Wednesday, April 22, 2009

An Interview with the Monarchist

. Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I’m wondering if you can tell us why Mr. Monarchist – where you derive this rigid inclination towards another time, this ludicrous commitment to stuffy clubs, old dukes and ear trumpets – as if you need to escape the world in which we live today.

I would put it down to boredom, mainly, I can find nothing about modern civilisation that inspires me. I think it is far more ludicrous to be committed to the present state of things.

And so you intrigue yourself by consciously retreating into this anachronistic world of tweedy, fogy types.

No, not anachronistic. We may be chronologically out of sync with the masses, but it would be wrong to imply that our cause is obsolete. Certainly the monarchy still exists, and we don’t believe it will ever outlive its useful purpose, but besides the monarchy we are principally dedicated to the restoration of lost virtues. It is true that much has been lost over the past century, but it would be crazy to believe that virtue is a corpse.

So you don’t think that society has progressed in the last hundred years or so?

Not in a virtuous sense, no. Of course not.

If we accept your premise that virtue is a timeless quality, how do you propose we get it back? Nobody seems to be campaigning on a platform to bring back the gentleman, for example.

Well no, and nor should they. Evelyn Waugh once said something that I found quite striking, and which has stayed with me for years. That is, no good ever came from a public cause, only a private cause of the spirit. That’s what we are, I think – we are a private cause of the spirit. If a few hundred or a few thousand people become captivated by it, then I think we have achieved some good.

When you say that no good ever came from a public cause, do you mean to say that collectivist action basically destroyed private virtue?

Yes, I think so. The advent of democracy brought a decline in values. The old aristocratic virtues of loyalty, duty and chivalry, which one was born with and naturally aspired, have been replaced with statist ideals like equality, tolerance, political correctness and other low level conformist group think, which no one really likes but everyone puts up with.

Yes, but surely there was some social progress. The aristocrats were hoarding all the land and never earned any of their wealth.

Well, the first Duke of Wellington certainly earned his, as did all the other great hereditary first in lines. As for the crime of hereditary wealth, I wonder how many of Madonna’s adopted children will earn their millions, or how many will deserve to inherit her English country homes and landed estates. How many snooty kids and toffee-nosed teenagers of the instant dot com zillionaires will earn their fortunes, I wonder, or how many offspring of high and mighty CEOs will be able to justify their multiplied existence. There is unearned wealth everywhere you look, and more of it than ever before.

But you’re in favour of hereditary wealth?

I’m in favour of hereditary everything. My problem with the new aristocracy is their almost total lack of virtue and class. Today’s propertied elite prefer narcissism over nobility.

And the new middle class...

A welcome development, but I would be happier if they wore old clothes, adopted traditional manners and read ancient liturgy. Spontaneous reorganisation into rural hierarchies would also be appreciated.

Who is the greatest prime minister in history?

My icon is Lord Salisbury because he was a libertarian Tory and an exemplar of traditional aristocratic values. He stands for everything that today’s political class are against, and I find that extremely appealing about him, you know, the fact that he was a patrician and not a politician. Unfortunately he is a largely forgotten figure, or when he is remembered he is usually treated with contempt, probably because his whole philosophy was to do as little as possible while in government.

You consider him great because he did nothing?

Well, he was prime minister at the zenith of empire, so he obviously had a lot on his plate. By do-nothing I mean he was doctrinaire laissez-faire, he believed that government shouldn't interfere in the economic and social affairs of the nation, yet he still told the industrialists to fly a kite by passing the workers compensation act, and ended child labour by raising the age to fourteen, I believe, which in those days was considered a young man. So he was not indifferent to the plight of the masses – he was very much a beacon for liberty and civilisation.

You said you prefer a patrician over a politician, why is that?

Well both bother me because both are paternalists, both think they are there to help us little people. The difference I suppose is that the patrician is detached to the point of aloofness, while the politician sucks up to the masses and depends on the people’s adulation for his own self-esteem. In other words, politicians tend to be cowardly, whereas patricians are more likely to be real leaders with little or no propensity to follow the crowd.

Is that your problem with modern democracy, because it has degenerated into a popularity contest?

In a way, yes, that’s why we should limit it as much as possible. Democracy has a natural tendency to follow fashionable causes, when it is often the unfashionable thing that is right.

Like the monarchy...

Precisely, because it is assumed that there is something stuffy about the status quo, politicians are always looking for ways to differentiate themselves from their opponents, so they are constantly promising change. It is very hard to rally the troops to maintain same old this and same old that, unless of course the change is perceived to be radical.

