Sep 10, 2014

Fads, Focus, Leadership, and Why Democracy Fails

  The Kingdom of Edan uses social media to pass along information to others and as alterantive news sources. Today I was reviewing the ongoing battles in Ukraine between the coup leaders in Kyev and various separatist groups in the east; the impact of vaccine costs on the operations of Médecins Sans Frontières as they fight childhood disease; the work of various bishops to provide aid to the many Christians being slaughtered in Iraq; how ISIL forces are selling young girls into slavery to raise funds; the violent clashes between Boko Haram and African forces; etc. I was also reading a concerning report about the rapid decline in British military power in the last 2 decades and the possible impact this could have on global stability.
  In the midst of this I encountered a tweet (and associated picture) that was stunning in its incongruity. In midst of the greatest outbreak of Ebola in history, unemployment and economic downturn threatening to both expand rapidly, Pakistan (a nuclear power) in political chaos, civil wars in Syria, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic (in addition to everything mentioned above) this tweet and pic proclaimed,
  "No seriously people. Net Neutrality is more important than whatever you're doing right now."
   This discussion is not about net neutrality (although the arguments used in favor of it tend to reveal its proponents don't understand how the contemporary internet actually works) but rather about what some people have sarcastically named first world problems; how trivial issues can take on a large emotional value to people who do not face serious issues. There is a slightly older term for this - the fad.
  It is easy to understand how people become so easily distracted by the trivial. To a wealthy American or Australian unmenaced by war or rebellion, far from plague and famine, in a land never threatened with attack in a generation or more the problems of West Africa, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia seem far away and very, very impersonal. On the other hand the idea that it might take 0.5 - 1.5 more seconds to load your email in the morning is direct and personal.
  Note that while I said it is easily to understand I did not say it is defensible.
  As a result you have many people who are spending a great deal of time and energy influencing politics to make sure that their emails loads as quickly as they like even though their concern is based upon erroneous understanding of the topic at hand and their level of engagement is irrational.
 
  This isn't a surprise. After all it is easy to demonstrate that voters are irrational in their voting and tend to attach emotional weight to trivial topics merely because others have already attached emotional weight to the same topic, a phenomenon called 'herding'.
  But this may not be a bad thing, really - as Prince Jonathan pointed out, expecting every single citizen to be knowledgeable and engaged in all aspects of of government, economics, and foreign policy is a form of cruelty. Others have argued that voters are actually acting rationally when they remain ignorant of politics and 'herd' - to sum up their points, it isn't that voters are irrational but rather that remaining ignorant and voting as others do may be the only rational option for the majority of voters!

  Regardless of the underlying causes of voter behavior, the fact remains that the net neutrality issue is a perfect example of why Democracy is doomed to failure.
 Yes, really.
  Remember, the entire argument underpinning net neutrality is based upon a misapprehension of how the internet actually works. Yet as is shown in the links on this age several prominent politicians are proposing laws to enforce the position of the ignorant/irrational activists. Why would they do this?
  It could be that they are also ignorant of how the internet works. But why not consult some of the many experts they must have access to?

  The actual answer is that it is rational for politicians to make bad laws that appeal to ignorant and/or irrational voters.

  Why? Politicians are, in a very real way, just more voters: they do not have the time and energy to be fully conversant with every element of government, economics, etc. and they are not only likely to 'herd', they also face the tremendous pressures of being members of political parties - they are also forced to herd in many areas! Lastly, the tendency of voters to 'herd' means that politicians that appear to agree with a particular group of irrational voters will be seen in a favorable light by those voters - agreeing with ignorance will earn them more future votes; disagreeing might strip them of power.
  The result is a system where ignorant, irrational politicians maintain or increase their influence and power by enacting bad laws to appeal to ignorant, irrational voters. Or, in short, any modern Democracy in action.

  This is why the Edanian system of Feudal Technocratic Distributism is a critical element of governmental conceptualization; leadership in Edan is focused on avoiding decision making based on ignorance, reducing irrationality in leadership as much as possible and making the self-interests of leaders intimately tied to the long-term prosperity of families and the nation, not voting in short cycles. This concept of an integrated life is essential to Edan and foreign to Democracy.

Aug 25, 2014

Alternatives, Consequences, Distributism, and Being King

One of the joys of being king is that we do get to meet with our citizens, if not often enough (and some citizens have yet to meet us in person). These meetings are enjoyable and informative.
  This past weekend we had an opportunity to chat with Earl Hodges and Baron Floyd at some length as well as meet with 10-12 more citizens. During a conversation I heard two citizens speaking when one, obviously unaware we could overhear, said,
"Oh, no. I can't mention that to the king."
Her companion pressed her to speak to us leading the first to say,
   "If he were involved he might have to do something. It is best if I deal with it and take it to the baron if I must."
  We did not press for  details when we spoke to the citizens later.

  We were very gratified by this discussion. The speaker showed no fear or awe of the royal office, she simply did not feel it was appropriate. This is very directly true - her baron has the duty and right to be her first recourse. More critically, she was obviously determined to resolve the issue on her own. This is a core Distributist concept - solve an issue within a family and if you cannot go then to the community, then the most local authority, etc. This is one of the reasons we have pointed out before that Monarchy is inherently Distributist.
  Just as critically, the citizen was aware of a key point - if we felt compelled to act or make a decision, then our decision is final. Remember, here is no one to appeal to once the king has ruled. While not as final, this responsibility adheres to any noble within the Kingdom - any legal or political or leadership decision they make is at least potentially final. While to an elected official in a transient position or even to a bureaucrat far removed from accountability this can seem like a perk of position, to an aristocrat who both holds a position for life and has a personal relationship to the people he leads this imposes a greater burden.

  Because of this we recommend that leaders approach problems with a series of questions:

Who has authority?- this is straightforward - if you do not have authority over a particular event, concern, etc. you cannot directly lead but rather need to defer to proper authority. For example, a baron has no authority to order a parish priest to avoid certain topics in his homilies.

Or else what?- Is the considered action or change better than doing nothing? If it isn't better than doing nothing it might be best to do nothing. While a baron may well have the authority to demand that the commons of his village be managed a certain way, if his citizens are managing it well and to their own satisfaction his intercession may be superfluous or even detrimental.

