Category Archives: Feudalism

On the 80th Anniversary of Belloc’s, THE CRUSADES

belloc-crusades-e1514264663512.jpeg    Belloc

Review: Hilaire Belloc: The Crusades: The World’s Debate, Bruce Publishing Company, Milwaukee, 1937; Republished Tan Books: Rockford, Illinois, 1992.


As millions of Muslim refugees continue to swarm mostly unopposed into Europe’s heartland, it would be instructive to review Hilaire Belloc’s book, The Crusades: The World’s Debate.  Written eighty years ago, the work not only gives a unique analysis of the Crusading Era, but addresses what remains today a fundamental issue in global politics, hence, the subtext of the book, The World’s Debate.

The Crusades were inspired by the Catholic Church and Papacy which rightly saw the threat that Islam posed to the West and encouraged military action to counter it.  The Mohammedans had taken over vast parts of the eastern half of the Roman Empire and with it control of the Holy Land which they increasingly made tougher to access for pilgrims.

The Novus Ordo Church and its current pope have repeatedly encouraged Muslim migration into Europe and have scolded those who raise even the tiniest of protests against this orchestrated event with smears of “lack of charity,” “intolerance,” and “xenophobic” among other denigrations.  Such action would have been considered heretical by the Crusaders and the popes of the past who called and helped organize the expeditions.  In fact, one does not have to go back that far to know that “Pope Francis’”[1] pro-immigration stance would have been considered treasonous a little over a half century ago.  Under the radical changes that occurred at the Second Vatican Anti-Council (1962-65), however, acceptance of false religions and heretical sects are now part of the New Creed.

For Western man, the migrant crisis has accentuated a more fundamental problem which threatens his ultimate survival – demographics.  European birthrates have plunged to unsustainable levels which, if trends continue, will mean, if not extinction, at least the marginalization of the white populations, the institutions and cultures which those peoples have built.  Most analysts of the demographic implosion and migrant crises, however, do not see that their source is ultimately a religious struggle.  The unwanted migratory invasion and the failure of Europeans to reproduce to at least replacement levels are the result of Western man’s rejection of the One True Faith.

The alarming demographic trends had not yet surfaced when Belloc penned The Crusades although the start of another global conflagration was on the horizon as the West would once again plunged itself into civilization suicide with the outbreak of World War II.  Nor had the state of Israel been created at the time of its publication, although the troubling Balfour Doctrine had been mandated which would eventually lead to a Zionist homeland in Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel which would become a constant source of conflict in the decades that followed.

For Belloc, “the world’s debate” centered on the conflict between the future of a militarily and economically dominant secularized West against a religiously fervent, although economically stagnant, Islam.  To this day, the West still holds these advantages, but its vibrancy and spirit are on the wane due to its abandonment of the Faith and the adoption of social democracy.

The Crusades were an expression of Christendom’s highest ideals which contemporary Europeans could not hope to grasp or understand.  If the West is ever going to defeat Islam, it must be spiritually revitalized which can only come about if the Church becomes once again Catholic and overthrows neo-Modernism which it adopted at Vatican II.  Military victories will never be lasting unless they are backed by a religiously committed populace.


Smith Crusades

Belloc takes a unique perspective on a number of aspects of the Crusading Era which differ, in some cases, quite significantly from most modern scholarship.  Almost all contemporary historians are of the school of thought that the Crusades lasted until at least the campaign of 1295 (the Fourth Crusade) while some, like the late J. Riley Smith, see “crusading activity” going well beyond that time.[1]  For Belloc, the First Crusade from its “calling” in 1095 by Pope Urban II, to its improbable and truly miraculous capture[2] of Jerusalem in 1099, was the most important.  It not only accomplished its odds-defying goal of freeing the Holy Land for pilgrimage, but in its wake the Latin Kingdoms were established in the Levant.

With the view that only the First Crusade mattered, since it accomplished its objectives, the vast majority of the book covers the years between 1095 and 1187 as Belloc asserts:

There was . . .  but one Crusade . . . it was the

great breaking out of all western Europe into

the Orient for the rescue of the Holy Sepulchre,

and within one very long lifetime it had failed;

For with Jerusalem in the hands of the Infidel

the purpose of the original great campaign was

gone, its fruits were lost. [244]

Everything that came in the wake of the first Christian triumph in Asia Minor was something different:

That historical episode, 1095-1187, was the true

Crusade, from its inception to its final failure.  All

that followed was of another kind. [244]

Yet, within their initial success, the seed of the Latin Kingdoms’ ultimate downfall was laid.  While other factors certainly played a role, Belloc, over and over again, stresses the crusaders’ failure to secure Damascus that proved fatal and would eventually allow the Mohammedans to re-conquer and end the Latin presence in the Levant.  Without Damascus, the later expeditions were never a serious threat to the Muslim strongholds and were in the historian’s words “rearguard action[s] of a defeat.” [4]

While the West failed to hold and extend the First Crusade’s success and later having suffered the tragic fall of Constantinople, it would eventually return and reclaim most of what it had lost.  The Muslim victory at Hattin appeared permanent until the end of time; yet within a few centuries, during which Europe had repelled several lethal Islamic assaults to its heartland, it returned to the Middle East, but this time the conquerors were of a different breed religiously.

