Liberal republic vs monarchy

December 17, 2015 § 46 Comments

Both monarchy and liberal republics are structures of governance: particular arrangements of political authority with subjects, that is, people subject to that governing authority.  Liberals tend to be obsessed with the precise structure of governance, because to the extent that bureaucracy obscures authority liberals can pretend that authority doesn’t exist.  In liberal republics, subjects petition the sovereign on general matters of politics through the formal process of voting.

The main difference is that subjects of a liberal republic are governed by a sociopathic ruling class, which governs while pretending not to govern, under an immortal pack of lies which never dies; whereas in a monarchy the people who hold authority can be personally identified and live the life span of human beings.

§ 46 Responses to Liberal republic vs monarchy

  • Galloglasses says:

    Careful Zippy, you’re sounding awfully friendly to monarchism there. =P

    I jest, though in fairness as an admitted monarchist, the warning was at least sincere. Since in my time online, I have noticed in liberals (we tend to just label the entire swathe as ‘revolutionaries’ or collectively as ‘The Revolution’ in monarchist spheres), which even include many good and well meaning Catholics such as Wright as was revealed in that fiasco on his journal, will not countenance even a lack of hostility to things such as monarchy. Or even any serious talk or discussion on aristocracy for the more republican minded traditionalists out there.

    If you are not an enemy of traditionalism, or an enemy of anything that challenges or questions the liberal Goliath, you are an enemy. It matters not your proclivities, preferences or even like of other things liberals may hold in common with you (such as republicanism if one is so inclined), a lack of hostility, however passive, is viewed as an affront.

    I’ve seen it happen to passersby or casual commentators on various discussions I’ve been involved in over the years, its quite sad to see. The worst comes from socialists and communists but that’s par for the course with that ilk, especially here in Europe.

  • Zippy says:

    Galloglasses:

    Yes, you are describing the phenomenon of the Low Man. Because all men are equal under liberalism, if anything about you stands, in any serious and principled way, in the way of the emancipation of the free and equal superman, it follows that you must be less than human. You are not a human being, you are a problem in search of a Solution.

  • Mike T says:

    Just because it needs to be said for others (not you), there is not much, if anything, intrinsically liberal about republican government. The Roman Republic and Carthage were hardly liberal. The reason liberals like republican government is because authority figures can be removed more easily (in theory). However, true republics are not particularly democratic.

  • Aethelfrith says:

    Yes, but what makes the American republic less (or less true) of a Republic than Rome?

  • Mike T says:

    At this point, leaders in the US are primarily regarded as extensions of the proclaimed will of the people, whereas in Rome there was a strong aristocracy that was legally privileged to dominate republican politics. Most Americans would find the Roman Republic to be virtually indistinguishable from most monarchies in terms of the political culture’s attitude toward the “will of the people” at any given moment.

  • Zippy says:

    Aethelfrith:

    From my standpoint the “republic” (or monarchy, for that matter) part is a secondary matter, merely structure. The “liberal” part (or its explicit repudiation as a matter of the public political philosophy) is much more important.

    A republic is inherently more bureaucratic than a monarchy, and I touched on at least one reason why liberals gravitate toward more bureaucratic structures in the OP.

    More advanced stages of liberalism will tend beyond the republic and into democracy. Democracy has the same “advantage” as a republic in terms of being structurally bureaucratic and therefore obscuring authority. This permits liberalism to rule while pretending not to rule from behind a wall of formal structure.

    But beyond that democracy creates the additional illusion of equal distribution of political power. It should be obvious why liberals find that structurally amenable.

    Monarchy on the other hand acknowledges the authority of an aristocracy and king explicitly. Liberals are naturally hostile to this, because anything which makes authority transparent makes it more obvious that the subjects of liberal governments are in fact subjects like everyone else who lives in a polity of any significant size. That is, subjects of liberal governments are no less subject to the authority of men than subjects of illiberal governments.

    And we can’t have that, because the very basis of liberalism’s claim to the legitimacy of its right to rule is that nobody in particular has the right to rule.

