“Per Me, Reges Regnant”: Part II On Christian Governance

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Christ is risen! OK, here it is: my long-awaited treatise on Christian governance. Sorry for the lateness but things have been (pleasantly) hot and heavy and there’s way more coming down the pike regarding the GOA, the Phanar and other things Orthodox. In the meantime, I’d appreciate it if you all took the time to read the following essay. Critique it, rip it apart, question it; agree, disagree –but let’s have some fun! I certainly have!]

INTRODUCTION: THE FREEDOM/TYRANNY BINARY
Several months ago, I wrote an exposition on the nature of government and contrasted the various types. A continuum was drawn which showed anarchy on one end and totalitarianism on the other. In this scenario, I commented on how the present Left/Right dichotomy doesn’t really exist. Or, more accurately, can’t be fitted in on this spectrum as neatly as we’d like.

The only way out of it is to assume that rightists want as little government as possible whereas leftists want as much government as possible. This of course presents a conundrum for many on the left as that it places fascism and National Socialism on the left side of the spectrum. Decades of liberal indoctrination however have told us just the opposite.

In point of fact, there is another way of looking at this reality in a more binary way –zeroes and ones–if you will. Either you have some measure of freedom (1) or you don’t (0). That’s a simplistic analysis I grant you but it is a useful way of looking at things on a case-by-case basis. In modern parlance, those who are on the “right” tend to believe that the less government, the better. Those on the “left” believe that this is naive and thus more government is necessary.

As mentioned, fascism, socialism, nationalism and and other sorts of collectivist schemes tend to fall on the “left” side of the spectrum, often with elements of traditionalism thrown in for good measure. Capitalism ideally sits more comfortably on the right side given its reliance on the free exchange of goods and ideas but ultimately this is an illusion as well. Left to its own devices, capitalism debases traditionalism because of its consumerist tendencies and its desire for quick profits –not to mention the involvement of many capitalists with usury. At the end of the day, this deadly combination leads to less freedom, mainly because the unfettered free market leads to consumerism which in turn debases the nuclear family. Think of Wal-Mart for example and how it has destroyed many small town business districts.

Fundamentally, the left and the right disagree as to what they believe about human nature. The right believes that there is a thing called human nature while the left believes that there is no such thing. In the eyes of leftist ideologues, human nature is malleable and thus actively pursues utopian schemes –all of which end in disaster. Those on the right on the other hand operate under no such illusion.

This bifurcation has interesting spiritual antecedents as well. In that paganism views the world (and man) as immutable while gnosticism views both as perfectible. For the leftist, all that is needed is knowledge (gnosis, in this case “class consciousness:), which once realized, will have liberated the great masses from their delusions. For the Communist, this means that the people must be told of the nature of the capitalist class; for the Nazi, the masses must be made aware of the diabolical machinations of the Jews. That’s why all leftist political philosophies are future oriented, stressing as they do a predicted utopia once the proper gnosis is achieved. Many on the right look to the past, specifically paganism which (as mentioned) has a realistic assessment of nature. A Christian conservative however breaks this Gordian Knot by stating that the world is fallen, neither perfected nor perfectible.

As for the reality of life on earth, in order to evaluate political ideologies and/or economic systems, one simple observation springs to mind: “if all are free, then no one is equal; if all are equal, then no one is free”.

THE DUTIES OF GOVERNMENT
As stated in the earlier essay on government, the number one priority of all governments (regardless of ideology) is the protection of individuals and their property. Failing that, then no government is legitimate. That’s a binary dynamic as well: either one is safe from mayhem or one is dodging bullets day-in/day-out. The first describes Switzerland, the latter describes Belfast during the Time of Troubles or Lebanon during the height of the civil war there.

Now, as a constitutionalist, little “R” republican, I naturally adhere to the Constitutional principles which were set up by our Founding Fathers. Except for a sanguinary war in the 1860s, it’s pretty much worked out well, give or take. Consider: our Republic is over 250 years old. That’s over one-quarter of a millennium. Only Switzerland’s and Iceland’s republics are older. And this isn’t a fair comparison as these are two very small and very homogeneous nations.

Having said that, most other countries are not as happy as Switzerland or Iceland. Except for the various countries of Europe and East Asia, most nations operate in a Hobbesian state of nature. And Europe, thanks to the globalists is well on its way to becoming a Third-world hellhole.

And this is where it gets tricky: constitutionalism, liberalism, and limited self-government, are all the by-products of Indo-European civilization. First the Classical civilization of ancient Greece and Rome, then of Christendom. Within the Western mindset is an environmental (dare one say genetic?) understanding that the individual is paramount and that certain, over-arching principles are necessary for the proper functioning of society. Inherent in this understanding are characteristics which we view as “natural”, things like free and open debate, the necessity of being armed, and martial vigor. Only in the cultures derived from Europe do we find these three attributes. To put not too fine a point on it, all other civilizations are despotisms and those that have no civilization are incapable of self-governance.

CAN THE CLOCK BE TURNED BACK?
So what is the answer? Like Evelyn Waugh, who voted Tory in 1950 and was angered because “they hadn’t yet turned the clock back ten minutes”, I don’t hold out much hope for the future. Why? Because modern man has been deluded into believing that all cultures, all religions, all societies are unexceptional and thus, interchangeable. To believe otherwise is dangerous.

The rot however goes deeper. It is a spiritual rot which some on the alt.right believe can be reinvigorated by a return to paganism. This is delusional in itself but given what is presented as Christianity to many in the West, it’s understandable. As the Protestant experiment has manifestly failed and Catholicism is on its last legs, that leaves only Orthodoxy.

