The family that could save Europe
Weirdly, I was unaware that Europe was in need of saving.
I can't imagine from whom or from what the continent of Europe would need saving. But whatever it is that is threatening these nations, I can think of only one family who can be called upon to save them. . .
A little over a hundred years ago, Emperor Karl of Austria, his wife Zita and their small children were forced to leave their last refuge in Austria for Swiss exile. Two abortive attempts to regain the Austrian throne led to their exile and his death in Madeira.
You don't mean. . .
You can't possibly mean. . .
. . . The Habsburgs????
Well, certainly an argument can be made that uropeans might benefit from the re-elevation of this brood of incestuous hemophiliacs onto the thrones of dictatorial power, but is it really practical?
Over the following decades the imperial exiles made the best of things, with the heir, Archduke Otto, trying first to catalyse resistance to Hitler on Austria’s part, and then with more success to ensure that the victorious Allies would treat Austria as a victim rather than a perpetrator.
Which, as anyone who has read a bit of history and didn't think the Sound of Music was a documentary knows, was bullshit. Austria welcomed the Nazis with open arms. After they realized they'd backed the wrong horse, they began the effort to brand Austria as the "First Victim of World War II,"
So, if being a shameless opportunistic liar is one of the qualifications for leadership, then. . .
Oh. Right. Never mind.
Austria was fortunate: after 1955 and the Soviet withdrawal, she was spared the horrors that the rest of the Old Monarchy had imposed upon them by the Soviets. Gratitude to the Habsburgs for the role they played in this happy event was and is nil.
And that role was. . .?
What did they do to get the Soviets to treat them less harshly? Surely you can name one example?
Okay, then. Let's plow ahead.
The family properties confiscated by the socialists in 1919 were returned to them in 1935 – and duly re-seized by the German occupiers in 1938. They remain particularly profitable pieces of Nazi loot which no Austrian government thus far seems willing to return to its rightful owners.
Oh, right. Because clearly these self-entitled inbreds earned every bit of those properties! How dare the Austrian government not use taxpayer Euros to fight a legal battle on behalf of the goddamm Habsburg dynasty?
Nevertheless, 800 years of Habsburg rule left a strong imprint on Austria – not just in the still very Catholic and conservative countryside, but also in “red Vienna”. Double eagles, signaling a firm’s former status as a purveyor to the imperial court, are everywhere in the capital. Monuments aside, the round of balls, concerts and other such activities seems unchanged from Habsburg times – to say nothing of such things as the Vienna Boys’ Choir and the Lipizzaners of the Spanish Riding School.
Yeaaah, um. . . so what? Had some family ruled a country for 800 years and NOT left an indelible imprint on its history and culture, one would be shocked. I would venture to guess that Egyptian culture still shows the influence of centuries of Pharaohonic rule. (is too a word!) You can still see remnants of the Julii all over Italy. So I don't know how relevant it is that the Habsburgs imprint can still be seen in Vienna. And if the most impressive cultural artifacts a re a boys' choir and some fancy horse-riding, I gotta say that was a waste of 800 years.
Pleasant, more or less, as Austria’s existence after 1955 was, the former imperial lands east of the Iron Curtain did not fare nearly so well – the difficulties of their being hacked apart in 1919 having been exacerbated by war and communism.
Wait, so things were better in Austria than in countries living under the iron fist of Stalinism? Well, why didn't you say so? RESTORE THE MONARCHY!!!
Sociological studies have found that in Poland, Ukraine, Romania and Serbia – those areas that were once part of Austria-Hungary – have a much higher rate of trust in police and courts and less corruption than those that were not. The test-runners have dubbed this “the Habsburg effect”.
**Sighhhh. . .**
None of those countries are ruled by Habsburgs. Those are Democratic countries. You could just as easily dub this phenomenon the "Soviet effect," and it would actually be more plausible since there are still many people in those countries who grew up under Soviet rule. Their national characters were shaped much more recently by life behind the iron curtain than by their centuries of autocratic monarchical rule.
Archduke Otto. . . was foremost in calling for the rapid integration into the European Union of Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Croatia and the once partly Habsburg Poland.