Compared to what? All actions considered should be compared to other alternatives and the various risks, costs, etc. to make sure the decided action or change is the best one possible. If the baron was considering regulating the use of the village commons because he is concerned local agriculture is too narrowly focused and realizes a single bad season could impoverish his poorest citizens is the best solution regulation? Perhaps agricultural training would be better? Subsidized seeds for alternate crops? Simply storing food against future famine?

And then what?- What are the foreseeable consequences of the various options? If the baron subsidized alternate agriculture will the alternative remain dependent on subsidies to continue?

To what end?- What is the ultimate goal of the change or action? Does the proposed change or action actually lead to that end? If the alternative solutions are susceptible to the same potential disasters as the status quo are they truly viable solutions?

Can this be done by someone closer to the issue?- All problems should be addressed by the closest/lowest-ranking/most proximate authority whenever possible. In the example, the baron should probably begin by simply meeting with the various farmers, explaining his concerns, and asking them to solve the problem for themselves thereby taking on the role of mentor and collaborator to the farmers' growth. If the citizens need assistance or cannot solve the issue alone then the baron's actions will be expected and welcome.

  The last bit of advice we have for leaders is simple - when you decide that you do need to act, act with speed and resolve.

Aug 11, 2014

Statelessness, Persecution, and More on the Origins of Edan

  The very first piece on this blog that was not the final drafts of the constitution was a discussion of the theory and history behind Edan, That article focused on Edan as a stable, personal, just, non-territorial nation. But it left out a portion of the history of the formation of Edan. That portion was a desire to assist stateless people.
  'Refugee' means 'a person outside of their home nation because of persecution, actual or feared'
  'Stateless Person' means either 'a person that has no legal recognition of citizenship with any nation (de jure statelessness)' or 'a person outside of their nation of citizenship who cannot avail themselves of the benefits of their nationality for valid reasons such as a state of war, loss of documentation, etc. (de facto statelessness or undocumented statelessness)'.
  Not all refugees are stateless and not all stateless people are refugees.
  Without citizenship it can be effectively impossible to travel - a stateless person often cannot cross borders, obtain a visa, or (often) apply for asylum. On a day-to-day level they often cannot legally hold a job, gain licences or certifications, get an education, receive health care, etc. Such people commonly cannot register such events and births, marriages, and deaths. In many nations they may be detained at will. In short, by being stateless they both can't live where they are and can't leave where they are.
  The UNHCR estimates that there are about 11 million stateless people in the world (equal to the population of Belgium) and a large number of these stateless people are multi-generational families in places like Palestine and the Balkans where stateless parents give birth to stateless children.
  One of the goals of the Kingdom is to achieve a level of diplomatic and political recognition as a Non-Territorial Nation that Edan can assist stateless people in finding new citizenship either directly,by offering Edanian citizenship, or indirectly by providing them with the minimum level of identity documentation to allow them to seek asylum/citizenship elsewhere.
  King Richard sees this as 'showing love to the foreigner' in a profound way.

  The King is well aware that many Edanians are eager to aid persecuted Christians in Iraq and other parts of the world.
  So is King Richard. When Edan is capable of helping refugees and the stateless persecuted Christians will be a primary goal for assistance. When Edan was founded in 1999 it was in the face of severe persecution of Christians in Sudan, India, and Chechnya (among many other places). It is well documented bythe International Society for Human Rights (based in Germany), Civitas UK, and many other organizations that 80% of all religious persecution is the persecution of Christians. In 2013, before the attacks in Iraq and the Levant, it was estimated that at least 200 million Christians were being persecuted or outright attacked for their faith. This means that if you were to gather all the world's persecuted and oppressed Christians together it would be the 6th largest nation in the world .
  Putanother way, the number of Christians being persecuted in the world right now exceeds the combined populations of the citizens of all religions of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and Israel combined.

  So what can Edan do?
  Right now we can pray and educate. We are not yet at the 'critical mass' needed to gain the economic and political wight needed to do more. As much as we have grown, as much as we have already done, we need to be much larger before we can reach the point of political and diplomatic recognition.

  Maybe the most important thing you can do is help Edan grow. Talk to others, use the flyers and handouts we have sent in the past. Pay your taxes. Get Edan to the size where we cannot be ignored. A Media Kit will be issued soon so that you can canvas radio, print, universities, and television stations - King Richard will talk to anyone of good will about Edan.
  In a very real way every person, every household that we add to Edan will one day be another stateless family given a new home and another Christian saved from persecution. We can get there, we will get there.

  St. Michael Archangel, defend us in battle....

Aug 5, 2014

On Aspiration - by HRH Prince Jonathan

The Modern World hates those who are content in lowly stations. The servant who is happy to serve is considered insane. The man who keeps his head out of political affairs is taught that he is misguided and needs to take charge of his own destiny. The housewife is derided as being either too stupid or too foolish to work on some higher pursuit. As much as the Modern paradigm claims to be for and by the Common Man, it is so only on the condition that this Man put away his Commonness, and quickly, in order to take his place amongst the elite. We see this truth being preached, albeit stealthily, wherever democracy is. Popular culture, modern education, and even contemporary political philosophy all show this, and, indeed, typically take pride in it.
This attitude of total derision for a lower-class life is often contrasted with the Traditional view of things by those who hold it. Modernists love little more than to expound upon the fact that in prior times, the average person was hopelessly condemned to the life of a farmer, tradesman, monk, or wife, with only the most minuscule hope of moving to a different station. The people of bygone ages, we are told, had no political influence, very little ability to acquire an education, only the slightest chance of becoming wealthy, a frightening lack of autonomy, and so on; and were, in short, treated little better than beasts. But now, it is joyously claimed, the average person is infinitely better off. Everyone is given equal influence in the government, anyone can at any time attend a college or change their career in order to follow their dreams, modern economics allow anyone with the proper drive to become a millionaire, et cetera. All told, the story goes, there is no good reason to take a low station. The Modern World has done its best to allow anyone to reach any position in society, and people in higher positions have more of an impact on the world, more material success, and more great accomplishments, so why would someone not do his utmost to rise as high as possible?
Why would someone keep his head out of politics when he could be doing is part to right the wrongs of the world? Why would a woman content herself with being a housewife when she could be accomplishing the goods of a doctor or a civic engineer instead? Why should I take it easy when the prestige, money, and authority of the next promotion are within reach? These questions tear at the minds of Modernists, and the fact that people often stay in lowly places when an Enlightened worldview can find no good reason for it brings them great distress. Thus, the leaders of the Enlightened world pour vast amounts of energy into rectifying said fact. Wellfare programs spring up in an effort to give the poor the tools to rise that they have been so cruelly deprived of. Massive amounts of birth control supplies are sent to the 3rd world, so that the women there can be freed of any and all bonds keeping them from pursuing the success so common in the West. Even the eugenics movements of the 20th century began as proposed solutions to this problem, created when a few people came to the simple conclusion that the only rational explanation was that the lower classes were inferior, and must be eliminated for humanity to progress. The contemporary forces of the Enlightenment do everything they can, and have been doing everything they can for a long time, to make the existence of low stations in society obsolete. And yet, people still inhabit these stations, some even still cling to them, and some bold Traditionalists even go so far as to defend this fact and say that it is a good thing. This utterly baffles Modernism, and forces it to conclude that something must be direly wrong, for why else would such a problem survive when under such assault?

