on June 18, 1858.
Monday, January 28, 2013
MM Movie Review: Anna and the King
So, to the movie, Anna, her son Louis and her Indian servants arrive in Siam to teach the royal children and immediately causes a stir by (gasp) standing upright in the presence of men and refusing to prostrate herself before the King. Fairly early on we also get the beginnings of the main conflict for the movie which is that the Burmese (a British possession) are colluding with the minister of war to launch a coup to overthrow King Mongkut with the aim of making the country a British colony (none of which actually happened in real life). We do get some liberal-progressive lines from Jodie Foster (and I say that as it sounds more like the words of a left-wing Hollywood actress than a daughter of the British Empire) scolding the Brits for thinking that one country or culture could be superior to another. That’s all fine and dandy except that it goes against her actions throughout most of the entire movie. She is the one, for example, who teaches the little crown prince (future King Chulalongkorn) that slavery is wrong by having him read the American novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, to the displeasure of his father. It is Anna who arranges a reception for the British officials, getting everyone to dress in European clothes, eat with a knife and fork and to stop falling prostrate whenever the King comes into the room. It is Anna who stands up for the tragic Juliet-figure of Tuptim (Bai Ling) who is forced into the royal harem despite being in love with another man -which ends in tragedy.
However, the film is also not without some positive elements. Jodie Foster and Chow Yun-fat are both acting pros and turn in great performances. It is beautifully shot and really succeeds in putting the viewer in the correct time and place. The palaces are gorgeous, the scenery is breathtaking and, for many people I think, the visuals alone would be worth the price of the rental (or however people are seeing movies these days). The King, although not always a “nice” guy is portrayed pretty positively and he is shown as a man who is genuinely struggling to do the right thing. There are also some fairly funny moments from time to time, such as the look the Indian servants silently exchange when Anna tells her son that “India is British Louis, that’s what being colonized is all about” or Louis, in their house surrounded by chanting Buddhist monks, says he feels like they’re living “in a beehive”. The sets, the costumes and the overall “look” of the movie was, to me, the strongest aspect of it and, as film is a visual medium, that goes a long way. It is no surprise that it received two Academy Award nominations for Art Direction and Costume Design but, overall, was not a very successful film, losing money domestically and only making a minor profit internationally.
Sunday, January 27, 2013
MM Sunday Scripture
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Royal News Roundup
In the Middle East, HM the King of Bahrain has invited opposition parties to return to talks on Monday in an effort to end the political deadlock that has plagued the small country which has been beset for some time by “Arab Spring” unrest. In Jordan, Queen Rania has been speaking about “sustainability” and King Abdullah II has promised that after the next elections Jordanians will have their first popularly elected prime minister. However, worries remain as analysts say that most do not expect any real changes. Jordan has been rocked by protests since the start of the “Arab Spring” and these have been growing worse and increasingly hostile to the monarchy as the mostly urban democracy-advocates have been joined by the Islamic Brotherhood and many tribal leaders, formerly the bedrock of support for the monarchy, who are upset with what they perceive as a too lavish and western lifestyle of the Royal Family, particularly the Queen. And, of course, all are upset by the lackluster economic situation.
European royal news was, thankfully, mostly happy this week. At the top of the list of good news was the birth of two new Prussian princes in Germany on Sunday when Princess Sophie, wife of Prince Georg Friedrich, gave birth to twins; Prince Carl Friedrich and Prince Louis Ferdinand. We send our heartfelt congratulations to the Prussian Royal couple on this most happy occasion. In Serbia it was a belated homecoming for HM King Peter II, the last King of Yugoslavia whose remains were returned to his native land on Tuesday after being originally buried in Illinois due to the Royal Family being forced into exile by World War II and the subsequent communist takeover. In the Principality of Monaco the Princely Family was out in force for the annual International Circus festival with HSH Princess Stephanie taking center stage. In Sweden it was a busy week of visits and meetings for the Royal Family with the King meeting the head of the Public Employment Service, visiting the Institute for Evaluation of the Labor Market and meeting with the National Criminal Police. Also this week Prince Daniel officially launched the Prince Daniel’s Fellowship which aims at inspiring young people to become entrepreneurs. And in the United Kingdom it was a happy homecoming for Prince Harry who finished his latest four-month tour of duty in Afghanistan. For some reason I have noticed that his phrase “take a life to save a life” got a great deal of attention with headlines about the prince admitting he had “killed people” and the like. Perhaps British newspaper editors have lived their whole lives in total ignorance of just what it is that soldiers do…
Friday, January 25, 2013
Abortion and Why a Monarch is not a Messiah
Yet, some still blame the King, just as some blame the monarchs in other countries. Even in the case of Belgium, though it astounds me, some still blame the King for not doing more because, unlike in Liechtenstein, the opposition of the monarch was not enough to stop abortion from becoming legal. I say, what more could he have done? When a bill is presented to the King, all he can do is sign or not sign and King Baudouin refused to sign. Even in Liechtenstein, things would be quite different if the public favored abortion or considered the principle of that to be of greater value than their monarchy. If the public there had been of the same mind as the Belgians, abortion would be legal there too but, I would think, it would also be a republic as the Princely Family would either be voted out or leave voluntarily if not allowed to rule as they please. Holding a monarch responsible for this would be like holding a parent responsible for their grown child committing suicide. At some point, people have to answer for their own decisions and we cannot expect a mere monarch to be a messiah and save us from our own wickedness. Even the absolute monarchs of eras past were not so powerful as to be able to control the hearts and souls of all.
