REPUBLIC vs MONARCHY
Everyone living in North America knows from firsthand experience what a republic is, what it values, and how it operates in theory and in practice. We know also that one definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing, but expecting a different outcome.
Given the permanent fragmentation of the electorate, it is pure fantasy to believe and irresponsible to postulate that voters can and will, at some point, rise up in righteous anger to take back their government from the oligarchs who run things.
The American republic does a very poor job uniting our nation. A century and a half after the Civil War, many still want to get out, to secede and never tier of touting their vision and version of “states rights,” or, in the case of some Californians pushing to divide their state into six parts!
The individualism that we prize so highly, makes us prone to give attention to personalities. The celebrities of sports and entertainment, for the most part, arise from their unique abilities and talents. When applied to politics, this approach draws our attention to individuals and away from structures, which means blame for failure is laid on individuals and ignores the organizational framework in which they operate.
The fundamental problem with the US presidency, which developed out of just the four short sections of Article II of the US Constitution, is not the concentration of power in the Oval Office, but the fact that when a president speaks, half the listening audience voted against him and refuse to be lulled or swayed by any sweet words, rational argument or situational urgency. The Left hated Bush and the Right hates Obama, mirroring the adversarial cornerstone of the American republic.
The best defense of what we have is to mock the idea of monarch, because history shows that if an aristocracy is to be tamed, only monarchy can do it. Democracy never has and never will.
This proposal of monarchy for the future of North America brings to the fore the principles of good government in the 21st century. A new constitution must ensure a limited government with a strong system of oversight, checks and balances, and guarantees for the exercise of individual rights through which people can freely express themselves to demand office holders be responsible for their conduct and decisions. An independent and reliable court system helps realize the stability and predictability that all of us prize.
Confusion about monarchy begins with its popular definition as “rule by one.” This is extremely misleading because no nation has ever been or can be ruled by “one.” Even the pretentious claims of would-be absolute monarchs in the seventeenth century, like Louis XIV, did not begin to coincide with reality.
In fact, rule by one has never existed any more than has rule by the people. The words “monarchy” and “democracy” and their snappy definitions come from a few ancient Greeks who, long before the time of Jesus Christ, were philosophizing about ideals, abstractions, theoretical constructs beyond their actual experiences.
In the mirror of more than 4000 years of history, we can see more accurate definitions of a monarch can be traced from “personification of a people” to eventually “ultimate arbiter,” or “final decision-maker.” But these are still inadequate because they fail to indicate the limitations imposed on all monarchs by tradition, precedent, public opinion, church, natural and positive law, pretenders, claimants, dissidents, intriguing aristocrats and opposition groups, popular assemblies, parliamentary factions, fear of revolt, other nations, etc., not to mention the perennial problems of time, distance, money, communications, and technology.
History reveals monarchy to be essentially a concentration of power in experienced hands. We can find monarchical elements in almost all systems that seek finality in decision-making. Reason dictates that when decisions must be made, they are best if made by an experienced authority.
From a sociological point of view, this “monarchical” principle can be seen from families to businesses, to the armed forces, to the papacy, in fact, to any hierarchical organization where a “chain of command” exists and decisions must be made in a timely fashion, where there is a focus of authority and decision-makers are responsible and accountable for their actions.
Monarchy has always been a means, a means to focus power. For us today, monarchy is the means to continental unification, the means to control globalized corporations and too-big-to-fail financial institutions, the means to tame our “aristocracies” and overcome their parochial interests, and, not least, the means to ensure social justice.
This “essence” of monarchy should not be confused with some of its outer trappings. Monarchy is not gold scepters and ermine robes. It is not carriages and coronations. It is not powdered wigs and deep bows. It is not pomp and ceremony. It is not theater.
Monarchy is not, as republicans are wont to claim, a throwback to a romanticized past. It is, rather, an institutional arrangement that stands in direct contrast to a republic. A republic fragments power, creating innumerable centers resembling feudal sovereignties, strongholds that are constitutionally established and invite baronial authority to battle for turf.
