I am, I have to admit, a complex and at times somewhat contradictory-seeming individual! One of the ways in which this plays out is my love of and devotion to the Constitutional, representative Republic established by our Founders (despite the fact that its government has diverged in many ways from what they originally intended), combined with my appreciation and admiration for Monarchy, in principle if not always in practice. Our present election cycle seems to be making the monarchic option look even better!
As my friend Ryan Hunter has put it,
“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.”
While I do not agree with all aspects of the linked essay’s critique of current society — and I disagree rather strongly with his negative assessment of Freemasonry! — this is nonetheless a very interesting consideration of the Biblical and theological arguments for (and in one case, against) monarchy, from a Judeo-Christian perspective. Needless to say, if you do not come from that tradition, you may not find them convincing! Or, for that matter, even if you do… but you may still find them interesting.
In particular, I found the author’s counter to one of the most commonly-cited Biblical texts against monarchy very much in line with my own thoughts on the subject:
“… those who use I Samuel 8 to argue against monarchy certainly cannot use it to argue for democratic republics as we know them today. The system under Samuel was a theocracy, a nation under specific laws from God. Whatever is argued for today, whether it be democracies, republics, loose confederations, or pseudo-anarchism, to argue that Israel before its monarchy modeled the ideal government is to argue for something even more radical for today’s sensibilities than monarchy. A few actually do this, but everyone else needs to chill a little bit.”
And as he points out, “these four arguments set forth here are not expected to win the day politically any time soon. I’m not even willing to say that I am a monarchist. However, I do believe that the case for democracy is not air tight, if the starting point is the Scriptures or church tradition. And the way things are going today in the U.S. and the west, every idea, however old or shocking, needs to be reconsidered as an option.”