Monday, July 17, 2017

Nationalism is as Old as Mankind

I really believe this, and this is the impression I get from my historical reading.

The problem is that I don't have much of a head for history, so I can rarely marshal my scattered impressions when I get into an argument.

But today I was reading about St. Hedwig, a Queen of Poland in the fourteenth century. Her father had intended another one of his daughters for the throne, and arranged a marriage with a foreign king, but the Polish nobles weren't pleased about it.

Wikipedia says: "However, both her daughters had been engaged to foreign princes (Sigismund and William, respectively) unpopular in Poland. Polish lords who were opposed to a foreign monarch regarded the members of the Piast dynasty as possible candidates to the Polish throne."

What's this? That sounds very nationalistic. Way back in the fourteenth century. But wasn't nationalism invented in the nineteenth century? The neo-reactionaries who are all about aristocracy and disdain nationalism wouldn't approve.

And I've encountered hundreds of similar little references in my historical reading through the years. Maybe I should compile a dossier.


  1. Séamus(Australia)July 17, 2017 at 5:10 AM

    There have been so many royal saints through the years... And although it would be naive to think that there's never any political consideration when Rome makes declarations about Saints, or anything else, none of these could have sustained any sort of cultus if the rank-and-file Catholics didn't want it. People never saw a contradiction between nationalism and church, monarchy and saints, service to God and service to nation and(even liberation theologians have to admit) the devotion to royal Saints could never have continued without the devotion of the poor. Definitely the idea of nation has changed, as Belloc says-there were many stratas of aristocracy and country up to the baroque era. We see remnants of this in countries like Monaco and Luxembourg where there are rulers who are not termed "king"
    Of course it's not as simple nowadays when royalty don't live particularly religious lives, few countries have religious constitutions, for those who have it's largely ignored and it seems almost every country with a catholic majority has or will have same sex marriage... But we're never meant turn off our nationality for all that. Perhaps we're meant to be half way between Joan of Arc and Jeremiah, who, I'm sure, was no less devoted to Jerusalem despite what he could see was happening to her

    1. Indeed I think there is something deeply natural and perenneial about monarchy. I hope your republicans never succeed!

  2. I'm not sure that I like the British monarchy being sovereigns of Australia per se. In a way it serves as a slight bollard against further globalisation and (in a small way) secularization,although a couple of weeks ago even the Australian scouts, which is traditionally a very Anglican oriented movement here, have either dropped all mention of God and Queen in their pledge or at least made them optional, from what I understood, it sounded like the former-DROPPED ALTOGETHER.
    The British monarchy is certainly good for Britain,I don't know how the English could see it otherwise.
    New Zealand actually produced a (mostly children's) movie some years back about a young girl obsessed with Elizabeth II, it was set in the 50s, I'm not sure if it was ever shown much in Ireland, but you probably would have found it charming. I think it was just called HER MAJESTY

    1. It sounds charming.

      If a home-grown monarch (maybe King Paul I of the House of Hogan?) replaced the British monarch, I'd be fine with that. Otherwise, death to republicans! (Figuratively speaking.)