HISTORY

Review: Charles A. Beard, American Foreign Policy in the Making, 1932-1940: A Study in Responsibilities.  New Haven: Yale University Press, 1946.

 
american-for-pol-in-the-making     charles-a-beard-ii
the-bill-of-rightsThis December, 2016, marks the 225th anniversary of the ratification of the first ten amendments to the US Constitution which would become known as the “Bill of Rights.”  To secure passage of the Constitution, the framers of the document (the Federalists) had to agree that it would contain explicit language on individual rights.Ever since its ratification, the Bill of Rights and the Constitution in which it is a part, has been hailed as one of the seminal achievements in the annals of human history while the political arrangements prior to it (primarily monarchy and aristocratic rule) have been sneered at and belittled by the Constitution’s hagiographers.   Moreover, the American Constitution has provided a model for the emergence of the nation state which came into its own after the French Revolution and the tragic breakup of Christendom.History, however, if looked at outside the Anglo-American perspective has shown that far from a protector of individual liberty, the Bill of Rights has been mostly useless in defense of basic freedoms while the Constitution, that it is a part of, has been a vehicle for the expansion of state power to an unfathomable degree.Despite the supposed guarantees of individual liberty within the Bill of Rights and the supposed limited nature of the Constitution itself, there has never been a more intrusive state in world history both domestically and in its myriad of interventions across the globe than the Leviathan that rests on the shores of the Potomac River.  And, the rise of American totalitarianism did not begin with the revelations of Edward Snowden and the other courageous whistle blowers of the recent past, but started soon after the new “federal” state came into existence with the passage of the Alien & Sedition Acts.  Each year since has witnessed the growth of state power at the expense of individual rights where now domestic spying and surveillance are part of the nation’s social fabric.The primary reason why the Bill of Rights has been unable to secure basic liberties is because the federal government and its courts are the ultimate interpreters of the Constitution and its amendments as explicitly stated in Article VI, section 2, subtitled, Supreme Law of the Land:

                   This Constitution and the laws of the United

States which shall be made in pursuance thereof,

and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under

the authority 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.

Since the central government is the final arbitrator of the document, any ruling or decision on particular laws or regulations which would impinge on individual rights will, for the most part, be favorable to the government itself.  And, due to man’s fallen nature, any such power will be abused.

The ratification of the Constitution in 1789 made in essence the individual states mere appendages of the central government.  While the Constitution’s sycophants boast of its “checks and balances,” a far superior bulwark against political repression is that of people “voting with their feet.”  Under the Articles of Confederation, when the national government was not the supreme law of the land, if a certain state became too tyrannical, at least in theory, and had the much neglected Articles remained in place, those persecuted could simply move to a more friendlier jurisdiction.

This would also hold true in the realm of taxation and regulatory policy.  Those political authorities who became too confiscatory in their taxing or enacted burdensome regulations could also see population outflows.  Similar activity goes on all the time currently as people flee high tax municipalities and states like California and New York to lower tax regions such as Florida and Texas.

For voting with one’s feet to be most successful, there needs to be a multitude of states and political jurisdictions.  In the current political climate, this would mean the breakup of the nation state.  Secession and political decentralization should thus be the goals of those who prize individual liberty and prosperity, not the celebration of constitutionalism and the supposed guarantees of personal freedoms under ideas such as the Bill of Rights.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com/

 

 

Brahms & Democracy

kyril-kondrashin-brahms-symphony-1-2012

In November of 1876, one hundred and forty years ago, Johannes Brahms’ monumental First Symphony was first heard, performed in Karlsruhe, Germany.  The much anticipated work – which took Brahms over 20 years to complete – has become part of the canon of Western music.  Ironically, the premiere of The Ring by Brahms’ supposed rival and fellow musical genius, Richard Wagner, was performed for the first time in the same year.

While one critic initially called Brahms’ First Symphony “Beethoven’s Tenth,” it has surpassed that unjust description and now stands on its own merit as a distinct masterpiece.  The First Symphony, the three that followed, and the rest of Brahms’ works makes him more than Beethoven’s successor, a unique musical figure in his own right.

In one of his best newspaper articles, H.L. Mencken wrote the following about a Brahms’ performance:

My excuse for writing of the above gentleman is simply

that I can think of nothing else.  A week or so ago, . . . I

heard his sextet for strings, opus 18, and ever since then it

has been sliding and pirouetting through my head.  I have

gone to bed with it and I have got up with it.  Not, of course,

with the whole sextet, nor even with any principal tune of it,

but with the modest and fragile little episode at the end of

the first section of the first movement – a lowly thing of eight

measures, thrown off like a perfume, so to speak, from the

second subject.*

The Sage of Baltimore continued on what made Brahms so special:

In music, as in all the other arts, the dignity of the work is simply

a reflection of the dignity of the man.  The notion that shallow

and trivial men can write great masterpieces is one of the follies

that flow out of the common human taste for scandalous

anecdote. . . .  More than any other art, perhaps, music demands

brains.  It is full of technical complexities.  It calls for a capacity to

do a dozen things at once.  But most of all it is revelatory of what

is called character.  When a trashy man writes it, it is trashy music.

 

Here is where the immense superiority of such a man as

Brahms becomes manifest.  There is less trashiness in his music

than there is in the music of any other man ever heard of, with

the sole exception, perhaps of Johann Sebastian Bach. . . .

Hearing Brahms, one never gets any sense of being entertained

by a clever mountebank.  One is facing a superior man, and the

fact is evident from the first note.

While Brahms was born in Hamburg, he eventually found his way to the musical capital of the world, Vienna, which, at the time, was part of the Austro- Hungarian Empire.  Vienna was more than the musical center of Europe, but a cultural one as well which was rivaled by few in Brahms’ time.

