Saturday, May 6, 2017

Crowning the World Again | Part I - Rhetoric

Crowning the World Again

Strategies for Spreading Traditional Ideas and Monarchism
 On Rhetoric


As monarchists and religiously devout men, we occupy a place the world has lacked for centuries. We stand alone against many forces which fight against any remaining good. Sophistry is the softest, and violence the most virulent act of these foes. We remain firm in our foundations, opposing the world dominated by the poison of the Frankfurt School and the emotional appeals to false liberty brought about by the "Enlightenment". Our ideas have roots in the greats, such as Plato, Aristotle, and St. Thomas Aquinas, in fulfillment of commandments from God Himself. We honor the duty set before us by the Apostle Paul to honor the King, and to insure the survival of the Church's greatest defender - the institution of monarchy.

Scottish Jacobites. The Duke of Perth leads troops of the Clan MacDonald into combat at Prestonpans.
These goals sound bizarre in the modern world. They certainly are foreign, but it makes sense when the philosophical foundations of the West are adulterers who abandon their wives and children to starve, like Marx, or proto-Atheists who deny the divinity of Jesus Christ, such as the Founding Fathers. Both of these figures' spiritual successors argue from points of emotion: one an appeal to the state as the source of worldly provision, and the other false liberty found in rebellion.

The false dichotomy between American Capitalism and Socialism forces us to choose between two Godless ideologies, one using the lack of God to justify its morality (or lack thereof), the other softening God to something which can be molded to the individual or reduced to non-existence. This isn't overt collaboration, but each side of the opposition is implicitly modernistic and anti-Christian.

How can we fight against these forces which have poisoned the world? To bring those who believe these ideologies within our fold, we must use our words and actions to appeal to them. Besides always showing kindness, charity, and acting morally, we should aim to show them the truth through effective reasoning, debate, and historical evidence. This foundation can only come from reading and study, not only from Sacred Scripture and the lives of the Saints, but by reading the teachings of the Church and philosophical works. Some of my favorite works can be found on this list. We live very shortly after the life of the great Erik von Kuenhelt-Leddihn, within the lifetime of the wonderful Charles A. Coloumbe, and whoever else will rise up as the intelligentsia of modern Christianity. Only time will tell who else will take up the pen in defense of truth.

Successful Arguments

The most immediate response by most is that monarchy is an absolute failure. Chaos reigned in the streets, there were constant invaders from foreign lands, and shadowy figures in government had more control than those who were presented to the people.

No. That's right now.

When confronted with the decentralization and peace found in pre-Enlightenment monarchies, which lacked the total war and attacks on civilians which came along with wars following the French Revolution - most see that what they are taught about monarchy isn't true. As my good friend and fellow author Vaughn said; it is very ironic for modern liberals to cry about the failures of monarchy, when it was the liberal's ideological ancestors who were the ones chopping king's heads off and creating chaos in their kingdoms.

Under monarchy, we saw the building of beautiful buildings such as the Notre Dame de Paris, the Medici Chapel, the Cathedrals of Reims and Milan, and the flourishing of countless works of art and music during the medieval and Renaissance eras. From von Bingen to Palestrina and Machaut, to Ghiberti and Caravaggio, even to the great philosophers Saints Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas, historians have slowly began dropping the label of "dark" to describe these ages.

Chapel of the Princes, San Lorenzo.

The Renaissance was not great for the introduction of humanism. The greatness was the continuation of a fire which Europe retained since it was given the Gospel of Christ. The institutions of Christian monarchy and the Church were the greatest patron of philosophy and art to ever grace the Earth. I wrote about monarchy and the arts on my personal blog here. By showing the people the beauty and transcendence of art which could only have been achieved with its patron, and our ideas of Christian tradition as their foundation, many hardened hearts are softened to the possibility of monarchy. Beauty is an extension of truth and order. All three are evidence of goodness.

Beyond the values promoted by monarchy, the peace and stability and monarchy has brought is very convincing. As an institution, monarchy has lasted since the beginning of civilized man until today. Democracy and republicanism was established with violence and turmoil, with the revolutionary spirit causing hundreds of millions of deaths. From the French Revolution and the War in the Vendee, to the revolutionary uprisings in Europe following it, to the downfall of the Russian Empire and Bolshevik Communism leading to the hundred million deaths in the 20th century. The Kingdom of France lasted almost 1,000 years. After its downfall, it went back and forth between two empires and five republics.

I have also written about other arguments for monarchy, some concise and brief, to my most successful work " Large Crown, Small Government", arguing for monarchy as it grants more freedom than democracy or republics could ever offer.

