The Meaning Of Monarchy

January 17, 2017 Uncategorized Comments (3) 4353

In Canada, one is hard-pressed to conceive of any form of nationalism that is not royalist to the core. Likewise, we ought not be surprised that those who seek to erase Canada’s ethnic foundations and political heritage also seek the destruction of its monarchic foundation. Yet for many Canadian defenders of the monarchy, arguments in its defence will fall back on cultural attachment, or perhaps personal admiration of Her Majesty. While these are unquestionably healthy sentiments, it is vital to understand the power of our monarchy as an incarnation of the realm, a symbol of those forces which have shaped our civilization. The monarchy is at once the state’s foundation stone, compass, and embodiment. As an institution it bears institutional, ethnocultural, and spiritual power.

Monarchy is the rule of one – the unification of political sovereignty in a single person. Very simply, a monarchic political order implies that all existing institutions – ministries, representative bodies, bureaucracies, military entities, and so on – exist by the will of the monarch and their actions bear at least implicit Royal sanction. Monarchy in this institutional sense is a center, a pole, and an axis of authority around which the state and political order revolves. It provides sovereign authority with a rational and coherent expression.

In states with divisions of sovereignty – republics, federations, or otherwise – it necessarily occurs that various parts of the state end up competing against each other for influence. State vs federal, President vs Congress, judicial vs legislative branches, and so on it goes. This means that the expression of sovereign power becomes internally incoherent, divisive, and conflict-ridden. As a result, factions engage in ever more ruthless behaviour to expand their power: the creation of ever more government agencies, the passing of ever more laws, the seeking out of ever more private backers, and in our time the importing of new populations via mass immigration.

Now it must be addressed that in our country, as well as our Monarch’s other territories, the Royal authority is rarely if ever exercised. Daily governance has its parties, factions, and special interests pulling the strings. Yet this is not an effect of monarchy, but a symptom of its diminishment in political life. This becomes evident when one examines how the Crown allows our institutions to function in contrast to our southern neighbour.

The fact of Royal sovereignty has left its mark on our government. We can consider the extensive powers of the Prime Minister in summoning or dissolving Parliament, setting the agenda of the House, and party discipline. A recent critique of Prime Ministerial power even saw fit to compare them to “historical monarchs”. Likewise, the Crown reigns in each individual Province as well as Canada as a whole, cutting through the Gordian knot of state-vs-federal sovereignty which plagued our southern neighbour (even if jurisdictional disputes sometimes occur). The unification of sovereignty in the Crown means that the different levels of government in provinces and at the federal level – as well as the judiciary, civil service, and military – are ultimately carrying out a single, rational, and undivided will (even if currently limited to a very bare and nominal Royal Assent). Canada, unlike many other Western countries, has the institutional framework necessary to reduce and nullify such factionalism through the strengthening of the Crown’s role in political life.

We must also consider what formative influences shape the Royal will. Due to its hereditary nature, our monarch is the descendent of Royal forebears. Despite multiple changes of dynasty in Britain, Her Majesty bears the inheritance of generations not only in her office, but in her blood. Her ancestors include Mary, Queen of Scots in the House of Stuart, Robert the Bruce in Scotland, William the Conqueror, and Alfred the Great. The continuity of the Crown through centuries of various Houses and constitutional settlements binds us to the ancestral generations, as well as previous eras of British and European civilization. The link of blood and kingship finds its roots deep in Germanic cultures, preceding not only Canada and Britain but indeed the Anglo-Saxons themselves. Tacitus’ Germania notes in the 1st century AD that the Germans “choose their kings by birth, their generals for merit.”

On a personal level, this means that our monarchs tend to be raised in an environment where from birth the history of the family and duties of future generations are emphasized. Unlike the politician who must concentrate on wheeling and dealing – if not outright bribing and manipulating – his way into power, and thereafter keeping it, the monarch is raised in a tradition which emphasizes the inter-generational and long-term well-being of the country. Of course, the individual monarch may well sacrifice this opportunity and rule badly. Indeed, history has seen the collapse of dynasties when a line falls into decadence. Yet even in such cases, successor dynasties quickly seek to establish continuity in order to legitimize themselves. This was even true of such radicals as Cromwell, whose rule would see him swear a pseudo-coronation vow and whose funeral featured a crown and other royal symbols. For the realm at large, the hereditary continuity of the monarch’s person reflects the ancestral continuity of its people. Just as Her Majesty today is linked to Alfred the Great and William the Conqueror, so Canada is linked to those who made the journeys from Britain, France, and other shores. Without that continuity there would be neither a monarchy nor a country. And just as our monarchy must be defended, so must the ancestral inheritance.

Finally, we cannot ignore the spiritual component of our monarchy. From the early days of the Anglo-Saxons (and the Britons before them), the Christian faith shaped the hearts and minds of the British Isles. At the time of King Alfred the Great, the role of the monarch as defender and promoter of the faith was already established, as was the notion that the King received Divine sanction. In the words of Dr. Andrew Fraser, “Every Anglo-Saxon king carried his splendour into the life of the Church”. Her Majesty was crowned at Westminster Abbey by the Archbishop of Canterbury, as were her predecessors and as one day her successors will be. Whatever miasma of heresy or decay may have crept into these institutions, this rite still carries immense meaning with it.

The swearing of oaths and anointing with holy oil further emphasize the sacral nature of these rites. The reflection by the Crown of a greater natural and Divine order is itself reflected in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: ‘Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law…”. The fundamentals of these rites date back over a thousand years. By accepting a sacred seal and foundation, our monarchy accepts the notion of a natural and transcendent order.

