Writings by Dr. John C. Rao

Monarchy as the Enemy of Oligarchy

(A talk delivered April 2015 in Spain, to be published in the Spanish magazine Verbo)

One obvious starting point for discussing the value of a particular form of government is an assessment of its ability to resolve serious temporal problems---not just for a brief moment, but, rather, for a reasonably long period of time. Many Catholics consider the most pressing problem facing us today to be the threat presented by militant Islam. Although I by no means wish to downplay that particular menace, I am nevertheless convinced that the current Moslem peril is itself the product of a still more powerful and persistent evil that only a proper government can eliminate; an evil that has all too long been central to our daily political and social life.

The evil in question is the domination of the West---and now seemingly the entire globe as well---by an oligarchy whose victory has been responsible for innumerable and willful ills, the regrettable strength of Islamic terrorism among them. To paraphrase Léon Gambetta: l’oligarchie—voilà l’ennemi! And examination of the character of this hostile oligarchy is a highly suitable introduction to understanding the great value of the monarchical principle, the unfortunate problems that often impede its beneficent anti-oligarchical action, and how these flaws can be overcome.

Oligarchy’s unforgiveable “sin against the Holy Spirit” lies in its reductionism: its replacement of the pursuit of the common good by a hunt for the satisfaction of the particular narrow interests of an identifiable minority of the population. In principle, such blatant and shortsighted self-serving should offer an easy target for an assault by intelligent opponents. But this, sad to say, historically has not been the norm, at least in the western world, for reasons that seem tied to the ever troubling power of the strange mystery of iniquity.

Ever since the Socratic elevation of political debate to a probing beyond surface appearances for the purpose of uncovering the deeper underlying meaning of things---their logos--- western political leaders began to recognize the need to provide their exercise of power with an intellectual “cover story”. In other words, they began to understand that the development of serious political and social thought forced them more intelligently to relate their possession of power to some higher justifying principle, or, in the absence of any credible means of doing so, to claim that control of society actually lay with others who were truly concerned with securing the common good, thereby reducing their own extraordinary successes to a happy by-product of these others’ decisions.

Clever thinkers and rhetoricians were required for elaborating such an argument. Their labors became still more essential as a result of the Incarnation of the Logos Himself in the God-Man Jesus Christ, and that unification of the supernatural and natural search for the deeper common good demonstrable in the construction of Catholic Christendom. And somehow the cover stories presented by such subtle “word merchants” have proven to be extremely seductive, even to the enemies of oligarchy themselves, making exposure of the lies that they perpetrate often very half-hearted and correspondingly unconvincing.

The cover story now protecting our modern western oligarchy is the most effective, seductive, and fraudulent of these tall-tales to date, although its very strength reveals the contemporary oppressor’s Achilles Heel: the fact that it is a clique composed of two distinct factions and therefore always a potential “house divided against itself”. On the one hand, it is an oligarchy built upon the desire to make the world safe for material wealth in general and financial investment in particular, with the life of the mind and the spirit reduced to social and individual impotence in consequence. On the other, it is an oligarchy in which the thinkers and rhetoricians who have provided the justification for the victory of money and finance form a distinct power in their own right—a “word oligarchy” whose members play a major role in both public as well as private institutions and their bureaucracies---and precisely through cultivation of that very world of ideas that is disdained by their plutocratic allies.

The “word oligarchs” in question are proponents of that approach to understanding life that we call naturalism. As naturalists, they are intellectual reductionists---ideologues---disdainful of any knowledge that does not immediately impress itself upon one’s physical senses or feelings. This emphasis upon the immediate makes them angry with the Socratic search for a deeper logos behind things natural aiming ever “upwards”, and totally contemptuous of the supernatural wisdom offered through the Logos Incarnate. As naturalists, they have come to the aid of those seeking to liberate the effort to accumulate wealth from the critique of both natural and supernatural logos-hunters. Still, such thinkers can be much more thoroughgoing and logical in their far-reaching naturalist concerns than men with merely gold on their minds would want them to be. Hence, they have often promoted visions with long-term social and individual consequences that eclipse in importance and may even run counter to the goals favored by their rather thoughtless and therefore more short-sighted materialist allies. Such logical naturalism constantly threatens the exclusive preeminence of the money power over a world that it too wishes to be freed from the logos-hunters.

