Queens and Presidents, and Duty

6741670-3x2-700x467Melanie Phillips wrote in the £ Sunday Times about how the Queen Elizabeth II has to subsume the woman in the duty of the queen. It’s not a new theme for us, we spoke of her mother’s sense of duty owed to people and God in Duty Is the Rent You Pay For Life. It is something that also runs deep, in soldiers, it was Robert E. Lee who said,

Duty then is the sublimest word in the English language. You should do your duty in all things.

You can never do more, you should never wish to do less.

And yet, that is asking an awful lot of a man, or a woman. Not many make the grade, and it strikes me that none of those that make it, rely on their own strength. Lee was a serious Episcopalian, his quotes about God are nearly as numerous and intertwined with his quotes about war and the army he loved. Elizabeth is the head of the Church of England, and as Melanie says, she has often gone against her own desires to fulfill her duty to her people, and her God, from whom her reign comes.

Yes, that is a difficult concept for Americans to grasp, she is queen by the grace of God, but her duty is twofold, to God and people, simply because she is not accountable to the people. In a very real sense, the British have to simply trust her to do the right thing, and because of her sense of duty, she nearly always has.

[Speaking of the Netflix series The Crown] It’s rather that, most unexpectedly in this age of sneering secular utilitarianism, the series pivots around the key but largely disregarded point of the monarchy: that the wearer of the crown is consecrated to God.

That’s why the monarch is crowned in an abbey and anointed rather than appointed. The coronation is a near-mystical act of transfiguration. As King George VI says in the drama to his young daughter Elizabeth: “When the holy oil touches me I am for ever changed, brought into contact with the divine.”

The paradox is that the monarch is bound by an unparalleled duty to the people precisely because the wearer of the crown does not answer to them. As Queen Mary tells the new, young Queen: “Loyalty to the ideal you have inherited is your overarching duty because it comes from God.

Monarchy is God’s sacred mission to grace and dignify the earth to give ordinary people an ideal to strive toward. You are answerable to God, not the public.”

It is this sacramental bond of duty that places the monarch on a superior plane altogether from any prime minster or president.

That mystical place beside God has been held by the Constitution and the flag for most Americans through history because that mystical place must be filled, or we are simply brutes competing by whatever means for our individual gain. That is why so many on the left accuse us of doing exactly that because they have no conception of a higher power to which duty is owed. That is what doomed the Duke of Windsor, that he put his personal benefit above his duty. It is a large part of why Hillary Clinton was defeated in the election.

The Queen is portrayed as someone who takes this absolute duty to heart, with often devastating consequences for all the flesh-and-blood people who carry this burden.

The Queen’s identity is split down the middle. There is the human Elizabeth, the wife, mother and sister; and then there is Elizabeth Regina who, when these identities come into conflict, has to override the human being involved.

That is obviously true, but it is also true of her entire generation, this is the wellspring which has made them, British, American, Canadian, and Australian (and the rest as well) our greatest generation.

via Royal sense of duty may die with the Queen | Comment | The Times & The Sunday Times Do read the whole thing™.

Trumphalist Friday

Ok, I’ve been serious long enough, let’s just relax, and reflect on what we’ve done this year, nothing less (I think) than end America’s twin dynasties. Wait till we really get going!

 

 

 

I said in my post-election article that America leads again. I think it will be so, as the European elections come, freedom is again on the agenda, and again put there by the Anglo-Saxons as the Europeans call us, or if you prefer the British and Americans. It won’t win everywhere, but it now has a chance, and that is enough. And there is this:

I Watched Donald Trump Blow A Hole Through The European Elite’s Minds

I work in the former industrial heartland of America in operations management for an iconic American brand owned now by a multinational, European-headquartered company. About a year ago, we were informed that our plant and city would host the yearly operations conference and achievement awards for the division to which we belong.

Three hundred executive-level guests from all over the world, Asia, South America, and Europe would descend upon the aging brownfield facility we had turned into a state-of-the-art manufacturing showplace. I am proud of this place, and was thrilled at the news. Just five years ago, I was down in Mexico planning the logistics for the plant that was slated to replace ours by the early 2020s. Through hard work and lean methodologies, however, we rejected that fate—and with a unionized workforce.

