Why I Am a Monarchist

by Charles A. Coulombe

I am a Monarchist. This is a statement I have often made, and in the country of my birth, the United States, has almost as often been greeted with reactions ranging from merriment to disbelief to pity. How could anyone who does not obviously drool at the mouth make such an outrageous claim, and expect to be taken seriously? Surely it is a joke (I am known for making them), an expression of mere anti-sociability, or else a fanatical devotion to the outlandish (like being a flat-earther or a UFO contactee).

But the truth is --- it is a very serious claim. First and foremost, I am a Monarchist because I believe that an hereditary Monarchy, with a Sovereign who believes that God will punish him after death if he does not rule his people well; who wields his authority to protect his subjects from the powerful in the land; and whose role was thrust upon him by accident of birth rather than by being the most industrious pig at the trough is a better form of government than those under which most of the planet groans today.

This is a very broad brush-stroke we are painting with here: but so too are those of the opposition, whose reasoning generally runs thusly: "Nero was evil, and a Monarch; Lincoln was an elected president; therefore republics are better" --- usually couched, of course, in subtler terms. This will be followed up by claims that a republic is more "democratic" than a Monarchy. So long as we do not define what we mean by democracy, but leave it floating in the air as a sort of vague impression of popular rule, that may well be so. But the minute we try to give democracy a practical meaning, the assertion collapses. The truth is that every nation that has ever existed has had a ruling class or a dominant clique. By the nature of things, these have always been a smallish minority. In modern societies, these are constituted by the various factions of the political classes, supplemented and assisted by their friends in the diverse media. In contemporary republics, these folk are supreme, and their hapless subjects are only free in the sense that they may vote for what- or whoever may be presented to them. In most of the Constitutional Monarchies of today, the Sovereign exists as a reminder that there are and were higher and better things than the political classes, and as a quiet assertion that the highest office in the State is outside of their purview --- hence the ever-ongoing efforts of such folk to minimize the role of the Monarch whenever possible. There are a number of reasons --- historical, religious, even cultural --- why I prefer Monarchy; but a loathing of the political classes is certainly a major one.

A large part of my views were stimulated by lifelong research, some of which has resulted in various historical works: Vicars of Christ, a history of the Popes; The Pope's Legion, the story of the young men from all over the world who volunteered to fight for Pius IX in 19th century Italy; Puritans' Empire, a history of the United States; and Rum, a cultural investigation into the afore-named drink. The honest historian would be hard-put to uncover a single case in which a Monarchy --- however unpleasant, as some most certainly were --- has ever been replaced by a government under which the people were happier. Even in these United States, the unity of the republic was only maintained at the cost of a bloody civil war; a conflict in which more Americans --- military and civilian --- died than in any other.

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Mr. Coulombe is an historian, writer, and lecturer. He is the Western U.S. Delegate for the Grand Council of the International Monarchist League. He is the author of numerous articles and books, including Puritan's Empire: A Catholic Perspective on American History.