Sixty Joyless De-Britished Uncrowned Commonpoor Years (1949-2009)

Elizabeth II Vice-Regal Saint: Remembering Paul Comtois (1895–1966), Lt.-Governor of Québec
Britannic Inheritance: Britain's proud legacy. What legacy will America leave?
English Debate: Daniel Hannan revels in making mince meat of Gordon Brown
Crazy Canucks: British MP banned from Canada on national security grounds
Happy St. Patrick's: Will Ireland ever return to the Commonwealth?
Voyage Through the Commonwealth: World cruise around the faded bits of pink.
No Queen for the Green: The Green Party of Canada votes to dispense with monarchy.
"Sir Edward Kennedy": The Queen has awarded the senator an honorary Knighthood.
President Obama: Hates Britain, but is keen to meet the Queen?
The Princess Royal: Princess Anne "outstanding" in Australia.
H.M.S. Victory: In 1744, 1000 sailors went down with a cargo of gold.
Queen's Commonwealth: Britain is letting the Commonwealth die.
Justice Kirby: His support for monarchy almost lost him appointment to High Court
Royal Military Academy: Sandhurst abolishes the Apostles' Creed.
Air Marshal Alec Maisner, R.I.P. Half Polish, half German and 100% British.
Cherie Blair: Not a vain, self regarding, shallow thinking viper after all.
Harry Potter: Celebrated rich kid thinks the Royals should not be celebrated
The Royal Jelly: A new king has been coronated, and his subjects are in a merry mood
Victoria Cross: Australian TROOPER MARK DONALDSON awarded the VC
Godless Buses: Royal Navy veteran, Ron Heather, refuses to drive his bus
Labour's Class War: To expunge those with the slightest pretensions to gentility
100 Top English Novels of All Time: The Essential Fictional Library
BIG BEN: Celebrating 150 Years of the Clock Tower

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

The Way Forward: Evolution or Devolution?

By Marquis Black (Originally posted at The Soaring Eagle)

A couple of days ago, a colleague of mine at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and I had an interesting little conversation about what we believed was the next step in the natural evolution of the political state. We both agreed that the only way forward was through bigger, more centralized states, but he posed an interesting view on the present circumstances that seem to contradict this natural evolution theory.

He told me, "The world is becoming feudal once again."

Now, I was, at first, very much against that idea, but a second of contemplation got me to realizing that he was quite correct. The world is indeed becoming more feudal. After all, we now have micronations like Kosovo being recognized worldwide (something that would have been unthinkable during the pre-World War II period), and devolution seems to be the name of the game. Heck, by 2012, if this trend is not stopped, I have no doubt in my mind that Panama, the tiny isthmus bordering Colombia and Costa Rica, will be deemed one of the largest countries in the world.

But why this trend, however? What has made people decide that smaller is better, and that their regional government is better than the central government? I, personally, blame the Republicans. Not the political party, mind you, but the actual proponents to the government system. The idea of regional, elected assemblies being the only just rulers of a people is theirs, after all.

Now, that is not to say that some countries are led to Republicanism without due cause. In Nepal, the last king has proven to be horrible, and of course the sentiment would therefore cause the population to move towards the diametrically opposite end of the political spectrum: republicanism. However, even so, that particular "revolution" is occurring at the same time at the spearheads of Maoist weapons, as the former guerrillas (who would be ready to rebel again at a moment's notice, mark my words) are the leaders of this republican revolution. Therefore, overall, it's quite tainted of Jacobinism. I wonder if they will actually let the King leave, or if they will simply kill him on his way out?

Regardless, the problem with regionalism is one best demonstrated by the age-old examples of Scotland and Quebec. In the United Kingdom, the republicans in Scotland do not go a single day without crying for the abolishment of the monarchy, the separation of Scotland from the United Kingdom, etcetera, ad nauseam. But do they have an actual basis for their righteous outrage?


