Comment on modern European aristocracy
Aristocracy in Europe was always famous for its genealogies. Royal families descended from Roman Emperors, Dukes and Barons from honorable knights of Crusades epoch. Aristocracy in Europe was always more like secret society to look at the world and to try not to interfere in events till they don’t touch their interests.
Emperor Nicholas III, the Prince of Leiningen with his wife
Actually, secret societies were established by European aristocrats to be separated and differentiate themselves from ordinary people, and to supervise them at the same time, and when experience allowed to work out instruments to influence on people these secret societies began to rule people. Nonintervention and a view from “third person” allowed serious scientific schools to be developed in Europe, including sciences about society and a human being. Because only independent and disinterested spectators can describe one or another process from maximum objective point of view.
In 1970s Fernand Braudel suggested an idea of “long Middle Ages” which was later supported by Jacques Le Goff. “Long Middle Ages” included history since first centuries of Christian chronology and up to the end of XVIII or even early XIX century, destruction of the Middle Age society’s mentality. In general these researchers took for the basis of med mentality its expression in culture, architecture, social life and housebuilding. Actually, “sexual revolution”, informational technologies and other characteristics of the word “modernity” brought down to a minimum existence of med values in European mind. But the question was about society, and not about aristocracy.
As we have told above, European aristocracy was suffering changes. In fact it has refused from class privileges and nice addresses to them. Aristocracy has changed its mind to stay elite in a modern society. For example, few people know that after break up of German Empire in 1918 German aristocrats have transferred their active assets into industrial companies all over the Europe. Nowadays such transnational giants as Siemens, Bosch, Total, BP have European aristocracy among their beneficiaries. The last example to be familiar to everybody – Director General of French company Total Christophe de Margerie who died in Moscow airport, he was French aristocrat, descendant of the monarchist of early XX century Pierre Taittinger.
However in other cases European noblemen prefer not to be in publicity. Even Queen of Great Britain Elizabeth II stays in the shadow of her endless Prime Ministers keeping the image of calm smiling old lady in the society, who wears ancient clothes and a crown once per year.
Nevertheless aristocracy is close to power. To real power, not to public power. Nobody seems to doubt that all this political noise telecasted on TV is more like a show than real instrument of governance. People don’t believe it, but they used to maintain political ceremony and go to voting stations where they choose speaking heads who are talking nonsense from TV-screens. The example of cooperation of first and second power lines is perfectly demonstrated in the USA. Presidents and ministers are being changed, parliament body is being changed, but counselors and deputies are the same. Nobody chooses them.
Actually western governance model is established on the double-line system – public and nonpublic power. First line is known by everybody, its distinctive feature is election, debates and voting in parliament. Second line was public some time ago, it represented power of monarch and his dependents – seigniors. However, when national states appeared in Europe society began choose the power from itself and monarchs and aristocrats have formed second line of power which later included industrial tycoons and gold miners, bankers. Reverse process has begun – the more economics became difficult and monopolized, the stronger second secret line of European power became. This model has moved to the USA in full forming united Western model of governance where second line of power has not national but transnational character and represents world western elite. Usually at this moment skeptics stop listening to the spokesman and say that he is stupid and talks about the conspiracy theory. In reality this governance model exists and it appeared because of historical peculiarities of western society development. Favorite expression of liberals “spontaneous order” has demonstrated itself in full manner.
The model described above is effective means of governance where European aristocracy occupies not the last place.