Nowadays, we axiomatically accept democracy as the best form of government we can have. But is this true? What about a Christian monarchy?
Most people immediately react by pointing to King George III and the dangers of concentrating power in one man. True in part, but George III was one among many kings. Think of the kings described by Bede in his Ecclesiastical History and how many of them were pious Christians who cared for their people. Think also of Constantine and other pious Byzantine rulers, of Charlemagne and the Holy Roman Empire, and of the Tsars of Russia, some of whom are saints in the Russian Orthodox Church. Also, think about Tolkien's description of Aragorn as a healer of the people, not as the tyrant which some people nowadays associate with monarchy.
Of course, Christianity also says there is something called ancestral sin, which means there is a danger of the King being a tyrant. Still, within a Christian perspective, democracy would be even worse because then you have ancestral sin multiplied by the number of voters.
The other problem I have with the idea of power residing in the people is that it smacks of the Enlightenment's view of man. Sure, the Greeks had a form of direct democracy, and the Founding Fathers were influenced by them in part, but the Enlightenment also had a big impact on the foundation of this nation. What troubles me about the Enlightenment view of man is its immanentization, as Voegelin would say. In other words, there is no trascendence to the view of government. The Christian vision of the divine right of kingship reveals a hierarchical structure of the cosmos layered onto the civitas, where power comes from above, and the aim of government becomes other-worldly (salvation) rather than this-worldly (happiness). What I am trying to say is that the model of divine right of kingship conveys the idea that Divinity permeates all levels of life, whereas the Enlightenment idea of man tries to separate the Divinity into a little corner, if not entirely destroying it.
I am sorry if I just seem to ramble, but ideas just keep popping in my head about this topic. But I am interested to hear what people have to say about this. I do not think a Christian monarchy is practically feasible nowadays, but it cannot hurt to discuss theoretically the best form of government as the sublime Plato did in his Republic.
Aitor, Intercollegiate Studies Institute 65 Comments
[6/16/2009 2:06:21 PM]
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