Unfortunately, in the eyes of many in the West, the fortunes of Orthodoxy are tied to those of Russia. And thanks to the incessant Russophobic propaganda peddled by the EU and the State Department, Russia (even in its present quasi-liberal form) is considered to be evil beyond all imagining. It’s all nonsense of course but the Corporate Media keeps peddling it out ad nauseum without the least bit introspection.

Now, I can’t blame the average American who believes that Russia is the font of all evil. For one thing, we’ve been propagandized to believe this ever since the satanic Bolshevist party murdered the Tsar and his family. And let’s be honest, Soviet apparatchiks and their fellow travelers in the West have done much to undermine America and its institutions over the last century. Thanks to Hollywood, academia, the National Council of Churches, various non-profit organizations (such as the ACLU and the SPLC) and the Judiciary, traditional American culture has been hollowed out.

Look around you: what is left of American civilization is a husk of what once was. One needs to only look at the average over-educated and permanently indebted twenty-something hanging out at the local Starbucks. Compare said specimen of manhood to a 21-year-old man who seventy years ago was getting ready to jump from a Higgins’ boat into the jaws of almost-certain death at Omaha Beach. Any cursory perusal would tell you that the broad shoulders needed to carry civilization forward are in critically short supply. The average low-testosterone soy-boy of today needs a safe space. His great-grandfather had no such luxury at Normandy –or Tarawa or Okinawa. Nor his grandfather at Khe Sanh.

To put not too fine a point on it, the Communists won without firing a shot. While American society was never communized or governed by Marxist principles, our culture has definitely been degraded by the more pernicious Marxism which was promulgated by Antonio Gramsci. All things being equal, it is impossible for me to imagine America as a self-perpetuating, viable enterprise based on a constitutional foundation with even minimalist Christian precepts. (Of course, I pray that I am wrong.)

For one thing, there is too much debt; this includes the public debt ($21 trillion) as well as the unfunded liabilities (well over $100 trillion). This is unsustainable, no matter who is in power. Then there is the fact that significant swaths of our demography are dependent upon the public dole. Remove that, or simply make some commmon-sense cutbacks in outlays and our cities will be in flames overnight.

Unfortunately, thanks to the open-borders policies of the two previous administrations, this portion of the population continues to grow. And let us be truthful, it is an open question as to whether President Trump will be able to reverse this trend.

IS AMERICA AS A REPUBLIC OVER?
So, let me put my cards on the table. Why do I believe that Christian monarchy is the penultimate, best possible answer given all the other choices? Especially since my oft-stated adherence to constitutional republicanism?

Because (as mentioned above) I believe that constitutional republicanism is on its last legs. Whatever else can be said about Trump’s election (and there are thousands of good to great things I could spend 24 hours a day speaking about), the plain, single, most salient fact on which we can all agree is that the charade of the left’s adherence to civic nationalism is finally being exposed. The loyalty of the kakistocracy to the Constitution is finally laid bare.

Nobody on the left –and I mean nobody–believes that Trump’s election is justified, much less legitimate. Many are actively and openly calling for a military coup d’etat. Others are calling for the assassination of prominent Republican figures. Last year, one such unhinged individual shot and nearly killed several dozen GOP lawmakers who were practicing for the annual Congressional softball game. Recently, Neil Young called for “doing whatever it takes” to remove Trump from office.

And now, an esteemed former Supreme Court justice has openly called for the repeal of the Second Amendment. Any attempt to do so will inevitably lead to a sanguinary and very real civil war. And if successful, then once that Amendment is gone, the First Amendment will be next on the chopping block. (As for the Fourth, Ninth and Tenth Amendments, they are essentially dead letters at this point.)

Think on that. And then consider that the newer crop of immigrants has no instinctive understanding (or loyalty) to the time-honored principles of individualism that were sewn into the sinews of the primitive Europeans who arose from the forests, mountains and lakes of Europe. Self-reliance, individualism and martial vigor, the three things needed for self-governance, are found only in the culture of the European peoples. While many Third-world countries have constitutions, they are as worthless as toilet paper.

The demographic shifts which are taking place in Europe and America are not intrinsically evil but they are not conducive to republicanism. As Milton Friedman said many years ago, “one can have open borders or welfare state but not both”. The word “republic” comes from the Latin res and publica –the “public thing”. That is to say, the Law.

And then think on the fact that once this Pandora’s box is opened, it won’t be shut. Not without the loss of the Republic as we know it. Either a civil war will end in anarchy or it will end in dictatorship. Secession or tyranny. The day before Mr Trump was inaugurated, a spectacular event was celebrated in his honor in front of the Lincoln Memorial. To my mind, he was telegraphing an ominous warning: like Lincoln, he would preside over a great national struggle. And like Lincoln, he would do whatever it took to preserve the Union.

Take from that what you will.

CHRISTIAN MONARCHY: “BY ME, KINGS RULE”
What follows is basically a thought-experiment at this point. The cultural rot ushered in by the French Revolution and which accelerated under Cultural Marxism has made a return to republican governance improbable. Remember what John Adams warned us about our government, that it was “suited only for a moral and religious people”. (What do you think he would say about anal marriage or grown women running around in pussy hats?)

The reality is that things aren’t going to improve on their own mainly because we have too much invested in the present libertine culture. We all have benefited much from the lessening of moral restraints –myself as much as anybody else. I for one have rarely been a paragon of virtue but that hasn’t stopped me from trying. Why? Because I respect those that are and I want to imitate them, men like our Founding Fathers, not Bruce Jenner and his execrable brood. That being said, yes, this is merely a thought-experiment. But let’s proceed anyway.

What we are talking about is a Christian monarchy.

