Monday, March 20, 2017

Churchill on the English jury (part 2)

Synopsis of part 1: The White Ship strikes a rock. A prince drowns, trying to rescue his sister. The drowning throws the English succession into seventeen years of civil war, during which young Henry, great-grandson of the Conquerer and arguably rightful king, can grow up in France. Landing at long last in England, Henry fights, forcing King Stephen to adopt Henry as his heir.
The accession of Henry II began one the most pregnant and decisive reigns in English history. The new sovereign ruled an empire, and, as his subjects boasted, his warrant ran "from the Arctic Ocean to the Pyrenees...." The memories of Hastings were confounded in his person, and after the hideous anarchy of civil war and robber barons all due attention was paid to his commands....
After a hundred years of being the encampment of an invading army and the battleground of its quarrelsome officers and their descendants England became finally and for all time a coherent kingdom, based upon Christianity and upon that Latin civilization which recalled the message of ancient Rome. Henry Plantagenet [that is, our young Henry, Henry II] first brought England, Scotland, and Ireland into a certain common relationship; he re-established the system of royal government which his grandfather, Henry I, had prematurely erected. He relaid the foundations of the central power, based upon the exchequer and the judiciary, which was ultimately to supersede the fuedal system of Willam the Conquerer. The King gathered up and cherished the Anglo-Saxon tradition of self-government under royal command in shire and borough; he developed and made permanent "assizes" as they survive to-day. It is to him we owe the enduring fact that the English-speaking race all over the world is governed by the English Common Law rather than by the Roman....
A vivid picture is painted of this gifted and, for a while, enviable man: square, thick-set, bull-necked, with powerful arms and coarse, rough hands; his legs bandy from endless riding; a large, round head and closely cropped red hair; a freckled face; a voice harsh and cracked. Intense love of the chase; other loves, which the Church deplored and Queen Eleanor resented; frugality in food and dress; days entirely concerned with public business; travel unceasing; moods various. It was said that he was always gentle and calm in times of urgent peril, but became bad-tempered and capricious when the pressure relaxed....
The Plantagenets were rough masters, and the temper of the age was violent. It was the violence however of vigor, not of decadence. England has had greater soldier-kings and subtler diplomatists than Henry II, but no man has left a deeper mark upon our laws and institutions.... The names of his battles have vanished with their dust, but his fame will live with the English Constitution and the English Common Law.
This great king was fortunate in his moment. William I and Henry I had brought to England or preserved there all those instruments through which their successor was to work. They themselves could move but slowly and with caution. The land must settle itself to its new rules and rulers. In 1154 however [Henry II] had come to a country which nearly twenty years of anarchy had prepared for the acceptance of a strong hand at the centre....
 The italics are mine. See part 1.
The disasters of Stephen's reign determined Henry not only to curb baronial independence and regain the ground lost by his predecessor, but to go much further. In place of a multitude of manorial courts where local magnates dispensed justice whose quality and character varied with the customs and temper of the neighbourhood, he planned a system of royal courts which would administer a law common to all England and all men.
The policy was not without peril. The King was wise enough to avoid a direct assault, for he knew, as the Conquerer had known, that to lay a finger upon the sanctity of customary rights would provoke disaster. Faced with this barrier, Henry shrewdly opposed custom to custom and cloaked innovation in the respected garb of conservatism. He was careful to respect existing forms....
Respect for existing forms: this is a crucial point.
His plan was to stretch old principles to take on new meanings. In an unwritten Constitution the limits of the King's traditional rights were vaguely defined. This opened a shrewd line of advance. For centuries before the Conquest, Church and King had been the enemies of seigneurial anarchy, but there had been no question of swiftly extending the Crown's jurisdiction. Fastening upon the elastic Saxon concept of the King's Peace, Henry used it to draw all criminal cases to his courts. Every man had his own Peace, which it was a crime to break, and the more important the man, the graver the breach. The King's Peace was the most important of all, and those who broke it could be tried in the King's court. But the King's Peace was limited, and often embraced only offences committed in the King's presence or on the King's highway or land. When the King died his Peace died with him and men might do as they willed. Cautiously and quietly Henry began to claim that the King's Peace extended over all of England, and that no matter where it was broken offenders should be tried in the King's courts. Civil cases he attracted by straining a different principle, the old right of the King's court to hear appeals in cases where justice had been refused and to protect men in possession of their lands. He did not brandish what he was about; the changes that he made were introduced gradually and without legislation, so that at first they were hardly perceived. Rarely is it possible to state the date at which any innovation was made; yet at the King's death a clever man might have looked back and seen how much had been altered in the thirty-five years that Henry II had sat on the English throne.
Churchill will continue our story in part 3.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Churchill on the English jury (part 1)

