Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Irish Monarchists Exist!

I was delighted to see that there is a well-followed, well-written Irish monarchist blog (which I discovered through linking to a site that links to THIS site).

Chesterton was not a fan of monarchy. In one article on the death of King George V (I'm too lazy to find the reference right now), he said that monarchism was perhaps the most democratic form of government after pure democracy, since the lottery of succession stood a better chance of throwing up an ordinary man than the rule of cabals and cliques. But this is the most favourable reference to monarchism I have been able to find in his work. Most of the time he insisted that democracy was the primordial form of human assocation, and that monarchy was a late-comer, a degeneration; I find this dubious as well as irrelevant. (Why should the first be the best, anyway?)

Personally, I am a monarchist to the bone, and Chesterton's lack of enthusiasm for the institution has always grieved me. I think monarchy is important because it preserves a living link with a nation's past and traditions; because the head of state should be above politics, and above the slings and arrows of invective. A man is born under a monarch, and he owes him unconditional homage; it is good for men to have a loyalty which is not negotiable, and from which they derive no benefit. (Actually, I believe they do derive benefit from being the subject of a monarch, but it cannot be reckoned in monetary or practical terms.)

The chap (I guess it's a chap, though I don't know) who writes Irish Monarchist chooses to remain anonymous, since anti-monarchism is so strong in his home of Northern Ireland. I understand his reticence. I myself sometimes feel bad insisting that I am a patriot but NOT a republican, since so many brave Irish men and women died explicitly for republicanism. But I believe that republicanism, being an atomising and ahistorical philosophy, must inevitably be antagonistic to the very idea of a nation.

13 comments:

  1. Good sir, I think you for exposing myself further through your own blog. I myself am a bit of a fan of Chesterton myself, he is a delightful old chap and there is much good work to be found in his Apologetics for Christianity and the Catholic Church. (Subsequently, I am a Man, your assumption was on the mark)

    However I do not believe Chesterton himself was antagonistic to Monarchism, or if he was, then more often then not he was just as antagonistic to democracy. A poem of his comes to mind, 'Through all the towns and all the cities, I see no statues of committees' Obviously an appraisal and approval of the roles of Heroes to society and the importance of swift action of those in society but can easily be construed as a damning of parliaments. But as ever with the Prince of Paradox's works one finds it can never be clear where he truly stood politically. As quite often as he praised the idea and spirit of democracy, he quite often said they were the only good aspects of it. I am inclined to believe he, like a sound and honest Englishman he was, (and a friend of the Irish to boot), would find the idea of raising a hand against his Sovereign to be un-Christian and Unthinkable, but only he can tell us for sure of whether or not he would.

    Economics however is not my strong point, but I do see an awful lot of Fellow Catholics becoming fans of Chesterton's model of Distributism.

    There are a great many people much like yourself who would rather be nationalists or patriots without being republican in Ireland, you are most certainly not alone in that respect, I can assure you. But most of these Patriots reject the Current Irish understanding of Republicanism but not the poison as a whole. Which is the whole problem and one of the reasons which led me to becoming a full fledged monarchist, and my blog seems to have been actively a success in bringing to the attention of my fellow Irishmen and women of the beautiful alternative of Monarchy.

    Good day to you, sir

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sir,I am a Catholic who believes in the rights of the Wittelsbachs over the Saxe Coburg Windsors to rule over all of the British isles.I now live in Hungary but I am curious about support for the Stuarts in Ireland today.My mobile is:06 30517 3740 if you are ever here. Morgan

      Delete
  2. As for monarchy's relationship to the national question, I actually recently read the exiled Jesuit intellectual Conor O'Mahony's Argument Defending the Right of the Kingdom of Ireland, first published in 1645. It was the first theoretical case for Irish independence. While O'Mahony's candidate for king was Eoghan Rua O'Neill, he did float the possibility of a republic as an alternative.

    Personally, whatever about the past, I don't see a place for monarchy in an (post-)industrialised nation state. The British state is a republic implicitly since the Glorious Revolution, with a ceremonial but hereditary head of state, that possibly justifies its continued existence on the basis that it brings in more revenue, in the form of tourism, than it costs to maintain. A monarchy could never be (peacefully) established in Ireland. A referendum on the subject wouldn't even get 5% approval.

    Which is not to say that I'm entirely happy with current constitutional or social structures. I am a vocationalist. The De Valera government established a Commission on Vocational Organization in 1939, chaired by the then Bishop of Galway, Michael Browne. It issued a report in 1943 (of which I have a copy) that was subsequently almost completely ignored - except for the establishment of the Labour Court (in 1946). A pity really. That said, if it didn't happen then - when Irish society was so comprehensively Catholic - it's unlikely to be ever acheived anytime in the future. The same holds true for any idea of a monarchial restoration IMO.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Shane, when you say that the British monarchy brings in more revenue in tourism than it costs, and thus justifies its existence, that to me is missing the whole point of monarchy-- in that it's an institution with no economic or utilitarian benefit at all. It might sound like crazy logic, but I think that having a crowned sovereign does away with the whole mentality of "Ireland PLC", it asserts the spiritual and civilizational nature of a nation, rather than merely being "a machine for living in".