Although mostly forgotten under an avalanche of pro-democracy historiography, the Vienna where Brahms spent most of his adult life was “ruled” by a monarch.  The rich cultural life which flourished in that political atmosphere was admitted even by those who were, no doubt, hostile and envious of it as the philosopher and economist, Hans-Hermann Hoppe, describes in his seminal book, Democracy: The God That Failed:

Even democratic intellectuals and artists from any field of

intellectual and cultural endeavor could not ignore the

enormous level of productivity of Austro-Hungarian and in

particular Viennese culture.  Indeed, the list of great names

associated with late nineteenth and early twentieth century

Vienna is seemingly endless.**

As Professor Hoppe insightfully shows, the incredible accomplishments of the likes of Brahms came in the pre-democratic era which tragically ended with WWI.

. . . rarely has this enormous intellectual and cultural

productivity been brought in a systematic connection with

the pre-democratic tradition of the Habsburg monarchy.

Instead, if it has not been considered a mere coincidence, the

productivity of Austrian-Viennese culture has been presented

‘politically correctly’ as proof of the positive synergistic effects

of a multiethnic society and of multiculturalism.

Whether the accomplishments were in the arts, music, scientific breakthrough, invention, or entrepreneurial wealth creation, all were the result of individual initiative, skill, tenacity, foresight and intelligence within a society that recognized, praised, and promoted such achievements.  There was no affirmative action or policies that promoted artists based on their skin color or gender.  When Brahms came to Vienna, he did not receive an Austro-Hungarian version of a National Endowment of Arts subsidy!

Just as important, and what is ignored by the Left and many race-denying realists on the respectable Right, is that all of these civilization-enhancing accomplishments in Vienna were made, for the most part, by white men.  No other culture or people have ever produced music comparable to Brahms and his fellow Western musical masters.

The democratic age which followed has been praised by scholars as an advancement of the human condition on all fronts.  In his book and in other places, however, Professor Hoppe has shown that just the opposite has occurred under democratic conditions with a trend toward de-civilization.  Taking the US as an example, he writes:

. . . less than a century of full-blown democracy has resulted in

steadily increasing moral degeneration, family and social

disintegration, and cultural decay in the form of continually rising

rates of divorce, illegitimacy, abortion, and crime.  As a result

of an ever-expanding list of nondiscrimination –

‘affirmative action’ – laws and nondiscriminatory, multicultural ,

egalitarian immigration policies, every nook and cranny of American

society is affected by government management and forced integration;

accordingly, social strife and racial, ethnic, and moral –cultural

tension and hostility have increased dramatically.

As Professor Hoppe notes, the latest phase in the democratic era has been  immigration policies which have been deliberately planned to destroy the various Western cultures with Germany being the most devastated.  Yet, as Mencken wrote of him, Brahms was a product of Germanic blood not that of multiculturalism.  The German people who continue to support and allow those to wantonly destroy the culture that produced a Brahms should consult Mencken:

I give you his Deutsches Requiem as an example. . . .   The thing is

irresistibly moving.  It is moving because a man of the highest

intellectual dignity, a man of exalted feelings, a man of brains,

put into it his love and pride in his country.  That country is

lucky which produces such men.

While Brahms’ music will always be listened to and played for its brilliance, it should always be remembered in what culture his genius was allowed to flourish.  How fortunate for mankind that Brahms lived in the pre-democratic era and what a loss it would have been if the First Symphony would have never been composed.

 

*Marion Elizabeth Rodgers, ed. The Impossible H.L. Mencken: A Selection of His Best Newspaper Stories.  With a Foreword by Gore Vidal.  New York: Anchor Books, Doubleday, 1991, pp. 465-468.

**Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Democracy: The God That Failed: The Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy and Natural Order.  New Brunswick (U.S.A.): Transaction Publishers, 2001, pp. xii-xiii.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com/

Presidential Dictatorship

Sic Semper tyrannis II

Executive orders, undeclared wars, drone hits, assassination of citizens and non-citizens alike, the overthrow of foreign regimes, domestic spying, the abetting of known criminal activities through pardons, economic planning, opening borders, monetary manipulations are just some of the nefarious activities that routinely emanate from the most dangerous political office that the world has ever painfully come to know – the United States Presidency!

The U.S. presidents can and have created a veritable “hell on earth” for their opponents, perceived enemies, and the innocent not only in the country in which they reign, but over the lives and fortunes of peoples and places where they have absolutely no authority to interfere.  While other chiefs of state have theoretically had such power, U.S. presidents have been able to inflict their destruction and chaos because, paradoxically, the nation’s free-market system, for a long time, created immense wealth which could be tapped into.

The tyrannical nature of the presidency was recognized long ago by those politically perspicacious men who opposed both the office and the draconian document which created it.  Few groups in history have been so vindicated for their foreboding as those who vainly argued against the ratification of the United States Constitution than the Antifederalists.

“An Old Whig”* aptly sums up the damage that would come about if the Constitution was ratified and the office of president would come into being:

. . . the office of President of the United States appears to me

to be clothed with such powers as are dangerous.  To be the

fountain of all honors in the United States, commander in chief

of the army, navy and militia, with the power of making treaties

and of granting pardons, and to be vested with an authority to

put a negative upon all laws, unless two thirds of both houses

shall persist in enacting it, . . . .**

An Old Whig saw that the president would become a “king” but without the natural and binding checks that even the most absolutist of monarchs were restrained by:

[The president] is in reality to be a KING as much a King

as the King of Great Britain, and a King too of the worst

kind; – an elective King. . . . The election of a King

whether it be in America or Poland, will be a scene of

horror and confusion; and I am perfectly serious when

I declare that, as a friend to my country, I shall despair

of any happiness in the United States until this office

is either reduced to a lower pitch of power or made

perpetual and hereditary.***

One of the Federalists’ counterarguments to the Antifederalists’ concern over the presidential office was the widely held assumption that George Washington would become the new Republic’s first chief executive and the general knowledge of his impeccable character would assuage those worried of potential executive overreach.  Such a lame response neglected to look into the future when the office’s huge potentiality for despotism would be sought after and won by those who had less upstanding personal traits than the father of the country.

