Bloody shovel

Don't call it a spade

Sanctimonious Fnargl

I don’t remember who said it, that writing isn’t something you consciously control; very often you just think of something, start writing, and once you get into it, the story just has a life of its own, and through inertia it goes on evolving in ways you didn’t foresee when you started the whole thing. That’s what happened with my previous post, I didn’t set out to write a thesis on the intersection between Clausewitz and Dunbar. It turned out a pretty good post (the ways of the brain are inscrutable), but I wanted to write about something else at first.

I wanted to write about this guy:

This old man being interviewed is Price Hans-Adam the Second, the sovereign of Liechtenstein. As most of you will know Liechtenstein is just a mountain valley in the Alps, which was so tiny and inconsequential that nobody ever thought of integrating in any of the empires or nation states that were forming in Europe. Not even Hitler bothered to send some troops to draft some Aryan kids into the Wehrmacht. So this little alpine valley was just left there, the personal fief of the Lord of Liechtenstein, who had actually been living in Vienna for 1000 years, being an absentee landlord as all the cool kids used to be. He actually had way more land than that miserable piece of mountain, but he wasn’t so lucky at keeping those from the onslaught of nationalism. Security through obscurity they call it nowadays. Come 1938, Hitler’s army comes rolling up to Vienna, which ceases to be the cool avantgarde aggregation of cafes that the aristocrats enjoyed, so the House of Liechtenstein decides to hide for a while in their alpine holdings. WW2 ends, but this time it’s Stalin’s tanks who are in the outskirts of Vienna, while most of Europe is becoming either outright Communist or some lame shade of Americanized socialism. What is one sovereign aristocrat to do in this New World Order? Well start a bank, of course. No taxes, bank secrecy; with this easy recipe, 30 years later the Lord of Liechtenstein, that piece of unproductive mountain land who not even Hitler wanted it, was worth billions. The intersection of feudalism and modernity produces this little miracles.

So you got this man, this family, who are the only aristocrats in Europe allowed to keep their own sovereign fief, and is smart enough to use it to make a lot of money. The luckiest guy on the continent. And having his aristocratic family connections, he has hundreds upon hundreds of noble friends who, having lost their assets, surely are sucking up his ass every single day. Noble women throw themselves at him, men beg to be his friends, he’s the coolest kid in school. The Liechtensteins have power. Both sorts of power. They are sovereigns of a country, and have power in their social circle.

So what this guy do? Having some knowledge on this particular milieu (don’t ask why), and given the time frame (Postwar Europe, 1960s, etc.) I’d imagine the Liechtensteins would spend their winters skying in Switzerland, their summers in the French Riviera, would buy some wineries, make some friends in Iran, and basically live a life of champagne, caviar, blonde sluts and pure and distilled debauchery. That’s what these people did (do). And I don’t blame them. Looking at the picture of the young Hans kind of confirmed my intuition.

nice hair

Then I watched the youtube of the interview the now old Hans II gave to the Hoover Institution.

Now first question is: what the hell is the feudal lord of an obscure tax haven in the Alps doing talking to the Heritage Foundation? He’s presenting his book. A book? What about? How I built an awesome country and made a fortune by taking money from your countries? He would know something about that. Alas no, Hans may have power but he doesn’t have a sense of humor. He wrote a book called The State in the Third Millenium.

Yes, this billionaire feudal lord, this medieval aristocrat who owes his fortune to his tax evasion racket, has written a political treatise! Well he does own a state, a very different state to the liberal democratic nation-states we are used to. He surely must have some reactionary insight. Maybe he’s talking about bank secrecy? About zero tax rates? How modern states are evil and totalitarian?

No, he’s written a book about his idea that the state must serve the people. Now to be fair to the man, he’s not parroting communist nonsense. He gives it a classical liberal twist, the state must give good services in a limited way, focusing on law and order, equality of opportunity, local autonomy, etc. Not bad stuff prima-facie. The man has given some thought to his politics, and his great idea (so great he just had to write a book about it), is that the monarchy he leads doesn’t derive his legitimacy from God or tradition, but he has democratic legitimacy through the awesome services he gives to his people.

