Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Off-Site Post: ‘Long Live the King!’

Monarchy, according to a wide range of sources new and old, is one of the most natural and beneficial forms of government, but you wouldn’t know it by reading history books in the [u]nited States.  There, it is presented as the most contemptible form imaginable.  We have a bit of a difference of opinion, then.  Whose judgment is more sound, the friends of the king or his enemies?

Let us take a look at three of the major religions/civilizations from world history to try to find an answer.

First, the Classical, pre-Christian civilization:

Much of the Classical tradition insists on monarchy as the proper means for the moralization and humanization of the people: e.g., Musonius Rufus:

In the next place it is essential for the king to exercise self-control over himself and demand self-control of his subjects, to the end that with sober rule and seemly submission there shall be no wantonness on the part of either. For the ruin of the ruler and the citizen alike is wantonness. But how would anyone achieve self-control if he did not make an effort to curb his desires, or how could one who is undisciplined make others temperate? One can mention no study except philosophy that develops self-control. Certainly it teaches one to be above pleasure and greed, to admire thrift and to avoid extravagance; it trains one to have a sense of shame, and to control one's tongue, and it produces discipline, order, and courtesy, and in general what is fitting in action and in bearing. In an ordinary man when these qualities are present they give him dignity and self-command, but if they be present in a king they make him preeminently godlike and worthy of reverence. ~Musonius Rufus, That Kings Also Should Study Philosophy, Fragment 8

Next, the Jewish view:

Monarchy in the Jewish tradition also begins with the conviction of divine kingship mediated by a human representative. God is the ultimate king over the people of Israel and, also, the cosmos . . . .

Hence the opening to most of the wealth of Jewish prayer: Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu Melekh HaOlam, "Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe. . ." The kingship of Israel's God, both over the heavenly powers whom the other nations worship as gods as well as over the earth and all of its kingdoms, and especially of Israel, is the central theme of the Psalms (e.g., LXX Ps. 43:4, 92:1, 94:3, 95:10, 96:1, 98:1, 144:1, 13, 145:10, 149:2). However, the Old Testament generally maintains that God's divine kingship is to be rightfully mediated through the human Israelite monarch. Despite the anti-monarchic material found in 1 Samuel 8, the majority of the Deuteronomistic History seems to assume both the inevitability, legitimacy, and necessity of the Israelite monarchy (see, for example, Dt. 17:14-20). This is the explicit apologetic point of the Book of Judges: namely, the repeated idolatry and covenant infidelity displayed by Israel in the period of the Judges was possible only because "in those days there was no King in Israel; [therefore] every one did what was right in his own eyes" (Jg. 17:6, 21:25).

 . . .


Holy Ælfred the Great, King of England, South Patron, pray for us sinners at the Souð, unworthy though we are!

Anathema to the Union!

No comments:

Post a Comment