The Prince, The People, and Fritz Pendleton in Between

[After much delay…]

Half a year ago, Fritz Pendleton attempted to draw lessons from Bonapartism (my response here). Most recently, he has presented us with a treatise that is strange in just how conventional and neutered it is.

Pendleton is nominally aiming to pursue the same direction as a Karl Ludwig von Haller: a comprehensive theory of a top-to-bottom anti-liberal/anti-radical statecraft. Instead, he has somehow ended up repackaging the most vanilla English (or perhaps French) constitutional monarchism imaginable. Something went off the rails along the way, and so we learn that Bishop Stubbs, rather than Whig history, actually provided a metapolitics of counterrevolution all along.

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#INeedFeudalismBecause

Every once in a while, you stumble upon an obscure jurist barely anyone has heard of with visibly dated (?) ultra-royalist leanings, who turns out to be a true gem. Is there a value to pursuing this? The value, I think, lies in helping you tell the difference between a monarch and a Bonapartist. It is understandable that the left often can’t tell it, but increasingly large numbers of the people on the right are also finding themselves incapable.

Next up will be my response to Fritz Pendleton’s latest. Until then, a word from Jean-Baptiste-Victor Coquille (1820-1891), a lawyer who hated lawyers, in Les légistes: leur influence politique et religieuse (1863), p.375-9:

The doctrine which gives the right of property to the State is not so foreign to our legislation as one would be tempted to believe at first sight; admirers of our Codes can easily be convinced. Roman law, especially with regard to property, is alive again in our civil law. The gradual abolition of customs, undertaken under the combined influence of jurists and royalty, was to lead to the triumph of absolutism and the denial of the right of property. In Rome, the State alone is invested with the right of property; the Roman citizen is only a member of the political congregation. It alone has the right of ownership. This primitive communism has left many traces in the archaism of the law. Outside the sovereign city, there were only inferior and subordinate rights. Thus the provinces did not enjoy the right of property; the Roman people attributed to themselves the eminent domain, the legal property of all the conquered countries. They abandoned the property to the inhabitants only precariously. The inhabitants were only mere possessors. That is the right of which the Roman jurists have deduced the consequences with precision. Caesar, the legal representative of the Roman people, was thus invested with the total property of the submissive world. This universal confiscation was intended to weaken the subjugated nations, extinguishing in them all sentiment of personality. This system succeeds wonderfully; and when Rome, after centuries of fierce struggle, sank under the weight of the Barbarians, the provinces remained powerless and unable to govern themselves. A brilliant civilization, a perfected administration, did not save them. These advantages, indeed, do not replace, at the time of the great struggles, the energetic instincts of an independent nationality. Gaul got up with the Franks, who placed at their service a valiant and devoted sword, and soon became with the Gauls a single people. From this melee of Gallo-Romans and Franks was born, under the action of the Catholic Church, feudal France. Feudalism is the glorification of the right of property; it causes all political rights to flow from property. The hierarchy of lands corresponded to the hierarchy of functions; the land paid for the function. Royalty was the greatest of the fiefs, but it was of the same nature as the other fiefs, and was transmitted like them, from male to male and by order of primogeniture. The ancient possessions were also transformed into incommutable and perpetual fiefs. As a result of this change in the organization of the right of property, justice no longer had the autocratic character it derived from Roman law. The Roman emperors were the supreme legislators of the world; their will had the force of law, which was principally established, legis habet vigorem. To this justice emanated from the imperial arbitrariness succeeded a territorial justice based on custom. The peoples freed themselves from the Roman law, and only raised themselves, their manners, and their traditions. Caesar lost his powers as legislator and judge. This was the moderate character of feudal royalty. From the principle that the law was territorial, the consequence was that the men of every custom, of every locality, were the only interpreters of the law. This state of affairs has been undermined by two claims successfully supported by the lawyers. The first is that the fiefs were a usurpation on the royal estate; the second is that “all justice emanates from the King.” The French monarchy, by a fatal ambition, became drunk with these fatal doctrines, and demolished with its own hands the edifice of which it was the coronation. Once the foundation of the company was shaken, the ridge was soon overturned. In hatred of the Church and feudalism, the lawyers brought us back under Roman servitude. Roman law, in its application to the provinces, was a code of servitude; it choked under its cold logic all the spontaneous germs of development among the conquered nations. The jurists at an early age began to invoke royal power against customs; in the long run they relocated France under orders and good pleasure. Their triumph has made France the privileged land of bickering and procedure. But their action was above all mortal to public liberties; they have entirely sacrificed the right of property to their pagan prejudices. Almost all French soil was constituted into fiefs; if the fiefs went back to the royal authority, it followed that the right of property was a concession of royalty. Louis XIV professed this theory as clearly as the most advanced socialists of our day. “All the goods of our subjects are ours,” he wrote in his instructions to his grandson. The remains of feudalism disappear in 1789.

