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The Prince, The People, And Fritz Pendleton In Between

Half a year ago, Fritz Pendleton attempted to draw lessons from Bonapartism (my response here). Most recently, he has presented us with a treatise that is strange in just how conventional and neutered it is.

Pendleton is nominally aiming to pursue the same direction as a Karl Ludwig von Haller: a comprehensive theory of a top-to-bottom anti-liberal/anti-radical statecraft. Instead, he has somehow ended up repackaging the most vanilla English (or perhaps French) constitutional monarchism imaginable. Something went off the rails along the way, and so we learn that Bishop Stubbs, rather than Whig history, actually provided a metapolitics of counterrevolution all along.

There's plenty of notes I'd like to draw on the piece, so let's dive right in:

There are still other reactionaries who feel that 1688 was just a precursor to 1776, that all Enlightenment philosophy must be thrown out like a torn and greasy rag, and so therefore we should settle for nothing less than, “L’etat, c’est moi.”

It's telling that "L'etat c'est moi" is held as the counter-Enlightenment pure and unadulterated here. What did Jean Domat, a favorite of Louis XIV's and a by the end of his life a crown pensioner, say about the origins of government?

"Because all men are equal by nature, that is to say, by their basic humanity, nature does not make anyone subject to others .... But within this natural equality, people are differentiated by factors that make their status unequal, and forge between them relationships and dependencies that determine the various duties of each toward the others, and make government necessary," that's what he said.

From natural equality he gets absolute monarchy. Where have I seen this before?

Compare and contrast to ultra-royalist J-B Coquille's opinion about 200 years later.

We all know who our enemies are because disorder and decay seem to follow them wherever they go. We do not need to see the sewer rat when we cannot escape his stench.

Now one of Moldbug's stupid ideas was this attempt to graft a universal left-right political spectrum on basis of it mapping respectively to "antinomian" and "pronomian" proclivities.

To be fair, there's been much worse. Like the people who define left and right on basis of degrees of ingroup favoritism. With ingroup defined in advance from some mathematical model in a population genetics textbook.

*A common thing you see among white nationalists is their Janus-faced attitude to what's customarily called the "rule of law." On one hand, it's awesome and something only whites can do *(or even only left-Hajnal whites can do). Probable cause, fair trial, juries and shit. And no blood feuds. And no communal violence.

But dammit, why aren't whites resisting their dispossession? Why aren't they taking the law in their hands and doing Paris Communes? Gah, they're such cucks! Day of the rope now!

Honor-based societies? That's something Arabs and blacks do, not whites. Civilized people, evolved people, they resort to litigation. But why do whites consent to dispossession? Of course! The Jews are brainwashing them to act against their basic instincts. If only we have a Leninist vanguard of white nationalist intellectuals to propagate Frank Salter and J.P. Rushton in easily digestible form, whites will overcome their divisions and unite as a monoethnic bloc to remove swarthiness once and for all.

We're all about blood and soil, but we don't wanna spill the blood. It's too backward. I bet the people who do it have high rates of consanguinity. Or levels of MAOA-2R.

So, in Chapter 59 of the Coutumes de Beauvisis, the masterwork of French customary law, we have the subject of private wars:

War can arise in various ways, for example by deeds or by words. War arises by words when one party threatens the other with insults or bodily harm [a fere vilenie ou anui de son cors], or when he defies him or his people; and it arises by deeds when a mutual combat in anger [chaude mellee] arises between gentlemen. And it must be understood that when war arises through fact, those who are present at the fact are at war as soon as the fact is completed; but the lineages of the one party and the other do not enter the war until forty days after the fact. If war begins by threats or by defiance, those who have defied each other or threatened each other begin to be at war from then on. But it is true that because very sharp practice could occur in such a case, for example, if someone had made ready to act before he had threatened or defied another person, and then, at the time of the fact, he threatened or defied the other person, he could not use that threat or that defiance as a defense. Therefore the gentleman who threatens or defies must abstain from fighting until the person who has been defied can put himself in a position of defense, or otherwise he has no excuse for the offense, and must be punished if he commits an offense.

