Kraft Karl Ernst von Moy de Sons (1799-1867) was a Bavarian Catholic jurist, and a follower in the restorationist tradition of v. Haller, Maurenbrecher and Vollgraff. He was also part of the founding circle of Historisch-politische Blätter für das katholische Deutschland alongside other counterrevolutionary stalwarts as Carl Ernst Jarcke, Georg Phillips and Guido Görres. In the 1840s, he embarked on a codification of Bavarian state law entitled Lehrbuch des bayerischen Staatsrechts, a volume of which I’ll sample in brief here. His work aimed to incorporate both the post-1805 constitutionalist amendments while reconciling them with the traditional landesherrschaft (territorial-lordship) and landständisch (estates of the realm) notions of a monarchy. As such, sovereignty here is considered as an overlordship (a landeshoheit) conferring rights and duties like any other physical or moral person, and indeed von Moy de Sons defines the state as nothing more than the legal sphere of such an independent physical or moral person. Some interesting discussions follow that are unfamiliar to Roman law, liberal Rechtsstaat and absolutist principles alike. Excuse the rough and patchy translations.
Dr. Rudolph Meyer, the friend of Karl Rodbertus, a Socialist-Conservative, and formerly the publisher of the Berliner Revue, was often among the guests at Engels’ house, during the time of his stay in London. His passports were his expert knowledge in the sphere of political economy, and the circumstance that he was living in exile, having been persecuted by Bismarck. As a good East-Elber he was no enemy to alcohol, and one evening at Engels’ he drank a regular skinful. It was extremely droll, quite conscious of his condition, he kept on shouting, in a slightly thickened voice: “Well, well, if any one had ever told me that I, a Prussian Conservative, should one day, here in London, be made squiffy by the Revolutionary Communists!” This was on Christmas Eve, and then, to be sure, such things might well befall one in Engels’ house.
— From Ch IX of Eduard Bernstein’s memoirs [source]
Having spoken of Wagener’s timid defense of Friedrich Wilhelm IV as a compromise to the liberal ascendancy in the Kaiserreich, another subject worth noting is Herr Wagener’s eventual abandonment of the Ständestaat and his conversion to a form of right-wing socialism (or “feudal socialism,” as Marx and Engels called it — not that I consider that at all an accurate descriptor). The fact that anti-capitalism has its origins in the aristocratic defenders of patrimonial-feudalistic relations, and that socialism is a bastardized and greatly inferior continuation of this original anti-capitalism, is a fact of history infrequently noted and even less frequently explored. My previous discussions of this include: (1), (2), (3). It has been remarked of too by Kuehnelt-Leddihn.
Hermann Wagener (1815-1889) was an eminent Prussian conservative who served as chief editor and co-founder of the Kreuzzeitung alongside the brothers Ernst and Leopold von Gerlach. While initially steadfast in the doctrines of the patrimonial state exemplified by v. Haller and v. Mueller and upholding a monarchy of provincial estates against plans for unification, his increasing focus on the “social question” later in life would lead to him shifting to Bismarck, the Freikonservativen and the moderate kleindeutsch unificationist line as exemplified by v. Radowitz in the failed Prussian Plan of Union circa 1850, undercut by the oppositional interests of the Southern German princes. Making his peace with constitutionalism, universal suffrage and accepting a form of cameralistic state socialism a la Ferdinand Lassalle and Lorenz von Stein, he would embark on the quixotic pursuit of championing a “people’s monarchy.” The ill-fated Preussischer Volksverein founded in 1861 was such an attempt to undercut the popularity of liberal and social-democratic ideas by allying with artisanal and rural elements, indeed going so far as to threaten the liberals with the “mass march of the workers’ battalions” in his publication Berliner Revue. (The legitimist credentials were still intact given the party’s opposition to Italian unification as “crown robbery” and “national swindle.”) Among his many strange bedfellows would be the Young Hegelian and Christ myth theorist Bruno Bauer, who co-edited Wagener’s Staats-und-Gessellschaftslexikon — a conservative answer to the encyclopedistes.
I live… again.
I want to thank in advance all of the 6 people who read this blog. There’s still a lot I have to do before I can comfortably call this project “finished,” among other things an in-depth examination of Karl Ludwig von Haller’s body of work (although Doug Smythe could end up beating me to it), an essay on Antoine Blanc de Saint-Bonnet, more tortured wrangling of feudal law, some essays on political economy, Southern proslavery thought, the topic of “race and sex after Darwinism,” ultra-royalist counter-histories of nationalism, etc. etc.
