23 April 2011

Readers' Digest?

I nearly binned the envelope that bore the message OPEN AT ONCE DO NOT DELAY, assuming that it contained another unmissable offer from Readers' Digest. But no: it was my voting paper for the Referendum: do we keep our first-past-the-post voting system, or replace it with a ballot paper listing candidates whom we number in order of preference?

I was at a loss. In the first place, I care less than a fig for Democracy. I consider it unspeakably more important for a country to be governed in accordance with the Law of God than to have any particular political structure. If you recommend to me Hitler's policies as having been approved democratically by the people of Germany, or assert that Abortion Law represents the broad and settled consensus of British Society, my instinct is to reply "So What? How horrible!" But, I thought, perhaps I should vote on this issue ... Yet how?

On the one hand, making the change would enable me to support minority parties who would never be first past the post, such as a pro-Life party, while giving a second or third vote to that political Moloch which I considered marginally less horrible than the other one. But refusing the change would enable me to assist in giving a bloody nose to the self-confessed libertine Clegg. In the end, I did vote for the change, having heard it recommended by the First Minister of Scotland.

Because I am a devolutionary sort of person. I would rather see a Europe which was a mosaic of of Statelets ... Scotland and Catalonia and Brittany and The Two Sicilies and Bavaria and the Papal States and Navarre and Provence and the County Palatine of the Rhine and the Dukedom of Burgundy ... you get the idea ... and say Good Bye to to the imperialist nation states of the modern era*. I am a member of Mebyon Kernow.

I think this might be an example of Subsidiarity. Yes?


*A character in Waugh's Scott-King's Modern Europe says: "I am a Croat, born under the Hapsburg Empire. That was a true League of Nations. As a young man I studied in Zagreb, Budapest, Prague, Vienna - one was free, one moved where on would; one was a citizen of Europe. Then we were liberated and put under the Serbs. Now we are liberated again and put under the Russians. And always more police, more prisons, more hanging ..."


Sir Watkin said...

Then we were liberated and put under the Serbs

Hmmm. Seems to reflect the common misapprehension that the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was created by the Allied victors at the Paris Peace Conference.

But, unlike the other states that emerged after the Great War, Jugoslavia predates the Conference. It was adumbrated by the Corfu Declaration of 20th July, 1917, and came into being on the 1st December, 1918. (The Conference did not begin until 18 January, 1919.)

The Kingdom was not the creation of outside powers, and many of those who promoted the idea were Croats, e.g. Ante Trumbić, who was the representative of the already existing kingdom at Versailles.

Anonymous said...

I could not agree more, Father. The problem is that it has all become a question of power. wehn it is no longer a matter of right or wrong, but of power, then you on working on the Devil's terms. Hence the argument about democracy, which appeases people most effectively by giving them the semblance of power while in fact simply increasing, theoretically ad infinitum, the power of the politicians. The real question should be one of the good, which is one towards which classical political philosophy was directed. As it is we can now, in the name of the people, murder the innocent, steal the property of the working man, etc., and it all must be right because it is democratically approved. The question a man of conscience must ask himself is when does such government by murderers and thieves cease to have any legitimacy? As for me, I have recourse this time of year to the traditional form of the solemn biddings and collects of Good Friday (as found in my 1890 Latin-language Order for Holy Week) for my prayer and meditation.

kiwiinamerica said...

Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting about what to eat for lunch!

Anonymous said...

I too have always been an adherent of a Europe of regional fatherlands, as described by Czeslaw Milosz. A Europe of principalities, dukedoms, small kingdoms, etc. somewhat like the Holy Roman Empire. The Austrian Empire is no good example of this: as pre-WWI Austria, like Czarist Russia, was an example of imperialism and chauvinism, which inevitably led to nationalism and the formation of the nation-states to replace it. As for being ruled by 'God's laws', that can be a the worst possible scenario. Under whose God's laws would we live? Under Allahs'? Jehovah's OT laws? God forbid. We would all be executed as transgressors of the hundreds perhaps thousands of Old Testament ritual laws which prescribe death as punishment for breaking them. Or would we live under Christ's triple Law of Love? I doubt it. The Inquisition and the later Protestant excesses (burning of witches, etc.) proved that that Christ's Law of Love is not taken seriously by His Church when that Church acquires political power. Democracy is not perfect, but it is the best human system devised so far. Unless one realistically can intorduce a Europe of small principalities, ruled by Philospher Kings!

Dr. Adam DeVille said...

Life under the Hapsburgs was far from perfect but it was certainly better than what replaced it for many peoples and regions. E.g., see inter alia, Chris Hann and Robert Magocsi's book on Galicia (U of Toronto Press, 2005?).

And the idea of 'statelets' is much better--subsidiarity indeed--than that of the modern nation-state, on which the moral philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre has had some very acerbic things to say.

motuproprio said...

'First past the post' is an erroneous description. There is no winning post; it is winner takes all, even if 60% would rather have someone else. AV does have a winning post, and to pass the post you have to gain the support of more than 50% of those who vote.

wllacer said...

One of the modern "statelets" in formation you've cited (the one i know best) is probably one of the prime examples of neo-totalitarism in Europe, and if independent one day (better, when) and the actual trends of their political and cultural "elite" do not change, can even be worse than 1990s Yugoslavia, i'm afraid.
The return to the pre-nationalistc Old regime (eventually a very limited state) or at least to the Cislethianic Kakania -Transleithiana was very very worse- is sadly an imposible utopy

The Raven (C. Corax) said...

Motu Proprio

AV will never result in a candidate receiving more than 50% of the votes, because awkward types like me will b****r things up by only voting for one candidate and not casting a second preference vote; the whole premise of AV is rendered flawed by persons, like myself, who have fairly fixed political views and no inclination to vote for "second best" candidates.

Auriel Ragmon said...

If 'America' were rational, we of the USA would be of at least five or six different sovereign state. but Oh Well, as we say....
I would hope that Washington would unite with BC! We could be friends!
rdr. James

PS strange that the verification word is actually a word in English this time!

F.G.S.A. said...

Alleluia! Christus surrexit!

Dios, Fueros, Patria y Rey!

Auriel Ragmon said...

Problem of the so-called 'United States' is that they have not devolved into several (at least six) statelets! That alone would make us more governable, and perhaps less likely to try to govern the cosmos!

Love your blog! don't ever think of stopping! It makes my day, wishing I were somewhere in England. but then I would probablybe very poor...

Rdr. James Morgan