The Royal Archive (Tresor des Chartes) of France records nearly 54,000 royal pardons for noble feuds between 1302 and 1568. Lawlessness? No, for it was quite lawful and quite regulated.

What if peace is not the absence of war, but the lawful regulation thereof? "Race is an extended family," some say. But under no circumstances should we avenge our family members, because... we have law schools for that?

The state exists to protect. Where there is no state, there is anarchy, and where there is anarchy, there is freedom; but this freedom comes with a price so dreadful that no man can endure it for long. You can kill but you can also be killed. You can rob but you can also be robbed. Your tribe can exterminate another tribe just so you can have some extra cattle grazing land, but the other tribe can also do the same to you. It is a brutal world where might alone rules.

And where there are states, there is anarchy between states. Good Lord, how do we survive? States can send armies to kill, but can also have other armies kill them. They can rob, but also be robbed. They can exterminate just so they can have some extra cattle grazing land, but other states can do the same to them. It is a brutal world where might alone rules.

The solution is one-world government.

Now a lot of people have this idea that world government was invented by Coudenhove-Kalergi or some Jewish clique or whatever. It's actually at least as old as the idea of the dominus mundi in the Corpus iuris civilis.

Far from world government being ineffective, the fact that people bitch about globalization really hard shows that it works alright as far as these things go, at least in terms of self-reproduction, not necessarily of seeking the common welfare.

Regardless of one's feelings on world government, it has a tendency to always creep in, whether in the form of a hegemon, a state actor accepted as a transnational arbitrator (as the papacy once was), or as a patchwork of IGOs as it is today.

The papacy would do things like direct crusades (themselves transnational affairs), use interdicts as sanctions, send legates, act as a ward and trust, enforce legitimacy of marriages (diplomatically important under dynasticism), defend integrity of wills and testaments, etc.

Pope Honorius III at around 1225 enacted the decretal Intellecto which formalized the principle of the inalienability of the royal patrimony on the basis of a distinction between rex and corona, the person and the institution, confirming precedents by Innocent III two decades earlier. This was in the context of land grants from the royal fisc that Andrew II of Hungary had made which were found to be injurious. Hungary was not a papal fief as Sicily was, but the papacy was an active player in its domestic policy on the basis of, among other things, a feudal claim stemming from St. Stephen's coronation by Pope Sylvester II.

Resistance there was, and plenty of it, yet the general role of the papacy was broadly accepted.

A dominus mundi is in fact even more of a necessity in a world of sovereign Westphalian states than in that of dynastic patrimonies, because the former by definition are not to be treated as inheritances, and thus cannot be inherited by primogeniture, split as appanages, inherited via jure uxoris, contractually purchased, invested as fiefs or what have you. Without these diplomatic tools, the only ways to settle disputes is basically either via bilateral treaties or through war. Some form of multilateral congress is simply too convenient and logical for it not to emerge, and hence it will. Thus, globalism.

You may not be interested in a globalist papacy, but a globalist papacy is very much interested in you. No confession, all is known / New World Order, you shall be shown...

This, then, is the state in its purest form: it is an association of men gathered together for protection and the maintenance of the common welfare. And it is from this association that the so-called “social contract” is established between the citizen and the state. A free man surrenders the bulk of his freedom in exchange for protection. To prevent these limitations in his freedom from being arbitrary, and to ensure just and efficient protection for the citizen, laws are established.

That's not a state, that's a kindred. It does have some prototypical characteristics of a sovereign body (defining sovereignty in the sense of holding iura regalia, not some Bodinian absolutism) -- avenging its members (warband), contracting marriages, exercising wardship over minors, punishing offenders of familial customs (such as adulterers), surety, etc.

Such clans and kindreds are not entirely blood-based, they eventually grow to be partially fictive. The act of marriage itself partially consists of adoption: the wife entering the jurisdiction of her husband and his kindred.

Later on, artificial brotherhoods begin to form. Members pledge oaths (sometimes sealed by blood or before holy relics), exchange weapons and thus open a convent outside bloodlines, such as for the purpose of social insurance or to create some rural settlement.

As a corporate group, there's really no discernible dichotomy between "public" and "private" acts. Taxes blur in with rents (often extracted in kind); exemptions and privileges are an important fiscal tool in their own right.