The ending of Muslim rule and the colonization of the Middle East throughout the course of the 19th century up to the time of Belloc’s book (1937) was accomplished by a secularized West under the guidance and inspiration of religiously pluralistic nation states.  Christendom had long been dissolved and although the Middle East’s new overlords were superior in resources, technology, and skill their religious vitality was on the wane and would continue to evaporate as the years rolled on.  “We have returned to the Levant,” Belloc writes, “we have returned apparently more as masters than ever we were during the struggle of the Crusades – but we have returned bankrupt in that spiritual wealth which was the glory of the Crusades. . . . [N]or is the Levant held as one whole [Christian dominion], but divided between separate nations to whom the unity of Europe has ceased to be sacred.” [249]


In the modern era of Political Correctness, one can no longer speak of race, ethnicity, kinship, or “blood” unless one is disparaging Occidental people or their ancestors while at the same time trumpeting the virtues of the assorted brown and colored peoples of the globe.  Not so with Belloc, who was far from alone among historians of his generation who understood the significance of race and blood in the episodes of the human past and how important these factors were in the creation of societies and civilizations.

To scholars like Belloc, race and religion did matter, and in his view it was a significant reason why the Crusades ultimately failed to hold their possessions.  Of course, there were other factors that Belloc duly notes – the failure to control the strategically vital city of Damascus; the lack of reinforcements both in arms and people from the West; the refusal of Byzantium to ally with the Crusaders; the lack of a strong monarchy in the Latin states.  Race, however, in this instance, the mixture of French blood with the local population, was critical in the eventual defeat.  The “mixing of blood” between the Franks and the Near East population especially among the leadership proved fatal.  Few, if any academics of today could write such things.

The miscegenation among the nobility and the subsequent generations in the newly formed Latin jurisdictions proved to be “inferior” in talent, ability, and leadership to build the type of society necessary for the Crusaders’ initial victories to be turned into a permanent civilization.

A stark example of this among the nobility can be seen in the loss of Edessa:

We have seen among other causes the mixture of Western

with Oriental blood, especially in the case of the rulers,

played a chief part.  Now, it was precisely to this that the

first of the great disasters was due.  [T]he loss of Edessa. . .

was mainly due to the character of its ruler, the second

Jocelyn. . .  The mother of the second Jocelyn was an

Armenian. . . .  [T]he mixture of blood did here what it

so often does; it gave a certain brilliance to the character

of the second generation, but that brilliance was accompanied

by instability.  [192]

Belloc continues:

[I]t must be emphasized, for it underlay not

only the tragedy of Edessa but all that followed,

up to the loss of Jerusalem itself.  . . .  it was Jocelyn

the Second, who with his contemporary, the

half breed Queen Melisande, so conspicuously

typifies that new and too-sudden mixtures of races

which was largely responsible for the catastrophe. [193]

Outnumbered and with inferior leadership qualities compared to the first wave of Crusaders, the Latin Kingdoms were eventually doomed especially after the Muslims had politically united.  Yet, had the Western kings and princes addressed this matter, things may have been different and, as Belloc maintains, the Infidel may have been permanently relegated to the Arabian Peninsula.


Asia Minor


Crusader States

[1] Jorge Bergoglio cannot be head of the Catholic Church for several reasons: (1) he is a manifest heretic whose seemingly endless string of heretical acts, words, and “teachings” disqualify him for the post – a heretic is necessarily outside the Church; (2) Bergoglio is not a “priest” on “technical grounds,” but was “ordained” in the invalid Novus Ordo rite of orders which came into being at the time of Vatican II.  Nor is he a bishop since he was also “consecrated” under these non-Catholic rites.  Only the bishop of Rome can become pope and since Bergoglio is neither a priest or bishop, he cannot, therefore, be pope.

[2] Jonathan Riley-Smith, The Crusades: A History. 3rd ed., London: Bloomsbury, 1987; 2014.

