This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

NOTICE:
This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

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Monarchy as a counterpoint for the American mind

“Every teacher of comparative political science will discover what enormous effort it requires to impart a clear notion of European monarchical institutions to even quite mature students. A Napoleonic tyranny, a dictatorship— this is easily within the realm of their comprehension. But a legitimate monarchy seems to the American a simple absurdity, and he cannot understand how otherwise quite intelligent people can have faith in such a thing.”

~ Ernst Bruncken[1]

G.K. Chesterton defined bigotry as “the incapacity to conceive seriously the alternative to a proposition.”[2] According to this definition, Americans suffer from an extreme political bigotry. Regardless of how dissatisfied they are with their political circumstances, they cannot or will not (it matters little which, at this point) imagine that any real alternative could exist. And they apply this not only to their own situation, which would be somewhat understandable, but even to their view of history. They seem unable to picture a functional and benevolent monarchy existing at any point in time, regardless of the undeniable record of such regimes. It is thus rendered nearly impossible to speak to Americans of any political arrangement other than liberal democracy.[3]

It was for this reason that we delayed our discussion of monarchy until after we were able to offer some critical remarks on democracy as an ideal. It was my hope that those remarks would prepare and enable the earnest reader to appreciate the positive aspects of monarchical government, whether we are speaking of a constitutional monarchy or some other historical form. Regardless of whether my preparatory remarks were successful, it was necessary to make the effort, because the plain fact is that no real analysis of our own system is possible if we cannot at least historically understand the possible alternatives.

Even if the reader remains convinced of the superiority of democracy after reading this section, he will at least have a more realistic and therefore reasonable notion of monarchy which he can compare with his preferred system. Thus, a general enumeration of the strengths of monarchy will be of great benefit as a counterpoint to what, for most Americans, is an opinion justified by nothing except national pride.

[1] Ernst Bruncken, Die amerikanische Volksseele (Gotha: Perthes, 1911).

[2] G.K. Chesterton, Lunacy and Letters.

[3] See also D. W. Brogan, The American Character (New York: Knopf, 1944), p. 146: “In the same way, the word ‘republic’ has an almost magical significance for Americans…whatever the origin of the belief, it is now part of the American credo that only citizens of a republic can be free. And no matter what romantic interest Americans may display in the human side of monarchy, it should never be forgotten that politically they regard it as a childish institution.”

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