I have read a very well thought out defence of Imperialism on The Monarchist Manifesto website, (What? You haven't heard of it? You disgust me, good sir), and it has indeed given me much food for thought, especially because as an Irishman my country has been a part of one of the Greatest Empires ever known for the majority of its time in existence as a Christian Nation. So that means that as a descendent of an Empire that I don't look upon too fondly for emotional-historical reasons, Black Baron's blog post has caused another confliction within me with regards to this topic. Normally I am quite lax with regards to Imperialism, for the simple reason it is as natural to Humankind, our collective civilisation as a species, and our history, as Monarchy is. I admire such Empires as that of the Empire of Ethiopia, the Shahanshah of Iran, Japan's and China's respective Ancient Empires, Russia, Germany and more besides, however, due to my background as an Irish Nationalist, I still retain many of such traits in my political and social thought albeit in a VERY different light to many other nationalists, as such I place such things as National Sovereignty, which in my mind cannot be truly achieved for any country unless they have a Sovereign to define it, and this is what creates a conflict between my view of Imperialism as a Monarchist, which is a positive view, and my view of Imperialism as a Nationalist, which is a negative view. I fully invite the other Irish Monarchists I have been delighted to discover reading my blog to fully chip in with their own thoughts on these matters after I have finished this post, because after all, we will have to face this issue as Monarchists sooner or later if our wish is achieved and Ireland has its own Kingdom once more.
Before I go in, we will first define what I will mean when I refer to Imperialism, in an attempt to keep this critique of Imperialism intellectual and not dominated by sneaking, unintelligent passion. By Imperialism I mean by its simplest definition, the Expansion of one's borders, for the security of your Nation, growth of one's economy, prestige and influence in world affairs. This is what I will technically call High Imperialism, because it is the most overt and image provoking type of Imperialism one thinks of. All other forms of Imperialism, Corporate growth, National Chuvanism, Jingoism, the emotionally-chargeddrivel-insult spouted by the left against anything that isn't left, etc; shall be ignored for this exercise. A least for now, I'll save them for later rants.
First I will get the emotional baggage out of the way and deal with the problem of National Sovereignty and Imperialism. The first issue is the most obvious; that of Imperialism being fundamentally the destruction of the cheapening of other Nation's Sovereignty by rights of Conquest, intimidation, or other means. Or in the case of Ireland, and Black baron's primary defence of Imperialism, Strategy. I am not so foolish as to not understand the Kingdom of England's real intent in Conquering Ireland, that of Security. England greatly feared the French or the Spanish, who Irish Tuathes were being unreasonably friendly with in English eyes, using Ireland as a base to launch invasions of England, (this is actually one of the reasons England sought to conquer Scotland as well, to prevent enemies getting in 'by the back door'), for centuries afterwards, (I'm going to skip over the second invasion of Ireland by England and the plantations that followed, that's an ugly bit of history and going over it will just raise passions in all), England has justified its conquering or Ireland by the excuse that 'the Irish could not govern themselves' that their ruling was an act of Mercy, for the most part we can safely say that is true, but only Because England destroyed all means of National Sovereignty for the Irish to begin with, we couldn't rule ourselves because our rulers were driven from the island. This also lead to a great level of clericalism in Ireland, were the peasants looked up to Priests and Bishops as rulers for lack of secular Lords, it was all we had left, especially after the plantations were most of our Aristocracy spent their time living in London and leaving their estates in Ireland in the hands of attendants to administer their rule. It was no wonder when the 18/19th century rolled around and one particularly educated priest began criticising England and saying 'They cannot rule Ireland effectively' Which caused a huge hullabaloo among intellectual circles for obvious reasons. Ireland is an example of 'Bad' Imperialism, not bad in the sense of being 'cruel' or 'evil' really, but bad in the sense of of just being poor, the population was of a different religion to the Aristocracy, had a history of poverty and poor administration, (tenet farming fiasco, random evictions which lead to controversial land law reforms which many British Monarchists today resent), and then had their parliament dissolved because 'they were unfit to rule themselves' Without even mentioning any atrocities, rebellions or whatever violence you care to mention, Irish resentment to British Rule is quite obvious, and in many respects justified, even if it wasn't poisoned by the vicious years of rebellion and the memories of the Arch Republican Heretic and Apostate, Oliver Cromwell, who's name is still quite literally used as a curse in some parts of Rural Ireland. Ironically this is also the reason why when I refer to British Rule, I refer to Parliament, after all, the Monarchs of England often bore no ill will to Ireland, except for that one rather hilarious episode involving Red Hugh and his outfoxing of the British Army, but yet again, that's another post.