... and How to Argue Them

Most political debates occur online, with distance and lack of human interaction creating false bravery. This leads to rudeness and great vitriol being shared and (very humorously) called "debate". Real discussion and progress is almost never made, and most "debate" in real life is a far departure from what we read about in the first chapters of the Republic.

The "greatest" ideological battle of the last few months as of now was the protests at Berkeley University, with violence and quippy signs in defense false causes. At best, modern debates value stinging insults and sarcasm over any true reasoning.

Before anything else, always use the heavenly grace of charity. Correct with tact, explain with precision, and reason with care. Explain to the curious and educate the ignorant without condescension. A raised voice will make you no different than those we fight against, especially when discussing how beauty and natural order play into monarchy. There is a time and a place for roars and chants, but casual discussion is not it.

 As morality of an action is determined by intention, the action itself, and the manner in which it is carried out - the intentions and manner arguments are made are as important as the argument itself. We love Our God, Our Lord and Savior, and Our Holy Mother Church, as we love all men. To show love, we correct and show the truth. There is no love in tolerance of evil, and there is no love in abandoning charity to blindly attack someone.

Beyond intention, style and manner are also something abandoned in modern discourse. I have engaged in countless debates with people typing as if they were texting a friend, with poor spelling, grammar, and swearing included. In true physical debate, expect to be sworn at an insulted as well. Maintaining clarity and respect while remaining firm and articulate will do more to help our ideas and image more than anything else.

We must be kind and live pure lives if we are to be worthy of promoting the truth. Truth will be evident by both true reason and the truth lying with the one arguing it in this age of great Sophistry. Pray, study, do good works, repeat.

St. Thomas Aquinas, Patron of Philosophers and Students, ora pro nobis.
This battle against the evils of modernity are as much a personal one as a public one. To conquer the world, we must first conquer ourselves and our vices. Good cannot from a source that lacks good itself. If you have a clear conscience, no personal attack can affect you. Know your place, know your morals, and no insult can stick.

As Aristotle demonstrates in Book III of his Rhetoric, it is not enough to simply know what to say, but how to say it. Some ideas are more suited towards prose, and some to poetry. Some arguments are best made through allegory, and some through detailed reasoning. No matter what approach one takes, it must be made with refinement. In Star Spangled Crown, Charles A. Coloumbe approaches the question of an American monarchy, and even covers ideas such as distributism in an indirect and entertaining way. In his fiction, he makes arguments for concepts most Americans would reject simply by hearing the name.

No matter what argument one is making, it is always better to avoid ambiguity. In most cases, it is better to provide a short description of an idea rather than an "-ism" - especially when talking with others. When discussing with others interested in politics and philosophy, it may save time and avoid redundancy. To most, however, hearing words like globalism, modernism, and traditionalism may either confuse them or give them a false image of what one is arguing against. Careful explanation, whether online or in real life, often convinces people more than simply attacking an "-ism".

Plato and Aristotle in Raphael's The School of Athens
One should also pay careful attention to balancing firmness of truth and knowing the audience. Never compromise on moral matters, but it isn't expedient to attack a topic that isn't relevant to the debate. This is often the case in religious matters, where discussions have gone from the effectiveness of monarchy to the merits of John Calvin and transubstantiation.

You cannot argue for the entire truth in a single exchange, and it is far better to keep your opponent listening to one aspect so they will more readily accept another. Once the time comes where you can correct a different false idea, find that time which will be the most effective and include the most charity on both debaters parts.

Not only is He our moral model, but Our Lord as the Logos spoke with tremendous wisdom and infinite talent while He was on Earth. The Beatitudes are an example of perfect rhetoric, showing how effective brevity can be. Be clear, be succinct, and balance your explanations with the refinement and complexity of your ideas.

Roselli's Sermon on the Mount
A balance must also be made between the use of evidence and reasoning. We would our ideas floating off into space without any grounding without evidence. We would find ourselves in a dark and lowly world without any care for a better future without reasoning. Arguments against monarchy most often are based on emotional appeals and a small batch of "evidence". We must build upon what they lack, using both refined reasoning and showing the effectiveness of the institution throughout history.

We Christians, we monarchists, and as those who desire to put the world back on the right track must always show goodness. Goodness in intention, goodness in argument, and goodness in action. The peace brought about through natural order, and the beauty the world has lacked, will only come about through righteousness. We must study classical rhetoric and speech in order to show ourselves above anything the modern world has to offer. We must be all the world lacks for the people to see what they need.

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