So much to do, so little to show for it. My impromptu hiatus has been preoccupied with other concerns. I wonder if Michael Rothblatt, marcusmontisursinensis, quaslacrimas, fjwawak or any of those people are still around…
Either way, until I steadily get back on track, a little detour into something I noted previously about having a stageist model of history and a classical/pre-marginalist view of commodity production. Some spooky implications.
Before Coudenhove-Kalergi (how did that get memed so successfully, anyway?), there was another plan by the “liberator of Italy” himself, the plebiscitary caudillo Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, to the loud cheers of applause from the Daily Telegraph. It was to be a Congress of Nations going beyond the Metternichian concert. Lord Russell would not let it pass though, and much consternation followed in what has since become a footnote usually mentioned in the context of the Schleswig-Holstein crisis.
On Dec 4, 1863, the New York Times reports of “Napoleon’s Proposition for a European Congress of Sovereigns.” The NYT remarks that Bonaparte desires a Congress of Paris, but with a great peculiarity – to settle disputes before and not after war. This congress would then judge “not on the basis of facts as they stand, but of facts as they ought to stand, and would stand if reason and justice had supreme sway.” All in all, a singularly magnanimous cause, one that fires the sensibilities of poets and philanthropists. The NYT concludes that, suspicions by other sovereigns aside, “to whatever impulse it is due, the fact that all those who are summoned to the meeting, approach sword in hand, and port-fires lighted, proves to us that the mutual confidence and respect which can alone make all nations as one is still to grow up.”
This was but a brief addendum to an earlier Nov 22, 1863 report on “Napoleon and Poland.” Here we learn that the motivating factor was the Russo-Polish crisis borne of the January Uprising, still ongoing at the time. We also have a much less optimistic tone: “He seeks to place Europe in the position from which he hopes to extricate his own precious person and empire. He aims to transfer from the shoulders of France to those of the assembled States of Christendom, the responsibility and the perils of the threatening conflict. But, despite the rumors to the contrary, he will fail in the effort. The conditions on which the Russian Minister offered to submit the Polish question to the decision of a general Congress will never be fulfilled.”
However, we have a much more striking expose from the pseudonymous author of Anomia; or Liberalism and its Napoleonic messiah (1866), where the fawning of the English liberal press is sampled in wide array:
The purpose to be served by the Congress of 1863 is as plain as that of 1815—we will not say as legitimate. Then, as now, the assembling of the representatives was occasioned by a Napoleon. It was that Napoleon who brought on the war, as it is this who threatens to bring on such a formidable peace; but the grand difference is that the former Congress was held to settle things on the total defeat of the first Imperator of Rome, as well as of France, while the second is convoked by the Imperator Of Rome And France, who intends to assist at it, if not to Preside.—Daily Telegraph, on Emperor’s speech, November 10, 1863.
To substitute the reign of law for that of force, to “regulate the present and secure the future,” to satisfy the just desires of oppressed nationalities, and place the peace of Europe on a safe and lasting foundation—this is the object of the mission to which the Emperor Napoleon conceives himself to have been destined.
The doctrine which the first Napoleon practised, and the second has preached, amounts virtually to this, that human affairs can be best arranged By One Will And One Intellect.—Daily Telegraph, November 13. 1863.
M. de Girardin, be it known, proposes a Congress of Nations, with a view to proclaim Paris the capital of the world, and the Emperor of the French Emperor Of Peoples.—Le Temps, on new pamphlet, published in Standard, December 3, 1863.
It should be our pride as Englishmen, and whatever our differences of political opinion may be, to acknowledge the sagacity and magnanimity displayed in the treatment of a subject in which we, with our bygone political difficulties, should fully sympathise—displayed by a monarch who has disappointed his detractors and confuted his revilers, by acting, under good and evil report, not only towards England, not only towards Europe. but towards the world, as a wise ruler and an honest man.—Daily Telegraph, November 6, 1865, on Louis Napoleon’s Manifesto on Algeria.
There is that about the proposition contained in the famous letter which would make its writer a leader of men, if he were not a ruler.Does not the master of France, weary of war and doubtful of resources, dream of a future Europe with a Napoleon for its federal lord ?—Daily Telegraph, November 18, 1863.