In sum, modern society is shaped by a joint plutocratic-ideological oligarchy, whose two component factions have either consciously or unconsciously leaned on one another to advance their own particular purposes. Despite their historically demonstrable cooperation, each has also shown a capacity for taking the other down a highway that it does not wish to travel. Plutocrats recognizing their need for an effective intellectual cover story have often been driven by their reliance on the word oligarchs to support broader naturalist policies whose logic they did not foresee and which could even---as, for example, with communism---bring about their own destruction. Meanwhile, ideologues who could only get the chance to ply their intellectual wares through the practical clout afforded them by the oligarchs of money, have often been pressed by the demands of their supporters and the highly seductive material environment created through their prominence to betray their own more logical principles; to limit the role of thought to that of cheerleading only for those “natural virtues” suitable to the accumulation of wealth.

It has not been at all unusual for members of one part of this strange coalition consciously to be converted to the more blatantly “gold digging” or “intellectually thoroughgoing” naturalism of the other. But the contradictions of the thoughtless and thoughtful plutocratic-ideological alliance are nevertheless all too real, and when they have rubbed harshly against one another the unity of the oligarchy has exploded in violent “civil wars”. In fact, unity among the bulk of the inhabitants of a house as potentially divided against itself as the modern oligarchy can only be maintained if the joint menace presented by a common foe can be kept constantly before the eyes of both of its component factions.

Georges de Lagarde, in his Naissance de l’esprit laique au declin du moyen âge, has shown that this two-fold oligarchy has origins reaching back to the twelfth century, rooted ultimately in the desire of both thoughtless and thoughtful naturalists to be free from the direction of the logos hunters. Nevertheless, its most effective and sustained development began in the sixteenth century, with inspiration coming primarily from Germany, the Anglo-American world, and France. It was then and there that property and money men seeking freedom from a “higher” guidance began to bond more clearly with a budding Republic of Letters whose complex Protestant, Pietist, Jansenist, Legalist, and Enlightenment membership was also working in highly varying ways for liberation from the temporal consequences of the message of the Word Incarnate and its Socratic allies. But it was also then and there that the problems of the condominium of the thoughtless and thoughtful came brutally out into the open, forcing unexpected choices upon the sometime allies: with Evangelical “robber barons” and their fellow-traveling pastors separating themselves out from the “Enthusiasts” applying the full logic of Luther’s principles; with the English propertied classes shedding their ties to the utopian Puritans of the Civil War and Commonwealth Era; with the bourgeoisie of the National Convention in 1794 repudiating Jacobin allies now committed to a root-and-branch purge of forces deemed detrimental to the perfection of a truly natural, Rousseau-inspired Republic of Virtue--property owners prominent among them.

Nineteenth century industrialism confirmed the dominant role of the plutocratic bourgeoisie in the constitution of the modern Double Oligarchy. 1794 had amply demonstrated the dangers of fishing for a cover story justifying bourgeois power in the waters of the Radical Enlightenment. This left reliance on the “argument” that came from the support of armed strength alone---whether that of the more conventional police and army of a Napoleon or the more radical fascist militias of a Mussolini and a Hitler—as a possible option for maintenance of its influence. But dependence upon raw force alone brought with it its own peculiar dangers to property in the form of warmongering and defeat, reinforcing recognition of the need for a more durable intellectual defense.

The favor of the money power thus fell upon the arguments of moderate Enlightenment thinkers like John Locke and Adam Smith, whose ideas had first proven their value in the United Kingdom of the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and its aftermath, and then found their Promised Land and most potent means of expression in the United States of America and the teachings of its Established Religion---American Pluralism. It is through the tall-tale of American Pluralism that the “word oligarchs” exercise their influence over the Double Oligarchy most effectively today. And this cover story they spread globally through organizations both public and private, many of them fueled by endowments of astronomical proportions.

