Sunday, May 13, 2007

Practical Monarchy

Nick over at Altar and Throne has written a good post entitled "My Ideal Monarchy." Nick is a traditionalist Catholic who is commited to the monarchical ideal. While I disagree with Nick specifically about the justification for the Iraq war and more broadly about the role of the United States in world history, I appreciate his thoughtful writing. Altar and Throne is a worthwhile blog for all who are interested in monarchy.

I have not delved into the practical working out of my political theory. So far, I've devoted my energies to articulating a theological and philosophical foundation for my system. However, I'm not so far up in my ivory tower that I can't see the incongruity of theocratic autocracy and present social reality. The most difficult challenge for monarchists today is to outline a plausible historical development toward a monarchy of the future. What would a monarchy look like in post-postmodernity? And how do we get there?


Rusty O. said...

I thoroughly enjoyed your piece on De Regno Christi of late. If you have a minute I'd love to hear your take on the Hebrew Judgeships which preceded the monarchy. Specifically, do you think the Hebrew monarchy was a step towards or away from greater maturity?


Andrew Matthews said...

Thanks Rusty, it's good to hear from you.

Briefly, I think it has to be admitted that the occasion of the founding of the monarchy under Saul was definitely a step back for Israel. Indeed it fits in with the long history of that people's rejection of their Lord.

On the other hand, I don't see how it can be realistically argued that the book of Judges isn't a polemic for the monarchy. Israel just could not govern itself (And America doesn't do so well either). The Jews continually fell into idolatry even without the help of faithless kings & consequently came to be dominated by the nations surrounding them.

God then, provided them with a man after his own heart in the person of David. I think the Davidic monarchy has to be understood as a salutory development in redemptive history, to say the least.

I am actually working on a post on this very topic in response to this post by my friend Russ Smith.

Basically, I will be arguing that kings (not presidents or CEO's) have been entrusted by God with authority to direct social resources in fulfillment of the cultural mandate. And obedience to the acknowledged authorities is evidence of spiritual maturity.

abdiesus said...

Hi, Andrew - nice to meet you in the person last night!

This mighty seem off-topic, but have you ever read any Gene Wolfe? (I am thinking here of his New Sun/Long Sun/Short Sun cycle.) While speculative fiction may be seemingly miles away from political theory, I actually think that Lewis and Tolkien hit upon a wise strategy in their use of story to attempt to revive the "discarded image". The advantage of speculative fiction is that it can allow the reader to look at a problem or set of problems afresh by "wiping the slate clean" of a lot of the crap that seems to clutter of the mindscape when those problems are approached "linearly" (i.e. as if we have to chart out a course to get from "where we are today" to "there" before we are allowed to even start). At least I have found Wolfe's fiction to open up new possiblities on a host of fronts including the intersection of theology and poltical theory.

On an unrelated note, I am having difficulty viewing articles at the deregnochristi site - when I click on the link to your article, the text of the article flashes briefly (1 second) on the screen, and then the space where the text should be turns white, and it is only possible to read the article by copying and pasting it into notepad. Has anyone else experienced this problem? I am using I.E.6.02900.2180.xpsp_sp2_gdr.070227-2254 (I hope this isn't an "upgrade to I.E.7" issue)

Anyhow, nice blog...good to discover some folks who are discussing these issues!

Pax Christi,
Jeff H.

Andrew Matthews said...

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for the author recommendation. I am entirely unfamiliar with Gene Wolfe's work. Where should I start?

As for the technical issues you're experiencing, I recommend the upgrade to I.E.7. De Regno Christi is a new blog site, though it was on Blogger for several months.

MarkPele said...

Firefox and my work version of IE 6.0 also work fine with DeRegnoChristi, so it might just be an update or configuration problem.

Also, Andrew, I liked your discussion with Dr. Hart. I stuck a post on the end, basically calling into question whether Dr. Hart should be on the DeRegnoChristi site since it is really geared to the how and not the whether.

I'm curious about monarchy specifically, though. Remember that Christ is the fulfillment of the OT law and prophecy, and that part of that fulfilled prophecy is David's hereditary monarchy. As the WCF states, the OT judicial laws bind us today only as the general equity may require. Thus, to prove that a Christian Monarchy is Biblically required, you have to prove that the general equity of the OT law establishes monarchy as a requirement.

Specifically of concern is 1 Sam 8:10-22 and Deut 17:14-20, where it is presumed that the people will desire a king "like the other nations". God never talks about it being His revealed will that Israel should be a monarchy, and, as Samuel points out, Israel's desire for a king is, in fact, symbolic of their rejection of Him.

I think we DO want a monarchy, but it is, as you have said, a monarchy where Christ reigns, but that does not mean that presidents and CEO's can't have power. CEO's actually represent the family sphere, so it is merely the idea of a president that you seem to disdain...

Andrew Matthews said...

Welcome to Unpopular Opinions, Mark. Please check out my new post written especially in response to your query.