It is probable that this able and energetic but restless ruler has rather in view his own exaltation than any real change for the better in the public law of Europe. Those who consider the Emperor’s character and position will be convinced that it is his object to gain And Maintain A Preponderating Authority In European Councils. His own ambition prompts him to this; his relations to a democratic people prompt him to it also.—Times, November 12, 1863.
The Committee of the London Society for the Promotion of Permanent and Universal Peace ask permission most respectfully to express to your Majesty the extreme satisfaction with which they have observed the proposal recently laid by your Majesty before the various sovereigns and states of Europe for assembling an International Congress, &c, &c.
To your Majesty belongs the signal honour of having taken the initiative in proposing to the States of Europe to substitute the arbitration of reason and justice for that of the sword.—Memorial of Peace Society to Emperor, Daily Telegraph, March 11, 1864.
To which the Emperor sent a gracious, though brief, reply :—
Justice must confess the grandeur and inherent truth of the Emperor’s latest idea. – The idea is an imperial idea; it wears the purple of intellectual royalty, as well as that of such lower kingship as votes can confer or coronations affirm. Let us look at it from the stand-point of philosophy rather than diplomacy, and do homage to a thought which history will certainly not rank among the least elevated of the human mind.—Daily Telegraph, November 18, 1863.
But there is an opportunity for penance, as Thermidor is now dead and gone for good.
A queer little publication — not quite NRx, not quite Christian integralist, idiosyncratic and muddled, but with plenty of interesting contributors (Walter Devereux and Richard Greenhorn are the two most memorable, in the earlier days there was also H.D. Alemann who caught my eye.) P.T. Carlo recently made the decision to terminate it, in order to pursue other projects, and so that was the end of it.
I’m not in a position to say much at the moment, but a good deal of Thermidor’s more worthwhile essays will be reposted to a future publication still in the works. NRx is mostly deceased by now, and that’s probably for the better. There is an opening for a post-liberal current with recent examples like Patrick Deneen and Adrian Vermeule cutting some space for it without being completely ravaged. I believe the intent is to pursue such a course without being bogged down in older labels that have since acquired legacies of ambiguity. I look forward to watching this development.
Underexplored area: role of foreign policy in the assembling of the civil rights therapeutic state.
When the Paris Peace Conference was being held between July and October 1946 by the Allied powers to discuss the reparations, territorial adjustments, etc. that the vanquished Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania and Finland would owe, pursuing the course of action suggested in the Potsdam Conference, the final treaties in 1947 all contained a clause along the lines of the following (here, the case of Hungary):
Hungary shall take all measures necessary to secure to all persons under Hungarian jurisdiction, without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion, the enjoyment of human rights and of the fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression, of press and publication, of religious worship, of political opinion and of public meeting.
In Hungary’s specific case, there was a further stipulation to legal integration and not simply equality:
Hungary further undertakes that the laws in force in Hungary shall not, either in their content or in their application, discriminate or entail any discrimination between persons of Hungarian nationality on the ground of their race, sex, language or religion, whether in reference to their persons, property, business, professional or financial interests, status, political or civil rights or any other matter.
Clearly, such ideas were already established at the time. Moreover, there is likely no willful element of humiliation or a consciously cynical ploy.
Secretary of State James F. Byrnes, who was involved heavily in postwar reconstruction as a counsel to Truman, gave a radio address from Washington on Oct 18, 1946 discussing this. Byrnes served many positions in federal and state government, but as a South Carolinian Democrat and later on governor there, he was a racial conservative with a record for voting down anti-lynching bills — though he would go on to significantly moderate school segregation in his home state, and he despised the much more virulent agrarian populism of Ellison DuRant Smith. Nonetheless, this is not a person you’d expect to bloviate unreservedly about the brotherhood of man.
Nonetheless, in said address, we get the confident proclamation that “It is my earnest hope that Czechoslovakia and Hungary and Rumania and Hungary may find by common agreement somewhat similar solutions to their complicated nationality problems on the basis of working together as friends and as neighbors. We in America know that people of many different races and stocks can live together in peace in the United States. They should be able to live together in peace in Europe.” Moreover, that “it is our hope that in international democracy, as in national democracy, experience will prove that appeals to reason and good faith which unite people count for more in the long run than appeals to prejudice and passion which divide people.” All this is ended on a commitment to oppose privilege at home and abroad.
As it seems, the defiant postures of “cotton is king and white is supreme” quickly bend over at an opportunity to be part of the Fabian dining club. Even if initially you feel like you’re just going through the motions and you’re “in on the joke,” the joke will eventually get in on you.