First things first: what would a Christian monarchy look like? Well, looking over the broad scope of Medieval Europe, we can infer several things. First, at the top of the heap is the monarch himself. Beside him (if not actually above him) is the Church. Beneath him is a senatorial or baronial class. And beneath that is the vast majority of people. Preferably the majority of whom are not in some type of servitude. (And don’t believe all that Renaissance and Enlightenment propaganda about servitude; the average serf kept more of his produce than the typical working American does of his.)

In truth, the tripartite division of society into such classes is inevitable. Some cultures (such as India’s) naturally divided themselves into four separate castes and a bottom, an out-caste group. (And within these castes were several sub-groups.) Usually, different ethnicities and/or racial groups were the bases for these separate classes. In ancient Israel for example, the Levites were landless but were given the right to administer the rites of Yahwism. They were supported by the tithes of the other tribes. In Sparta, the helots were of Messenian origin while the Spartans were Doric. In the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Poles were at the top, the Jews in the middle and the vast majority of Rusyns at the bottom. This scenario was played out in Norman England and Moorish Spain as well.

In this scenario, it would be ideal if the king received his right to rule first, from God, then by primogeniture. As for the barons, primogeniture has much to commend it as well. You may ask why is heredity better than merit? For one thing, if the top positions in government are allocated by parentage, then this would force those commoners who are driven to greater things to channel their ambitions elsewhere. A king who rules by divine right means that political energies (and all the monies that we spend every four years in pursuit of the Presidency) could be directed elsewhere. The Church would be one avenue for those with intellectual energies but others would steered towards the military. Yet others could engage in mercantile activity and others in the arts and sciences.

Then there is this: a hereditary monarch takes the long view. Some intellectual can come up with a grand idea but a thoughtful king would think something along these lines: “Well, didn’t my great-grandfather, Odoricus II, come up with something along these lines? And how did it work out for him?” He could then (after pondering on it) respond: “Well, I inherited a relatively peaceful realm and I’d kind of like to leave it in pretty much the same way to Crown Prince Albertus. Sorry, but no. Let’s revisit it again in say, ten years.”

As for the hereditary peerage, two things spring instantly to mind: first, a baron would think the same way but on a more parochial basis. Let’s say some developer approaches him and asks him for permission to create a strip shopping center where there was once a forest. He could weigh the costs and benefits of such a development. Is a new Megalo-Mart really worth the resulting deforestation? It may very well be. However, like a hereditary monarch, a local baron would be able to take a longer view than a merchant or banker, who only cares about transitory profits.

At the very least, the average person would know where the Duke of This or the Count of That live. And torches and pitchforks which can be mustered at a moment’s notice have a great way of concentrating the minds of the ruling class. We have nothing like that today in either the United States or the European Union where the managerial classes blithely pass new and ever-more onerous regulations. Indeed, presently we have a Praetorian Guard of sorts in the FBI and CIA where unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats actively plot to overturn a legitimate election. Excuse me, but where is that in the Constitution exactly?

Another thing that springs to mind is that presently, in America, we have corrupt political class that is dependent upon heavy infusions of capital. Today we call it The Swamp and its denizens Swamp Creatures. The vast majority of office-holders are beholden to moneyed interests who have no thought of the future save for their immediate profits. An independently wealthy aristocracy, deriving their wealth from the land would think with a more conservative mindset.

Mind you, we had something along these lines from 1789 to 1913, when Senators were elected by the various State legislatures. Under this scenario, the States jealously guarded their sovereignty and the Ninth and Tenth Amendments were in full force. With the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment however, all this flew out the window and the Wilsonian super-state came into existence. First there was the Federal Reserve System and then the National Income Tax. Both of these became the subsequent bulwarks of the American Warfare/Welfare state.

The result has been anything but happy. Our currency has been thoroughly debased and it is impossible to pass a balanced budget. As for the societal results, there is nothing but wreckage, as it is next-to-impossible today for a working man to support a wife and family. Feminism, homosexualism and polyamory are merely the inevitable (but curious) attempts by ordinary people to try and reconstitute that which is normative and fundamental.

As a person of Greek ancestry, I’ve seen this up close and personal. The descent of Greece into an ungovernable dystopia overrun by hordes of Third-world masses has only happened because of the loss of the Christian monarchy. Say what you will about the Glucksburg dynasty, the king was tied to his people by a common religion and culture. Some, such as Constantine I suffered for it because he refused to sacrifice his nation on the altar of progressivism by entering the Great War. For this he was exiled. His son George II refused to enter into a Vichy collaboration with Hitler, choosing exile instead. While things were bad in the aftermath of the Second World War, Greece snapped back to normalcy under the reign of King Paul. No such normalcy exists presently. Nor is any on the horizon. (The horror stories I could tell you puts anything that you hear from Detroit or Baltimore to shame.)

One would look in vain in the pages of history to find a secularist or an elected politician who would willingly accept exile (or even death) for the greater good. On the other hand, history is replete with the stories of kings (and queens) who fought valiantly –and sometimes died–for their nations. Think of Harold Godwinson of England or Olav of Norway. Think of the Tsar-martyr Lazar who died defending Serbia from the Turks or John III Sobieski who led the charge that lifted the siege of Vienna.

Other, less violent examples abound. We are approaching the second anniversary of the Brexit vote. I remember reading that in the week before the vote, Queen Elizabeth II pointedly asked certain dinner guests why Britain should vote to remain in the EU. These stories were leaked to the press. Although constitutionally forbidden from engaging in politics, she let it be known what her intentions were and the average Middle Englishman and woman took their cues accordingly. Defying the polls, they came out in force and voted to leave. This was a shock to the political class who thought they had it in the bag.

