Today, the 12th of October, is Spain’s national day. It commemorates the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus at the behest of the Catholic Kings.
In today’s blog, I want to focus on the duty of care that is expected from all civil servants, and any others, who work for the state.
Spain is facing unprecedented political turmoil unseen since the advent of its young Democracy in 1978. The person responsible for this, in his relentless pursuit of power, is the incumbent president who has systematically undermined all democratic institutions which purpose is to keep checks and balances on the Executive. More and more, day by day, Spain is turning into an autocracy led by one man. This can only lead Spain down a dark road if left unchecked.
It is the sworn duty of all civil servants, and those in places of power, to ensure that democratic values and the rule of law is upheld, for the good of the nation and its people. This is what ensures peace and prosperity in Spain. It falls on them, as a sworn duty, to safeguard Spain's Democracy and its Constitution, from enemies abroad but also from enemies within.
More and more we are witnessing and reading in the daily press how the acting president is foisting on a silent majority an autocratic government in a bid to remain in power. In effect, despite overwhelmingly losing the general elections of last 23rd of July, he has not stepped aside and remains in power, latching onto it, as acting president. He aims to remain in power by casting a spiderweb of political alliances with communist, pseudo-terrorist groups, and separatists (some of them directly sponsored by rogue states like Russia, always eager to sow dissension amongst EU Member States, to undermine the EU and advance its autocratic agenda) all of which are sworn enemies of Spain. He aims to remain in office another 4 years against the democratic majority which decisevely voted to oust him from power on the 23rd of July 2023.
The acting president has single-handedly been responsible for the erosion of democratic values, placing in all offices of power his own cronies, sycophants, and minions.
In effect, the acting president has under his own personal control Congress, Spain’s Intelligence Agency (CNI), the Constitutional Court, the State Prosecution Office, the State Television (RTVE) and Radio (and those which he does not control directly have been showered with hundreds of millions of euros in ‘subsidies’ to keep them in line, docile), all the major trade unions, the National Office for Statistics (which now cannot be trusted as is heavily politically biased), the Tax Office, the Polls Office (!), the State Postal Service that sends and collects all votes by post (he appointed a schoolfriend as director whose lost the company over €1bn through gross corporate mismanagement), he also fully controls the company that counts all votes electronically in Spain (INDRA), etc.
Only the Senate, Spain's Supreme Court, and the CGPJ (Judge's General Council) remain independent.
And finally, after fighting tooth and nail for several years, Sanchez is concluding his drawn-out assault on the Judiciary (CGPJ) in a bid to control the appointment of all judges in Spain, and, if nothing stops him, is on the verge of winning.
All the above-listed democratic institutions were carefully devised by our Founding Fathers to keep checks and balances on the Executive to ensure it does not overstep its mandate and become all too powerful. Under no circumstances should they be under the control of the Executive, much less under the direct control of one man.
When a so-called democratic nation has the Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary powers (and even the majority of the press, both public and private, the so-called fourth power) all in the hands of a single man, it can no longer be formally labelled as a democracy. It's not semantics, it's the truth. Therefore Spain, whilst officially still a democracy - on paper - has de facto become an autocracy led by Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón.
His aim is to subvert the constitutional order from 1978, overthrow the Spanish Monarchy, and install a III Republic with him as its first president.
I can only hope that the men and women who are sworn to protect and uphold Spain’s Constitution of 1978, the Rule of Law, and Justice carry out their duty and avoid Spain breaking up into several territories and being transformed into an autocracy, name it III Republic, or whatever you will. The balkanization of Spain into multiple nations must be avoided, as it will surely lead to a new civil war.
Spain’s Constitution of 1978 and its Monarchy have been guarantors of peace and prosperity in the land for almost 50 years. A land which historically is prone to political turmoil and ravaged by civil wars. Subverting or toppling them will lead to political instability, which will be followed by chaos, and possibly bloodshed.
This outcome must be averted at all costs, by those who can, by those who will.
“The only thing necessary for evil to triumph in the world is that good men do nothing.” – Edmund Burke
Williamsport Crossing, depicting the crossing of the Potomac River by General Lee and his army on June 25, 1863. Art by John Paul Strain. Lee rode into many battles Traveller, a gray war horse notable for its stamina and courage, who would actually outlive him, and is featured in this portrait above.