But this confusion, and indeed, the entire attitude from which it springs, is something that must be entirely rejected by all supporters of a sane, Traditional civilization. It is a gross misunderstanding of the nature of the world that only someone trapped by the darkest claws of materialism would ever conceive of. Someone with a proper understanding would not ask, “why are there still people in the lowest stations of society?” but would rather inquire, “why shouldn't there be?” After all, is happiness contingent upon material success? Is a vote the only possible method of exercising civic virtue? Have all the great Saints been wealthy statesmen? Quite to the contrary on all counts, so what does it matter that some are rich and some are poor? What does it matter that some men work like dogs to make their living? There is joy in hard work, and many people have derived great spiritual satisfaction from it. Why should we worry so much that a man chooses not to think about politics? Is it not far better for him to devote that energy to caring for his wife and children? And besides all that, there is the cornerstone belief of Tradition that there are many sorts of people for many sorts of things. It is true that there are many people who could do immense good and derive great satisfaction from a position of political power, but there are also many other people who would be so overwhelmed by their responsibilities that they would be unable to do anything. There may be women who would be at their best as doctors, scholars, and artists, but there are also others whose greatest joy and strength is maintaining a household. All told, it is more than enough to say that the Enlightenment's position on the matter is simply foolish. Lowliness alone has no intrinsic effect on the quality of one's life, so there is just no reason to care either way.
As a matter of fact, what is truly baffling is the Modernist sentiment on the matter. From a Traditional standpoint, it is nearly impossible to see where they got their intent focus on eliminating political class structures in the first place. It is only by a careful analysis of the Enlightenment itself that the origin of the concern becomes clear.

The stated goal of the Enlightenment thinkers was to be entirely and in every way rational. Unlike the supposedly superstitious and ignorant folk of bygone days, they were going to apply pure analytical reason to every problem, and use the same engine that gave birth to their modern technology and global empires to discover the final truths and most perfect practical applications of every field of thought. Anything that they could not dissect, calculate, engineer, or otherwise analyze was put to the Guillotine, and replaced with something more, “rational.” Ultimately, they hoped and claimed, this would create a utopia, as they successively studied, understood, and did away with every source of human misery, and constantly created greater and greater sources of prosperity and happiness.
And, if the world was the way that the Enlightenment believed it to be, perhaps this would have worked. Perhaps their ideology was so successful because people saw that if their basic assumptions were true, they really would create a utopia. The problem is that the creators of the Enlightenment did not realize (or did not care) that by concentrating so exclusively on the material, the measurable, and the rational, they blinded themselves to all things spiritual, intangible, and emotional. To an Enlightened mind, if it cannot be put in a lab or mathematically proven, it does not exist, even should it be a brute fact such as virtue, joy, or God. This is the attitude that caused them to formulate the metric system, and also such foolish things as the proposed ten-hour division of the day. The idea that an holistic, organically-developed system such as the Gregorian calendar could have any merit in comparison to a carefully-calculated, “rational” replacement was not just challenged by the Enlightenment, it was mocked and declared the height of stupidity due to nothing more than the underlying assumptions of their philosophy. Ironic as it may seem, the Enlightened mindset actually demands that any concept which is not materialistic and modern be thrown out without any rational analysis. Modern thinking simply cannot cope with anything that is not physically quantifiable, as is self-evident from even a passing consideration of contemporary politics and culture. This limitation forces Modernist thinkers to look at everything as if it were some sort of machine, which they only judge by the output B it will create if given the input A. Duty, happiness, spiritual growth, love, and dozens of other critically important concepts besides simply have no place in the Modern paradigm. They are not material, so they are ignored.

Realizing all this makes it easy to see the reason that modern thought hates everything about the lower classes. A wealthy and industrious banker can generate millions of dollars of revenue, provide the funding for dozens of productive businesses, and insinuate himself into the echelons of government, all while still having a family and attending church weekly. Therefore, to an purely post-Enlightenment analysis of things, he is not just more financially successful than a blue-collar working father, but is actively better than him in a way that is very nearly moral. It does not matter how crippled his spirituality is, how little he sees his own children, or how much stress his work puts him under; he has a greater material effect on the world, so, rationally speaking, he is simply greater. And what could be more despicable to our contemporary materialist spirit than a domestic mother? A stay-at-home wife and mother is, at least in the popular view, an active material drain on the world, who produces no truly usable goods or services at all. She is therefore subject to the most vicious of attacks and insults, being characterized as a lazy parasite and a useless hanger-on to everyone around her. The vast and comprehensive benefits she produces in every non-material sphere are meanwhile invisible to her attackers, no matter how strongly they affect the world.
So we see, in a humorous twist, that Traditionalism is, in fact, more rational than Rationalism. It is self-evident that there is more to the world and to life than material output and influence, and any society that does not realize this is doomed to suffer as society suffers today, with its populace in the grip of nihilism and depression, and the leaders of its culture and thought incoherent and useless. If we want to make a better world, a happier world, a more sane world, the first step is to reject materialism, and one of the first effects of that rejection is the realization that simplicity and lowliness can be good, and sometimes our aspirations should be low.


