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Saturday 21 January 2012

Monarchism, the Nationalist's Guide part 1

It has already been put forward on this blog many times that in order to successfully propagate monarchism as an ideology to my fellow Irishmen several things need to made clear. (This is only terms of propagation of Monarchy as an idea, not touching upon the other myriad cultural factors that need to change in order for a successful restoration)

1) The distinction between Irish Nationalism as a sociopolitical force and the Republican Ideology. Defining what Irish Nationalism actually pertains to since its inception, its modern permutations and driving a wedge between this understanding and the Republican ideology.


2) The disassociation of the idea of Monarchy and Monarchism from Britain. This will be done by emphasising the long tradition of Irish Kingsmen both at home and abroad and Ireland's relations with other monarchies, particularly those of France and Spain, throughout the centuries.

We shall deal with the first factor for now.

What was Irish Nationalism and what is it now?:
Nationalism in Ireland did not actually exist until the late 19th century. Prior to this, the Irish people had always possessed a fierce sense of identity, culture and a sort of National pride. However the War of the three kingdoms, Cromwell's effective destruction of Gaelic Civilization, the flight of the earls and the penal laws had essentially dismantled Irish culture to the point almost nothing remained and the Irish themselves, almost wholly, existed as a race made up entirely of peasants, prisoners in their own land. Oh surely we Irish made fine peasantry, in fact we were once described as the finest peasantry in the world for a time. But for too long that had defined the Irish character, and the English notion that the Irish were 'unfit' to govern ourselves.

However stirrings began in the 19th century when largely protestant intellectuals began flirting with the ideas of 'Irishness' and appeals for greater legislative autonomy for Ireland in the form of a parliament in Dublin. During this period three forms of Irish 'Nationalism' emerged which were distinct both from eachother and, on a whole, largely distinct from other forms of nationalism found in Europe. These three strands of Nationalism were Cultural, Political and Intellectual. The movement grew to become something of a force in Imperial politics when the Home Rule question and the growing Catholic Middle class in Ireland putting their own weight behind the push for legislative independence (as well as further associating Nationalism with Catholicism which alienated many protestants) led to increasingly strengthened Home Rule bills which had almost resulted in a separate Parliament for Dublin had it not been for the outbreak of World War One.

What is casually looked over quite often when studying this period of History, (late 19th-early 20th century Ireland), is the lack of violent revolution in Ireland despite the tremendous popular support the home rule movement enjoyed. More specifically why there was a lack of violent Revolution. This is because Irish Nationalism, from its inception right up to the Easter Rising, had been a prominently monarchist affair, and the vast majority of Irish 'Nationalists' were in fact Irish 'Monarchists'.

This is particularly evident when looking both at the nature of the Home Rule bills themselves, what they sough to achieve and looking at the revolutionary elements of Irish Nationalism that did exist and why they failed to achieve dominance in the Nationalist movement.

The Home Rules bills were and always have been, about the formation of a Parliament in Dublin to deal with Irish Affairs separately from Imperial affairs. Nowhere in these bills did the Irish Nationalists seek outright independence from the Empire in fact, despite the horrible treatment and misgoverning of Ireland by England, the vast majority of Irish where loyalists to the King and the Empire. The Home Rule bills at most sought an effective end to the lie of the United Kingdom. That being, it cannot be the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland when the territories are only treated as one kingdom with one parliament when there is obvious difference in culture, identity and needs between the two kingdoms. Home Rulers sought, at times, the creation of a Personal Union, a Parliament in Dublin and London with the King being the Head of state for both, the sovereign being the 'King of Ireland' in an official context. In fact even one of the leaders of Sinn Fein, the then 'dual-monarchist' party, envisioned a union along Austro-Hungarian lines.

The British of course, would never have it, and it was more blind pride and prejudice then practicality that fueled Tory resistance to the Home Rule movement. That a nation of 'peasents', Catholic ones at that, being the equal to the English was unthinkable for many in britain. In fact, the prejudice was so strong that a comment by an Irish priest stating that, truthfully, the incompetence and cruelty of English governance was such that the English were unfit to rule Ireland, had caused a furious uproar and shock amongst the upper classes there.

Furthermore, under the New Departure initiatives, the attempts to find common ground between Irish Nationalists and Irish Republicans is proof that in the beginnings, there really was little common ground between Nationalists and Republicans in Ireland.

In fact, such was the profound monarchism of the Irish Nationalist movement in the early 20th century that DeVelera himself had to promise the electorate that he would allow a referendum for the formation of an Irish Kingdom should such a thing come to pass.