“Duty is the sublimest word in the language; you can never do more than your duty; you shall never wish to do less.” – Robert E. Lee
Robert Edward Lee (19th January 1807 – 12th October 1870). Was a Confederate general during the fratricidal American Civil War. Born to an affluent family in the state of Virginia, he would go on to study at Westpoint. He graduated second in his class, never receiving a demerit, which was outstanding at the time. There he would carefully study for hours on end, in the original French, military treaties that described Napoleon’s brilliant military campaigns and genius tactics. These manuals had not been translated into English at the time. Lee would serve in the US Army over the next three decades.
Unfortunately, years later, it became clear the outbreak of civil war was imminent given the disputes over slavery. War would be triggered by the surprise bombing of Fort Sumter on the 12th of April 1861 by the Southern Militia. Robert was immediately called in as a commissioned officer and offered the supreme command of the Union Army, which he politely turned down as it would entail fighting against everything he held dear. He renounced his military commission and was allowed to return south.
The Confederate President, Jefferson Davis, seizing the opportunity, would immediately offer Lee the supreme command of the Confederate States Army, which he reluctantly accepted out of duty. It should be noted that back then, one held allegiance to his home state rather than to a newly-minted supranational entity that united all the states, which in time would be known to us as the United States of America.
Robert was all too aware the civil war was all but lost for the South and would last at least 4 years. His accurate foresight acted in sharp contrast to the irredentist optimistic assessment of both northern and southern politicians, who (foolishly) thought it would last at most a couple of months. Lee was fully aware the North held a (much) larger standing army, could rely on infinite material resources, especially manufactured ones, such as firearms and cannons, fully controlled the railway system, and even controlled the Navy which would threaten to choke and disrupt his supply chain and deter any foreign aid. In effect, the North vastly outnumbered the South, both numerically and materially. Anyway you analysed it objectively, the South was bound to lose a war of attrition, and Lee knew it. Consequently, Lee devised a shrewd plan in an attempt to avert a protracted war.
The only way to come out on top, and avoid a drawn-out war of attrition, given the crippling disadvantages of the South vs. the North, was to deliver a quick and decisive blow to Washington D.C. itself and brook for peace. Despite constantly facing larger armies, on a 2:1 ratio, General Lee inflicted grievous losses and defeated the Union Army, time and time again, which would crumble away at his relentless advance on Washington. The Union’s President, Abraham Lincoln, increasingly grew desperate as he was unable to find a suitable commander to face Lee’s military genius. After many sounding defeats for the North, he eventually found in Ulysses S. Grant, a man who would resolutely withstand Lee’s onslaught, neither retreating nor surrendering. General Grant, (finally) putting in motion the North’s vast material and human advantage, would purposely pursue a war of attrition knowing all too well the South would eventually cave in and be defeated. Lee faced his worst nightmare, a protracted war of attrition that would drag on for over four years. General Lee would finally be defeated in the decisive battle of Gettysburg, which saw the largest loss of human lives during the whole conflict.
As punishment, Lee’s mansion at the plantation at Arlington, would be surrounded by corpses rendering the property unfit to be lived or worked on. Arlington would become a U.S. military cemetery to this very day. Lee would gracefully surrender his sword at Appomattox and would commit all Southern forces to depose arms, seek peace, and assist to rebuild a shattered nation. General Grant held Lee in the highest esteem and went out of his way to stop any personal retaliation against him or the South after the war. Republican President Abraham Lincoln, likely the finest US President ever, would go into great lengths to ensure the festering wounds left open during the fratricidal Civil War were healed; generously reconciling both sides in equal terms, as one nation, indivisible, under God, laying the path for the country’s success and greatness over the next two centuries.
The fast type of warfare Lee developed in his brilliant campaigns (inspired by Napoloen’s enveloping tactics) through his masterful use of cavalry, led by his faithful second-in-command J.E.B. Stuart, was revolutionary at the time and would be carefully studied in military academies the world over, inspiring men such as Heinz Guderian, a proficient German WWII general, who carried over his valuable lessons translating them into modern tank warfare, developing the Blitzkrieg doctrine.
Despite facing overwhelming odds, Lee carried out his duty unwaveringly, defending his home state of Virginia, his family, friends, and all of the South he held dear in a succession of brilliant military campaigns that almost wrestled victory away from the Union, which doubtless would have spelled its demise. Had Lee succeeded, and he came very close, our world would indeed now be a very different place.
Robert is likely the finest general to ever be born in the United States of America, who (sadly) happened to wage war against his own country. It has to be understood that he did not desire the Union to be fractured into two factions, did not approve of slavery, and nor did he desire a futile fratricidal civil war. General Lee carried out his duty – as is to be expected of any active serviceman – in defence of his people, their values, and his beloved home state of Virginia.
There is no need to topple his statues.