Republics are an institutional arrangement designed to hamstring government. Even their strongest advocates admit that republics are inefficient when it comes to doing anything. But if republics are not designed to do anything, what is their reason for existence? Before answering that question, we must first ask, Who benefits from republican institutions? Who benefits from the fragmentation of government power?
Separating power among three branches of government, dividing power among federal, state, county, and city governments, splintering it among innumerable departments, bureaus, agencies, and offices is an institutional invitation to skirmish, fight, and war for authority, budget, and prestige. The beneficiaries of such a system are obviously those who get bits and pieces of power: the power holders.
Because these fragments of power are insufficient to do much, they perforce turn into negative power, the power to slow, to stymie, and to stop. The people who pay for the system, the people who need and expect the system to serve, help, or protect their interests soon get lost in its maze of overlapping jurisdictions. Unable to receive much from such a system, people become disillusioned about it, question its authority, and become mired in heated arguments about where authority should reside and which level of government should be responsible.
A republic is not a means, but an end. Its principal purpose is to create innumerable office holding opportunities for society’s natural elite. Not surprisingly, its strongest supporters are its office holders or those who aspire to hold office. The oft quoted, self-deprecating remark that “Ours is the worst form of government, except for all the rest.” is patently self-serving, for essentially it is saying “No matter how poorly the government performs, you should be happy. Things could be worse.” The result is, of course, the problems do get worse and the public turns off, but the office holder remains, and so the purpose of a republic is achieved.
By parceling out power and creating countless little fiefdoms, republics are unquestionably the favored governmental form of the aristocratic elite. Today’s aristocrats, exactly like the aristocrats of yore, need to be assured of a comfortable place in the social pecking order. To maintain their places, aristocrats have always been willing to sacrifice the common good to their own concerns. Their principal problem has always been to disguise their self-interest as the national interest in order to reduce, if not eliminate, concern over the price society has to pay for their private advantages.
A few years before GM was bailed out by US taxpayers, one of its presidents boldly declared, “What’s good for General Motors is good for America!” Charlie Wilson’s brazen statement still epitomizes the thinking of today’s elite, today’s aristocrats, the primary beneficiaries and thus the primary supporters of the republic, those who almost always portray their own interest as a public good.
Monarchy stands in direct opposition to aristocracy. It always has. The many clashes and struggles, graphically portrayed in the history of every epoch, between the centralizing, national views of monarchy and the more parochial, local interests of nobles prove beyond a shadow of doubt that monarchs and aristocracies are two very different, often antagonistic, phenomena. One of the principal themes of history is the growth of justice as monarchs repeatedly protect their people from abuse and exploitation by local lords and petty aristocrats. This protective function of government was completely ignored by the aristocrats who crafted the American experiment. The idea of social justice or protection of the weak is not part of the US tradition or mentioned in the Constitution, which like its aristocratic progenitor, Magna Carta, sought primarily to create a playing field for elites, businesses, and owners. It encouraged social Darwinism 100 years before the term appeared.
Government should not be so institutionally hamstrung that it can not act. Government should not be reduced to providing positions for the ambitious or sinecures for the elite. Government founded on the idea of a social contract must fulfill its part of the bargain, its responsibilities, or it can not expect the people to keep their side of the agreement and support morally and materially governmental institutions.
Dispersing power does not make it safe any more than concentrating it automatically makes it dangerous. The spread of nuclear weapons does not make the world safer. Fragmenting a diamond does not increase its value.
AUTHORITARIANISM, DESPOTISM, & DICTATORSHIP vs MONARCHY
Authoritarianism, despotism, and dictatorship: these emotionally laden words are not synonyms for monarchy, as some republicans would like to pretend.