Well, duh, good luck with that. A big problem with European political thought is that they’re still using the same old arguments all over. The old Keynes vs Hayek fight. No HBD, social psychology, religion theory. Politics is about policy, if we just think of a good management system and we will it strong enough, everything will be alright. Which is the thinking process of a bureaucrat, who only understand adjustments.

I don’t blame most of European intellectuals, most of whom are bureaucrats or are related to them, for thinking like that. But the Sovereign Monarch of Liechtenstein? This guy is not a bureaucrat. He’s a landowner. He could just hire a manager and go to live in Monaco. But he doesn’t. He enjoys managing his “country”, he gave them democracy, wrote a book, and goes to an American plutocratic think tank to sing the praises of low taxes. He must feel like a rockstar being interviewed like a great thinker in Washington DC.

The Prince of Liechtenstein is the closest thing there is to Fnargl in the West.  And what does he do with his power? Write a lame book about how holy he is because he serves his people.

Why would he do that? The guy is filthy rich, has his own country, and he spends his time going abroad to preach transparent lies about how where his wealth comes from? “No, I’m not rich because I my companies have a tax advantage so we can leech from their markets, not at all. It’s just that I’m a libertarian so my policies rock.” Why would he do that? He doesn’t have to. I just don’t get it.

And that’s how I came up with my last post. People’s friends matter more than people’s interests. Human Fnargls, i.e. monarchies don’t work like some think they do. I have more post on Fnargl fails coming on. Stay tuned.


41 responses to “Sanctimonious Fnargl

  1. VXXC September 5, 2013 at 13:07

    This is important, as was Dunbarian Clausewitz, or Clausewitzian Dunbar. Really.
    So continue please.

  2. Baker September 5, 2013 at 15:57

    What’s the problem anyway? Being a born aristocracy doesn’t preclude him from patting himself on the back for serving his people. That’s what the kings had always said and what their people expected from their kings. Same old same old.

    • Baker September 5, 2013 at 16:02

      He does serve his people alright. Liechtenstein is quite well off. Just like the billionaire company owners serve their customers. Satisfied customers = more profit.

      • spandrell September 5, 2013 at 16:22

        It’s still bullcrap. He owns a tax haven. In normal circumstances any sovereign country around him would have invaded his ass and stopped companies from fleeing there to enjoy lower taxation. You don’t see the rulers of the Cayman Islands writing political treatises.

        But beyond his lying or making virtue out of necessity. Why does he give a shit? He didn’t came up with the idea. He doesn’t manage the country himself. Why in hell is he taping political propaganda for the benefit of American plutocrats? He’s a sovereign prince, not Tyler Cowen.

        • Sage Basil (@peppermint6789) September 5, 2013 at 17:55

          He doesn’t depend on the mountains to protect him and the land to sustain him. He depends on the companies using his country as a tax haven, and has to pretend to be the next best thing to democracy so that progressives in his country don’t get a chance to score sanctimony points with each other and make a scene.

          The companies using his tax haven services probably prefer his brand to the Cayman Islands brand for some reason. He needs to protect that brand.

          • spandrell September 6, 2013 at 04:42

            It’s not like his arguments are progressive-proof. Progressives over here have been demolishing this sort of libertarian arguments for centuries.

            But he does feel the need to make a case for himself and that’s curious.

        • Baker September 6, 2013 at 05:57

          He is the nominal chairman of a tax haven business. So he say something about how to keep his nominal employees and customers happy. Whether tax haven is a vice (which I think is debatable) is irrelevant. Can’t the owner of a casino talk about his belief of properly running a business?

          I do think classical liberalism, which is essentially true free market and rule of law of social contracts, is a good thing. Modern libertarian OTOH is usually a corrupted version used by spoiled rich kids to evade as much responsibility as possible; most the time they don’t know what they are talking about.