Benefits of military consolidation incentivize some inter-tribal kingship and in order to reduce war burdens for freemen. Rather than gathering their own equipment and weaponry, they can instead pledge aid to a magnate in a commendation ceremony, or commute service by paying scutage to a king or other magnate.

There is no state here. Laws predate it, and so do associations for protection and common welfare. The inability to appreciate how far a clan system can really go is one of the weaknesses of most received political philosophy.

The citizen fails to uphold the contract when he defies the state’s laws, and the state fails to uphold the contract when it fails to protect the citizen.

Citizens? What about free and unfree -- that old Roman law distinction best expressed by Ulpian? What about coloni and villeins? "Citizenship" is the hereditary aristocracy of the universal priesthood, or at least in modern practice it always will be. There are at least three dimensions to managing peoples: their status, their title, and their tenancy. You can have a personally unfree (bondsman) knight, for instance, as the ministeriales in the Holy Roman Empire were. You can have a common freeman holding villein tenure with the labor services attached to it.

Liberal states bestow everyone that equal title of nobility called "citizen," (quite different from republicanism in antiquity, and unavoidably so) and in practice, most aliens and foreigners are just as well protected. Actually, come to think of it, the liberal state turns all people into Jews: the direct possessions disposable by royally appointed justices, royalty having since devolved into popular assembly.

Any state that hopes to survive the long march of history must follow this maxim: one people, one parliament, one prince.

Which is why England, being one of the first to perfect this maxim, today enjoys a healthy demographic and cultural standing.

Ancient Rome, the British Empire, the Ottoman Turks, the Mongol Hordes — the graveyard of history is littered with the tombs of nations that thought diversity could work. But we do not even need to look at history.

500 years (for just the Western imperial period) ain't good enough for ya, Fritz?

Europe spent thousands of years struggling against its religious and linguistic diversity and only in the past few decades have things begun to change. Just as European nations were settling down to savor the fruits of peace, just as they were becoming friendly in one another’s company, they decided to invite thousands of Islamic invaders to join them at the table. It was an unforgivable error. Europeans have forgotten the one rule that must never be forgotten: all good states are ethnostates.

Nationalism is anti-colonialism for white people. It gives the same thrill of being a freedom fighter standing up against a long reign of injustice. And all the same opportunities to write about your "negritude," or "blancitude" (?) as the case may be. Except, of course, that the oppressed people on whose behalf the anti-colonial revolt is waged seldom participate in it themselves. The superior civilizational accomplishments of Europeans has blurred this commonality in most people's minds. The European nationalist "knows" that the blacks can't really run a state of their own, but thinks absolutely nothing of some subaltern Central European Slavic tribe dismembering a royal patrimony for its own ethnocentric ends. Why it's only the natural thing to do!

Moyle Sherer, a British army officer, in his 1826 travelogue of Germany and Austria, recounts the political apathy and sense of resignation among the German commoners that the Metternichian order has essentially halted any dreams of national unification (a state of affairs that would unfortunately not last for long):

Go where you will in Germany the personal independence of the individual German strikes you very forcibly, and it is, perhaps, the kind of contentment which this generates, combined with a consciousness that Germany can never be one great united nation, which renders him so indifferent to political changes, so little inclined to stir and rouse himself to produce them. The word Father-land is indeed a talisman of acknowledged power; it unites, for the moment, all true German hearts; and their language, that seems not only to be printed but to be spoken, in black letter, is another.

This is Guizot's advice of "go out and enrich yourselves" put into action. There is a balance between a sense of ethnic identity with a refusal to disturb the conservative order for some romantic goal of rebirth.

The Croatian Parliament did not start speaking Croatian until the 1840s, already over 550 years into its history. Somehow this did not kill their identity.

The "radical cultural geographer" James Morris Blaut, a supporter of Puerto Rican independence among other things, wrote a book endorsing a Marxist theory of anti-colonial struggle: The National Question: Decolonizing the Theory of Nationalism. In the preface, he emphatically states that "struggles for national liberation in colonies and neocolonies are a vital, central part of the movement towards social justice in these countries and in the world."

