Anyway, without further ado, my first comment which provoked Eoin's epistle:
"I'll gladly take a generally hands-off agrarian ruler governing according to religious and traditional principles which have stood the test of time over the rule of a maleducated, concupiscent mob that has no idea about the personal boundaries of others and is easily swayed by whatever "novelty," no matter how violent, counterproductive, or illogical."Eoin responds (his comments in italics):
Okay- first problem, the assumption that concentration of ultimate power into one person's hand, or the hands of one family, is patently false and proven so over centuries.
Point noted, and such point would hold true were my primary purpose in defending monarchism defending the enlightened despotisms of the 18th century. Indeed, I grant that it was a commemoration of Louis XVI of France that provoked this letter. However, the narrative of Western history that I understand scarcely begins with the Enlightenment, as do so many contemporary accounts. The fact remains that it is only in these recent times that any king or emperor (or STATE for that matter) has ever held the ultimate power of which you speak, Eoin. Let us take the case of medieval feudalism, in which every lord (that is, local landholder) managed his own ship, so to speak, and higher lords, up to and including the king or emperor, were only able, and indeed were obliged, to interfere should the situation facing their vassal be too great for them to handle or should the rule of that vassal be adjudged inept or unjust. Likewise, the vassals were obliged to assist their lords should they need their assistance. The result was a remarkably diverse and decentralized Christendom governed according to principles that would in modern times be identified as subsidiarity and solidarity, a far cry from the "monoculture" that comes to emerge in very centralized and despotic states.
Secondly, the contention of these somehow "religious and traditional principles", which, of course, you refuse to define beyond mentioning them, being preferable to today's system of civil liberties and secularism is ludicrous. The Inquisition, for one, serves to display the horror of these principles in practice.
Ludicrous? You scarcely elaborate on what you mean by this either. Yes, I do believe that a humanistic religious régime is far preferable to a secular régime in which human rights or civil liberties are not granted by the grace of God, but according to the will and pleasure of the state. This is all providing, of course, that the clergy are not under the heel of the state, as in the Byzantine Empire, and that the Church remains a separate institution from the apparatus of civil government. The Church is the external check on injustice in the governmental apparatus, not so much through proclamation but as through the forming of the minds and morals of those who will govern and, indeed, all those in society according to the virtues necessary to their station in the world, that all may conduct themselves with due magnanimity, dignity, and civility in their lives and work. The king, leader of the people, and far more a leader than an administrator, is thus consecrated by the ecclesiastical authority, the agency of the transcendent yet incarnate God upon the earth, led by men completely given over from worldly cares to the imitation of that all good, all true, all beautiful Christ, with the charge and mandate that he will lead justly and virtuously--and should he not, he would then be excommunicated, as were Emperors Theodosius I and Henry IV.
As for the Spanish Inquisition, according to most scholarship, likely 3,000 to 5,000 met their end after being turned over to the civil authority over the 350 years of the Inquisition's existence. How many did such secular leaders as Ataturk, Hitler, Stalin, or Mao kill over their far briefer reigns of terror? Indeed, this is only averaging 9-14 executions per year; how many people are executed in the United States annually? Not to stand in complete defense of the Inquisition, as much about it is problematic to me, but faced with the sins of secularists who desire to refashion society in their own image, any attack on the Inquisition is quite specious in my eyes.
As far as a maleducated, concupiscent mob? This is a representative democracy, Matthew, not a pure democracy, so your argument can't even stand the test of the first adjective.
Yes, it is a representative democracy. The representatives still need to dazzle the populace enough to receive their votes, whether by vacuous promises about "hope" and "change," or by fearmongering about some bogeyman in a far-off land, to cite two recent examples. Elections are made by sound-bites and superficial pandering, not by anything of any qualitative substance. Few seem to have the perspicacity to see past the medicine-shows that electoral campaigns are today.
Secondly, the well-documented sexual perversions of the royalist ruling class display a far more concupiscent population than the common people. As far as personal boundaries, in a monarchy there are no boundaries, as you know.
They do? Really? That's news to me. A number of kings may have had mistresses, but the truly hedonistic were shunned. On the contrary, such figures as St. Louis, Blessed Karl, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, and many others seem to have been shining pillars of marital virtue. Furthermore, in this day and time of booty-pop, reality television, and general trashiness all about, when perversion seems to have become mainstream, how on earth can you throw perversion at the feet of Catholic monarchists? It seems rather bizarre to me.
Regarding personal boundaries, no, I don't know. England is a monarchy; are there personal boundaries there? And if they're crossed, as by violations of your beloved civil liberties, who is crossing them, the Queen or the Labour government? Are there boundaries in Spain? What about Japan? You say democracies stand for civil liberties and monarchies do not. I disagree; gracious God gives us our liberties, and despotic governments take them away.
As far as "novelty", without defining the term properly, there isn't much of an answer to it. I can only assume that you mean a type of political novelty- much like monarchism to a civilian of a democracy seems.
Indeed, and much like a hyperstatist régime like that of the Chinese or the Turks seems to a child of Western Christendom as myself.
"Does this régime accord liberty? Try starting a business, raising a family, smoking in a pub, distilling your own whiskey, not paying taxes, building an addition onto your house, digging a well, hunting for your food, keeping chickens for eggs, etc., and then tell me."
I think one can raise a family freely, seeing as it is our evolutionary calling to propagate.
Indeed, you can have as many children as you're able to support, but who educates them: you or the state?
Again, your argument has absolutely no definition or sources to its claims... Smoking is unhealthy for humans, so I find no issue with it being prohibited in public places.
But how is it the state's job to decide paternistically what is good for us or not?
As far as the rest go, property is 9/10ths of the law, thus the bureaucratic bullshit you refer to here- still, I'll take it over the preposterous argument that a monarchist system, in which no-one's right to their property supersedes the ruler's, is a better one.
You as well, Matthew.
Firstly, is such language appropriate for a civil conversation? Some ladies read this blog, you know. I still assert that the modern state has more control in their micro-managing of society than any medieval monarch ever dared dream of. There is no room for any other social element in this régime continually slouching toward totalitarianism--not the Church, not families or communities, not voluntary associations. All that remains is the social organ intended toward crisis management, and it continually wriggles itself into crisis situations to assert its increasing central control once again.
P.S. You can't possibly support the pro-Iranian Shah crap that your blog friends do, do you?
My specialty is Western Christendom, and far be it from me to meddle in the affairs of another culture. However, I then ask you, would you prefer to live in the Shah's Iran or in Ahmadinejad's?
My point remains that I am a supporter of Catholic monarchy, not ideologically-driven dictatorship, and that our present society resembles more an ideological dictatorship than it does a traditional Western kingdom. A medieval serf was far freer than a contemporary wage-and-debt-serf. He worked less, ate better, and had better religion and social interactions. His burden of tax was miniscule by today's standards, and the society in which he lived was generally peaceful. He was not a mere unit of manpower to be used to benefit an alien power's interest for warfare or expansion or acquisition. He lived largely autonomously, and the role of the lords in his society was largely to safeguard that peace in which our medieval peasant lived.