“Loyalty to a doctrine ends in adherence to the interpretation we give it. Only loyalty to a person frees us from all self-complacency.”-Nicolás Gómez Dávila (1913 – 1994), aka “Don Colacho”
I am a monarchist, wishing that the Queen of the United Kingdom still reigned over this country. Had the United States lost or only partially won the Revolution, we would have become a Dominion of the United Kingdom, in much similar way to how Canada did — and much bloodshed would have been avoided.
Why am I a monarchist? Above all else, because I am an Orthodox Christian and a careful student of Christian theology, both Eastern and Western, Church history, and European history. My areas of specialisation are the Classical Greeks and Romans, Late Antiquity, Byzantium, medieval and early modern Britain, Renaissance Italy, early modern and Imperial Russia, and the British Empire. Aside from being a purely academic interest, I am fundamentally of the belief that monarchy constitutes the ideal form of human governance and have an abiding conviction that monarchy offers the best form of government known to mankind. Monarchies have existed for the entirety of known human civilisations, while democracy originates in Athens in only the sixth century BC, the Roman republic from the same period, and communism and fascism are both less than 150 years old (and already rightfully and widely completely discredited).
I believe, and thousands of years of history have shown, that a man or woman instructed from youth in the art of government, a person who is trained from childhood to see their rule as a sacred duty, a solemn service, and a public stewardship rather than an earned right, governs more benignly, sincerely, capably, and nobly than someone who has either taken power through brute force, violent revolution, or contested elections. Democratic elections are an extraordinary thing in that they propose that, upon being elected, a politician who has previously been partisan, divisive, and factious will somehow, almost magically, cease to be partisan, divisive, and factious upon taking office. I believe it is the very height of naivete to believe that a popularly elected, partisan politician can somehow serve as a supra-political, unifying figure.
My views are closest to those of the “High Tory” tradition in Britain, or, a distant second, the “Red Tory” one in Canada. In terms of political influences, besides Plato, Cicero, Marcus Aurelius, and the Christian Scriptures and writings of the Eastern Church Fathers, I have been most strongly influenced by the writings of Edmund Burke MP, Antoine de Rivarol, and Count Joseph de Maistre (anti-French Revolution) and then, in the twentieth century, the writings of C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, Nicolás Gómez Dávila, Roger Scruton, and Russell Kirk.
Along with several monarchist friends, I administer the “Monarchists” group on Facebook, which you are welcome to join. Pravoslavie.ru, the Moscow Stretensky Monastery’s online publication, has published a number of my pieces on monarchy and Church history, including this essay “In This Great Service” in defense of monarchy. I wrote it from a theistic perspective generally, a Christian one more specifically, and an Orthodox one in particular.
Here are some quotes relevant to my political beliefs.
1. “The conservative is concerned, first of all, with the regeneration of the spirit and character—with the perennial problem of the inner order of the soul, the restoration of the ethical understanding, and the religious sanction upon which any life worth living is founded. This is conservatism at its highest.”
– Russell Kirk
2. “There are some people, nevertheless — and I am one of them — who think that the most practical and important thing about a man is still his view of the universe.”
– G.K. Chesterton
3. “Monarchy can easily be debunked, but watch the faces, mark well the debunkers. . . Even if they desire mere equality they cannot reach it. Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, athletes or film stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison.”
– C. S. Lewis
4. “Until philosophers are kings, or the kings and princes of this world have the spirit and power of philosophy, and political greatness and wisdom meet in one, and those commoner natures who pursue either to the exclusion of the other are compelled to stand aside, cities will never have rest from their evils — no, nor the human race, as I believe — and then only will this our State have a possibility of life and behold the light of day.”
5. “We enemies of universal suffrage never cease to be surprised by the enthusiasm aroused by the election of a handful of incapable men by a heap of incompetent men.”
– Nicolás Gómez Dávila
6. “The voter does not even vote for what he wants; he only votes for what he thinks he wants.”
7. “Our society insists on electing its rulers so that an accident of birth, or the whim of a monarch, will not suddenly deliver power into the hands of an intelligent man.”
8. “Humanity is not ungovernable: it merely happens that rarely does a man govern who deserves to govern.”
9. “Politics is the art of searching for the best relationship between force and ethics.”
10. “Political science is the art of quantifying the amount of freedom man can handle and the amount of servitude he needs.”
11. “Democratic elections decide who may be oppressed legally.”
12. “The absolute ruler may be a Nero, but he is sometimes Titus or Marcus Aurelius; the people is often Nero, and never Marcus Aurelius.”
– Antoine de Rivarol
Here is a list of recommended monarchist reading materials:
- Pious Kings and Right-believing Queens: An Encyclopedia of the Royal and Imperial Saints of the Orthodox Church by Fr. James Thornton
- Reflections on the Revolution in France by Edmund Burke MP
- On Power by Bertrand de Jouvenel
- Considerations on France by Comte Joseph de Maistre
- On Monarchy by Dante Alighieri
- Patriarcha or the Natural Power of Kings by Sir Robert Filmer
- The King’s Two Bodies by E. Kantorowicz
- “Sacred Monarchy and the Modern Secular State” by Fr. Michael Azkoul
- Critics of the Enlightenment: Readings in the French Counter-Revolutionary Tradition by Christopher Olaf Blum
- The Obedience of a Christian Man by William Tyndale (reprint)
- Democracy – The God that Failed by Hans-Herman Hoppe
- “The Divine Right of Kings” by John Neville Figgis, 2nd edition
- Divine Right and Democracy: An Anthology of Political Writing in Stuart Englandedited by Professor David Wootton
- The Crown, the Sages and Supreme Morality by Robert E. Ball, LL.B.
- Jacques Bainville and the Renaissance of Royalist History in Twentieth-Century France by Professor William R. Keylor
- “Monarchy and War” by Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn
- “The Meaning and Function of Monarchy” by Julius Evola
- Première Lettre à M. Necker, sur l’Importance des Opinions Religieuses by Comte Antoine de Rivarol
- Seconde Lettre à M. Necker sur la Morale by Rivarol
- “Triomphe de l’Anarchie” by Rivarol
- “De la Vie Politique” by Rivarol