Consider, for a moment, what those are saying who would hold their monarch responsible for the sad state of western civilization. The people vote into power the governments which propose laws that are totally repugnant to basic human decency and then some still blame the monarch for not stopping them from doing what they were elected to do. In effect, these people are saying that it is the monarch who should save the public from their own wickedness. A constitutional monarch is quite limited and yet some seem to still mistake them for God. Perhaps even more as even the Almighty gave humanity free will and did not force people to do the right thing. In a Christian context, this would be like blaming God for our original sin because He did nothing to stop Adam and Eve from eating the apple beyond warning them not to. He told them not to eat it but they exercised their own free will and ate the infamous fruit which resulted in very real consequences.
As I hope I have made clear, I will take second place to no one in my abhorrence of abortion, and there are other issues I could cite as well but that seems the most grievous to me, so I do not want anyone thinking I am trying to give a pass to monarchs who have assented to such laws because I do not consider the issue to be all that serious. However, I have to say, those who would heap blame on monarchs for these things seem rather hypocritical or lazy to me. It seems to me that they are really expecting their monarch to save them from actually having to do the work of changing the culture by converting those around them to traditional moral values. Are all of those who blame and accuse really doing everything in their power to convince those around them of the error of their ways, to build support for a government that would be better or are they simply cutting themselves off from the wicked world and blaming their monarch for not doing their job for them?
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Monarchist Profile: Yukio Mishima
After graduation his first job was with the Ministry of Finance but he found it frustrating and exhausting and soon quit to focus on his literary career. His work began to gain notice, soon around the world and by the age of 24 he had received his first nomination for the Nobel Prize and was able to travel around the world. His literary work is not our focus here but there are some common themes throughout which illustrate his broader world view. His conception of beauty is one such theme. In “Spring Snow”, for example, he wrote, “Dreams, memories, the sacred--they are all alike in that they are beyond our grasp. Once we are even marginally separated from what we can touch, the object is sanctified; it acquires the beauty of the unattainable, the quality of the miraculous. Everything, really, has this quality of sacredness, but we can desecrate it at a touch. How strange man is! His touch defiles and yet he contains the source of miracles.” He often wrote of perfect beauty as a terrible, destructive force, though not always in the negative way most would assume. As he grew older he also became rather frustrated at the young people around him and their disconnect from the values and culture of their own past. In “After the Banquet” he wrote, “Young people get the foolish idea that what is new for them must be new for everybody else too. No matter how unconventional they get, they’re just repeating what others before them have done.”