It is not difficult to see why the globalist ideology would seek the abolition of such a symbol from both political life and public consciousness. In the worldview of liberal internationalism, the nation – if it exists at all – is a mere collection of citizens. These citizens are interchangeable and ideally members of a global marketplace unrestricted by borders or states. The result of this is the usurpation of sovereignty from the Crown by the most powerful classes of society.

The Liberal Party’s reshaping of Canada did enshrine the English and French linguistic heritages, but did so in a multicultural framework which saw Canada as in no way fundamentally defined by the ethnic and cultural sources of those languages. In stark contrast to this agenda, the sovereign power is tied not only by institutional succession but by blood and personal heritage to a unique history and civilization.

Ultimately, the relationship to transcendence may speak more volumes than either institution or culture. The unceasing attack on the European Christian heritage – itself informed by the Greek, Latin, Celtic, and Germanic cultures which the faith won over – is informed by outrage at the notion of any sense of duty or restriction. It must come as no surprise that the insurgent who seeks to remove the check of monarchy on his power will ultimately seek to remove the check of God. Thus money power and factional intrigue are no longer held to account. The new class thinks in terms of rights instead of duties. Should we wonder that our histories and cultures begin to be eroded and rewritten at will?

When the provinces which became Canada resisted the spirit of 1776 and maintained the monarchic principle, they maintained more than just a sense of loyalty or devotion. They defended the institution which gave their states and societies unity and orientation. They upheld a living embodiment of continuity with their own ancestors. They kept faith in a higher order which ought to be recognized and known.

The royalist of our time, whose ties to these realities have undoubtedly been frayed if not severed, must strive ever harder to understand them. Canada is founded upon them and there is no nationalism which is not ultimately a defense of such foundations. As Ontario’s motto still reminds us: “Ut Incepit Fidelis Sic Permanet”.

“Loyal she began; loyal she remains.”

3 Responses to :
The Meaning Of Monarchy

  1. Old Stock Canadian says:

    One man’s modus ponens is another’s modus tollens. You’ve described how the monarchy would work, if it were given more respect and credit in political order.

    “Now it must be addressed that in our country, as well as our Monarch’s other territories, the Royal authority is rarely if ever exercised. Daily governance has its parties, factions, and special interests pulling the strings. Yet this is not an effect of monarchy, but a symptom of its diminishment in political life. […] The fact of Royal sovereignty has left its mark on our government. We can consider the extensive powers of the Prime Minister in summoning or dissolving Parliament, setting the agenda of the House, and party discipline.”

    “Very true,” the Republican will say, “and the current situation is unacceptable. The diminished power of the Monarchy has led us to a power imbalance, with the bulk of the power held in the Prime Minister’s Office. This is surely an unhealthy way to run a Westminster Parliament.” But the Republican will say that the imbalance of power is due to an incomplete and shoddy reform, rather than the reform itself. Namely, they’ll say the issue was eradicating the Crown’s powers, yet keeping the Crown as head of state. Then they’ll go on to suggest their reform … perhaps a Senate-elected Governor General, etc.

    Here’s the problem. You’ve shown that a monarch may have an important function in some government. But you haven’t convincingly shown that the Monarchy in Canada, with the Canadian government as it currently operates, has an important function.

    To convince the Republican, you have to show that the Monarchy is vital to the national interests as things currently stand. That despite disputes of sovereignty in Quebec and the Prairies, that despite party line divisions among the populace, that despite the declining influence of Christianity in public life, that despite common law traditions severely limiting the day-to-day power of the Crown, there is still some life to the institution.

    And there is an answer. The Crown is the guarantor of stable, just government. The Crown may not dissolve Parliament at will, but the Crown may dissolve it when there is the threat of grave abuse or a coup. The Crown may not ordinarily be able to appoint any Member of Parliament as Prime Minister, but the Crown may appointment someone other than the leader of the plurality-holding party under threat of governmental collapse. The Crown may not be able to ignore the advice of Privy Councillors routinely, but the Crown may ignore them when their advice is in conflict with the Constitution or the well-being of the nation.

    This vital function does not work when applied to a fleeting political office, whether elected or appointed. The reason why was sketched nicely in your discussion of the hereditary tradition-bearing function of the Crown, and the life-long sense of duty to the past and future that is usually instilled in monarchs-to-be from their earliest years. Moreover, the Monarch believes that they are subject to the will of God and the moral law He has taught us. A politician given the same powers without the same education, and potentially without the same belief in their subjection to God, will not tend to act in the same manner. They will be willful and daring, rather than restrained and careful.

    As far as I know, this is the strongest existing argument for choosing the Loyalist’s modus ponens, and against choosing the Republican’s modus tollens.

    1. Chris says:

      One word: Australia. The Reserve Powers were used, and for good, in dissolving the Whitlam Government.

      The disease you need to remove from Canada is Trudeau progressivism. Root and Branch. And then restore God, Queen and Country.

  2. Mark Citadel says:

    I suppose it is very positive to have at the core of nationalist sentiment a certain monarchism (not present in the US obviously, which is why NRx has some work to do in that regard). But this also has its anchor. The present British monarchy is scarcely a monarchy at all of course, and has not even maintained the dignity of the essentially deposed Duke of Luxembourg who drew his line in the sand and paid the price.

    Ultimately, the sacral position of monarch will fall to someone worthy eventually. It’s the waiting that is the hard part, but if you wait out the storm, new light dawns behind the clouds.

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