Are American Monarchists Dreamers?

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One of the commentators on a recent Crisis article of mine declared that “Charles Coulombe is a weird person who desires the destruction of democracy and its replacement with monarchy again. There is a bizarre thread in Crisis now that desires such stupid stuff.” I suppose I am a weird person, so I can’t disagree with him there. But I certainly cannot desire the destruction of what does not exist: wanting to destroy democracy is like wanting to sink Atlantis. I do favor ending the charade that allows small minorities to make infanticide, perversion, and murder of the elderly and infirm sacred things protected by law.

As for Crisis having a bizarre thread—well, bizarre is in the eyes of the beholder, as is the stupidity of any given stuff. In any case, if democracy is indeed majority rule, we have not had it in these United States in my time, if ever we did. What we have, to repeat, is rule by a collection of ever stranger minorities of varying kinds, who via some sort of strange symbiosis with what passes for our elites are seemingly able to bend reality to their will. This is why we have infanticide. This is why we have same-sex “marriage.” This is why we have unisex facilities. And this is why statues of such anodyne figures as Kate Smith and Lewis and Clark are being torn down. Call it what you will, but it is not democracy.

Now, as to my monarchism, I must certainly plead guilty to the charge; but to be fair to myself as I stand in the dock, I must be precise about the nature of that monarchy which I feel to be the best form of government. It has five hallmarks: a) altar, that is, a system under which the Church (the Catholic Church, to be specific) gives legitimacy to the regime via a coronation rite and other ceremonies, and is the animating philosophy of society; b) throne, that is, a sovereign whose authority is grounded in the Church and national tradition, and who has sufficient power to protect his people from their politicians; c) local liberties, or what is today called subsidiarity, wherein as much power as possible would devolve to the lowest possible levels of governance; d) class cooperation, or what is generally called solidarity today and was once called “social monarchy”; and e) consciousness of the nation being part of a greater and loose whole.

Call it Christendom, the West, or what you will. Despite having played with applying such ideas to this country in my book Star-Spangled Crown, I highly doubt anything remotely like this would or could come to pass in America—at least so long as she remains as she is.

 

But is not entertaining such ideas that simply cannot be enacted as things stand a sort of intellectual LARPing? In a sense. But so, too, is any alternative to what we have now. Whether you call yourself a constitutionalist, a libertarian, a distributist, a capitalist, or even just pro-life, you are attempting to remake a resistant current reality against the will of your (and my) betters. This is a highly unlikely prospect. All of this is to say that it’s just too bad for you if you do not think the regime we enjoy—with its sacred cows of infanticide and perversion—is perfect. In that case, you are the “weird person who desires the destruction of democracy.” It is your views that are the “bizarre thread … that desires such stupid stuff.”

The Founding Fathers agreed with Aristotle that the best form of government would be “mixed”, bringing together elements of what he considered the three “good” forms of government: monarchy, aristocracy, and “polity” (i.e., rule by the stakeholders— landowners, artisans, and the like). Against these Aristotle had ranged what he considered to be their evil imitations: tyranny, oligarchy, and democracy (in the sense of mob rule). What neither he nor the Founders could have conceived is that one day we would have a mixed government all right—of the three worst forms!

As Orestes Brownson predicted in the 19th century, the sad truth is that unless our United States are converted to the Catholic faith, they will fall because of errors implicit in the foundation of our government and in the national ideology which has been dying since the 1960s. To believe otherwise is true LARPing.

Image: The Blessed Emperor Charles of Austria, in full imperial regalia.

Charles Coulombe

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Charles A. Coulombe is a contributing editor at Crisis and the magazine's European correspondent. He previously served as a columnist for the Catholic Herald of London and a film critic for the National Catholic Register. A celebrated historian, his books include Puritan's Empire and Star-Spangled Crown. He resides in Vienna, Austria and Los Angeles, California.

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