Tag Archives: Europe

California, Nestle and Decentralization

calexit

Nestle USA has announced that it will move its headquarters from Glendale, California, to Rosslyn, Virginia, taking with it about 1200 jobs.  The once Golden State has lost some 1600 businesses since 2008 and a net outflow of a million of mostly middle-class people from the state from 2004 to 2013 due to its onerous tax rates, the oppressive regulatory burden, and the genuine kookiness which pervades among its ruling elites.* A clueless Glendale official is apparently unconcerned about the financial repercussions of Nestle’s departure saying that it was “no big deal” and saw it as an “opportunity,” whatever that means!

The stampede of businesses out of what was once the most productive and attractive region in all of North America demonstrates again that prosperity and individual freedom are best served in a political environment of decentralization.

That the individual states of America have retained some sovereignty, despite the highly centralized “federal” system of government of which they are a part, has enabled individuals and entrepreneurs living in jurisdictions that have become too tyrannical to “escape” to political environments which are less oppressive.  This, among other reasons (mainly air conditioning), led to the rise of the Sun Belt as people sought to escape the high taxes and regulations of the Northeast to less burdensome (and warmer!) southern destinations.

This can also be seen on a worldwide scale.  The US, for a long time, had been a haven of laissez-faire economic philosophy, which, not surprisingly, became a magnet for those seeking opportunity and a higher standard of living.  No longer is this the case as increasing numbers of companies and individuals are seeking to avoid American confiscatory tax and regulatory burdens and move “offshore” or expatriate to more favorable economic climates.

The idea of political decentralization as a catalyst for economic growth has become a part of a “school of thought” in the interpretation of how Europe became so prosperous compared to other civilizations.  After the fall of the Roman Empire, Europe for centuries was divided politically among numerous jurisdictions and ruling authorities with no dominant central state on the Continent.  The multitude of governing bodies kept in check, to a large degree, the level of taxation and regulation.  If one state became too draconian, it would lose population to less oppressive regimes.

Just as important, Europe’s governing system was aristocratic and monarchical which has proven to be far more conducive for economic growth than democracies.

While the economic oppressed can escape among the various states, there is no avoidance from the wrath of the federal government unless through expatriation and that option has become less viable with those leaving still subject to tax obligations.  This, fundamentally, is the crux of the problem and has been since the ratification of the US Constitution in 1789.

The chance that a totalitarian state such as California or the Leviathan on the Potomac would actually reform themselves or relinquish power through legislative means is a mirage.  Nor will revolution work as revolutionaries while appearing altruistic, typically get a hold of the machinery of government to plunder society for their own self interest on a far grander scale than the supposed despots which they replaced!

The only viable option for the productive members of society to seek redress of state oppression is to argue, work, and eventually fight for political secession and the fragmentation of states as much as possible.  Decentralization is the only hope for those opposed to the modern, omnipotent nation state.  Moreover, any notion or effort to salvage the current centralized political system must be abandoned.

Naturally, before the breakup of the nation state can become a reality, the ideological case for political decentralization must be made.  Public opinion must be convinced of the superiority of a world consisting of many states.  Such a cause, however, will be considerably difficult after generations have been raised and made dependent upon social democracy.

When Nestle and other oppressed businesses and individuals can easily escape the clutches of totalitarian entities like California and, more importantly, the most dangerous government on the face of the earth for freer destinations, then will individual liberty and economic growth be assured.

*Terry Jones, “Another Big Company Departs California – Will Last One to Leave Shut the Lights?”  Investor’s Business Daily. February 3, 2017.  http://www.investors.com/politics/commentary/another-big-company-departs-california-will-last-one-to-leave-shut-the-lights/

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

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Charles A. Beard, “American Foreign Policy in the Making, 1932-1940″*

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

Introduction

Last year, 2016, marked the 70th anniversary of the publication of Charles Beard’s masterful study of United States foreign policy prior to the nation’s disastrous entrance into the Second World War, American Foreign Policy in the Making1932-1940: A Study in Responsibilities(AFPM).  The book was soon accompanied by President Roosevelt and the Coming of the War, 1941 published in 1948, the year of the great historian’s passing.