Winston S. Churchill is more admired by some right-of-center Americans than by others, but all confess that Churchill was a good writer. It is in Churchill's role as a writer that we heed his voice today. In book two of Churchill's History of the English-Speaking Peoples (1956), Churchill relates the origin of the English jury. His story begins with an accident:
The Anglo-Norman state was now powerful. Henry [fourth child, third son of William the Conquerer] was lord of England, Normandy, and Maine. In 1109, his only legitimate daughter, Maud, was betrothed to Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Germany. On the other hand, the reunion of England and Normandy after [the Battle of Tenchebrai] had stirred the hostility of France.... A wearing warfare darkened the later years of the reign.
What may be judged malignant fortune now intervened. The King had a son, his heir apparent, successor indisputable. On this young man of seventeen many hopes and assurances were founded. In the winter of 1120 he was coming back from a visit to France in the royal yacht called the White Ship. Off the coast of Normandy the vessel struck a rock,...
This was the accident, without which the English jury as we know it might never have emerged.
[T]he vessel struck a rock and all but one were drowned. The prince had indeed been embarked in a boat. He returned to rescue his sister. In this crisis the principle of equality asserted itself with such violence that at the ship's side so many leaped into the boat that it sank. Two men remained afloat, a butcher and a knight. "Where is the prince?" asked the knight above the waves. "All are drowned," replied the butcher. "Then," said the knight, "all is lost for England," and threw up his hands. The butcher came safe to shore with the tale.
The last italics are mine, but our story is only beginning.
None dared tell ... the King. When at last he heard the tidings "he never smiled again." This was more than the agony of personal grief for an only son. It portended the breakdown of a system and prospect upon which the whole life's work of Henry stood. The spectre of a disputed succession glared again upon England, and every noble in his castle balanced his chances upon who would succeed to the crown.
There were two claimants, each of which had a fair share of right. The king had a daughter, [Maud, earlier mentioned], but although there is no salic law in the Norman code this clanking, jangling aristocracy, mailed and spurred, did not take kindly to the idea of a woman's rule. Against her stood the claim of Stephen, [Henry's nephew], son of [William the] Conquerer's daughter Adela [who was Henry's elder sister]. Stephen of Blois, no inconsiderable figure on the Continent, with great estates in England added, was, after his elder brother had waived his claim, the rightful male heir. Throughout Christendom the accusation of violating an oath was almost mortal,... But here was a dilemma which every man could settle for himself according to his interests and ambitions. Split—utter, honest, total!...
Upon [his] daughter, after mature consideration, Henry founded all his hopes. On two separate occasions he called his murmuring barons together and solemnly swore them to stand by Maud.... The English mood in later ages has never barred queens, and perhaps queens have served them best. But here at this time was a deep division, and a quarrel in which all parties and all interests could take sides....
Henry I expired on December 1, 1135.... [Maud] was with her husband in Anjou and Stephen was first on the spot. Swiftly returning from Blois, made his way to London and claimed the crown....
There was an additional complication. Henry I had a bastard son, Robert of Gloucester, a distinguished soldier and a powerful magnate in the West Country....
King David of Scotland, persuaded of the English decay, crossed the Border and lay claim to Northumbria....
The civil war developed.... Stephen, faced with powerful rivals, failed to preserve the rights of the Crown. The royal revenues decreased, royal control of administration lapsed; much of the machinery passed for a time out of use. Baronial jurisdiction reasserted its control; baronial castles overawed the people. It seemed that a divided succession had wrecked the work of the Norman kings....
The disputed reign of Stephen and the consequent civil wars continued seventeen years, during which Maud's son Henry, whose father was Holy Roman Emperor,[*] came of age.
Before he was twenty, Henry [Maud's son] had cleared Normandy of rebels and pacified Anjou. He turned forthwith to England. It was a valiant figure that landed in January 1153, and from all over England, distracted by civil wars, hearts and eyes turned toward him. Merlin had prophesied a deliverer;...
You didn't know that Merlin himself had a hand in the founding of the English jury, did you?
[H]ad [young Henry] not in his veins blood that ran back to William the Conquerer, and beyond him, through his grandmother Matilda, wife of Henry I, to Cedric and the long-vanished Anglo-Saxon line? A wild surge of hope greeted him from the tormented Islanders,...
All this because a yacht had struck a rock, and a prince had died, failing to save his sister.
[A]nd when [young Henry] knelt after his landing in the first church he found "to pray for a space, in the manner of soldiers," the priest pronounced the will of the nation in the words, "Behold there cometh the Lord, the Ruler, and the kingdom in his hand."
There followed battles: Malmesbury, where the sleet, especially directed by Amighty God, beat upon the faces of his foes; Wallingford, where King Stephen by divine interpositions fell three times from his horse before going into action. Glamour, terror, success, attended this youthful, puissant warrior, who had not only his sword, but his title-deeds. The baronage saw their interest favoured by a stalemate; they wanted neither a victorious Stephen nor a triumphant Henry. [Notwithstanding,] a treaty was concluded at Winchester in 1153 whereby Stephen made Henry his adopted son and his appointed heir. On this Henry did homage and made all the formal submissions, and when a year later Stephen died he was acclaimed and crowned King of England with more general hope and rejoicing than had ever uplifted any monarch in England since the days of Alfred the Great.
In part 2, Churchill will begin to explain how these developments made possible the English jury.