          • spandrell September 6, 2013 at 17:26

            Can’t the owner of a casino talk about his belief of properly running a business?

            No, I think that would be disingenuous. Does Stanley Ho go on Youtube to expose the pure moral principles behind his gambling dens? Do his customers need reassurance that gambling is not just a deplorable vice akin to drug addiction, but healthy family entertainment? Stanley Ho is more public than he should be, but he does a reasonably good job of being discrete.

            And yes tax havens are a vice. I love them too, but I’m not allowed to set my own, am I? Huge barriers of entry; in effect they are just a state given privilege that the neighboring states give to a certain dude. It’s feudalism.

            • Baker September 6, 2013 at 18:11

              Now I don’t really know this Hans dude or he’d said. From your description it is not about the morality of his business, but about how to run his business well and not getting himself fired, which for a state business he believes classic liberalism is the way. Nothing new for a monarchy, that’s the only thing they could say anyway, but not something to be criticized either. Why do you spend a post to pick on him anyway? Doesn’t sound like he is the reactionary’s enemy.

              Tax haven is a vice only if its net social economic effect is negative. I am not sure about it but I am not going to dwell on it.

              • spandrell September 6, 2013 at 18:38

                If the focus of my blog were to pick on reaction’s enemies I would need a 24/7 cable news channel.
                Hypocrisy is indeed natural and understandable, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be criticized. You can always shut up.

                I’m just trying to make the point that people who on paper have “power”, don’t use it for their personal interest (which would be a good thing under the Hoppe/Fnargl model), but still engage in collectivistic moralizing. Ergo Monarchy isn’t gonna save us.

              • Baker September 6, 2013 at 19:57

                > I’m just trying to make the point that people who on paper have “power”, don’t use it for their personal interest (which would be a good thing under the Hoppe/Fnargl model), but still engage in collectivistic moralizing. Ergo Monarchy isn’t gonna save us.

                You could have made it more explicit. Not all readers follow your every posts or familiar with this Fnargl jargon.

                It seems to me he is acting in his personal interest. Given his situation, classical liberalism is the most beneficial to him so he is naturally attracted to it. According to Fnargl theory elites acting in their personal interest results in economically sound action. Classical liberalism is economically sound.

                He is just naive if he believe the people will support him if he “serve” them with rule of law and equal opportunities. The populists don’t want any of that. They want ever increasing welfare and egalitarian rewards. Without an iron fist, the day a politician stops pampering the people is the day he got booted.

            • Vladimir September 9, 2013 at 01:22

              Oh come on. These people have, whatever their motivation, created a place that attracts all kinds of honest business. Even if we assume the absolute worst about how their banks make money, it’s still a fact that manufacturing employs far more people in Liechtenstein than finance. All this with zero unemployment and extremely high wages. If that’s not good government, then what is?

              It just makes no sense to compare these people with an Asian holder of gambling monopoly or with various crummy tax shelters that have nothing else going for them.

              • spandrell September 9, 2013 at 13:17

                It’s awesome government, but it’s not scalable.

                If every other country did the same thing and had low taxes he couldn’t be able to attract all those nice manufacturers to his mountain valley, would he? Am I supposed to admire this man because he runs a tax haven in the borders of the biggest manufacturing country in Europe?

                He does take good care of his 30.000 subjects, so he’s not an evil bastard. But he has the best luck in Europe. Yet he goes around bragging about how superior his politics are. Meh.

  3. Callowman September 6, 2013 at 00:40

    Peter Robinson (the “tear down this wall” speechwriter) interviewed Alois, Hans-Adam’s son, a couple years ago. He talked about sovereignty deriving from the will of the people. I suspect these guys really believe this stuff, because all the heads of state around them run around mouthing the same things. It’s kind of like the way Catholics in the US sound more Protestant than any Catholics you meet in Europe.

    • Sage Basil (@peppermint6789) September 6, 2013 at 01:47

      What does his sovereignty derive from? Not from the Wand of Fnargl, or from an army of peasant recruits with cannons stamped ‘ultima ratio regis’.