Authoritarianism rides roughshod over all independent institutions and subordinates all branches of government and all institutions of society. It sees no need for consultation or consensus. Monarchy, in sharp contrast, seeks the support of all traditional social, political, and economic institutions. The only way to gain such support is to listen to their points of view and consider their needs and desires before decisions are taken. Being utterly devoid of totalitarian instincts, monarchy has never aspired to and could never approach the authoritarian systems that twentieth century republics produced.
Despotism is the disregard of law, of civil liberties and human rights. The history of monarchy shows it to be just the opposite. Monarchs have always respected the rights of others for that was the only way they could demand respect of theirs. In fact, those few instances where this imperative was ignored, as, for example, when Enlightenment philosophes, like Voltaire, attempted to make coercion a respectable option and proposed despotism to the French monarchy as a means of overcoming entrenched interests and ignoring historic rights, the results were disastrous. Despotism has been and always will be an invitation to revolt.
Dictatorship is the glorification of a person, a party, or program. Its legitimacy rests upon superior strength or knowledge, crisis or ideology. Dictatorship is thus totally alien to monarchy. Monarchy does not know and has no need to learn the demagogic language of the saviors on white horses who periodically gallop into republics and take them over. Historically, dictatorship is a phenomenon much more closely connected with republics than any monarchy.
Clearly, it is a distortion of fact and a falsification of history to identify monarchy with the distempers of republics: authoritarianism, despotism, and dictatorship. The last century offers damning evidence of this political truth. Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Castro, Ho and all the other great and petty tyrants we have suffered arose from the failures of republics.
Monarchy is and always has been a bulwark against authoritarianism, despotism, and dictatorship. It is an important safeguard against the unconstitutional or extra-constitutional usurpation of power. Monarchy stands in direct opposition to totalitarianism.
Monarchy protects the weak because they are weak. Thus, from the point of view of both Franco and Hispanic America, monarchy is their best protection against the dominance of the Anglo majority, which would be unavoidable in any continent-wide system based on the number of people or majority rule.
A monarch, speaking equally well in English, French, and Spanish, becomes a living example of our potential and a personification of the mutual respect all North Americans must develop for one another.
Monarchy is not a shot in the dark or a short term experiment, but a long term commitment. It gains its sole justification and legitimacy from the extraordinary service that its cumulative experience can give a nation.
North American monarchy could do things that no other system can. Only monarchy could overcome the institutional obstacles blocking continental unification. It could obviate the gridlock of the Canadian, Mexican and US governments, unable to get beyond the emotionalism of annexation or capitulation. It could bypass the question of who joins whom, by amalgamating three great nations into an even greater one. And, it would make unnecessary the dilemma of choosing among their existing inept systems of government.
Like the moon, monarchy’s glory is reflected, reflected in the happiness, health, prosperity, and security of a nation. Ignoring this systemic truism has been the downfall of individual monarchs. But these exceptions to the rule of good government constitute no more argument against monarchy than a flat tire means all wheels should be discarded.
RIGHTING OLD WRONGS AND OTHER BENEFITS
Calls for fundamentally restructuring a nation’s government have always been connected with a broad range of needed legal, social, economic, and political reforms that the current system can not or will not produce. The unification of North America is merely one of many great services monarchy can perform for us.
One nation must have one system of law. Monarchy would bring order out of the balkanized chaos of American, Canadian and Mexican federalism. No longer would it be possible for some parts of the country to have those “quaint” local laws that support racism and discrimination. No longer would it be possible for different levels of government to shift responsibilities from one to the other with unfunded mandates and then spend years fighting about federal preemption and who is going to pay and how programs should be implemented.
Monarchy could never tolerate machine politics, city bosses, “red neck” sheriffs, or the overlapping jurisdictions that allow lawyers to forum shop and organized crime to buy protection. A national police force, modeled on that of Canada, is a rational and infinitely preferable alternative to everyone buying a gun to ensure personal safety and carrying assault rifles into restaurants and department stores. Criminals must come to understand there are no city, county, or state lines behind which they can hide or fall through the cracks. Eliminating jurisdictional bailiwicks means that law enforcement officials could stop protecting turf and give full attention to protecting citizens.