The two volumes were extremely influential and became cornerstones of World War II revisionism.  AFPM chronicled US policy in the crucial decade prior to the fateful attack at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.  The records released and the research done in the decades following Beard’s studies have only substantiated the historian’s interpretation of events.*

The most recent of the growing literature of WWII revisionism has been by the German historian Gerd Schultze-Rhonhof, and his provocative book, The War That Had Many Fathers.**As Beard did with AFPM, Schultze-Rhonhof seeks to assign responsibility for the outbreak of WWII in the European theatre.  Like Beard, and in contrast to the official historical interpretation, Schultze-Rhonhof blames the provocative actions of the “Allied” governments in the years leading up to the conflict.***

Continue reading at:  https://antoniusaquinas.com/history/

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

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*This essay is dedicated to the late Charlie McGrath of Wide Awake News.

charlie-mcgrath

 

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

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Pope Francis is at it Again

pope-trump

As if there are not enough sufficient reasons for right thinking individuals to want a Donald Trump Presidency, one of the biggest is that it would be a direct and quite necessary rebuke and humiliation of the purported head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis.

Bergoglio has once again injected his neo-Marxist self into areas where he has no right to interfere.  Of course, this has never stopped this cretin from doing so before, especially when it comes to liberalistic causes such as climate change.  Whatever happened to popes that preached the Gospel, spoke of the saints, or expounded on doctrine?

In a speech given at the Vatican on November 5, Bergoglio spoke of not giving into those politicians who talk of building walls, but those who work to build bridges.  He condemned “physical and social walls” that “close in some and exclude others” and added: “mercy is the best antidote against fear” while it “is much more effective than walls, than barbed wire fences, than alarms and arms, and it is free.  It is a gift of God.”*

That the timing of Bergoglio’s remarks – on the eve of the Presidential election – criticizing those who actually seek to get a handle on unwanted and country-wrecking mass immigration is not surprising, but it is particularly revolting coming from a person who heads an organization that has done virtually nothing to end its own great Sex & Embezzlement Scandals.  This is a “Church” which has protected, hid, and actually promoted known perverts and rapist of children and young adults while its leader has the unmitigated gall to lecture American voters about not electing someone who will try and prevent the country from descending into multicultural disintegration!

What is surprising is that Bergogolio is again seeking to influence American politics on the heels of credible revelations that emerged from the investigation of Anthony “pervert” Weiner’s laptop of a child pedophile ring inside the Clinton Crime Family and their sleazy and demented associates and friends.  If Bergoglio had any political acumen he would have kept his big and nauseating mouth shut since now the Church’s own abominable, criminal actions with children and the Clintons’ will be linked in voters’ minds.  One can only hope so!

Bergoglio was elected, in part, to clean up the sex scandals and the financial improprieties which surround the Vatican Bank.  Instead of fixing the criminality and expunging the perverts, rapists, and embezzlers, Bergoglio has instead become one of the world’s leading social justice warriors.  Furthermore, he has been an unabashed opponent of the market economy constantly speaking of income disparity and the supposed exploitation of the poor which takes place under capitalism.

While Bergoglio has shown himself to be an ignoramus on subjects such as immigration, global warming, and economics, he is apparently quite deficient in his knowledge of the glorious history of his own institution.  Such a lack of knowledge is probably intentional since the Church’s rich past does not coincide with its new ecumenism, which was hatched during the tragic years of the Vatican II Anti-council, 1962-65.

It was the Catholic Church which organized the military forces on a number of occasions to fight and defend Europe from invading Muslims hordes.  Inspired by real popes, the Church rallied the Continent’s often indifferent and self absorbed political leadership to take up their crosses and liberate the Holy Land from the Muslim yoke.  Any talk of allowing Muslims to infiltrate European lands would be rightly countered with cries of treason and punishment in blood.

Such facts are no longer spoken of by Bergoglio or his Vatican II predecessors who have made every effort to encourage mass migration.  The historical record cannot be denied; it, therefore, must be ignored.