Jul 3, 2014

In the Grip of Forces Beyond Their Ken - a guest post on Economics

  HRH Richard recently posted a link to an article about Distributism as an example of the uphill battle we face merely to undo the misconceptions others hold about the very core concepts of Distributism. The author of the piece, Kevin D. Williamson, makes the most common of errors: thinking that 'Distributism' is about 'controlling or planning the distribution of goods'. As I said, this is a very common error, but a profound one. 
  More critically it demonstrates clearly and directly that Mr. Williamson quite literally does not know what he is talking about
  Of course Mr. Williamson also reveals a painful ignorance of human history. He writes,
  "In the 200,000-year history of Homo sapiens, neither of those great religious traditions [Buddhism and Catholicism], nor anything else that human beings ever came up with, made a dent in the poverty rate. Capitalism did."
  If it were not said with such earnestness I would assume this was clumsy satire. But I must conclude that Mr. Williamson is, in fact, totally ignorant of the huge impact of the monastery system upon European, North African, and Middle Eastern poverty.
  Yes, many of the gains the Church won between 600 AD and 1600 AD were wiped out as  the common man suffered from Islamic invaders as well as by the dismantling of the monastery system in Europe by the Industrial Revolution, both of which  returned vast swaths of people to poverty. Mr. Williamson also seems ignorant of the fact that the nutrition and calorie count of a Medieval British peasant was better than a modern British citizen until the mid- to late- 20th century. And, of course, the medieval peasant had more leisure time and more of them were self-employed than a modern worker under Capitalism. 
  I am sure that the lack of debt-backed money in the peasant's pocket will be profound to Mr. Williamson in some manner, but I remain unconvinced that a British citizen of 1930 was substantially better off than a British citizen of 1330.
  It could also be pointed out that the greatest increases in human prosperity came from: the aftermath of the Black Death; the development of the various manorial systems we lump together as Feudalism; the monastic system previously mentioned; and the economics system called Mercantilism. In an historical analysis of economics and prosperityCapitalism is a flagging fifth at 'making a dent' in poverty!
  Then again, Mr. Williamson thinks Distributism would involve 'the State' deciding wages, union rules, etc. which, of course, Distributism explicitly wants the State to have as little to do with as possible.

  Mr. Williamson, who I must admit is consistent in error, also states,
  "Catholic thinking about the role of the state has evolved precious little since “render unto Caesar"..."
  Again, if he were not so earnest I would assume this was a joke. But it is a rather telling mistake. Indeed, all Mr. Williamson is doing in this sentence is admitting he is totally ignorant of an entire branch of political thought that includes works such as Augustine's The City of God, Aquinas' Summa Theologica, More's Utopia, and scores more books, many of which are considered essential reading for any serious student of politics or economics....

  Mr. Williamson does make arguments for Libertarianism.
  Well, actually- he has a series of clumsy emotional appeals, typically as part of childish jabs at the Church. These gems include such things as calling Distributism,
   "...a 19th-century [sic] model of economic analysis..."
  Does he consider Capitalism 'an 18th Century model of economics'? If not, why not? Distributism is, yes, based upon philosophical discourse that began in the 19th Century, but it was not even named until the 20th century and growth and development continue to this very day.

  Of all the various childish barbs he spouts, though, my personal favorite is this quote,
  "“The poor you will always have with you,” Jesus said, but in the capitalist world, that simply is not true"
  I must admit; I am not sure if I am more impressed with his disregard for the many poor that still exist within the realm of Capitalism or his unmitigated gall in implying Capitalism trumps Christ.

  Regardless, this article did little more than to convince me that Mr. Williamson is an ignorant hack with an axe to grind with the Church because it wants all activity to be moral and ethical, including business.
  If this sounds harsh and uncharitable to you, please understand - Mr. Williamson has decided to not just argue about economics but take a very direct stance of attacking the Church and its bishops. He has demonstrated that he is no gentleman both in this article and in his public conduct.

  So why am I writing an obscure writer of demonstrated limited knowledge of the topics he writes about?   There are two reasons; Mr. Williamson has waded into a discussion of Distributism and Mr. Williamson released this article today. The critical quote in the piece is not his discussion of profits (after all, just profit is a key element of Distributism) but rather this interesting quote,
  "...large, powerful firms such as McDonald’s and Walmart are effectively unable to raise prices, and firms such as Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo are unable to dictate wages."
  This is a profound statement from a Libertarian. This is a claim that 'large, powerful' corporations are effectively helpless; gripped by economic forces of the market so pervasive, so powerful, so primal that there is nothing they can do to affect them; like ships in a typhoon, they are tossed about by wind and wave, helpless.
  Let us assume that Mr. Williamson is correct - in a laissez-faire Capitalist free market system (or however close we are) macroeconomics are so overwhelmingly true that a large firm is powerless against them. Let us also assume that the rest of his contentions are likewise true - no object has an objective value; there is no such thing as 'just wages' or 'a fair price'; etc. And, of course, a host of other things that neo-classical economists wish to be true.
  Together, these things imply that, if Mr. Williamson is correct, then large firms cannot be 'powerful' but are, rather, powerless. And we should therefore conclude that large firms are objectively bad because they obviate choice and thus remove freedom. Small firms do, indeed, trump large ones.
  Such is a key tenet of Distributism.

  But since Mr. Williamson has demonstrated that he is an ignorant hack I am hesitant to trust his analysis here. Just as I know that Rational Choice Theory is false I also know that the price for a charcoal grill at the local Walmart wasn't written by the Invisible Hand of the Market. As surely as I know that the theory of General Equilibrium is too off from reality to fit it, I also know that wage levels do not appear, pre-approved by the spectre of Adam Smith, on a whiteboard in Goldman Sach's HR department each Monday. 
  Further, if Mr. Williamson's contention were true there could never be a monopoly - any firm large enough to be able to constrain the market  would be too large to perform the actions needed to actually constrain the market.
  Yes, I am aware that some Libertarians claim that monopolies can only arise via governmental interference. I dismiss this for the claptrap that it is. Any analysis of the Standard Oil monopoly development proves this to be a falsehood.
  