      His job is to ensure his tax haven is a good place to hide profits. Marketers spin. Duh.

  4. Vladimir September 6, 2013 at 05:49

    You’re being quite unfair when you describe Liechtenstein as a “bank.” In fact, they have 31% of the labor force employed in manufacturing, which is more than any other first-world country as far as I can tell:

    And what else could their ruler say for the purposes of foreign PR? Do you expect him to start jeering at all the sacred symbols and dogmas of progressivism and taunting USG until they flatten his palace with cruise missiles and depose him in the name of democratization? Of course that he has to limit his arguments to those that are acceptable in modern-day respectable public discourse, which means that Hayekianism and the like is as sensible as he can allow himself to get. And of course that he has to insist that his rule is by the people and for the people and whatnot.

    You speak as if he “has his own country” as a secure possession. In reality he is completely dependent on having good PR with USG (and its local EU affiliate). Under the constraints of this reality, I think his conduct is in fact a miracle of dignity and integrity.

    • spandrell September 6, 2013 at 06:12

      Well so much for “sovereignty” then. People talk of it as if it were some magical status where you can do what you want.

      Liechtenstein is a bank and a tax haven. Of course they have factories, they pay less tax than next door. I’d want to set up a factory there too.

      I get he is limited to Hayekianism, but is his conduct a “miracle of dignity”? Come on. He could just shut up and be unconspicuous. That’d be a miracle of dignity and integrity. He doesn’t need to do foreign PR, you know. Do you see the president of Andorra or San Marino giving interviews in Washington?

      • Vladimir September 7, 2013 at 20:48

        I admit it’s hard to tell how much of it is vanity, and how much rational PR. I don’t think being totally inconspicuous would work for him — it might work for a while, but sooner or later some USG/Polygon busybody would surely notice and decide that something must be done about him. So it’s probably a better option for him to proclaim his status and his beliefs openly in a way that will hopefully be acceptable enough to USG to keep him in its good graces.

        Let’s look at him through a 1-10 scale of progressivist sanctimony, where 1 would be the minimum necessary to avoid being denounced as a Nazi, 5 your typical mainstream Polygon politician or bureaucrat, and 10 the most obnoxious champagne leftist do-gooder status-whore. You’ll probably agree that he barely makes a 2 or 3 at his worst. But what would he have to lose if instead he joined the do-gooder leftist jet-set and started status-whoring in front of the cameras with fashionable progressive causes? Surely he’d only benefit from it in terms of fawning publicity, social status, and security of his position. Yet he doesn’t do it, and instead he sticks to preaching what the entire mainstream sees as boring fuddy-duddy conservative stuff (and as far to the right as you can get without being seen as the new Hitler by that same mainstream).

        So, if his only motivation is sanctimony, why not go all the way? How much sanctimony do you get anyway by being a guest on Hoover Institution’s Youtube channel? Given the possibilities he has for chasing sanctimony, this is just absurd. And the mere fact that he’s forgoing these possibilities speaks well of his character and dignity, given the status incentives and social pressures among the elites, even if he is motivated to some degree by normal human vanity.

        • spandrell September 8, 2013 at 07:23

          It’s just an example of how having sovereign power doesn’t free you being a Cathedral minion. Of course this man is low in the sanctimony ranking, but he still didn’t have to write a goddamn political treatise. He’s a feudal lord. The guys who run Andorra or Gibraltar or the dozens of US and UK based tax havens don’t run around justifying their system on semi-religious terms. But this Liechtenstein guy writes a book, and the fellas at Luxembourg are all big shots in the EU, pushing for European Unity.

          I just think they be protesting too much.

          And I’m not so sure Liechtenstein is likely to be assaulted by random Cathedral zealots. It’s not like they’re enslaving Africans or anything. Protests against tax evasion are routine, but not high in the priorities of progressives. Liechtenstein also doesn’t have much of a hand for going full sanctimonious without putting the whole country in danger, which he probably isn’t free to do.
          What he can do is follow the social policies of USG, i.e. hard feminism and homo liberation. And it seems he is. And the guy’s a Catholic.

