Untimely Observations

Egalitarian Monarchism

Since its inception, “Front Porch Republic”—a webzine dedicated to “Place, Limits, Liberty”—has established itself as a kind of worst-of-all-possible-worlds “paleoconservative” website. (I hesitate to describe it as “paleo” as this insults the memory of Sam Francis.) In critiquing capitalism, FPR offers welfare liberalism, the nanny-state, and Catholic Distributism as alternatives. The site embraces “localism”—to the point of longing to be Amish if it didn’t entail giving up the interwebs—though its writers appear more interested in reaching out to Hispanic migrants than contemplating how the culture of a locus is inseparable from the ethnos residing in it. The site’s philosophizing was generally unreadable.

The least one can say is that FPR has achieved “limits” … in readership.

An ideology has a social base, and in the case of FPR, “localism” seems to derive from many of its contributors’ uneasiness within the conservative movement and Republican circles. They obviously don’t like the empire and the foreign wars, and they’re probably horrified by the debasement of American popular culture as well as the replacement of its Euro-Christian population with Third Worlders.

Still, they fear being labelled “racists” or “the far Right,” and they might even want to hold on to employment in the purlieus of the conservative movement. Thus, they embrace an ideology so harmless, innocuous, and cute that the movement’s neocon overlords would sooner tolerate them as amusing court jesters than go through the effort of purging them.

Anyway, I was actually prepared to completely change my opinion of Front Porch Republic when a friend informed me that a writer was bashing democracy and defending monarchy. This, it would seem, takes balls!

Unfortunately, my optimism was not justified.

I never thought I’d actually read an egalitarian defence of traditional hierarchy, but John Médialle has managed just this. As he states, “I am a monarchist because I am a democrat”; indeed, “monarchy is the highest form of this democracy.” Long story short, in Médaille’s mind, elected officials are too easily bought off by greedy businessmen; the independent monarch, however, is well positioned to redistribute wealth and property and institute social justice. Médaille's argument for One Ruler is similar to that for One World Government: if we could just end competition and agonism, then we could all enjoy Peace, Equality, and Justice.

That Médaille’s view is inconsistent with real, existing monarchy—which featured lower rates of taxation and higher concentrations of wealth (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and sovereigns who were quite apt to deal with financiers—is besides the point. What’s important here is that Médaille presents “radical traditionalism” as the ultimate form of social levelling. Monarchy without nobles--and without nobility.

I can’t improve on Bede’s commentary from Conservative Heritage Times:

First, one must distinguish between monarchy and aristocracy, as the two were often in conflict. Lords and nobles often saw it in their interest to have a weak king. And while Aquinas may prescribe monarchy as the best form of government, Aristotle was more sober in his assessment of best forms of government. While some people (esp. those in the Middle East) might have temperaments more conducive to monarchy, other people, he felt, were better served by aristocracy / oligarchy or politeia / democracy.  The best form of government was relative to various ethnicities and their ancestral and tribal histories.

Second, Red is correct that a people cannot select a new aristocracy de novo. The European aristocracy, as it evolved out of the Middle Ages, was a product of the warrior caste. The early aristocracy ruled because they were able to rule. This authority in time became reflected in law. To bring about conditions for an aristocracy in the U.S. today, the U.S. would have to descend into complete chaos.

Third, regarding meritocracy, the ancient aristocracy was not opposed to meritocracy, but thought it was the epitome of merit. Echoing Nietzsche, bonus not only meant good, but also noble with its martial implications. Aristotle combined all these qualities, arguing that the moral were typically noble and even good looking. Both Plato and Aristotle were concerned with good breeding (eugenics), something which continues into the Middle Ages with gentilesse (refinement and courtesy resulting from good breeding).

There is some evidence that the nobles were the fittest. For instance, Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending, in The 10,000 Year Explosion (pg. 104), write:

Gregory Clark, in A Farewell to Alms, shows that in medieval England the richest members of society had approximately twice the number of surviving offspring as the poorest. The bottom of society did not reproduce itself, with the result that, after a millennium or so, nearly everyone was descended from the wealthy classes.

Interestingly, although we are nearly all thus descendants of the aristocracy or upper class, nearly the exact oppose phenomenon is occurring today:  Dysgenics / Idiocracy.

Finally, let’s not forget that there was a racial element to aristocracy in southern Europe. “Blue bloods,” as they were called, were supposed to be fair skinned (of Germanic, or maybe Celtic, ancestry) so that one could see the blue veins through their pale skin (unlike the dusky skin of the Moors, etc.).