The growing decentralized political movements throughout the world with, for instance, the hopefully upcoming British exit from the European Union, can only be enhanced if the office of the president and, for that matter, all other nation state’s chief executives are exposed as tyrannical institutions which are anathema to individual liberty and collective self-determination.  Presidents, premiers, chancellors, prime ministers, and their like along with central banking are the two nefarious pillars of power of the modern nation state whose continued existence guarantees perpetual war and economic regression.

In this seemingly interminable presidential election cycle, populist, libertarians, conservatives, and all sorts of anti-Establishment types are delusional if they believe the totalitarian direction in which the country is now headed will be reversed through elections or choosing the “right” candidate.  “Making American Great Again” will only come about when the chief executive office and the statist document that created it have been repudiated.

Prior to the presidency’s abolition, its ideological justification must be first debunked.  There is no finer place to start for this most necessary task to take place than in the dissemination of the perceptive and enduring words of the much neglected Antifederalists.

 

*Probably penned by a group of Philadelphia Antifederalists – George Bryan, John Smilie, James Hutchinson and maybe others.  See, John P. Kaminski & Richard Leffler, eds., Federalists and Antifederalists: The Debate Over the Ratification of the Constitution.  Madison, Wisconsin: Madison House Publishers, 1989, p. 18.

**Ibid., p. 86.

***Ibid.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com/

Long Live the Flags of Dixie!

Confederat Flag

On May 19, the House of Reprehensibles passed a proposal that would essentially ban the display of Confederate flags from national cemeteries.  The amendment was added to a Veteran Affairs spending bill.

Not surprisingly, House Speaker Paul Ryan allowed the measure to be voted upon in hopes of not disrupting the appropriations process.  Yes, by all means Paul, the redistribution of taxpayers’ confiscated wealth should take precedent over a draconian attempt to eradicate a heroic symbol of the country’s past.  Hopefully, Ryan will be ousted this November as both Speaker and Congressman for not only his consistent sell out to Obummer and the Democrats on the budget, but his lack of understanding and appreciation of what is arguably the most important period of American history.

In a certain sense, the Confederate flag should not be displayed in national cemeteries or for that matter flown alongside those of the Union.  The two are representations of dramatically opposed political ideologies.  Liberals and political opportunists of all sorts have deliberately smeared the South’s attempt at secession as being entirely over the issue of slavery.  The “Civil War” (which that struggle has become known by) is now seen through Politically Correct hindsight.

A civil war, in the truest sense, is a conflict between factions attempting to gain control of a government typically for their own aggrandizement.  The bloody conflict between the North and South was not that, nor was it solely over slavery although the institution played a role in it.

The Confederacy wanted no part of the Washington establishment at the time, which it believed had become too tyrannical, and attempted to secede from it.  The remaining states of the North, under the “leadership” of Abraham Lincoln, prevented this at the cost of more than 600,000 lives, the vast destruction of property, and the impoverishment of a people who simply sought to rule themselves.

The South’s action was nearly identical to what the colonies, North and South, did some 80 years previously in breaking away from the British Empire and becoming free and independent states under the benign rule of the Articles of Confederation.

As America’s Founding Fathers saw their liberties violated by King and Parliament, Southerners witnessed similar tyrannies and wisely anticipated more federal oppression with the election of Lincoln.

This interpretation has been ably supported by scholarship, though the view is rarely acknowledged in academia or in the mainstream media.  In an essay from an insightful collection titled Secession, State and Liberty, Donald Livingston persuasively describes the ideological content of the Declaration of Independence, the revolution it inspired, and its influence on the South’s leadership.

He writes: “Overall, the Declaration is an argument designed to justify the secession of the new self-proclaimed American states from the British state. . .  [It] is a document justifying the territorial dismemberment of a modern state in the name of the moral right of a people to self-government.”*

The South, imbued with such logic and the example of the Revolutionary generation’s break with Great Britain, attempted to separate from the Union on similar grounds and, in Livingston’s view, had a much stronger claim than the Founding Fathers had for independence:

[T]he colonies were not and never had been recognized as sovereign states, either by others or even by themselves.  At the time of the Civil War, however, the southern states had been and still were sovereign states, and so they could mount not only a moral argument but a legal one as well.  And it was the legal argument they primarily insisted upon.  Each state used the same legal form to secede from the Union that it has used to enter, namely, ratification in a convention of people.**

Although slavery was a part of the South’s final break with the North, the Confederacy could never have been built on such a narrow foundation.  Those who seek to paint Southern secession as a movement solely designed to protect their “peculiar institution” have either misunderstood the genesis of that struggle or do so for political gain.

While Southern secession is mercilessly condemned by the Establishment, scholars like Professor Livingston see it and the War for Southern Independence in a much different and far nobler light: “With the orderly, legal secession of the southern states, the American genius for self-government reached its highest moral expression.”***

The Northern and Southern flags which fly in national cemeteries across the land are indeed representative of different traditions, but not what the Politically Correct crowd would have everyone to believe.

The defenders of Dixie and the flags that commemorate their courageous actions have long since been morally justified.  The Union flag, on the other hand, has been one of aggression and domination, at first, brutally directed at its fellow countrymen who simply sought self-determination, and afterwards against millions of peoples from Vietnam to Iraq.

Hopefully, in the not too distant future as economic conditions worsen and American hegemony can no longer be maintained, the Union flag and the empire in which it represents will receive greater vitriol than the Confederate flag has gotten for its innumerable mass murders, destruction, crimes, and chaos which it has wantonly brought to every corner of the planet.

*David Gordon, ed., Secession, State & Liberty. Donald W. Livingston, “The Secession Tradition in America.” New Brunswick (U.S.A.), Transaction Publishers, 1997, p. 7

** Ibid., 18.

*** Ibid., 19.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com/

“Pope” Francis and the Disintegration of Europe

Pope's Wall

A Massive Wall Surrounds Francis-Bergoglio’s Vatican City-State

Despite being rebuked and humiliated by the Republican presidential front runner over his inflammatory statements about U.S. illegal immigration policies, Newpope Francis of the Vatican II sect has continued to opine about the migration crisis.