[*] Correction: the Emperor had died and Maud had remarried. Young Henry's father was thus Maud's second husband, Geoffrey of Anjou.

Vox Day, who might have been great

Here is a recent photo of blogger Vox Day. That's him on the left, the man whose biceps burst from the sleeves of his red tunic. On the right we see one of a certain type among his followers.

It is unfortunate, really. Vox might have been great. Indeed, few have done so much for the Alt Right as Vox has done, for Vox acts while others (like me) merely talk. It's too bad that Vox persistently insists on being such a stinker.

Now, you had better not agree with anything I just wrote. If you do, then Vox will breathlessly remind you that his blog has more readers than you do, whereupon that fellow on the right will dart forward, point the pudgy finger of indignation, and curse you for being such a Gamma.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Did Erdogan just say that?

“From here I say to my citizens, I say to my brothers and sisters in Europe… Educate your children at better schools, make sure your family live in better areas, drive in the best cars, live in the best houses,” said [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan.
“Have five children, not three. You are Europe’s future.”
Why, yes. Yes, I believe he did say that.

I don't know about you, but I had been blundering along under the illusion that Erdogan was more or less a friend.

When Erdogan had a Russian military jet shot out of the sky in 2015, did NATO not risk war to shield Erdogan from Russian vengeance?

Maybe it's time for NATO to boot Erdogan's country from the alliance. If the Turkish president can afford to plan the future of Europe, then perhaps Turkey can afford to fend for herself.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Court blocks Trump's revised travel restrictions

How quickly events unfold! How many happenings, on this one day, merit comment and deserve analysis?
We cannot discuss all five; there isn't time. However, the first four will be competently blogged elsewhere, so let us examine the last, the judge's new restraining order as linked above. (For reference, here is the president's executive act, which had been set to take effect at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time this morning but which the court has blocked.)

A Hawaiian Muslim, indeed an imam, one Dr. Ismail Elshikh, is one of the two plaintiffs.
Dr. Elshikh’s wife is of Syrian descent, and their young children are American citizens. Dr. Elshikh and his family are Muslim.... His mother-in-law, also Muslim, is a Syrian national without a visa, who last visited the family in Hawaii in 2005.... In September 2015, Dr. Elshikh’s wife filed an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative on behalf of her mother.... Dr. Elshikh fears that although she has made progress toward obtaining a visa, his mother-in-law will be unable to enter the country if the new Executive Order is implemented....
One gets the impression that the court's tender concern for the dignity and interests of Dr. Elshikh would hardly be extended (in these or other circumstances) to the likes of me and thee, but otherwise, the court's finding above seems straightforward enough. The other plaintiff is the State of Hawaii.
Hawaii primarily asserts two proprietary injuries stemming from the Executive Order. First, the State alleges the impacts that the Executive Order will have on the University of Hawaii system, both financial and intangible. The University is an arm of the State.... The University recruits students, permanent faculty, and visiting faculty from the targeted countries....
Yes, I bet it does.
There is also evidence of a financial impact from the Executive Order on the University system.... [T]he University will not be able to collect the tuition that those students would have paid.
If I own a gas station, can I spring some robbers from jail on the ground that, if the robbers stay in jail, I will not be able to collect the fuel-for-the-getaway-car payment that those robbers would have paid?

I am not a lawyer, so maybe that's technically the wrong question, but surely the court's reasoning is strained.

