T.A. Jackson confirms: Carlsbad is a liberal

It is official; T.A. Jackson now confirms: Carlsbad is a liberal.

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered Carlsbad 1819 blog when IDC confirmed that the Carlsbad 1819 readership has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all newsreaders. Coming close on the heels of a recent T.A. Jackson survey which plainly states that Carlsbad 1819 has lost more readership, this news serves to reinforce what we’ve known all along. Carlsbad 1819 is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by falling dead last in the recent #frogtwitter poll.

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Old and new conservatism (1852)

Having spoken before about the domestic and foreign policy push factors that tilted high Prussian conservatives into allying with plebeian German nationalists, as well as of the ever-shrinking “enlightened absolutist” centre, one of the most unambiguous contemporary espousals of a kleindeutsch German nationalist evangelizing high conservatives to abandon their dated ways, is without a doubt a pamphlet by the lawyer Wilhelm von Merckel (1803-1861) entitled “Alter und neuer Konservatismus” (1852). The title alone gives it away: there is an “old conservatism” out of touch with the prevailing facts that must be supplanted by a “new conservatism,” the nature of which is… we’ll get to that in a moment.

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Hats off to Marianne

It is time this tired accusation that “conservatives haven’t conserved anything” be dropped once and for all.

I stumbled upon an article by a certain Frank Moeller on the German revolutions of 1848-9 and I nearly choked when I uncovered this gem:

In May 1848, a so-called “Hat Emancipation Club” was founded in the Bavarian city of Augsburg as well as in other cities at the time. The announced goal of the club was to “eliminate the annoying taking-off of one’s hat in greeting, in favor of the more contemporary, simple military salute”. Each participant could purchase a badge that was attached to their hat or bonnet, signaling that its owner waived the tipping of the hat when being greeted. Within a very short time, the Augsburg club reached the enormous number of 1200 members. Clearly, the expectation was that the abolition of the hat-tip would also lead to a leveling or at least toning down of social hierarchies that stood behind the custom.

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Schmalz and loyalist particularism

Theodor Schmalz (1760-1831) was one of the last representatives of an 18th-century cameralistic enlightened absolutism, which already by the 19th had become deprecated as the fault lines radicalized into full-on liberalism versus full-on restorationism, with most of the compromise positions in between generally carrying a liberal bias (sign of the linearly progressing times, after all). This meant that he was stuck in an awkward center, loyal to the princely states he served and not to a then-hypothetical national state — raising the ire of liberals, with Heinrich von Treitschke memorably quipping that “the modern state and its legal unit, he regarded as an empty abstraction.” At the same time, he was very much a reformist within these small states, in favor of abolition of serfdom and patrimonial courts, of liberalizing trade, of permitting bourgeois army officers, etc. which naturally opposed him to purer conservatives.

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Put ultramontanists in body bags

The canard of the papist with the divided loyalties — or, increasingly, any Christian as a matter of fact — is an old but persistent one, manifesting itself in the partisans of enlightened absolutism, the anticlericalism of the Risorgimento and the Kulturkampf, in American nativism, laicite, general secularist and republican opposition to “religious interference” in politics, the latter extending to the present and reaching its apex in the fedora-tipping antics of New Atheism, which at the same time is a movement that has its origins and greatest strength in countries that are historically quite anticlerical anyway.

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Party bosses vs. fiefdoms

The current oligarchy is a tyrannical bourgeoiseocracy that only resembles feudalism accidentally and externally. Such organic oligarchy must be discarded from modern life and politics as incompatible with the current constitution of society and with modern doctrine and legislation about the subject, the organ of sovereignty. Today all governments, not only those of England, Belgium, Holland and Denmark, are, apparently, mixed governments; in fact, some democratic polyarchies (by the number of rulers, it is understood, not because the people govern, nor that it is governed for the legitimate and harmonious interest of the classes that constitute it). Where sovereignty resides in the Chambers with varying participation of the Head of State in the former, we must not think of it as an oligarchic reduction of the prevailing community; for what is now possible is not oligarchy, but dictatorship, and it is this, either in its presidential or Caesarist form, with representative appearances and deceptions for greater security and less responsibility of the dictator (president or Caesar). From which it is deduced that what today is called oligarchy, a term of questionable accuracy, is a habitual tyranny committed not by a few, but at least, by the immense national majority. In this diagnosis (the name of the disease matters less) we agree with all men of good will, without regard to party or school thought. And who is it, who make up that tyrannical minority, although not of a few, even if they are few in comparison with those who are exploited and oppressed? The present oligarchy is a bourgeoiseocracy in which all the layers of the middle class have become a commercial and industrial enterprise for the exploitation of a mine, the people, the country; it is a tyranny and a despotism of class against and to the detriment, not of the “others,” because they no longer exist, but of the inorganic, disaggregated and atomic mass that still continues to be called a nation.

In this company (party) each one occupies a hierarchical place and in proportion to their category directs and commands, and in the measure of position and power, he receives a dividend, from the ministerial salary and accessories, risky and juicy company shares, bold and triumphant stock exchanges, etc., etc., up to the free and honorary mayor’s office and the village municipal court, respective secretariats, and other official and unofficial uses. To this hierarchy in which, to the more or less subordinate degrees, especially to the local ones, it has been agreed to designate with the name caciques (“bosses”), has also been equated, in my understanding without foundation, with the feudal organization, which it resembles only accidentally and externally.

There is, it is true, a gentleman, the head of the party; great feudatarios, ministers and senior staff; and behind and below, a whole series of vassals, the lower personal cacique; there is also no lack of public service, the provision of different species to the lord for the support of the faction, the benefits of which are disbursed when the electoral period arrives; also, in exchange for fidelity, the “vassal” is to place himself in the service of another lord, receiving the good faith of so many different classes as the vassals of old, and very similar to them, receives lands, honors, tenures, etc. in and out of the budget.

But the similarities are merely superficial, because the “fiefdom,” which can not be confused with the excesses, relatively small and fantastically exaggerated, of the feudal system as a whole, was, in itself, an institution of justice. This justice emanated from circumstantial, historical opportunities, a synthesis of preceding Roman form and new content, an implicit or explicit agreement, the only way in which the individualism of those times and races could be linked to a hierarchical superior to fulfill with it private and public, domestic and national obligations, while the time came when the relations and duties of nationality and citizenship were stripped of the crude bark under which they were formed and developed.

— Enrique Gil Robles, Oligarquía y caciquismo (1901) [source]

(I need to tone down on all the Frenchies and start bringing in more Carlists, but we’ll get to them eventually.)

Speaking freely of freely speaking sedition

Given that free speech is one of the most harmful ideas of the past several centuries (it may just take the number one spot, for all I can tell), hammering this point repeatedly has some value, especially given that the framing of today’s culture wars converges around this pro/anti-speech axis where the side which poses the greatest existential threat also happens to be quite correct on the subject of dealing with dissent. It’s also a good opportunity to sample more Bourbonist opinions, which is always a treat.

The American right’s cultural milieu has inherited them with some ideés fixes — a passionate commitment to “freedom of association” and an unwavering opposition to regulation of so-called “hate speech.” Indeed, any support of the latter is pretty much treated as an ultimate expression of cuckoldry.

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