Or, as John Wesley once put it: “The world is my parish”.
Anyway, that’s what it said on the back of a complimentary map of Paris, provided for us by our citizenM hotel.
And this is the screen that greeted us on arrival in our hotel room at Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris, the other day.
citizenM hotels are, as they will tell you, “luxury hotels for the wise, not the wealthy”. The concept is new, fascinating and unique; and you can learn more by going to their web-site: http://www.citizenM.com They are wonderful, convenient and very comfortable. And once you become a citizen, as I am, you qualify for discounted rates.
So I am “Citizen Allan”. But my passport says that I am a citizen of Les Etats Unis, and my birth certificate says that I was born in the United Kingdom, while – of the greatest significance — my baptism certificate says that I am a subject of Christ the King.
So what, in all these interlocked and (at least potentially) conflicting circumstances, is one to understand and how to express one’s patriotism. “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” James Boswell tells us that Dr. Samuel Johnson made this famous pronouncement on the evening of April 7, 1775. But, apart from this date, he doesn’t provide any context for how the remark arose. For what it is worth, I believe that Johnson was a Jacobite at heart, and a non-juror; and, if so, this may have some bearing on the matter. But we don’t really know for sure what was on Johnson’s mind at the time. However, Boswell assures us that Johnson was not indicting patriotism in general, only false patriotism. Surely Nurse Edith Cavell (an Anglo-Catholic, by the way, whose father was an Anglican priest) who was shot one hundred and one years ago this week by the Germans in for saving the lives of soldiers from both sides without discrimination and in helping some 200 Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium, would have agreed when she said that “Patriotism is not enough”.
That is certainly true for the Christian, the stranger and pilgrim in this world, whose true citizenship is in heaven. In this current Presidential Election season I have become very tired – no, weary and exhausted by the word “government”. The Government will govern and will do this and that or has governed and has done this and that. It will redefine marriage; it has denied the God-given right to life for millions; it has created grievously insupportable burdens for future generations; it has ruined true education; it is threatening to deny any vestige of a place for faith and the free exercise of religion in our common life. And all this is hidden behind the fraudulent fig-leaf of “democracy” — to understand the true nature of which, as Winston Churchill once remarked, you have only to spend five minutes talking to the average voter. Or you could read Erik Ritter von Kuehnelt von Leddihn’s magisterial book Liberty or Equality: you cannot have them both. The author also of the Portland Declaration, he was a dear friend and a delightful house guest.
I do not want to be governed. I want total subsidiarity in decision-making. I want it to be acknowledged that families have absolute priority over the state in such matters as education. I want — as the Lord God, the Creator and Giver of Life intended — to be a member of a family, rather than a “citizen”. I want no government to put anything at all between me and my Heavenly Father. I want to swear earthly allegiance to whomsoever God himself has placed at the Head of State.
To celebrate the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II a book has been published, entitled The Servant Queen and the King She Serves. Now: try substituting the word “President” or “Chairman”, “Commissar” or “Fuehrer” for the title “Queen”. H’mm.
Signed: citizenM Allan