(Grammer edits pending)
Note: to modern ears this may sound like advocacy for toltalitarinism. It is not, I advocate for legitimate monarchy. It must be seen in context of Pre-enlightenment society and not modernity.
Joseph de Maistre is by far one of my favorite counter-revolutonries and has been quite an influence to my politics. I find him to be extremely undervalued in the discourse of Reactionary thought. His hard line politics, and often pessimistic worldview may be the cause of such things. Much of Maistre’s thought would be violently rejected by modern man and the illusions he tells himself. To the modern, man is inherently good, and virtues. I find this a silly claim, for what evidence does it bear? Man, by nature is wicked, selfish and rebellious, he certainly has the capacity for good but it doesn’t come without work. This is no more evident then in our fall. Born free of sin and in complete union with the divine, we choose to turn from God for our own desires. Due to such depravity we now are born with sin, and unless we seek to cultivate virtue and come to love our Lord God, we shall always remain depraved. Now goodness can be cultivated, it appears, outside of a devotion to Christ as is evident from the virtues pagan. But, even such things must be pondered deeply and transcendent truths must be realized for such things to happen. Aristotle tells us that we are what we repeatedly do, therefore excellence is a habit. It is true, that we do have goodness inside of us for we are not primary evil like that of devils, but without the proper reflection, cultivation, and for the common man, direction, it can never be fully attained. Maistre’s politics reflects these views quite glaringly. He was a proponent of the political trinity of Pope, King and Executioner.
Pope as representation of the divine law, which ordains and crowns the political law of the King. The executioner plays the role of justice, those who transgress and choose wicked ways are punished. In Maistre’s words, “all greatness, all power, all social order depends upon the executioner; he is the terror of human society and the tie that holds it together; Take away this incomprehensible force from the world, and at that very moment order is superseded by chaos, thrones fall, society disappears.” This is not to say one cannot seek reconciliation before God, for we are all called to do so. But those who have fallen to an extreme level of depravity and commit heinous crimes are removed from this world due to their threat to the common good. There is still possibility for their salvation of the soul, due to the mercy of God or the sparing of the life due to the fairness of a virtues kings. Such kings have proven to be much more merciful then those of revolutionaries and demagogues. Nonetheless, the executioner is a strong symbol of the justice that awaits those who seek to sow seeds of sin and destruction on common good. When the state is ordered properly through this trinity and creates a pious society it lays before the peoples a path that allows them to cultivate themselves with the virtue required for a good life. Contrast this with the modern society, that is built on the will of man and his petty philosophical ideals and the cultivation of proper order and virtue becomes difficult. Not all virtue is lost, because of the nature of our post-christian society and remnants of good that are left. However, the ability to lead a truly good life becomes infinitely more difficult. The Christian faith is ridiculed and persecuted, not only this but any form or religious tradition is suppressed. Furthermore the deception and lies of liberal creeds have seeped through into religious teaching, misleading and endangering the salvation of the human person. Vice and sin are encouraged and even pawned off as virtue. Access to such vices are abundant. “Do what thou will” is the only law that remains, unless of course it is the will to do the good. Regard for the divine and eternal is no more. The modern world refuses to punish depravity, even worse it leads men into it. The proper order has been laid to waste and out of its ashes was resurrected an order of evil, and led by the wickedest of men.
To Maistre no institution or political order can be maintained by reason or rational. For an order to endure it must be irrational and transcend the reasoning of man. The longest lasting and most stable forms of authority are irrational, that of hereditary monarchy. While democracy, constitutional monarchy and other abominations have proven to be much more rational, yet deeply unstable. That which is built with reason can also be torn down by reason. Only that which defies reason and stands unchallenged in its irrationality can be maintained.
For society to survive, man to cultivate virtue and seek salvation, and order to be proper, it must be maintained by absolute authority. Not Fascism, it is to modern, but Monarchy and the trinity of Pope, King and Executioner. The eternal law of God transcending all, the King bestowed with power from the divine, and the executioner to instill the necessary justice required to punish dissent. I know this sounds harsh to our modern ears, and if this order were to ever lose one of its three aspects then it is indeed true that it would devolve into tranny. Each aspect is required, with the focus of the society on pursuit of living holy lives being paramount. Without virtue, and the respect for the rule of the divine, all else is lost. Christ’s kingship sits above, with the two lesser thrones of Church and Sovereign below. Their authority is ultimately derived from the divine, without such it is all nothing more then the petty will of man, which will succumb to depravity and wickedness. Proper order gives birth to true freedom to pursue the good, and lessons the chains of sin the bear down upon the souls of man. All that is needed to realize this is to take a look at the modern world. We claim to be free, but in truth we are slaves to ourselves.
Maistre’s view on Monarchy was more absolute then some of the pervious feudal systems. I also like those systems. Although a huge fan of Maistre, I am open to other Monarchial concepts within Catholic context.