Monarchy; one of the most lambasted and caricatured forms of government. Ask a liberal or your run-of-the-mill socialist or even an anarchist, they will say that the reason that monarchy is the worst form of government is that it is no different than any other dictatorship and that it is somehow inherently tyrannical. I even encountered some criticism of monarchy on the right wing too, that being that it is mostly faith-based and thus not as desirable compared to other forms of illiberal/anti-leftist forms of government.
The liberal argument against a politically active monarchy is that if it is illiberal, then it is somehow irrational. That is however, not an objective nor reasonable way to criticize this form of government because if any government wants to survive, it will need to use any means necessary to do so. As we can see today, the old liberal Europe and America are dying right before our very eyes because the liberal rules of political engagement don’t allow us to do what must be done.
When it comes to analyzing monarchical countries (in Europe at least), one common pattern becomes apparent very quickly; the moment the monarchy is deposed, the country is thrown into a time of chaos, war and economic uncertainty.
The first republic in France was a disaster that turned it’s back on it’s own promises. The Weimar republic brought political chaos, mass unemployment and dependency on foreign money. The soviet union is a no-brainer.
Thus, a government should not be judged by it’s ideals and what sort of political thought it follows, but rather if it is an “honest” form of government or not. What I mean by “honest” is that if we take Ancien Regime France, it could be well described by the phrase that was attributed to Louis XIV; “I’am the state”. That means that he was the one who had the final say on any issue in the realm. In a liberal society, which promises to govern it’s people only with their consent, is the most dishonest government that can be.
Revolutionary France did not care that the peasants in the countryside wanted to bring back the king, thus removing their consent of being governed by the republic.
Another example of a liberal government that betrayed it’s own principle of governing with the consent of the governed, is the US when some folks in the deep South decided to revoke their consent and make their own country.
Instead of recognizing the fact that the South doesn’t give consent to be governed, the federal government waged a war to regain control of the South. Basically, a liberal “enlightened” government turned to be capable of authoritarian measures in order to survive and prevent a certain precedent (more secessionist movements) from taking place, just like an absolute monarchy.
This quickly segways into a discussion about the legitimacy of a monarchy. The question is, how do republics and kingdoms come into existence? Well, let’s take a number of monarchical countries; Rome, China, Japan and Egypt, and some republican; Rome, France, Russia and the US.
How did each of them arise? Rome only became a republic after deposing the king, before becoming an empire. China was a monarchy since it’s inception. Japan was and still is a monarchy. Egypt was a monarchy since the unification of upper and lower Egypt.
France became a republic only after the monarchy was deposed. Russia became a republic after the monarchy was deposed. The US was born a republic only after the authority of the king was challenged. So as we can see, monarchy is the only form of government that can arise naturally, unlike republics that are an artificial creation.
One criticism of monarchy that I’ve heard from the right is that it puts a group of people above others based on faith and blood alone. The criticism of one man being put on a pedestal is what lead to the idea that noble blood can only be kept “pure” by “keeping it in the family”, which often lead to both long and short term consequences, that being health complications as a consequence of inbreeding and sometimes to infertility, thus leading to a succession crisis. The obvious example being the war of Spanish succession.
Another aspect of this criticism of monarchy is that one can only become a monarch by blood (usually from father to son). This has immense symbolic meaning; a private citizen will want to pass on what they have to their children.
That is how royal succession works too; one generation passing on a civilization to the next generation. Unlike an elected president in the modern day who is trained in the art of politics for a few years, a royal successor is taught this immense responsibility from the day they are born.
“In order for a monarchy to be successful, one man must be wise. In order for a democracy to be successful, a majority must be wise. Which is more likely?” -Charles Maurras.
However, when it comes to faith/religion, the church is inseparable from monarchy, as it has both practical and symbolic value. Practically, religion is what justifies the reign of any one dynasty.
Symbolically, the monarch is the representation of family values that are integral to building a healthy nation. But not just family values, but also religious values; for example, a Catholic population was very unlikely to be fond of a Protestant monarch.
A monarch cannot rule nor represent a people if the sovereign and the people don’t share the same values. Since back in the day people valued religion far more than they do now, they also needed a strong monarch to protect the faith, because if he fails to do so, then he will have failed protect his people (the priests are his people too, after all) and their values, thereby failing God by failing the people, and failing the people by failing God.
What does an elected representative get as punishment for treason these days? A slap on the wrist in the form of being voted out of office. A life-long monarch risks a revolution and maybe assassination thus forcing the monarch to fix his error if he wants to avoid facing the hatred of his people. I don’t know about you, but if a person in power fails my community, then I want them punished thoroughly.