Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Worst Analogy Ever

Well, perhaps there have been worse ones, but I can't think of any at the moment. Writing at Taki's Magazine, John Zmirak attempts to justify his reluctant support for John McCain by comparing the upcoming American election to the Russian Revolution, likening McCain and the Republicans to Tsar Nicholas II, and Obama and the Democrats to the Bolsheviks. As a member of my forum pointed out, only someone who knew very little about either the last Tsar or Lenin could write such nonsense.

While it is true that the two wars into which Nicholas II led his country (1904-05 with Japan and 1914-17 with Germany and Austria-Hungary) obviously turned out not to be in Russia's best interests, Nicholas went to war only because he sincerely believed that doing so would be, according to a traditional and relatively narrow concept of "national interests." John McCain, in contrast, has consistently supported a war which has now lasted longer than both of Nicholas's combined and has been motivated by a wild-eyed neoconservative ideological crusade to spread "Democracy" to the world. (It is impossible to imagine Nicholas II picking some republic halfway around the world to invade in order to turn it into a monarchy!) Nicholas II went to war with Germany in 1914 with the greatest reluctance, persuaded by his generals and advisors that he had no other patriotic option. While he loved military pageantry, he regarded war itself with an appropriate solemnity, fully aware of the inevitable loss of human life. McCain, in contrast, despite his own horrible experiences in Vietnam (another American war at least as pointless and ill-conceived as any waged by a monarch), finds it funny to joke about how he would "bomb, bomb, bomb Iran." Nicholas II was a devoted family man who if anything went too far in his loyalty to his wife and children; McCain is a lifelong womanizer who discarded his first wife after she became disfigured in favor of a wealthy bimbo young enough to be his daughter. (Yes, I'm aware that many kings and tsars did have mistresses; they generally did not, however, divorce their queens and officially replace them with their mistresses while their queens still lived.)

I am not a supporter of Barack Obama either. (I am planning to write more on the election and why I will not be participating in it in a subsequent post.) But the idea that Obama is our era's Lenin, or that he intends towards conservative Christians in America anything like the terror that Lenin and Trotsky unleashed on the Russian Orthodox Church is patently absurd. I disagree with Obama on many issues, including abortion, but I believe that he sincerely believes himself to be a Christian and a conciliating "unifier." There is nothing of Bolshevik hatred in Obama himself, though I won't deny that some of his supporters have attitudes towards conservative Christians that are not entirely dissimilar. But leftist radicals will be disappointed if they think an Obama presidency will mean they will finally get their way all the time; like all presidents, Obama will inevitably have to make compromises, play to the center, and deal with the reality that most Americans are not as ideological as his highly motivated base.

It may be unfair to expect most Americans to fully appreciate the distinction between anointed monarchs and elected politicians, but it's also relevant in debunking Mr. Zmirak's analogy to point out that the obedience owed by Russian soldiers to their Tsar in 1917 has nothing whatsoever in common with the purely tactical loyalty to McCain Mr. Zmirak would have conservatives exhibit today. From a Russian Orthodox monarchist point of view, the Tsar was accountable only to God, the very personification of Holy Russia, and a Russian soldier who deserted him would be guilty of treason against both his country and his faith. Surely even the most die-hard Republicans would not dare to claim any such mantle for John McCain, nor could they even if they wanted to.

John Zmirak is a mildly traditionalist Roman Catholic who has written with affection of the Habsburgs and with horror of the French Revolution. I've admired some of his articles in the past, so I am disappointed to find him parroting the establishment line on Tsarist Russia, and don't understand his inability to apply whatever monarchist sympathies he has to dynasties not adhering to his own Church. To paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen, while I obviously didn't know Nicholas II, I daresay I've read more about him than John Zmirak has, and Mr. Zmirak, John McCain is no Nicholas II. And fortunately, Barack Obama is no Vladimir Lenin.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Canada's regal representatives

Reporting and reflecting on a provincial lieutenant governor's reception by the Queen, the Ottawa Sun salutes the role and relevance of the Canadian crown.

Queen's grandchildren

Princes William and Harry completed their arduous eight-day motorcycle trek across South Africa.

Meanwhile, their equestrian cousin Zara Phillips was injured in a fall.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Young Henry VIII

Jerry Brotton reviews David Starkey's Henry, Virtuous Prince, which covers the first twenty years of the life of England's most notorious king, when he was a rather more attractive (in every sense) figure than he eventually became.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Britain's Future King

As Prince Charles approaches his sixtieth birthday, historian Andrew Roberts explains how the Prince of Wales has made his potentially frustrating role an energetic and valuable one.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Marie-Chantal of Greece

The Telegraph has a long interview with Crown Princess Pavlos of Greece (née Marie-Chantal Miller).

Prince Ludwig of Bavaria (1913-2008)

HRH Prince Ludwig of Bavaria, grandson of King Ludwig III (1845-1921) and the last male member of the Wittelsbach family born when they were still in power, died Friday at 95. See Royal Musings for pictures and more information.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Princes on Bikes

Princes William and Harry are ready for their epic charity journey across Africa.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Royal Google

HM the Queen visited the headquarters of Google UK, which marked the occasion with a monarchical version of its famous logo. Apparently Google employees were unprepared for Prince Philip's request to see their office on Google Earth. He and the Queen were amused by a popular YouTube video of a laughing baby boy.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

More royalty in Chicago

Chicago seems to be the place to be for Catholic royal visits this fall. Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria and her husband Prince Peter Galitzine, as well as other unspecified "members of the Royal Family" (perhaps their children?) will be guests of honor at St. John Cantius (home of one of the best Roman Catholic programs of sacred music in the country, if not the world) on October 19, October 21 being the feast day of her grandfather Emperor Bl. Karl.

Chicago royal ICK benefit follow-up

The Institute of Christ the King reports (with photos) a successful benefit event with Duke Paul of Oldenburg last month.

Swazi Democracy Meeting Banned

King Mswati III has banned a "democracy meeting" in Swaziland. Given the usual reality of "democracy" when it is achieved, I don't blame him.

Monarchy in Indonesia

An Indonesian monarchist defends the role of his country's regional sultans against an attack from the Jakarta Post.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Bombay Anna

The history of the woman who inspired The King and I is at least as interesting as the musical. Leah Price reviews Susan Morgan's Bombay Anna: The Real Story and Remarkable Adventures of the “King and I” Governess.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Charlotte and Victoria

Matthew Dennison reviews Kate Williams's Becoming Queen, an account of the life of Princess Charlotte (1796-1817) and the early life of her cousin Queen Victoria (1819-1901).

Saturday, October 4, 2008

King Hussein

Patrick Cockburn reviews two biographies of King Hussein of Jordan (1935-1999), Avi Shlaim's Lion of Jordan: The Life of King Hussein in War and Peace and Nigel Ashton's King Hussein of Jordan: A Political Life.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Prince Michael Andreivich Romanov of Russia (1920-2008)

The Sydney Morning Herald has an obituary of Nicholas II's grandnephew, who died last month in Australia, including a beautiful slideshow of the funeral.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Romanovs rehabilitated

In a legal victory for Grand Duchess Maria Vladmirovna and monarchists, Russia's Supreme Court ruled that the Romanovs were victims of political repression and should be rehabilitated. It's unfortunate though that lawyer German Lukyanov felt the need to state that this step was not intended to lead to the restoration of the monarchy. Why not?