  • King Richard says:

    If I may;
    Without going into the long discussion of why, Edan has provision for an elected Senate. This Senate has rather limited powers and is designed mainly as a buffer in the event of a bad king. The ability to vote has a number of restrictions on it: you must be 18 or older, you must pass a test to confirm a minimum competency in reading, writing, and mathematics, you must be a citizen, and you must be male.
    No one has ever complained about the minimum age. No one has ever commented on the requirement that you prove literacy. My assistant informs me we have more complaints about this fact than all others combined and this is the source of all death threats so far received.
    All about the advisory body that is mainly concerned with helping create a budget.
    Queen Jennifer, who spent 3 years during the writing process convincing me to limit voting to men only, wrote an essay about why voting is limited to men. This essay is often cited by new citizens as important to why they join.
    I mention this rather arcane trivia because it illustrates very clearly how deeply Liberal concepts control how people think. Imagine it: a self-proclaimed devout Catholic; they are investigating an attempt to build a new monarchy; they understand they will take a personal oath of fealty to a king; they will be subject to the authority of nobles; they grasp that the Senate exists primarily as an advisory body; *and they are furious that women cannot vote for the Senate*.

    We have long suspected that the lack of women’s suffrage causes such a visceral response because it forces the people reading it to acknowledge exactly how authority and power work here.

  • Zippy says:

    KR:

    Imagine it: a self-proclaimed devout Catholic; they are investigating an attempt to build a new monarchy; they understand they will take a personal oath of fealty to a king; they will be subject to the authority of nobles; they grasp that the Senate exists primarily as an advisory body; *and they are furious that women cannot vote for the Senate*.

    Blinders full of women.

    (The post title is a riff on something Mitt Romney said in some presidential campaign or other).

  • Apparently one of the reasons female suffrage was put into place was the notion that women mostly wouldn’t bother using their franchise, so why not let them have it technically. That this has turned out to be hilariously untrue just makes it sadder and funnier.

    I am not sure where on the liberal continuum this kind of logic lies, it’s a common progressive tactic, but since monarchies expanded the franchise by sex I don’t know that it is an avoidable tactic.

  • Mike T says:

    Worse than that, the reason it was granted was that women reliably vote for security over freedom. I don’t mean freedom in the liberal sense, but in the sense that women usually would favor a heavy-handed response from the state that feels safe over a light hand that puts more of the onus for safety on the people.

  • Care to cite a source for this really vintage conservative shibboleth?

  • Zippy says:

    My own impression from an admittedly very cursory acquaintance with the history of female suffrage in the US is that it was driven primarily by sincere commitment to liberalism.

  • Josh says:

    Perhaps i am just combining the two things I have been contemplating lately, but your analysis strikes me as quite Girardian. Is it intentional?

    By the way, are smart phones designed to make us dumber? I used to write reasonably lengthy, reasonably thoughtful comments on various blogs. Now I thumb two sentences like a teenage girl.

  • GJ says:

    By the way, are smart phones designed to make us dumber? I used to write reasonably lengthy, reasonably thoughtful comments on various blogs. Now I thumb two sentences like a teenage girl.

    It’s long been noted that the medium partially determines the message as with Nietzsche and his typewriter, and moving from keyboard to touchscreen is just another similar transition.

    And probably people said similar things when writing was first invented, that speaking is so much better.

  • Zippy says:

    Josh:

    Is it intentional?

    No: I am unconscionably ignorant of Girard’s work, and only really even know of him from seeing him cited and admired around the orthosphere (and the Orthosphere).

  • Mike T says:

    Care to cite a source for this really vintage conservative shibboleth?

    1. The Manifesto the Fascist Struggle.
    2. Propaganda used by the Nazi party used to appeal to the female vote, of which it won huge numbers.
    3. Jon Lott’s research. Wikipedia summary if you prefer to not read the 36 page paper.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    I can’t figure out what your citations have to do with what I took to be your original claim. Your original claim was:

    … the reason it [female suffrage in America] was granted was that women reliably vote for security over freedom. I don’t mean freedom in the liberal sense, but in the sense that women usually would favor a heavy-handed response from the state that feels safe over a light hand that puts more of the onus for safety on the people.

