Monarchy and Intermediate Structures

The Tsar protected the intermediate structures:  church, culture, tradition, and village.  Revolutionary Europe destroyed these intermediate structures, thus leaving the peasant to feel the brute force of the State.  As Matthew Raphael Johnson writes,

Liberalism did one thing (and it was not elevating the “dignity of the individual”); it destroyed the intermediate institutions, the varied local foci of authority that preserved communal freedom in the complex of informal groups who emanated their own specific brand of authority in their own particular sphere of competence…The effect would be the weakening of communal structures of authority and the intrusion of the state where it had not existed previously to enforce contracts.

As a result, “law” became abstract, divorced from the community and tradition.  No longer having these intermediate structures, the peasant would feel the force of  law in a new way. Previously, an autocratic monarch was independent of the wealthy classes. This meant he could override the law (in the sake of mercy, cf the latter part of Oliver O’Donovan, The Desire of the Nations) without feeling “an electoral backlash.”  (Obviously, this didn’t apply in the more serious cases like treason).

Take away the monarchy–per Revolutionary Europe–and destroy the received intermediate institutions, and the peasant will still feel the law, but it will be in a form of raw force.  Now he is subject to the whim of politicians, who are themselves subject to the whim of popular opinion.

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