The Scots' main argument against the monarchy is that the Queen is not Scottish, last I heard. However, given my limited knowledge of genealogy and genetics, I would think that a direct descendant of James I of Scotland (and therefore descendant of the Scottish Stewart line) would prove to be a good enough measure of Scottish descent to shut that argument up, but I suppose bullheadedness runs rampant throughout the Scottish Independence Movement.

The Quebecois, for their part, have a little more basis for their discontent, but none that is justified in present times. Their abnormal disdain for the British monarchy would be understandable, had they been born in 1740, but to keep a grudge against the British (translated later to the Canadians) because of a military defeat that happened over 240 years ago is absolutely ridiculous. Grudges, if at all, should be kept only against events occurring during your lifetime. After all, feeling outrage over an offense given at a time when you were not born to be offended is absolutely illogical and stupid.

Going onto their desire to become an independent Republic, however. The Scots seem to think (as do the Quebecois) that, alone, and without the moneys budgeted for them by the British Parliament (or Canadian Parliament, respectively), that they will do just as well as they are now (which, exactly?). Not only does this reek of Quebecois arrogance (as they seem to think the exact same thing), but it is counter-evolutionary, and therefore illogical. Indeed, the Scots seem to think that since they are allegedly so culturally different from the English (a moot point now that everyone is simply British), they should be a separate state. Going by that logic, were Scotland to become a Republic, and the Highlanders wanted more autonomy, then they should become a Republic too! And Glasgow should become its own city-state, being so close to the ancient English-Scottish border that its population is probably a good mix of both! And if Town X thinks its culture to be too different from the national one, then it should have the right to secede! Heck, I eat scrambled eggs with pepperoni and listen to international music--this is clearly an irreconcilable difference in culture between my country and I; I must declare my flat to be an independent nation!


If there's anything Darwinism has taught us, it is that evolution towards a more complex organism is the way things work. Now, evolution has also taught us that bigger creatures can be beat by smaller ones, and any historian with half a brain can tell you there have been enough wars around to prove that, but in the realm of politics, bigger states generally equate more international stability, if only because the prospect of war becomes too complicated to easily dish out. Smaller countries, however, have no such trouble, as the most ridiculous of claims can trigger a border war (somewhat akin to the feudal wars of Medieval Europe).

Cultures, history teaches us, come together under a single state because they evolve that way through years, decades, and centenaries of interaction. If the Scots-English culture had evolved to eventually bring about the British culture we all know and love (although the label was somewhat arbitrarily created, granted), then does anyone really believe that the United Kingdom would have survived so long? That it would have found the strength to create the most powerful and global Empire the world has ever known? No!

A state with disintegrated cultures cannot survive, simply because the task of keeping them separate causes misunderstandings that in turn are taken as racism, which then causes hostilities. The attempt of keeping all cultures equally present, yet equally separated (known today as Multiculturalism) is the reason that states disintegrate. If the people of a country do not feel at home there, or feel that their neighbours, because they do things differently, should not be there, then the country cannot function peacefully. A state like Canada (not counting Quebec), for instance, is highly integrated, socially speaking, and the different oddities of different people are not chalked up to cultural differences, but rather as something intrinsically "Canadian"; when a reasoning like that can be given, you end up with a stable, self-sustaining country that can prosper with little internal troubles. However, blindly adopting multiculturalist views and letting foreign "enclaves" fester within the country, trying their damn most to keep their culture separate from the national one, is simply going to end with the tragic end of the victim country.


Realist said...

I agree with virtually everything said. Let me just add one minor point: Belgium. It recently went through months when there was no government because of the tension between the Flemish and the Walloons. If a country peacefully constituted for 170 years still has such stark differences, what hope do multinational states have?

Anonymous said...

The Quebequois should put up and shut up. If they had not been ceded to "British" rule, Napoleon would have sold them to the Americans for 2 million dollars all in. Their culture would now be a direct copy of the present Louisianna, which effectively ceased to be Francophone in the 1830s/1840s, the administrative centre of which would be a direct copy of "New" Orleans (the proof that the new is far from superior to the old). That is, a dirty, degenerate, sordid and impoverished hole that no decent person would possibly find inhabitable.