  A key point to remember whenever thinking of economics is simply this - 'economics' is just a subset of 'human interaction'. Any claims such as, 
'morals and ethics have no place in economic theory'
  or, 
'large firms are so bound by the laws of economics that they cannot set prices or wages' 
you should translate to be,
'Morals and ethics have no place in human interaction'
  and
'large firms are so bound by human interactions that they can't set wages or prices'
  These claims, when understood for what they are, are laughable.  

  It does paint a chilling image of how Libertarians must see the world; a huge, impersonal place where they are not 'people' but merely 'labor' and the Iron Laws of Economics are so powerful that billionaire CEOs with HR departments staffed with scores of highly-educated wage and staffing specialists are unable to change prices or wages. 
  I prefer reality.

Jun 5, 2014

Shopping for Nations - a short entry

[mild edits have been made]
  The king has been approached by various people, both directly and indirectly, in recent weeks asking to discuss the nascent idea of 'neoreaction'. The king has been aware of this small movement for some time and was even a correspondent with one of the founders many years ago.The recent discussions have centered around the idea of a 'free market of governments' where many small governments compete for citizens allowing the free market to decide which is 'best'.
  Edan rejects the vary notion as flawed. First, free market economics are an inherently Liberal idea; free market Capitalism is focused on individual freedom, the lack of loyalty, and rejects the notion that ethics should or even can be involved in economics; if free markets produce a moral or ethical "winner" this is entirely accidental; such a 'market' largely exists now and is not producing very solid results.
  Yes, Democracy is a system which is proven too flawed to continue very long; yes, the Westphalian conceptualization of a nation-state is too flawed to withstand close scrutiny. The king is a supporter of people rejecting what is for what should be.
  But that decision is not an economic one!
  There is a famous American quote,
  "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country"
  The first part directly addresses the neoreaction concept - a nation is not a provider of products or services. To view the government of your nation as if it were a roofer or concierge is to view the world solely as a mass of economic transactions. This idea is Modernist, Liberal, and wrong.
  But the second part is wrong - citizens are not servants. Nor are they employees, nor shareholders, nor co-owners. This idea is Liberal, Modernist, and wrong.
  Just as governments are not manufacturers or service providers, citizens are not employees or consumers!
  Families do not exist to support the government, the government exists to support families. And under the concepts core to Edan [solidarity, subsidiarity, and justice] the government is in a real way an extension of the family. There are real bonds of honor, duty, and of caritas between and amongst the citizens, nobles, and king of Edan.
  Honor, duty, loyalty, family, king, country - these things cannot be bought and sold.
  Leaving the faltering secular humanist Democracies of the world is something the king encourages all people to do. But do not choose Edan in hopes that it will give you good financial returns, nor for its low taxes, nor for its longevity and success. Join us because you will be treated with honor, with loyalty, and with  caritas. Join us because our goals are just. Join us because you believe in Edan.

May 13, 2014

Sovereignty and International Law [guest post by Mr. Floyd, Edanian Citizen]

What makes a country a country? Is it the fact that countries have millions of citizens? Is it due to countries being in the United Nations? Most people do not think about this issue, which is a key part of micronationalism. Micronations, as described by Microwiki, the micronation encyclopedia, are “small unrecognized nations which are often eccentric in nature” (Main Page). Micronations are self-declared independent states that wish to become countries. Micronations are generally groups of people who declare themselves countries. There are hundreds of micronations that currently exist as simulations of real world states or legitimate new nation projects that have declared independence from their associated macronation, or what micronationalists consider conventional countries. There are micronations with many types of governments and diverse cultures, as well as holidays and customs, which are created by their members. No micronation has been accepted into the United Nations, but they have obtained de facto recognition through negotiations and visits with ambassadors from some countries. Because of legal loopholes, legislation and international treaties, micronations should be considered sovereign nations and recognized as such.

First, there are many legal loopholes that allow for micronations to exist in the world. One of the most utilized loopholes is the Treason Act of 1495 which states that “An Acte that noe person going wth the Kinge to the Warres shalbe attaynt of treason.” (Preamble) This is generally interpreted by scholars as any person acting as the de facto sovereign in a member state of the Commonwealth of Nations will be considered the monarch and it is thus illegal to deny their reign. One notable micronation, known as the Principality of Hutt River, declared independence under this provision in the Australian legal code. The self-proclaimed prince stated he would become a new nation loyal to England. The police came to his farm-nation as they claimed to be independent and did not pay taxes. After the farmer went to court with the Australian government, the court ruled it was illegal for the state to dispose of the leadership as they were acting with royal power over the land. Now, the self-proclaimed nation does not pay taxes to the Australian government and does not need to abide by their laws Another piece of legislations that is used by United States citizens declaring their homes as self-governing is the Declaration of Independence, which was passed by the Continental Congress in 1776 which affirms “That whenever any Form (sic) of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…” This proves that the United States was founded on the idea that the people have a right to declare independence and to rule themselves through a government by the people if the government does become authoritarian or undemocratic in nature. Many micronationalists believe that most micronations are not in touch with the people and thus are not compelled to take their best wishes into account.

Secondly, international agreements and treaties confirm that micronations have a right to sovereignty. The Atlantic Charter reads: “respect the right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live.” This was signed by the US, the UK and many other nations in 1941. In a similar notion, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, signed in 1966, states that “All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status…” Self determination is the right of people to rule over themselves and create their own state. These treaties clearly state that people have the right, under international law, to create their own nation and rule over it freely.