The world was now coming to us to figure out our recipe. There was just one problem: The conference was scheduled for November 9 and 10, 2016. I begged and pleaded with my Western European colleagues and superiors, “Can’t we do this a week earlier? A month later or earlier?” I held back on the reason for my hesitation, but finally was forced to admit it, “The U.S. presidential election is scheduled for that week—and you know politics doesn’t always make for a great backdrop.” They told me the date was impossible to move, so I threw myself into the prep work.

And I absolutely love this paragraph of the article.

Overhearing him, I got the impression he had met Trump. In his keynote speech following, he began by addressing the crowd with these words, tinged with irony and disdain: “You have all heard the results—but the sun still rose this morning.” I immediately texted my boss, with whom I shared a secret support of Trump: “And it was somehow brighter and the air smelled like freedom.”

via The Federalist

It really does. What a wonderful fortnight it has been. There’ll be problems, and setbacks, and arguments to come, but you know, I think America is back on track, and again knowing and sharing the dream.

Myths,legends and facts

lvalad

I don’t know about you guys, but one of the greatest pleasures of this site for me, is going into the archives and reading what we have written, especially for me what Jessica has written. She has a gift, of drawing lessons for us from many things, and making them stick. And mind, there is a lesson here for us all. So let’s share one of my favorites.


“This is the West, sir, when the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” One of my favourite quotations from any film, and it is what the newpaper editor, Scott, says to Jimmy Stewart’s character, Ransom Stoddard at the end of The Man who shot Liberty Vallance. Even for the great John Ford, that’s some line. Stoddard, a Washington grandee, former Ambassador to the UK and likely Presidential nominee, has come back to the town of Shinbone for the funeral of a local rancher, a nobody called Tom Doniphon, and the local press want to know why: Jimmy Stewart’s character tells them a story which is not just about how the West was won, but how it became civilized.

The story began quarter of a century before, when what is now the State was a Territory – with men who wanted it to stay that way. The young Stoddard is held up by a notorious outlaw, Liberty Valance, and pistol-whipped. Doniphon, a tough local rancher, takes him back to town and sets him up with the family who run the local canteen – his love interest, Hallie helps the wounded lawyer recover, and he helps out at the canteen – eventually falling foul of Vallance – played by Lee Marvin at his brilliant best. In a scene packed with tension, Doniphon tells Valance to pick up the food that’s been spilled by him tripping ‘Ranse’ Stoddard up: it looks like there will be a shoot out – but Vallance backs away – Doniphon’s that sort of a guy.

So, we have there the old West, men are men and all that. It’s rough and tough, and if you haven’t got a gun – or don’t know how to use it – you’re not going to get far – or even live long. But Stoddard is the new order’s forerunner. He believes in the law, sets up an office in Shinbone and works with the local editor as the Territory moves towards statehood.

Doniphon tries to help Stoddard adapt to the ways of the West, but an attempt to teach him how to use a gun is a failure. But Valance and his type are not to be stopped by the law. They beat up the editor and burn down the newspaper offices, and Valance challenges Stoddard to fight him. The first two shots see ‘Ranse’ injured, and he drops his gun – Valance, wanting to rub it in tells him to pick it up – sure the next shot will be right between the eyes – but to everyone’s surprise, the next shot kills Valance. Hallie runs to help the wounded Ranse. Doniphon, who actually fired the shot, sees that he has, in saving Stoddard, lost Hallie – he goes back home, drinks himself into a rage and burns his house down – being saved by his faithful retainer.

At the convention where the vote for who should represent the Territory in Washington is to be taken, Stoddard is challenged by a rival, who says that he should not be trusted because he shot a man. Soddard hesitates, wondering if that is actually the case – should a gun fighter be a politician. Doniphon removes his doubts by telling him the truth about the man who shot Liberty Valance. The rest is history, Stoddard becomes Governor, Senator and Ambassador, marries Hallie and has the career which opened up to men of his type as the United States moved towards its manifest destiny. Now Doniphon is dead, it is time to tell the truth – but the press don’t want the truth – the legend does them just fine.