[3] While Belloc does not stress it, the First Crusade was aided by heavenly intervention which has been attested to by the Crusaders as well as modern secular historians in their narratives.  See, Thomas Asbridge, The First Crusade: A New History, (Oxford: University Press, 2004).


To be continued…

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas






A Constitutional Anniversary to Forget


While not a jubilee year, last week marked the 230th anniversary of the US Constitution.  Naturally, most of its devotees enthusiastically praised the document which by now is seen on a par with Holy Writ itself.  An editorial from Investor’s Business Daily provides an example of such hagiography:

The Constitution’s beauty is that it not only delineates our rights

as Americans, but expressly limits and defines government’s ability

to interfere in our private lives.   This equipoise between citizens’

duties, responsibilities and rights makes it the defining document

or our nation’s glorious freedom.


But America is wonderful largely because of the Constitution and

those who framed it . . . .


What we have is too precious to squander . . . .*

Most of the piece laments about the widespread ignorance of its sacred contents among the denizens in which it rules over and encourages the unlearned “to bone up a bit on your constitutional heritage . . . .”  The editorial fails, as do most others on the Right, to understand that it is not a lack of knowledge of the Constitution’s contents among the populace which lies at the heart of America’s social, economic, and political problems, but the very document itself.

One of the main reasons why the Constitution continues to be so widely venerated is due to the deliberate distortion of history that its “founders” promoted and that generations of its sycophants have continued to perpetuate to this very day.  The official narrative runs that the Constitution was enacted because of widespread popular support for a change to the supposed inadequacies and deficiencies of the Articles of Confederation.

This is a myth.  Instead, the Constitution was a coup deliberately schemed by the leading political and mercantile classes to set up a powerful central government where ultimate authority rested in the national state.  The use of the term “federal” to describe what was created in Philadelphia in those fateful days was a ruse much like the banksters and politicos used “Federal Reserve” to describe the central bank created in 1913.  It was neither “federal” – a decentralized monetary order – nor a “reserve” of gold, but a monetary institution which could create money out of thin air and eventually eliminate the gold standard.

It was a similar political maneuver 230 years ago as a new American national state was established and touted as a decentralized form of government where power was evenly divided between state and national levels and between the different branches of the government itself  – “separation of powers.”  In actuality, however, the “federal system” was the elevation of central power at the expense of local authority which had previously existed.  Section VI of the Constitution says it all:

The Constitution and the laws of the United States  . . .

shall be the supreme law of the land; and the

judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the

Constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.

Elementary political science has shown and plain common sense knows that any person or institution given “supreme authority” will misuse and abuse such power.  Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely is an undeniable dictum of human nature.  A truly decentralized system of governance would not contain a plank as “supreme law of the land” as part of its foundation.  Instead, real federalism would be dispersed, as it existed in the past in such political arrangements as confederacies, leagues, and, certainly, under the much maligned feudal social order.

Even the Constitution’s celebrated Bill of Rights is flawed and has proven to be ineffective in protecting basic human freedoms.  It is the federal government which enumerates and interprets what freedom individuals should possess.  Thus, the meaning and extent of individual liberties will be in the hands of federal jurists and courts who will invariably rule on cases in favor of the state.  The ensnaring of individual rights within the central government’s authority did away with the venerable common law which was a far greater defender of liberty than federal courts.

Just as important, the enactment of the Constitution, which brought all the individual states under it suzerainty, did away with one of the most significant checks on state power – “voting with one’s feet.”  When there are multiple governing authorities, if one jurisdiction becomes too oppressive, its subjects can move to freer domains.  This still happens on a local level as high tax and regulatory states such as California and New York have lost demographically to freer places like Nevada and Texas.  Yet, from the Federal Leviathan there is no escape, except expatriation.

Unless and until Americans and all the other peoples of the Western world who live under constitutional rule recognize that it is the type of government which is the cause of most of the political turmoil, social unrest, and economic malaise  which they face, there is no hope of turning things around.

*”Sturdy Constitution, ” Investor’s Business Daily, Week of September 18, 2017, A20.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

Feudalism: Was it so Bad?

feudal system

One of the biggest misconceptions held among the independent and alternative media is that of feudalism and the political, economic and social arrangements which characterized that unfairly maligned epoch.

Derogatory language is often used to describe feudal times with commentators often suggesting that today’s political and financial elites seek to return mankind to such a supposedly depressed, stagnate and repressive condition.

Those who receive the most animus from alternative media pundits are the authority figures and institutions which reigned throughout the period – knights, dukes, kings, princes, popes, priests, bishops, churches, monasteries, and cathedrals.

Yet, was this the case; was feudalism which existed throughout much of the Middle Ages really that bad?