One of the great misconceptions about Marxism is its supposedly anti-nationalistic character. Orthodox Marxists, in truth, were very much in favor of nationalist movements that they foresaw as being economically modernizing. Lenin, Stalin and Luxemburg, among others, all wrote on the national question. Here's Lenin in 1916: "Just as mankind can achieve the abolition of classes only by passing through the transition period of the dictatorship of the oppressed class, so mankind can achieve the inevitable merging of nations only by passing through the transition period of complete liberation of all the oppressed nations, i.e., their freedom to secede."

No doubt to most the people the idea that national liberation breeds international merging sounds highly counterintuitive, but then you realize that this is what actually ended up happening. 1848, 1878, 1918 all culminated in 1946 and beyond. It wasn't the interwar fascists who were the most successful promoters of national self-determination, but rather Wilson and Lenin.

The much-cherished virtues of loyalty, consistency, and reason will vanish. Ask Austria-Hungary as its Serbian citizens throw bombs at the royal family and its Romanians sneak away in the night to fight for the Tsar; ask them if diversity is a strength.

Diversity is bad, so give the American South to the blacks?

Ask General Julius Jacob von Haynau how you deal with the uppity Hungarians. 13 Martyrs? The mistake was not making it at least 13,000.

After that, Baron Alexander von Bach suspends local immunities and implements top-down "neoabsolutism" in Austria. What did Hungarian leader and engineer of the Ausgleich of 1867, Ferenc Deak, think of this era? One of horrible oppression?

It was, according to him, a time when "Everywhere there is life and movement, and it seems that we do not sleep; in the areas of literature, nationality, industry, and economy something is happening everywhere, even if trifling; it is a sign of life and vitality."

An interesting assessment.

"Empires don't get things done" is one of those pretty lies that not even our boastful and proud "alternative right" has shaken, indeed it is a conventional wrong that is most dear to it. The horrible realization sets in that the EU and the IMF are actually in principle quite sustainable. And that mustn't be true.

The parliament allows a nation’s citizenry to have their voices heard and duly dismissed. Along the way, all of that bottled-up frustration in the citizen’s chest will be gently relieved like an exhaust valve opening on a steam engine; the legislative outcome is not as important to the citizen as making his opinion known.

Translation: Concentrate benefits, disperse costs and hope that the goyim don't notice. The "bottled-up frustration" will surely be relieved, gently or not, but not by parliamentary hearings. Rather, by cheap and affordable entertainment. Like the Brazilian military junta turning a blind eye to the production of pornochanchada films.

Representative government does not quelch passions, it inflames them. This is only unless the representation consists merely of summoning by writ pre-existing, well-defined corporate interests -- and we can't have that because those are signs of "scheming elites" or whatever. Else our beautiful national parliament becomes a hive of partyism and faction, of unstable coalitions and high-energy popular politics. Even if suffrage is limited, the spectacle will invite radical tendencies and opportunistic insiders willing to broaden the suffrage.

The fact that Pendleton is arguing for the necessity of parliament on basis of its potential as "soapbox" shows he doesn't value the institution all that much.

What does Nathaniel Johnston, High Tory absolutist of the 17th century (and overall quite Filmerist in his persuasions) say of the temper and disposition of the commonalty? Going by Tacitus, he concludes that it is their nature "slavishly to fear, or proudly to domineer, affrighting the Government, if they be not brought to some degree of awe." That they are "wholly strangers to the golden mean of liberty," "wrought up by seditious arts of popular men" and "vainly hoping to some enlargement of that liberty, which they fondly dream of." (The Excellency of Monarchical Government, p.412)

Johnston's advice to ease discontent is by balancing trade, promoting manufacture, banishing idleness, repressing waste and excess, improving the soil, moderating taxes and tributes, to invite the indigent into military employments and colonial settlements.

A soapbox is not on his list.

To deny citizens all representation in government is to tempt disaster.

Sure, for instance, the King of Hungary citing the enactment of the 1514 Tripartitium standardization of legal customs as having been influenced by "the prayers and petitions of our faithful subjects the lords prelate, the barons, and the rest of the nobles and dignitaries."