Are all the nations of Europe that still have kings happy? That’s not the question, at this late stage of the game anyway. Are they happier than those nations which overthrew their monarchies? Britain for one, certainly is (though truth be told the Islamic goblinization has reached fever pitch even there: London is now the murder capital of Europe.) Indeed, the only nations that have not suffered under the cruel scourge of the Third-world invasion are the nations of the former Soviet bloc. All of which still defer to some extent or another to the strong-man President of the Russian Federation. Hungary, Bulgaria, even Poland, look to Russia as a counterweight to the deracinated, post-Christian West which is actively committing suicide based on its delusional egalitarian principles. Lest we forget, in the months before his death, Pope John Paul II admirably looked to Russia, seeing a “light in the East”, while he condemned the “Culture of Death” that he saw overtaking the West.

So, there you have it. In a better world, say before 1960 or thereabouts, it was relatively easy for a consensus to exist in a given nation. Especially one in which the Church and State existed in a type of symphonia, with a hereditary monarch at the apex of society. No such scenario is on the horizon however. Still, one can look back with nostalgia or better yet, think what was lost and what can be regained from the past.

For make no mistake: the present egalitarian system is based on faulty premises. It will crumble. The question is what will replace it?

P.S. The title for this essay comes from an inscription which Charlemagne inscribed at his capital in Augsburg: “Through Me [i.e. Christ], Kings Rule”.

About GShep

Comments

  1. I call dibs. I would be an amazingly good king. Crown me up.

  2. I agree totally. It’s like all those books sneering at Nicholas 11 as a blind d reactionary fool. Now they have to explain Gorbachev et al and the rest.

  3. lexcaritas says

    My brother, George. Christ is risen. Since I have a little time this morning, I’m going to take the bait–that is your invitation to spark a discussion. I have not the time nor the eloquence to reply in an organized fashion to such a long article as yours–much of which I agree with–but I would like to to issue with a number of things you assert. So here goes:

    GM says: “The number one priority of all governments (regardless of ideology) is the protection of individuals and their property. Failing that, then no government is legitimate.”

    LXC: I disagree. The smallest unit of government and the first in the economy of salvation upon which all more complex levels of government are based is none other than the family and its purpose is not the protection of individuals and their property, but the teaching and practice of faith, religion, virtue, goodness, respect, honor, altruism, self-sacrifice and love.

    GM: Within the Western mindset is an environmental (dare one say genetic?) understanding that the individual is paramount and that certain, over-arching principles are necessary for the proper functioning of society.

    LXC: Individualism was not and is not paramount; in fact, as stated above the family, the hearth and the common wealth is. It was true of republican Rome and other yeoman societies. Think of it, Adam alone was made without a family and of him God said it was not good for the man to be alone. Even Eve came from him, and all the rest of us from a mother and a father, born into families and surrounded by grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces and nephews . . . We are not essentially free-floating individuals, the American myth notwithstanding.

    GM: Except for a sanguinary war in the 1860s, it’s pretty much worked out well, give or take. Consider: our Republic is over 250 years old .

    LXC. The reality is that it’s been over for some time–decades actually. Later in the pies you admit that “constitutional republicanism is on its last legs.” That’s wishful thinking. It’s been dead and gone. It seems to have dies in my lifetime, but the illness was already apparent before 1860 and in full flower by 1915 and we have been in its grips since 1941. Before that time Washington, DC was a small town, but then the growth began and there has been no looking back and no way to stop the cancer.

    GM: While American society was never communized or governed by Marxist principles.

    LXC: Are you kidding? It’s all around us and in full flower, and you yourself have cited many examples of it. The seizure of power is underway and feminist, women, homosexuals, teachers and youth not yet out of school are going to be the vanguard to bring it about.

    GM: The demographic shifts which are taking place in Europe and America are not intrinsically evil but they are not conducive to republicanism.

    LXC: That’s for sure. They are suited to the move towards totalitarianism.

    GM: What we are talking about is a Christian monarchy.

    LXC: How can we even think of a Christian monarch until there is a critical mass of Christians, Christian families and Christian leaders and a strong and visible Body of Christ?

    GM: At the top of the heap is the monarch himself.

    LXC: But the Christian monarch must seem himself as the servant of servants, ready to lay down his life for the sheep, following the example of Christ Himself. Once we conceive of him at the top of the heap, we’re not talking about a Christian monarchy, but an anti-Christ and counterfeit of the real thing–a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    GM: Preferably the majority of whom are not in some type of servitude.

    LXC: I know what you’re saying, but oddly enough the Kingdom of Heaven–and hence a Christian monarchy–is based, in fact, on a universal servitude–each one serving the good of the other–i.e. loving his neighbour as himself.

    GM In this scenario, it would be ideal if the king received his right to rule first, from God, then by primogeniture.

    LXC: But consider, that except in the case of Christ–Who is not primogenitus, but UNIgenitus–primogentiure did not work out that well for Israel, nor for France nor for England, nor even for our beloved Russia.

    GM: . . . all the monies that we spend every four years in pursuit of the Presidency) could be directed elsewhere.

    LXC: And the reason for this is what? The direct and supposedly popular election of Senators and Presidents based on a one-man one vote theory with a docile populous which really has little say and the real control is mediated through the media and Image is everything.

    GM: a hereditary monarch takes the long view.

    LXC: That is an interesting point, but who is this monarch looking out for? Let the society and him be Christian first and, then, it might work if it and he can / will remain that way.

    GM: We have nothing like that today in either the United States or the European Union where the managerial classes blithely pass new and ever-more onerous regulations . . .we have a Praetorian Guard of sorts in the FBI and CIA where unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats

    LXC: The monarchies developed this as well . . .

    GM: We had something along these lines from 1789 to 1913, when Senators were elected by the various State legislatures. Under this scenario, the States jealously guarded their sovereignty and the Ninth and Tenth Amendments were in full force. With the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment however, all this flew out the window and the Wilsonian super-state came into existence. First there was the Federal Reserve System and then the National Income Tax. Both of these became the subsequent bulwarks of the American Warfare/Welfare state.

