Anarchy and Monarchy
Neither anarchy nor monarchy is well understood in America today. To most Americans, anarchists are violent nihilists and monarchs are laughable buffoons. So when I advocate something like ‘anarcho-monarchism’, the masses really get confused. In addition, many leftist anarchists claim that rightist anarchism (anarcho-capitalism, anarcho-monarchism, etc.) can’t even exist. But that is a criticism that is rooted in ignorance. An appreciation for both monarchy and anarchy is nothing new. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, one of the first anarchist philosophers, had no love for the ‘common man,’ that trait most prevalent in modern democratic societies. While opposing all forms of Statism, Proudhon recognized that democracy was the worst. He wrote that “democracy is the ideal of the State projected to infinity” and that “Democracy is more expensive than monarchy; it is incompatible with liberty.” This brilliant anarchist stated that
. . . because of this ignorance of the primitiveness of their instincts, of the urgency of their needs, of the impatience of their desires, the people show a preference towards summary forms of authority. The thing they are looking for is not legal guarantees, of which they do not have any idea and whose power they do not understand; they do not care for intricate mechanisms or for checks and balances for which, on their own account, they have no use; it is a boss in whose word they confide, a leader whose intentions are known to the people and who devotes himself to its interests, that they are seeking. This chief they provide with limitless authority and irresistible power. The people, considering everything to be just which they consider useful to themselves, since they are the people, ridicule all formalities and do not impose conditional limitations on the depositories of power. Inclined towards suspicion and calumny, but incapable of methodical discussion, they believe in nothing definite save the human will. Their only hope is man. They have confidence only in their creatures... They expect nothing from principles—which alone can save them. They do not have the “religion of ideas.”
Elsewhere, he wrote that
Left to themselves or led by their tribunes the masses never established anything. They have their face turned backwards; no tradition is formed among them; no orderly spirit, no idea which acquires the force of law. Of politics they understand nothing except the element of intrigue; of the art of governing, nothing except prodigality and force; of justice, nothing but mere indictment; of liberty, nothing but the ability to set up idols which are smashed the next morning. The advent of democracy starts an era of retrogression which will ensure the death of the nation and the State. . .
Despising the materialism of the masses, he wrote that “Money, money, always money, that is the essence of democracy.” Understanding a key philosophical difference between monarchy and democracy, he illuminated the inherent totalitarianism of democracy when he stated that “Authority, which in monarchy is the principle of governmental action, in democracy is the aim of government.” While Marquis de Sade and the Republicans in the French Parliament were calling for evermore egalitarian measures to extend suffrage to women, children, and criminals, Proudhon ironically suggested allowing donkeys and horses to vote as well.
Even more explicit was when he stated that
Democracy is nothing but tyranny of the majorities, the most execrable tyranny of all because it rests neither on the authority of a religion, nor on the nobility of race, nor on the prerogatives of talent or property. Its foundation is numbers and its mask is the name of the people.
Other illuminating statements of his include
Democracy is an aristocracy of mediocrities.
Democracy is, in fact, essentially militaristic.
My views on the family are not unlike those of the ancient Roman law. The father of the family is to me a sovereign … I consider all our dreams about the emancipation of women to be destructive and stupid.
When we say “the People” we always unavoidably mean the least progressive part of society, the most ignorant, the most cowardly, the most ungrateful.
This elitist aspect to Proudhon is what separates him from other democratic-collectivist anarchists such as Bakunin and Kropotkin. And it is precisely the Proudhon branch of anarchism (out of those early forms of anarchism) that most influences my own political views. But even Bakunin, committed as he was to both anti-statism and egalitarianism, recognized that political leveling and democracy were dangerous to liberty in a centralized regime
We are convinced that if France has lost her liberty on two different occasions, and seen her democratic republic transformed into a dictatorship and a military democracy, the fault does not lie with her people but with her political centralization.
What Bakunin failed to realize, however, that Proudhon and many others did not fail to see, was that political centralization and political egalitarianism go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other.
As I’ve stated as elsewhere, I am not a monarchist. I am an advocate of anarchy, while a defender of monarchy. The transition of rule from monarchical families in the 18th Century to bureaucratic majorities today was not progress. What would have been progress would have been a rejection of mercantilism for Manchesterism; a rejection of authoritarianism for true self-government; a rejection of artificial privilege for natural hierarchy and nobility. Instead, the West got big business state capitalism, corporatist socialism, centralist totalitarianism, and oppressive egalitarianism that continually stagnates our culture and society.
Now granted, the term ‘anarcho-monarchism’ itself is paradoxical. Anarchy literally means without rulers, while monarchy literally means rule by one. So, I’m not advocating some sort of anarchist state with an absolute king (that is nonsensical). My goal is anarchy (a Proudhon-Tucker-Spooner-Rothbard form of anarchy) but I also seek to correct misconceptions about monarchy. Democracy is not a step in the right direction towards self-government or liberty. Monarchy is.