Politically, despite the distortions found in contemporary history books and political science texts, state power in feudal times can be categorized in one term – decentralized – which in reality meant a considerable amount of individual liberty and freedom for all, including serfs.

Naturally, feudal political conditions across Europe varied, however, a look through Carl Stephenson’s classic work, Mediaeval Feudalism, is instructive:

So far as eleventh-century France is concerned, we may disregard

the royal authority altogether.  The kingdom of the West Franks,

which had never been more than a political makeshift, now seemed

on the point of final dissolution. . . . The ancient rights of the crown

had long since passed to such men as were able, with or without

legal authorization to organize and defend a local territory. . . .

The greater of the king’s alleged vassals never came near his court,

whether to perform homage or to render any other service.  What

respect could they have for a theoretical lord who was defied with

impunity by petty officials on his own domain?1

Professor Stephenson continues with words that should warm the hearts of anti-statists everywhere:

France, obviously, had ceased to be a state in any proper sense

of the word.  Rather, it had been split into a number of states

whose rulers, no matter how they styled themselves, enjoyed

the substance of the regal power.2

In Germany, too, power was radically diffused as Professor Stephenson describes:

. . . in various other ways the rulers of Germany sought to

maintain the Carolingian tradition of a grandiose monarchy.

They even revived the imperial title and made brave efforts

to reign on both sides of the Alps.  But the task was an

impossible one.  The Holy Roman Empire became a mere

sham; and as the prolonged contest between the royal

and the princely authority ended in the complete victory of

the latter, Germany. . . was resolved into a group of feudal


Despite their aggrandizing efforts, the German kings could never succeed in establishing absolutist rule:

Vainly trying to be Roman emperors, the successors of

Otto I . . . became [as kings] purely elective, degenerated

into a sort of decoration to be borne first by one local prince

an then by another.4

Germany remained, for the longest time, an area of decentralized political authority as Professor Stephenson explains:

From the Rhineland to the Slavic frontier, armies were

made up of knights, society was dominated by a

chivalrous aristocracy, the countryside was dotted with

motte-and-bailey castles, and governments were

organized on the basis of feudal tenure.5

Political and economic theory have demonstrated that power which is diffused typically leads to low levels of taxation.  In the case of medieval feudalism, this certainly was the case:

. . .  if the lord needed military service or financial aid beyond

what was specifically owed by his vassals, his only recourse

was to ask them for a voluntary grant.  He had no right to tax

or assess them arbitrarily, for his authority in such matters was

determined by feudal contract.6

Likewise, law was not “made up” by legislative acts, but was that of custom and tradition based on the natural law which kings, lords, vassals, and commoners were all obliged to live by:

Nor does he [the king, or lord] have a discretionary power

of legislation.  Law was the unwritten custom of the country.

To change or even to define it was the function, not of the lord,

but of his court.  It was the vassals themselves who declared the

law under which they lived; and when one of them was accused

of a misdeed, he was entitled to the judgment of his peers, i.e.

his fellow vassals.7

Warfare, too, was limited in scope compared to the massive human slaughter and destruction of property which has taken place over the past two centuries:

    The general character of feudal warfare may be easily

deduced from what has already been said about

vassalage and chivalry. . . .  when two feudal armies

met, each knightly participant was apt to conduct

himself as he saw fit.  The final outcome would depend

on a series of duels in which the determining factor was

individual prowess.  But battles on a large scale were

rare in feudal Europe.  The characteristic warfare of the

age consisted rather of pillaging raids into the enemy’s

territory, of skirmishes between small bands of knights,

and of engagements incident to the siege of castles.

[Emphasis mine.]8

While there used to be a debate about the conditions of serfs compared to that of modern day wage earners, the argument is now falling apart with studies showing that real wages and corresponding standards of living have actually contracted over the past half century for most.  Where there can be no debate, however, is the moral condition of the people of the feudal past compared with contemporary times where “gay marriage” and other abominations have now been given legal status.  No right-minded person could argue that marriage, the family, and child rearing are in better shape today than they were in the supposed “Dark Ages.”

In nearly every aspect of societal appraisement, medieval feudalism was a far superior social order than anything which has come in its wake.  Those who denigrate it not only show their historical ignorance, but play into the hands of their elite oppressors who understand that a return to such a social order would be a much greater threat to their power than any presidential candidate or his “movement.”

1Carl Stephenson, Mediaeval Feudalism, Ithaca, NY.: Great Seal books, 1942; 1960, pp. 77-78.

2Ibid., p. 78.

3Ibid., 92-93.

4Ibid., 93.


6Ibid., p. 31.


8Ibid., pp. 66-68.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas