Monarchism in America:
Responses to Roberto C. Alvarez-Galloso

In December 2007, I received (via German-Australian monarchist Harold Schmautz) a request to answer some questions about being an American monarchist from Mr. Roberto C. Alvarez-Galloso for his blogs (here and here). Below are my responses, written on January 13, 2008, with his questions in boldface.

Hello Mr. Alvarez-Galloso,

Sorry for the delay in responding. Part of the reason for the delay, though, is that while I will try to answer your questions, it may be difficult for me to answer them in a helpful way as some of them imply assumptions about what it means to be an American monarchist that are not quite accurate in my case. Let me try to explain in a general way before moving on to the individual questions.

While I do believe that monarchy is the best form of government in the abstract, it does not necessarily follow from this belief that each and every country in the world must become a monarchy, or that monarchy is in practice equally suitable for all countries. The most successful monarchies in history were all organic in the sense that their precise origins were shrouded in myths and legends, with the institution gradually evolving over centuries. Even when new monarchies were created in Europe in the 19th century, they were established in lands accustomed to monarchical rule.

Monarchy depends on a certain respect for tradition, and for better or for worse the tradition of the United States for 230+ years has been republicanism. One could even argue that it would be contrary to authentic monarchist principles to demand (even theoretically) that a country established as a republic, which has remained a republic for more than two centuries (the only contemporary examples being the United States, Switzerland, and San Marino), should become a monarchy. This is one of the fundamental differences between monarchists and republicans. Republicans [anti-royalists] believe that the entire world ought to conform to their agenda. They want there to be zero monarchies left in the world. But most monarchists are not like that; we do not say that there should be zero republics left in the world. I think most monarchists would be quite overjoyed and satisfied if monarchies were restored only in countries with substantial traditions of monarchical rule as independent nations (e.g. France, Brazil, Greece, Russia, Iran, Ethiopia, etc.), while other countries, with no claimants to their "thrones," continued to be republics.

Now, there is the possibility that the US as we know it might not last forever and that new, smaller, successor states might emerge. In this case, monarchy might be worth considering. In particular, I would support the secession of Hawaii, which did have its own monarchy until 1893, and the restoration of the monarchy there. But part of the problem on the mainland is that it is impossible to say who the king(s) would be. If it were up to me, I would prefer a division based on colonial history modeled on the [British] Commonwealth Realms (Canada, Australia, etc.) in which, roughly, the British monarch would be sovereign of the eastern US, a restored French monarch of the central US, and the Spanish monarch of the western and southwestern US. But I must recognize that this is profoundly unlikely, especially as the US moves further and further away from its European colonial roots, and that the results of any break-up of the USA would in reality probably not be as attractive, with the possible exception of Hawaii.

What all this means in practice is that I am not so much an "American Monarchist" as a Monarchist who happens to live in America (I would move to the UK or Canada if I had a professional reason to do so) and therefore often feels more passionately about other countries than my own. For me, my top priority as a monarchist is the support of existing monarchies throughout the world and of restorationist efforts in countries where there is at least a substantial native tradition of monarchy and a widely acknowledged claimant (or, in a few difficult cases, two rival claimants) to the throne.

Date: Sun, 30 Dec 2007 17:21:55 -0500
From: Roberto C. Alvarez-Galloso
To: Theodore Harvey
Subject: Interview about Monarchy

Hello Mr. Harvey:

I would like to thank you for your invitation. I have visited your website and I am impressed. I have a blog instead of a radio programme. I am doing this programme and these questions so that my readers could study alternatives in government such as Monarchy VS Republic. Please take all the time you need to answer these questions. When you are finished, I will publish them in my blog and if you are content, you are free to use it. Now for the questions:

1. Why a Monarchy for America? What could a Monarchy do for America that a Republic cannot do?

As indicated above, officially I do not in fact propose a monarchy for the contemporary unified political entity known as the United States of America. However, I would point out that the distinction between Head of State and Head of Government found in constitutional monarchies like the United Kingdom makes it easier for people to criticize their government's policies without being accused of lack of patriotism.

2. Why has the Concept of Republic failed in America?

American traditionalists ("paleoconservatives"), with whom I am in some sympathy though not in the strict sense one of them, generally identify the victory of Lincoln and the North in 1865 as the destruction of the Old Republic. The events of that decade are a bit beyond the scope of this interview. I would add though that an institution founded on unjustified rebellion against its founders' lawful King (George III) cannot expect to remain genuinely conservative in the long run, however otherwise honorable their intentions.

3. Why do Republicans and Democrats behave like the "absolute kings" they claim to detest?

Power tends to corrupt, whether its wielders are called kings or presidents, but it is more dangerous to entrust it to those who seek it (elected politicians) than to those who may not even want it (hereditary monarchs).

4. Why is it that a Republic brings disaster? This is asked taking into account that Nepal voted to abolish its monarchy and now things are spiraling out of control there?

When a monarchy, especially an ancient one, is abolished, it creates a sort of vacuum which anything can fill. People naively expect that problems which genuinely existed under the monarchy will be solved with its removal, and when that does not happen, turn to more extreme "solutions" than democracy can provide. We can see this time and time again throughout history with the Reign of Terror in France, the Bolsheviks in Russia, the Nazis in Germany and Austria, the Ayatollahs in Iran, and now with the Maoists in Nepal. There is no monarchy so bad that its replacement cannot be worse; indeed, it almost invariably will be worse. Perhaps C.S. Lewis put it best: "Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, athletes, or film stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served: deny it food and it will gobble poison."

5. What can be done to inform people about Monarchy in order to initiate a discussion about it?

The internet has been helpful for monarchists, as for all non-mainstream causes. I try to reach people with my website and its forum (though the latter is intended mainly for people who are already sympathetic to monarchism) and have engaged in discussions at other types of forums. I will admit though that I have not been as successful at influencing others as I would like.

6. What would an American Monarchy be like?

It is impossible to say; again, I do not expect the unified entity known as the US to become a monarchy without any other convulsive changes. With the possible exception of Hawaii (and even that would involve a great struggle), a return to monarchical rule in any part of what we know as the US is highly unlikely to occur without being preceded by dramatic events beyond our imagination.

7. How Did the Concept for an American Monarchy get started?

I am not aware that there is any single unified and coherent "Concept" for an American Monarchy.

8. Both of us [I was born in America too] were born and raised under the concept of the "benevolent republic". What made you become a monarchist?

I address this in two articles at my website:

9. Are there monarchist movements in America doing charitable work in America?

10. What is the future for America if it continues its present course?

I really have no idea. I am not particularly optimistic, but am reluctant to make specific predictions.

While my answers may not have been exactly what you were looking for, I hope you found them interesting and helpful in some way. Best wishes for your endeavors.

Theodore Harvey
Charlotte, North Carolina