Jan 27, 2015


  Recently Prince Jonathan turned 18 years old. That weekend was a celebratory one, of course, but HRH Jonathan did not party, or travel, or carouse.
  On the evening of January 24th Prince Jonathan entered the parish church of the royal family. It was 10 pm on an unusually cold Winter night and the temperature inside the church hovered around 50 degrees. The prince placed a bible and a copy of The Imitation of Christ on a pew and his sword at the altar rail and he began to pray.

  He stayed in that cold church throughout the night in a Knight's Vigil, praying that God would give him the graces necessary for life as a Catholic leader. At the top of each hour he would go to the altar rail to pray a decade of the Rosary. At the bottom of each hour he would ask for the prayers of the Blessed Virgin and of St. Joseph.

  Eight hours later as dawn approached King Richard joined him, prayed with him, and together they performed the ceremony of knighthood. There was no pomp, no music, no pageantry, no witness other than God, the Saints, and the angels.
  The oath reminds the knight that he will be hated for his honesty, mocked for his chastity, and despised for his courage. It also reminds him that his life is not his own, but God's and that he must be ready and willing to die for the Lord.
When the ceremony was complete Prince Jonathan was given his sword and greeted as what he is - a Catholic leader.

  The king and the prince spoke together and prayed for a short time until the pastor arrived. Soon thereafter Prince Jonathan gave his Confession and then Richard and Jonathan attended Mass.

  Prince Jonathan is now the Knight Commander of the Order of St. Maurice. He will begin seeking out other young Catholic men so that they, too, may become knights.

Jan 23, 2015

The Goals of Edan: Being of Service

[From Crown Prince Jonathan on his 18th birthday]
    Edan's goals, both short term and long term, are by choice and necessity very different from those of most other nations, and this is likely to be a source of confusion to many people. Those who already hope that we grow and succeed may be baffled at the seemingly slow-paced approach we are taking, and those looking in from the outside may think that we are trying to become a major, territorial power like those in existence now, which would make them justly suspicious. Even if they recognize that this is not our ultimate ideal, the nature of Edan is, to the modern paradigm of society and governance, rather counter-intuitive, so they may remain confused and unable to see the kingdom as anything other than the endeavour of a madman. So, in order to combat these misconceptions and possible misinterpretations, I shall now undertake a series of articles explaining the goals of Edan clearly and explicitly.
     Now, the ultimate goal of the kingdom is to achieve true independence and sovereignty, so that our citizens may live under Edanian law alone; but this goal is extremely difficult and distant, and if we were to pretend that it was something likely to be realized soon, we would be fools. But this does not mean that we are simply going to bide our time waiting for the opportunity to launch some sort of secession or revolution; quite the contrary. We have a plethora of secondary goals in both the short and long-term, which will serve to advance us towards our eventual independence, to support and aid the citizenry in our present non-territorial state, and to do good in the world at large. Of these goals, the one that is best to explain first is one that is very dear to the King's heart, critically important for laying the foundation of our permanent government, and probably the absolute simplest of them all. It is simply to be of service to our citizens.
     The entire basis of the non-territorial feudal structure of Edan is a relationship of mutual support, solidarity, and loyalty between the governed citizens and the governing nobles and king. This relationship is not merely the exchange of taxes and obedience for military and legal protection that exists within a nation's independent territory, but extends beyond it, to a personal level. It is one of the highest ideals of Edan that the citizens will not simply be put under draining obligations in exchange for the rule of law, but emplaced in a community that supports and upholds them in every aspect of their lives. And one of the easiest and most effective methods of providing them with this support even in our present early stage is to provide them with real and tangible services.
     Thus, one of the immediate goals espoused by the Edanian regime is to create phone, internet, and email service plans administered and made available to the citizens directly by our government. These service packages, created and operated almost identically to similar plans used by various private clubs and other such organizations, would primarily be useful to our citizens by being inexpensive. Even the most capitalistic analysis of the situation shows this; these services would not have the primary end of generating a profit through trade, but of engendering loyalty and support in a group of people from which we are already gaining a benefit. To put it cynically, we would have something to gain here even if we only break even monetarily, and indeed, it would be in our rational self-interest to break even, as that would benefit the citizens most. Furthermore, despite initial appearances, there is nothing socialistic about this endeavour. These services would not be mandatory to the citizens, nor would they ever become so, leaving the citizenry at full disposal of its own property, and leaving the kingdom's service packages in a market competition that would compel us to remain useful to the citizens no matter what. So, all told, we could by this means give the citizens of Edan a real, tangible economic benefit that would last indefinitely into the foreseeable future, and, besides that, we would also be creating a strong precedent of helping the citizens that should last long into our future growth.
     This precedent will mean that as the kingdom grows and we begin to advance towards our mid-term goals, we will also continue to increase and enhance our ability to support the citizenry through other basic services. There is potential here to create myriad plans, institutions, and initiatives, but the real focus and existing plan held by the Royal Family as a mid-term goal is the formation of an Edanian credit union. This would be an independent, self-sustaining banking structure open only, or, at least, primarily, to the citizens of Edan required by its charter to strictly obey the tenets of distributist economics. The emphasis of the services of this credit union would be upon easy, non-usurious loans; for example, as housing mortgages are safe loans upon non-depreciating commodities, the credit union would offer them with no interest, only a small number of flat fees. A car loan, similarly, being a safe loan upon a slowly depreciating commodity, would charge an extremely low rate of interest, probably less than a percentage point. This policy of justly cheap loans would admittedly have the effect of lowering the interest given to savings accounts within the union somewhat, but would still have a solid, positive economic effect upon the citizens. Indeed, under this structure, the Edanian government and the citizenry will both strongly benefit. The citizens will gain the ability to reduce their debt, and the government will gain a greater stability and security in its own savings, which will also be stored in the union, at first, as well as a way to strongly incentivize citizenship. Furthermore, for all the reasons listed in the section on electronic services, the credit union will have strong incentives to maintain this pattern. Its goal will not be to turn a profit, but to build up a civic symbiosis; the better it does that, the better the Kingdom, the citizens, and the banking institution itself will fare.
     And these existing, cohesive plans already mentioned are just the beginning. As the size, influence, and direct power of the kingdom grow, so will its usefulness as a community. Even more programs and projects than the ones listed above will doubtlessly be initiated by both the Crown Government and the local nobility, some of which, such as the institution of guilds that will provide Edanians with training for in-demand skills and jobs, will be discussed in future articles in this series. More important that any active initiative, however, is the foundational concept of Edan: solidarity between all the members of the kingdom, no matter their rank. Even now, in our earliest stage, there are citizens who can attest to to receiving aid from the personal influence and actions of His Majesty the King. The expansion of the kingdom will in turn cause an exponential expansion of this capacity for solidaritous mutual support. With localized communities of citizens operating with unity under subsidiary leaders, a network of Edanians stretching across the globe, and some measure of financial and social power at the disposal of the Crown Government, anything will be possible. It is a great dream of the Royal Family for citizens to be able to go a local noble for advice finding a job, to have a pool of potential spouses guaranteed to share most of their political and spiritual views amongst their local Edanian community, and to receive guidance and financial aid for acquiring a home and basic independence from the King's initiatives; so that the kingdom as an organization and group will be able to aid and strengthen people throughout every field of their lives. Only when we have reached this level of internal support and community strength will Edan truly have begun.

