July 11, 2011

Archduke Otto von Habsburg

Archduke Otto von Habsburg

The Archduke’s political causes were almost entirely defeated. From that standpoint, his career must be regarded as a failure. But it was not merely a long series of defeats for Otto von Habsburg, but for general sanity and decency. We all share the effects of his life’s tragedy, even as a victory for him in any of his political struggles would have benefited us all. If he was defeated, he at least acquired an enormous fan base: the Paneuropa Union, the Union of Austrian Catholic Student Fraternities, the Order of St. Lazarus, and Austrian, German, Hungarian, and Czech monarchists, to name a few. The Archduke was made an honorary citizen of countless towns and cities throughout his former realms and was received publicly (as a “Highness”) by Pope Benedict XVI.

And now this witness to all that has befallen the West since the Great War is gone. There will be an imperial funeral at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, followed by the ritual interment at the Kaisergruft. His son, the Archduke Karl, will attempt to fill his father’s shoes. God help him to do so.

Our stumblebum rulers are greedy, stupid, evil, insane—or all four at once. Contemplating their deeds and persons could easily lead one to think that leadership is the birthright of the mentally defective or the criminally malicious. But the Archduke Otto, both in his teachings and his work, was living proof that it need not be that way. He taught me that holding onto one’s principles in the face of overwhelming odds is not only praiseworthy, it is possible.



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