Mishima was very alarmed by the growing leftist and communist movement in the universities of his time, which sought to destroy the traditional Japanese spirit (as they do all such national traditions everywhere) and he did not shy away from stating that the war in Manchuria in the 30’s was an example of how actively anti-communist Japan had been. He deplored how outside influences in the culture were overriding traditional values, ideals and even works of art but he was never a simple reactionary but rather favored a fusion of the old and the new in a way that could be seen as very in keeping with what Japan had been through in the past. Mishima wanted a return of, if not the warrior spirit as it had been before the war, at least a proper respect and appreciation for it as he felt like the denial of this by the post-war pacifists was not only harmful but not even genuine. He greatly admired the old samurai image of the warrior that was, at once, brutal and elegant. Heads were also turned when he spoke with admiration of the old custom of ritual suicide of hara-kiri or seppuku and said rather dejectedly that there was no such thing as a heroic death in the world anymore.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Battlefield Royal: Prince Eugene of Savoy
Certain tactics would define the career of Prince Eugene of Savoy and win battle after battle for him; speed, mobility and clever use of the terrain to his own advantage. At these, Prince Eugene was a master and they proved a winning combination for him. During the War of the Spanish Succession he defeated the French at Carpi in 1701, joined with the British forces of the great Marlborough to defeat the French and Bavarians at Blenheim in 1704 and two years later led a victorious campaign that drove the French out of Italy. In 1708 he besieged and finally captured the French fortress at Lille, designed by the brilliant French military engineer Sebastien le Prestre de Vauban, which had previously been considered totally impregnable. That same year the Prince joined forced with Marlborough again to administer another victory over France in Flanders. Throughout his career, the Prince often made the supposedly impossible seem almost easy as he won battle after battle and campaign after campaign, rapidly gaining the reputation of one of the greatest military leaders of his time. Given that so many of his victories were over the armies of France, one cannot help but wonder if anyone in Paris cursed the seemingly inconsequential decision of King Louis XIV not to enlist the young Savoy in the French army as he had originally intended. One cannot help but wonder how history might have been changed if he had done so and if the Prince of Savoy had fought under the golden lilies instead of the double eagle.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Favorite Royal Images: A Greek King
Monday, January 21, 2013
Monarch Profile: King Otto of Bavaria
Soon after the war Prince Otto began displaying even more behavior that was considered strange (though not to me). He became very reclusive and suspicious about other people, especially strangers and did not like the public staring at him. He stopped shaving and seemed to have trouble remembering things (again, none of which seems odd to me) and concerns eventually reached all the way to Berlin. It probably did not help that his older brother was also coming to be considered as suffering from depression and other vague psychiatric disorders (they usually are). In 1872 he was officially diagnosed as being mentally ill, specialists were called in and the following year a noted expert in the field confirmed the diagnosis. Given that, I have to say here again that an “expert” in the field of psychiatry is a little misleading given how little, even today, medical science actually understands about the workings of the human mind. The royal handlers tried to keep Prince Otto out of public view but there were still incidents that caused shock, such as when he rushed into a church in his hunting clothes and asked the bishop to forgive his sins. Okay, maybe the timing could have been better but, isn’t that what a bishop is supposed to do for a penitent sinner? Still doesn’t seem that crazy to me.
So, Prince Luitpold went on being essentially the King of Bavaria in all but name while King Otto remained in his country estate, dressing in black, chain-smoking, ignoring people and other such “crazy” things. Of course, I am the last person who would ever try to make light of the mentally ill but it is simply that so many of the things cited as evidence of his unbalanced mental state are so ridiculous and I am well aware that a great many things psychiatric experts point to as “insane” behavior are often things plenty of people do who are never considered insane. Once a person has been painted with the brush of madness, nearly every little even slightly odd thing they may do seems “crazy” to outside observers while if someone else were to do the exact same thing that person would simply be shrugged off as a little eccentric. For example, King Otto insisted that all doors at his palace be kept open at all times and would fly into a rage if he found one closed. I know people who may not start shouting and banging on every closed door they find but who obsessively insist on keeping all their doors open. These people have never been diagnosed with any mental illness while yours truly (who medical science says there is a great deal wrong with) am a bit compulsive about keeping all doors shut. What does it prove?
King Otto died, to the surprise of everyone, from a bowel obstruction on October 11, 1916. As Germany was then in the middle of a world war, it was not quite the momentous event the death of a king usually is. He was buried in St Michael’s Church in Munich, a monarch who spent his entire reign as King in name only and who few people knew or had ever even seen. His is a rather sad case and though there are suspicions regarding the removal of his brother, the case of King Otto can be seen as an example to refute those willfully ignorant republicans who seem to think that a monarchy means total power is handed to the next person in line even if they are a raving lunatic. King Otto was certainly not that but he was, according to the experts of his time, not of sound mind and judgment. Therefore, with no fuss or uproar, had his legal powers taken up by a regent until he was finally replaced to live out the rest of his life under the care of his doctors and attendants.