    The 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920 in the US, after a decades-long process.

    The Nazi party in Germany didn’t even exist until about 1920, the Fascist Manifesto dates to about the same time, and in any case you’d have to establish the connection between European politics and the reasons for passage of the 19th Amendment.

    Actual female voting patterns after suffrage being granted are not relevant, unless those patterns were anticipated before granting suffrage and those anticipated patterns were a significant influence in getting suffrage passed. If those voting patterns were anticipated and were the reason suffrage was granted there ought to be actual evidence to that effect. That evidence is what a citation in support of what I took to be your claim ought to show.

    Again, my familiarity is only cursory, but my impression is that the reason suffrage was granted was not primarily because women were expected to vote a particular way, but rather was because of a sincere commitment to liberalism.

    But if you are right you should be able to cite (e.g.) the debates in Congress and the various state legislatures showing that the politicians supporting and voting for suffrage argued that women would vote for more safety and less freedom, and that that expected voting pattern – as opposed to equal rights or some other justification – was the reason why women should be granted suffrage.

  • That’s why I called it a shibboleth. It hangs around when the topic of female suffrage comes up, but any glance, however cursory at what the suffragists were doing and saying doesn’t really demonstrate some kind of safety vs. freedom thing was top of their minds.

    The argument that women probably wouldn’t even vote anyway so why not do it was a pragmatic thing pro-suffragists pulled out to justify extending the franchise to all women.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    So, liberalism talks of political equality but does not achieve it.
    Reaction neither talks of political equality neither seeks to achieve it.
    Result is that political inequality exists inevitably.
    So, is the only problem with liberalism that it deludes us with its happy talk of political equality thus endangering the safety of those that believe in its talk?

  • vishmehr24 says:

    The State is an organ especially charged with long-term (over the generations) survival and flourishing of a community.
    Thus, exclusive interpretation of politics in terms of “rights” of existing individuals wrecks the political enterprise.

  • Chad says:

    “So, is the only problem with liberalism that it deludes us with its happy talk of political equality thus endangering the safety of those that believe in its talk?”

    No. The problem with Liberalism is that, due to it’s denial of reality, it exaggerates the inequality. It does so violently, in a sociopathic way, in self defense required in order to perpetuate itself. While one can befriend it, it is a danger to all – friend and foe alike.

    As with anyone who befriends a sociopath, it will treat it’s friends nicely and heap the blessings of inequality upon them that it stole from others. Until it doesn’t.

    And, at that point, it’s murderous sociopaths all the way down.

    The problem being that one can stop an individual murderous sociopath. It is incredibly difficult to stop an army of ideas of murderous sociopathy that people don’t know is festering within them.

    Saints…. We need more saints.

  • biplob1958 says:

    If the society is democratic then your monarch does not matter.

  • Peter Blood says:

    The first abuse is taking a mathematical term for identity (equality) and applying it to humans, no two of which are identical.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    Peter Blood,
    An analogical use of the word “Equality” might be permitted. Would you reject “equality before the law”?

    Interesting, a quote from Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, pg 108
    “‘Islam is a declaration of the freedom of man from servitude to other men. Thus it strives from the beginning to abolish all those systems and governments which are based on the rule of man over men.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    Belloc in French Revolution (chap 1, the Political Theory of the Revolution)

    “The doctrine of the equality of the man is a transcendent doctrine: a
    “dogma,” as we call such doctrines in the field of transcendental
    religion. It corresponds to no physical reality which we can grasp, it
    is hardly to be adumbrated even by metaphors drawn from physical
    objects. We may attempt to rationalise it by saying that what is common
    to all men is not /more/ important but /infinitely more/ important than
    the accidents by which men differ. We may compare human attributes to
    tri-dimensional, and personal attributes to bi-dimensional measurements;
    we may say that whatever man has of his nature is the standard of man,
    and we may show that in all such things men are potentially equal. None
    of these metaphors explains the matter; still less do any of them
    satisfy the demand of those to whom the dogma may be incomprehensible.