The theory of the State that owns the national soil will emerge from the discussions and events with remarkable speed. By virtue of this principle, the property of the clergy and the nobility are declared State property: the spoliation takes the air of a claim. Let’s get to the Civil Code. “Property,” says section 544, “is the right to enjoy and dispose of things in the most absolute manner, provided that they are not used in a manner prohibited by law or by regulation.” Surely all this is very strange. What is an absolute property subject to the laws and regulations that any legislator will imagine? The drafters of the Code were incapable of raising a clear notion of the principles of the legislation. They recalled the definition of Robespierre, who saw in property only the right, for every citizen, to enjoy the portion of property guaranteed to him by law. Even today collective property needs, in order to be born, a prior authorization; and the legislator would think it right to dissolve it after having authorized it. The State therefore considers the right of ownership to be a delegation, since it gives and withdraws it at will. The law of inheritance and gift gives us a striking example of the influence of this idea, that above the individual property resides the superior right of the State. Substitutions are prohibited by the Civil Code. Why, if I am the absolute master of my thing, can I not dispose of it in an absolute manner, am I a simple usufructuary, have I only a life-giving right limited to my earthly existence? The testament is sacred to all peoples, because, in spite of death, it is the expression of an ever-living will. The last wills suppose the immortality of the soul. By what right to limit the effect of our last will on the things that are ours? England has never known Roman law; it leaves the property right free. It is permissible in England to dispose of his thing in perpetuity, by means of substitutions. This is the right in its complete autonomy. The Civil Code attributes to us only a kind of usufruct. There is no exaggeration of our property tax that does not seem to attest a kind of co-ownership on the part of the State. It is about one-fifth of the income; it is about the tax formerly levied by the Roman fisc in the provinces. What will we say about the property of the communes or public institutions some of whose directors claim that the State has the right to order the sale? Is not this still an appeal to the primordial right of property which belongs to the State? The Code can not be explained dogmatically; but it is impossible not to see in the series of its provisions relating to the right of property an inspiration of Roman law, as opposed to customary law, of which the Revolution has effaced the last vestiges.

It isn’t true that “England has never known Roman law,” but overall the judgment holds up. Now many people will probably jump that the author is advocating unrestrained alienation, but read more closely the idea is that having dominium directum disconnected from territorial rulers claiming regalian rights, and instead transferred to the Crown, which let us not forget by the time of absolutism became a mere corporate fiction thanks to the doctrine of capacities, and of indivisible sovereignty (which paradoxically held that the sovereign was absolute, but not absolute enough to parcel his demesne lands into fiefs), ultimately led to the institution becoming a meaningless redundancy — with the jurists dealing the final death blow by simply formalizing Crown into the Council that it had been for so long.

Friedrich Engels, Habsburg imperialist (1849)

In order to commemorate the historical achievement of Lyndon LaRouche Vox Day in finally illuminating the true unabashed meaning of the left-right political spectrum, I would like to point out just how correct he is on his judgment regarding the devious machinations of PLATONIST IMPERIALISM with its hypocritical pretense of a “civilizing mission.”

The fact is that Platonist imperialism’s refusal to hand over chunks of land to ethno-Jacobin mobs and the chattering classes behind them is, in the final analysis, a horrific affront to human rights.