As tall-tales go, that of American Pluralism seems to offer everything that the plutocratic oligarchy could desire. It dismisses “conspiratorial” claims of political control by the financial power, proudly proclaiming governmental authority to be the province of the Sovereign People, whose wisdom and choice alone lies behind the oligarchs’ success. Then it praises the pluralist environment of religious toleration as demonstrative of the simultaneously individual, tradition, and God-friendly character of the established order: its establishment of a marvelous free marketplace of ideas where the logos-hunters are as empowered as anyone else non-violently to make a case for their own vision. And, finally, it basks in the “peace that surpasses all understanding” that pluralist doctrines open to a space for everyone---in stark contrast to those governing the wicked ages preceding its victory---guarantees to all societies accepting its blessings.

Such a cover story has indeed allowed individual plutocrats the ability ruthlessly to do what one of its Founding Fathers, John Locke, said that they must do in order to protect themselves in a world that he, like Hobbes, viewed basically as one of merciless jungle struggle: gain and defend private property. For while it soothes defenders of the common good by claiming that power lies with the People; while it calms the logos-hunters by insisting that religious freedom allows them the chance to win converts to their position; it actually makes a practical mockery of any popular or philosophical or religious effort to block the advance of the money power. It “checks and balances” the governmental authority of the supposedly Sovereign People out of any practical ability to control the triumph of individual economic willfulness. It reduces the influence of serious logos-hunters eager to understand the true role of property and wealth to public meaninglessness---turning them into the actions of just one more private group, ultimately impotent amidst the horde of contradictory and mindless sects that religious freedom mobilizes for battle in a “liberated society”. And it does this while relentlessly drilling in the argument that Locke’s individualist, materialist philosophy is the sole possible key to a peace and prosperity that only the vicious and the insane would dare to oppose.

But unfortunately for the thoughtless plutocrats, the logic of the pluralist cover story allows for a great deal more than the unchaining of individual economic desires. Its effective destruction of the governing authority attributed to “the People”; its multiplication of religious factions to ensure a ruinous war of all against all preventing the logos-hunters from having a meaningful impact; its relentless promotion of individual materialist concerns: all this is used by other willful persons and factions for their own specific purposes, many of which do not fit in with the plutocrats’ concerns. Hence, the strength of those individuals and groups pursuing sexual liberation agendas, those dedicated to whatever benefits the State of Israel, and those so in love with pluralism as such that their chief goal in life is to impose it by armed might the globe over. Neo-liberal pluralists may lament neo-conservative warmongering “abuse” of pluralism as dangerous to commerce all that they wish, but they do not have a leg to stand on intellectually. For pluralism is a fraudulent covert story and was designed to allow such “abuse” to take place from the outset, with the victor in the struggle of wills upon which it rests defining what constitutes “abuse”. And the fact that its value as a cover story is placed higher than the dangers that it offers is revealed by the way that the plutocratic oligarchs always rally to its defense whenever the most serious anti-pluralist and anti-oligarchical force threatens a resurgence of strength.

That force is the monarchical principle, which, when fully activated, confronts the narrow, self-interested Double Oligarchy with its own immensely powerful Dual Alliance: a Dual Alliance that unites all of the political and social forces concerned for the common good of the entire population with all of the spiritual and intellectual forces teaching the true meaning behind the superficial appearance of things; its logos. I stress the words “fully activated”, because in total contrast to the modern pluralist system, whose results are worse the more faithfully its true character is realized, and better the more that it is violated, the ills of the monarchical principle lie in its haphazard application and their cure in stricter obedience to its underlying spirit. Unfortunately, there is no simple key mechanically guaranteeing such full activation. Maintaining it involves a constant labor of mind, soul, and body. And it is the historical weakening and abandonment of that labor that explains the Double Oligarchy’s current possession of an advantage that its own inherent contradictions really do not warrant it having.

“Every good and perfect gift comes from above, from the Father of Lights” (James 1:17), the Epistle of St. James tells us. Our account of the value of the monarchical principle begins, accordingly, with the monarchical principle inherent in the Incarnation of the Divine Logos and its most important temporal teaching: the fact that the “Kingdom of God is at hand”. That kingship demands changes in behavior on the part of social institutions and individuals alike, based not only upon the substance of the message that the King of Kings delivered but also on the very character of the Incarnation itself. Changes dictated by Jesus Christ as King are demanded now and not at the end of time, when Our Savior will come again to judge what we have done with His commands today. And these supernaturally-mandated changes also stimulate that good (though flawed and limited) natural hunt for Truth and perfection that unconsciously seeks to acquire the fullness of light offered through Revelation and Grace; a hunt the Church Fathers saw well reflected by Greco-Roman developments in philosophy, politics, and law.