Sunday, January 20, 2013
MM Sunday Scripture
-I Peter 2:17-18
Saturday, January 19, 2013
Royal News Roundup
Over in Europe, HM the Dowager Queen Fabiola of the Belgians has come under criticism over the establishment of a foundation to provide for her nieces and nephews, for a limited time, should any of them fall on hard times. Hardly seems outrageous to me but, sadly, there are those in Belgium who will seize on anything to attack the monarchy and the Dowager Queen has been accused of trying to avoid taxes. Personally, I find it ridiculous the Dowager Queen should have to pay taxes at all. In any event, reductions in the royal allowance has been scheduled for this summer and Elio Di Rupo, the Belgian PM (and homosexual Francophone socialist) has said he wants the allowance to the Dowager Queen cut by half a million euro, despite the fact that, as the Queen herself said, her allowance goes almost entirely to maintaining her home and mostly for the salary and benefits of her staff. All this proposed reduction would do, realistically, is put people out of a job. In better news, HRH Crown Princess Mathilde celebrates her 40th birthday on Sunday and she still looks great and continues to do a great job. We wish HRH a happy birthday and hope for many, many more to come.
In the sunny Principality of Monaco there has been legal to report this week. After a high court ruling in his favor, HSH Prince Albert II is set to receive 300,000 pounds plus legal expenses from the Sunday Times newspaper over unsupported and scandalous articles they printed about the Prince and Princess of Monaco just prior to their wedding. The Sunday Times also had to read out a formal apology in court. The articles included a slew of slanderous gossip and, hopefully, this ruling will make papers think twice about taking the word of professional charlatans. How about just printing verifiable facts from now on? The House of Grimaldi also recently released a statement distancing themselves from the upcoming film “Grace of Monaco”. Although previously supportive, the statement put out by Prince Albert II, Princess Caroline and Princess Stephanie stated that the film is not a true biopic of their mother and contains many inaccuracies which they brought to the attention of the filmmakers but which they refused to redress. The film covers a particularly tense moment in Franco-Monegasque history and stars Nichole Kidman as Princess Grace and Tim Roth as Prince Rainier III.
For the House of Windsor this week, it was announced that the new addition to the family of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge is due to arrive in July. Good news for them, and good news for the Prince of Wales whose organic food label is doing very well but, unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the Prince and Princess of Kent who have taken a hard financial hit in their own business since the recession. Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie have also been enlisted in trying to encourage trade and help British business. However, perhaps the biggest news this week involved the Queen and that dusty, old, legal formality called “Royal Assent”. It has been common knowledge for ages that no British monarch since Queen Anne has refused Royal Assent to a bill but, not so claim certain Mps and investigators from “The Guardian” (yes, I know…) who claim that the Queen has vetoed bills at least three times in her reign; in 1964 over a titles abolition bill, in 1969 over the independence of Rhodesia and in 1999 over military action in Iraq. A statement from the Palace only reiterated that the Queen takes no action on any bill without the advice of the ministers and, so far, most of the outrage is directed at Tony Blair and other of his predecessors for using the Crown to get them out of a tight spot. However, this could be used as a wedge issue to remove the role of the Crown in the legislative process entirely.
Friday, January 18, 2013
Papal Profile: Pope Clement XIII
In reaction to the outrage over this, pamphlets were printed up and spread around accusing the Jesuits of all sorts of misdeeds, particularly of being cruel to the natives of South America where they were accused of trying to set up their own little fiefdom on the backs of the natives. All of this was, needless to say, totally false as it was the liberal officials of the so-called “Enlightenment” who were actually the ones enslaving the South American natives whereas the Jesuits had educated them, taught them valuable skills and had mostly made their lives a great deal better. Unfortunately, it was the “Enlightened” class which had the money and the motivation to spread their version of events and so it was the story that came to be the most widely believed. This increasing anti-Jesuit hysteria was then seized upon in the Kingdom of France and the order was banished from that country as well later in 1764. Again, however, it was not really because of anything the Jesuits had done but was more due to the spread of Jansenism in France which Pope Clement XIII (and others on the Throne of St Peter) had been trying to combat. The Pope vociferously defended the Society of Jesus from these increasing attacks but few seemed to be listening.
This led to a breach between Parma and the Papal States which the “Enlightened” class in France was quick to take advantage of by grabbing such papal territories as Avignon, Benevento and Pontecorvo. Pope Clement XIII was in an impossible position with almost all of the major Catholic powers aligned against him over his defense of the Society of Jesus. The Kingdoms of Portugal, Spain and France all wanted the order dissolved and when the Austrian Empire (nominally the Holy Roman Empire of Germany still) agreed to go along with the push there was very little the Pope could do but agree to at least discuss the matter. In both word and letter he had spent most of his reign arguing the case for the Society of Jesus, defending them from attack and protesting their treatment. However, given the state of Europe at the time, if Portugal, Spain, France, Austria and their Italian satellites united in their opposition to the Jesuits, he could hardly afford to defy them all. So, in 1769 Pope Clement XIII very reluctantly agreed to call a consistory to address the matter, however, he did not live to see it happen as he died not long after on February 2 of that year. It is hardly surprising that the anti-Jesuit faction immediately declared that he had been poisoned by the order for moving against them. Not surprising, but no less silly. It would be impossible to believe that after ten years of defending the order Clement XIII would have just given in and thrown them to the wolves and no evidence of any wrongdoing was ever found. The Pope was 75 years old which was, at that time, a ripe old age. His death was due to nothing more sinister than a heart attack.