The election of Donald Trump will hopefully not only be the end of the Clinton Crime Family, but it will put a brake on destructive mass immigration while inspiring anti-immigration forces throughout Europe.  Moreover, a Trump victory will put in his place the self righteous “pope” who, through the office which he unworthily occupies, is just as dangerous to the future of what is left of Western civilization as a Hillary Clinton Presidency.

*Michael O’Loughlin, “Days Before U.S. Election, Pope Francis Warns Against Politics of Fear.”  America.  5 November 2016.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com/

 

 

Donald Trump & The Passion of the Christ

                                  the-donald-christ  the-passion

If Donald Trump can somehow defeat the Wicked Witch of Chappaqua despite vote rigging, outlandish media bias, backstabbing by his own party’s elites, and opposition of Wall Street, his victory may be the most serious setback for The Establishment since, perhaps, the release of Mel Gibson’s blockbuster movie, The Passion of the Christ.

Both Gibson and Trump faced seemingly impossible odds at the start of their quests and were viciously attacked and undermined by the usual Establishment suspects, yet, in Gibson’s case, he was able to beat the bastards at their own game producing one of the most accurate and authentic Christian movies ever made which garnered over a half billion dollars and numerous cinematic awards!

Unfortunately, Mel Gibson did not parlay his enormous success and cause further aggravation for the Entertainment industry with additional non-cultural Marxist features, but fell prey to booze and the pleasures of the flesh.  Moreover, Gibson, who was once a traditional Catholic who rejects the heretical changes brought about at the Vatican II Anti-council, could have been a force in a counter insurgency to rid the Church of its current horde of apostates including its head honcho.

If Trump wins he will have completed what earlier populists, most specifically Ross Perot and Pat Buchanan, had started, but were unable to complete.  A real challenge to the two-party duopoly could have taken place had Perot and Buchanan stuck with the Reform Party and built it up as a legitimate alternative.

A Trump Presidency will, at the very least, put a temporary halt to the totalitarian liberal order’s relentless drive to render American sovereignty and create a multicultural society via mass controlled (and uncontrolled) immigration.  There would be no return from such a demographic onslaught and political realignment, at least through the ballot box, with the only alternative being secession or the emergence of a strongman who would violently suppress the Left.

A Trump victory would not only be a blow against the entrenched political class, but like Gibson’s great movie, it would be a mighty and much needed knockdown of the mass media.  No presidential candidate has ever dared to openly take on the mainstream media and expose it for what it truly is – the propaganda arm for the New World Order and the purveyors of degenerate cultural Marxism.

The protagonist in The Passion of the Christ has often been referred to as “The Prince of Peace,” which is somewhat of a misnomer.  The Christ of the Scriptures is a fighter who spends a good portion of His ministry battling and upbraiding the corrupt Church officials and hierarchy of the day who were not properly shepherding His flock.

Similarly, Donald Trump has always considered himself a fighter (counter puncher) who has promised to get rid of the corruption and criminality that pervades the political establishment, especially the Clinton cartel.  Trump is uniquely qualified for such a task because, unlike nearly every other politician, he is not beholding financially to anyone.

Most importantly, Trump will set a new course in US foreign policy which will lead to a de-escalation in tensions around the globe especially with Russia.  High praise was attributed to the peacemakers by the Author of the Beatitudes who said: “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called children of God.”

Not only for America, but a Trump victory will have positive reverberations throughout the Western world which would surpass that of the surprising Brexit vote.  European anti-immigration groups and organizations would undoubtedly become further emboldened both psychologically and financially in their struggle to stem the tide of massive unwanted and society-wrecking immigration.  There is no telling what the effect would be when the chief executive of the world’s dominant power would be in sympathy with those who have courageously sought to preserve their families, heritage and way of life from the wicked designs of the New World Order.