How quickly we forget history.

In the modern Context, Irish Nationalism, especially here in the North has been so intertwined with Irish Republicanism that it seems to be an impossible knot to untangle. I will attempt to explain the ways in which Irish Nationalists, through the education of history, can untangle the snarl of republicanism, and return to the true implications of their own social identity in my next part.

Thursday 19 January 2012

Interesting times

Well this has been a busy start to the new year. Some of you may remember my fear mongering over a summit to solve the EU debt crisis last year and how, if the leaders of the European nations did not come to an agreement to restore confidence in the euro it would spell a disaster that would domino around the world.

Now of course any reasonable person would have and should have, slapped me about the head for thinking that the European powers WOULDN'T submit to whatever deal was required to restore confidence, and indeed, that seems to have been the case, with the only surprise being Mr.Cameron conceding to his Tory backbenchers and keeping Britain out of the deal. Which Sarkozy was all to happy to allow in all honesty.

Now lets look at the state of affairs, there is a new tax being imposed regarding Financial transactions by Sarkozy and Merkel over the member states has caused some amount of alarm, with even Ireland's own government making overtures to align with Britain in opposing the tax, citing it is oppressive to their businesses. Now, I wont be expressing the alarmism in the stalwart anti-EU newspaper the Daily Express in citing it would bankrupt Britain, but it is a threat to their businesses nonetheless. All is not well in Europe.

As well as that we have the puppet technocratic governments of Greece and Italy trying their damnedest to restore viability in their own markets and implement austerity measures to no noticeable effect so far. It really does not look well when your own puppet government cannot do what you want for a country.

And not only that, there are tremors working along the foetid underbelly of the economic class that confidence in the euro's viability is still shaky despite the austerity measures put in place, now with rumours that it may not even last till the summer before the euro collapses. I doubt that, learning from my previous alarmism, and fully expect further committees and conferences and summits of all sorts to try to restore confidence and cut spending. Which will again, only prolong the inevitable.

Here in Ireland meanwhile, our government is entertaining thoughts of cowtowing to the European Court of Human Right's ruling in favour of liberalizing abortion laws in the Republic. This is a preposterous turn of events. First of all, there can be no altering of the Irish constitution without a referendum or, as is the case with the Lisbon treaty, direct pressure from the EU institutions. The European court of Human Rights, despite its name, is NOT an institution of the overall European Union and is seperate and distinct from the Union, its rulings have no actual authority over nation states, even member states of the Union such as Ireland. This is not to say that many nations, including the EU itself, takes rulings of the court into consideration when making legislations, but its power is limited to solely that. Irish pro-life groups are correct in opposing this movement and in laying siege to the government proclaiming that the Republic does not have to obey the commands of the court. Doubtless the secularists in power will do everything in their abilities to avoid allowing this matter to go to referendum, which will surely sound a death knell to bringing abortion to greater availability in Ireland.

But apparently, the demise of the European dream of a US style economic union of states seems to be the least troubling thing on our overlord's minds right now.

By now word has reached the ears of practically everybody of the bold steps taken by Hungary in rejecting the secularism of our age.

Admittedly, the first inklings I had heard of the changes occurring in Hungary where, in all honesty, a thread on a forum board in the back of beyond on the internet, where some left leaning poster had linked to some article or other, (the article was probably in Hungarian, I wasn't in the mood for hitting Google translate at the time and reading through it), and proclaiming some alarmist concerns that Hungary was turning into a fascist state. Now at the time I just passed it off, so a European country elected a conservative government and left wingnuts were proclaiming it as fascist. What else is new? I went on with my business.

Turns out now I should have paid closer intention, the events in Hungary are startling and unprecedented since the inception of the European Union. In fact, it is borderline counter-revolutionary and I for one sure as hell never saw this coming.

The Hungarians radically conservative alterations of the Constitution, effectively declaring Hungary a 'Catholic' State, rejecting secularism and rabidly condemning communism and socialism, as well as forbidding non-Hungarians from high positions in Hungary's media as well as, horrors of horrors, joy of joys, removing the word Republic from Hungary's official name, has absolutely terrified the elites in not only Brussels, but also, apparently, scared the hell out of the Obama Administration in the United States. This is easily deduced from both administrations denouncing Hungary's moves as dangerous and even badnying about the word 'fascist' themselves with regards to Hungary's change of status.