          • Vladimir September 8, 2013 at 17:56

            Well, of course that he has no meaningful sovereignty — if USG just sneezed in his general direction, he’d get blown off like a speck of dust. I don’t think anyone has any illusions about this, least of all him.

            In particular, imagine what would happen if USG/Polygon started dispatching aggressive Quango busybodies to his country and giving them airtime and NYT column space to ramble against him. (Whether on the basis of tax sheltering, or insufficiently progressive domestic policies, or the fact that he wields real political power without a democratic or Harvard-approved expert-technocratic rationale — it doesn’t even matter.) In no time the whole world would be looking at him in hateful rage as if he were actually enslaving Africans, and he’d only have a choice between stepping down unceremoniously or being ousted in some nastier way.

            So what can he do? At best, he can try to implement the necessary minimum of progressive policies domestically and profess a minimally progressive political philosophy that’s necessary to ensure good PR and shield him from this fate — while at the same time implementing as much sane and effective government, and professing as much political sanity, as he can get away with.

            Given that he’d have nothing to lose — and much to gain, at least in terms of status and sanctimony — by going all-out progressive in a multitude of ways that wouldn’t interfere much with his business, I think he deserves some respect for this. (And even in cases where progressive sanctimony would cost him some money, remember how many rich people make this trade with enthusiasm.)

            • spandrell September 8, 2013 at 18:18

              Given that he’d have nothing to lose — and much to gain, at least in terms of status and sanctimony — by going all-out progressive in a multitude of ways

              I don’t thing he hangs out with that sort of crowd. I don’t know the details of his social life but he looks like an old-school serious Catholic aristocrat who enjoys watching Opera with his wife and reading books on medieval history. Giving public money to Femen doesn’t seem the sort of thing that would gain him status among his peers.

              His son, now regent, probably does though, and he seems to be pushing for gay marriage and stuff like that, so yep the long march of Progressivism seems to be enforcing O’Sullivan’s law yet again.

              • Vladimir September 9, 2013 at 01:07

                His son, now regent, probably does though, and he seems to be pushing for gay marriage and stuff like that..

                What on Earth are you talking about? Alois seems to be, if anything, even more Catholic, traditionalist, and disdainful of progressive sanctimony than his father. Two years ago there was a referendum to legalize abortion in Liechtenstein, and he announced he would veto the legalization if it passes, since he couldn’t approve this law in good conscience. It ended up not passing, but then last year the same malcontents, enraged by his firm stance, pushed for a referendum to eliminate his privilege to veto referendums. Alois then announced he would abdicate if this decision passes. He won the referendum in a landslide, so it looks like he came out victorious from this clash. But why would he ever get into a dangerous high-profile battle of this sort with the progressives, except out of genuine principle and conviction? Where else among today’s elites can you find any example of sticking it to the progressives like that?

                Also, take a look at this:
                Alois declined to be interviewed by Bloomberg News because he doesn’t comment to foreign media on internal political issues, [his spokeswoman] Hassler-De Vos said.

                This man brushes off people from Bloomberg telling them that “he doesn’t comment to foreign media on internal political issues”! If that’s not a miracle of dignity and integrity, it’s certainly as close to it as anything you’ll ever see among the elites anywhere in the world nowadays.

  5. Nick Land September 6, 2013 at 15:24

    “The Prince of Liechtenstein is the closest thing there is to Fnargl in the West. And what does he do with his power? Write a lame book about how holy he is because he serves his people. … Why would he do that? He doesn’t have to. I just don’t get it.”
    — A lot of people on the reactionary fringe seem to think that ruling is desirable. Why should it be? All the crass biorealist pay-offs are available at a far lower level of onerous obligation. If there were once ‘sovereign’ personality types who could genuinely exult in god-kingery, I think they’ve gone from the West for ever (some psychiatric institutions excepted). Ruling is taking responsibility for other people. That’s pure PITA stuff. It’s worth paying to get out of it. The only really good reason to rule is to stop someone else doing it (over you), which is why constitutional history exists. So I’d totally reverse your question. Why doesn’t this guy cash out completely?

