Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Life-span of Democracy

I have been asked repeatedly about my assertion that democracies/republics are short lived propositions.  When we think of the inspirations for modern democracies or republics, we naturally think of Athens and Rome.  If one were to date the democratic experiment in Athens, the earliest possible date would be Solon in about 594BC until the experiment was suppressed by the Macedonians in 322BC.  A very generous estimation would then be about 300 years.  (By way of comparison, the British monarchy is well over 900 years old.)  The Roman republic (not the state) was founded in 509BC with Lucius Junius Brutus as one of the first consuls.  The end of the republic is tougher to pin down.  By anyone's estimation it was dead when Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon, 49BC, approximately 470 years.  (The Bourbons ruled France for almost one thousand years.)  These are the most generous dates imaginable.  Most historians would say too generous by half.
Now there have been other attempts at these forms of government before the American experiment, but they have been on very small scales or not really democracies/republics at all, one thinks of the Swiss cantons or perhaps some tribal systems.  When we consider this form of government in a historical context we must look to Athens and Rome. If we took our inspiration from them, we might be wise to keep an eye on how they progressed and ended.  When they had become wealthy, successful and dominant, they also became lax and decadent.  Both ended in despotism, Rome of the home grown variety and Athens of the conquering variety.  This is why Benjamin Franklin, when asked what form of government the new Constitution was, said, "A republic, if you can keep it."  He knew his history unlike most moderns.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Participate in the new poll.  You will find it to the right, just below the portrait of Blessed Karl.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tyranny of the Majority

Every American child is brought up, from his first play-ground squabble, to accept the principle of "majority rules".  That is to say that whatever the majority wants, or thinks they can get, is what will be done.  On the surface that seems reasonable, but is it?  It is certainly practical.  It is certainly easy.  It is certainly satisfying.  I have come to the conclusion that, in many ways, it is one of the most profoundly flawed systems man has ever devised.

In the first place, who is this majority?  In most modern democracies/republics it is everyone.  One man, one vote.  Government is a craft; what does the average voter know about the actual work of government?  Precious little, if any.  Voting is the only task in the world that one needs no qualifications for, no real preparation, no experience, and even less reflection (unless, of course, one counts the act of running for office).   Regularly these deficiencies are counted as assets.  The vast majority of people called on to cast a vote are manifestly not suitable for the job.  Why should a kid who has never run a business, never owned property, never taken on a long-term responsibility have a say in what is done to effect those who have?  Why should a woman who doesn't even know the names of the candidates or what they are running for until someone hands her a ballot be allowed to fill it out?  Why should the opinion of a man who has demonstrated substantial disregard for others all his life be valued at all?  Stand on any busy street corner for five minutes and try to find one person, passing by, that you would allow to make any important decision for you.  These are the people who make up this majority, yet they are allowed to have their way on any number of issues every election.  The only difference between the majority and the mob or rabble is a matter of temper.

In a democracy/republic, if 51% of a population is wrong, that is, mistaken on a matter of public policy it becomes binding on the 49% that saw the error. That is bad enough, but the nature of such wide spread responsibility for an action is that no one is now responsible for this mistake in judgment!  There is essentially no one to blame and no one accountable.  The matter becomes even worse when it involves a moral issue, and there are moral issues at stake in government all the time, from the issues of war and peace, slavery (in our own recent past), to abortion and homosexuality today.  Is it wise to let such important issues be decided by people ill prepared to deal with them, and who know that they will not have to shoulder the responsibility for their decisions?  It is very possible for people to make decisions contrary to what is right and their own best interests believing that this is not the case.  Current American public policy makes this painfully clear.  As Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn said, "51 per cent of a nation can establish a totalitarian and dictatorial règime, suppress minorities, and still remain democratic...".  This is the almost the very definition of tyranny of the majority.  Once one steps back from the patriotic hyperbole, the flaws of such systems become quite evident.