Finally, the most well-known and widely used piece of information for micronationalists is the Montevideo Convention. For the western hemisphere, the treaty outlines the duties and of a state in the international community. In the 1933 Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States,  article one proclaims, “The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: (a) a permanent population; (b) a defined territory; (c) government; and (d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.” Micronations do obtain governments, and most if not all have full constitutions. A defined territory generally consists of the houses of its members. A permanent population is comprised of the micronation’s citizens, and it has the capacity to enter relations with other states if they are asked. “The political existence of the state is independent of recognition by the other states”, stated in article three, proves that even without recognition, micronations can operate as international entities. Article five goes on to state, “The fundamental rights of states are not susceptible of being affected in any manner whatsoever,” meaning that countries have no right to impede the workings of micronations. This is explained more in article eight with the clause “No state has the right to intervene in the internal or external affairs of another.” Even without recognition, this applies to any state that fits the criteria affirmed in the treaty.

        On the contrary, many people do not believe micronations are true countries because they cannot exhibit sovereignty over their land. According to Joseph Duncan, President of the People’s Republic of Tiana, “Well [if a person said I could not exhibit sovereignty], I'd say – ‘you're under arrest according to section 5, subsection 6, article 2c of the criminal code of the People's Republic of Tiana. You have the right to remain silent.’” By this statement, he is affirming the fact that micronations can enforce their own laws within their land. The definition of sovereignty, according to Webster’s dictionary, is “Supreme power especially an over body politic,” meaning that micronations can exert sovereignty if they can create their own laws and enforce them. This shows that micronations are sovereign states because they can be free from external influence through having their own government that creates policies and laws. Others will say that states must be a member of the United Nations to be a country, but nowhere in legal documents, unlike the declarative method to statehood, does it state that that is required of them. If this theory is correct, then no countries would have existed until after World War II and if a state needs consent to declare independence, then the United States is still a part of England.

        Are micronations legitimate countries? Evidence shows that they should be recognized as such because of current laws and treaties signed by major world powers. Most micronationalists would agree, “We have a government, a flag, and meet the terms of the montevideo [sic] convention.” says Duncan. Since many micronations meet all the criteria necessary to become a state according to the international community, they should be given the sovereignty they deserve. All legal documents say that they are equal to current states, so they should be given the rights they are entitled to have.

​​Works Cited

Atlantic Charter. Treaty. August 1941.

Duncan, Joseph, Right Honourable, Sir, MZP DSU OWC KBOS OZL ZPO HZW

KC MLEB MLLB, Prime Minister, Minister of Health and Minister of Culture of The Kingdom of Zealandia, Supreme People’s Commissar of Tiana, Sultan of Hakka, Member of the Zonian Parliament, Flanderensisian Ambassador to the United States, Marquis and Viscount. Personal Interview. 1 February. 2012.

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Treaty. 16 December. 1966.

“Main Page.” Microwiki. 6 Feb. 2012. Microwiki.org.uk. 18 Jan. 2012

        < http://microwiki.org.uk/index.php?title=Main_Page>

Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States. 26 December. 1933.

Apr 16, 2014

Obedience Unto Error by HRH Jonathan

     The article that I am writing here today is targeted specifically at Traditionalists. Others may read it, of course, but take this as your warning that if you do not identify yourself as a Traditionalist, you may not get much out of it.

     That established, let us consider, for a moment, a hypothetical scenario. Imagine that a husband and wife are having an argument over how their children should be educated, with both holding radically opposed views. Which one of them, by the tenets of Traditionalism, should get the final word? The husband, of course, given that he holds the authority within the family. But is this true even if his wife is correct? Must he still be obeyed even if he is objectively in error? Of course! Unless he is somehow invalidating his power through immorality or overreach, he must be obeyed. If his authority was only in force when he was right, it would hardly be authority at all. There would be no order in the family, just a continuous debate as to which side, exactly, was objectively correct.
     Moreover, who has the ability to decide what is right for the family and what is wrong? Short of a perfectly understandable hypothetical situation like this one, does anyone but the husband really have the power to declare one path correct and the other one not? And, if we were to declare the husband's authority void when he is in error, why not take that assertion to its logical conclusion? Why not declare all parental authority void when the parents are in error? Why not let the children weigh in, and, if they are correct and their parents are wrong, make it morally imperative that their commands be the ones obeyed?
     It is truly quite easy to see that paternal authority must be inviolate even when it is in error, for the alternatives are chaos, fragmentation, or worst of all, a justification for intrusive power being granted to the State. Furthermore, it is also easy to see that this extends to all forms of just authority. As long as an authority stays within its rightful purview and does not invalidate itself through immorality, it must be obeyed even if it is in practical error. For otherwise, is it really authority? If whoever is right is the one that must be obeyed, is authority actually in place, or is simple utility and common sense ruling the day? It should be clear to anyone who devotes the thought to it that the necessity to be obedient unto error is, in fact, the defining characteristic of authority, not something alien to it.

     And so we finally come to the main point of this writing, namely, the fact that this extends even into the Ecclesial dimension. That this is true should be patently obvious. Why wouldn't it be true? Religious authority and worldly authority differ from each other only in realm and reliability; in substance, they are the same. Therefore, we may see, religious authority must be obeyed even when it is in error, so long as this error is not somehow invalidating.
     So how can it be that there are such large groups of Catholics who claim to be Traditionalist, claim to have a proper understanding of authority, and claim to hold to the Church in a from almost unchanged from its roots, and yet in the same breath declare the Pope and Magisterium invalid? Even if the central government of the Church is in grave error during the present day, unless it has actively overstepped its bounds, a true and proper understanding of authority demands that we continue to give it our allegiance. Even should the worst of the doomsayers be correct in saying that the Novus Ordō of the liturgy is a tool of damnation, and that modern ecumenism can only damage the unity of the Church, and that the Papal government is doing nothing but continuously undermining true orthodoxy, they are still our rightful, lawful superiors, and we must obey them.

     But this is a bitter pill to swallow for anyone raised in the modern paradigm. After all, what could be more undemocratic than obeying someone you disagree with? What could possibly be more repressive, reactionary, patriarchal, fundamentalist, and otherwise backwards than authority? The modern era is built on disobedience to lawful authority. It is the soil in which it was cultivated, and the water with which it was grown. Many moderners even go so far as to declare that there is no authority, and that any institution exists only through the will of its constituents, who have the transcendent right to break it apart and reshuffle it at will.
     Given how useful this notion is in attacking Christianity, it comes as no surprise that the Adversary has infiltrated it into the midst of the faithful. What is especially disappointing, however, is the pervasiveness of the error. In addition to the progressives and humanists that one would expect to be affected, even the stanchest groups of Traditionalists have been led to fighting against their rightful superiors. This is a depressing turn of events, and it must end. We must excise this troublesome, modern infection from our beliefs. We must relearn how to be obedient.