    LXC: And what about the 16th Amendment? We think it wonderful that women obtained the right to vote. And what was the inevitable effect on families, households? They mattered less; the individual was all. It took until the late 60s for the right to vote to devolve upon 18 year-olds because if they were old enough die for their country then they were old enough to vote. That might have made sense if the vote went to those in uniform, but, no, it went to everyone in the age-group. Now the move is on in DC, as of last week, to expand the vote to 16 year olds. So, you see, the individual is all, and the family is of no political meaning. In our degraded thinking, rights are preeminent and duties invisible.
    But, classically, duties precede rights and are the reason for their existence. But these you voters have no real duties. All their essential are provided by their parents or the state.
    In fact, for a healthy society, none should vote until he is in a position to support himself and he should be living in a natural family of his own or a conventional one, such as monastic brotherhood. Human beings are not meant to live alone and each is meant to contribute what he can to the family or community of which he is a part.

    GM: The present egalitarian system is based on faulty premises. It will crumble. The question is what will replace it?

    LXC: There can be little doubt, barring our Lord’s second advent: Dictatorship and despotism. May He help, save us, have mercy upon us and keep us by His grace. We are lost without Him.

    lsc

    • George Michalopulos says

      Lex, thank you for taking the time to read this rather long (and hopefully not turgid) piece!

      I sense that we are more in agreement than disagreement. If I may just defend a few of my points:

      I agree that the family is the fundamental unit of civilization. I also believe that the best practice of government is subsidiarity. I should have mentioned it but I was speaking broadly about government’s first responsibility.

      I also agree with you re individualism. However, the family is dependent upon the solitary, self-reliant man, who can provision his wife and together with her, create a family. Commonwealths are the result (IMHO) of several self-reliant men who are free-born homoioi (or peers), each of whom have access to a wife and don’t have to worry about a superior usurping his marital rights (as King David did with Uriah’s wife).

      I have no essential disagreement regarding your diagnosis re the morbidity of our Constitutional experiment. You feel it is dead and gone, I think it’s in its last gasps. I suppose another disagreement would be that as I think it’s still (barely) alive, it can be revitalized by another Constantine. I may very well be wrong however.

      By “communized” I meant the American economy, not our culture. I should have been more specific.

      Otherwise, spot on with your critique! Again thank you for taking the time to read it.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Gentleman, the Constitutional Republic died with the Civil War, possibly with Van Buren. It has been oligarchy tending to totalitarian ever since.

        The Industrial Revolution followed by the original “Progressive Era” during which the Constitutional Amendments you decry were passed is the prime indicator. That coincided with the official closing of the frontier when New Mexico and Arizona we’re admitted to the union in 1912.

        No more homesteaders like my grandfather. My father and mother were of the last generation of pioneers.

        The self-reliant man who could create a family pretty much ceased to be. The Great Depression sealed his fate. Now one has to aspire to dominance as a current car commercial reminds us.

        So, our country was a victim of the Civil War. Andrew Jackson’s famous toast “Liberty and Union; one and inseparable” is rousing but a lie. Forced union is tryanny.

        The Orthodox Church may find that out too, to our sorrow.

  4. lexcaritas says

    One more belated comment: Per me reges regnant would be “Let kings reign through Me.”

    Another one from Henri de Bracton circa 1251- this is the generation after Magna Carta, when Louis IX sat on the throne of France and his brother-in-law Henry III in England, when Notre Dame de Paris was built, and Aquinas and Bonaventura held sway at the Sorbonne–though it all began to fall apart almost immediately thereafter: “The king must not be under man but under God and under the Law, law makes the king, Let him therefore bestow upon the Law what the Law bestows upon him, namely, rule and power. For there is no king where will rules rather than Law. Since he is the vicar of God, And that he ought to be under the law appears clearly in the analogy of Jesus Christ, whose vicegerent on earth he is, For though many ways were open to Him for His ineffable redemption of the human race, the True Mercy of God chose this most powerful way to destroy the devil’s work: He would use not the power of force but the Reason of Justice. Thus He willed Himself to be under the Law that He might redeem those who live under it. For He did not wish to use force but judgment. And in that same way the Blessed Mother of God, the Virgin Mary, Mother of our Lord, who by an extraordinary privilege was above Law; nevertheless, in order to show an example of humility, did not refuse to be subjected to established laws. Let the king, therefore, do the same, lest his power remain unbridled. There ought to be no one in his kingdom who surpasses him in the doing of justice, but he ought to be the last, or almost so, to receive it, when he is plaintiff.

    lxc

    • George Michalopulos says

      Brilliant!

    • One God-fearing man with the prowess to bring the republic to heel could change it all. That is the point. One fallacy is to suggest that Christianization is a prerequisite. Re-Christianization may be a by product, but it cannot possibly be a precursor. Russia was not re-Christianized before it rejected Bolshevism. It was the unmitigated gall of one man, Boris Yeltsin, who had been freed up by the weakness of the last Soviet President, Mikhail Gorbachev, that restored Russia from communism to a dominant party republic. Putin was the successor that firmed that up and exorcised the demons of Western multiparty plural factionalism to create “sovereign democracy” or monarchial dominant party rule.

      And it has only been since the later years of Gorbachev’s rule and the fall of the Soviet Union that the Church in Russia has resurrected. And resurrected it has. It was down to a third of the people considering themselves Orthodox. Now that is up to a bit over two thirds.

      Russia was united under the Rurikids and Prince St. Vladimir before becoming Orthodox. Monarchy comes first, then Christianization. Old Rome was already a monarchy when Christianity ascended. No masses, anarchial in nature and led by the passions, will every elect to be ruled by Christendom. There must be a unification of rule as a predicate.

