September 4, 2020
By Patricia Sohn
Happy new semester and new academic year. I sincerely hope that all reading are well and safe in this, our new Covid-19 era. On the lighter side, I offer my only somewhat ironic estimation of our current State of Being — for what it is worth:
The United States of America should return to Monarchy. Constitutional Monarchy, of course. I speak not of authoritarianism. To the contrary, I suggest Constitutional Monarchy as an antidote to the national-socialist authoritarianism in our midst. And, by national-socialism I speak of that ideology joining the historical figures of Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, and Saddam Hussein. It is not wonderful company. But it explains very well why Democratic Party-run cities all around the country are in (often violent) uprising at the moment. And it is sufficiently problematic, I believe, to warrant regime change.
You may think I am being ironic. And perhaps I am. But I am also being concrete and serious.
I do not suggest a return to the Stuart Dynasty. No shenanigans of Bordeaux and boudoir needed here, thank you. The United States of America deserves its own royal dynasty raised on U.S. laws, principles, norms, and values.
I suggest, of course, a Trump Dynasty for the longstanding benefit of the greatest number of citizens over the greatest periods of time, and locales, nation-wide. Here is why:
If I learned anything from growing up with two grandfathers pretty high up the chain-of-command on Wall Street, it is that Oligarchs are real. And many of them are mean, if not downright evil in their inclinations to Megalomania and other forms of individual-self-maximization to the detriment of The People, not to mention The Nation. My grandfathers were devotees of Adam Smith, not the way he is read by rational choice theorists, but the way he was read by centuries of others: the wealth of the individual should be used to support the nation, not as a nicety, but as a concrete (moral, ethical, and patriotic) requirement. That is, the wealth of the nation is built best by individuals following and channeling their own financial interests into economic enterprises that serve the needs and interests of the nation (not only the first part of that equation, and not controlled by the nation; as with other things, balance is to be had). If you make money in banking, that is great; but make sure your banking policies serve the nation and the People, not your individual interests. If you cannot do that, get a different job. It is the difference between banking in the U.S. in the 1950s and banking in the U.S. from the 1980s to present. It is the difference between the correct implementation of the G.I. Bill (The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944), allowing good mortgages and higher education to veterans of all walks of life and backgrounds, by contrast to the savings and loan crisis of 2008+. It is the difference between caring for the greater Good and preying upon it.
Too many money-making folks, today, have forgotten that basic requirement of national ethics – ask what you can do for your nation – in the drive to support their individual-self-maximizing.
What happens when a social theory is intentionally misconstrued for decades in order to achieve political ends that will allow regime change from Democracy to Oligarchy? Well, I will tell you. Some of us will chime in and say, no, let us do Democracy to Constitutional (e.g., Democratic) Monarchy instead.
So, why Constitutional-Democratic-Republican Monarchy instead of Oligarchy? Because Oligarchs, without a Monarchic Check, cannot be controlled. Can you say, Fallen-Decrepit-Decadent Excesses of Rome? The only people who could want that are debauchers and Coliseum slave owners, that is, the folks who went around killing Christians for a living. Remember??? Those who would seek to follow in their footsteps are not good people, and they certainly do not have the best interests of The People of the country in mind. You do not want their Dollars-of-Influence to remain unchecked by not only a benevolent but a beneficent Constitutional Monarchy.
You may yet ask why a Constitutional Monarch is better than Oligarchs. I will give my answer in three parts:
(1) Oligarchs without a monarchic check devolve into warring principalities. We do not need warring local or regional principalities replacing the great United States, the Union of which we are and have been for 244 years. Systems of oligarchic warlords, as romantic as that might sound to the warlords themselves, are not romantic for anyone else – not even their own children, to say nothing of The People.
(2) Oligarchs tend to be insane. They grow up with silver spoons, if not gold; no one ever telling them when they are wrong; believing the world IS them, not that they are part of it…. We might call it a God Complex, or some such. Just look at the worst of Decadent Rome. I’m just sayin’.
(3) When a Monarch figure is identified who has the resources to stand up to the Oligarchs; to tell them no when appropriate; who is willing to use his or her power and resources to fight for the greater Good rather than only the interests of the Haves; someone who is willing and able to exert power and authority within Constitutional and People-Oriented Limits, that is the moment to say: It is time to allow this natural and necessary change to take place. Only a Monarch can stand up to, regulate, and check self-serving Autocrats-with-Resources.
Why are Oligarchs so powerful today? Here is my political-ethnographic answer, and it is not uplifting. Rather, it is sad and disappointing. But it is worth taking note of and making the effort to change it: Oligarchs are powerful today because not everyone is principled and un-buyable.
Today, many people can be bought. Plain and simple. It is the Tragedy of our time; too many have lost their belief – their Faith – in the fundamental value and values of our country. Too many will not stand up to Oligarchs. So, Oligarchs run free and wild. When it happens in any place that people lose their Faith in the ultimate Goodness of their political system and its principles, any regime that does not take this fact into account is begging for centrifugal movement – most likely organized at the hands of the very Oligarchs just mentioned. Centrifugal, in the context of a Union, means the fragmentation of the Union. It is neither a neutral nor a good thing.
The moral of the story: Faith matters in politics. It matters to upholding the lofty principles of a country like the U.S. Upholding those principles in practice requires that every individual stand up, take the moral high ground, speak the truth, and speak truth to power at important moments. It matters to the lives of individual citizens all over the country. Staying silent, or being bought, results in a direct way in oppression of individuals across our country. Standing up for the principles of the country – the principles of freedom and non-interference — happens too little today, as we are taught by certain quarters that valuing the green back is more important than valuing the U.S. Constitution. This lack of Faith is destroying the country in which some of us still believe and for which some of us still toil heartily.
Back to my more playful (although still entirely sincere) theme: It is my view that we have that potential great and Good Monarch figure in Trump. He is observably willing to support the interests of The People: the Have-Nots, and not only the Haves. He is observably willing to exert executive power well-limited by Constitutional norms and laws, and by the interests of the greater Good of The People. He has resources beyond the Oligarchs who would stand as pretenders to rule we citizens as mice to their men, or as mice to their marionette string-pullers. We the People need all of that in a world of Oligarchs.
Oligarchs secret themselves away from public view precisely so that they cannot be constrained, limited, or checked in their assertions of power. They make great efforts to remain unaccountable to The People. They can hide from the public, but they cannot hide from Trump.
Please vote this November. Ok, I am taking sides. Sometimes one feels that it is important. We do not need any more blowouts – either hair or buildings on fire – in our beautiful country. Make it better. But do not give it to Oligarchs in a sort of late-modern Hail Mary. Oligarchs tend to be secularists, anyway.
Dr. Patricia Sohn, Ph.D. is an associate professor. She specializes in Middle East (MENA) and Israel/Palestine politics, and particularly the intersection of courts and politics, religion and politics, and gender politics. She has interests in historical institutional, political sociological, micro-level, and grassroots analysis of state and society. A prime example of the American melting pot, she has heritage from Prussia, the Philippines, Spain, Ireland, and Holland.