The brilliant nineteenth century movement of Catholic revival, fed by a variety of influences, including the literary and artistic meditations of chastened supporters of the Enlightenment many of whom eventually converted, provides us with an incomparable fount of arguments concerning the nature-friendly and anti-oligarchical consequences of a monarchical principle deduced from the message of the Incarnation. Some of the finest of these arguments can be found in the pages of the Roman Jesuit journal, La Civiltà Cattolica, in the years between its foundation in 1850 and the promulgation of Blessed Pius IX’s Syllabus of Errors in 1864. Particularly instructive in this regard are the articles of two of its Jesuit authors: Matteo Liberatore (1810-1892) and Luigi Taparelli d’Azeglio (1793-1862). And a set of Taparelli’s Civiltà pieces then published under the title of Esame Critico degli ordini rappresentative alla moderna (1854) deal especially with the battle of monarchy versus willful minorities.

Their argument runs basically as follows. The Incarnation demonstrated that the final salvation and perfection of individuals lies in social union with, and obedience to, the flesh and blood authority of Jesus Christ. That flesh and blood authority is continued in the visible social authority of the Roman Catholic Church. The Incarnate Word’s existence on earth as a visible “social institution” in and of Himself, and His continuation of this function in the Mystical Body of Christ, points, by its supremely authoritative example, to the necessity of considering natural social institutions analogously, and utilizing them in union with their supernatural model. For membership in such societies enables individuals to learn and fulfill responsibilities that flow from living in the natural order created by God, and to gain assistance in avoiding the injustices made possible in the world due to sin. When the sinful actions to which these societies themselves are tempted are addressed and corrected through obedience to Christ in His Mystical Body, the Church, they are exalted far above their original function. They then serve not only to perfect individuals’ temporal existence, but also to aid in opening them to God’s grace and eternal life.

But natural social institutions can only fulfill this two-fold task effectively if, like the Incarnate Word Himself, they are understood to possess a certain reality of their own and are not viewed as pliable tools of their individual members. That reality is manifested through their possession of authority and the ability to enforce authoritative commands. It is possession of authority that marks these societies off as entities with an eternal significance, since the authority they wield can only come from the eternal God. As with Christ, that divine authority and its voice must be rendered clear for human eyes to see and for human ears to hear so that there can be no doubt as to who commands and what is being commanded. And given that there are human persons involved in the work of such institutions, including that of the Mystical Body of Christ, such clear authority is required to ensure that there can be no doubt regarding where praise for work well done and pleas for correcting a wrong-headed or sinful abuse of power must be directed. Such a clear authority, in its final expression, must also be univocal as well as visible, and hence monarchical in character. It must end in a monarchical supreme pontiff, king, president, father, rector, or guild executive of some kind. There is no other way that the common need that the society in question addresses can impress itself as a reality upon creatures of flesh and blood. It must be “incarnated” to be made serious.

There is no need here to indicate all of the different types of social institutions, from that of the family upwards, which an ultimately univocal monarchical authority makes palpable. Suffice it to say that the growth of Catholic Christendom in the Middle Ages was accompanied by a corresponding intensification of intellectual awareness of the importance of society and social authority with an ultimately monarchical expression in all of the manifold realms of natural endeavor, and with respect to their joint supernatural and natural value.

Perhaps nowhere is this better seen than during the reign of Pope Innocent III. His recognition of the complexity of natural human action and the need to mobilize the kaleidoscope of human spheres of action in a militant crusade for transformation in Christ translated into a persistent effort to “incarnate” all of them in social institutions with visible authorities, themselves accepting correction coming from a monarchical Papacy in turn. An example of this concern is his deep respect for the role of the mind in uncovering the “logos of things”, and his passion for giving intellectual activity solidity, direction, and impact by confirming the visible structures of the University of Paris and the authority of its Chancellor. And even more interesting is his recognition of the fact that such authoritatively directed studies, together with the labors of the newly institutionalized mendicant orders, might serve to keep in proper bounds what many churchmen from the time of John of Salisbury onwards were noting with alarm: the exaggerated growth of a potentially anti-Catholic, oligarchic money power.