In an address to a Newcatholic French group, Bergoglio admitted the obvious: “We can speak today of [an] Arab invasion.  It is a social fact.”  Yet, despite the horrific consequences of this fact, mostly orchestrated by New World Order groups and organizations of which his church is a part, Newpope amazingly contends that this will eventually be a positive thing for Europeans: “How many invasions has Europe experienced in the course of its history! But it’s always been able to overcome them and move forward, finding itself complimented and improved by the cultural exchange they brought about.”*

Europe “complimented and improved”?!   Right.  Tell that to the thousands of women who have been raped, assaulted, and terrorized by mostly Muslim fanatics, or look at the widespread destruction of private property that these trespassers have wrought, and worse, the cultural transformation that this deliberately created crisis has produced.

Bergoglio furthered these idiotic statements with some multicultural speak: “the only continent [Europe] that can bring some unity to the world.”  And that Europe must fulfill its “universal role” and “rediscover its cultural roots.”**

If Bergoglio really wants Europeans to “rediscover” their “cultural roots,” they will find that ever since the emergence of Mohammedanism, its fanatical adherents have repeatedly attempted to overrun and conquer the Continent and subject its peoples to the crazed religious and political dictates of its possessed “prophet.”

At one time, Europe fulfilled its “universal role” by engaging in a series of military actions (the Holy Crusades) which were mostly inspired by true popes (which Bergoglio and his Vatican II predecessors are certainly not) to expunge the infidel from the sacred places where the Founder of Christianity lived, preached, was crucified, and gloriously rose from the dead.  These authentic successors of St. Peter, in particular Urban II and Innocent III, understood the threat that Mohammedanism posed to their flocks both spiritually and culturally.

The failure of Christendom to ultimately defeat Islam and drive it out of the former lands of the Roman Empire was not the fault of the popes, but that of the secular powers who increasingly sought their own aggrandizement. If the European principalities had heeded the popes’ calls and driven the Muslims back to their tribal homeland, history would have had a happier outcome.

Bergoglio, if he cared to look, would find that Europe’s “universal role” included the justification of “holy war,” in the use of violence against Islam, not only during the Crusades, but in the re-conquest of Spain, and in the defense of its homeland from numerous Muslim assaults. Moreover, the idea of Muslims living side-by-side with Europeans or being able to create their own autonomous communities would have rightly been considered societal genocide.

No authentic pope would be engaged in “dialogue,” common prayer meetings, or other ecumenical interchanges with Muslims as Bergoglio and his Vatican II predecessors have repeatedly and blasphemously done over the years.  Any pre-Vatican II pope, theologian, bishop, priest, or, for that matter, astute layman would properly consider such actions abominable and would recommend as punishment a rendezvous with some of the scum that abounds at the bottom of the Tiber for its transgressors!

Bergoglio and most of the Newchurch hierarchy’s support for free migration and open borders and their condemnation of those who have opposed such lunacy clearly demonstrates that the Vatican II sect is part and parcel of the New World Order which seeks the eradication of sovereignty and the extinction or at least subjugation of European peoples to the global elites.

Not only is this cretin wantonly overturning two thousand years of traditional Christian teaching on morality, but he is openly encouraging the destruction of those societies which that morality ultimately helped to build.

Despite the skillfully and deceitfully crafted persona as “Mr. Humble” and his white pontifical attire, “Pope” Francis and the sect that he heads are a clear and present danger to what remains of Western civilization and must be opposed and removed from power.

*Tom Wyke, “The Pope says ‘It is a Social fact’ that Europe is seeing an ‘Arab Invasion’ and it’s a Good Thing.”  Daily Mail.com.  4 March 2016

**Ibid.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

Queen Isabella and the Invasion of Europe

Surrender of Granada

The Muslim Surrender of Granada to Fernando and Isabella, 1492

If the Western world ever becomes serious on how to deal with the current, mostly Muslim, invasion of its once sacred soil, all it needs to do is to look to its glorious past.  In particular, it should examine the heroic actions of one of its greatest figures, Isabella of Castile. This is why the historian William Thomas Walsh entitled his magisterial biography of the queen, Isabella of Spain: The Last Crusader.

While the Reconquista was not directed at securing access to the Holy Land and Jerusalem as earlier Crusades had attempted, the ridding of the Spanish peninsula of Muslim power was a definite part of what Jonathan Riley-Smith calls the “paraphernalia of crusading:”

. . . with the union of Aragon and Castile in the

persons of Ferdinand and Isabella in 1479 and

the resurgence of crusading ideas that had followed

the loss of Constantinople the Spanish court, with

Isabella taking the lead, began to seethe with fervour,

nationalistic as well as religious.  The paraphernalia

of crusading – papal letters and crusading privileges –

were in evidence.  [Jonathan Riley-Smith,

The Crusades: A History, p. 312

Isabella and Fernando used their money and resources not for “national greatness,” or their own self aggrandizement as the later “absolutist” monarchs would do, but instead employed their treasures to triumphantly defeat one of Christianity’s mortal foes.

Huge sums of money were spent and large armies

raised and the war was pursued with a remarkable

singlemindedness at the expense of almost

all the country’s other interests.  [Ibid]

If Christian principalities and powers had a portion of Isabella’s ardor for the Faith, the infidel would have long since been vanquished or at least pushed out of the former lands of the Roman Empire which they had brutally overrun.  Unfortunately, the Western world went in an increasingly secular direction after the passing of the great queen, eventually adopting totalitarian social democracy as its governing system while pushing Christianity out from nearly every sector of public life.

Norman Housley in Contesting the Crusades adds, “. . .  the Granada war of 1482-92 had shown not just that the crusading mechanism could still work, thereby confirming the lesson of the Hussite crusades, but that it could generate military success.” (p. 138) He points out that the Reconquista was a part of crusading tradition and not some separate political aggrandizement scheme of Isabella and Fernando: “A significant feature of recent research on the Granada war, however, has been the demonstration that the campaigns were advanced with the help of a cluster of ideas and emotions that had strong links with past crusading.” (p. 139)

Before the final elimination of Muslim power in Spain, Isabella was engaged in crusading activity.  Her forays against the Muslims were undertaken outside of Spain proper and done despite the kind of internal political difficulties which kept other sovereigns from taking up the Cross.

