Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Peasant Dreams of Ideal Kings and Princes

I read an interesting piece by Charles Coulombe in Crisis  Magazine entitled: Are American Monarchists Dreamers?, December 30, 2019

I would say no, American monarchists are not dreamers, they are completely delusional peasant-minded people who in their desire for a strongman master, have utterly unrealistic expectations of what this sort of ruler would be.

Coulombe, assuming he isn't being facetious or overreacting to comments he took exception to, makes the same fundamentally flawed assumptions as other proponents of monarchy and hereditary aristocracies make which is to ignore the inherent flaws of the human element. This understanding of we humans as flawed beings more easily tempted to vice than virtue is forgotten alongside Catholic Catechism 101 where Man has free will, he is a moral actor who will act in his own best self-interests. This is not a lack of intellect as Coloumbe is quite eloquent in his defense of autocracy but rather intellectual laziness and a failing of logic and character that of the following possibilities I can offer, I can't say which it is for certain. It could be  man who through his own hubris distrusts the immoral masses and is willing to abdicate responsibility for his own life instead preferring to wear the slave's iron collar with sense of false pride. It could also be due to an idealist's yearning for some kind of revanchist imperial utopia which is sort of childish and whose arguments can then be simplified as a whine of "democracy isn't perfect! Mommy, take it away!". It further speaks to this childish mindset with its yearning for a strong father figure who will take care of his child-like peasants, relieving them of the burden of choice.

After reading Coloumbe's other articles, I tend towards the latter as I note his reasoned opposition to communism but then negates his own arguments by repeating the European left's calumnies against nationalism as causing the shedding of "oceans of blood" while calling for a "healthy patriotism" failing to note that nationalism and patriotism are the same thing. Or that it was his vaunted Christian Monarchs who started the first world war because of competing imperialism.

But he goes further with his fanboy obsequiousness of traditional European strongman monarchies in stating that somehow monarchies grounded in Christianity are somehow more moral than democracies as if a Christian King is immune from the flaws of lesser commoners. But in his article Quo Vadis, Europa?, Dec, 18, 2019, he gushes on about the old European Monarchies like a giddy schoolgirl at a boy band concert. But oh, how can one not resist giving supreme power to such dashing chaps in spiffing royal military uniforms riding on horses such as in the Order of Saint George!

Once again, a king or emperor is still only a man who is just as easily tempted to vice than virtue and European history is replete with examples of imperialist wars and bad monarchs. These old school absolute monarchies all collapsed because in the end, they didn't work. Monarchies inevitably become empires that either destroy each other in competition over who will have the biggest empire or the empire collapses under its own weight. World War 1 proved that in oceans of blood with noble kings ordering their peasants over the top of the trenches to be slaughtered in repeated human wave attacks. All so the British Empire with colonies sprawled over 5 continents of the Earth could prevent the German Empire from taking over the world. Yeah, the king really cared about his subjects. Can't wait to have those guys ruling us again.

Coloumbe cannot grasp the concept that the Catholic Catechism and the bible are in the end, nothing more than words written on a piece of paper just as national constitutions are. Words which in and of themselves have no sentience or will or the ability to compel people to obey them no matter the font or if the manuscript is illuminated. One could have a philosopher king like Marcus Aurelius in one generation and a degenerate Commodus in the next even if he looks most fabulous uniform. Man has free will and that means he may not choose to be good.

There is no guarantee of a good ruler and to remove a bad ruler takes a coup d eta usually with a nasty civil war in the bargain. Whereas in a democratic society, it is always possible to peacefully remove a bad leader.

But in the end, what is the difference between a transnational bureaucratic European empire and a empire of autocratic Christendom other than one is ruled by commoners and the other by those who won the royal sperm lottery and claim to go to church on Sundays. Or that the traditional European monarchies he is so enamored with only differ from communism by religion and rhetoric. He can't understand his arguments contradict themselves.

The greatest failure of Coloumbe's arguments is not recognizing the common denominator in the faults of systems of governance is the human element, not the system itself just as he is unable to find the heuristic but instead clings to the nostalgic. The moral failings of modern people living in liberal democracies simply means the Church has her work cut out for her.

Donald Cavaioli

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