I am not opposed to democracy/republicanism in every instance.  I believe that on a small scale or on the local level it is immensely useful, but it is personal government at that point.  The chance of a careless electorate making a poor choice is diminished because it is personal.  Everyone either knows the players or has some experience related to them.  This is the real danger of democracy/republicanism on a large scale: even a well educated, competent, moral, responsible voter, the ideal voter, cannot know the full ramifications of the choices set before him.  He only knows what someone else wants him to know about a candidate or an issue.  This fact is exacerbated in a media and special interest driven culture such as ours.  These are all issues that the founders of today's modern democracies/republics were aware of and debated seriously.  They came to the conclusion that it was worth the risk.  I am not so sure.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Charles Coulombe

Charles A. CoulombeCharles A. Coulombe was born in New York on November 8, 1960. At an early age, his parents took him to Hollywood, California.  Mr. Coulombe has lectured on a wide variety of historical, religious, and political topics on three continents, and did commentary for ABC News on the death of John Paul II and the election and installation of his successor. He is the author of numerous articles in many journals, and of nine books, most recently The Pope's Legion, on the 19th century volunteers for the Papal army, from Palgrave Macmillan. Puritan's Empire represents the culmination of over 30 years research and thought on the real meaning of American history today. 
Mr. Coulombe is a strong supporter of the ideals of monarchy:  "Isn't monarchy undemocratic?  In the sense of everyone not having a vote for King or Emperor? Certainly, but I am going to reveal a deep secret of reality--no regime is, can be, or ever has been democratic!  Some have been representative, in the sense that a majority of the population has some voice in the selection of their leaders (though virtually none in the policies those leaders carry out).  The larger the area to be governed, the less those voters matter.  In reality, the power is inevitably in the hands of those individuals and/or institution the given society whose money or land give them preponderant influence, as well as those who actually administer the state from day-to-day.
"With our system, for instance, no one can be elected to national office who does not enjoy the support of one or more special interests--how could it be otherwise?  It takes a great deal of money to be elected, and unless one is a millionaire oneself, how else to acquire it.
"What makes such a system unfortunate is that, while maintaining the illusion of popular control, the real powers in the State are unaccountable for their actions.  Thus, if a congressman votes for a bill disastrous to the interests of his constituents, he will be the object of their ire, rather than the employer of the lobbyist who suborned the legislator's vote.  Correspondingly, said constituents will appeal to their representative for help, rather than the company or interest behind him.  Thus the real powers-that-be may exercise their power without any responsibility to the populace.  It is ironic that this 'un-democratic' way of doing business should be the stock-and-trade of all 'democracies', but there it is.  Perhaps replacing the house of Representatives with a House of Lobbyists would help make government more accountable.  
"That having been said, what is necessary in government is not 'democracies', whatever that may be, but accountability and responsibility...."

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Another gem by the Mad Monarchist

Defining Terms

A friend recently asked me: Isn't a king the same thing as a dictator?  Of course, the answer is no, but Americans have always been taught that kings are tyrants and that power corrupts.  It shouldn't surprise anyone that this confusion exists.  It is possible for any government to become dictatorial or self-serving.  Most modern governments are well on their way to becoming State-ist entities without having changed any structural elements at all.  By State-ist I mean a government in which the people serve the ruler(s) rather than the ruler(s) serving the people.  See A New Paradigm

A king is the head of state in a country which is usually ruled or controlled by an individual who normally rules for life and typically inherits the throne by birth. Kings may be autocrats or may be ceremonial heads of state, with actual authority vested in a parliament or other body.  Most monarchs, are bound by tradition and ceremonial to reign in a certain way .  He has been born to, brought up for, and trained all his life in this role.  In short, his life was spent for his people the moment he took his first breath.  A king knows that he owes his position to no talent or gift of his own, leaving just a little room for humility.

A dictator is a ruler who assumes sole and absolute power without hereditary ascension.  He has usually placed himself in the position of head of state, either in a coup d'etat or having stood for election.  Every dictator is a self made man.  Having clawed his way to the top, he considers himself beholding to no one, neither God nor man.  His talent for acquiring power is generally unaccompanied by learning or skill in statecraft.  Unbound by tradition, he may rule by his own whim.

Any state can become a dictatorship or State-ist.  To discover the degree of relative State-ism present, simply ask: Do great men serve the people or do the people serve the "great" men?  For example, the United States is largely a dictatorship of special interests and corporations, with the people and their representatives doing the other's bidding.  In my opinion, the worst king is better than the best dictator.  Most XX century dictators were popularly elected, to follow a "corrupt" king. One thinks of the turmoils of modern Germany after the forced abdication of Wilhelm II which lead to the advent of Hitler and National Socialism.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Of Dynasties and Term Limits

Inevitably the first question I am asked, after I have convinced someone that I am indeed serious about being a monarchist, is: what if the king is bad? ( Never mind that the question is usually posed by a person that could not himself even spot wicked behavior nor every day evil if it settled on their head).  I will feel obliged to answer that question when he can answer mine: what do you do about an electorate that has become so corrupt and self-centered that it cannot recognize, much less choose the good?  I suspect the former will be easier to remedy than the latter.

