Monday, 13 October 2014

Putin, parliamentarianism and the desirability of monarchies

A recent controversy in Italy over Putin illustrates how the democratic system is frowned upon by the majority of Europeans.

While public opinion polls in France and Germany show that Putin would win presidential elections in both countries; Italy is divided between supporters and detractors of the Russian President.

Two Italian websites which are geared at a Catholic audience, for example, have opposing positions: while La Torre (“The Tower”) praised Putin’s economic and social policy, Nuova Bussola Quotidiana (“The New Daily Compass”) believes that Putin cannot be considered a good ally.

On the latter website, Luigi Geninazzi, who has worked as a reporter in East Europe for Avvenire and Il Sabato (the most popular Catholic daily in Italy) and written several essays the on ex-Soviet world, criticizes Putin’s pan-Slavism: he argues that, in the Ukraine crisis, the only fault of the EU has been its indifference, because the EU does not really want Ukraine to enter Europe. However, beyond the geopolitical evaluations of Geninazzi’s article, there is a particularly interesting passage. Why, the author asks himself, do Catholics (and others) appreciate Putin so much, even though the Russian President looks out for Russia’s interests regardless of the opinion of the rest of the world?

Geninazzi answers: “[because] the West hates itself. Unfortunately, there are good reasons for this: Obama is a reluctant president who does not know which way to turn; the EU is drowning in an economic crisis from which there seems to be no escape; in Brussels, there are 28 countries that spin freely. It is not a pretty sight. We have developed such a sense of rejection of our ruling classes, that when a strong man appears who expresses the idea that “the State is me” clearly, when this man is willing to adopt harsh methods in defense of traditional values, defends the natural family, and says he want to defend the Christians in the Middle East, he appears immediately to a lot of people as the ideal statesman.”

So, we like Putin because he is a “strong man”, one who was able to stop the oligarchs who emerged under Yeltsin, the only leader who is willing to say no to “gender diktat”, one who was willing to condemn Pussy Riot for bursting into an Orthodox church (while when Femen storm Notre Dame in Paris, they are compensated by the French courts), who argues that the future of nations depends on large families, etc. However, if Christians can appreciate the content of his statements, many others especially appreciate the fact that he is a “strong man”, who has a plan for his nation. In this respect, the Russian leadership outdoes the vacillating movements of parliamentary systems like the Italian one (a feature of all democracies, including the European Parliament).

This has happened in the past: for instance, French President Jacques Chirac (1995-2007), a conservative, was appreciated also by leftists because of his decisiveness. The same was true of the Italian Socialist Prime Minister Bettino Craxi (who was in office from 1983-1987: a record tenure for a PM from the so-called “First Republic”), who was appreciated by people on the right, again because of his decisiveness.

So, after seventy years of the democratic experience in Italy, any leader that steps beyond parliamentarian bickering is also appreciated by those who harbor opposite ideological positions.

The average Italian man cannot stand the “caste” of MPs who earn in one day what he earns in a month for doing nothing, indeed, to do damage (the same goes for any European). In particular, the cumbersome Italian parliamentary system seems unbearable, with two Houses placed on an equal basis, both of them compelled to approve the same text of every law – so that just one modification of a simple word necessitates that the text should be revised again by a House that had already approved it…

Faced with so many delays, the idea of ​​a leader that takes all the short-term necessary decisions for the wealth of the State must be seen positively. How can the parliamentary system be overcome?

There are essentially two possible solutions: one linked to the democratic and electoral system, and the other to traditional aristocracy.
In the first case, the electoral system would be retained with universal suffrage, which according to the principle of “one man, one vote” equates educated with uneducated. With these elections, the leader would be chosen directly by the people in a presidential election. All of the problems related to demagoguery, which are inextricably linked to universal suffrage, would remain. Indeed, the presidential system is the one France adopted in 1959 with Charles De Gaulle; in other countries it is considered a panacea, but it does not seem to be appreciated currently by the French themselves…

In the other system, however, the egalitarian principle of “one man, one vote” is rejected, and the choice is made on an aristocratic and meritocratic basis; the correct differences between the individual layers of society are recognized (as Menenius Agrippa said about two and a half millennia ago…) and reflected in a hereditary monarchy. It is no coincidence that what we call Europe originated with such a system, which it used for centuries and centuries, until the French Revolution presented an alternative.

There is a clear difference between being ruled by a Prince who has been educated in the sphere of government since birth and to be subject to a despot who comes from nothing and will return to nothing, who is primarily concerned with his own immediate self-interest and not with leaving his own offspring a well- administered country.

Are these outdated ideas? Apparently, due to the anti-monarchical propaganda that has bombarded us since the days of the French Revolution, which was then joined with Marxist propaganda that gave rise firstly to Bolshevik Revolution and then to the protests of 1968 and their cultural revolution, where we find the origin of the current moral, economic and social dissolution we are currently experiencing.

But now Putin has presented us with an alternative, and he is much appreciated for overcoming Russia’s short-lived egalitarian democratic system. We can again propose the restoration of a hereditary monarchy, with a true Christian King (not a simple “crowned President”) as the best solution, which can return Europe to the glories of its past.


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