Now I will admit, they are right to be afraid, Hungary, along with some eastern European members of the EU, are very conservative countries, and the precedence set by Hungary, which mind, technically does not breach any major EU directives - yet anyway, could start a stronger habit of member states asserting their right to self-determination, a cardinal sin in the growing centralization of the EU. Would anyone really be surprised if this brave direction inspired, say, the conservatives in Poland to redouble their efforts and continue along a similar line? And if another country follows and thereby legitimizing the self determination of Hungary, others may follow. And the EU establishment can't have that now, can it?

Now my fellow monarchists may be hoping for a restoration with the removal of the word 'Republic' from Hungary's official name, but I again urge caution. Counter-revolutionary many of the changes in Hungary's constitution may be, it does not neccessarily foreshadow a monarchical restoration in that nation, though it seems the local Archduke would be ready if they restoration movement there pulls through. THEN we'll see the EU's true colours when it reacts to such scandalous insubordination from a 'mere' member state.

These are, indeed, interesting times we are living in, slan go phoile.

Wednesday 11 January 2012

Culturalism: A distinction

(Hope everyone has had a good Christmas and New Year, I'm currently mired in January Examinations for my part, sorry for the lack of activity)

I speak a great deal on this blog about the need for a solid and assertive national identity, however at times I find myself restraining from going overboard, from being too nationalistic and descending into the dangerous pit of nationalistic chuvanism. This is not to say I view all cultures as equal and that I should watch my words lest I offend my fellows. Certainly not, I describe myself as a Nationalist Monarchist for good reason, after all. What I mean is that we should neither seek to overly accomodate the cultures of minorities in our nation to the point of self-defeating sycophancy, for we have seen the failures of multi-culturalism in the practices of our neighbours' governments and the long, shameful displays of newstime entertainment they have provided on the airways trying to contain their race riots. However, I do not want to foster a form of nationalism on par with that of the rabid nationalism of certain groups in Europe and elsewhere that thrive on hatred and persecution of minorities, and, more to the point, driving out such groups from the nation. Because fundamentally, such hatred is un-Irish. Let me elucidate.

I am a Culturalist. Meaning I see the collective cultures, civilizations and histories of the human species as a grand, interwoven tapestry of colour that we can never fully see from a God's eye view. No culture is truly equal to another, just as some coloured thread is used more often then others in the tapestry's patterns. It is this inequity that tells the story of human existence and truly expresses the beauty and tragedy of the human experience. But while certain all cultures are not equal, cultures, like human life, have value. I enjoy spending my free time looking into a country from a certain time period and finding out their cultural mores and ways of doing things. Naturally of course there is values dissonance, as beautiful and elegent as Chinese culture could be towards the end of the Qing dynasty, I found the practice of binding womens' feet to be unconscionable and barbaric. But I have learned that while a true understanding of another's culture can breed respect for it, it can, when truly studied, breed a further respect for your own and a desire to make your own culture great. Let me give you the example of Tsar Peter the Great, in his travels of Europe he returned to Russia to seek to modernize it, while of course this meant the visible destruction of some ancient Rus traditions, he sought to use his understanding not to Change Russia into something it was not meant to be, but to change Russia into something it could be, the great Empire it was when he left it. Shining, terrifying, powerful and yet distinctly Russian, despite the innovations and influence of Europe. It is for this reason I would call Tsar Peter a culturalist.

I think its safe for you to assume where I am going with this, even if my words are not the best at articulating this concept. Compare this understanding of the inter-relationships of culture in the past to the modern socio-philosophical heresy of Multi-culturalism, where all cultures are equal and should be expected to co-exist side by side, whether they like it or not, and whether one culture is in the majority or not. This barbaric understanding of culture devalues all cultures, they are treated as commodities, a curio in the numbers book as the political class ticks off its checklist as to which bloc they can manipulate into class warfare so they can win the next election. Is it any wonder why this understanding has led to an insane paradox, where in places like Britain and France where minorities, whose youths feel entitled by their protected class status as minorities, abuse their fellow countrymen, usually natives or smaller minorities, while simultaneously losing sense of their old national identity and replacing it with one that porports a vapid "us vrs them" mentality. One in which they no longer care what their differences are and couldn't articulate it if they did they just know they hate eachother? This is the twisted genius of multi-culturalism and it is why it will always lead to national suicide, by forcing cultures to be treated equally socially, (nevermind legally), it has inadvertedly made the cultural differences mean less while at the same time emphasising the differences to further propagate the multi-cultural ideals, leaving a population divided by racial and ethnic hatred with nobody truly understanding why they hate the man down the street. This is not counting religious clashes of course, but here in the west religion isn't controlled or forcibly restricted by the state (yet).