  5. Will Harrington says

    The best form of government is a beneficent and competent monarchy. The worst form of government is an incompetent monarch. A good bureaucracy can shield a nation from an incompetent monarch only if the monarch is disinterested in governing. Primogeniture is not the best system, though it served to reverse the breakup of the Frankish empire and allow the Capetians to consolidate France. A better possibility is the combination of democracy and inheritance of the Irish clan system of electing kings, combined with the tanistry system that allowed a king to train up an heir and strongly suggest that this heir is the best candidate from the pool of related, eligible men. Of course, this system did not prevent the endemic clan warfare. Even better might be the Pictish system of matriarchal inheritance for kings. The kingship was passed down through the mothers line, but kings ruled and women married into their husbands family. This guaranteed that the kingship moved changed to a different family every generation and prevented any family from obtaining great power while maintaining the reality that every noble family could have the kingship mext. On the other hand, the Irish won. Maybe because they had more practice fighting than the Irish. Or you could have kings and Things, like the Norse. Primogeniture, though. That resulted in Cromwell, the French Revolution, and the execution of the Czar and his family. We could do better.

  6. Joseph Lipper says

    In the Book of Samuel, the Israelites demanded a king, and this displeased the prophet Samuel. God told Samuel that the Israelite’s demand for a king was actually a rejection of God.

    “Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.” I Samuel 8:19-20

  7. Joseph Lipper says

    What earthly kings did God provide as the backdrop for the Acts of the Apostles? We have Tiberius Caesar, Claudius Caesar, and then Nero Caesar. They were all pagans.

  8. George,

    I enjoyed your video commentary. Not sure if I totally agree that “God is protecting Donald Trump” — sounds a bit too American triumphalistic, too much of “a city on a hill” for me, but who knows, maybe you are correct. I do find the possibility amusing that God may be working through Donald Trump.

    But Old Testament shows that God has worked through even shadier characters in the past! I love the old comment of Fr Thomas Hopko of blessed memory: “God has to work with what He’s got!” And right now, maybe Trump is what He’s got!

    Thanks again, George, for keeping this blog, and blessed newer calendar name day!

    Christ is risen!

    • George Michalopulos says

      AGS, I myself am conflicted about that statement. It’s not coming from a position of “American triumphalism” however. As a Christian and conservative, I can’t wrap my head around the fact that the Lord has not unleashed His judgment upon us. I’m simply stepping back and taking a look at the lay of the land.

      Had Hillary won, it would definitely have been Game Over for republican governance. We’d be Mexifornia & Babylon all rolled into one, forever. Or at least until the nukes started flying. You think racial relations had worsened under Obama? After four years of Hillary we’d be looking back at his eight years as a golden age.

      So under this perspective, I have to believe that the Lord granted us a reprieve of sorts by upsetting the globalists’ apple-cart. That’s one thing. Two, three and four things are that everything that the Deep State has thrown against Trump has blown up in their faces. Everything. This seems to me that the Lord’s hand is upon him (for whatever reason). Just as it was upon magnificent sinners such as David and Cyrus the Great. While I do not see a revival of Orthodoxy under Trump as was seen under Constantine the Great or Prince Vladimir of Kiev, I am humble enough to understand that my ways are not the Lord’s ways. If pagans like Constantine and Vladimir can be brought to Christ and –more importantly–set up Christian states which were heavily informed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ–then who am I to judge?

      • Alitheia1875 says

        If “Christianity” ever becomes more powerful in this country it won’t be because of the Orthodox (regardless of the St. Nicholas fiasco). We need to be careful what we wish for. Extreme right wing evangelicanism is as much a danger to our way of life as anything secular that has come down the pike as well as the direction that liberal Christian groups want to take this country. Hillary/Trump is easily the worst duo to contend for the presidency of this country, ever. PS. Orthodoxy is Christianity. Let’s not forget that a major sticking point, and rightly so, in Crete, was using the word, the single word, “church” , to describe other groups that call themselves Christian.

        • If “Christianity” ever becomes more powerful in this country it won’t be because of the Orthodox

          Perhaps, even probably, but it is impossible to know. I doubt the first-century Christians ever dared to hope that the Roman Empire would be Christian only a couple of centuries later, and the whole of Europe a while later.

        • Alitheia1875,

          Yet Trump could be the precursor to a revival of what you deride as “extreme right-wing evangelicalism” or non-denominational conservative Christianity. Their moral values are correct and mirror those of the Church to a considerable consent. Opposition to abortion, opposition to feminism and perversion (LGBT), pro-family – even the “Islamophobia”, i.e., common sense opposition to, and recognition of the need for containment of, Islam – all of that is quite Christian by the standards of the Orthodox Church. The motto of the Russian tsars was Orthodoxy, Autocracy and Nationality. One could say the same of the Eastern Roman Empire in practice.

          Sounds like Trumpism and Putinism to me. Neither is a full blown autocrat but you can’t have everything. Dominant party democracy with a strong executive is not really that different from monarchy if the executive exercises decisive control of the media. That is also a part of Trumpism – bringing the MSM, progressive media, to heel. “America First”, “Russia First”, sounds like Nationality to me.

          God willing it will all play out well.

          • Alitheia1875 says

            If you aren’t Orthodox, you aren’t Orthodox. Being opposed to abortion, feminism, perversion, etc., doesn’t necessarily put one on the path to salvation. The true path to salvation is what Orthodoxy is and is about. All this pandering about monarchy and Christian government is quite beside the point. The world can go to hell in a handbasket, as the saying goes, but if one remains true to Orthodoxy then what goes on in the world doesn’t really matter.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Alithia, we operate on two levels: the personal and the political. On the personal level, we should strive mightily for salvation and constantly seek to remove the plank from our own eyes before we talk about the splinter in our neighbor’s.