Another area that is currently going from bad to worse is public education. Only monarchy is strong enough to overcome the entrenched powers of local control. Consolidating the 17,000 school districts of Canada and the US into a single system, nationally directed and locally administered, could free over $120 billion, enough to double teacher salaries without raising taxes one penny. A national system of education, with a rigorous, standard core curriculum, would eliminate the differences between rich and poor districts and ensure every North American the education he or she needs to live a happy and productive life.
These are just two examples of the fundamental changes that our present systems can not produce, but monarchy can. They also serve to highlight a very important feature of monarchical government, as an agent of and for change, it is not limited to incremental steps.
Monarchy has a unique ability to make radical change acceptable. More than forty years after most of the civilized world forbade slavery, the United States fought a bloody civil war to tame the feudal pretensions of 11 southern states and freed 3 million slaves. Five weeks before that war began, the czar of Russia freed 23 million serfs with his signature.
Monarchy could never have tolerated the high level of legal discrimination against its own citizens suffered by African-Americans with Jim Crow laws, share-cropping, peonage, and the outrages of the KKK in the 19th and 20th centuries. The blatant racism, exemplified by the Gentlemen’s Agreement of 1907 and the concentration camps for Japanese-Americans in 1942, would not have sprung from the deep roots it did. If the Canadian experience is any guide, it is more than doubtful that Native Americans would have been subjected to ethnic cleansing, à la the Indian Removal Act with its shameful dislocation to reservations memorialized for many in the Trail of Tears.
Because monarchy is not beholden to pressure groups or special interests, it can take a consistent view of the whole society, of the common good. Almost every problem, from tax and judicial reform to health care and corporate greed, that seems insoluble under existing conditions becomes susceptible to logical and efficacious answers within the framework of monarchical government.
CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY IN NORTH AMERICA
The only way monarchical government can be established in North America is with the consent of the people, which makes it nothing less than government by the people, its deep roots in history and the human psyche make it government of the people, and its dedication to community service makes it government for the people.
When the Founding Fathers of the US created their version of a government of the people, by the people and for the people, they sought to protect themselves from the well-known dangers of a republic with the safeguards of a written constitution. In creating a North American monarchy, we must also establish its institutions and procedures within a constitutional framework strong enough to permit us both to control and benefit from this most powerful and efficient form of government that man can devise and historical experience sanction.
A new, North American constitution could strengthen our democracy, defined in terms of popular sovereignty, personal freedoms, and public participation in policy making by enlarging the people’s franchise with provisions for referendums and the recall of all elected officials. Clearly, monarchy and democracy are compatible concepts that can be institutionally structured to reinforce one another.
The North American constitution is the source of our monarchy- giving it legitimacy, creating its structure, prescribing its functions, and limiting its power.
North American monarchy does not come with a lot of historical baggage. It does not emerge from a background of warring clans. There is no hint of a Tudor England, Bourbon France, Habsburg Austria, Romanov Russia, Hohenzollern Germany, Tokugawa Japan, or Saudi Arabia.
There is no fierce competition among various claimants with a final choice signified by a coronation with some archbishop using holy oil to anoint and then place a crown on a particular head in full expectation that his church will be advantaged over all others. The patristic mumbo jumbo of Divine Right stays in Europe, alien to the rationalism of constitutional monarchy in North America.
Based on the experience of the last two hundred years and the needs of today, our new constitution must direct government into areas and activities that did not exist in 1787. It must establish explicit limits on executive, legislative, and judicial power. It must correct the abuses we have suffered, streamline organizational structures, and ensure a far more representative and deliberative Congress with clear investigative and oversight responsibilities and vest it with broad and explicit powers. It must establish an equitable tax system, require fiscal responsibility, and strengthen our civil liberties in light of technological encroachments.