     So, in summary, any discussion of the goals of Edan must by necessity begin with our goal of forging a strong, interdependent community that will truly be a boon to our citizens. We act the way that we do and have the plans that we have because we sincerely hope to never become a burden upon our people. Whether it be through the creation of financially useful services soon, the foundation of organized Edanian institutions later, or the growth of a mutually-supportive network continuously, the Kingdom of Edan will be of use to those within it. That is our first objective.

Jan 9, 2015

It Is Not Really About Freedom of Speech

 Note: The Government of Edan and I, personally, both condemn all evil acts and wish all those involved, directly or indirectly, in the premeditated murder of innocents to face the full force of justice. Criticism of the staff of Charlie Hebdo is not endorsement of their attackers, a desire for evil men to avoid punishment, nor a mitigation of any evil performed against those same people.

Note: Links to web pages not administered by the Kingdom of Edan is not an endorsement of those sites, of their views, their owners, their contributors, or their comments.

  The recent attack on the offices of relatively obscure French weekly called Charlie Hebdo have led to fascinating results. Reactions range from claims that a failure to support the weekly were because of a general cowardice of the West; the very frequent statement that any media outlet that does no reproduce Charlie Hebdo's content is cowardly or supports violence; a general belief that any criticism of Charlie Hebdo's content, methods, or motivations is supporting Islam, or murder, or censorship; and that the murders were 'a direct attack on perhaps the most crucial Western ideal'. And there are thousands, perhaps millions, of people using social media to repeat the phrase 'I am Charlie Hebdo'.

  But what was Charlie Hebdo?
  The weekly was very avowedly Leftist (in the true, European, sense) and staunchly atheist. While ostensibly a satirical publication it is of that brand of French humor that aspires to rise to 'juvenile' and which celebrates being offensive for the sake of offending.
  While a great deal of the current discussion is (naturally) focused upon various cartoons concerning Islam which the weekly had published media coverage is oddly silent about other cartoons. I will not link to these cartoons, but any brief search of the internet will find that Charlie Hebdo was very fond of anti-Semitic and blatantly racist cartoons. In one particularly offensive cover they portrayed the schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram not only in Black stereotypes, they were also portrayed as what Americans would call 'welfare queens'. They had fired a contributor because she complained when Palestinians were called 'savages' and at least once they portrayed a Black woman as a monkey wearing earrings. While notorious for its anti-Islamic cartoons its anti-Christian cartoons were often more offensive and the anti-Catholicism was extreme, leading to the Charlie Hebdo headline which translates roughly as 'French Catholics are as stupid as Negroes'. Charlie Hebdo's staff enthusiastically embraced what an early letter writer called them - "bete et mechant" ("stupid and evil") and gleefully used the phrase to describe themselves.
  In short, Charlie Hebdo made its money by being offensive for the sake of shock and covered itself in a cloak of 'satire'.