But in the aftermath of their liberation and incorporation into the EU, a strange phenomenon emerged: they found they had more in common with each other (and in recent years with Sebastian Kurz’s Austria) than with the Western nations. Not only did they share scepticism toward Western Europe’s embrace of abortion and sexual licence, their national cultures – despite the nationalisms that tore them apart – have much in common.
And clearly this phenomenon can have only one cause: the fact that all these countries were once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire! No way could it have anything to do with their shared Eastern Orthodox religion, or the fact that they are all Slavic countries. No, it has to be the Habsburgs, which means that a Habsburg must once again be pl;aced on the throne to rule all of Europe!
I haven't seen the show, but I'm pretty sure that's what it was about, right? That and boobies?
The growth of the common cultus of Emperor Karl since his beatification in 2004 has also played its part. There are – not too surprisingly – 26 shrines to him in Austria. But there are eight in the Czech Republic, 16 in Hungary, three in Slovakia and two in Croatia. The Blessed said repeatedly during his last year of life that he was suffering so that his peoples might come back together. It is quite possible that shared devotion to him might well be contributing to that.
Did he say that? He said that repeatedly? You know, I know someone who has repeatedly said that he is suffering to make his country great again, but I sure as fuck wouldn't canonize him!
Except like this.
And what of the House of Habsburg itself in all of this? Otto’s elder son, Karl, ably assisted by younger, Hungary-based brother Georg, is certainly keeping the flag flying through the Paneuropa Union
Okay, I don't know what that is, but it sounds uncomfortably similar to Identity Evropa to me.
I looked it up on Wikipedia, and apparently "It is independent of all political parties, but has a set of four basic principles by which it appraises politicians, parties, and institutions: liberal conservatism, Christianity, social responsibility, and pro-Europeanism."
All of which sound pretty frightening. Especially soince "liberal conservatism" seems to refer to the idea that governments should not interfere with the workings of the market, but should interfere in people's private morality.
Their sisters are also plugging away at similar tasks. Cousin Michael, of the Hungarian branch of the family, is head of the group working for the beatification of Cardinal Mindszenty, while his son, Eduard, is Hungary’s envoy to the Holy See.
So, A: not a one of them is doing anything remotely productive or useful, and B: the author is happy to tell you all about the male members of the family and their activities, but as for the girls. . . suffice it to say that they are "plugging away" at some undefined "tasks." So I think I'm starting to see why the author is so nostalgic for a pre-Twentieth-Century way of organizing societies.
It is now a large clan, scattered across the globe, but by and large an extremely hard-working one.
Working very hard at pointless vanity projects which benefit no one. Sorry, we already have a family like that.
The website of the Austrian branch of Paneuropa declares: “The soul of this continent is Christianity. Whoever takes it out of political action, makes Europe a soulless body.” The Europe they would like to see is one that even the hardest of Brexiteers might well like.
Oh, so they appeal to hard-line racists with fascist leanings? Oh, why didn't you say so? And theocrats too! Oh, they just sound splendid! How has no one yet thought to restore them to their former imperial position? Of course these fine people should rule over an entire continent as twee, fastidious autocrats.
But if such a vision is ever to come about, reunion of the Danubian countries would create an entity capable of challenging the secularist elements in Brussels and accomplishing it. As in the past nine centuries, the ties binding this region are not national, but religious, cultural and dynastic. It is fitting that the modern bearers of the name are working steadily in these fields. Anyone hoping for the best for Europe can only wish them success
Yes, One can only wish for all of Eastern Central Europe to join together to form a religious, cultural and dynastic behemoth capable of challenging secularism and, what, re-launching the Crusades? Driving the Moors and Jews out of the Holy Roman Empire? This all sounds like it came from Sebastian Gorka's dream journal.
In any case, considering how many tourists flock to see the mere relics of Habsburg rule in Central Europe’s capitals today, one can only guess at the flood that would pour in to see the revived rituals of an imperial and royal court in such varied settings. They would surely give the horde of royal-watchers in London and Windsora run for their money.
Oh, well, if it's going to be a tourist attraction, then sure! Who needs Democracy and freedom anyway? If it's going to bring in a bunch of American rubes trying to see if they can get the palace guards to crack a smile, then how could you NOT want to go back to a monarchy?