Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Defending Monarchy

Responding to some predictable Americanist criticism of his March 2009 Remnant article on Grand Duke Henri and the euthanasia controversy in Luxembourg, Brian McCall defends monarchy from a traditional Roman Catholic perspective. His article (which is dated June 2009, though I did not find it until recently) is good as far as it goes, focusing on classical and medieval political theory and distinguishing monarchy per se from the hereditary aspect with which it is commonly associated. However, while it is technically true that the Papacy is an elective monarchy and that monarchies do not have to be hereditary in order to be, strictly speaking, monarchies, I do believe that hereditary succession (for good reasons) over time became so closely linked with most Christian monarchies that a monarchist must be able and willing to defend it, for reasons I outlined at my forum here. Nevertheless I commend Mr. McCall for his efforts, which may be more likely to convince skeptical American Catholics of the potential merits of monarchy than either a more fervently dynastic approach or anything I could write as an Anglican.


Aaron Traas said...

Most of this is really quite excellent, but I reject his definitions of forms of government -- mostly the "A is a corrupted form of B" thing. A monarchy is a monarchy, regardless of whether the king acts against his peoples' interest. I do have a feeling he was over-simplifying to make a point, but I think he went a bit too far.

Ponocrates said...

Aaron, I respect your opinion, but if a monarch acts against the interests of his people and consistently undermines the common good then he does start to become tyrannical and weakens his position. That is the basic position of Aristotle through Thomas Aquinas.

Or maybe we agree that there are good monarchs and bad monarchs. [Tyrants would be technically something different]. Monarchs who consistently act unjustly and thwart the common good are bad monarchs.

Aaron Traas said...


I certainly agree that there are both good monarchs and bad monarchs. I just don't believe that a monarchy ceases to be a monarchy just because of the actions of a bad monarch.

MadMonarchist said...

A very good couple of articles on the whole. I was a little surprised though to see Luxembourg listed as the "last" real monarchy considering that both Liechtenstein and Monaco are monarchies, officially Catholic ones unlike Luxembourg, and both are "real" enough to be effectively absolute monarchies by some definitions. To me, this whole issue does not reflect much on monarchy itself but on the social sickness of Europe in general that such a law would be accepted and even supported by the public. Even a completely absolute monarch cannot, on his own, stem the tide of an entire civilization hell-bent on its own destruction.