La Civiltà Cattolica was particularly insistent upon the need for the State and its authority to follow the monarchical example offered by the Word made flesh. Taparelli argued that this monarchical authority could and indeed must take many different forms depending upon historical circumstances. Despite the obvious flaws of hereditary monarchy, Taparelli believed that it did possess the great advantage of powerfully incarnating the State’s acceptance of the primary importance of the family to life in general, as well as of the need to build current public policy upon the wisdom of past generations and in a way that looked to the long-term future. Moreover, it limited ambitions among competitors for the supreme authority and the evils springing from doubt regarding who the next ruler might be—a doubt that more often than not caused infinitely more woe than the actual failings of an existing superior; a doubt that was rendered permanent in systems where a “People” whom no one could see were said to reign.

Whatever the form that monarchical authority may take, submission to the overriding Kingship of Christ allows it to be purged of its sinful, self-divinizing tendencies. It clarifies the State’s proper function— the “coordination”, in unity and harmony, of a society composed of many societies, through which men are capable of responding to higher truth but sorely tempted still to pursue parochial self-interests. In encouraging the State to respect the roles of all the other monarchical authorities in complex human society, it brings that State closer, democratically, to the true will of the People, limits is own need to appeal to centralized police action, and ensures a more ready compliance in those matters where coercive action is definitely required. And just as the monarchical authorities of all the societies below the State work for the general principle that they incarnate, thwarting narrow oligarchical interests in the process, the monarchical State perfects that love for the common good and ordered justice that a population can only fully appreciate when a flesh and blood ruler modeling himself after Christ incarnates their meaning and significance.

Still, as noted above, there is no mechanical way to describe and to guarantee the effective implementation of this full, logos-driven monarchical vision. The social complexity in question is stupefying. The individuals exercising and obeying such a complex of monarchical social authorities are all unique in their capacity for both good as well as for evil. And, finally, that social authority can impact upon the potentially saintly or wicked individuals wielding or submitting to it in endlessly unpredictable ways. One can only “see” how this vision works out in practice by entering into the full but fragile dance of life that it embraces as part of the nature of things, and with all the information given to us by Faith and Reason. That dance requires a non-ideological, non-mechanist state of mind, and a readiness to move out of the way gracefully each time a stumble rattles one’s daily twirl around the ballroom floor, and perhaps differently each time a new stumble occurs. For those trying to maneuver according to the rules of this Christian dance of life will always be on the lookout for clumsy fools and remember they may sometimes bump into their neighbors themselves.

Maneuvering in good faith to avoid stumbles or to recover from their effects in a “ballroom” constantly subject to the ravages of sin can often involve irregular, exaggerated, or theoretically unwanted interferences on the part of one (or many) of the monarchical authorities of a given society in the affairs of another (or many others): that of the Church in the life of the State, the State in that of the Church, or of a subsidiary society in that of Church, State, or their fellow corporations. But this can only justly occur for the sake of securing the health of its fellow “monarchies”, which may then find themselves called upon to return the favor in the future.

This “yin-yang” effect has a long and positive history behind it, especially (and not surprisingly) when oligarchies have threatened to subvert one or the other monarchical forces active in Christendom. Hence, to cite but the most famous examples, the Ottonian and Salian King-Emperors came to the aid of the Papacy to free it from the grip of local oligarchical control in the tenth and eleventh centuries, forcibly replacing the unfortunate figures then legitimately occupying the papal throne with more suitable pontiffs. The Emperor returned to the fray in the fifteenth century to save the Holy See from internal paralysis at the time of the Great Western Schism, totally violating the normal canonical rules in the process.

Would that the monarchies of State, Church, and corporate society had always acted in such a positive fashion, strengthening one another through their irregular interventions! But, alas, the history of Christendom is replete with sinful, exaggerated uses of imperial, regal, papal, and corporate authority designed not to confirm but to crush the just and necessary influence of the others. Sad to say, such actions have all too frequently involved stirring up the oligarchic forces most dangerous to the targets of such “power grabs” and encouraging recourse to their fraudulent cover stories to justify them. Not surprisingly, this has then proven, in the long run, to be detrimental to the monarchical principle in general.

