Re: Neoreaction and Dynasties (Attn: @AnomalyUK)

My good friend Anomaly UK created a post yesterday in response to a conversation I had on Twitter with Marko Sket and Carlos Esteban about “Neoreaction and Dynasties.” The discussion was about Russia, and how the situation there ought to be handled. Carlos is well-known as an advocate for the crowning of Vladimir Putin as Tsar of Russia, while I am a Romanov loyalist (and Marko seems to be one as well, or at least an opponent of the ‘Putin as Tsar’ idea.)

I think Anomaly’s mistake here is to identify me as a neoreactionary. I dont know about Carlos or Marco, but I am not a neoreactionary, and this has been the subject of a good deal of wrangling already. I’m a paleoreactionary. I have, therefore, a rather different view of monarchy from Anomaly’s. Honestly, I am surprised to find Catholic monarchist Carlos Esteban on the other side of this. He, I would have thought, would share my dynastic legitimism more than anyone.

You see, I do actually see St Nicholas II as a divinely-ordained monarch, and the Grand Duchess as his rightful successor today. This title is at least as important in the ethical sphere as any private property claim. On one level, I’m inclined to simply leave it at that. Russia was stolen, and the rightful owner is alive. So give it to her, just the same as you would (or should) return any stolen property if you are able.

However, I realise that may not be entirely persuasive. So let me add this:

Putin, as Marko points out, is a creature of the Revolution. I happen to admire him in many ways. I think he is a good leader, and perhaps the only sane head of state left in what was once Christendom. Honestly, I hope he can have a role in the Tsarina’s administration when she is restored. However, for him to crown himself Tsar has a bit too much of the ring of Napoleon to it. Russia cannot truly and completely repent of the evil of the revolution until it restores the Ancien Régime as far as possible. Think about this:

When one does wrong, there are three stages to repentance: First, one must acknowledge that one has done wrong. Second, one must resolve to avoid said wrong in the future. Third, one must undo, as far as it is possible to undo, the effects of the Revolution. As long as Russia’s rightful monarch lives, and yet another rules the country, Russia has not properly repented; she still has one foot in 1917. Putin will find it very difficult if not impossible to establish legitimacy without taking as a given that the Revolution, of which he is heir, was at least somewhat legitimate.

Would I rock the boat if I lived in Russia and Putin were Tsar? Perhaps not; there is a good chance things would get worse (I take the same attitude toward Napoleon). But would I push for that outcome over and against the real Tsarina? Why on earth would I do that?

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14 comments on “Re: Neoreaction and Dynasties (Attn: @AnomalyUK)

  1. Anomaly UK says:

    There are a number of good reasons there for supporting restoration over reboot (“one foot in 1917” puts it very well).

    But, while Russia has a fairly clear “rightful owner”, I do wonder how far you can take that principle. Jacobitism is still just about supportable for Britain – and America?

    Spain is such a mess of competing claims that it makes my head hurt.

    At what point do you accept that a dynasty is gone? The House of Hanover has sat on the English throne for longer than the Romanovs sat on the Russian one.

    • Well, Jacobitism and Carlism both have one fairly distinct and relevant difference vis-a-vis Romanov loyalism; namely, the Stuarts and the Carlist heirs have been replaced, by actual, reigning monarchs. Advocating for the deposition of a de facto prince in favour of a candidate with an ancient but in some sense more legitimate hereditary claim is something I’m sympathetic to, but it’s in a whole different ball park from simply advocating the restoration of the legitimate claimant over-against an upstart, vaguely Bonapartesque politician.

      It’s one thing, in other words, to accept a usurpation that has happened and would be difficult or impossible to fix, especially one that has withstood the test of time and perhaps even become a tradition in its own right; it is an entirely different thing to advocate a brand-new usurpation, as Carlos did.

      • Ash says:

        How does the concept of Divine right factor into cases of usurpation though? Does the Mandate of Heaven change when the new monarch wins the support of the Church? Or the fealty of his nobles?

      • @Ash:

        I’ve never found the Mandate of Heaven concept terribly compelling, to be honest, as it sounds to me like a mystical Chinese way of saying ‘obey whoever holds power at the moment, unless you can kill him and get away with it, in which case, do that’, which doesn’t strike me as a huge improvement on having no theory at all.

        I’ll confess, though, that I dont have an easy answer to the question of when, if ever, we start accepting the descendants of a usurper as our monarch. And I am pushed more and more toward practical Jacobitism every day (Prince Charles’s proposed ‘interfaith coronation’, for example, motivates me in this direction).

  2. thebaron73 says:

    I must agree with the Avenging Red Hand. I also admire Vladimir Putin in many ways, but my personal feelings do not make him, and cannot ever make him the legitimate heir to the throne of Russia.

  3. Docclar says:

    Putin seems to have a sense of history, and I doubt that he would ignore the massive upsides to having a Romanov with solid claim vs him having no claim and being easy to spin as a dictator claiming power.

    I still think such a development is at least a decade off, but don’t exclude putin being a Bismarck like figure to a restored Romanov dynasty.

    Hell, I’d try to emigrate in that case.

  4. runnymeadeuk says:

    A related article that may interest you and your readers:
    http://xaameriki.wordpress.com/2013/11/15/yesterday-69-years-ago-in-russia-the-story-of-vlasov-against-stalin/
    Please see comments section below article for info. on Church, Putin and Russia.

  5. Cj aka Elderofzyklons Blog says:

    Reblogged this on ElderofZyklon's Blog!.

  6. Wouldn’t the classical approach be for Putin to marry in to the original line?

  7. […] that isn’t really the dividing line. There are those supporting monarchism because they can accept nothing else, but there are also neoreactionary monarchists, such as myself, who choose monarchism as […]

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