15 November 2017

From Mr Harvey's 'Royal World'

Two trenchant posts from Mt Theodore Harvey's blog Royal World. The first from 4 November,

The People

One of the modernist concepts I most detest, which I'm convinced is intellectually lazy and meaningless, is "The People." For example, one reads that in Russia "The People" overthrew Tsar Nicholas II in 1917. No, they didn't. Nicholas II abdicated during street disorders (not the first of his reign) in Petrograd after being wrongly assured by those around him that this would be in Russia's best interests. No doubt some Russians were glad about this, but others certainly were not. There is no way of determining for sure what the majority view in 1917 Russia was, and even if there were, I vigorously deny that a majority can constitute "The People," since those who disagree with the majority are people too. In our time, even though I personally support Brexit, I would never dare claim that "The People" of the United Kingdom voted to Leave the EU. Clearly many British people did not. There is no such thing as "The People," only millions of individual people with many different convictions and opinions. Certainly I have never really felt part of any American "We The People." I'm just me. And you're just you. The majority don't speak for all individuals in a particular country. That's one reason I'd rather have a monarch, who makes no claim of being chosen by "The People."

And the second from 14 November,

There's an irritating October 26 New York Times article by David Brooks, trying to make a tortured analogy between the Republicans of 2017 and the Bolsheviks of 1917, and it irritates me not only because David Brooks's main purpose in life seems to be being the sort of "conservative" that liberals find palatable. What's worse is that it arrogantly asserts that the "traditional" American way of being Christian--assuming that Democracy and Equality are moral imperatives--is the only way. Brooks implies that the "hierarchical societies" that dominated the world prior to the revolutions of 1776 and 1789 (and to a lesser extent until 1917)--that is, the great majority of Christian history, let alone world history--weren't really Christian, and that ancient thinkers such as Plato and Aristotle were deficient because they wouldn't have understood Jefferson's Declaration of Independence. It would make more sense to reject Christianity entirely than to believe that somehow no one really figured it out for its first 1750 years or so, but that appears to be what many Christians--including "conservatives"--believe these days. If "universal democracy" is "the global fulfillment of the providential plan," count me out. But perhaps Providence has ideas other than those of David Brooks.

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