So Doniphon, who had saved Stoddard’s life and made his career possible, dies alone and unheralded – but not quite, Hallie and Ranse have not forgotten him, or who he was, and who he was was more important than what he did. He did what he did because of who he was. He was the sort of man who did the right thing because it never occurred to him to do the other thing.

This is Ford’s world at its best – there’s no one does the old world making way for the new better. He admires the values of the old West, and he sees them re-embodied in a different form in the new. Doniphon and Stoddard are two sides of the same coin. Their integrity shines through – and Doniphon is all the more believable for not behaving like a plaster saint when he knows he has lost Hallie. Plaster saints neither won, nor will the hold, the West. And now, as then, the media prefer the legend to the facts!

Progressivism Is a Long-Term Threat to the Rule of Law

Many know how much I dislike Donald Trump. It predates the 2016 campaign. He strikes me as an opportunist who plays the system, without ethics, or morals, and as a blowhard, with very few redeeming social qualities. I wouldn’t care to even have a beer with him, let alone any closer association.

Nevertheless, I may find myself voting for him. Why? Because Hillary is far worse. Let John O McGinnis explain.

Many people are concerned about Donald Trump’s commitment to the rule of law, a concern I share. But the other choice in this election is a Progressive one, and Progressivism by its nature lacks that commitment. Moreover, its history shows that it permanently damages the constitutional foundations of the United States. And the United States suffers from the fevers of progressivism more than any time since the 1960s.  Thus, this election pits a candidate lawless by virtue of temperament against one lawless by virtue of ideology and emboldened by the spirit of the times.  The rule of law is under threat, whoever wins.

Progressivism has proved a greater long-term danger than any single individual, because it is born in part out of systematic rather than personal hostility to the Constitution. Federalism and separation of powers are obstacles to the social engineering at the heart of progressivism, and thus progressivism has tried to eviscerate these restraints. Packed with FDR appointees in the 1930s, the Supreme Court gutted the enumerated powers. The administrative state has eroded the separation of powers, making the executive ever more powerful in domestic affairs. The theory used to justify these departures from the original constitution, living constitutionalism, is itself a threat to the rule of law, because it devalues the formal rules laid down by the Constitution.

via Progressivism Is a Long-Term Threat to the Rule of Law – Online Library of Law & Liberty

I’m not a fan by any means of voting for the least evil, over the years, I’ve often abstained, and in fact, may do so this year. But what I claim as an act of conscience, is, at least in part, “Screw you, a plague on all your houses.” Childish and petty it may well be, but it is my right to withhold my approval for any candidate. Whether I do so depends on the situation.

One reason that I can do that is simply that I live in the 3d Nebraska Congressional district, Trump will win whether I vote, don’t vote, or set fire to my polling place. I’ll likely vote because there are down ticket races I care about, and I have the illusion that my wishes might matter there.

This is not ideal, except for Republicans seeking office, just as for Democrats in the big cities, it often leads to temptation, and to corruption. As we keep saying, a loyal opposition is necessary to the proper operation of the government. It doesn’t matter what party or group is alone in charge, it tends to forget its mission and start granting favors. I think it’s simply human nature.

This is why, I think that the Founders, especially Washington, were so opposed to faction, what they really desired was each man striving openly for his own ideals. Frankly, Washington was much too good a man to be a political theorist or a politician; most men lust after power and money and always remember that one can be exchanged for the other. Trump and Clinton definitely included.

So something to think about as we watch the politicians make fools of themselves in Cleveland this week, how do we fix, really fix our broken system?

The State: and Terrorism

marcus-cicero-freedomSo, on Bastille Day, the French version of Independence Day, which far more than ours represents a revolt against the authorities, a guy named Mohamed, decided that a crowd of people in Nice, France  were having too much fun so he drove his truck over them, and then committed suicide by cop. It was pretty obviously an Islamic terrorist attack. You haven’t read much about it here, simply because I see little point, in rehashing things we all know. I’m as appalled and angry as any, I just wait until I know enough to write about things, and there’s little point to being the 684th to say something.

What matters to us, as a society, is what we do about these things. Horrific things haves always been done, often in the name of Islam. They’ve been done in the name of Christianity too, in the past, but several centuries ago, Christianity seemed to grow up, and no longer feels the need to torture and kill people. Any that can’t see that distinction are either delusional, or that have other motives.

Who gains from terrorism? ISIS at least thinks they do, and right now, it appears to be working as a recruitment tool. Someday, that will likely change, if their subjects ever figure out that the leaders don’t do suicide attacks, they live much too well, but send the sons and daughters of the poor and oppressed to do them. Or if western society ever gets their earplugs out and blindfolds off, and takes care of business. As westerners, that should be our concern, there’s no fixing ISIS, any more than there is stupid; evil is as evil does.

But who else benefits from Islamic terrorism? Western governments do. No, not as representatives of the people, but as the rulers of the people. You’re going to have to think through this with me. We like to think our governments represent us. I submit they don’t, they rule in our name, but for their own benefit, whether elected or civil service, their good is not our good. Our good would be best served if they stayed out of our business, and left us alone, to succeed or fail, and get back up and try again.

But the government’s interest is best served by regulating any and all aspects of our life that they can get away with. What you do for a living, for recreation, marriage, sports, everything. Not to metion how you do literally everything. In addition, their meddling has made our formerly productive enterprises, whether steel, automotive, clothing, what you eat and drink, whether your doctor can help you, or almost anything else you can think of uncompetitive, mostly because of government’s interference in the free market. Many want to claim that they’ve made life better or safer, or some such claptrap. That may be true, for those unwilling to work to eat, for the competent, the willing, and the productive they have made it nearly impossible.The old saying is: if it moves regulate it; if it doesn’t paint it. With an overpaid (and underskilled) painter, of course.

And so over the years, terrorism has multiplied the benefits of government over the people they used to serve, from the execrable TSA, to the NSA, to the militarized police, both local and federal, terrorism has allowed the government to grow, and to intrude into our lives.

Many have come to the conclusion that a breakdown in morals is responsible for where we are. Well, they’re right, sort of. The breakdown of morality is a symptom, not a cause. It is in the direct interest of the state to destroy the family, it leads to the populace being dependent on the government, not the family (or the individual) finding its own way through life. In exactly the same way, Christianity, which forms the basis of our morals, and ethics, has come to be seen by the government as an enemy of the state.

We’ve said it before, If you cannot fail, you cannot succeed. And that is where we are, the safety net is so expensive and close beneath our feet, that we can no longer fail, instead we fail at leading a life which we can be proud of, not necessarily getting rich, but having a fulfilled life, that is what our governments have stolen from us, using our money to do so.

Falkland once wrote, “What should not be changed, must not be.” Very true, and like all deep truths, so is its opposite, “What cannot be changed, must be”.

And soon, if free societies are to survive. That will be difficult, I say it is our right, nay it is more, it is our duty to do so.

Five Years and Counting

patriotism_-_rooseveltFirst, thanks, Jess. Always seems like much too little, to do or say, when your best friend does something like her post yesterday, but really what else can one do?

She touches on something, though. Back in 2011, when I started this, we had problems, and we were fairly fed up with the administration, but we had faith in Congress, once we flipped it, to fix it. Well, how’d that work out? And that is part of the problem, we all feel pretty much cheated out of our voice by Washington. Thus both Trump, and Sanders. We’re not alone, either. As Jess alluded to, Brexit turned on the hinge of the people controlling the government.

Most young people have never known any thing else, and I suspect that’s why they either voted remain or simply didn’t vote. But their parents remembered, like we do, something different, when government was at least kind of, sort of, responsive to the voters, not to mention that the obvious contempt, for those of the shire, rankled. I sort of predicted that leave would win, and that was why: I could feel the resentment. Yes, part of it was a repudiation of experts. There like here, they’ve been almost wholly wrong, so why would anyone, who doesn’t make money from them, continue that path?

