Magna Carta Libertatum At 800
Today should have witnessed grand celebrations across the Anglosphere, but there were few [‘a happy few’], if any.
A small number of people who gave a good Goddamn about Freedom and Ordered Liberty did celebrate by trying to get out the word of the importance of this day in the History of Mankind, but there’s was a near-impossible task because the vast majority of peoples in the English-speaking sections of The West are too busy indulging in their luxuries with a Bacchanalian ferocity and wallowing in their rank Narcissism.
As Mark Steyn, one of the ‘happy few’, writes:
The most important anniversary this year falls on Monday June 15th, marking the day, eight centuries ago, when a king found himself in a muddy field on the River Thames near Windsor Castle with the great foundational document of modern liberty under his nose and awaiting his seal….
That muddy field was named Runnymede and the foundational document was Magna Carta Libertatum [trans: ‘The Great Charter of Liberties’]. The King was a Tyrant named John [no number, because he was such a Despot that no King since would dare take the name upon his ascension to the Throne]. As Mark explains:
…It was in some respects a happy accident. In 1215, a bunch of chippy barons were getting fed up with King John. In those days, in such circumstances, the malcontents would usually replace the sovereign with a pliable prince who’d be more attentive to their grievances. But, having no such prince to hand, the barons were forced to be more inventive, and so they wound up replacing the King with an idea, and the most important idea of all — that even the King is subject to the law.
That last phrase is the key, the root of Magna Carta’s importance: Those who are in charge of our government must subject themselves to The Rule Of Law or else they are not Legitimate, they are not ‘fit to rule’.
From this agreement, signed between a Tyrant King and the Barons of England, all of the advances in the spreading and evolution of Freedom and Ordered Liberty to the English-Speaking Peoples emanated.
For the first time, in writing and before God, The Rule Of Law was affirmed as the basic principle guiding all attempts of Law- and Constitution-making. The Rule Of Whim was rejected, arbitrary rule was denounced. Kings and any who dared govern were put on notice that all were subject to The Law.
…everything flows therefrom — from England’s Glorious Revolution to the US Constitution and beyond. It’s part of the reason why the English-speaking world, in contrast to Continental Europe, has managed to sustain its freedoms across the generations — at least until now.
More from him:
Security of the person, property rights, religious freedom, due process… The core animating principles of modern free societies began in that muddy field in Runnymede eight centuries ago. That’s why it’s the most important anniversary of the year: when the pampered, solipsistic beneficiaries of an 800-year inheritance start to lose the habits of liberty, only darkness lies ahead. Better to re-learn the old lessons while we still can.
July Fourth would be just another Summer day without Runnymede.
Of course, what Independence Day is actually becoming in America is just another excuse to revel in mindless celebration, another day off from work, another day ‘to party’.
Time is running out.
A darkness is slowly encompassing us, cutting off the air of Freedom and the sustenance of Liberty.
As Mark’s friend, John Robson, remarks:
All the rights we cherish, from due process of law to elected representatives, trace back to it. It has been assailed time and again and always defended. It’s why we have rights to day. But that story needs to be told again and again or it will be lost and with it our freedom.
The story is hardly ever being told any longer and we are the more Ignorant because of that fact — and doomed eventually to living the bare existence of Enslavement.
–Ms. Evi remembered the Anniversary.
-So did Instapundit and Brendan O’Neill.
God bless the Anglosphere. #MagnaCarta800th
— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) June 15, 2015
NOTE: I would not have relied so much on Mark’s commentary for the meat of this post, but I am still feeling under-the-weather. Do take the time to click here and read his full post.