    Its truth is to be arrived at (for these) in a negative manner. If men
    are /not/ equal then no scheme of jurisprudence, no act of justice, no
    movement of human indignation, no exaltation of fellowship, has any
    meaning. The doctrine of the equality of man is one which, like many of
    the great transcendental doctrines, may be proved by the results
    consequent upon its absence. It is in man to believe it?and all lively
    societies believe it.

    It is certainly not in man to prove the equality of men save, as I have
    said, by negation; but it demands no considerable intellectual faculty
    to perceive that, void of the doctrine of equality, the conception of
    political freedom and of a community’s moral right to
    self-government disappear.”

  • GJ says:

    vishmehr24:

    So, is the only problem with liberalism that it deludes us with its happy talk of political equality thus endangering the safety of those that believe in its talk?

    The happy talk of political liberty is a greater problem.

    And re: Belloc: at least he is sufficiently self-aware to admit the religious nature of his Veneration of Égalité. But note how “all men are equal” either collapses into banality or something clearly false: either it is a banal tautology that “all humans are human”/”all humans have human essence”, or the false ‘for some specific accidents all humans possess them’.

    Also note how his argument works: ‘If all men are not Equal I cannot see any way to preserve my worldview, therefore all men must be Equal”.

  • King Richard says:

    -There is a German saying – ‘equality exists only in the graveyard’.
    -There was a general idea in Medieval Europe that ‘whether prince or peasant, cardinal or clerk, we all have the same chance of heaven’.
    -There is an important distinction within theology between vocation and Vocation. We all share certain vocations; to pray, to assist the needy, to spread the faith, etc. But some of us have a Vocation to be a husband, others a Vocation to be a priest, etc.
    There is likewise an important distinction between the equality imparted by natural law to Man and the differences imparted to men. A prince may have no more chance f heaven than a peasant, but he is still a prince; a clerk may have as much chance of heaven and a cardinal, but he is still a clerk. The differences between men means that some order while others obey while the equality of Man means that the peasant is to be treated respectfully and justly, the clerk to be spoken to honorably and fairly.
    -Religious humility is to recognize your total dependence upon God; ‘moral humility is to recognize the ‘creaturely’, or general, equality of all rational creatures, i.e., Man; temporal humility to to recognize your position, responsibilities, and authority within your community.

  • Mike T says:

    That’s why I called it a shibboleth. It hangs around when the topic of female suffrage comes up, but any glance, however cursory at what the suffragists were doing and saying doesn’t really demonstrate some kind of safety vs. freedom thing was top of their minds.

    Your original comment didn’t specify which country you were referring to. In the case of Europe, the totalitarian movements that backed female suffrage did in fact back it because women were more susceptible to Fascism and National Socialism at the time.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    the totalitarian movements that backed female suffrage did in fact back it because women were more susceptible to Fascism and National Socialism at the time.

    I am not really interested enough in the subject to do comprehensive due diligence, but whenever someone suggests that ‘they didn’t really believe it was the right thing to do, they just did it because they wanted POWER!’ it pretty much always turns out to be at best a half truth, just enough grounding in reality to contribute to liberalism’s ‘camouflage’ effect.

    “They don’t authentically support womens’ suffrage, they are just supporting it to gain power. They don’t authentically believe in anthropocentric ‘climate change’, they just want power. They don’t authentically believe in open borders, they just want to import more democratic voters.” Etc, etc.

    A better explanation is that people are actually quite sincere in their beliefs and tell you what they actually think. Because liberalism can ultimately mean whatever you want it to mean, liberals who have sincere beliefs which happen to bring more power into the hands of people with their beliefs become powerful. It is natural selection of powerful forms of liberalism, not that liberals lie about their beliefs in order to gain power.

    In other words, the idea that liberals (and related modern ideologies) are insincere and do it for power is almost always wrong, or at best just true enough to deceive. It isn’t that liberals embrace beliefs insincerely in order to gain power. It is that liberals with sincere beliefs which, when treated as true, result in those liberals gaining power, become the ascendant, powerful form of liberalism.