As with most things, I think the underlying assumptions are more interesting and more important than the question itself. Is there something inherently superior in changing leaders often or regularly to an enduring line of rulers?  Elected politicians (even career politicians) have very short tenures.  In the United States the average politician spends two to twelve years in a specific office.  This "revolving-door" of office holders creates an kind of hyper-activity.  Legislators multiply laws to deal with discovered or contrived problems and fears.  They feel obligated to make their mark almost as compulsively as a dog does.  This constant political turnover also fosters a certain indifference to the long run.  Why worry if popular policies will cause crisis only when one is no longer running for reelection?  Evidence of fiscal irresponsibility in the United States includes chronic budget deficits, explicit national debt, and the still larger liabilities being accumulated over Medicare and Social Security.  Yet politicians continue to offer new plums because they know they won't have to answer for them in the long run but must justify their time in office now.

A monarch is not dependent on being elected and reelected.  He embodies continuity as does the dynasty.  He has no other interest than the maintenance of order and liberty.  Dynastic continuity parallels the the rule of law.  The king symbolizes a state of affairs in which profound political change , though eventually possible, cannot occur without ample time for consideration.  The king stands in contrast to legislators and bureaucrats, who are inclined to think, by the very nature of their jobs, that diligent performance means multiplying laws and regulations.  Continuity is neither rigidity nor blind conservatism.  With regard to my opening statements, the damage done to the individual by a good politician is more that that done by a bad king, simply because of the nature of the structures in which they work.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The End of Monarchies

A very thought provoking video from the Mad Monarchist.   Most troubling of all is that the United States was complicit in most of these changes of regime. 


After years of speculation, it has been announced that Prince William and Kate Middelton will marry in the spring or summer of 2011.  Congratulations and best wishes to the happy couple.

Monday, November 15, 2010

In America Anyone Can Become President...

even a "community organizer" from Kenya that no one ever heard of...that's the chance you take with a democracy.

A New Paradigm

The current conception of the political spectrum as a left/right continuum is wholly inadequate.  Listen to almost any man try to describe his own views on politics, economics, even morality and the shortcomings become obvious at once.  This latest version of the left/right line is said to come down to us from the time of the French Revolution and, at the time, probably sufficed very nicely.  My proposition is that the situation and the terminology  have changed enough since then to warrant a new conception of these matters: a new paradigm, if you will.

In the late MDCCC century, the right represented the interests of those who wanted to conserve the traditions of the past, namely a monarchical form of government.  The left represented the interests of those who wanted to liberate the common man from his feudal duties.  These are, admittedly, broad brush-stroke characterizations but, I think, not far from the mark.  This does not, in any way reflect, the situation in the MMI century nor the nuances that the times demand in our thought and speech.  The MCM century introduced the modern version of Socialism.  The MM century unveiled Fascism, and the very notion of monarchy was almost entirely eclipsed.

May I suggest a triangular concept for this discussion.  Building on the left/ right spectrum, updating the terminology to our needs: right would represent the interests those with a predilection for Democracy and/or Republicanism.  Left would represent the interests of those who value State-ism: Socialism/Fascism.  Above this spectrum line, let us return Monarchy to the discussion, thus forming our triangle.  These three polities are really the only forms of government man has ever devised for himself; everything else is simply shading.

How does it work?  Let us use the UK as an example.  At the time of the Stuarts, the UK was firmly placed at the top of our triangle.  As Parliament seized more and more control, the government moved closer to the center and right of our triangle.  Today we find a UK that has shifted to the lower left, with government involved in every aspect of the private man's life.  A similar situation is at play in the United States.  In the course of the XX century there has been a gradual crawl toward the left and a new State-ist way of doing business introduced.

Why return monarchy to the discussion?  Because even if it is currently out of fashion, it is one of only three ways man has devised to govern himself.  I ask, is it wise to take one third of the options off of the table.  The recent fascination with the bottom of our triangle has brought little more that death, instability and terror to the world.  Perhaps it is time to look afresh at the wisdom that governed brilliantly for millennia.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Henry V, Non Nobis Domine

One of my favorite video clips.

Book Recommendation

From the publisher's web-site:

If anything characterizes our times, it is a sense of pervading chaos. In every field of human endeavor, the windstorms of change are fast altering the ways we live. Contemporary man is no longer anchored in certainties and thus has lost sight of who he is, where he comes from and where he is going.