Getting two groups of people in a city with differing cultures to co-operate at the least has, throughout the history of humanity, always been difficult, and multi-culturalism has utterly failed in this respect, and has justified things like nationalism in their assertion of national identities. Multi-culturalist point to examples such as the Austro-Hungarian Empire of the past as examples of functional mullti-cultural societies, or even the Ottoman Empire, pointing to things such as tolerance of other cultures within the city of Constantinople, or the Roman Empires of the Past. This is a failed interpretation of history, all of these examples have been examples of culturalist societies, not multi-cultural ones. In all of these examples, there is a clear dominant culture represented in the state and often a clear dominant national religion, and often all of the minorities take on characteristics of the dominant culture along with the remnants of their own minority identities. Nowhere in the past is there seen the destruction of national culture in the favour of a constructed non-culture that has resulted in the social confusion and chaos seen in the social democracies of Modern Europe.

Monarchists, especially European ones, will most likely identify with the culturalist model, especially after studying history of monarchies in Europe (which has never been perfect and there have been examples of social persecution of minority cultures), but it has always been hard to articulate this understanding without sounding like a proponent of secular multi-culturalism, or perhaps that may just be me.

So how does this relate to Ireland?

Throughout Ireland's own history we have been an example of a culturalist society, and a remarkably strong one at that, to the point where even those who conquered us were assimilated into our native culture, as was the case with the Normans who were so thoroughly assimilated into Irish culture that Surnames such as Fitzgerald are now indistinguishable in terms of Irishness to surnames such as O'Brien. They only thing that has ever proven effective at halting our ability of assimilating minority cultures peacefully has been religious differences. In modern Day Ireland, in true Irish Fashion, we have arrived late to the local meta-cultural storm that is Multi-culturalism, (This is actually something of a historical Anomaly, Ireland has always seemed to 'arrive late' to the dinner table of whatever fashion happens to be on offer, we 'arrived late' to the 60s to the point where the full force of the cultural upheaval was not as pronounced in Ireland as it was elsewhere), and despite trying its damnedest, the Irish state could not engender anything more then mild apathy to Irish national Identity when trying to promote multi-culturalism. Indeed I remember during my college days my geography teacher, while we were discussing a poster on the wall depicting Ireland as an amalgamation of hundreds of differing foreign flags representing the 'spoken languages in Ireland' (and before you ask, no, the Irish tricolour was not present), my teacher was trying to impress upon me Ireland was a multicultural society, at which point I recall myself posing the question; "How can we be a multicultural society if nearly all of those languages are being spoken by less then 8% of the Island?" Certainly I was not impressed at the time by the notion that Ireland was 'multicultural' and I didn't meet anyone who really was, except for later when the Lisbon treaty made the European Union an issue among students. However this remains a concern, Ireland still hasn't technically put a stop to its multicultural policies even after public announcements by the leaders of our neighbours about how such policies have failed their nations. And, in my rage against secularism and multi-culturalism I try to engender a deep abiding love of Irishness and a sense of national Identity I often have to stop myself.

Am I reacting in a fashion of a culturalist? Am I promoting Irishness and the need for public recognition of Irishness (Gaelige being spoken in the Dail, Gealige promotion in schools and Irish Media, an appreciation for ancestry and history and masculine patriotism, etc, etc) for the good it will bring? Or am I simply reacting in blind anger and engendering in my readers a fear or loathing of minorities in Ireland and potentially putting the blame of the destruction of Irish culture partially on them? I live in Northern Ireland, and people here know the dangers of tribal mentalities of two cultures that have existed for centuries in the same area, let alone foreigners.

Certainly I am in favour of a robust and assertive native culture and I'll break the jaw of the first man who claims I do not. But I do not want to create an oppressive Ireland where our minorities will live in fear of an assertive majority, instead I want to create an Ireland whose distinct Irishness is attractive enough to allow assimilation. That when people emigrate to Ireland, they do not tribalise but seek to integrate into Irish society and Irish culture, whatever their origins, not simply out of sheer economic attractiveness which many people seem to think is the only thing that matters these days. Even on top of all the other needs of Irish society these days, like being able to have University students honestly put forward 10 things they associate with Irishness, (our politics tutor gave us that challenge to prove a point in a seminar one day, sadly he proved his point well), and I feel we will need to articulate this difference better if we are to defeat the prevailing cultural attitudes.

Slan go Phoile