Notes on the superiority of monarchy

This is taken from Matthew Raphael Johnson’s podcast by the same title.  The reader is encouraged to immediately stop reading this article and go listen to Johnson’s podcast.  But I made this rough outline to help.

Thesis:  Mankind only has two options: monarchy and oligarchy.  There is no such thing as popular rule because domineering personalities are going to take over any institutions, even with the best of intentions.  Oligarchy is the iron law of social institutions.

Over against this is an overarching force that is capable of creating order and controlling the personalities that seek power and seek to hurt others.

Democratic forms of government exist, per the oligarchy, to overthrow monarchy, to overthrow the institution that controls them.  From Oliver Cromwell onward, democratic governments have to choose between which monied group will control society.  Democratic leaders to the bidding of the monied powers.

(Cynthia Whitaker, concept of 18th century Russian Royalism)

Four General Points of View in Royalism.

Cohesion:  Monarchy represents the unity of a people, regardless of how diverse that people is at one time.  The royal family can form a nexus of cohesion.

  1. Change in leadership:  Hereditary principle.
  2. Defender of the Faith:  moral background of a people.
  3. Concept of moral example:  the monarch is an “icon” of heaven.  The monarch does not rule, but reign.   In our era today, we have celebrities (who are substituted as the new pantheon of pagan gods and goddesses).

Three Concepts of Monarchy

  1. Dynastic Concept:  The nature of the succession.  It is often the case that hereditary rule becomes the principle of succession.  Succession means “politics” as we know it does not exist.  It is not a matter of different political factions (all led by wealthy people) jockeying for positions.  Monarchy is trying to prevent these special interests.  The monarch is trying to come to the throne not owing anybody anything.  Politics in the bad sense of the word is eliminated.  Granted, we are talking about ideals here, but people who advocate republics and democracies also talk about “ideals.”  This is the problem with political theory: political theory deals with ideals only.  We need to move the discussion at times to empirical history.
    1. Succession exists as an accident of birth.
    2. You don’t have the institutionalization of interest groups like we have in democracies.  Monarchy views these interests groups as a great evil.
    3. These interest groups finance their pet politicians, who in turn work for their employers (e.g., the interest groups).
    4. In terms of a dynasty, you are dealing with a powerful family who exists to represent the entire population.  This family can at any given moment overrule any powerful and wealthy interest group.   (Cf Ivan the Terrible
    5. Mediation:  The monarch acts a mediator between population.  Birth and state rule over money.  Cf. the idea of “estates.”  You belong to an estate regardless of your particular financial situation.  When the empire becomes an oligarchy—such as democracy—then does money matter.
  2. Empirical Concept:  The monarchy as it actually functions.  Older defenders believed that monarchy provides better results.  It represents unity, executive power, and speed of action.  It leads to the reigning in of interest groups.
    1. Most monarchs looked back towards the Roman Empire.

2 comments on “Notes on the superiority of monarchy

  1. Nathan says:

    “the monarch is an “icon” of heaven”—this sounds very Eastern; it reminds me of Chinese and Japanese works that I’ve read.

    “It leads to the reigning in of interest groups.”—this doesn’t sound right. It seems like interest groups have always been around: tribal, aristocratic, commercial, etc. Maybe they play out worse under democratic institutions.

    I tend to think the oligarchy concept is correctly stated: democratic institutions cannot do away with it. In fact, I think that, e.g. the American Revolutionaries, claimed democratic principles because they in fact were de-facto oligarchs, and could easily maintain their power by throwing off the monarchy. Not only is true democratic rule impossible (and an insane fiction), those who most promote it tend to both have power and the means to maintain it under a democratic system.

    There are functional reasons why democracy cannot work: it is impossible for even a majority of the populace to be sufficiently informed of an issue to make a proper decision. It’s hard enough to make good decisions about how to run your own life, particularly if you have children, especially if you run a business or manage people: how on earth can you find time to regularly make political decisions (some of which can impact many generations to come) on top of all that?

  2. tesla1389 says:

    Per the “icon:” There’ some similarities, sure, but the difference is in the details.

    “Reigning in interest groups.” What I mean is that the rich and powerful (and in today’s parlance, those with media backing) can’t buy off justice and influence simply because they are more wealthy.

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