This is why traditionalist and counterrevolutionary organizations such as the United Nations stress that “the subjection of peoples to alien subjugation, domination and exploitation constitutes a denial of fundamental human rights, is contrary to the Charter of the United Nations and is an impediment to the promotion of world peace and co-operation.”

100% Aristotelian content on part of the UN, as the reader can clearly observe.

In contrast, we have Friedrich Engels, and his imperialist thoughts on democratic Pan-Slavism, straight from Plato’s Republic itself:

We repeat: apart from the Poles, the Russians, and at most the Turkish Slavs, no Slav people has a future, for the simple reason that all the other Slavs lack the primary historical, geographical, political and industrial conditions for independence and viability.

Peoples which have never had a history of their own, which from the time when they achieved the first, most elementary stage of civilization already came under foreign sway, or which were forced to attain the first stage of civilization only by means of a foreign yoke, are not viable and will never be able to achieve any kind of independence.

And that has been the fate of the Austrian Slavs. The Czechs, among whom we would include the Moravians and Slovaks, although they differ in respect of language and history, have never had a history of their own. Bohemia has been chained to Germany since the time of Charles the Great. The Czech nation freed itself momentarily and formed the Great-Moravian state, only immediately to come under subjugation again and for 500 years to be a bill thrown from one to another by Germany, Hungary and Poland. Following that, Bohemia and Moravia passed definitely to Germany and the Slovak regions remained with Hungary. And this historically absolutely non-existent “nation” puts forward claims to independence?

The same thing holds for the Southern Slavs proper. Where is the history of the Illyrian Slovenes, the Dalmatians, Croats and Shokazians? Since the 11th century they have lost the last semblance of political independence and have been partly under German, partly under Venetian, and partly under Magyar rule. And it is desired to put together a vigorous, independent, viable nation out of these tattered remnants?

More than that. If the Austrian Slavs were a compact mass like the Poles, the Magyars and the Italians, if they were in a position to come together to form a state of 12-20 million people, then their claims would surely be more serious. But the position is just the opposite. The Germans and Magyars have pushed themselves in between them like a broad wedge to the farthest extremities of the Carpathians, almost to the Black Sea, and have separated the Czechs, Moravians and Slovaks from the Southern Slavs by a broad band 60-80 miles [German mile equals 4.7 English miles] wide. To the north of this band are 5.5 million Slavs, to the south 5.5 million Slavs, separated by a compact mass of 10-11 million Germans and Magyars, made allies by history and necessity.

[…]

What then are the great, dreadful crimes committed by the Germans and Magyars against the Slav nationality? We are not speaking here of the partition of Poland, which is not at issue here, we are speaking of the “centuries of injustice” supposed to have been inflicted on the Slavs.

In the north, the Germans have reconquered from the Slavs the formerly German and subsequently Slav region from the Elbe to the Warthe; a conquest which as determined by the “geographical and strategical necessities” resulting from the partition of the Carolingian kingdom. These Slavs areas have been fully Germanized; the thing has been done and cannot be undone, unless the pan-Slavists were to resurrect the lost Sorbian, Wendish, and Obodritian languages and impose them on the inhabitants of Leipzig, Berlin and Stettin. But up to now it has never been disputed that this conquest was to the advantage of civilization.

In the south, the Germans found the Slav races already split up. That had been seen to by the non-Slav Avars, who occupied the region later inhabited by the Magyars. The Germans exacted tribute from these Slavs and waged many wars against them. They fought also against the Avars and Magyars, from whom they took the whole territory from the Ems to the Leitha. Whereas they carried out Germanization here by force, the Germanization of the Slav territories proceeded much more on a peaceful basis, by immigration and by the influence of the more developed nation on the undeveloped German industry, German trade, and German culture by themselves served to introduce the German language into the country. As far as “oppression” is concerned, the Slavs were not more oppressed by the Germans than the mass of the German population itself.