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Mad Rant: The Lie of Equality
Beyond that, does anyone think for a moment that it is mere coincidence that so many members of the House and Senate of the United States hold the same seats their fathers and sometimes grandfathers held before them? And this hold true in the private sector as well as the public. Look at the media; does anyone honestly believe that Jenna Bush Hager would be on the “Today” show if she were not the daughter of a President? Does anyone honestly believe that Gayle King would be on “CBS This Morning” or that anyone would even know who she is were she not Oprah’s best friend? Would Hillary Clinton, a rather lackluster lawyer from Arkansas have become a Senator for New York, presidential candidate and Secretary of State had she not been married to Bill Clinton (and gained widespread sympathy for his philandering)? Can anyone honestly say that the children of Donald Trump are treated equally and have equal opportunities as the children of, say, a garbage man from Haarlem? Were the political careers of Jeb and George W. Bush based solely on their own merits and not their last name -at all? Of course no one would dream of such a ridiculous notion. Then there are other attributes. Just speaking generally, in almost any field, a man who happens to be born looking like Brad Pitt is probably going to have an easier time than one born looking like Rodney Dangerfield just as a woman will probably have a much easier time in life if she looks like Ashley Green than if she looked like Eleanor Roosevelt.
Old fashioned monarchies and aristocracies were better because they recognized the simple fact that inequality is a fact of life and so decided to just be open and honest about who was an aristocrat and who was a commoner. Again, republics all over the world have and have always had these same divisions, they are just dishonest about it and try to pretend otherwise. Massachusetts could have named the late Senator Ted Kennedy the Earl of Hyannis Port, entitled to a lifetime seat in the upper house and it would have been just the same as in actuality. I am sure some will say that, taking the Kennedy family as an example, that they started out as poor Irish immigrants and worked their way up to elite status. Which is true, mostly through black market liquor smuggling, but, yes, they started low and reached great heights. However, you could say the same for the modern Earl Nelson in Great Britain whose ancestor Horatio Nelson, the son of a preacher who entered the Royal Navy as an ordinary seaman and was raised to the peerage for something a little more remarkable than bootlegging; namely defeating the combined navies of Spain and France during the Napoleonic Wars. Surely his was the more hard earned and well deserved.
In a republic like the United States or France, you can start out with very little in life and eventually become President, but the odds are a million-to-one against you and your chances of making it will not be the same as someone whose father was a congressman, senator or former president. There are also many people who have observed that those who start from the bottom and claw their way to fame and fortune who are often the most arrogant, snobbish and insufferable; far more than those born to such a position, and who are most likely to begrudge others from achieving what they have. That comes to mind whenever I hear wealthy liberals calling for higher taxes on people who are rich, “like them”. They, of course, will be fine, but they are perfectly willing to make it even harder for anyone else to have what they have and live the lifestyle they enjoy. Royals and aristocrats are much more likely to view their status as a duty, at times even a burden, which they did not choose or desire but which they must fulfill. Revolutionaries view status as something to steal from those who have it and then prevent others from taking away once they themselves have it.
The bottom line is simply this; no two people in the whole of creation are equal just as no two things anywhere in nature are equal or have an equal chance. Any two people of the same or different genders, races, social status or income will be superior to the other in some ways and inferior in others and nothing can ever change that simple fact of life. Everyone is different and equality requires everyone and everything to be the same, something that is not possible and never can be made so. Trying to do so only results in making things worse for everyone in the long-run. Those of more traditional times had a better way; a way developed over centuries of learning by experience, to accept the inequalities of life, to recognize and “legitimize” them so as to ensure that strong will have a duty to protect the weak and so on so that a more balanced and stable society might be maintained. In our modern, chaotic and uncertain times, we would do well to remember that. However, I cannot be too optimistic at present given how easy it is for the pro-”equality” crowd to use envy to stir up the masses for their own, limited benefit. To my mind, simple equality under the law would be a more worthy and somewhat more obtainable goal, yet even that seems a hopelessly distant ideal that very few people these days are even interested in pursuing. But, maybe it’s just me … The Mad Monarchist
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