Nationalism vs. monarchism

Insofar as all dynasts by mid-century were using some vernacular as language-of-state, and also because of the rapidly rising prestige all over Europe of the national idea, there was a discernible tendency among the Euro-Mediterranean monarchies to sidle towards a beckoning national identification. Romanovs discovered they were Great Russians, Hanoverians that they were English, Hohenzollerns that they were Germans — and with rather more difficulty their cousins turned Romanian, Greek, and so forth. On the one hand, these new identifications shored up legitimacies which, in an age of capitalism, scepticism, and science, could less and less safely rest on putative sacrality and sheer antiquity. On the other hand, they posed new dangers. If Kaiser Wilhelm II cast himself as ‘No. 1 German,’ he implicitly conceded that he was one among many of the same kind as himself that he had a representative function, and therefore could, in principle, be a traitor to his fellow-Germans (something inconceivable in the dynasty’s heyday. Traitor to whom or to what?). In the wake of the disaster that overtook Germany in 1918, he was taken at his implied word. Acting in the name of the German nation, civilian politicians (publicly) and the General Staff (with its usual courage, secretly) sent him packing from the Fatherland to an obscure Dutch suburb. So too Mohammad-Reza Pahlavi, having cast himself, not as Shah, but as Shah of Iran, came to be branded traitor. That he himself accepted, not the verdict, but, as it were, the jurisdiction of the national court, is shown by a small comedy at the moment of his departure into exile. Before climbing the ramp of his jet, he kissed the earth for the photographers and announced that he was taking a small quantity of sacred Iranian soil with him. This take is lifted from a film about Garibaldi, not the Sun King.

Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities.

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4 responses to “Nationalism vs. monarchism

  1. Pingback: Nationalism vs. monarchism | Reaction Times

  2. Alrenous July 9, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    Haha! Oops!

    Dumbass monarchs.

    See, this is why you do philosophy. If you don’t, your enemies will use sophistry against you and win.

    Also. Half the point of advocating nationalism in the first place was to kick out the monarchs. If your government is on your side, then anyone who can be cast as not on your side must not be part of the government…

  3. The Reactionary Tree September 23, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    nationalism is very much a populist ideology. however, monarchy is an elitist ideology. reactionaries should avoid populism because of their demotist tendencies.

    • nydwracu September 24, 2014 at 3:50 am

      Populism isn’t the problem. Switzerland and Iceland do alright.

      The question that most countries are faced with, that Switzerland (because confederation) and Iceland aren’t, is how to manage differences in interests. These differences can be economic, but more often they’re thedish — and the two have substantial overlap, given the political domination of the US (and Western Europe) by a famously insular politically-dominant minority (Kramer in Bonfire of the Vanities) and the formation of a pseudo-aristocratic ‘cosmopolitan’ merchant class rapidly becoming a thede and manipulating Brahmins (and Vaisyas, to a lesser and more overt extent) into a thedish position of sympathy to them.

      (It’s true, of course, that the particular market-dominant minority is undergoing a great deal of assimilation — but the group as a whole is distinct from the institutional intelligence associated with the group, and can clearly survive even under conditions of evaporative thedening.)

      Nationalism is social technology for escaping this problem; secessionism and Switzerland-style confederacy are technologies for dealing with it.

      Monarchy will never catch on in America, and it’s too late to roll back the federal government and reïnstitute confederacy, especially given the existence of a national mass media and the absence of a language barrier to mitigate its reach. The best-case scenario within the current political system is a multi-decade Republican lock on the presidency: if the presidency is captured, so is the ennearchy, and if Republicans capture the ennearchy, the Warren Court tendency to kick everything upstairs to the highest possible level may lessen. But this is unlikely, and the Cathedral’s ability to bypass the political system by manipulating the status-system directly means that it’s unlikely to be important.

      So: what is to be done?

      Weyrich’s strategy of cultural secession, though it may be able to survive pressure from the Cathedral, cannot survive formal pressure from the government. Since this formal pressure is likely to come from the ennearchy, it’s not viable outside the context of Reaganite strategy, unless it learns to become illegible.

      The major security hole in Brahmindom is Brahmins’ lack of a coherent identity: some can claim continuity with the Massachusetts project, but what do the rest have but ephemeral subcultures?

      There’s already something there on a metapolitical level: half-ironic adoption of kitsch Americana and so on. While the myth of the frontier can only appeal to hill tribes and Frontines, there must be something that can be worked with — and, whatever it is, it’s going to end up looking like nationalism.

      We should have an American CasaPound.

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