  • Mike T says:

    I am not claiming insincerity on their part. You can sincerely believe that women should be allowed to vote and also approach it from the perspective that if we let them do what we think they should be able to do, it will greatly redound to our benefit. There was probably a lot of that in the Republican Party with black voting after the Civil War. Doesn’t make it intrinsically wrong to fight for the political rights of people who may be your natural backers. That is just politics.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    I am not claiming insincerity on their part.

    OK. But if they are sincere then what we have is not a strategic power grab or whatever, it is just natural selection of powerful forms of liberalism set against weaker forms of liberalism. It is an intramural thing among sincere liberals, not a base grab for power. As liberalism persists and mutates, naturally its more powerful forms will be ascendant and its weaker forms will die off. This process could only be stopped if enough people began to oppose liberalism itself: a return to some weaker form just restarts the whole metastasis. To kill the cancer you have to get all of it.

    Basically, the ‘womens’ suffrage passed [in some European polities, though not in the US] because women value security over freedom’ thing confuses inputs with outputs (in addition to begging the question of ‘my political freedom is the good kind’). The thriving of certain forms of liberalism and the dying out of other forms under female suffrage is an effect, not a cause. The shibboleth has just enough truth to it to do what modern conservative shibboleths always do: prevent unequivocal repentance and thereby preserve and protect liberalism.

  • Mike T says:

    OK. But if they are sincere then what we have is not a strategic power grab or whatever, it is just natural selection of powerful forms of liberalism set against weaker forms of liberalism

    That and the problem for people who want to start opposing liberalism, the expansion of the franchise makes the conversation that much harder. Now you have to convince men and women, not just men, to abandon liberalism in the political realm. As we saw, once women were “emancipated politically,” they turned to the state and used it to emancipate them from social constraints. Politics is the method by which all other emancipation occurs because politicizing the issue (in the sense of involving the state, not office politics and other variations) is the fastest way to bring other authorities to heel. Primarily because if you stand up and say “no, get the hell out of my household” to a cop he’s more liable to violently take you into custody than say “you’re right, I have no authority over this and that law saying I do is an ass which conferred no reason for me to be talking to you, have a nice day.”

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:
    One quibble with the way you said what you said in your last comment is that it sounds like you presume that granting the franchise to women shifted the actual balance of political power. But the franchise isn’t primarily a means for us to influence politics: it is primarily a means for politics to influence us.

  • King Richard says:

    An excerpt from an essay by the Queen on why she opposed voting for women:
    “But history has shown us that in all democracies, eventually a vote becomes something that can be bought. Bought by wealth or bought by charisma or even bought by something more nefarious, it is still subject to coercion, whether conscious or not. When every citizen has the right to vote, suddenly an entire society and culture can be bought (and made bankrupt). Or, even more frighteningly, as we see in the bipartisan America, a vote becomes “us vs. them” and true debate and progress are stifled. We believe that if we allow the voice of women in Edan to remain pure and unsullied by political infighting and the lures of coercion, Edan will have an unparalleled asset.”

  • Marissa says:

    As we saw, once women were “emancipated politically,” they turned to the state and used it to emancipate them from social constraints.

    We do like to copy men and all (and they like to copy us, see Genesis).

  • Mike T says:

    Zippy,

    I think it shifted the balance of power within liberalism away from the old classical liberalism toward what we call the modern left. It also made it that much harder for men to debate the merits of liberalism among one another because now the political system involves women, which means any major change requires either convincing them or overriding them. Plenty of reasons why that can be an uphill battle, not the least of which is that liberalism offers some pretty sweet freedoms to women.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    I think it shifted the balance of power within liberalism …

    I know. You see it as mainly a cause of a power shift, I see it as mainly a symptom of the shift. I think that is because you are still in the habit of thinking of elections as exercises of political will rather than as exercises of political assent.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    In other words, you are still habitually thinking of elections as rituals in which the king is chosen, as opposed to rituals in which good liberals who are not traitors doff their caps to the king.

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