The whole question of civil liberties is one more major reason for North Americans to move immediately to establish a constitutional monarchy. Institutions created more than two hundred years ago have proven themselves unable to protect our rights and liberties in the present organizational and technological age. Not only has the government of the United States shown itself incapable of protecting its citizens from the present invasion of their privacy, it has become an active participant in the onslaught. Whatever the motive, there is no doubt that we have all been data-banked, violating any right to be forgotten and severely limiting any ability to start over. Our acquiescence in and acceptance of the formation of huge government data banks, wherein we are traced from the cradle to the grave, have laid the groundwork, both psychological and technical, for the next step - ID numbers, exhibiting, of course, the cutting edge of electronic and chip wizardry. But identifying, locating, listening in on, and tracking the activities of ordinary, law-abiding citizens is not the mark of a government that respects individuals or their rights.
It is regrettable, but not surprising that our elected government, more responsive to the desires of special interests than devoted to the preservation and expansion of our historic freedoms, has been unwilling and unable to stop private organizations from a similar massive collection of data. With promises of quick and easy service, Big Business has positioned itself as the Siamese twin of Big Government to assume the mantel of Big Brother. Monarchy, spurred by its intrinsic need to foster a mutual respect of rights, is the only institution strong enough to stop this trampling on our historic freedoms. To those who never before considered the service that a monarch can render, it may seem ironic that constitutional monarchy can become the first and best line of defense in preserving our democratic society.
Constitutional monarchy is a logical and understandable form of government that can focus the public’s attention, capture the popular imagination, and arouse deep emotional commitment. It can build tradition with its respect for the past and responsibility for the future. In lending great dignity and solemnity to state occasions and government functions, it displaces show business glitz. An obvious trend setter, it can establish a standard of excellence for the entire community.
Constitutional monarchy can instill public confidence in government and give government an acknowledged and accepted role in society. It can evoke and satisfy the human need to live for something greater than one’s self. By making public service both fashionable and attractive it can stop the revolving door phenomenon. It can introduce a high degree of professionalism into government and its durability can overcome the reluctance of bureaucracies to respond.
Constitutional monarchy is a system that significantly increases the likelihood laws will be connected with a genuine public need. Omnibus bills riddled with loopholes, legislative riders, and signing statements can finally be consigned to the Congressional museum. Chronically unbalanced budgets, continuing resolutions, and filibusters along with unread bills, vote trading and procedural maneuvering will no longer be accepted and expected government behavior.
Constitutional monarchy, a focus of responsibility, finally gives meaning to the notion of accountable government. No longer would the public be confused and bamboozled with an institutional arrangement that allows one branch of government to blame another for not meeting problems.
Constitutional monarchy can eliminate pork-barreling, logrolling, and legislative maneuvering. It can overcome the deadlock inherent in our present separation of powers. Fusing executive and legislative functions means decisions can be timely. A few can no longer shut down the government or block or subvert action for their own benefit.
Constitutional monarchy is not addicted to the short term fix or the cosmetic improvement. It rightly consigns the concept of “Not on my watch!” to oblivion. Constitutional monarchy is systemically unequaled in its ability to make and follow long range policies both at home and abroad. Domestic and foreign policies have an institutional chance, at last, to become coherent and complementary.
Constitutional monarchy is immune to capture by special interests or the pressures of political action committees, lobbyists, multi-national corporations, finance capital, or the military-industrial-congressional complex. It does not need their money or influence. Nor does it need to contest the power of these groups; it simply makes their power superfluous for policy-making purposes.
A constitutional monarch, an umpire standing above political tumult and the economic marketplace, the fat cats, the power brokers, the usurpers and the manipulators, is the only power strong enough to break the symbiotic relationship that has developed between business and government.
Constitutional monarchy, separated from the economic system, makes it easier to see that business activity is only part of what constitutes a healthy nation. It does not use an economic yardstick to measure all proposals and actions.