On the other hand, what if it could be shown that the University would collect more in tuition if students from the six countries were not there? Maybe some prospective students would prefer not to be exposed to jihad?
The State argues that the University will also suffer non-monetary losses, including damage to the collaborative exchange of ideas among people of different 19 [sic] religions and national backgrounds on which the State’s educational institutions depend.
I had thought that it were the University of Hawaii, but stand corrected. It is the University of 19 Different Religions and National Backgrounds!
This will impair the University’s ability to recruit and accept the most qualified students and faculty, undermin[ing] its commitment to being “one of the most diverse institutions of higher education” in the world.
The court does not explain the relevance of this commitment as far as I can see, but it does refer to the order issued earlier by a federal district judge in the state of Washington. Perhaps the earlier order explains the relevance of the commitment in question.
The second proprietary injury alleged Hawaii alleges is to the State’s main economic driver: tourism. The State contends that the Executive Order will “have the effect of depressing international travel to and tourism in Hawai‘i,” which “directly harms Hawaii’s businesses and, in turn, the State’s revenue.”
Well, we can't have that. As we all know, the reason so many tourists flock to Hawaii is to watch the burqini-clad Somali girls on the beach. And how boring are hotels in which no bombs ever go off?

Is anyone going to ask actual tour operators what they think of the state's contention?

Hawaii's claims look like losers to me, but then I'm not the judge.

The court's order fairly persuasively finds that Trump's act is disingenuous with regard to its purpose: it is a Muslim ban and probably means to be a Muslim ban, whatever pretty language it might prepend to disguise the fact.
Rudolph Giuliani explained on television how the Executive Order came to be. He said: “When [Mr. Trump] first announced it, he said, ‘Muslim ban.’ He called me up. He said, ‘Put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally.’” 
The order thus finds that Trump's act probably fails "the three-part test for Establishment Clause claims set forth in Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602, 612-13 (1971)."
According to Lemon, government action (1) must have a primary secular purpose, (2) may not have the principal effect of advancing or inhibiting religion, and (3) may not foster excessive entanglement with religion.
Trump fails point (1), says the court. The Government (that is, Trump) however points out that "the six countries represent only a small fraction of the world’s 50 Muslim-majority nations, and are home to less than 9% of the global Muslim population...." To this, the court replies:
The illogic of the Government’s contentions is palpable. The notion that one can demonstrate animus toward any group of people only by targeting all of them at once is fundamentally flawed.
The court has a point. After all, jihadis demonstrate their animus toward any group of people without targeting all of them at once.
In March 2016, Mr. Trump said, during an interview, “I think Islam hates us.” Mr. Trump was asked, “Is there a war between the West and radical Islam, or between the West and Islam itself?” He replied: “It’s very hard to separate. Because you don’t know who’s who.”
The court further notes that, "[i]n that same interview, Mr. Trump stated:"
“But there’s a tremendous hatred. And we have to be very vigilant. We have to be very careful. And we can’t allow people coming into this country who have this hatred of the United States. . . [a]nd of people that are not Muslim.”
So, the question is, if a president believes that, can he act on his belief? The court says, no.
Defendants and all their respective officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys, and persons in active concert or participation with them, are hereby enjoined from enforcing or implementing Sections 2 and 6 of the Executive Order across the Nation. Enforcement of these provisions in all places, including the United States, at all United States borders and ports of entry, and in the issuance of visas is prohibited, pending further orders from this Court.
The stakes are high. We'll see what happens.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Carlsbad 1819 on paleoconservatism

The blog Carlsbad 1819 criticizes:
Paleoconservatism was an attempt to bring High Toryism to America. Unsurprisingly, trying to inject it to an audience of descendants of Whiggish commonwealthmen in the vein of Sidney, Harrington and Trenchard who entertained conspiracies of Romish papists under the bed, proved to be abortive. Sam Francis then reoriented paleoconservatism into a populist revolt of Middle Americans against rootless cosmopolitan elites. Not that I dislike Francis, not at all – but it is a different direction, one that has since passed on to the alt-right.
That sounds about right, on both ends: High Toryism; populist revolt. I inhabit the midpoint of that spectrum.

Carlsbad 1819 looks like a good blog. You can sample it here.


If you belong to Generation X as I do, #frogtwitter may be obscure to you. Apparently, it's a fine Millenial thing.

If you belong to Generation X or the Baby Boom, and you insist that this stuff is evil, you're missing the point. The energetic transgression of youth will always exist. In the Current Year, the important question is, at what object is this transgression directed?

In other words, if you disdain #frogtwitter, fair enough; but then what's your solution to the suicide of Western Civilization and the vanishment of European man?

When the Millenials were children, we fecklessly force-fed them a year-round diet of Black History Month. We forgot that they had brains and could think for themselves. So #frogtwitter is the result. If you ask me, I like #frogtwitter and most everything that goes with it; I strongly approve—but if you don't, then what's your answer?

Let me put it another way. NBC's Saturday Night Live isn't as funny as it used to be. Why is that? If Bill Murray were a Millenial, don't you suspect that he'd be on #frogtwitter?