As regards the Magyars, there are certainly also a large number of Germans in Hungary, but the Magyars, although numbering “hardly four millions”, have never had the occasion to complain of the “damnable German policy”! And if during eight centuries the “eight million Slavs” have had to suffer the yoke imposed on them by the four million Magyars, that alone sufficiently proves which was the more viable and vigorous, the many Slavs or the few Magyars!

But, of course, the greatest “crime” of the Germans and Magyars is that they prevented these 12 million Slavs from becoming Turkish! What would have become of these scattered small nationalities, which have played such a pitiful role in history, if the Magyars and Germans had not kept them together and led them against the armies of Mohammed and Suleiman, and if their so-called oppressors had not decided the outcome of the battles which were fought for the defense of these weak nationalities! The fate of the “12 million Slavs, Wallachians, and Greeks” who have been “trampled underfoot by 700,000 Osmans” (p.8), right up to the present day, does not that speak eloquently enough?

And finally, what a “crime” it is, what a “damnable policy” that at a time when, in Europe in general, big monarchies had become a “historical necessity”, the Germans and Magyars untied all these small, stunted and impotent little nations into a single big state and thereby enabled them to take part in a historical development from which, left to themselves, they would have remained completely aloof! Of course, matters of this kind cannot be accomplished without many a tender national blossom being forcibly broken. But in history nothing is achieved without violence and implacable ruthlessness, and if Alexander, Caesar, and Napoleon had been capable of being moved by the same sort of appeal as that which pan-Slavism now makes on behalf of its ruined clients, what would have become of history! And are the Persians, Celts, and Christian Germans of less value than the Czechs, Ogulians, and Serezhans?

Now, however, as a result of the powerful progress of industry, trade and communications, political centralization has become a much more urgent need than it was then, in the 15th and 16th centuries. What still has to be centralized is being centralized. And now the pan-Slavists come forward and demand that we should “set free” these half-Germanized Slavs, and that we should abolish a centralization which is being forced on these Slavs by all their material interests!

In short, it turns out these “crimes” of the Germans and Magyars against the said Slavs are among the best and most praiseworthy deeds which our and the Magyar people can boast in their history.

Absolutely despicable. Anti-familial. Platonist. Imperialist.

And, of course, Marxist. That much can’t be denied. Unfortunately this part must have been redacted from Capital and ultimately failed to get into the heads of Marx and Engels’ sycophants.

Cultural Marxism ain’t new. It’s as old as orthodox Marxism. And sometimes Marx or Engels accidentally said the right thing for reasons of their deranged political economy.

Czechoslovak lobby in America

Brett Stevens’ favorite lamenting of “trace admixture”, especially his recent and as usual quite formulaic reminder How Irish Immigration Destroyed America got me thinking about other less-than-Nordic immigrants offered as explanations for America’s identity crisis, and there’s one that deserves more opprobrium than the micks: the goddamned Czechs.

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Nativism and Radical Republicanism: a curious relationship

Once upon a time, Tennessee was a stronghold of the Whig Party. More specifically, from about 1836 to 1852. In 1860, Tennessee was also one of three states to capture the electoral vote for the Constitutional Union Party, a splinter group of former Whigs and Know Nothings.

Despite being the home of Andrew Jackson, some of the most virulent anti-Jacksonians would come from the same state.

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Controrisorgimento

“You Romans think the world ends at Ponte Molle. Don’t you know that Germany has already graduated, while you are only at the alphabet? Weishaupt scattered the first seeds of social reform; he foresaw everything, calculated everything, weighed everything. That great man could tell you, watch in hand: “In seventy years the fruit of Illuminism will have attained maturity. In thirty years it will have spread dismay throughout all this decrepit Europe; it will permit not a single king to say, “To-morrow I shall be king,” nor a single nation to say, “To-morrow I shall have my laws and my religion;” nor a single citizen, “To-morrow I shall be able to say, this house is mine, this sum of money is mine, these estates are my property.” Now we have reached the goal; for seventy years the work of the secret societies has been incessant, ever increasing in activity, vigor, craft, subtlety, and audacity. Now they are impatient: before the eyes of great politicians, writers, and economists they are tearing asunder, one by one, every link of the ancient institutions; it is undermining and crumbling the most massy foundations of every social edifice. Illuminism has issued from its hiding-place, it walks boldly over the heads of nations, it openly publishes its views, sounds the trumpet as conqueror in the great struggle, and proclaims: ‘New men, new laws, new orders, — let Christians become pagans — let kings be the slaves of their subjects, masters of their servants, the nobles of the plebeians, the rich of the poor.’