In 1479, the Grand Turk Mohammed II besieged Rhodes which Venice had abandoned, in part, to preserve its own trading privileges in the Levant.  While the Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem had held off the Muslims, it did not end the threat as the Turks set their sights on the coast of Italy which, of course, sent shock waves not only throughout the country, but Europe at large.

In August of 1480, the Turks attacked and took the city of Otranto in the Kingdom of Naples.  The atrocities committed were particularly heinous as Walsh details:

Of the 22,000 inhabitants, the barbarians bound 12,000

with ropes and put them to death, thus helpless, with

terrible tortures.  They slew all the priests in the city.

They sawed in two the aged Archbishop of Otranto,

whom they found praying before the altar.  On a hill

outside the city, now known as Martyrs’ Hill, they

butchered many captives who refused to become

Mohammedans, and threw their corpses to the dogs.

[Walsh, Isabella of Spain, p. 192]

The account of these actions became widely dispersed and certainly known to Isabella.

As happened far too often in earlier crusades the political leadership, this time in Italy, was too busy with their own petty squabbles to recognize the Muslim threat despite pleas from the pope: “If the faithful, especially the Italians wish to preserve their lands, their houses, their wives, their children, their liberties, and their lives; if they wish to maintain that Faith into which we have been baptized, and through which we are regenerated, let them at last trust in our word, let them take up their arms and fight.” [Quoted in Walsh, Isabella of Spain, p. 192]

Not only for the rest of Europe, but the Moors’ capture of Otranto was a threat to Spain, especially since Granada, with two important sea ports on the Mediterranean, could easily be used as military bases.  Isabella, however, keenly understood what the establishment of a Muslim foothold on Italian soil would mean for the security of Christendom.  In response, she sent the entire Castilian fleet to assist in the recapture of Otranto.  The queen went beyond just providing arms for defensive purposes, but took the offensive despite delaying much needed domestic reform as Walsh describes:

. . . it was characteristic of Isabella to stop at nothing short of

her utmost.  At a moment when she had need of her new

revenues to complete her program of reform and to prepare

for war with Granada . . . she generously threw all her energies

and material resources into the major struggle for the safety

of Christendom.  She formed the audacious design of raising

a fleet powerful enough not only to defend Italy and Spain,

but if necessary to defeat the Turks on the high seas and

smash their whole offensive.   [Ibid., p. 193]

The idea of compromise or coexistence with the Muslims, a policy which had been taken by crusaders both in the East and in Spain’s case with El Cid was anathema to Fernando and Isabella.  [S.J. Allen & Emilie Amt, eds.,The Crusades: A Reader, pp188-191]  After the sultan of Egypt, al-Ashnat Saifud-Din Qa’it Bay, had won a significant victory over the Ottoman Turks, he demanded that Fernando and Isabella stop their war on Granada.  He threatened, among other measures, to take reprisals on Christian pilgrims and suggested destroying the Holy Sepulcher.  [Warren H. Carroll, Isabel of Spain: The Catholic Queen, p. 190]

Fernando was not to be intimidated.  He quickly retorted with a sharp and detailed history of the Reconquista which showed that it was his and his predecessors’ right to regain their homeland from the Muslim invaders.  Moreover, if Catholics were killed to stop the war in Granada, Fernando would kill Granada Moors in retribution. [Ibid.] To this warning, no response was ever recorded from the sultan!

Isabella’s personal sanctity and love for her people has never been denied.  Prior to the attack on the Muslim held fortress of Loja, Isabella organized a massive army the makeup of which consisted of soldiers from across the Continent eager to join the crusade, inspired, no doubt, by the queen’s indomitable will as the late Warren Carroll shows:

The whole army knew that Isabella . . . was praying night

and day for their success; knowing her holiness, they were

immensely confident in the power of her prayers.  Never

had her prestige among them stood so high; her constant

care for the wounded, her fine and firm hand upon their

supply line, keeping them equipped with all they needed

wherever they might go, were now known and honored by

every soldier.  [Ibid., p. 172]

Even her love for her husband would not dissuade the queen from accomplishing what she believed was a holy mission.  In 1484, Fernando had sought to reclaim rights that his family had in Roussillon, France.  Yet, the financial situation at the time only allowed for one war to be fought so a decision had to be made: a conflict over a dynastic dispute or the continuation of the struggle to expel the Muslims.

Isabella never wavered.  Unlike other sovereigns who became embroiled in internal politics instead of fulfilling their crusading vows, Isabella pressed on, even more determined.  In one of the few instances where her disagreements with her husband became public, the queen wrote:

    This is so just and so holy an enterprise that among all

those of Christian princes there was none more honorable

or more worthy, none more likely to gain the aid of God and

the love of the people. . . .   Two years ago the war with the

Moors began, in which great efforts were made and great

preparations undertaken on land and sea, at immense cost.

In view of all this, it appears unwise to lose all by beginning

another war with the French.  [Quoted in Carroll, Isabel of Spain,

pp, 158-9.]

The Reconquista was not only a part of Spain’s struggle, but became one of Christendom’s, which can easily be seen with the participation of knights and fighting men from across the Continent.  The most important of these were the Lombards whom Isabella recognized as crucial for the achievement of the ultimate goal as Carroll points out:

. . .  the Lombards became the key to the war against Granada;

they were the decisive and irresistible weapon, once brought

to the scene of action.  It was not easy to transport these

monsters over the primitive roads of southern Spain, but

it was done under Isabella’s constant prodding.  [Ibid., p. 159]

While the conquest of Granada at the beginning of 1492 ended seven hundred years of Muslim rule on the Iberian peninsula, the victory would have never been achieved without the sacrifices of Queen Isabella.  Before an attack on Granada could be made, the fortress of Baza had to be captured, however, Fernando’s earlier defense of Sicily and his foray into France left him critically short of funds.  He considered postponing the assault until the needed money and supplies could be procured and sought Isabella’s advice.