I note that Mrs. May so far appears very surefooted, her cabinet choices appear to have satisfied almost everyone but the left, who were never going to be satisfied, by anyone, who made it on her own, and a Vicar’s daughter, forsooth. But I must say, the more I see of her, the more impressed I become. Her record says she’s at best a statist, but then again, Churchill was a liberal.

I think the British may have started something that we’ll have something to say about. If you’ve been here more than about two minutes, you know I’m not a Trump supporter. But I do understand why so many are, and unless something very strange happens, I’ll likely end up voting for him. Why? Because he might be held to account by the press, which will never pay any attention to anything Hillary does wrong, which is most things. And who knows, he might be a decent president, I’d be surprised, but at least it would be a pleasant surprise. With Hillary, we know all about it, and it’s all bad.

And so the story continues, many of them, including the ones we’ve talked about here, where Mitt dropped the ball in 2012, we had recovered the House by then, and the Senate in 2014, but found that the Republican we thought were on our side, well they weren’t, were they? The Brits found the same thing outside London, they call it the bubble, and it seems as if the ‘posh tory boys’ ruled in their own interest, not the people’s. But they screwed up, and gave the people a vote, and the people spoke, rather decisively. I think our people are tired of lecturing as well, and so I think the Donald will win, maybe, perhaps, but he will surely lose if he suddenly turns into an establishment republican.

We shall surely see, and keep this in mind: Things are rarely as dire as we think, nor are they ever as good as we hope. Life is sort of a middle-of-the-road experience, so keep your chin up and as always, keep up the skeer.

And remember, as Bruce Anderson reminded us in the Spectator this week, “Why it takes more thinking to be a Tory than a socialist.

John Stuart Mill did not describe the Conservatives as the stupid party. He merely said that although not all Tories were stupid, most stupid people voted for them (cf. Brexit). But at any level above automatic loyalty at the polling box — not to be deprecated — Conservatism is no creed for the intellectually limited. It requires hard thinking. The socialists have an easier life. First, they have a secular teleology: socialism. Second, assuming that history is on their side, many lefties feel entitled to lapse into a complacent assumption of moral superiority. That helps to explain why there has been no serious left-wing thinking in the UK since Tony Crosland in the 1950s.

Though Tories may envy the complacency, they are condemned to stress. Without a political teleology, they have no way to simplify history. Their challenge is as complex as the human condition. There are a few useful maxims. Falkland: ‘When it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change.’ Berlin: ‘The great goods cannot always live together.’ Oakeshott: ‘Civilisation is only a collective dream.’ Wisdom, certainly, but what should Tories actually do? How should they decide when it is necessary to change, or which great good should take priority? As for civilisation, dreams and nightmares, the task of preventing our era from turning into the Dark Ages plus weapons of mass destruction is best entrusted to Tory tough-mindedness, and there is no guarantee of success.

True then, now, and always. True in the UK, and true here in the US. It takes far more effort to keep the fire going than to roast wienies on your neighbors’.

So, thanks again, Jess, my dearest friend, and my partner here, I’ll never be able to tell anyone, how important it is to me that you share this place with me, and now, after we have published 3005 articles of one kind or another, we still go on. I had to mention that, because even with a year’s head start, Jess’ own blog has almost caught up, and yes, it passed us in readership years ago, as it deserved to.

And so, as we’ve been saying here for five years, good luck, and keep the faith, we’re going to need it. Chesterton reminds us that

I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher.

Night shall be thrice night over you,
And heaven an iron cope.
Do you have joy without a cause,
Yea, faith without a hope?

But Mother Julian answers for us:

If there is anywhere on earth a lover of God who is always kept safe, I know nothing of it, for it was not shown to me. But this was shown: that in falling and rising again we are always kept in that same precious love.

And in God’s good time:

All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.

 

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