De institutionibus Suissium

June 12, 2008

Following the opening assault of the Great Anti-Banger, I too have turned my mind’s eye to that ignoble dwelling of savages, Switzerland and have found it wanting.

1) There was no Switzerland in high Antiquity. Every great nation of the European world has its roots in the Roman Empire. Germany was the unRoman land of the barbarians. Britain is best known for causing the Agricola to be written. France gave us the Gallic Wars and the Caesars. Spain also existed in a sort of strange primitive form as the playground of Carthaginians and Romans, and eventually came under the empire. Modern Greece is entirely based upon reconstituting its ancient past. America is in some sense the idealization of Polybian and Roman Republican ideals gone mad. Much of the legitimacy that Israel exhibits comes from its claims to be an old Judean commonwealth. The same can even be said for the most illegitimate state in the Middle East, Jordan, as a resurrection of the old Nabatean kingdom. Conspicuously absent from this list is Switzerland. While other nations place their beginnings in the the one true civilization, Switzerland is the bastard child of inhospitable mountain tribesmen, lovers of local autonomy, and those able to shoot apples off their loved one’s heads, an inelegant and incoherent beginning to an ignoble nation.

2) The Swiss Guard: Of all the most antiquated institutions of the Middle Ages with the possible exception of  Iceland (next week’s topic?) this one is most deserving of censure. Yet before we go on to heap the scorn and abuse on this venerable institution, remarkable for its protection of the pope’s life, let us reflect upon the fact that this is the last vestige of a once ancient and venerable, and dare I say cosmopolitan institution of mercenaries that was once present throughout Europe. For were the Swiss not the first to use pikes effectively? To fight their own unsung Agincourt on the plains of Germany and in the undulating vales of my own fair Italy(c.f. Virgil Georgics 2 for all the other praises that had to be left out)? This probably has something to do with the fact that the Swiss version of Henry V was written in Romansch and no one noticed. Indeed, were these Swiss not the very men who long antiquated and with particularly ineffective weapons fought the French mob at the Tulieres to the death, for the sake of Louis XVI? Such valor at least deserves some salutations particularly in regards to their cosmopolitanism. For I too, have written a speech or two on cosmopolitanism, yet due to the fiendish pressures of time, was precluded from publishing by an invasion of the Senate chamber by Cilician kittens. Thus, I must in the spirit of this new found spirit disagree with El Salade, for the Swiss were the first to exploit cosmopolitanism effectively. While other nation-states were beginning to become just that, the Swiss were out killing other people for money, proving perhaps the most important dictate of the new cosmopolitan world that was beginning to take shape, anti-Russian is anti-everyone.

3) Romansch. While usually I exhort the foolish children of today to turn to the great and good languages that are now spoken by some few men, I find this dialect utterly appalling. It is a base and brutal corruption of the most pure language ever spoken and I would prefer my books to be burned than to be translated into such barbaric filth. There are Gauls who speak better Latin, Britons even. These Swisses exist by a simple twist of fate. Had Drusus been more thorough, this column would not exist.

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