I will concede however, in some respects, Imperialism has been known to instil a great sense of National pride and, ironically, Loyalty, and again as an Example, to prove my attempt at even handedness, I will use the British Empire. In this case, there is a great deal of National Identity and Pride in the cases of both India and Scotland, and these cases can be demonstrated the most clearly in respect to the Regiments of both Countries within the British Empire. Scotland has a long, illustrious and Enviable military history of tactical excellence, and stupefying feats of bravery, almost to the point were I'd dare to say the song Scotland the Brave doesn't do the Scottish justice! Someone once said; "I'd be terrified to fight the Scottish, not because they're good fighters, but because they're the only men, Man enough to go to war in sleet, hail or snow in a bloody skirt!" The uniforms of Scottish Soldiers were always recognisably 'British' but at the same time they were always recognisably 'Scottish', for centuries they have fought proudly in kilts and plumed berets and had bag pipers in their war bands instead of drummers, National identity and Pride was never dampened in Scotland even when bans on tartan designs on kilts were enacted, the Scottish wore their kilts proudly anyway, with or without their clan colours, (personally I feel the ban should be lifted by now and Scots should be allowed to wear their tartan colours on their kilts, both to bolster the sense of tradition and strengthen family values and pride, but that's just my opinion) and throughout all that time and even to this day, they see the Monarch of England as also the Monarch of Scotland, even Scottish Nationalists today, who are infamous for their disliking of the British parliament, (almost as infamous as my rabid dislike of Socialism and their affinity towards it, grrrr), bear no ill will against Her Majesty or the Royal family and many seem to even express affection for them. While India is an entirely different story to Scotland, many similarities can be seen, for a great deal of time, the King of England was also considered the Raj, or Emperor, of India, given His Majesty the hybrid title of King-Emperor. The regiments of India served the Empire with ferocity and great loyalty and courage and like the Scottish their uniforms were recognisably 'Indian', and added greatly to the tapestry of Imperial culture within Britain, in fact one of the most enduring symbols of British Imperialism that one can call to mind is an English gentleman being served by an Indian Butler/servant in full regalia and traditional Headdress, (this also goes for Sikhs as well), not the most flattering of images for Indians I grant you, but it is evident of the great cultural impact India has on the larger Empire as a whole. And India today is no worse for wear from British Imperialism, and is even expected to become a superpower in its own right sometime in the future.
Now let us come to more modern times, the age of America, the 20th and early 21st Century, and of the greatest hypocrisy of the world since the Religious Leaders of the Synagogue in the time of Christ. I am of course referring to the empire of Revolution, the domination of contemporary spiritual and intellectual cultures of Liberalism, Socialism, Environmentalism, of self hatred, of undermining one's pride and culture for the sake of one's own aggrandised version of a Utopia, that which cannot exist, that which should not exist, a Want for a land of no conflict, of communes and Peace among all, of boundless wealth and no greed, no morals. A land of Robots. A land of the dead.Of course my boundless hatred of the liberal disease of the mind cannot be summed up. At all. And this post is hardly the best place to put it, especially since I promised to be dealing with the traditional sense of Imperialism, but it just seems so fitting to make mention of the Anti-Imperial culture. The hypocrisy of such is that it is a form of Imperialism in its own right. It seeks to expand its influence, its prestige, and seeks to destroy its enemies by means of intimidation and influence. The Empire of Revolution is, in the truest sense, an Evil Empire. An empire of falsehoods and lies, of stealth bigotry, self hatred and self destruction, an empire that has turned the once vaunted academia into a mass hive of idealogical think tanks, where true objective study is thrown out in favour of an ideologically bent lens through which to view the world, and is called Objective. Of all forms of Imperialism, this is the most despicable, and is our enemy. Its hypocrisy stems from its own denunciation of pride yet swims in its own vanity, it denounces all forms of righteous and justification for anything as wrong and invalid yet it is nothing but self-righteousness, it is this imperialism and pride that will kill us all. Literally.
I realise the above paragraph was wildly out of context but I still felt the need to express it.
Of course there is still the lingering malaise that haunts all Empires, the single greatest criticism of Imperialism and greatest argument against a nation becoming Imperial. It is an argument I expect many of you not to call to mind if you objectively considered Imperialism in the scope of history, the single greatest threat to an Empire's existence: Stagnation.
Stagnation occurs when an Empire, a social-political entity that has thrived on expansion, rapid development, progress, conquest, domination, glory, danger and respect, runs out on all of the above. This happens first when an Empire grows contented, secure in their borders, their majesty and power, there is no enemy who dares oppose it openly, there are no more lands worth expending the resources to bring under the flag, as a result the population becomes bored, and lazy, and as the population becomes bored and lazy, moral impairment occurs and this leads to a number of social ills which just harm the morale and the mentality of the empire even further, this is, I argue, what killed Rome. It turns an empire that seems like it should stand forever, into a brief, but glorious flash of history, and all that lies in the wake of its passing is crumbling moments, forgotten glory, and sadness. It killed Rome, it Killed the Ottomans, and it will kill America and its own Empire. This is, I feel, the greatest reason for me not to be supportive of Imperialism, simply because all empires fall, it is in their nature, if possible I would prefer us all to be kingdoms, or if we must have imperial styles, to be like the Empires of Japan and Ethiopia, contained, and contented, so that we would last forever. I do not want to look down upon the earth centuries after my time and see a man walk in the desert and see a ruin of King Ozymandias proudly boasting;
My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!
as a traveller simply walks on by.