Her response was typical, “[Baza] has to be continued and it will continue.”  [quoted in Carroll, Isabel of Spain, p. 192]  Another retreat would be fatal to the spirit of the people and ultimate success.  William Thomas Walsh explains the heroic efforts the queen made to secure the funds, soldiery, and supplies for Baza’s capture:

Money was the first need.  She pawned her gold and plate,

priceless heirlooms from her ancestors; and she sent all

her jewels by speedy messengers to  Valencia and

Barcelona . . . her pearl necklace, her balas rubies, even

the jeweled crown of Saint Fernando.  [Walsh, Isabella of

                                Spain, p. 312]

The amount sold was astronomical totaling some 60,000 gold florins.  [Carroll, Isabel of Spain, p. 192]  “The pawning of Isabella’s jewels,” Walsh contends,” was the turning point in the Crusade, and the fall of Baza marked the beginning of its third and final phase.”  [Walsh, Isabella of Spain, p. 314]

The capitulation of Granada and the restoration of Christianity throughout Spain was celebrated throughout Europe and recognized at the time for its supreme significance.  Probably no one summed up the accomplishment of Fernando and Isabella than King Henry VII who proclaimed:

These many years the Christians have not gained new ground

or territory upon the infidels, nor enlarged and set farther the

bounds of the Christian world.  But this is now done by the

prowess and devotion of Fernando and Isabella, sovereigns

of Spain, who to their immortal honor have recovered the

great and rich kingdom of Granada, and the populous and

mighty  city of the same name from the Moors . . . for which

this assembly and all Christians are to render laud and thanks

to God, and to celebrate this noble act of the King of Spain, who

in this is not only victorious but apostolical, in the gaining of

new provinces to the Christian faith.  [Quoted in Walsh, Isabella

of Spain, pp. 333-34]

While it took some 700 years to rid Spain of the Muslim yoke, at least Isabella and her predecessors had only to contend with the infidel.  Today, however, those who oppose the invaders have a two-fold problem: not only must they battle a hostile, alien group which may freely roam within their midst, but they must counter the Continent’s political elites who are allowing and, often times, encouraging the catastrophe to take place.

If victory is to be achieved, those who seek to preserve Europe’s cultural and demographic heritage must adopt Isabella’s uncompromising policies and replicate her own tremendous sacrifices.  Many have done so already and will certainly be honored by history for their gallant stand, but many more must join if the contest is to be ultimately won.

 

Selected Bibliography

Allen, S.J. and Amt, Emilie, eds., The Crusades: A Reader.  2nd ed., Toronto:

University of Toronto Press, 2014.

Carroll, Warren H.  Isabel of Spain: The Catholic Queen.  Front Royal, VA.:

Christendom Press, 1991

Housley, Norman.  Contesting the Crusades.  Malden, MA.: Blackwell

Publishing, 2006.

Smith, Jonathan Riley.  The Crusades: A History.  3rd ed., London:

Bloomsbury Academic, 1987; 2014.

Walsh, William Thomas.  Isabella of Spain: The Last Crusader.  New York:

Robert M. McBride and Company, 1930; Rockford, Illinois: Tan Books and

Publishers, Inc., 1987.

 

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

Another Constitutional Convention: An Idea Whose Time Has Not Come

const conven

In the midst of the seemingly indeterminable presidential electoral campaign, some of the candidates have been asked about the possibility of convening a constitutional convention in the hope of addressing the nation’s most pressing issues, most ominously the gargantuan federal deficit now in excess of $18 trillion.

Governor John Kasich supports such a notion with the explicit purpose of passing a balanced budget amendment.

Mark Meckler, president of Citizens for Self Governance, a leading group pushing the idea, believes that “If it starts to become a serious presidential issue, we could get it done in 2016.”*

Not all presidential contenders are on board with the idea. Senator Marco Rubio has expressed trepidation over the possibility of a convention for amending the current document fearful that it would lead to a total rewrite:

Just make sure that we know how it is going to turn out
because if you open up the Constitution, you are also
opening it up to people that want to re-examine the First
Amendment, people that want to re-examine the Second
Amendment, people that want to re-examine some other
fundamental protect[ions] that are built into the Constitution.”**

Unlike most issues on which he pontificates, Senator Rubio is this time right in his analysis, but most likely for the wrong reasons.

The original Constitutional convention was called to “revise” the supposedly defective Articles of Confederation, but by the time the deliberations (more like arm twisting, threats, and bribes) were over, the Articles had been replaced by a brand spanking new document. The Constitution granted the central government far more power than it had before while the individual states had, in effect, lost their cherished sovereignty and had become mere appendages within the new “federal” union.

Under the current ideological climate, the convocation of another constitutional convention would not return the nation to its halcyon days as a confederation of independent states, but would more than likely increase the central government’s power at the expense of what is left of state and individual rights. The idea of amending the current document is naïve at best, but more importantly a gigantic waste of time.

Groups like Citizens for Self Government do not grasp the essential problem of American political, social and economic life. It is the Constitution itself that is the cause of the myriad of problems which besiege the land. The adoption of the Constitution despite what its sycophantic champions of today and yesteryear have erroneously argued, created a highly centralized national state which is virtually limitless in its power.

The Articles of Confederation, on the other hand, were just that – a system where the national government was dependent for its existence on the individual states’ benevolence. American constitutional history can be seen as the systematic destruction of state, regional, local and, eventually, individual sovereignty from the aggrandizement of federal power, all achieved under Constitutional rule.

The Constitution negates one of the great safeguards of individual liberty – “voting with one’s feet.” Under a confederation of states, tyranny can be avoided, to an extent, by simply relocating to another political jurisdiction. If a state becomes too confiscatory in its taxing policies, its subjects can move to a less tax burdensome district. Thus, the more political jurisdictions there are the better.

Under the Constitution, there is no escape from its dictates unless one expatriates. The ability of populations to move and the greater number of political units provides a far superior check on tyranny than the supposed “checks and balances” and “separation of powers” so celebrated in American federalism.