    • spandrell September 6, 2013 at 16:32

      Well obviously the answer is that he would lose status among the 150 members of his monkeysphere.

      There are still sociopaths who enjoy power, and you find them in small numbers in any human organization. He doesn’t look like the kind, though. And he isn’t really ruling anyway. The day he wanted to raise taxes just 1% he would be ousted in a palace coup before you can say “sovereignty”.

      • Handle September 6, 2013 at 20:36

        Too bad his co-monkeyspherists don’t own another 150 marketable Liechtensteins. Social Status within one’s circle would be more aligned with performance at governing. Tax haven gimmicks wouldn’t be effective when you’ve got a lot of neighbors offering the same.

  6. Scharlach September 6, 2013 at 21:22

    The Great Critic Vladimir writes:

    Do you expect him to start jeering at all the sacred symbols and dogmas of progressivism and taunting USG until they flatten his palace with cruise missiles and depose him in the name of democratization? Of course that he has to limit his arguments to those that are acceptable in modern-day respectable public discourse

    Well, let’s put this in historical perspective. What other official communications have sallied forth from Liechtenstein over the last century? I don’t know, I’m honestly asking. “Modern-day respectable public discourse” hasn’t looked exactly the same, so do we find royalty in the past paying homage to the outer world’s moralities for non-strategic reasons? If so, then your lack of surprise makes sense. If not, however, then a new question arises: Why does Prince Hans-Adam II all of a sudden feel the need to spout platitudes? That’s Spandrell’s whole point. This guy has no practical, economic, or strategic reason in the world to do what he’s doing. He didn’t do it in the past, and I assume that his royal ancestors didn’t. So why is he doing it?

    Spandrell provides one answer directly in the last post and he provides it indirectly here: Well obviously the answer is that he would lose status among the 150 members of his monkeysphere.

    He gains status in his immediate social network. He gets air time on TV. He gets to promote a book and sign autographs. We can assume that this guy is surrounded by cosmopolitans, i.e., people who live extremely reactionary lives but talk and moralize as if they don’t. So, he’s just doing what he does and talking like he talks with his friends, but in public this time so he can gain status points among them, the way I got status points with my linguistics social network when I did an interview in the local paper about language education.

    Another possible answer is that the Prince honestly believes this stuff. And that prompts another interesting question ( the question that neoreactionaries need to ask): why in the hell do so many people—even people who are living such blatantly right-wing lives—believe the pious nonsense they believe, whether it’s far left or, in this case, center-left?

    I’m reminded of Prince Albert II of Monaco. He pursues all these environmentalist causes. He must really believe in these causes, and so he ends up being surrounded by a social network that also believes in the environmental cause, which means he cranks up his environmentalism to solidify his social connections . . . a feedback loop, but it begins, I suppose, with the fact that by the time a person is in his teens, he probably has developed certain beliefs or a certain lifestyle that will dictate the social network, which will then re-enforce the beliefs and the lifestyle.

    And we know that political attitudes are at least partially heritable . . . which brings us right back to HBD. The Prince is spouting platitudes because he’s just a platitudinous guy who can’t fucking help himself. That’s the only other acceptable answer if we deny that he’s doing it to gain status points among his friends.

  7. Scharlach September 6, 2013 at 21:27

    Now first question is: what the hell is the feudal lord of an obscure tax haven in the Alps doing talking to the Heritage Foundation? He’s presenting his book. A book? What about? How I built an awesome country and made a fortune by taking money from your countries

    He would have written that book if he had surrounded himself with reactionary philosophy and right-wing French intellectuals. The fact that he didn’t write that book proves that he has surrounded himself with rich cosmopolitans who feel bad for being rich cosmopolitans and thus pretend that they are Mother Theresa.