 Can we say that the lack of support of Charlie Hebdo was because of, as a few have claimed, 'cowardice'? Hardly. While freedom of speech may be important to a particular person or nation that principle does not demand that you enthusiastically endorse everyone with a pen and a byline. The staff of Charlie Hebdo worked very hard to offend virtually everyone who was not a White bourgeois Leftist atheist who didn't mind racism too much. As a result they did not have a very broad base of support.

  Similar reasons easily explain why outlets that are not dedicated to offending people might not want to carry content that is offensive. This isn't cowardice, this is simply the fact that journalists reporting on the attack do not need to carry the content to report on the attack.

  As I stated clearly in the first note - the people who attacked and killed the staff of the weekly deserve to be brought to justice; my criticism of the content of Charlie Hebdo does not lessen their crime in any way. Likewise, the death of some of the staff does not render my critique less true.

  I also want everyone to bear in mind one key point: the Charlie Hebdo attack is not about freedom of speech in and of itself. It is not actually about censorship. Yes, these topics are peripherally involved, but contrary to the opinions of most they are not key.
  And this is fortunate because while the staff of Charlie Hebdo loved to use freedom of speech to protect themselves they did not extend it to others: in the mid-1990's the senior staff of Charlie Hebdo, including some who died in the attack, openly called for the banning of a political party whom they disagreed with. This desire to ban a political group they disagreed with went from articles to covers of Charlie Hebdo to a petition drive. It is very difficult for me to reconcile Charlie Hebdo as a bastion of freedom of speech when its principals worked very hard on this (failed) ban.

  What the attacks are really about are clashes between what can only be described as different nations which exist within the same state. Charlie Hebdo represented the bourgeois Leftist atheist citadins and the attackers represent the underclass Muslims.
  These two radically different nations (or 'groups that share a culture, language, religion, etc.') exist within a single state (or 'a political entity defined by borders, legal system, and government') that wishes to treat both of them (as well as a few others, such as rural Catholics) as totally equivalent when they most demonstrably are not in their desires for everything from the law to cultural norms. Yes, the things written and drawn by the staff of Charlie Hebdo was the trigger for this particular action but the underlying conflict is much broader and, frankly, more important.

  Why do I say 'more important'? Because the current conceptualization of the nation-state held by a majority of western politicians tends to reduce internal clashes between groups that can be called nations to a zero sum game: the monolithic state system combined with the errant belief that nation=state means that conflicts like that which led to the Charlie Hebdo attack will naturally amplify such differences into more and greater conflict over time. As we already see, the inability of the state to directly address the concerns of interior nations will necessarily lead to this conflict spreading.

  We can see this in some of the commentary about the attacks. In one of the linked article, above, a writer states,
 "The Charlie Hebdo massacre represents a direct attack on perhaps the most crucial Western ideal."
  He then goes on to list what he believes the core Western ideals are,
"...peaceable integration, tolerance, free speech, and openness."
  He naturally lists free speech as most important.
  This recitation is really nothing but a list of what bourgeois Leftist atheist citadins value, not any of the concepts critical to the development of what should properly be called Christendom. The author makes his 'citizenship' within the 'nation' of bourgeois Leftist atheist citadins quite clear in the rest of the article where he draws a faint equivalence between such attacks and the Crusades and the statement,
"We in the West believe that blasphemy is a right and not a crime."
  Which would be humorous if not said in such earnest. With this single statement he clearly defines millions of Western Jews, Catholics, Muslims, and Protestants as 'other', as 'nations' that differ from his, as potential or actual foes and states that those who disagree with him are not of 'the West', a term he seems to use as a synonym for modernity, or perhaps Modernism.

  This instinctive yet unconscious alignment with 'nations' is why a fair number of people are incensed that anyone, anywhere might point out that the attack was easily predictable and a consequence of the choices and actions of the staff of Charlie Hebdo.
  Again, see the note at the beginning of this article,
  If you go to a neighborhood known for violent crime and display a large amount of cash in your pockets while getting drunk you are greatly enhancing your chance of being robbed. No, this is no excuse for the robbers. Yes, the robbers committed a crime and deserve justice. But actions that increase risk make it more likely that you will be exposed to risk.
  The staff of Charlie Hebdo knowingly and actively continued to insult people who had threatened them with death and already attempted to harm them for insults. This made it virtually inevitable that some of them would be killed. This is not a controversial statement. It does not excuse the attackers. The attackers deserve to face justice. But anyone who expresses shock that Muslim extremists assassinated people who routinely insulted Islam needs to ask themselves why they expected any other results.

  I believe that the response to this attack also reveal a growing fear on the secular Left: what they value (peaceable integration, tolerance, free speech, and openness) is both anathema to those that oppose them and hinder them in their long-term survival; their preferred methods (shaming, ostracism, and indoctrination) have less and less effectiveness; and the long-term negative impacts of their basic life choices (a rejection of traditional roles and a focus on materialism) is beginning to strike deep into their numbers. As the secular Left grows weaker the will face more frequent and more severe existential crises. At some level many of the commentators seem to sense this, leading to anger.