Mar 18, 2014

The Great Flaw of Anarchism [by Prince Jonathan]

  Anarchism is, in its most fundamental concepts, entirely correct. The structure and concept of the State, as it is known today, is nothing more than a vast mechanism for tyranny. It takes away freedom, harms the common good, and commits acts of unjustified violence simply by existing; all of which it attempts to justify using elaborate political theories with deeply flawed foundations. Edan is not statist. I am not statist. To be otherwise is to be fooled. All this I believe and admit freely, yet I am still not an Anarchist. Indeed, both I and the Kingdom are very strongly anti-anarchy. And how, you ask, is this possible? Is that not a paradoxical position? Why do we oppose both the State and its absence?
  Because we recognize the great flaw of Anarchism. We see that it has developed from its perfectly rational basic principles into a greater philosophy that is largely false. Anarchists do not just wish to abolish the State, they wish to abolish all political action, all authority, and the entirety of the social sphere except for economics and the family, and some of them even the latter. This is the absolute height of foolishness, and Edan thus rejects Anarchism, as I shall now explain.
  Man is, as a very wise man once observed, a political animal, and this truth cannot be denied. Throughout all the history of all the world, government and political association has developed amongst civilized men. Furthermore, contrary to the common belief of Anarchism, it has largely done so in a non-aggressive way. After the gradual collapse of the Roman Empire, there was no government in France, Italy, Spain, or Western Germany. This meant that the only people with power in those places were the land owners, and the only material order their employment of tenant workers. Over time, these landowners, these counts and dukes, made deals amongst themselves, refined their feudal (that is, contractual) relationship with their tenants, and appointed some of their number as kings. Although violence and coercion were certainly involved in some times and places, the origin of government in Western Europe was accomplished through nothing more than the ownership of property, which I highly doubt any true anarchist will criticize. Similar origins may be found for much of the government of the ancient world, though, again, coercion is not completely absent from history.
  And, once more contrary to the typical beliefs of libertarians and anarchists, Anarchism has also been found throughout history. Far from being the first authentically new political development in three thousand years, absolute individual freedom with no form of government or authority has been seen in many different times and places. We find examples in the Judges period of Israel, Pre-Islamic Arabia, and Pre-Cromwellian Ireland, to name just a few. It is not necessary here to rely solely on those societies incapable of developing government; anarchy has existed in the world through the Age of Exploration. Indeed, considering the nations that evolved in Southern Africa and Polynesia, it could be argued that even the most technologically primitive societies are capable of forming governments, though most of them abstain. What is interesting here is that all examples of anarchy found historically, no matter what their culture, religion, or level of technology, share a few basic traits: continuous, bloody warfare, the normalization of atrocities, and a lack of any meaningful development in technology or art. Every time it as been implemented, anarchy has had a terrifyingly negative impact on the civilizations it affected. Even the most stable and moral examples, such as Pre-Cromwellian Ireland, were plagued by war and violence.
  Now, these facts alone would not be enough to condone statism. The ends do not justify the means; we cannot use tyranny and violence to end tyranny and violence. It is, as the majority of anarchists observe, utterly irrational. However, it is more than possible to form governments and establish the rule of law without recourse to coercion. A state-like order can be created in a completely permissible way, so why should anarchy be permitted to survive? If a truly lawless condition leads to such horrid things, why do we not agree to create law?
  So we see that Anarchism is disproved by history, but it is not even necessary to resort to that approach. Reason can also be used to show its flaws, and to demonstrate that a moral society is neither anarchy nor the State, but rather a proper, feudal government.
  It is natural for people to turn a blind eye to the errors in their own position. That is simple human nature, and it cannot be totally avoided, only fought. Anarchism, however, suffers from a general naïveté in excess even of that. Possible abuses of its systems and flaws in its concept of legality are ignored utterly, or supposedly defeated with the argument that market forces will eventually lead to their destruction. Even the most legitimate concerns are given no thought, as a rule.
  For example, let us say that there is a particular factory that produces car frames, and, in order to cut costs and run more efficiently, they switch from their existing chrome-coating method to one involving a much more volatile compound. The run-off and pollution from this compound quickly spreads off the lot of property that the factory is built upon, and begins to poison the water supply of a neighbouring residential district. The factory owner has harmed the health of many other people, so is he accountable to pay damages and switch back to the older, safer method? How much money should he pay out? How is that determined? Suppose the people in the district hire one security company to force him to pay out a large sum of money to them, but he claims that he owes much less, and hires a rival company to defend himself. Or suppose that he even claims that he isn't responsible at all. What happens next? Who determines which side is right? If the side that is wrong wins, who can step in to fix it?
  As another problem, is airspace property? Can sections of the sky and upper atmosphere be claimed, bought, and sold? It's an interesting question when there is no central law regulating it, but it is not the problem here. The problem is what happens when there is a dispute. If a road-owning company claims that it owns the air above its property up to the limit of the atmosphere, and a air-liner company holds that airspace cannot be owned because it cannot be worked, who wins the dispute over the first company charging tolls on passing planes? Let's say that the air company refuses to pay the demanded tolls, so the road-owners call in a private security company that agrees with their claims to force the matter, and then the air company calls in their own security that agrees with them. If negotiations fail, a shooting war will result. This is something of an extreme example, but it is entirely possible, and does a good job of illustrating this sort of problem. In a state of true anarchy, serious problems arise because of a lack of authority. Does this not mean that, according to the very laws of success and failure that Anarchism itself upholds as its unique practical advantage, authority will inevitably result? Is it not in the common interest of everyone to not just agree on a standard convention for such matters, but also create some way of solving similar difficulties in the future? And since this authority is so intimately linked to defence and enforcement, doesn't it make sense that it, the police, and the military should be a united organization? We find here the genesis of good government, and, indeed, of all government.
   And so we can see that Anarchism is neither foolish nor evil, but the belief that it can survive for more than a few generations without descending into violence and disruption is most certainly the former. Anarchists are correct in observing that the way things are today is critically flawed, but they fail to see the flaws in their own ideas again and again. Ultimately, they are, as a movement, over-idealistic. Even if they do not consciously realize it, their system is completely reliant on the total or almost-total eradication of human stupidity, selfishness, and disputes.
  In Edan, however, we recognize that such a utopian event is impossible. So we reject the State, then reject Anarchism, and finally establish ourselves to be a voluntary government. We seek to create the authority, stability, and public beneficence of a well-run State, while still maintaining the proper morality and rationality at the heart of Anarchism. Though this may be difficult, it is still worth striving after; and it is an ideal that we will not abandon for as long as the Kingdom survives.

