Saturday, May 31, 2008
Traditionalists who long for a more active Crown should think of modern royalty as prisoners in a golden cage, in which case it is up to us to rescue them. We can start by trying to combat the false belief that only those who have won elections are entitled to have any real influence in government. But for the time being, that is the way Britain works, and it is the MPs who voted for this bill, and the ordinary people who voted for them, not the Queen, who should be held responsible for it. I doubt that even all of those opposed to this Bill would wish for it to be defeated via royal veto, so deeply ingrained is the democratic mindset even among "conservatives."
Friday, May 30, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Another interesting development is that due to population growth in Britain and the Commonwealth Realms compared to relatively static figures in Japan, Queen Elizabeth II has overtaken Emperor Akihito as the monarch with the most subjects.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
This is a black day for Nepal and the world. The gang of thugs and murderers currently in charge of Nepal have "swept away more than two centuries of history," as the Telegraph put it. Will those photographed dancing in the streets still be dancing after they've experienced Maoist rule? Whatever happens, the new republican "government" is an abomination and while we may have to deal with its existence for the foreseeable future, we should never accept it. Once again Revolution, the diabolical enemy of all that is good and beautiful, which has been poisoning the world since the late 18th century, has claimed another nation as its victim. Let's make sure this is the last time.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
I couldn't help but be mildly irritated by her father's comment that prior to his daughter's relationship with the Queen's grandson he hadn't known much about the Royal Family because "it's not something we follow that closely in Canada." Who is "we"? Speak for yourself, Mr. Kelly. Maybe you didn't care about your daughter's future in-laws, who happen to be your country's Royal Family as well as Britain's, but there are other Canadians who do.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
I posted this summary of my current thoughts on religion at Taki's Magazine in response to Tom Piatak's article I Confess: I Don’t Understand Why Some Atheists Are So Angry. Mr. Piatak responded kindly and sympathetically. While these issues are not directly related to monarchism, I know I'm not the only monarchist who is disturbed by the changes which have overtaken Western Christianity over the past fifty years or so. Since some of these developments I deplore are related to ideological currents which have also undermined monarchies, I don't think this "cri de coeur" is totally off-topic.
I am one of those agnostics to whom Mr. Piatak refers who deeply respect Christianity’s fundamental role in Western culture. However, while my reasons are quite different from those of C. Hitchens, I too am angry at contemporary Christianity, and I’d like a chance to explain why, since in the polarization between staunch Christians and fierce atheists my point of view is rarely heard.
Whenever atheists attack Christianity, I am indeed the sort of person who is inclined to respond, “but what about...the Sistine Chapel/Chartres Cathedral/Bach’s St. Matthew Passion/Choral Evensong?” etc. But the question must be asked: what does the bulk of contemporary Christianity as it actually is, with its banal liturgies, hideous architecture, pathetic capitulation to egalitarian agendas, insipid music, and puritanical/philistine attitudes among those ("traditionalists") who claim to be resisting all of this, have to do with all of that past glory? Not very much, it seems to me.
I’m honestly not sure what I believe about God, but I do know that I long to be able to attend a beautiful church with a great pipe organ in which traditional liturgy (whether Latin or Elizabethan English) is celebrated by an all-male clergy and augmented by a strong commitment to the greatest sacred music of the past millennium (preferably sung by a choir of men and boys, though I suppose one can compromise on that last point). In most of the United States, that simply isn’t possible anywhere, and yes, that makes me angry. Now, my two favorite American churches that I’ve attended, St. John Cantius [Roman Catholic] in Chicago and St. Thomas Fifth Avenue [Episcopal] in New York are truly magnificent in every way, and I salute them, and I am deeply moved by the heroic efforts of those responsible for making them what they are. But what of those of us who do not live in Chicago or New York? Are we condemned to compromise with the most unfortunate cultural trends of the past half-century and accept the nearly universal dumbing-down of liturgy, music, and architecture?
I am angry at Anglicanism for “ordaining” women; I am angry at Catholicism (Pope Benedict excepted) for not caring about good music; and I am angry at both Churches for modernizing their liturgies and for the misguided emphasis on congregational singing which rules out the regular liturgical use of Christendom’s countless magnificent choral settings of the Ordinary of the Mass. The “traditionalist” movement has its own problems, as I discovered when, as a volunteer organist at an SSPX chapel, I was not allowed to play Bach Preludes and Fugues before and after mass as it might “distract people from their prayers.”
I am tired of the lectures (ironically from both Novus Ordo and Traditionalist Catholics, though they put their different spins on it), examples of which are plentiful online, about how one must choose “Truth” over “Beauty.” I don’t accept that, because I don’t see liturgy, music, and architecture as superficial, but rather as fundamental to what’s gone wrong with Christianity in the past half century. I cannot support a church, or a Church, that is committed to capitulation to cultural trends I regard as destructive, and “conservatives” are often no better than “liberals” in this regard. Part of me genuinely wants to believe, but where is there to go? Surely I am not the only non-believer who has been alienated from Christianity, not because it isn’t “modern” enough, but because it has tried too hard to be “modern,” and in the process has sacrificed nearly everything that ever made it beautiful.
Aficionados of period dramas and believable portrayals of historical royalty would do well to check out Goya's Ghosts (2006), set in Spain during the Napoleonic wars. As I wrote at my Movies page, Randy Quaid and Blanca Portillo are so convincing as King Carlos IV (1748-1819; reigned 1788-1808) and Queen Maria Luisa (1751-1819) that they might have stepped out of Goya's (Stellan Sjarsgård) portrait.
Neither the Church nor the Revolution are spared, so that it is hard to figure out precisely where the film stands, except with its mistreated heroine played movingly by Natalie Portman. One wonders if the Spanish Inquisition in the late 18th century was still truly as harsh as depicted, though apart from the existence of certain historical events and personages the film makes no claim to be anything but fiction.
Monday, May 12, 2008
The Left is not generally known for its support of monarchy. However, recently The Nation published a thorough cover story on "Hawaiian Resistance Then--and Now" which is fairly favorable to the monarchy and its advocates, a position which is not all that surprising in light of The Nation's longstanding opposition to American imperialism, which the annexation of Hawaii undoubtedly was. Politics make strange bedfellows indeed!
Queen Lilliuokalani's autobiography can be read online here.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Saturday, May 3, 2008
A group of native Hawaiians who advocate separation from the United States and restoration of the monarchy overthrown in 1893 took over the Royal Palace, vowing to conduct the business of the kingdom's government. I have long opposed the U.S. annexation of Hawaii, and wish these protesters the best, though I should stress that my support of Hawaiian independence is inextricably linked to the restoration of the monarchy; I would oppose any "Hawaiian Republic" as worse than the current status quo, since there are already too many presidents and too many republics in the world and the last thing we need is another one.
Unlike some American monarchists, I do not dream of converting the United States as a whole into a monarchy, and accept that for 225 years America's authentic tradition has been republicanism, but that applies only to the continental U.S., beyond which I do not believe American territory should extend. Hawaii, unlike any other American state, has a substantial tradition of indigenous monarchy as an independent country, which should be honored and revived. Long live the Kingdom of Hawaii!