Amendments, conventions, “strict interpretation” of the Constitution, and all other reforms of the federal system will do nothing to limit or eventually slay the American Leviathan. Decentralization is the key which means secession and a dismantling of the Union.

Secession should not be limited to the Union, but allow for the breakup of the existing states along political, economic and cultural lines. States as geographically, culturally, and economically diverse as California should be broken down into numerous smaller entities. The overriding principle in regard to liberty and prosperity is the greater number of political configurations the better.

Until the Constitution is seen for what it truly is, the rapacious federal state will continue to gorge itself on the ever dwindling productive efforts of its citizenry. Once this is recognized and efforts are taken to disembowel the beast, will the lives, liberties, and property of Americans and a great many around the globe be secured.

*David Sherfinski, “GOP Hopefuls’ Support Boosts Constitutional Convention Idea.” The Washington Times. 24 December 2015.
**Ibid.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , on January 26, 2016. Edit

 

The Constitution’s Big Lie

Rossiter II

One of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated upon Americans at the time of its telling and which is still trumpeted to this very day is the notion that the U.S. Constitution contains within its framework mechanisms which limit its power. The “separation of powers,” where power is distributed among the three branches – legislative, executive, judicial – is supposedly the primary check on the federal government’s aggrandizement.

This sacred held tenet of American political history has once again been disproved.

Last Friday (October 23), the Attorney General’s office announced that it was “closing our investigation and will not seek any criminal charges” against former Internal Revenue Service’s director of Exempt Organizations, Lois Lerner, or, for that matter, anyone else from the agency over whether they improperly targeted Tea Party members, populists, or any other groups, which voiced anti-government sentiments or views.

The Department of Justice statement read:

The probe found ‘substantial evidence of mismanagement,
poor judgment and institutional inertia leading to the
belief by many tax-exempt applicants that the IRS targeted
them based on their political viewpoints. But poor
management is not a crime.’ (My emphasis)

Incredibly, it added:

We found no evidence that any IRS official acted based on
political, discriminatory, corrupt, or other inappropriate
motives that would support a criminal prosecution.*

That the DOJ will take no action against one of its rogue departments demonstrates the utter lawlessness and totalitarian nature of the federal government. The DOJ’s refusal to punish documented wrongdoing by the nation’s tax collection agency shows the blatant hypocrisy of Obummer, who promised that his presidency would be one of “transparency.”

It can be safely assumed that Congress will not follow up on the matter, as Darrell Issa (R-Ca.), who chaired a committee to investigate the bureau’s wrong doings, admitted that its crimes may never be known.** The DOJ and Issa’s responses are quite predictable once the nature of the federal government and, for that matter, all governments are understood.

Basic political theory has shown that any state is extremely reluctant to police itself or reform unless threatened with destruction, take over, or dismemberment (secession). The Constitution has given to the federal government monopoly power where its taxing and judicial authority are supreme. It will not relinquish such a hold nor will it seek to minimize such power until it is faced with one of these threats.

While it was called a federated system at the time of its enactment and ever since by its apologists, the reality of the matter is quite different. As the Constitution explicitly states in Art. VI, Sect. 2, the central government is “the supreme law of the land.” The individual states are inferior and mere appendages to the national government – ultimate control rests in Washington.

In fact, it was the Constitution’s opponents, the much derided Antifederalists, who were the true champions of a decentralized system of government while their more celebrated opponents such as Madison, Hamilton and Jay wanted an omnipotent national state.

Thus, in the American context, the only method for those oppressed by the federal government is to either threaten or actually go through with secession. Attempts to alter its dictatorial rule through the ballot box or public protests are futile. While there will naturally be outrage at letting the IRS off the hook, focus and anger must be redirected away from participation within the current political system to that of fundamental change.

Congress’ refusal to prosecute an executive bureau that has deliberately used (and is still using) state power to oppress and harass opponents of the Obama regime demonstrates the bankruptcy of the idea that separation of power limits tyranny. Federal power and the corresponding tyranny and corruption which it has bred has never been countered by the checks and balances and separation of powers of the supposed “federal republic” created a little over two centuries ago.

Until the “big lie” of the Constitution is realized, agencies like the IRS will continue to target and tyrannize anti-government organizations, groups, and individuals. The Constitution provides no real mechanism for the redress of grievances from the subjects which it rules. Only when the breakup of the federal Union has taken place, will American liberties and freedoms be secured.

*Tyler Durden, “DOJ Closes Lois Lerner Investigation Without Charges.” Zero Hedge http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-10-23/doj-closes-lois-lerner-investigation-without-charges
October 23, 2015.
**Melanie Batley, “Issa on IRS Scandal: May Never Get the Truth.” Newsmax http://www.newsmax.com/US/issa-scandal-irs-investigation/2014/07/09/id/581638/ July 9, 2014.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

The Antifederalists and the American Empire

The Antifederalists and the American Empire

If any group of similarly-minded people have been vindicated by the passage of time, it has been those opposed to the United States Constitution who would later become known as the “Antifederalists.” Nearly every objection that the Antifederalists raised about the Constitution have long ago proved to be wholly founded and had they been more politically savvy and persevered in their convictions, the document would have never seen the light of day, arguably, leaving Americans and the rest of the world considerably better off.

One of the Antifederalists’ biggest fears was that the adoption of the Constitution would ultimately lead to an empire and all of the nasty consequences which flow from it. They rightly understood that empire building was the dream of many of their Federalist opponents such as Alexander Hamilton who wanted Americans to follow the path of the British Empire.