Michel Antoine’s exhaustive biography of Louis XV (Fayard, 1989, pp. 176-179) provides a valuable description of the non-ideological, non-mechanist, dance-like exercise of the monarchical authority of the State in pursuit of its mission of coordination of a corporate society of many societies, ultimately highly respectful of the Kingship of Christ. In doing so, he provides an interesting illustration of how two dance partners used to bumping into one another on the ballroom floor nonetheless recognized that they were on the same basic wavelength. This meant that a generally Gallican-minded Crown called in the special and normally unwanted aid of the Holy See to deal with that strange alliance of Jansenists, Legalists, and the lower clergy that gravely threatened the authority of both king and pope in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. But it also shows just how cleverly this very coalition exploited external and internal threats to both the French and Papal monarchies, even winning them over to endorsing aspects of their cover stories as though they were friendly to them by the second half of the eighteenth century. The end result was that neither king nor pope was in position to aid the other in its ever more perilous crises of authority.

Whatever the varied routes to its emergence, the modern Double Oligarchy did come into being, and in such a way, by our own time, as to tie its plutocratic wing to the cover story provided by American Pluralism, the most effective expression of the moderate approach to Enlightenment change. As noted above, American Pluralism seems to achieve the goal of destroying the fullness of the logos-driven monarchical principle, replacing it with the naturalist individualism of John Locke, but gently, under the appearance of actually being in many respects friendly to religion and social authority and calming their adherents. But to reiterate what was said earlier, the religious liberty it proclaims is given under the condition that every faith, reduced to the level of a private, impotent clubhouse, merely testify to the sacred mission of America in its own particular “free” way. Meanwhile, the free corporate institutions that it appears to maintain see their palpable social authority broken down relentlessly in the name of the will of the sovereign individual. And the individual jungle warfare thus unleashed stands no chance of being controlled by a State whose various branches have the capacity to check and balance one another into total paralysis---as the current paralysis of the American government so clearly indicates. Louis Veuillot satirizes the simultaneous paralysis and danger of the system with reference to its seemingly monarchical element, the Presidency:

Through fisticuffs and slander, by means of a thousand frauds, they {the Americans} manufacture for themselves from day to day governmental tools made purposely to be worn out quickly….They take a workman, a corporal, a buffalo herder, a pig-skinner, a speculator in newspapers; they place him at the head of the country, under safe guard; they heap outrages upon him, he allows himself a thousand improprieties, and this lasts four years {sic}, thanks to his trickery, when he has sufficient spirit to engage in it. When he departs, covered with spittle, another replaces him who just spat upon his predecessor, and upon whom someone else will soon spit. This works for them, and it will last until they have become too savage to retain the same leader for {four} years. They will then create dictators who will perpetuate their power, or they will devour one another, and the loveliest republic of the world will end by being a strongly disciplined hereditary empire, or a cave and a slaughterhouse.

Peaceful protection of property may have been the goal of the plutocratic component of the Double Oligarchy in adopting American Pluralism as a cover story, but the system has not functioned with particular gentleness or to the exclusive favor of the plutocrats even in its homeland. The smooth machinery of the Moderate Enlightenment has presided over the genocide of the Indians, a bloody Civil War with one million dead and wounded after merely seven decades of existence, and unjust conflict after expansionist conflict. Yes, it has indeed promoted the interests of the plutocrats, with the economic detriment to the bulk of the population limited only by benefits owed to its imperialism, and the accompanying impoverishment of the nation’s cultural life. But that plutocracy’s primary concern for wealth and still more wealth is threatened constantly by the demands of equally willful individual sexual perverts and the warmongering ideologues serving Israel, Revisionist Zionism, and Trotskyite Neo-Conservatism for whom they have no built-in sympathy and often an outright loathing. And it is to the strength of all of these willful forces, unchecked by social authority, that American Pluralism so effectively unleashes---the culture-killing plutocrats, the perverts, the warmongering Zionists and Neo-Conservatives---that the plague of Moslem terrorism itself is due.

Whatever their annoyance, the plutocratic oligarchs cannot free themselves from their pluralist cover story without turning for defense to the pure force that comes from a military or fascist dictatorship subjecting them to different dangers to their wealth than those presented by radical thinkers. The word oligarchs know this and keep them in line by constantly keeping the Nazi Threat before their eyes as the sole alternative to praise of Pluralism. On the other hand, the word oligarchs cannot be freed from the deadening threat of plutocratic reduction of each and every one of their willful causes to mining them for their wealth-producing possibilities. They are held to their materialist allies by a golden chain as thick as the ideological one that keeps their colleagues in check.