“But this is precisely the new proclamation of Giuseppe Mazzini.”

“Mazzini, my good friend, announces nothing new. He has nothing more than the merit of candor in publishing to the world that which was whispered in his ear ; all the rest is word for word extracted from Weishaupt’s secret code of Illuminism. Mazzini reproduces one after the other, various articles, clothing them, however, in that nervous, keen, fiery style of his, with which he arouses, spurs, animates, and influences the hearts of young Italy. The articles of the code of Weishaupt are written, it is true, without a tithe of the energy which the pen of Mazzini has lent them, but I repeat, that when he raises his voice so high, he is but the speaking trumpet sounded from a distance by the breath of the admiral.”

— From Fr. Antonio Bresciani’s novel The Jew of Verona: an historical tale of the Italian revolutions of 1846-9 (1854), p.201

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Sweet reassurances of old American pacifism

From the November 1869 issue of the Advocate of Peace, the newspaper of the American Peace Society (said peace was not supported for the Confederacy, though):

In 1820, says Edmond Potonie, “Europe supported 1,200,000 men; in 1865, it reached 3,800,000; now it is more than six millions. While Europe is burdened by her armies, the young and vigorous America, which reckoned 1,050,000 men in the Federal Army on the first of May, 1865, had disbanded 700,000 by the last of the same year, and to-day (1869), there are but 25,000 men under the flag. Is it better to lose the training, or to lose the people ? ”

Mark in this the tendency of large armaments in Europe to a steady, indefinite increase. Here is an increase of 600 per cent, in less than fifty years. Where is this enormous evil to stop? If not arrested, must it not end in universal, irredeemable bankruptcy?

Our own policy is a striking contrast. We have at most only the germ, or nucleus of a regular army, but nothing that would in Europe be called a Standing Army. Ours is only a handful of men trained to arms, as a species of national police to aid the government in enforcing its laws. It does not profess to be a preparation for actual war ; and whenever that comes, the men and the materials must be extemporized to meet the emergency.

Thus ours is a system, not so much of war as of peace ; and this policy, if adopted by Europe, would effect there a disarmament far beyond what even the friends of peace, most of them, have hitherto demanded ; for we do not understand them as objecting to the use, if necessary, of an armed police for the support of government in the execution of its laws. Even the London Peace Society, thought to be sufficiently radical, has always recognized the right and duty of rulers to enforce law against its violators, and thus guard the peace and welfare of society at large.

Thus our war-system, if such it may be called, is quite unlike that of Europe. The latter is kept up at as great an expense as the people can be made to bear, hot to preserve peace and order at home, but to fight other nations, while ours is used chiefly as a handmaid of our government in supporting its authority among ourselves, and ensuring a due enforcement of our laws. Its duties are for the country at large very like the local police in Boston or New York. Its main purpose is not War but Peace — peace at home ; and if the habits of our people, and the policy of our government were to prevail all over Europe, they would go far to supersede her present war-system, and certainly would insure a more entire disarmament there than has yet been proposed.

Is not our duty then plain and imperative as leaders to the world in peace, as well as in freedom and popular government ? Such, we think, is now our special mission. The habits of our people, and the policy of our government peculiarly qualify us to do this ; and we certainly can, if we will, do it more easily and more effectually than any other nation. We now stand confessedly at the head of other governmental reforms ; and if we will champion this greatest of them all, we shall cap the climax of our achievements for the benefit of our race.

Well…

That didn’t last.

“Leaders to the world in peace, freedom and popular government” did, though. Evidently the constitutional changes since Reconstruction by then had totally went under their noses, but that just might have been intentional ignorance.