I love the dual culture of Canada - "British" and "French". As things stand, the reality of the world is that Multiculturalism is PC garbage. Observing any footage of the British army shows that for "British" cultures, "monoculturalism" works well for a nation. (In Canada, the existance of two cultures, "biculturalism" if you will, does not preclude a similar truth). Looking at these units they are manned by persons of many different races, but of one purpose. It is this that we must strive for - to give loyal dignity, purpose and meaning to our societies, British and Canadian!

Lord Best said...

I wholeheartedly agree. Part of the problem, in addition to what has already been stated, is that people now take democracy and freedom for granted. You see this in the right (with the American administration taking the odd position that removing all power structures in Iraq would result in democracy) and the left (people assuming we can play with the constitutiona and culture of our states with no ill effects, afterall,we have always been a democracy, haven't we?).

If anyone wants to read about this kind of issue from a more military/strategic perspective, I recommend reading through On War, by William S. Lind.

Anonymous said...

Just a slight comment - whilst there are some nationalists in Scotland calling for the abolition of the moarchy when the Union inevitable breaks down, they are the miniority. The main nationalist party in Scotland has clearly stated that when Scotland becomes independent (for it surely is "when") the country will join the EU and will become a Commonwealth realm with the Monarchy maintained and the present order of sucession followed, as across the rest of the Realms.

Anonymous said...

what benifit would it serve to scotland to become independent? surely the UK does a good job at governing and policy and surely there are scots in both houses of parliament. whilst in sport Scotland is independent. what need is there for independence?

Anonymous said...

Scottish, Welsh, and Irish cultures have not gone away, nor shall they. The term British was coined, but Scots and Scottish Gaels are Scottish, the Welsh are Welsh, and even the Northern Irish are Irish. The lamentable situation has always been that the English often see themselves as better than others in the UK. The 1997 devolution was necessary, but incomplete: England should also have an assembly and the UK Parliament should be a level above the various Assemblies/Parliaments. NEVER should any constituent nation leave the UK and become a Republic.

Anonymous said...

"In Nepal, the last king has proven to be horrible, and of course the sentiment would therefore cause the population to move towards the diametrically opposite end of the political spectrum: republicanism."

I am saddened that Nepal has taken this course. Yes, Gyanendra is a fool. I predict we will see even greater, and more evil, foolishness from these Maoists. Surely something could have been done to continue the Monarchy.

Jeremy said...

"Their abnormal disdain for the British monarchy would be understandable, had they been born in 1740, but to keep a grudge against the British (translated later to the Canadians) because of a military defeat that happened over 240 years ago is absolutely ridiculous."

Strangely enough, very few Quebecois actually alive at the time of the conquest felt such hatred towards the British Crown; a major reason why General Murray and Sir Guy Carleton were so forceful in their arguments for French Catholic toleration.

It took a later--modernist--form of nationalism to breed such antagonism.

Anonymous said...

As a state, Quebec will be broken on its first day of independence.

Even now it cannot survive without heavy federal transfers. What are they going to do when Canada will cut that flow of money? How are they going to support themselves?

I think all independence talk is for one reason:- to convert their political cry into money.

Quick picture is here

Just play with this idea in your mind-Tomorrow Federal government says to Quebec: "Ok, you free to go on your own!"
What would happen next month, next year? I see a Mozambik scenario with skyrocketing inflation and people moving to the rest of Canada for work.

FLQ said...

On moins on serait cassé en français pis sans votre hostie de pute d'anglaises de Reine pis sa famille de consanguins.

Vous faites chiez les Québécois depuis 250 ans pis après ça vous vous demandez pourquoi ils veulent partir... Mais si on fait un référendum, vous prenez l'argent sale du fédéral pis des vendus d'Ottawa pour nous faire un gros "Love Fest" dans le centre-ville.

Non seulement vous êtes des caves pis des crosseurs, vous êtes hypocrites en plus !