              As to the political, we live in a polity. There is nothing wrong with being involved in the great legal collective known as the polity. As to its form of government, all options are on the table. It’s imperative however that we understand that “subjugation” is going on all the time. Only it’s not Christian subjugation but an anti-Christian one. If “subjugation” as you speak it is inevitable, then I for one welcome Misha’s vision (believe it or not). I would rather have a Constantine the Great rather than a Barack Obama; a Theodora rather than a Hillary.

              There comes a time in which one’s cards must be put on the table. The libtard’s always come down on the side of anti-Christianity. I’ll take my chances with a pussy-grabbing reprobate like Trump or an apparent Christian like Putin rather than a long-distance swimmer like Ted Kennedy or a pious fraud like Bill Clinton. In the final analysis, the Left always comes down on the side of the secularism and always to the detriment of Tradition.

              And no, I’m not perfect. And because I’m not, I don’t expect my leaders to be.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Alitheia1875, I see your point believe me but ordering ourselves as a community is an important human task. Since Jesus did take on our full humanity the quality and type of such ordering cannot be ignored. Is there not a more proper expression of God’s order even if it is transient and will pass away?

              A government can either support, be antagonistic or out right persecutorial to Christians and the Church. Of the three possibilities the first one is perhaps the scariest to me because governments always seek control. That is their nature. That means that sooner or later the Church and the State will come into conflict. It is a bit like the old joke of the scorpion riding on the back of the frog.

              I greatly mistrust the idea of synergy between Church and State. It tends to lead in the direction of some kind of perfectionist heresy and heretical eschatology like we see with Christian Zionists. The Church and the State are not co-equal either.

              Clearly politics can become an unhealthy obsession and lead to unnecessary division and a multitude of temptations to sin since politics is always the realm of the fallen and the nihilist. Government in and of itself need not be.

              Within nihilism all is aimed at destruction and victory. Nothing Christian at all.

  9. I can’t say where I remember the quotation though it was one of those you make
    a mental note about it was short. One time St. John of Kronstadt was asked
    to opine on what he thought about “Democracy”? His reply, “Democracy is below,
    above, Kingdom!” …. Kingdom of Heaven is clear …. meanwhile “democracy”
    we can recall in popular parlance described as “messy.” I wonder “how far below”
    St. John had meant, here, Earth, or lower, further down? Well, not to speculate about “governance” in hell, like something in a movie, on our Earth plane we see what emerges where there is the lack of leadership in governance with a chosen Leader to lead for the betterment of “All” in society, you get the “Deep State” where there still are those in power but they are behind the scenes, so they have autonomous unaccountable levers of power. An agenda, not favorable to the people, to the Country, but to special interests can be pushed forward in absence of Leadership by the People for the People.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Cy, Democracy/tryanny is the realm of the fallen.

      A true Kingdom requires a Christian populace which as Chesterton points out, there has never been.

      • Michael,

        Byzantium in the centuries of the Eight Ecumenical Councils had significant Christian culture with the Church Cathedral Hagia Sophia built in 537 nearly 1000 years earlier than St. Peter’s in Rome then the baton got passed along with SS Cyril Methody enlighteners of the Slavs. Christian populace always forming backdrop out of which the great Saints emerged. Tend to recall the very well known Scriptural passage of St. Paul about only “seeing things here darkly through a glass but then face to face, now I know in part then I will know as I am known.” Byzantium “Tsargrad” Kingdom darkly through a glass but there is the mirror reflection in the Heavens.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Cy, Christian populace combined with a Christian leader. Both are essential. The US has neither. Never have.

          • Alitheia1875 says

            Orthodox populace with an Orthodox leader. Anything else is what the ecumenists want.

        • Estonian Slovak says

          May I ask which is the Eighth Ecumenical Council? I only read of seven. True the EP just called one. But I doubt it will ever be known as the Eighth.

          • ES,

            They are not universally recognized as “Ecumenical” or, in more accurate Eastern terminology “Great and Holy”, but their dogmatic pronouncements are universally accepted within Orthodoxy regardless. They are:

            Photian Council of 879-880 (recognized as such by St. Mark of Ephesus) which restored Patriarch Photios and condemned the filioque:

            https://orthodoxwiki.org/Eighth_Ecumenical_Council

            and the Palamite Councils of 1341-1351 which vindicated the theology of St. Gregory Palamas against the rationalistic philosophy of Barlaam of Calabria:

            https://orthodoxwiki.org/Ninth_Ecumenical_Council

            “Further, the 1848’s Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs refers explicitly to the ‘Eighth Ecumenical Council’ regarding the synod of 879-880 and was signed by the patriarchs of Constantinople, Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria as well as the Holy Synods of the first three.”

            “Those who regard these councils as ecumenical often characterize the limitation of Ecumenical Councils to only seven to be the result of Jesuit influence in Russia, part of the so-called ‘Western Captivity of Orthodoxy.'” – https://orthodoxwiki.org/Eighth_Ecumenical_Council

            • Antiochene Son says

              The Quinisext (“Between the Fifth and Sixth”) Council is also of ecumenical character and authority, though it falls outside of the numbering system.

              The idea that there are only seven ecumenical councils (and an implication that a number larger than seven would be some kind of a harbinger of apostasy or something) is silliness on par with Malachi’s so-called prophecy of the popes. There will be as many ecumenical councils as there needs to be, and as of today there have been at least ten.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Cy, just connected. Yes there was a Christian populace and Christian leaders for an empire which lasted for over 1000 years. Chesterton was not correct entirely. The United States has petered out after about 230.

          Of course now, most of us who call ourselves Christians are of the Cardinal Woolsey type.

