Friday, November 4, 2016

A Harmonious Nation

The [u]nited States constitution of 1787 is usually praised by its advocates as the most perfect political blueprint that has ever been drawn up.  It is supposed to work this way:  Given even mediocre inputs (e.g., men who are vain, ambitious, greedy, etc.), the government institutions built from it will process them and their strengths and weaknesses (by way of separation of powers, checks and balances, etc.) and produce in the end justice and every other political virtue that is needed to maintain a good and peaceful life for the citizenry.  It is like the perfect perpetual-motion machine for the political sphere:  After the initial amount of energy has been applied (the first elections), it will go on running come what may, self-correcting whatever imbalances it encounters, whether from inside or outside the system, always keeping itself in proper order, in even form.

But the promised good has rarely materialized.  More often than not, the federal government has been used as a tool by the majority to force its will on the minority.  All the pretty talk about the finely crafted parts of the constitution is meaningless (as the Anti-Federalists foresaw).

A case in point has arisen lately in Louisiana, where one man running for Congress campaigns with the slogan ‘Louisiana values for a stronger America’.  What business do Louisiana citizens have forcing their way of life on those outside Louisiana (or even outside this man’s congressional district), on those living in Maine, Arizona, Iowa, and other places whose living conditions and needs are different than their own?  Louisiana values are for those in Louisiana, not elsewhere.  Likewise Georgia values, Oregon values, and all the rest. 

This shows the failure of one of the main constitutional dogmas, Madison’s theory of the extended republic (Federalist Papers, No. 10), which was supposed to overcome factionalism and selfishness by jumbling a host of different interests from many different States together.  But instead of harmony, it has only led to increased hostility among the many different peoples who are forced to remain within the Union as they vie for control of the levers of power in Washington City.

If the beliefs of the people living in the 50 States were sufficiently alike, a popular government might have a chance of working.  As it is, there are significant differences within some of the States themselves regarding fundamental beliefs (New York City and upstate New York, Chicago vs southern Illinois, etc.), so no one should be surprised that the democratic system in Washington City is not working as advertised.

Democracies and republics have a chance of working at a very local level where the culture is the same throughout, where there are no great differences in beliefs and interests, and the money powers cannot hide in the darkness of anonymity and enslave the bulk of the voters through media manipulation, control of banking and education, etc.  Here, something like a common will can be manifested in the government and a peaceful political life can be known.

But once one begins to look at larger, more populated, more diverse areas, then other ideas must be considered.  The best by far is the hereditary king, who is aloof from the whole clownish and vicious world of electoral politics.  What a relief would it be to have someone with the authority to scold the party politicians when they go wrong, and save the people from their depredations? 

Two recent ensamples of the blessings of monarchy.  One from Australia:

Turn back to 1975, Australia: Prime Minister Gough Whitlam’s Labor (left-wing) government has control of the House, and the Liberal Party (right-wing) controls the Senate. The Labor Party are trying to settle on a funds appropriations bill, but are repeatedly blocked by the Opposition.

Yes, it’s the exact same scenario. Only its resolution is far better.

The situation was hopeless. Neither party would budge. Meanwhile, the Australian Government was essentially in shutdown. The Prime Minister was intending to call a “half-Senate election”—a rather FDR-esque maneuver that would basically tell the Australian people, “Vote for more Labor people or this is going to drag on indefinitely.”

Enter the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr. The Governor-General is a viceroy who assumes most of the Queen’s powers in her stead. He has roughly the same powers as the Queen does in the UK, and as much tenacity to refrain from using them unless perfectly necessary. Only now Sir John saw the necessity.

Outside Parliament House in Canberra, a press conference was called. Sir John’s secretary, Sir David Smith, appeared with a proclamation from the Governor-General. After describing the powers vested in the Viceroy:

Whereas by section 57 of the Constitution it is provided that if the House of Representatives passes any proposed law, and the Senate rejects or fails to pass it, or passes it with amendments to which the House of Representatives will not agree, and if after an interval of three months the House of Representatives, in the same of the next session, again passes the proposed law with or without any amendments which have been made, suggested, or agreed to by the Senate and the Senate rejects or fails to pass it, or passes it with amendments to which the House of Representatives will not agree, the Governor-General may dissolve the Senate and the House of Representatives simultaneously…

In short, when Australian politicians fail to perform their duties as legislators for the public good, the Governor-General has the right, even the duty, to step in. And step in in a very big way.

And so, the Governor-General’s own secretary, grinning nervously amidst jeers and boos, announced:

… Therefore, I Sir John Robert Kerr, the Governor-General of Australia, do by this my Proclamation dissolve the Senate and the House of Representatives. Given under my Hand and the Great Seal of Australia on 11 November 1975,

Completed with a sharp, majestic:

God Save the Queen!

Malcolm Fraser, the Leader of the Opposition, was appointed interim Prime Minister; an election was held; Fraser’s Liberal Party (right-wing) carried the day. The 66-to-61 majority enjoyed by the Labor Party became a 91-to-36 lead by the Liberal Party in a matter of eight months.

What exactly did the Governor-General do? He didn’t dictate terms to the Prime Minister. He didn’t impose his own preferences on the Australian people. He simply stepped in, told everyone to go home, called a new election, and let the Australian people make their choice mid-crisis. Where would we be now if the same had occurred during the Affordable Healthcare Act in 2010, or the Debt Crisis of 2013, or the Libya debacle, or the TSA scandal? Can we be under any illusion that monarchy is hostile to freedom, transparency, and democracy?

