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.