Rigorous Islam may bring this totally inhuman Double Oligarchy down, but it has no innate and long-term civilization-building capacity of its own, for the simple reason recently underlined by Pope Benedict XVI: Islam has no logos. It is only the hunt for the logos of things that can save us from rule by a Double Oligarchy that is doomed to bring itself and the world around us to ruin for exactly the same reason that Islam is at flaw. It is only the hunt for the logos of things, crowned by submission to the Word Incarnate, His Social Kingship, and its teaching on monarchical authority that can make the world safe for a truly human existence valuing all that is natural and that leads men towards eternal life with God.

Effective battle against the Double Oligarchy obviously requires the vigorous action of a logos-focused papal monarchy respectful of the whole gamut of social institutions possessing authorities of monarchical strength. This, today, does not exist. Due to a variety of revolutionary influences, the Papal authority has been ravaged, with power in the Church devolving into the hands of arbitrary clerical factions that are themselves part of or manipulated by either the plutocratic or ideological wings of the reigning Double Oligarchy. The Holy See seems only to continue to exercise its authority today as a willing tool of that Oligarchy and in a correspondingly willful manner. Its actions work to break down the essence and authoritative expressions of the other societies it is supposed to strength, the family now among them. And, sad to say, there is no Holy Roman Emperor to intervene to get a wayward Rome to behave itself properly, with a Russian autocrat, Vladimir Putin, the favorite current target of the Double Oligarchy, appearing to be the nearest equivalent. The hunt for the Social Kingship of Christ has been replaced globally by the rule of whichever plutocratic, libertine, or ideological expression of the individual materialism of John Locke happens to be the strongest in a given place at a given time.

In these sad days when the Church seems more interested in promoting the cause of the Double Oligarchy than the message of the Logos, papal encyclicals cannot be looked to for a pithy summary to a paper like mine. In seeking to find one, I came across the work of Sewart Bishop Collins (1899-1952), a curious and rather eclectic American thinker of the interwar period; a man who proclaimed himself a fascist while saying many things that sound more Catholic than anything else. In any case, I cannot think of any better way to conclude our discussion regarding the work of monarchy against oligarchy than with this citation from Collins’ “Monarch as Alternative” (1933), the first article of his New York journal, The American Review (1933-1937), with its references to very non-fascist English Distributist and Scottish royalist critics of the modern oligarchy:

What is a monarch? A monarch is a man (a woman, or, formally, a child) in whom all governmental responsibility of a state is vested; he governs in the interest of the whole state, and in secular matters stands above all individuals and groups in the state. The ultimate sovereignty of the people is symbolized in him and is by him realized in action. In particular the leading function of the monarch, in the words of Hilaire Belloc, ‘is to protect the weak against the strong, and therefore to prevent the accumulation of wealth in few hands, {as well as} the corruption of the Courts of Justice and the sources of public opinion.’

It is worth noting that there is no essential conflict between the monarchical principle, however strongly present, and the full expression of the democratic principle. The democratic form is only one way of satisfying the democratic spirit. Those who insist on the absolute superiority of monarchy to other forms of government…put the case more emphatically: ‘There is no People unless there be also a King’. {This phrase comes} from Monarchy or Money Power, the recent valuable book by the Scotch author R. McNair Wilson, who is a Royalist (that is, one who is attached not only to the monarchical principle, but also to its hereditary form and to a particular claimant). His whole passage is worth quoting:

‘The story of the Middle Ages is the story of the fight for Kingship, in which the Church, no less than the laity, played a part. The object was to establish Kings secured in their office on the one hand by the grace of God, and on the other by the loyalty of the People, so that power might be assured wherewith to curb the intoxication of privilege and the influence of money. It is evident that the People cannot exert power of itself, for, in truth there is no People unless there be a King. Peoples without Kings are ever sundered into parties and factions of which the richest inevitably becomes the most powerful.’ (Seward Collings, “Monarch as Alternative”, Conservatism in American Since 1930, ed., Gregory L. Schneider, NYU, 2003, p. 22).

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