Is that what republicans are, radical?

Radical yes, but not daring. There is no sense pretending that there is something daring or original in proclaiming yourself to be a republican, any more than there is something original about pretending one is an anarchist, an atheist, a pacifist, etc. The daring thing, or at any rate the unfashionable thing, is to believe in God or to defend the monarchy. Promoting republicanism in this day and age requires no moral courage whatsoever.

What’s so appealing about republicanism do you think?

I think there is nothing appealing about it, but it does have one huge advantage outside of Britain, you know, this notion that Her Majesty is an offshore Queen, that she is not really “one of us”. This is more problematic in far away Australia because that country is much more nationalistic than Canada or New Zealand and some of the other not so stridently self-assured smaller ones. I really think it boils down to this perception that we are ruled by a foreign absentee landlord, along with the fact that the international media takes every opportunity to remind us that she is “Britain’s Queen”.

Last question: If we all had the ability to choose our own name at birth, what would yours be?

A commenter signed off on the name, Howard P. Bickerstaff, Esq. once, and I fell in bed with it. Talk about a tweedy, fogy name.

Well, Mr. Bickerstaff, thank you very much for the interview.


Kipling said...

It is a lovely post Mr. Monarchist. Bickerstaff is a fine name. I have a preference for Richard Dryden myself.

An eccentric question, usually the best kin, if the Life Peerages Act was to be repealed - and so it should be - and Her Majesty was to grant you a title, what rank of nobility would you prefer? How would style yourself?

I've always had a certain fondness for an Earldom. A Duke is just too much, Marquess does not roll off the tongue. Viscount or Baron? Too upstart. An Earldom seems a reasonable compromise. I very much like the ring of Lord Dovercourt. It's a street name near where I grew up in Toronto, named after a large home built by staunch monarchists many years ago.

The Monarchist said...

I think I would have been contented to live the life of an aristocratic officer, Kipling. As for titles, I have a particular fondness for the Order of the Bath.

The Bath is the Earldom of knighthoods, not as honourific as the Garter, but not as lowly as the knightless Commonwealth ones. Make me a knight!

Anonymous said...

Once again, a wonderful display of intellectual masturbation combined with irrepressible smugness and disdain. Truly you are descending into a spiral of madness and irrelevance that cannot be stopped.

I wonder why your bother putting this up on blog for all to see since your audience seems to be limited to a handful of devoted crackpots, old hacks and dimwits. You despise the masses but for some reason you feel the need to broadcast your dribble on the web for all to see.

You endeavour is not so different from that of a 14 year old girl who blogs about Miley Cyrus. Completely irrelevant and only of interest to another 14 year old Miley fan. The rest of the world neither needs to know nor does it want to know about your deep “feelings” towards crusty old monarchs or your fascination for tweed.

Gladstone said...

Anonymous: If you find our views particularly distasteful, then you need not read them. The Web is a vast and varied place, surely you can find a place that better suits your views. And if you are here to read ours, then at least give them a respectful disagreement. A true gentleman disagrees without demeaning.

As for the post: A lovely and interesting one. The 20th and 21st centuries have made some great bounds in the areas of science and medicine, as well as social acceptance of the previously downtrodden and disenfranchised, like women and Africans. However, we have also lost much in the way of virtue and respectable behavior.

Anonymous said...

"I've always had a certain fondness for an Earldom. A Duke is just too much, Marquess does not roll off the tongue. Viscount or Baron? Too upstart. An Earldom seems a reasonable compromise"

I am afraid I must agree with Anonymous' asserstion, likening (some) of the comments to that of "14 Years old girl's" blog. Sure it's all very harmless to be sure, but it is attitudes like these and those of the women's gossip magazines which I submit, do so much to denegrate the Monarchy in today's society.

I am not a monarchist because I wish I was born an earl in a previous age, but rather because a constitutional monarchy is the best way to perserve our historic constitutional liberties.

Your aye,


PS Happy Anzac day

Bolingbroke said...

Who is this blowhard, Anonymous, and what attitude would that be, Mac?

I think the post is bang on: the aristocrat and the politician are to be loathed for their self-important and paternalistic ways, but at least the aristocrat had redeemable qualities and attributes worthy of perpetuating.

The big difference is that the aristo was at heart an individual, who wrapped his vanity in the nobleman's cause, whereas the politician wraps his vanity in the cloak of a people's cause, which makes him dangerous to the liberty of every individual.

Anonymous prefers the people's cause, because he would like nothing better than to stave your skull in with a truncheon, anyone that is who doesn't share his wicked hate for the nobleman.