If there is a single book that can shed light amid the postmodern darkness, it is Revolution and Counter-Revolution by Plinio Correa de Oliveira. In a masterly display of penetrating Catholic scholarship, this extraordinary Brazilian author and man of action traced the processes of history that have shaped postmodern man.

The book's impressive analysis of a revolutionary process born of pride and sensuality begins with a Middle Ages in decadence, proceeds to a neo-pagan Renaissance and pseudo-Reformation, then to the French Revolution, and atheistic Communism. The third part deals with the "Fourth Revolution," or the cultural revolution of the sixties that gave birth to our confusing postmodern times.

Perhaps the most important part of this book is the section on the Counterrevolution. Prof. de Oliveira showed how to implement truly counterrevolutionary action at the service of the Church. He discussed the tactics to be used and the pitfalls to be avoided. The highly acclaimed work is a veritable manual that all Catholics can have recourse in resisting the neo-pagan revolution of our days. It is a powerful tool for making sense of the pervading chaos.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Book Recommendation

From the book jacket:

Liberal Fascism offers a startling new perspective on the theories and practices that define fascist politics.  Replacing conveniently manufactured myths with surprising and enlightening research, Jonah Goldberg reminds us that the original fascists were really on the left, and that liberals from Woodrow Wilson to FDR to Hillary Clinton have advocated policies and principles remarkably similar to those of Hitler's National Socialism and Mussolini's Fascism.

Contrary to what most people think, the Nazis were ardent socialists (hence the term "National Socialism").  they believed in free health care and guaranteed jobs.  They confiscated inherited wealth and spent vast sums on public education.  They purged the church from public policy, promoted a new form of pagan spirituality, and inserted the authority of the state into every nook and cranny of daily life.  the Nazis declared war on smoking, supported abortion, euthanasia, and gun control.  They loathed the free market, provided generous pensions to the elderly, and maintained a strict racial quota in their universities-- where campus speech codes were all the rage.  The Nazis lead the world in organic farming and alternative medicine.  Hitler was a strict vegetarian and Himler was an animal rights advocate....

Wedding Emperor Charles I of Austria & Zita

A shy young man enjoying his wedding day before the weight of the or the world descended on him.

An Old Rant

I sent this out to some friends last summer; the sentiment remains fresh.

This morning I went to check e-mails and there were no less than a dozen from different people, all across the country, expressing their disgust with government and politicians.  My question, and I ask it very seriously, is: where did this sad state of affairs come from?  Did this situation just appear out of thin air?  Did something happen to all these people to make them so unacceptable?  No, America is getting the leadership it wants, that’s how democracy works!  The short answer is that Americans have lost the ability to govern themselves.  I am not talking about violence in the streets but the ability for a large group of people to make good decisions.  That’s what self-government is.

Just because they made a decision does not make it a good one; this used to be known as “tyranny of the majority”.  If government’s job is to do good and punish evil, then it is the electorate’s job to elect people that can do good and punish evil.  Americans consistently elect governments that, at best, cannot distinguish between good and evil and, at worst, actively do evil and punish the good.  This is not the government’s or the politician’s fault.  This is a democracy and the majority of Americans support them.  How do I know this?  Because they keep electing them.  In all my life I have, with few if any exceptions, seen a US administration that was not corrupt or incompetent.  And how did this happen?  They were all elected; hand picked by the American people.

So, what is my point?  In all of history, no democracy has ever lasted more than two or three hundred years.  America is not an exception.  When a people no longer have the will for (or cannot tell the difference between) doing good and punishing evil, they are history, literally.  When I get a in-box full of e-mails like this morning, I have to shake my head and go for the delete key.  Theoretically the government can be reformed, but how do you reform a whole people?  How does a whole nation regain it’s moral footing?  I really don’t know.

America and State-ism

I saved this some time ago but cannot find an attribution.  My apologies to the author.

A popular slogan of the Italian Fascists under Mussolini was, “Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato” (everything for the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state). I recall this expression frequently as I observe the state’s far-reaching penetration of my own society.

What of any consequence remains beyond the state’s reach in the United States today? Not wages, working conditions, or labor-management relations; not health care; not money, banking, or financial services; not personal privacy; not transportation or communication; not education or scientific research; not farming or food supply; not nutrition or food quality; not marriage or divorce; not child care; not provision for retirement; not recreation; not insurance of any kind; not smoking or drinking; not gambling; not political campaign funding or publicity; not real estate development, house construction, or housing finance; not international travel, trade, or finance; not a thousand other areas and aspects of social life.