“Brutus” beautifully expressed the Antifederalist position on empire:

[Americans] ought to furnish the world with an example of a great people, who in their civil institutions hold chiefly in view, the attainment of virtue, and happiness among ourselves. Let the monarchs in Europe, share among them the glory of depopulating countries, and butchering thousands of their innocent citizens, to revenge private quarrels, or to punish an insult offered to a wife, a mistress, or a favorite: I envy them not the honor, and I pray heaven this country may never be ambitious of it. (1)

Warfare was abhorrent to the Antifederalists the exception, of course, being for defensive purposes. War enriched the few especially the politically connected while everyone else suffered. The “Federal Farmer” echoing a Scholastic viewpoint describes war’s de-civilizing effects:

War is justifiable on no other principle than self-defense, it is at best a curse to any people; it is comprehensive of most, if not all the mischiefs that do or can afflict mankind; it depopulates nations; lays waste the finest countries; destroys arts and sciences; it many times ruins the best men, and advances the worst, it effaces every trace of virtue, piety and compassion, and introduces all kinds of corruption in public affairs; and in short, is pregnant with so many evils, that it ought ever to be avoided if possible; nothing but self-defense can justify it. (2)

While it took at least a century to get going, it is ultimately the Constitution which is responsible for the creation of the American Empire. The imbroglio in the Crimea/Ukraine with the C.I.A. and other agencies fomenting social discord and strife is just the latest episode in the long destructive course of this nation’s imperial history. And, it will not be the last.

The chief reason why those who opposed the American Empire from its beginnings until the present day have failed to halt its malignant growth is because they have not challenged the foundation upon which that edifice rests. The Constitution created a powerful central government which obliterated any real check that the individual states had upon its largesse. The Antifederalists clearly understood this, while most contemporary opponents of the Federal Leviathan do not.

The enactment of the Constitution was a grand reversal in the course of human events away from political decentralization which was embodied in the American Revolution. Tragically, within a decade after secession from the mightiest empire on earth at the time, Americans foolishly allowed to be imposed on them a highly centralized national state which would eventually develop into a global juggernaut that has now become the greatest threat to human liberty, peace and prosperity mankind has ever witnessed.

If the American Empire is to be dismantled prior to an economic collapse, its intellectual justification must first be debunked. There is no better place to start than with the perspicacious arguments of the 18th century opponents of the United States Constitution and the empire it created.

(1) Herbert J. Storing. What the Anti-Federalists Were For: The Political Thought of the Opponents of the Constitution. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1981, p. 31.
(2) Ibid.

First published 4-23-’14

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

 

World War I and the Course of American Foreign Policy

wwi         wwi b

This year marks one full century since the outbreak of one of the most horrific and world altering events in all of history, World War I. “The war to end all wars,” as it was first naively dubbed, was an unmitigated disaster for mankind where everyone who was affected suffered, the exception, of course, were the usual suspects: politicians, their financiers, and the armament industries. The consequences of the conflagration still linger long after millions had been slaughtered and the wanton destruction had concluded.

As happens with most wars, the origins of WWI were sown in a previous conflict which in this case was the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 where France was handily defeated and forced to relinquish territory, most notably, Alsace-Lorraine. While French revanche for its defeat was the primary impetus for the Great War’s outbreak, other factors certainly contributed. Most importantly, the rise of nationalism throughout Europe coupled with a neo-imperialism among the major powers which inevitably brought them into disputes over colonial possessions. Moreover, a system of mutual “defense” treaties and alliances were made which committed nations to military engagement if a partner came under attack.

Thus, by 1914, the world was one big powder keg ready to be detonated by a spark which, tragically, was lit by the assassination of Austria’s Archduke. The deaths of combatants and non-combatants on an unprecedented scale quickly ensued while the cost of the war exceeded anything previously fought, forcing nations to borrow prodigiously and print vast amounts of money.

While the blame for the war’s outbreak can be placed on national pride and the utter stupidity and incompetence of the contending European powers, its grizzly continuation can be placed at the feet of one individual and the nation he headed, Thomas Woodrow Wilson, 28th president of the United States. If it had not been for this former Princeton political science professor, the war, most likely, would have come to an earlier conclusion and a second more destructive conflict would have been avoided.

By 1916, the War had come to a standstill as each side finally began to realize their collective insanity and opened peace talks. In the United States, which had ostensibly remained “neutral,” but had favored the Triple Entente (United Kingdom, France, Russia), a presidential election was taking place. When it comes to foreign policy, all presidents lie and Wilson continued the tradition during the campaign. Despite running on a platform of neutrality, he had secretly told the Allies that he would do all in his power to bring the nation into the war after his re-election.

The promise of United States intervention emboldened the Allied powers to spurn negotiations and press on despite near exhaustion. A little over a month after his inauguration, in April, 1917, Wilson called on Congress to declare war on the Central Powers who had taken no direct military action against America. Wilson’s call for war was based on the ludicrous slogan “to make the world safe for democracy.” Unfortunately, Congress and enough of the gullible public went along with the hoax and the nation plunged itself into the madness which set it on its ruinous course of global empire.

While making the world safe for democracy appealed to many, the primary reason why Wilson got into the conflict (surprise, surprise) was financial. Wilson was intimately connected with J.P. Morgan’s financial empire which had underwritten a considerable amount of Allied debt.         If the war ended on unfavorable terms for the Entente Powers or if the Central Powers would actually win, the House of Morgan would be ruined. An Allied victory would bail out the Morgans and allow Wilson to have a hand in redesigning the map of Europe as he undoubtedly dreamed of during his Princeton teaching years.

While the United States’ rout of Spain in 1898 is technically the beginning of its rise as global policeman, it was intervention in World War I which became the blueprint for its meddlesome foreign policy of the past century. The nation would become involved in a seemingly endless string of wars (both “hot” and “cold”), revolutions, coups, ethnic strife, and internecine struggles none of which threatened its own security. The current Ukraine imbroglio is just the latest example of such.

After a century of foreign intervention which have enriched politicians and the politically-connected financial elite while bringing death, destruction and misery to peoples throughout the world, America’s superpower status is coming to an end.         The continuing economic deterioration and likelihood of a major financial collapse will eventually curtail its overseas adventurism. The resources will simply not be available to conduct and maintain a global military apparatus. There will thus be a good that comes out of an economic collapse: the end of the American empire!

Until that day, however, expect the continuation of a belligerent and domineering foreign policy which began when the United States made the infamous decision a century ago to enter a war that was supposed “to end all wars.”

First Published 3-29-’14

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

   

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