Anonymous said...

I thought the attitude I was referring to was pretty clear with the included quote. However for clarification, I was specifically alluding to:

A. Pretences to an imaginged aristocratic golden age. Strange how no one ever seems to want to wind back the clock so they can be a domestic or factory worker. It is this type of (mis-informed) association of would be toffs and chinless wonders, that the likes of Helen Clark work so hard to associate with the monarchy.

B. But the major gripe I have is with the womens magazines. They probably account for 90% of the population's exposure to the monarchy. Is it any wonder that the regard in which the monarchy is held is so low when most of its exposure is based on clothes, who's shagging who or who was seen at which nightclub with whom?

I will freely take issue with your assertion of the notion of the aritstocrat as defender of the people's liberty. Noblesse oblige aside, one only has to look to France to defeat that argument. In fact one of the stregnths of the British crown, as opposed to her continental cousins, was the distinct lack of importance of the British aristocracy.

Personally, I am happy to judge a Gentleman or not by his charater rather than his chromosomes.



J.K. Baltzersen said...


I don't think anyone here has as main motivation for wanting to go back to the old monarchical and aristocratic order a desire to be an Earl. As has been demonstrated, there are thoughts about what one would like to be in another age. But main motivation? I don't think so.

As has been addressed, we have seen much progress within the areas of technology, medicine, and dentistry. Although Big Brother does benefit from this progress, so this progress isn't clear cut either.

To say that we should appreciate the freedom of our time, instead of wanting to go back to a time of serfdom, is hardly enlightened. There may be facets of days gone by we do not want back, but the modern regime intervenes in our lives, homes, and businesses to an unprecedented level.

We are told that we are free in this day and age because we can throw our masters out if they behave badly. Yes, the individual's influence is immense in a mass democracy. Go and pore a bucket of water in Lake Superior and watch the water level rise.

Anonymous said...

Gentlemen, and in response to Mac in particular:

Like Mr. Baltzersen I do not honestly believe anyone here is a Monarchist purely due to some peculiar fetish for noble titles, as if they were something to be collected or treated like a fashion accessory.

To the contrary, as a casual observer, it would seem the Monarchist is far more concerned with the values of respect and self-dignity behind a title He mentioned 'virtue' many times in this his last post, and the frivolous comment about an Earldom was merely a sidenote.

One could also point out sir, that many of the individual rights and freedoms championed in the British constitutional monarchy and system of law were instituted by the *nobility* - not, as the Monarchist points out, by mass populism.

Need I mention Cromwell?


Anonymous said...

I apologise, I'm not sure why I brought Cromwell up, must be the lateness of the hour here.

There is, however, -something- missing in our sterile society today. I don't claim to know exactly what it is, but I get the feeling that the gentlemen here sense it too.

I've only been around for a couple of decades, and yet it seems to me that our culture is crumbling, decaying into irrelavence.


alison said...

Anonymous at the top kind of displays all the qualities lacking which you mentioned in your post and does the job sublimely. Conversely it's like getting a picture of a thug next to a post about a sink estate. I enjoy this blog. Thank you for the incredibly well written and informative post that certainly gives food for thought and simple polite consideration on a subject I hadn't focused on too much before. It would be great to read a post in future on "the best way to perserve our historic constitutional liberties" through the monarchy.

