Saturday, April 7, 2012

Reflections on Monarchy and Democracy Last Month

Writes Mr. Theodore Harvey over at his blog Royal World:

Germans would do well to listen to Prince Philipp, if their politicians and their rigid republican constitution will ever let them.


The beauty and glamor of a royal restoration would be exactly what Germany needs to finally repudiate the disastrous 20th century. The destruction of the German and Austro-Hungarian monarchies in 1918 led to nothing but suffering.
In reflections on the traditionalism of the Prince of Wales over at the American Conservative, Mr. Rod Dreher writes:
Others, though, see in Charles a visionary of the cultural right, one whose worldview is far broader, historically and otherwise, than those of his contemporaries on either side of the political spectrum. In this reading, Charles’s thinking is not determined by post-Enlightenment categories but rather draws on older ways of seeing and understanding that conservatives ought to recover. “All in all, the criticisms of Prince Charles from self-styled ‘Tories’ show just how little they understand about the philosophy they claim to represent,” says the conservative philosopher Roger Scruton.
Also at the American Conservative, writes Mr. Daniel McCarthy:
The political side of this is worth thinking through as well: the Framers designed a Constitution that rested exclusively on popular rule; Kendall is helpfully clear about that. There was no hereditary element to the Constitution, no established religious element either. The people were the source of all power in government, regardless of whatever higher power might lie behind or speak through the people. But as Kendall showed, this was popular government modulated in such a way as to permit a natural aristocracy to have great sway — certainly Madison and Jefferson expected that enlightened lawyer-planters like themselves would be the people’s natural choice for their leaders. While being entirely popular in fact, in spirit the new Constitution would be a mixture of aristocracy and the popular principle.

In practice, what we have two centuries later is a combination of the degenerate forms of those types: we have something closer to a mass democracy than a federal republic, and the influence of a landed and well-read aristocracy has given way to what Aristotle would have recognized as a money-minded oligarchy. The putative “aristocrats” of old Virginia certainly knew how to use wealth as well as reputation to get their way; today, however, commercial wealth speaks more loudly than the Framers had expected, and 18th-century notions of character and reputation have fallen before modern concepts of charisma and celebrity.
Again at the American Conservative writes Prof. Paul Gottfried:
Allow me to set the record straight. The greatest outrage in Reppetto’s account came from the Wilson administration, which turned the US into perhaps the chief supplier of arms to the Allied side. Wilson’s decision in 1915 to allow American arms manufacturers to sell to both sides was a belligerent act directed against the Central Powers. Only one side was in a position to acquire American arms, because Germany at the time, as everyone knew, was being blockaded. The English blockade, which was aimed at starving the Germans, arguably in violation of international law, also kept arms from reaching Germany and its ally Austria-Hungary.
Over at Taki's Magazine, Mr. Charles A. Coulombe reflects on the situation in Hungary:
Why would the rulers of today’s world care about public Christianity, heterosexual marriage, and freedom from infanticide in one small European backwater? Because they always fear a return of the ancien régime, no matter how inconspicuous it may appear. And given the Hungarian government’s two-thirds majority, it apparently represents the views of their countrymen.
A review of Steven Pinker's The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined over at the weblog Foseti:
Pinker likes democracy. His understanding of its workings are remarkably consistent with those taught in my fourth grade social studies class. He is convinced that modern government is not as obsessed with conquest as governments of the past and that democracy is “one of the greatest violence-reduction technologies since the appearance of government itself”. I respectfully disagree with him on these points. America – the government of America – has been among the most successful conquerors of all time. Only a few of the countries in the world don’t essentially sing to the American tune these days. America’s wars of conquest – the Civil War, WWI and WWII – are readily apparent. It’s fine to conclude that “democracies” are less violent, but you should at least mention the fact that democracy’s enemies have a tendency to be brutally exterminated every time they pop up.
A conclusion from a GOP election judge over at the blog ImNotHerzog:
Now, on the one hand, this confirms every reactionary’s worst fears about mass democracy and low information voters. On the other hand, she did know that it was important not to vote for Obama, so maybe there is hope for November!
The Mad Monarchist writes:
We are coming up on election time in the most powerful, most successful republic in the world -the United States of America. Once again we are being told that THIS election is the most important election of our lifetime. Now, I don’t like to go so far as those who snidely quip that if elections actually mattered they’d be illegal but, honestly, the truth is not terribly far from that. Elections are, to a large extent, illusory. The United States government knows that, they knew from the beginning that democracy would have limits and could not and should not be applied in any and all cases. That is part of the reason why there is an Electoral College and it is why, originally, only landowners could vote and senators were appointed by the states rather than popularly elected.
The Mad Monarchist also writes:
When you look at history and see what happened, nothing could be more obvious than that the world should be embracing monarchy joyfully and gratefully. When the British monarchy fell they got a military dictatorship under Oliver Cromwell who made practically everything illegal. When the French monarchy fell they got the Reign of Terror, when the German and Austrian monarchies fell they ultimately got Hitler, when the Russian monarchy fell they ultimately got Stalin, when the Chinese monarchy fell they got the bloodiest civil war in history and then Chairman Mao, when the Iraqi monarchy fell they ended up with Saddam Hussein and the list goes on and on and on. On every continent, with very few exceptions, the story is always the same. Moreover, it is not as though people got rid of their monarchies and ended up with something that was a little worse, it was almost always *infinitely* worse. You would think, after even just one or two of those examples, the people as a whole would have caught on by now!
Somewhat related, Tea at Trianon has a post on Downtown Abbey.

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