  8. viking September 7, 2013 at 18:11

    All the DE heavy hitters and the ghost of MM and on the topic I find most puzzling,The Restoration.I’m a Natural reactionary and while delighted to see so many of my observations and questions being taken up by such intelligent young men, and while I certainly understand the delicious pleasure musing about the failure of democracy – students against a democratic society indeed. LOL and of course Peter Theil the bugger er is right libertarianism is as vulnerable from within as was the original enlightenment per Mencious. But just among us gentleman, Throne and Alter? Really? Fascism? Isnt that what we have really?A new world order conspiracy of elite rationalists, the Illuminati? well maybe it already exists and we are just mad we were not knighted into it. If any of you have a serious solution I seem to have missed it . I admit I have not sloughed through all of MM I dont find him the God you all do, his points are often valid, certainly entertainingly put if verbose just not as original as you generation Xers seem to think. The race realists, have I think a better strategy even if less practicable. A white society would naturally have a tenth the problems these multi cultural ones do, no matter the governments form. But how to accomplish that is the rub.However if you insist I put myself forward as an excellent candidate,I promise I have just the qualifications you require. Our line throws consistently sires of regal stature and mien in the 130 range [any more is not enough and less a hazard] furthermore I have it on good authority [my father] we descend from the first king of Ireland on my grandmothers side I am descended from the Ludwig II of Bavaria. Now my requirements are as follows.
    I must have a free hand as Im sure you will understand, so it must be absolute hereditary Monarch and Emperor, Naturally this will have to be through Papal coronation.At first I must have rule over the entire western world and anglosphere which of course will be restored to pre 19th century demographics after the repatriations we can get about the managing of the third world on a contextualized GDP percentage basis. I shall be enthroned as Holger Danske Thane of Earth.At any rate if at all interested have your peeps call mine and hash out the Gulfstreams and estates etc
    In the meantime I propose we build A real Illuminati, if nothing else it may help us dissidents to have some connections twenty years from now when they start hanging we thought criminals. Who knows we may get lucky and seize an opportunity the fates throw us.

  9. irwinofdrum September 7, 2013 at 22:03

    Hans-Adam’s daughter-in-law and his grandchildren are already the rightful heirs presumptive of Stuart legitimacy:

  10. irwinofdrum September 7, 2013 at 23:03

    ” Why does Prince Hans-Adam II all of a sudden feel the need to spout platitudes?”

    Because the Eurocrats are tightening the screws on the micro-sovereigns who don’t hew to the script, and Liechtenstein needs to look like a good, or at least tolerable satellite:

  11. Pingback: Informal fragments of a conflicted techno-capitalist Part 1 of 2 | NonServiam

  12. pen15 September 14, 2013 at 05:25

    Sovereignty does derive from the will of the people. If the people decide that they want to kill you then your monopoly on force will be lost and you’ll be toast.

    • spandrell September 14, 2013 at 05:27

      The decision of the people to kill the sovereign depends greatly on incentives set by the same sovereign. Lots of people wanted to kill Saddam. They didn’t.

      • pen15 September 14, 2013 at 18:13

        Right, the sovereign depends on manipulating the will of the people because he knows that sovereignty derives from it and if he fails to control it he may end up dead.

        • spandrell September 14, 2013 at 18:33

          That’s like saying that authority in a household depends on the children, who can kill the parents whenever they want, which the parents stop by manipulating them.

          More often than not, the sovereign kills (some of) its people, and not the other way around. If you still give more weight to the people, something’s wrong with your model.

          Short answer is that there’s no such thing as the will of the people. Long answer is there’s no such thing as a sovereign.

          • pen15 September 15, 2013 at 01:27

            Yes, if the children decide to kill you, they can do so quite easily and your authority will disappear along with your life. It happens. Just read the news.

            The sovereign killing some of the people is consistent with there being more weight with the people.

  13. AAB September 23, 2013 at 14:55

    If you’re interested in corrupt aristocrats and shady international organisations, you might want to check out this website:

  14. Pingback: Lightning Round – 2013/10/23 | Free Northerner

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