    It's true that monarchism is hugely unpopular right now, and a referendum would probably be roundly rejected. But "Servant of the Chief" makes a very good point on his website-- that Ireland becoming a new monarchy would be a radical social experiment and would draw worldwide attention to our nation. After all...we're such copy-cats most of the time.

    Personally, I favour a ceremonial monarchy myself, perhaps with a President's powers of veto. But even that, I think, would change the very tone of our social and political life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jaime Omera McDermottDecember 26, 2016 at 2:31 PM

      yes.....the right person can bring wonderful and positive change to this country.. one that is irish.. sent by God, from a ancestrial line that is true..a crowned monarchy..from the days of old....to restore this land and bring a favorable monarchy... a true Queen of the land..don't give up...pray for your land and a fresh new leader.......

      Delete
  4. I am a republican not a monarchist. However I do believe that modern Britain is essentially a republic. The French Revolution was basically an attempt to transplant the Glorious Revolution onto a continental context. Voltaire and Montesquieu were ardent Anglophiles, enrolled as freemasons in London, and wrote books extolling the British constitution (the Glorious Revolution of 1688/9). In those days Britain was seen by the 'enlightened' elites of Europe as a bastion of liberty and progress. Catholicism was seen (wrongly) as linked to Bourbon absolutism while Jansenism, Deism, and Protestantism were seen as the religions of the commerce-orientated middle-class.

    Whatever the advantages or disadvantages, I don't think you will ever convince anything more than a tiny fraction of the population that a monarchy would be in their interests. Almost everyone in the republic is a republican. In France monarchism gets a lot of traction in traditionalist Catholic circles. In Ireland traditionalist Catholics are only a tiny fraction of the population and it's probably safe to assume that most of them are also republican (some vehemently so - like the Hibernian crowd). IMHO there's as much likelihood of Ireland becoming a monarchy as the United States (ie. nil).

    ReplyDelete
  5. Shane while I respect your personal political views I do honestly think you are quite wrong in your assertiont hat Irishmen and Women would never consider a monarchy. The key I believe to shaking most Irishmen's faith in Republicanism is, as I consistently point out in my blog, is to point out the irrationality of the socio-political theory of Repulicanism with concepts of Irish Nationalism, which while weakened by today's standards, still hold sway over alot of the mindsets of Irish Citizens. "I am an Irishman, therefore I am not British and not a Monarchist."

    I will concede however, that I can fully comprehend your viewpoint in how unlikely any such restoration is. In any country. But that is all the more reason why blogs like mine exist to challenge the prevailing mindset. And as soon as one major restoration occurs in the World, (not Ireland), there will suddenly be alot more interest in Monarchy and you will see Monarchists in other nations take heart that their efforts may not be in vain. Think of it as a very very slow reverse domino effect. Smart money is on Libya restoring its monarchy in a constitutional/provisional basis but that is not major enough a restoration to have the effect I describe. Now if the French Monarchists, (of which there are quite alot if somewhat divided into three camps), got their act together we could see a visible counter revolutionary force. As it is now I honestly think I and others should continue to strive for a Catholic and Monarchical Ireland no matter how absurd the possibility.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. as a nice point servant of the chief, every idea that anyone has every come up with sounds crazy and radical the 1st time it is proposed, no matter what the substance of the idea is, abolition of monarchy was once such a radical idea, come to think of it so was belief in only one god, everything is a bizarre, lunatic idea until someone actually does it

      Delete
    2. Anonymous, thank you for your comment! It's neat that you would comment on a post that's five years old! And your point is a good one, too.

      Delete
  6. I have to admit there is something in me that enjoys embracing unpopular and out-of-date opinions for their own sake. Maybe that's not such a good thing.

    I tend to agree with Shane that it's highly unlikely Ireland will become a monarchy in the foreseeable future. But you never know the twists and turns of history. Look at the change in Irish public opinion after 1916 or the fall of the Soviet Union.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Monarchy already exists at a certain level in Ireland. Look at our political system, how many families have dominated politics since the foundation of the state. People in Ireland may publicly disdain Monarchy but when there is a marriage or funeral next door the streets in the republic are empty.Put a picture of royalty on the frontpage and sales soar. Gaelic speakers most frightened Pearse because when King George visited Ireland they came out in great numbers. Even today among the gaeltacht population people will be given the honorary title of Ri. Remember we did not become a republic until 1948.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Well, I think that's just another way of saying that human nature craves hierarchy, unconditional bonds, and continuity.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Just discovered this ... Fascinating ...

    For now, I will just say a hearty amen to the final comment ...

    ReplyDelete