Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Happy Guy Fawkes Day!

If you go on the web today and search you will encounter a bizarre phenomenon. Everywhere Guy Fawkes, Britain's equivalent of  Benedict Arnold or Quisling, Who helped plot a 911 scale act of political murder, is viewed as a hero and symbol of resistant to tyranny. In Recent books and films he receives the most sympathetic treatment.
Speaking as an American it has been a mystery to me why current British historians and others are so goo-goo eyed for Guy Fawkes and the recusants. An example was Antonia Frasers "Faith and Treason". Granted Fraser is a Romanist and some prejudice in that direction is inevitable, but not only does she defend the motives of Fawkes and the Jesuits,
but she gives no context whatsoever for the events.
Discrimination against Catholics in Elizabethan and early (James I)
Stuart England can only be seen in the light of the fires of Smithfield , St. Bartholomew's day
and the unending Jesuit conspiracies in England. None of this is mentioned. The fact that the treatment of Protestants in Romanist Europe was far worse is ignored,(as is the fact that in spite of "terrible" persecution Catholics were able to remain in the nobility and hold high positions at court. The two part series Gunpowder Treason and Plot, in 2004, though very well acted, was even worse. The irony is that Fawkes is now portrayed is a symbol of liberty when Counter-reformation Romanism was the most reactionary force imaginable.
As a Presbyterian I am of course conflicted about the event. While I concur with Kipling's assessment that James was "a shifty mothers shiftless son, Learned in all things wise in none" I understand that the success of Fawkes plot would have been a disaster.
      I suppose one has to be a liberal to understanding the self loathing, (the late Dr. Rushdoony once
described it as the politics of guilt and pity), that fuels this sort of mentality.

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