  10. Michael Bauman says

    A hierarchical system of government but not necessarily a monarchy. There has to be accountability to someone or some body outside the government.

    No ideas as to how that would be constituted or work.

    Fact is fallen men need someone who can force us to behave. That requires a bunch of things we do not like these days like deadly force.

    All governmental power rests in it’s ability to use deadly force. The more legitimate authority a government has, the less such power is used.

    • I recall this dialectic. When Christ was presented with the coin and Caesar.
      Christ explained to the pharisees give unto Caesar what Caesar is due ..
      That is the Ministry of the Law. Of Justice. All under the Lord. Lord’s
      Ministry of Justice. Then you render unto the Lord that which is the Lord’s.
      Ministry of Grace. Prayers. Alms. Fasting. Some kind of ‘podvig’ maybe this
      supposed one russian word not so translatable they say, it has to be for
      “Christ’s sake” and then some deliberate hardship. When St. Seraphim of Sarov
      was in an ultra small kelliya torturing himself he likewise felt satisfaction he was
      torturing the demons.

      Anyway my point is that the political sphere is under the Lord’s Ministry of “Justice” and seems Republicans hold that up still better
      than Democrats.

      • Cy,

        Not exactly related to the point of your post, I know; but this exchange about taxes, the coin, and the image upon it always strikes me as being primarily about the image. Whose image and superscription is on the coin? Caesar’s. Then render it to Caesar. It bears his image and his name and thus belongs to him. Likewise, whose image and Name is on you (both the Pharisees with whom He spoke and all of us made in His image)?

        God’s.

        • Brian,

          Thanks for your insight. I agree. I love the painting by Rubens depicting that passage in Scripture and sure enough Christ said pay your taxes. Essentially. Scripturally tax collectors were regarded as villainous however from that class we have Apostle and Evangelist Matthew. Now, should we get a “discount” on our taxes owed for donating to Church, myself rather not take it keep it separate, for charity fine, for Church keep it separate, Caesar’s is Caesar’s and I don’t want Caesar telling me you got a write-off now I want to tell you a couple things. That Churches are exempt from taxation one thing, using church donation to lower tax bill myself rather not I rather pay the tax not use church donation for tax discount not owe Caesar any favors for any discounts or favors, separation of Church and State which is how I interpret the parable. 501 (c) next thing you know is gonna try to tell you you have to allow women into the altar .. to have your “status.”

          • Michael Bauman says

            Cy, they are almost to that point now. The mayor of Houston wanted to see all of the sermons from those who opposed homosexual “rights”. Because that is political speech and that is not allowed.

  11. “Our cities will be in flames overnight.” Let’s not make ourselves hostage to the incendiaries.

  12. michael james kinsey says

    The nation is ruled by the bankers and merchant corporations, who, as the Revelation predicted, they would. This is what American imperialism is forcing upon the whole world, with it’s goal of total spectrum dominance. Destroying the global enviorment is a plus to them when they consoder Agenda 21 goals. Hopefully, 90% of humanity will be dead. But, not them,they will live in their man made caves if they have to. This too,is predicted in the Revelation, that when the Returned Jesus Christ orders that the time has come to destroy those who destroyed the earth. They will be slain by the angels, before the Christ. Generals politicians, Occult families, and of course Rothchilds.

    • Mirkos Peligrotsis says

      Lunatic conspiracy theories are the direct result of schziophrenia caused by drug and alcohol abuse. Political ideologies are based on core beleiefs of Individualism, fatalism, egalitarianism and hierarchialis. Those who believe in conspiracy theories are paralysed by fatalism, and use them as excuse not only for their inaction, but their own personal corruption. Please seek recision of your parietal lobe to rectify this!

      • Alitheia1875 says

        Schizophrenia is not caused by drug and alcohol abuse. True, some schizophrenics abuse drugs and or alcohol but there is causal relationship, direct or indirect. Lobotomies have long gone out of style.

  13. Mirkos Peligrotsis says

    Please inform Mr George Demacopolis, popularly known as Dumquafles. His website proclaimed Justinian as the father of gun control and St Irene as the mothe rof the modern welfare state. Then he complains Bershidsky calls Orthodoxy communist. And he calls Samuel Huntington a right wing extremist for putting Orthodoxy in the IslamoSoviet belt in Clash (FA 72#3,1993, p30). Really? Huntington was Zbig’s #2 on Carter’s NSC! Does he admire Aristides Papadakis trying to make the early Christians into communist (David Bentley Hart NOV 4 2017 NY Times) and Zembillas quotes Crysostum saying “The rich are in possession of the goods of the poor, even if they have acquired them honestly” (Lazarus 11). The Theodosian Code promoted confiscatory taxation and promoted Diocletian socialist feudalism (Rostovtzeff 1926, Gibbon ch. 13) that Toynbee (1939, IV p. 399) said caused Anatolia to apostase into Turkishness. Gun control hails back to Justinian’s Novella 85. See “Is Orthodox Christianity progressive?” By Michelle Boorstein Washington Post November 4, 2009. Macarius got his gizzard split for slumming with Breznev. Bart must part for putting Pustacius in his cart. And Putin make Krokodil heroine from kerosene to stupefy Trump voters in monasteries in Roscoe NY and Florence AZ. So Dumquafles want to have his communism and eat it, too!

  14. Alitheia1875 says

    St. John Chrysostom said that the wealthy exist for the benefit of the poor but the poor exist for the salvation of the wealthy.

  15. George Michalopulos says

    Regarding my startling claim that the modern American is no better off than the Medieval peasant as to regards his productivity and the fruits derived thereof, please see this article on how in our leisure time we are worse off than our Medieval ancestors:

    https://www.theladders.com/career-advice/the-average-american-worker-puts-in-more-hours-than-a-medieval-peasant