No "citizens" there, though. Pendleton never ponders on class and estate, and its dire fundamental necessity. For, as the Prussian counterrevolutionary Hans Hugo von Kleist-Retzow (1814-1892) said: "A state without class divisions is a horde, like the Huns." No "upper chamber" of lords or dashing Bonapartist prince changes the fact that Pendleton is selling the horde of yesteryear's constitutional monarchy.

When the Ottonian-era chronicler Thietmar of Merseburg discusses councils summoned by the emperor, it's always populated by "senatores," "optimates," and "principes." People you have specifically entrusted to govern. For venting, there's always public festivals and the confessional.

In general, when we encounter the assent of "totum populum," the people as a whole, it's almost always regarding assent to a royal election. But this assent does not invest authority per se, rather it functions as a capitulation to the social classes that the peace and their possessions will be maintained. The Holy Roman Emperors would all customarily issue so-called "electoral capitulations" (Wahlkapitulationen) when beginning their reign, for instance.

A strong nation requires a well-policed aristocracy. It is the only way to maintain the levels of centralization needed to keep a state unified and vigorous. Every symphony must have only one conductor and every nation must have only one leader; a hundred noblemen bickering over spoils and plotting murder is no way to run a government. A parliament, if it is well designed, is a natural mechanism to keep the aristocracy constrained in a set of velvet chains. The term “velvet chains” is no rhetorical flourish. Throughout their political lives, the elite must feel restrained but not so restrained that they are willing to risk their lives of comfort and ease in a rebellion.

Indeed, just ask Jean-Baptiste Colbert and his royal intendants. Why, they documented everything that the parlementaires used to do before (and use it to quo warranto the hell out of local immunities and franchises and for pelting the realm with direct taxation) -- church lands, militias, seigneuries, titles, companies, industries, production numbers, debts, shipping schedules, up to the number of fruits on a given tree.

But wait -- isn't that an imperium in imperio? Yes, it is -- and just as the king and his myriad of clerks said to the aristocracy "We do not need you checking and balancing the laws of this realm, now shut up and pay up" so the clerks would then tell the king the same -- and off with his head!

Every nation must have only one leader. And when this one leader hires a bunch of jurists to flatter him about his absolute, inalienable sovereignty subject to no higher law, the jurists soon realize that this inactualizable abstraction of "sovereignty" works identically no, not for a hundred, not for a thousand, but for many tens and tens of thousands of noblemen. No, for universal manhood suffrage nobility. No, for universal nobility.

Also, there's something obvious going on here: Pendleton wants to sneak in Burlamaqui/Montesquieu-style "checks and balances" here without actually saying it, especially when he goes on later about bicameralism.

Yet another pernicious influence of Moldbug is his spreading the idea that checks and balances are a LIBRUHL invention meant to increase entropy by dividing power.

But in fact, checks and balances were an important part of e.g. the traditional French monarchy as envisioned by the parlementaires and their most famous political theoretician, Claude de Seyssel. In his Le grand monarchie de France (1515), Seyssel links power to distributive justice based on estate/class divisions:

Thus the goods and honors, responsibilities, and administration of the commonweal being divided and parceled out in this manner among all the estates proportionately, according to their condition and preeminence and the equality of each maintained, there ensues a harmony and consonance which is the cause of the preservation and augmentation of the monarchy.

He says that a king's authority is "greater and more perfect and also more firm and lasting" when moderated and bridled. The three main bridles according to Seyssel are: religion, justice and police. These respectively correspond to Christian piety, judicial review of the parlements and the last one being "the many ordinances, made by the kings of France and . . . confirmed from time to time, which tend to the conservation of the realm. . . . The princes never undertake to derogate from them; and if they wanted to do so, their commands would not be obeyed, especially as to their domain and royal patrimony, which they cannot alienate except in case of necessity. Such alienation must come under the cognizance of and be approved by the sovereign courts of parliament and by the chambers of accounts."

No duke in some far-flung part of the kingdom can raise a personal army without being in defiance of the law, and thus risking the ire of both parliament and the prince. In this sense, the self-interest of a king and his parliament lead to a natural cooperation between them: a threat to one is likewise a threat to the other.

