Return of the Kings

3 posts


I'm sympathetic to monarchy, but regime forms are married to historical contingencies, just as species have evolved to take advantage of emerging niches and conditions, and perish or adapt when these change.

Any 21st century monarchist movement must come to terms with pre-existing command structures which manage conflicts within Western civil society -- the rise of mass man, increasing complexity and atomization, resource scarcity and overpopulation, the polarization unleashed by ideological warfare, economic shifts and demographic change, and so on. These command structures are defined by what Burnham identified as managerialism, a form of political machinery which operates as a bureaucratic coalition of experts and elites, and they are extremely effective. In Europe, the EU and what is euphemistically termed the 'international community' are responsible for maintaining this machinery.

As fascists and Marxists alike recognized during the interwar period, monarchy is too sluggish, too weighed down by obsolete traditions to respond to emerging historical developments. But eventually they, too, found themselves on the wrong side of history, leaving managerialism as the only form of government legitimately equipped to handle the vicissitudes of modernity.

Installing royal figureheads won't change anything in this regard. The only two solutions are to either overturn the entire system, like Lamar in Walker Percy's Lancelot, or else usurp the managers themselves and change the system from the inside out (Mencius Moldbug's solution). What this resurgence of monarchism signifies is not an imminent restoration of the throne, but something equally encouraging: dissatisfaction with the present liberal status quo. As for what comes next, nobody can say, but I think it's obvious that it will fulfill that famous Chinese curse: "may you live in interesting times"!
Bob Dylan Roof

The monarchists from the New Right do not understand the history or nature of traditional western monarchy. The monarchy to which the mediocre elites in the article above are connected is the institutional foundation of western culture, established by powerful, enterprising men over the course of a millennium through force and intermarriage. Accordingly, the traditional monarch either earned his rights through conquest and usurpation or inheritance from someone who had earned those rights. If those rights had been lost, the only way to reacquire them was by earning them again through brute force. Therefore, we can imagine a modern monarchy that reproduces the political conditions of classical absolutism only to the extent that any modern individual possesses the resources to challenge, militarily, the modern nation state.

The main reason an authentic 21st-century monarch is impossible is that the modern nation-state has perfected the absolutist mechanism of government by eliminating the weaknesses inherent in government by a private individual. While a private individual will never be able to command the mob by appealing to their impulse to self-rule, modern democracies are able to fund and power their absolute, centralized governments by cloaking every policy in the cover of democratic legitimacy (the genius of Hobbes). Moreover, while it took monarchies hundreds of years to acquire the legitimacy of the Church, modern governments can choose when and how their acts will be connected to a given myth by virtue of being premeditated, written -- "founded" -- governments. The United States government is, in fact, the premier example of modern absolutism because it succeeded in adopting some of the classical methods for harnessing and placating the mob without damaging the scope of the absolute, centralized government, i.e., without allowing classical aristocratic republicanism to actually perform its natural function.

People who claim that aspiring and upstart monarchs can do the same are actually thinking of modern, ideological dictators who acquire power by virtue of their ability to manipulate the mob through appeals to justice and other myths rather than by virtue of their personal material success and acumen for war.

Team Zissou
Correct. Even if (1) the legitimate bloodlines could be traced and (2) the property restored, the institution itself is utterly gone. The extant order and every existing property claim would have to disappear and someone would have to start from Year Zero. In short, we can't be monarchists even if we want to. I wish it were otherwise but like they say, you can't go home again.