Source:  Michael Davis,, opened 4 Nov. 2016

And the other from Thailand:

Finally, there came the issue of the transition to democracy. Thailand had actually had almost no experience with democracy, despite claims to the contrary, prior to the 1990’s. The end of royal absolutism brought to power a new class of political elites but they were not true democratic representatives of the public will and they were soon replaced by military leaders who had held power ever since. That changed with the military coup of 1991 in which General Suchinda Kraprayoon seized power, making himself dictator. However, this time, there was considerable public opposition and violence broke out as army units fought to suppress anti-government demonstrations. The chaos spread throughout Bangkok and fears began to rise that an all-out civil war was eminent.

Once again, the King saw that the situation was critical and warranted his intervention. He summoned General Suchinda and the leader of the democracy movement (a retired general) Chamlong Srimuang to the Royal Palace on May 20, 1992. The event was televised and the Thai public watched as these two generals, the two most powerful non-royals in the country, crawled on their knees and bowed down to the revered King. He urged them to resolve their differences peacefully, for the good of the country, nothing that sounds very radical. However, this was a hugely significant event. The dictator of the country had been seen humbling himself on national television, side by side with the leader of the dissidents and while the King did not openly take a side in the issue, by urging them to resolve their differences peacefully, this was a clear indication that he did not wish to see the army used to shoot down dissidents in the streets and that some accommodation would have to be reached. Without military force, that accommodation could only come by way of the democratic process. However, it also meant that the pro-democracy side would have to stop their riots and start talking policy and making their case to the Thai people.
Not long after, General Suchinda resigned and after a short time a general election was held and a democratic government came to power in Thailand. Again, a civil war had been averted and the transition from military rule to parliamentary democracy had taken place without a major, nationwide upheaval, thanks to the intervention of the King.  . . .

A king (or queen) is very helpful in promoting unity and peace in a country.  So too a shared history.  But nothing is more helpful in this regard than a common religious faith shared by all the folk of the land, especially the Orthodox Christian faith with its focus on repentance, humility, selflessness, and love.  Through it, every difficulty can be overcome.

Fr Michael Gillis has a good talk on Christian unity here:

And the history of Russia provides other illustrations:

November 4 is a festive day in Russia. This feast day is both new and old. For the churchly part of our society, it is the commemoration of the Kazan Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos, a tradition that goes back nearly four centuries. For those who honor the country’s history, it will not come as news that as far back as 1649 the feast day of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God (October 22 on the Old Calendar, or November 4 on the New) was declared a public holiday by Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich.

Still life by Tatiana McWethy

This tradition was interrupted during the long years of aggressive state atheism, being revived only in 2005 [as National Unity Day]. Time does not stand still, and new emphases and meanings have been added to this feast day. But its essential meaning has remained the same: this is a day of national unity in opposition to all that destroys and plunders our land, undermining the peaceful and constructive life of the people.

Consequently, this is a feast day of unity for all those who see themselves as people of our Russian Fatherland, who serve Russia, who construct their soul and world around it, and who remember the Motherland – wherever they may happen to be. This is a feast day for those who seek to protect age-old values and absolute moral standards, for those who will not allow the degradation of the nation as a result of liberal and tolerant lies.

This is not a day of mechanical unity for everyone who happens to live here. The roots of this feast day lie in spiritual and moral choices. The Russian people’s repentance and appeal to holy things have more than once permitted breakthroughs in history, the overcoming of unimaginable perils and disasters, and the revival of the country when it was perishing. Therefore, November 4 does more than simply replace the former holiday; it is not just a “calendar victory” over the communist “Day of the Great October Socialist Revolution” [formerly held on November 7] and the later pseudo-holiday, the “Day of Reconciliation and Agreement” between the irreconcilable and the incompatible.

Historians often call the Time of Troubles in the seventeenth century the first “civil war” in the history of Russia. Avraamy Palitsyn, an eyewitness to the events of the Time of Troubles, writes: “In the general whirling of heads, everyone wanted to be above his station: servants wanted to be masters, the rabble wanted to be gentry, the gentry wanted to be nobles… The Fatherland and Church perished: the temples of the True God were ruined… cattle and hounds lived in the altars; … dice was played on the icons; … harlots danced in clerical robes. Monks and priests were burned by fire…” This is an expression of the national spirit of the time, which allowed the occupation to take place. We are not far from such a condition today. Only their repentance, ascetic struggle, and the reconsideration of their choices and ways permitted them to put an end to the inner madness and the waves of foreign invaders.

A careful look at the current state of the Fatherland – at geopolitical threats, the advancement of the information war, the dying generations – makes one thing certain: the time has arrived for the people’s repentance, without which there can not only be no revival of the people, nation, and country – but without which they cannot even survive.

November 4 is a day of historical accountability for the people and for each one of us. On this day in 1612, after fervent prayer before the Kazan Icon of the Theotokos, civilian troops stormed Kitay-gorod [in central Moscow], forcing the Poles to flee. Of course, a certain number of invaders and traitors continued to resist, but the turning point had been reached and the outcome was a foregone conclusion. The liberators entered Kitay-gorod with the Kazan Icon and then vowed to build a church in honor of the icon in memorial.

From the experience of military victories, the perception of the Mother of God as the primary Intercessor and Protectress of the Russian land took root in the Orthodox consciousness of the Russian people.

One more thing: on this day we should remember the invaluable role of the Russian Orthodox Church in the formation of national unity, in the gathering of civilian armies, and in the building of the moral motivation necessary for liberation from foreign invaders and domestic miscreants, traitors, and wreakers of havoc, of whom there were many during the Time of Troubles and likewise many today.

 . . .

Source:  Igumen John Ermakov,, opened 4 Nov. 2016

It is time that worship of Enlightenment idols like the u. S. constitution came to an end, for the sake of harmony and much else that is good, like the spread of Christianity.  Would that Southerners would be among the first to repent.


Holy Ælfred the Great, King of England, South Patron, pray for us sinners at the South!

Anathema to the Union!

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