The various landfrieden that outlawed private wars are quite unrelated to representation, moreover there is no a priori point of natural cooperation between king and parliament purely on basis of resisting powerful magnates. Especially not if one is pursuing an active strategy of noble reduction, where the loosening of class boundaries and the creation of an equalized homogeneous gentry bound to royal patronage leads to conceit among the tiers-etat and a loss of respect for the king, who is now viewed as the prime magnate that he is, with the aids that a vassal is obligated to give to the lord as part of fealty and as a sign of fidelity now instead perceived as onerous taxation by a man governing through "unearned" birthright rather than bourgeois "virtue."

Even Nathaniel Johnston acknowledges that "The Splendor, Magnificence, and great Retinues of Noblemen, conduce much to Martial greatnes." (p.403) Everywhere except Poland, by his estimate.

Secondly, it provides a legal mechanism for the people and the prince to work together to keep the scheming elites in check.

The scheming elites whose bailiffs court foreign merchants? No, that's the king (Carta Mercatoria 1303):

Should it happen hereafter that any merchant, foreign or denizen, or other person, is disturbed in selling such things in cities, boroughs, towns, seaports, or other enfranchised places, against the tenor of this statute, and that the mayors, bailiffs, or others who administer that franchise, when requested by the said merchants or others, fail to provide them with a remedy, and are convicted thereof, the franchise is to be seized into the king's hand; notwithstanding which, those who have committed the disturbance in infringement of this statute will be obliged to pay the plaintiff double the damages he has suffered from the episode.

Around the same time, the "scheming elites" took offense to Richard II courting himself with a Gascon foreigner and in 1311 formed themselves into the Lords Ordainers, shackling the king with ordinances that, among other things ordered "that all manner of customs and maltotes levied since the coronation of King Edward, son of King Henry, are to be entirely removed and utterly abolished forever, notwithstanding the charter which the said King Edward granted to alien merchants [the Carta Mercatoria], because it was issued contrary to the Great Charter and contrary to the liberty of the city of London and without the assent of the baronage."

Those scheming aristocrats and their shameless usurpation, demanding that England be for the English. The nerve of those bastards.

It is a fundamental law of life that people care more for the things that they own than those they do not. The prince has every incentive to make his kingdom strong because there is no other pasture for him to till. He either harvests the fruits of his own field or he starves. Each action, each proclamation carries all of the weight of the prince’s authority behind it and so if he leads his people astray, if he leads the nation to ruin, he is held personally responsible. No president has the level of accountability that a prince has because no president has as much responsibility as a prince.

Pendleton's parliamentary monarchist model has little in the way of a stake of ownership for the prince. His kingdom is not really a patrimony. For all the talk of "vetos," "shuffles," "house of lords," the kingdom described is an open meritocratic commonwealth and not a lordship or estate.

Robert Grosseteste, bishop of Lincoln, wrote these rules for managing a manorial estate circa 1240. Firstly, the lands by their "parcels, all the rents, customs, usages, services, franchises, fees and tenements" must be surveyed and enrolled, with testimony of freeholders and villeins. Then, movables, acres of arable land, pastures, ploughs, etc. are to be counted. The lord's seneschal is commanded to "keep whole and without harm, all my rights, franchises and fixed possessions." The guide continues with rules on accounting and maintenance.

There is a clear hierarchy of the lord paramount's holdings and those of his subtenants, standards of how holdings should be divided, accounted, renumerated, the duties of the lord's officials, and a commitment to enforcement of oaths and testaments. Such a manorial estate is simply patrimonial government on a micro level, and mapping upward it retains its substance to an entire kingdom with all of its subsidiaries. It is government by tenancy.

The abstract parliamentary monarchy has no such established hierarchies, it is only one top-down conciliar structure that acts as a black box. Some salaried administration/civil service is going to have to exist in parallel with it, thus de facto abrogating the parliament's supposedly central role. Either you have to approximate a household with seneschals, bailiffs, ministeriales, etc. or you deal with a professional bureaucracy and all that it entails.

