[Journal of Libertarian Studies 15, Number 1 (2000)]
Modern history is nothing but an inventory of bankruptcy declarations. —Nicolas Gomez Davila
Monarchy is a form of government not well understood in North America. To many people in that part of the world, monarchy seems to be a totally obsolete, even childish, institution. The surviving monarchies, after all, might still play a symbolic or even a psychological role, but not a decisive political role.
As a rationalist and a liberal (in the worldwide sense rather than in the American sense), I am also a monarchist who realizes that monarchy, combined with Christianity and Antiquity, was responsible for the rise and flowering of Western civilization, which is slowly assuming an almost global character. Yet, the modern mind is political rather than historical, and therefore is hopelessly tied to the spirit of his time. As Goethe wrote:
He who cannot give account
Of the last three thousand years
Rests in darkness inexperienced
though he lives from day to day.
Such a person, intellectually nurtured by the boob-tube and newspapers, would be greatly surprised to hear British Prime Minister Disraeli say:
The tendency of an advanced civilization is in truth Monarchy. Monarchy is indeed a government which requires a high degree of civilization for its full development. … An educated nation recoils from the imperfect vicariate of what is called a representative government.
Democracy is, after all, the oldest form of government in which majorities rule over minorities.
Democracy reappeared in a more civilized form in Athens, but when, in a truly political trial, Socrates praised monarchy, he was condemned to death.3 Remember also that Madariaga said rightly that our civilization rests on the…