There are many obvious objections to traditionalism and monarchism — many of which have been taught in schools or homes since the French Revolution, and which are faithfully repeated to this day. Many date right back to Thomas Paine’s Common Sense pamphlet, which John Adams rightfully called a “poor, ignorant, malicious, short-sighted, crapulous mass”.
1) Things are so much better now technologically, of course Democracy is a good idea!
Comment: This one is the first objection that anyone with half a brain immediately comes up with. Addressed here, at Handle’s Haus. The full explanation for why democracy and technological progress are orthogonal is very, very long and hasn’t been written up yet. The full picture is something that took me several years of reading to reach. For now, just let me comment that the Scientific Revolution and Industrial Revolution got going in countries that were monarchies, republics, and mixes of both such as Victorian England. It’s not like society was technologically primitive prior to the implementation of Democracy in Europe. In prior posts I’ve mentioned how the German Empire and Austro-Hungarian Empire were industrial powerhouses during the Second Industrial Revolution in the late 19th and early 20th century.
2) There is less violence now.
Comment: It depends on which traditional era you’re comparing us to, but the short answer is that during the era of Enlightened monarchs, there was less violence than there is now, both in terms of warfare and on a day-to-day basis. See also Foseti’s review of Steven Pinker’s book.
3) It’s unjust not to let people have a say in the decisions that affect them.
Comment: People do more harm to themselves when they have a say in government policy they know nothing about. If we thought people were better off voting for political decisions, there wouldn’t be a neoreaction. The reason why neoreaction exists is that it’s fairly clear to us that everyone is worse off from democracy, not better off. This is pretty fundamental. The long-form argument is Hans Herman-Hoppe’s Democracy: the God That Failed. A shorter and heavily libertarian-biased argument is in Bryan Caplan’s Myth of the Rational Voter. See also Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn’s Liberty or Equality.
4) Human rights are sacrosanct, and monarchical or hierarchical systems compromise human rights.
Comment: This is an important issue, but a complicated one from the Lockean 21st century frame of reference. (Though a peasant from the 18th century would understand it easily.) The simple answer is that the Lockean concept of “natural rights” is profoundly flawed, and actually restricts human freedoms rather than enabling them. Nothing could be more unnatural. Rather than true freedom, what we have is “many individual, domesticated, and mechanized freedoms, in a state of reciprocal limitation.” The Lockean concept of natural rights is thoroughly and simply deconstructed in chapter three of Julius Evola’s Men Among the Ruins.
5) Good kings are good, but bad kings are very bad.
Comment: Bad kings are not nearly as bad as Demotist/Communist dictators. Bad kings are in a different universe from bad Demotist leaders. There is not even a vague comparison. In the traditional system, kings rely on the aristocracy and clergy for support, and have trouble doing anything without them. For a Demotist leader, there tends to be far fewer checks and balances. They can cause a half million deaths in a place like Iraq with a snap of their fingers. Study up on the history of “death by government” to get a better perspective on what I mean. Kings and emperors very rarely, if ever, engage in mass murder against their own people.
6) What if the king is an idiot or psycho?
Comment: Then the prior king appoints a regent to take over the affairs of state on behalf of his successor. There is also a debate within the Reactionary community as to whether adoptive succession is preferable to hereditary succession, which avoids the issue of stupid or crazy children. Adoptive succession was used for the “Five Good Emperors” of the Roman Empire, until the disastrous sixth emperor, Commodus, who was the child of the fifth. After he threatened to kill them, the Roman senators ended up paying a gladiator to strangle him in the Colosseum’s equivalent of locker rooms. After his assassination, the senators declared Commodus damnatio memoriae and all his statues and inscriptions were destroyed. Such extreme scenarios rarely ever happened during the age of Renaissance European monarchs. One of the greatest statesmen of all time, Klemens von Metternich, strongly influenced the mentally deficient monarch Ferdinand I of Austria during his reign, sat on the regency council, and ran most important affairs, presiding over a hundred years of relative peace in Europe.
7) Traditional societies harm outsiders by being exclusionary and not letting them play too.
Comment: Too bad. The point of a traditional society is to serve the people who are a part of it. If foreigners want to have a good society, they can make their own. It is not possible to make functional societies for everyone on Earth overnight. It’s better for 50 million people to live in a flourishing society and the rest of the planet to be stuck with democracy than it is for everyone to be stuck with it. If people had good societies themselves, they wouldn’t be so hung up on trying to raid the societies of others. The reason they complain about exclusion is because their societies are broken and they want to escape them. This is all the more reason to build the border walls taller and thicker.
8) I want the freedom to run amok, be totally hedonistic, defect in Prisoner’s Dilemma, etc.
Comment: No. Following an extreme Pareto principle, probably 2% of people in society are doing 95% of the damage. These people enjoy modern democracies because they are allowed to run amok. (The plundering of Russia — in the name of “democracy” and the “free market” — during the collapse of Communism is one particularly egregious example.) A strong central leader puts an end to these shenanigans. In a healthy society led by a monarch, these defectors will receive a rude awakening. In democracies, they buy silence with campaign donations.
9) The idea of a monarch or an aristocracy is a bunch of bullshit.
Comment: Democracy is a bunch of bullshit. Imagine if every family or company were run by popular vote. It would be total chaos. Many of the fundamentals of the world are already reactionary and hierarchical, it’s only the government that has been temporarily been conquered by Demotist ideology. The reason why the Left keeps working day and night to deconstruct and “equalize” society is that it keeps naturally falling back into a reactionary order based on hierarchy and ability. Progressivism has to keep running just to stay in the same place. This Sisyphean cycle would be amusing if it hadn’t caused over a hundred million deaths in the 20th century alone.
10) Wealth is unequally distributed and it’s unfair.
Comment: It is unfair. The primary reason why it’s unfair is that the current rich are hoarding their wealth offshore rather than putting it to work for the populace, as they are traditionally supposed to. The role of a monarch is to use force and intimidation to ensure that the nobility does what it rightfully should — run projects that constructively generate wealth for the country and its inhabitants. The traditional wealth of the nobility is in land, not the accumulation of trinkets such as cars. Nobles that abdicate their responsibilities and focus only on themselves will be punished by the State. Over time, feelings of realistic mutual expectation will develop, and the nobility will understand what is expected of them. It’s quite simple, and worked perfectly well for many hundreds of years. The problem today is that the wealthy consider themselves atomized, cosmopolitan individuals with no allegiance to any state or the other classes. The solution is not to grab their capital and tear it apart into a million pieces so it can be handed to peasants who will squander it (how many times does this have to fail horribly until people get it?), but to cultivate a nobility that understands its responsibilities to the nation. Since the present-day rich are mostly conceited and selfish, they will have to be whipped into shape by a strong monarch. It’s only a matter of time until this happens, since the alternatives — state redistribution or lower class rebellion — don’t work in the long term and lead to economic collapse.