Reflections on Courage and Chivalry

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Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die. “He that will lose his life, the same shall save it,” is not a piece of mysticism for saints and heroes. It is a piece of everyday advice for sailors or mountaineers…. But Christianity has done more: it has marked the limits of it in the awful graves of the suicide and the hero, showing the distance between him who dies for the sake of living and him who dies for the sake of dying. And it has held up ever since above the European lances the banner of the mystery of chivalry: the Christian courage, which is a disdain of death…-G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Courage is the fundamental virtue of Chivalry, and one of the foundational virtues of Civilization. What exactly is courage? It is the unbreaking soul that has passed the breaking point of despair, firmness under the stress of every evil, resolve in the face of Death himself. And this ultimate Courage is only possible to him who has Love of True Life, Faith in what is Good and Free, and the Hope born of Faith in Final Victory.

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Some thoughts on the present state of Islam

A perceptive post on modern Islam by my good friend the Imperial Traditionalist

The Imperial Traditionalist

The mainstream views on Islam are getting, quite frankly, rather tiring. Nearly everyone insists that you have to either be totally blind to the crisis at hand and believe that ISIS only exist because of poverty and american imperialism, or be a loony who thinks that ISIS is the pinnacle of Islamic teaching and that all Muslims are terrorists. Neither is true. Islam is not a religion of peace, but honestly, I’d be hesitant to call any religion a “religion of peace” without first indicating what I meant by peace. There is a longstanding tradition of Holy War in Islam, but there is no major, mainstream tradition of Islamic terrorism, and the distinction between this needs to be made. Saladin’s conquests were in line with traditional Islamic thought, ISIS or Al-Qaeda committed random acts of terror against unarmed civilians is most certainly not. Modern Islamic Terrorism is rooted almost entirely…

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K.u.K. HRM 3: Captain Karl Burian

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K.u.K. HRM Official Order No. 3

Members of K.u.K HRM:

  • Today marks the anniversary of the birth of Imperial and Royal Officer Karl Burian, Exemplar of the Hapsburg Restoration Movement, and leader of the Legitimist Resistance against the National Socialist invasion of Austria.
  •  The youngest officer in the Imperial and Royal Army, he served as a lieutenant in the Imperial 8th Dragoons on the Russian Front during the Great War, and was captured by the enemy in 1916. He escaped from Siberia in 1917 to fight until the end of the war, after which he studied philosophy and founded the academic Legitimist Corps der Ottonen. He was arrested in Vienna during the Restoration attempt of Emperor Karl in 1921, and sentenced to death in absentia in Bohemia.

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“Crows That Are Crowned As Kings…”

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And now Christendom is no more. Upon its ruins, odiously counterfeiting the Holy Empire, Satan has raised up, to the shame of the West, his false empire, formed out of successive encroachments, and recognizing as its first origin the apostasy of the felon knight Albert of Brandenburg… Oh Lord, arrest the progress of the false empires that arise in the North out of schism and heresy, and permit not the peoples of the Holy Roman Empire to ever fall prey to them.

Return, oh Emperor of the great ages, fight for the Church; rally the ruins of Christendom about the traditional ground, the common interest of all Catholic nations; and that alliance which your high politics had once concluded, will return to the world the security, the peace, the prosperity which will not yield to the mercy of violence.

-Dom Prosper Guéranger, L’Année Liturgique

“The Whole Modern Business…”

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I have already shown that the real Outline of History for the last few centuries largely consisted of Prussia dragging down the Holy Roman Empire, and transferring the Imperial Crown, the Kaiserdom or Kingship of the Germanies, from the old Catholic Princes who claimed to have it from Charlemagne, to a Protestant prince who had been but lately a Prussian squire. In short, the whole modern business has been the building up of a new Protestant Empire in the north, on the ruin of the old Catholic Empire in the south.

-G.K. Chesterton, The Heresy of Race

More quotations on the Holy Roman Empire taken from the works of Chesterton can be found in my earlier post, Catholic Authors on the Holy Roman Empire: Part I.

The Racialist Attack Against Christendom

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The second attack against integral Christendom, gaining momentum right now, comes from the nonuniversal herdists. They put the human beings into watertight hierarchic categories frequently of a racial nature. This new racial determinism, creating racial aristocracies, responsible to a collective “race” but not to a personal God, and racial proletariats with no hope of an earthly salvation, is not less a danger than the classic panherdism. The desire for racial purity in order to achieve the perfectly uniform herd leads to brutal persecution and finally to the strictest imaginable uniformism… The emphasis on race was so strong, because it is the only factor that cannot be altered by mere education, coercion, persuasion, or propaganda. A Catholic might become a Protestant, a painter turn into a dictator, a New Dealer into a Republican, but a Negro cannot become a “Caucasian,” a Semite, or a Mongol.

-Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, The Menace of the Herd

“Without morality the State cannot endure…”

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Nor, perchance did the fact which We now recall take place without some design of divine Providence. Precisely at the epoch when the American colonies, having, with Catholic aid, achieved liberty and independence, coalesced into a constitutional Republic the ecclesiastical hierarchy was happily established amongst you; and at the very time when the popular suffrage placed the great Washington at the helm of the Republic, the first bishop was set by apostolic authority over the American Church. The well-known friendship and familiar intercourse which subsisted between these two men seems to be an evidence that the United States ought to be conjoined in concord and amity with the Catholic Church. And not without cause; for without morality the State cannot endure-a truth which that illustrious citizen of yours, whom We have just mentioned, with a keenness of insight worthy of his genius and statesmanship perceived and proclaimed. But the best and strongest support of morality is religion. She, by her very nature, guards and defends all the principles on which duties are founded, and setting before us the motives most powerful to influence us, commands us to live virtuously and forbids us to transgress. Now what is the Church other than a legitimate society, founded by the will and ordinance of Jesus Christ for the preservation of morality and the defence of religion? For this reason have We repeatedly endeavored, from the summit of the pontifical dignity, to inculcate that the Church, whilst directly and immediately aiming at the salvation of souls and the beatitude which is to be attained in heaven, is yet, even in the order of temporal things, the fountain of blessings so numerous and great that they could not have been greater or more numerous had the original purpose of her institution been the pursuit of happiness during the life which is spent on earth.

-Pope Leo XIII, Longinqua

“One Monarch Sufficed for the World…”

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The Theory of the Universal Empire

A king could not be universal sovereign, for there were many kings: the Emperor must be, for there had never been but one Emperor

James Viscount Bryce, The Holy Roman Empire

Christendom, true European Civilization, has always held Universality and the Common Good as its ideals. The heresy of Nationalism, the corruption of the virtue of Patriotism, has always been opposed by those wholeheartedly seeking the restoration of Christendom throughout the world. Yet what solution can we offer the world as it sinks slowly back into a kind of sham identitarian and barbaric tribalism, in the face of the Civilizational threat of Islam?

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The Rightness of a Cause

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Of course in ‘real life’ causes are not clear cut — if only because human tyrants are seldom utterly corrupted into pure manifestations of evil will. As far as I can judge some seem to have been so corrupt, but even they must rule subjects only part of whom are equally corrupt, while many still need to have ‘good motives’, real or feigned, presented to them. As we see today. Still there are clear cases: e.g. acts of sheer cruel aggression, in which therefore right is from the beginning wholly on one side, whatever evil the resentful suffering of evil may eventually generate in members of the right side. There are also conflicts about important things or ideas. In such cases I am more impressed by the extreme importance of being on the right side, than I am disturbed by the revelation of the jungle of confused motives, private purposes, and individual actions (noble or base) in which the right and the wrong in actual human conflicts are commonly involved. If the conflict really is about things properly called right and wrong, or good and evil, then the rightness or goodness of one side is not proved or established by the claims of either side; it must depend on values and beliefs above and independent of the particular conflict.A judge must assign right and wrong according to principles which he holds valid in all cases. That being so, the right will remain an inalienable possession of the right side and Justify its cause throughout. (I speak of causes, not of individuals. Of course to a judge whose moral ideas have a religious or philosophical basis, or indeed to anyone not blinded by partisan fanaticism, the rightness of the cause will not justify the actions of its supporters, as individuals, that are morally wicked. But though ‘propaganda’ may seize on them as proofs that their cause was not in fact ‘right’, that is not valid. The aggressors are themselves primarily to blame for the evil deeds that proceed from their original violation of justice and the passions that their own wickedness must naturally (by their standards) have been expected to arouse. They at any rate have no right to demand that their victims when assaulted should not demand an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth.)

Similarly, good actions by those on the wrong side will not justify their cause. There may be deeds on the wrong side of heroic courage, or some of a higher moral level: deeds of mercy and forbearance. A judge may accord them honour and rejoice to see how some men can rise above the hate and anger of a conflict; even as he may deplore the evil deeds on the right side and be grieved to see how hatred once provoked can drag them down. But this will not alter his judgement as to which side was in the right, nor his assignment of the primary blame for all the evil that followed to the other side.

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 183

“Stand, Men of the West!”

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Image Courtesy of Jay Johnstone

I bow not yet before the Iron Crown,
nor cast my own small golden sceptre down

The Lord of the Rings, and indeed the whole Lengendarium of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien is among the greatest influences on my overall worldview. This “story… cast in terms of a good side, and a bad side, beauty against ruthless ugliness, tyranny against kingship, moderated freedom with consent against compulsion that has long lost any object save mere power…” seems to have an almost universal appeal, it touches something deep in the soul of mankind, that there is Good, and yet there is Evil,  dark, powerful, and yet beyond all hope Good triumphs. However, for myself the enchantment of these myths and fictional histories is their deep connection with the increasingly forgotten histories and legends of my own Western Civilization.

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