While Mel Gibson self destructed after the phenomenal success of the The Passion of the Christ, his movie still stands not only as an inspirational and moving cinematic masterpiece, but as a glorious blow against the Establishment.  A Trump victory could mean an even greater strike against our globalist masters.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

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“Pope Francis:” Traitor to Western Civilization

no-pope-bergoglio

There has been no greater advocate of mass Muslim migration into Europe than the purported head of the Catholic Church, “Pope Francis.”  At a recent conference, he urged that “asylum seekers” be accepted, “through the acts of mercy that promote their integration into the European context and beyond.”*

Jorge Bergoglio is the “purported pope” of the Catholic Church because, as certain theologians have argued, he was neither validly ordained as a priest or consecrated as a bishop in the traditional Catholic rites of Holy Orders.  Since a pope must first be a bishop, in particular the bishop of Rome, Bergoglio cannot, therefore, be pope.

He is not a Catholic pope, but head of a new “Conciliar Church” which was concocted at the time of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), actually an “Anti-council,” and in the tumultuous years that followed, which witnessed fundamental changes in doctrine and the Sacraments, most damaging the promulgation of the New Mass by Paul VI-Montini.  The New Church also did away with its traditional view on evangelization and conversions and adopted the previously condemned heresy of “syncretism,” which contends that “we all worship the same god,” and that “one religion is as good as another.”  This idea pervades post-Vatican II Catholicism and is what Francis bases most of his justification for the mass migration onto lands which once made up Christendom.

While Bergoglio cannot be pope on technical grounds, he is also disqualified for his blasphemies and heretical actions, words, and teachings, all of which have flowed at a breathtaking pace.  From the infamous, “who am I to judge,” about sodomites, to his alteration of two millennium of teaching on divorce and remarriage, to such whoppers as “God does not exist,” Bergoglio has placed himself “outside of the Church” and thus cannot hold ecclesiastical office and certainly not that of supreme pontiff.

Despite the overwhelming theological and empirical evidence that the Chair of St. Peter is vacant (sede vacante) and its restoration will take place in its Founder’s good time, for the vast majority of Catholics and the world at large, Jorge Bergoglio is pope and his actions have consequences.  And, since his promotion and support of mass Muslim migration is leading to not only the destruction of what is left of Western Civilization and the species which largely created that civilization – white, gentile, heterosexual men – Bergoglio and the organization which he represents, must be stopped.  If Pope Francis and his New World Order cohorts are not countered, whites, and the cultures which they built, will vanish.

The Catholic Church is an integral part of Western Civilization even if Bergoglio and the pack of cultural Marxists prelates which surround him will not admit it.  It was the Church that preserved the heritage of Antiquity from the barbarian invasions during and after the fall of the Roman Empire.  Without the actions of the monks and other clerics, many of the classical works would have been lost forever, leaving future generations bereft of the wisdom and treasures of the Ancients.  It was the Church that was the indispensable part in the formulation of the greatest civilization known to mankind, Christendom.  Moreover, it was the Catholic Church, largely through the Papacy, that inspired the Crusades, which for a glorious time drove out the Muslims from the Holy Land and returned it to its rightful possessors.

It is undeniable that the Catholic Faith (which Bergoglio is supposedly its chief representative) inspired numerous European sovereigns, most notably Queen Isabella, to take up arms against the Mohammedans.  It was her faith which drove the heroic queen to free the Iberian Peninsula from the Muslim yoke, which then allowed her to finance Christopher Columbus on his epic, world-changing voyage.

Yet, Bergoglio and his fellow heretical Churchmen assiduously avoid any reminiscing of such facts and instead are deliberately encouraging Muslim migration into the lands that Europeans spilled blood and sacrificed treasures to defend – Queen Isabella must be turning over in her grave!

If Western Civilization is to be salvaged, those who seek its destruction must be removed from their positions of authority and influence.  Whether through political means, armed revolt, or de-legitimization, those who hold such power must be toppled.  Exposing “Pope Francis” for what he is, or is not, will go a long way in that most vital and necessary task.

*http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2016/09/17/pope_francis_%E2%80%98each_migrant_has_a_name,_a_face,_and_a_story%E2%80%99/1258801#

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

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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