Anonymous said...

As for Scottish nationalists - I do not, as a previous poster suggested - believe most are monarchist. The SNP asserts that it will retain the monarchy, but only for so long as is necessary before they can have a referendum on the issue.

Alex Salmond, totally silent on the matter today, was once ejected from the SNP for being a member of a far-left republican socialist grouping. Most Nats know that it is better to fight one battle at a time, and thus keep Republicanism low profile, hoping to win over monarchists and those who are culturally pro-British (it's not really separation, claims Salmond!) - but I have no doubt that they are simple biding their time.

Viscount Feldon said...

How could anyone claim that the Queen "isn't Scottish"? Even leaving aside her descent from Kings of Scots, she's a granddaughter of the 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne.

Juan Tolentino said...

Am I the only one here who finds some disagreement?

I categorically reject the idea that there is any such thing as historical "progress". History does not progress, it merely flows, or rather, as Chesterton says, in wobbles.

I am still in agreement with the main point, however. There is indeed much to be said about the growing sense of "regionalism" in the world today. But a recourse to notions of national amalgamation as a natural progression harkens the slippery slope of supra-national entities that I'm certain you're all familiar with (*coughEUcough*). There are far more compelling foundations for national unity under our Sovereign than simply "evolution" (which I submit is far too "Whiggish" an argument for me to swallow).

And what's with all this Quebec-hatred? Didn't they vote to remain in Canada in the last referendum? And the Bloc, I hear, is somewhat less popular than before.

Marquis Black said...

FLQ - Les uniques personnes qui peuvent (ou, pour être plus precis, qui on eu le droit) de se complaindre de faire "chier" les Quebecois étaient les Quebecois sous la gouvernance du Marquis de Montcalm, qui on vu la conquête du Quebec par les Anglais.

Et toi? Qu'as tu souffert sous la gouvernance Anglophone? Vous avez un système d'éducation de première classe, et un programme medicale avec presque d'aucun rivale. Alors laisse-nous ta propre hypocresie, et commence a parler avec un peus de sense.

Juan - There is merit to the idea that history is non-progressive, I suppose, but I, as you do with my own view, categorically reject the idea of non-progressive history. It just makes no sense, otherwise.

Like I've been taught in my university classes, everything in this world is logical. There is no such thing as an irrational act, for then we admit that there exists situation where no motives exist--and that's just impossible.

As such, history has proven itself progressive by asserting the dominance of those countries who grow. At the time of the Sumerians, the city-state was the most powerful entity in the land. Then arose the multi-city state, which by the time of the Greeks had evolved into the concept of a multi-regional Empire. The Romans expanded that horizon, and the early Europeans began to carve out regional borders according to similar culture, or direct dominance. This phenomenon, of course, happened throughout the world, but the west is the most obvious example.

Either way, by the end of the Hundred Years War, we were left with the concept of large-scale, multi-cultural states, usually ruled by kings or queens. This, in turn was thereafter replaced in some countries by the Constitutional Monarchy. However, in both Absolute Monarchies and Constitutional Monarchies, we keep seeing the inherently progressive trend to expand. In Britain, this was achieved, legally, by the Union of the Crowns of Scotland, England, Wales, and Ireland. In France, wars were carried out to establish the supremacy of the central court over the more rebellious regions around Île de France.

By the 18th century, however, Empire building was the norm. Comparatively small countries colonized huge tracts of land, and often in unsustainable ways, which predictably led to their collapse.

However, in cases such as the creation of the British nation, slow, careful expansion seems to indicate that sustainability can be achieved, which invariably gives credence to the evolutionary state, in part due to the fact that it proves adaptability.

Even today, the trend is that of expansion, what with the Latin American States being called together by Chavez, or the EU trying to solidify its own existence.

However, as one last comment to you, Juan (and a good argument you have, indeed), to call the concept of "evolution" conservative is hardly appropriate, I should think, since the conservatives tended to reject that concept in favour of Deity-ordained messiah complexes.