Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Secular Reasons in Favor of Kingship

An unrepentant criminal, pricked by his conscience, will try very hard to get rid of anything that reminds him of his crime, or that will reveal it to others.

Many in the American Empire, it seems, have and are suffering from a similar state of soul and mind.  Having in their land swept away the sacred political order in which Christ rules the nations through divinely anointed kings for a new order in which ‘the people’s will’ is sovereign, Americans are ever searching the world for a Christian king or queen (or anyone akin to them: Putin, Qaddafi, Assad, etc.) to depose lest their ‘experiment in liberty’ be discredited for the Antichristian sham that it is.

Below are a few words in favor of monarchy from a merely secular view (some from a Christian view will hopefully follow soon).  May they help bring them to their senses, with God’s help, before Americans, wittingly or unwittingly, finish their work in ushering in Antichrist (for it is the king who forestalls the appearance of Antichrist; see St John Chrysostom’s commentary on II Thess. 2:6, 7).

 . . .

Democracy has glaring defects.3 As various paradoxes of voting illustrate, there is no such thing as any coherent “will of the people”. Government itself is more likely to supply the content of any supposed general will (Constant 1814-15/1988, p. 179). Winston Churchill reputedly said: “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter” (BrainyQuote and several similar sources on the Internet). The ordinary voter knows that his vote will not be decisive and has little reason to waste time and effort becoming well informed anyway.

This “rational ignorance”, so called in the public-choice literature, leaves corresponding influence to other-than-ordinary voters (Campbell 1999). Politics becomes a squabble among rival special interests. Coalitions form to gain special privileges. Legislators engage in logrolling and enact omnibus spending bills. Politics itself becomes the chief weapon in a Hobbesian war of all against all (Gray 1993, pp. 211-212). The diffusion of costs while benefits are concentrated reinforces apathy among ordinary voters.

Politicians themselves count among the special-interest groups. People who drift into politics tend to have relatively slighter qualifications for other work. They are entrepreneurs pursuing the advantages of office. These are not material advantages alone, for some politicians seek power to do good as they understand it. Gratifying their need to act and to feel important, legislators multiply laws to deal with discovered or contrived problems–and fears. Being able to raise vast sums by taxes and borrowing enhances their sense of power, and moral responsibility wanes (as Benjamin Constant, pp. 194-196, 271-272, already recognized almost two centuries ago).

Democratic politicians have notoriously short time horizons. (Hoppe (2001) blames not just politicians in particular but democracy in general for high time preference–indifference to the long run–which contributes to crime, wasted lives, and a general decline of morality and culture.) Why worry if popular policies will cause crises only when one is no longer running for reelection? Evidence of fiscal irresponsibility in the United States includes chronic budget deficits, the explicit national debt, and the still huger excesses of future liabilities over future revenues on account of Medicare and Social Security. Yet politicians continue offering new plums. Conflict of interest like this far overshadows the petty kinds that nevertheless arouse more outrage.

Responsibility is diffused in democracy not only over time but also among participants. Voters can think that they are only exercising their right to mark their ballots, politicians that they are only responding to the wishes of their constituents. The individual legislator bears only a small share of responsibility fragmented among his colleagues and other government officials.

 . . .

A nonelected part of government contributes to the separation of powers. By retaining certain constitutional powers or denying them to others, it can be a safeguard against abuses.5 This is perhaps the main modern justification of hereditary monarchy: to put some restraint on politicians rather than let them pursue their own special interests complacent in the thought that their winning elections demonstrates popular approval. When former president Theodore Roosevelt visited Emperor Franz Joseph in 1910 and asked him what he thought the role of monarchy was in the twentieth century, the emperor reportedly replied: “To protect my peoples from their governments” (quoted in both Thesen and Purcell 2003). Similarly, Lord Bernard Weatherill, former speaker of the House of Commons, said that the British monarchy exists not to exercise power but to keep other people from having the power; it is a great protection for our democracy (interview with Brian Lamb on C-Span, 26 November 1999).

 . . .

A monarch, not dependent on being elected and reelected, embodies continuity, as does the dynasty and the biological process. “Constitutional monarchy offers us ... that neutral power so indispensable for all regular liberty. In a free country the king is a being apart, superior to differences of opinion, having no other interest than the maintenance of order and liberty. He can never return to the common condition, and is consequently inaccessible to all the passions that such a condition generates, and to all those that the perspective of finding oneself once again within it, necessarily creates in those agents who are invested with temporary power.” It is a master stroke to create a neutral power that can terminate some political danger by constitutional means (Constant, pp. 186-187). In a settled monarchy–but no regime whatever can be guaranteed perpetual existence–the king need not worry about clinging to power. In a republic, “The very head of the state, having no title to his office save that which lies in the popular will, is forced to haggle and bargain like the lowliest office-seeker” (Mencken 1926, p. 181).

 . . .

Source:  Leland B. Yeager, ‘Monarchy: Friend of Liberty’, http://www.royaltymonarchy.com/opinion/articles/yeager.html, accessed 29 June 2016

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