Friday, August 6, 2010

Queen Michelle?

A ridiculous article in the New York Daily News, trying to criticize American First Lady Michelle Obama's Spanish vacation by making a clumsy analogy with Marie Antoinette, only demonstrates the writer's deplorable ignorance. For one thing, as blogger Elena Maria Vidal just reminded me privately, Marie Antoinette didn't take "vacations"; she never left France after arriving there for her marriage in 1770. This writer's casual calumny indicates how much Jacobin propaganda continues to cloud the reputation of the much-maligned queen, who while she might have had little concept of the value of money when a teenage girl (not, I think, the last teenage girl with that trait), was in fact deeply concerned with the plight of her husband's poorest subjects and undertook many charitable endeavors. Clearly monarchists have a lot of work to do, when it is still widely taken for granted that "Marie Antoinette" can be a byword for heartless extravagant luxury. This blog takes no position on Michelle Obama's vacation, but will not stand to see Marie Antoinette insulted. Recalling Lloyd Bentsen's famous 1988 retort to Dan Quayle, I can only say, "Michelle Obama, you are no Marie Antoinette."

Tea at Trianon has more on this silliness here.

Most of today's "conservatives" know nothing of history and nothing of conservatism. It used to be that opposition to the French Revolution was a defining characteristic of conservatives, even Americans (starting with John Adams). Not anymore; now it's nothing but naked partisanship. As far as I'm concerned anyone who brings up the French Revolution in order to side with the mob against the King & Queen has no right to be considered any sort of right-winger. Modern Republican "conservatism" is utterly bankrupt and deserves nothing but contempt.

7 comments:

Matterhorn said...

Yes, if only she *were* more like Marie-Antoinette! If only!

Brantigny said...

Using Michelle Obama and the Queen Martyr in the same breath tastes terrible

MadMonarchist said...

I'm begining to think there is some sort of disconnect with reality with these people. It has actually been pretty well reported (not just by monarchists) that the Queen never said "let them eat cake" and that her popular image was the result of smear campaign with no basis in reality. Yet, people continue to repeat it. They see it, they hear it, they even seem to understand it but then they will turn right around and spit up the same 'Louis was a tyrant, Antoinette was lavish and uncaring, the revolution was necessary' talking points of utter bull cookies!

LAW Wells said...

I think we need to start calling ourselves traditionalists rather than conservatives. Either that, or High Tories.

After all, conservatives are Nazis, and considering the lineage of the Nazi ideology, I think the lie might now have a grain of truth to it (even if it takes plenty of ideas from the left - see Liberal Fascism for more).

Theodore Harvey said...

I've never been comfortable with the label "conservative" and now reject it entirely. Maybe I should give up putting the word in scare quotes and just accept that conservatism is what it is and I don't want anything to do with it. I do think, putting monarchism aside for the moment, that there is an older and more decent form of American conservatism, the kind that read Edmund Burke and knew the French Revolution was wrong, the kind that was suspicious of foreign wars and skeptical of utopianism, which can still be found on some quarters. That's why I still sometimes try to imply that conservatism, even without monarchism, could be something better than what it seems to be today. But in the context of 21st-century America the paleoconservatives are almost as marginal as monarchists.

I could have been a genuine conservative if I were living in Austria-Hungary under Emperor Franz Joseph, or as recently as the early 1960s in the realms of Elizabeth II. Today, I don't know exactly what I am, but not a conservative. I have little interest in preserving this status quo, except with regard to the world's surviving monarchies.

elena maria vidal said...

Thanks for the link! Theodore, you are so right. I think we are dealing with the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks or the Girondins and the Jacobins. Two sides of the left rather than right vs left....

Ponocrates said...

"Do not immanentize the eschaton" is a great rallying cry, but I don't know if this is necessarily the defining theme of today's conservatives, whether intellectually or in practice. I also think you can support some liberal policies and not be a utopian. So no "-ism" fits and maybe we need to get away from -isms.

I don't think the name "High Tory" would work in the US. :-)