One might affirm that the state still keeps its hands off religion, but it actually does not. It certifies certain religious organizations as legitimate and condemns others, as many young men discovered to their sorrow when they attempted to claim the status of conscientious objector during the Vietnam War. It assigns members of certain religions, but not members of others, as chaplains in its armed services.

Besides, isn’t state-ism itself a religion for most Americans? Do they not honor the state above all else, above even the commandments of a conventional religion they may embrace? If their religion tells them “thou shalt not murder,” but the state orders them to murder, then they murder. If the state tells them to rob, to destroy property, and to imprison innocent people, then, notwithstanding any religious strictures, they rob, destroy property, and imprison innocent people, as millions of victims of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and millions of victims of the so-called Drug War in this country will attest. Moreover, in every form of adversity, Americans look to the state for their personal salvation, just as before the twentieth century their ancestors looked to Divine Providence.

When the state produces unworkable or unsatisfactory conditions in any area of life, and therefore elicits complaints and protests, as it has for example in every area related to health care, it responds to these complaints and protests by making “reforms” that heap new laws, regulations, and government bureaus atop the existing mountain of counterproductive interventions. Thus, each new “reform” makes the government more monstrous and destructive than it was before. Citizen, be careful what you wish for; the government just might give it to you good and hard.

The areas of life that remain outside the government’s participation, taxation, subsidization, regulation, surveillance, and other intrusion or control have become so few and so trivial that they scarcely merit mention. We verge ever closer upon the condition in which everything that is not prohibited is required. Yet, the average American will declare loudly that he is a free man and that his country is the freest in the world. Thus, in a country where more and more is for the state, where virtually nothing is outside the State, and where, aside from pointless complaints, nothing against the State is permitted, Americans have become ideal fascist citizens. Like the average German during the years that Hitler ruled Germany, most Americans today, inhabiting one of the most pervasively controlled countries in the history of the world, think they are free.


On September 18, 1787, just after signing the US Constitution, Benjamin Franklin met with members of the press. He was asked what kind of government America would have. Franklin: “A republic, if you can keep it.” In his speech to the Constitutional Convention, Franklin admonished: “This [U.S. Constitution] is likely to be administered for a course of years and then end in despotism... when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other.” The Quotable Founding Fathers, pg. 39

“But killing one tyrant only makes way for worse, unless the people have sense, spirit and honesty enough to establish and support a constitution guarded at all points against the tyranny of the one, the few, and the many. Let it be the study, therefore, of lawgivers and philosophers, to enlighten the people's understandings and improve their morals, by good and general education; to enable them to comprehend the scheme of government, and to know upon what points their liberties depend; to dissipate those vulgar prejudices and popular superstitions that oppose themselves to good government; and to teach them that obedience to the laws is as indispensable in them as in lords and kings.” - John Adams, A Defence of the Constitutions of Government (1787), Ch. 18.

“A mere demarcation on parchment of the constitutional limits (of government) is not a sufficient guard against those encroachments which lead to a tyrannical concentration of all the powers of government in the same hands.” - James Madison, Federalist Paper #48, 1788.

“Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” – James Madison, "Political Observations" (1795-04-20); also in Letters and Other Writings of James Madison (1865), Vol. IV, p. 491.

“Republics decline into democracies and democracies degenerate into despotisms.”~Aristotle~

Even 51 per cent of a nation can establish a totalitarian and dictatorial règime, suppress minorities, and still remain democratic; there is, as we have said, little doubt that the American Congress and the French Chambre have a power over their respective nations which would rouse the envy of a Louis XIV or a George III were they alive today. - Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

Why I Am A Monarchist

Democracies/Republics are inherently unstable and short lived 
  • No democracy, in the history of the world, has survived more than 300 years
  • The record is not much better for republics.
  • All human beings are not equal.
  • Majorities often error.
  • Not everybody is able to judge every political question.
  • Intelligent and honest men are not always popular. 
  • The functional value of the ignorant and the learned are not the same.
  • Majorities are not necessarily the better part of the whole.

State-ism (Socialism/Fascism) has never produced anything worth preserving.

Monarchy is the oldest form of government.
  • Monarchies have produced the most brilliant cultures and civilizations in history.
  • They are generally long enduring governments.
  • Monarchy is fully consonant with the human spirit.
  • Monarchy is not synonymous with despotism or  tyranny.