Americans spend much of their time unduly cursing the president and rarely ever notice the little lawyers in moth-eaten robes who, when they make pronouncements, cannot be questioned. It is also curious how most Americans do not bother asking one of the most crucial questions of politics: how do the American people overturn a Supreme Court ruling? What recourse is there if the Supreme Court decides to rule based on the emotional prejudices of its justices rather than precedence and sound judgment? The truth is that there is no recourse.

True enough, but not all judicial review is created equal, e.g. Seyssel (1515): "This justice is the more authoritative because the officers deputed to administer it are permanent; and it is not in the power of the king to depose them except for malfeasance, of which the cognizance is reserved to the sovereign courts. . . . Truly, as has been said, this rein and bridle is greater and more praiseworthy in France than in any other land, and has been maintained for so long that it scarcely can be broken, although it may be bent."

This is the very antithesis of a prince who is bound to his people by the iron bonds of blood and tradition.

Bound to his people... like, and I already mentioned the English case above, Ladislaus IV of Hungary and his Cuman mistresses? Peter of Hungary surrounding himself with Germans and Italians, being deposed and then restored as a vassal of the Holy Roman Emperor? Like Charles V appointing Flemish nobles (including the future Pope Adrian VI) to administer Castile, triggering revolt? Like Andrew II legitimizing Transylvanian Saxon colonists? The numerous Bulgarian consorts to Serbian princes? Maria Theresa settling the Danube Swabians? Catherine the Great and the Volga Germans? The French royal army being filled with foreign mercenaries?

Or how about a Pole being appointed as Voivode of Transylvania by Sigismund of Hungary (later Holy Roman Emperor), and owning a quarter of modern Slovakia?

If Pendleton truly wants a nativist front, then spitting on the aristocracy with its endogamic clans and jealous guarding of its prerogatives is a bad thing to do, as they and not kings with the latter's wider marital diplomacy tend to react more bitterly to foreign presence. All the more that their privileges represent continuity and tradition. A commonwealth of free and equal $DEMONYM men is at the mercy of the scribblers who define what participation in $DEMONYM nationhood "really" means.

Also, why shouldn't some Pole own a quarter of Slovakia, anyway? Better yet, why shouldn't some Bulgarian own three-quarters of Slovakia? Jozef Miloslav Hurban was a nutter. Ľudovít Štúr, the Slovak linguist, didn't call the Slovaks a "nation," he called them a "tribe." And he called Slovak not a language, but a dialect (narečja, or Mundart in German). The purpose was to stick it to the Czechs, not so much the Hungarians, from whose political infrastructure they benefited. All I'm saying is, kill Slovaks.

The royal shuffle, as I envision it, should give the prince the power to dismiss the lower chamber of parliament, each and every member, and then reopen the elections for the people to decide who should stay and who should leave for the next gathering. This not only helps to break deadlocks and to prune the bad apples who inevitably find their way into every legislature, but it also maintains a necessary function in the balance of power: it gives the people a choice over who best represents their interests, prince or parliament, without having to resort to a rebellion. If the prince dismisses parliament, and the voters reelect all the same scoundrels as before, then he knows that parliament was indeed reflecting the will of the people.

What becomes clear regarding this whole piece, as I alluded to above, is that Pendleton has said nothing of what a German cameralist might have termed Polizeiwissenschaft, that is to say the actual problem of administration. The legislature can ponder all it wants in whatever configuration it can muster. When it passes a bill, how does it get implemented? With feudal law [Lehnrecht] your ruling class is actually relatively well formalized in that you have a hierarchy of jurisdictions, which in turn are treated as alienable franchises. On the local level, bureaucracies can be made lighter and the older household estate administration/seneschaurie model maps quite naturally to such a system.

Parliamentary monarchism like the one sketched in his essay is unlikely to be staffed by anything other than afrancesado types. Being capable of rapidly dismissing and replacing them doesn't change the underlying pattern, and may make office-holders more apathetic or geared to short-term predation.

Actually Pendleton's proposal reminds me somewhat of the constitution of the Bourbon Restoration. Given the increasingly enlightened standards of the time, it wasn't terrible, but it did sink in 15 years.

Overall, my verdict is that the Enlightenment kills one's historical imagination.

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