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Monarchist Articles


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Loyal Subject: After all she has done, we owe the Queen our oath
Victoria Day – Fête de la Reine: Official B'day of the Queen of Canada
Renaming the Victoria Day Weekend: Let's get rid of Heritage Day Bob
Pro Valore: Canada mints its own Victoria Cross in time for Victoria Day
State Visit to Turkey: Mustafa Akyol says God Save the Queen, Indeed
Norn Iron Unites: What issue is uniting all parties of Northern Ireland?
Extreme Loyalist: Michael Stone attempted to slit the throats of Adams and McGuinness because he just "can't handle" republicans being in government.
Canada's Vice-Regal dubbed an elegant mix between Lady Di and Nelson Mandela
Queen of Australia: Support for Australian republic hits new low
A Heroes Welcome: The Windsor Castle Royal Tattoo, 8-10 May 2008
Fat, Vile and Impudent: Alan Fotheringham is back on the bottle
The Devine Right of Bling: Our Royals have become hereditary celebrities
Battle of the Atlantic: Canadians remember the longest battle of WW2
Old Etonian Toff: Boris Johnson installed as Tory Mayor of London
Britain needs a Patron Saint: Cry God for Harry, Britain and St. Aiden?
Anglos in Mont-Royal: Rooting for the Montreal Canadiens
Daniel Hannan: Borders of the Anglosphere and the British Empire was a mistake
Australia 2020: One Big Fat Republican Con Job
Bye bye Tommy: O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy go away"
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Carpetbaggers Down Under: Kevin 'Mugabe' Rudd wins 98.5% support for republic
Kipling: The Jeremiah of Empire and the Poet Laureate of Civilisation
Duke of Edinburgh: Behind the gaffes is a man of real sincerity
Lord Rutherford: The Father of the Atom lives on in great great grandson
Queen of Australia: Royalty Protects us from Tyranny, David Barnett
Long Live the Broadsheet! Norumbega, more traditionalist than the Pope.
A Tale of Two Countries: Soldiers of Britain and Canada serve the same Queen but...
Loyal Subject: Polishing the Royal Crown, Matt Bondy & Brendon Bedford
Devoted to the End: Obituary of Sir Phillip Bridges
The Monarchist does not recognize the Republic of Kosova
Loyal Subject: MPs Ruse Defeated; God Save the Queen!
St. Paddy's Day: Edmund Burke, the greatest Irishman who ever lived
Not Amused: The Bunkum of Timothy Garton Ash
Hero Harry: Rave Reviews across the Commonwealth
Patriot Prince: Prince Harry fought for us all, Charles Moore
William F. Buckley, RIP: He had a Tory gratitude for the pleasures of life
Their Lordships' Duty: The House of Lords can influence the Lisbon Treaty debate
Knights of Oz: Revive Sirs or I'll have your guts for garters
Peter Hitchens: People love the Queen...and the BBC hates us for it
Our Greatest Monarch: Paul Johnson says Henry V was our greatest monarch
Princess Diana Inquest: A Dirty Raincoat Show for the World
Malcom Turnbull: 'Queen's death will spark republican vote'
Duke of York: The Royals are not "stuffed dummies". They should have their say
Peers of the Realm: The decline and fall of the House of Lords - Charles A. Coulombe
Peter Hitchens: Get rid of the monarchy and you will get rid of a guardian of liberty
Honouring Sir Edmund Hillary
The Queen versus an E.U. President
Going Solo: Prince William earns his Wings
James C. Bennett: The Third Anglosphere Century
Knights of Oz: Revive Sirs or I'll have your guts for garters
Princess Diana Inquest: A Dirty Raincoat Show for the World
Malcom Turnbull: 'Queen's death will spark republican vote'
Future Peer: The life and times of Lady Victoria Beckham
Peers of the Realm: The decline and fall of the House of Lords - Charles A. Coulombe
Peter Hitchens: Get rid of the monarchy and you will get rid of a guardian of liberty


New York Times: Ever Backwards into the Royal Future
Peter Hitchens: People love the Queen...and the BBC hates us for it
Christopher Hitchens: An Anglosphere Future
Andrew Cusack: Republicanism is a traitor's game
Courageous Patrician: Rt Hon Ian Douglas Smith (1919-2007)
The Last Rhodesian: What began with Rhodes and ended with Ian?
Gentleman Journalist: The Lord Baron W.F. Deedes, 1913-2007
Not Amused: Blair's sinister campaign to undermine the Queen
Loyal Subject: Queen Elizabeth: A stranger in her own country
Reverence Deference: Bowing and Scraping Back in Tradition
Rex Murphy: Kennedy, Churchill, Lincoln - The rousing bon mot is no more
Gerald Warner: Don't shed a tear for Diana cult in its death throes
The End of Grandeur: Rich, chincy Canada puts Strathmore on the blocks
Confessions of a Republican Leftie: "The Queen charmed the pants off me"
The King's Own Calgary Regiment: Cpl. Nathan Hornburg is laid to rest
The Royal Gurkha Rifles: Prince William grieves the death of Major Roberts
Queensland Mounted Rifles: Trooper David Pearce, 41, killed in Afghanistan
The Order of Canada: 100 investitures later, Canada's highest honour turns 40
Prince Edward on Prince Edward Island: Troop's link to monarchy important
HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN: Unveils the UK Armed Forces Memorial
Great Britain: "A rotten borough with a banana monarchy" - by Europhile
Peers of the Realm: The decline and fall of the House of Lords - Charles A. Coulombe
Remembering 'Smithy': An obituary tour de force by Andrew Cusack here, here and here.
NOT AMUSED: Her Majesty The Queen in Right of Quebec not invited to Quebec's tercentenary