Constitutional monarchy can offer social justice without threatening the nation’s social and economic fabric. It makes radical change acceptable by bringing back into political discourse the long ignored concept of “the common good.”
Constitutional monarchy is not based on a coalition of forces wherein each seeks its own advantage. It does not need to find defenseless “out” groups to blame or attack. It does not need to make election style promises and then pay off its supporters with offices, programs, and benefits. It has no innate need to harness the institutions of government or manipulate policy to prepare for the next election.
Constitutional monarchy must be founded on heredity. An elected monarch could easily become a dictator. With an electoral mandate it would be very difficult, if not impossible for Congress to oppose much less check monarchical power. Besides, experience shows how easily elections are and can be manipulated.
Hereditary succession means there is an equal chance that the monarch will be male or female. With a known line of succession, the heir(s) can be trained from birth, educated for the duties and responsibilities of office. Hereditary succession helps develop a tradition of service to the nation.
The traditional phrase, “By the grace of God,” emphasizes the fact that it is not merit, achievement, or popularity, but mere chance that bestows the crown on a particular head. Without having done anything to earn the position, a hereditary monarch must continually prove his/her worthiness.
Hereditary succession has the added benefit of reducing political uncertainty and ensuring continuity. The stability it provides is enhanced by decades-long tenure which permits experience to have its cumulative effect.
As part of an unambiguous and effective system of checks and balances, Congress, given the constitutional responsibility of protecting the nation from an unworthy monarch, can be vested with the power to remove a monarch and/or change the order of succession. The investigative powers of Congress can be given teeth with the power to strike down all or part of any law, order, decree, regulation or treaty, as well as the power to remove any appointed official from office with a simple No Confidence vote.
ESTABLISHING MONARCHY IN NORTH AMERICA
Questions naturally arise as to how to start a monarchical system where there is no throne, no serious claimant, and no generally accepted history of monarchy.
The first step is to adopt a new constitution. The method used to ratify the US Constitution sets a precedent that means the legitimacy of a new North American Constitution could be established with the approval of specially elected constitutional ratification conventions in 35 US states and/or 7 Canadian provinces and/or 22 Mexican states. This time honored method could be accelerated by a simple majority vote in the lower or more numerous house of state or provincial legislatures.
With a new Constitution in place, the second step is to choose a constitutional monarch. Here history again shows the way. For more than 3000 years popular assemblies have established monarchical dynasties. This means, in our case, a newly constituted House of Representatives would have as its first major task the selection by secret ballot of a monarch for North America.
This awesome responsibility of the House brings into focus the many qualities that must be combined in a monarch. These can better be ascertained and prioritized by a relatively few who have the confidence of the people than by the people themselves.
The history of popular elections is replete with too many examples of packaged candidates virtually sold to the public like soap to consider any alternative to selection by the House of Representatives.
This selection process gives substance to the three important concepts that North American monarchy is created by the people, that its powers are derived from the Constitution, and that it exists only within a system of institutional checks and balances.
AN EMPIRE OF LIBERTY
Fashioning a vast empire of liberty on the North American continent is a notion that evaded even the dreamers of previous generations. Creating one nation from the Pole to the Gulf, as well as from the Atlantic to the Pacific, is an idea so logical, so strong, so futuristic that only the jaded or dull can be unmoved. It is an enterprise so majestic it can give meaning to a time that has consistently failed its potential, an enterprise so huge it can use all our diverse talents and abilities, an enterprise so sublime it can overcome the parochialism of region, the antagonism of race and the rancor of class.
Our existing political structures can not unite our continent, they can not open the potential that lies before us, they can not meet the challenges facing us, and they can not achieve the social justice needed for us to live creative lives. Thus, we are forced to institute a new form of government, a government limited in what it can do to us, but unlimited in what it can do for us. There is only one time tested form of government capable of achieving our goals while respecting our rights: Constitutional Monarchy. Combining mankind’s experience and our hopes, we understand now why liberty always wears a crown.