Mar 13, 2014

Reflections on Lent, Politics, Life, and the Kingdom

  Once upon a time there was a question asked by a newspaper. It was "What's wrong with the world?"
  The modern world is a busy, noisy place. People carry phones with them at all times allowing themselves to bombard themselves with multiple forms of messages from around the world as well as music, news, videos, and games. This is so they can focus on what is important to them because the world around them bombards them with music, games, ads, and messages not of their own choosing.
  People are filled with frenetic energy; children study long hours and fill stacks of notebooks with repetitive work, yet knowledge and even their own test scores decline. There are more and more sources of news and information yet each new development is a surprise since no one expected it.
  The election cycle never ends, a constant parade of new names, new faces, new scandals, new "critical" issues, new voices, new experts. yet each election has 'surprises'. And after each election things always get worse, not better.
  Men rush through school with sports and clubs. They rush through their workdays with projects and lunches and travel. Women do the same. They get home to hobbies and entertaining, travel and art, music and decorating. Mothers take their children to art, soccer, math, enrichment, games, dances, and so on in an endless cacophony of activity for themselves and their husbands and their children. Homeschooling mothers take on even more with conferences, plans, meetings, tests and - of course - education.
  Their husbands do the same with hobbies and meetings and day trading and the lawn, lawn, lawn. Friends at the pub, sport, and discussion of politics.
  Why? Why all this energy? At the end of the day everyone is exhausted, yet as much as they complain no appointments are dropped. Why?
  Fear. Fear of reality. The busy, the make-work, the frenetic activity is to escape. Escape from ourselves and the world around us.
  The children are unhappy? You can't blame the mother, she gave them every advantage. The father slaved day and night! It isn't their fault, they worked so hard. The father doesn't get super-rich? The day trading was just a hobby and the small business just couldn't compete because of competition. The wife is cold and distant? well, she just doesn't understand her husband. The wife feels neglected? Maybe if her husband vacuumed more often....
  The modern world fears silence and still. If the reporters and pundits were to shut up for a week or so people would realize that no one really learns anything from them. The bloggers would be forced to admit that they are the fan-dancers of politics - busy fluttering with great energy but, in the end, there is nothing to be seen. Politicians would be forced to admit that they almost never utter a word worth listening to. People would start to realize that the government of, by, and for the people doesn't like the people very much at all.
  Modernism fears silence and still mainly because of one simple truth; in the silence and still we must all admit that we are our own fault.
  When the Times of London ran the article that asked "What's Wrong with the World" G.K. Chesterton replied, simply, "I am."
  That is part of the Church's goal during Lent. To have us all add a little silence and still to our world so we can remember what is wrong with the world. So if you are adding a ton of activities to your Lenten practices I urge you - don't. Take things out; put in silence and still.
  And every day remind yourself - you are your own fault. We are, indeed, responsible for ourselves. And our children. And our marriage. This is easy to forget when a text interrupts candy crush, hard to escape after 20 minutes alone with your thoughts.
  So we should all stop and be silent. Sit, and be still. Unless we are contemplatives, this is more of a leavening to our lives, a depth to our waters. Like the pauses in the Latin Mass; beauty, chant, bells, and song made more beautiful and more profound by stillness and bouts of silence.
  Yes, this matters to the Kingdom, too. Few elections, and all minor ones; important positions are for life; authority is as small, direct, and local as possible; government is as limited and small as possible. The Kingdom of Edan is meant to be as silent and still as possible, like the pauses in the Mass. Love and duty, honor and care all leavened with silence and stillness.
  So sit, and be silent. Take your children to fewer things. Do less and spend more time together in the quiet and the calm. Realize that you are the real you and that you are more in control when you do less.

Mar 11, 2014

Travel Advisory - March 15th through April 15th

  The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has compiled the following list of travel advisories:

Should Not Enter (nations or areas on this list are considered of such high danger that the Ministry advises all citizens to avoid travel to, through, or over these places):

Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) [tyranny]
Niger [armed conflict and terrorism]
Nigeria [Islamist insurrection]
Somalia [armed conflict and terrorism]
South Sudan [armed conflict]
Syria [active civil war]

High Risk (nations or areas where people face high risk of injury or detention. The Ministry advises against any non-essential travel to these places):

Afghanistan [unrest]
Algeria [unrest, kidnapping]
Central African Republic [unrest]
Democratic Republic of the Congo [unrest]
Gaza [terrorist activity]
Iran [tyranny]
Iraq [unrest]
Lebanon [unrest]
Libya [unrest]
Mali [unrest]
Mauritania [terrorist activity]
Somalia [terrorist activity]
Sudan [unrest]
Tunisia [state of emergency]
the West Bank [terrorist activity]
Yemen [terrorist activity]

Caution (nations or areas with a risk of injury or detention. The Ministry advises caution for all travellers to these places):

Argentina [active protests]
Burundi [terrorist activity]
Columbia [crime]
Cote d'Ivoire [unrest]
El Salvador [crime]
Eritrea [internal restrictions on foreigners]
Honduras [crime, kidnapping]
Mexico [crime, kidnapping]
Pakistan [terrorist activity]
Ukraine [unrest, possible renewal of armed conflict]
Venezuela [crime, protests]

Other (nations or areas the Ministry determined have 'elements of concern to Edanians')
Haiti [lack of infrastructure]