1997 Revision

By Randall Dicks, Governor

The Constantian Society is a monarchist organization with educational goals and purposes, which include: to give unity to monarchists, particularly in the Americas, enabling them to meet and contact other monarchists; to promulgate information about and foster interest in monarchy, monarchies, and royalty; to generally educate the public on these subjects; to advance the political theory, history, and philosophy of monarchy, to further theories of modern monarchy, and to promote and defend the theory of monarchy as a superior governmental form; to cause to be written, published, and distributed accounts, records, information, and news of monarchy and royalty; to counter criticism of monarchy in the media or from whatever source; and to work for restorations.

The Society's membership is widely varied, from students to dentists to housewives to professors to diplomats. A journal, The Constantian, is published quarterly, and all members are invited to contribute to it; other activities include sponsorship of lectures and exhibits, book sales, and distribution of materials to schools and libraries. The Society also makes charitable contributions as its resources allow.

The Society was founded in 1970, and takes its name from the Latin constantia, stability -- one of the advantages of monarchy, and an increasingly rare quality in modern times. Monarchy offers stability. The monarch is always there, a permanent symbol of the state and man's relationship to it. The modern monarch is often above the fray of partisan politics, an advocate for his nation's principles, if not its specific governmental policies. Today, a monarch may reign but not rule. Nevertheless, there is a benefit in hisbeing therewhenever he may be needed.

A modern prince consort once said, "The only interest of monarchy is to serve." This says a great deal about monarchy as a form of government and as a way of life. The interest of monarchy is to serve -- to serve the country, the people - -not to be served. Monarchy is not a self-serving form of government, and no monarch has need to resort to Watergate tactics.

The Changing Role of Monarchs

The character and role of monarchy have changed, are changing, and will certainly continue to change. If monarchy is to be a viable form of government, it is obvious that the monarchy of the Sun King, of Nicholas I, even of Wilhelm II, cannot be the monarchy of the age of lunar landings. Royalism can survive only by realism. Alexander Solzhenitsyn said some years ago on American television, "there is no return in history." A monarchy restored is not the same as a monarchy resurrected, which is why, for example, some people speak of an "instoration" of the monarchy in Spain. The lesson of the Comte de Chambord should haunt all monarchists.

The Constantian Society does not support monarchy solely because of tradition, or pomp and circumstance; the outer trappings of monarchy are not monarchy. Nor do we insist that a conjunctive hereditary nobility is a sine qua non. (It is not meant to deny the value of tradition, trappings, or nobility, for all of these have great worth; but their places under a monarchical regime must be understood in its proper framework.) The necessity for flexibility, on the other hand, is fully realized. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden has adopted as his motto, "For Sweden - With the Times". The Crown Prince of Ethiopia, whose country had 225 monarchs before the monarchy was toppled by a Marxist revolution, says "[The monarchy] is a symbol of unity in a divided land. Both in Africa and Ethiopia, the monarchy is seen as a stabilizing and unifying force. Like all institutions of government, the monarchy has to have the capacity to evolve, it must be able to respond to change." Too often monarchism is confused with legitimism; a distinction must be made between belief in monarchy and belief in restoration or the cult of personality. We firmly believe in the monarchical system for the good of the people, and do not merely hold the idee fixe of absolute partisanship for a particular dynasty or person. Rather, we believe monarchy to be the best form of government for all of the governed. Objectivity, honesty, and sincerity are best assured by monarchy. Autocracy is not essential, and monarchy by no means precludes democracy, in practice. The different types of monarchy are many, and there are more non-democratic republics today than non-democratic monarchies.

Monarchy is too often confused with its outer trappings. Archduke Otto of Austria points out that crowns, palaces, and titles are but incidentals, external signs which are not the basis of monarchist political thought, "any more than the top-hats of presidents of republics form the essence of the republican ideal." Such externals should not be confused with the basic values of the doctrine, yet many people confuse these adornments, or certain decadent individuals or periods, with the political reality; "we must think of the monarchist idea as what it really is: a political doctrine, as the idea of mixed government, as the guarantee of continuity, as the assurance of a State above parties."

There is indeed a difference between those who believe in monarchy and those who believe in restoration. A return to the past is a difficult feat, and an uncompromising "all or nothing" attitude, requiring the reinstatement of a particular individual in an outdated framework, may be unreasonable and unrealistic. Many people, monarchists and non-monarchists, confuse belief in monarchy with belief in legitimism -- belief in monarchy as a form of government with loyalty to a particular dynasty. If monarchists wish monarchy to survive in worthwhile forms, it must be admitted that the institution is ultimately of greater importance than its representative. We do not wish to gainsay the worth and significance of loyalty, but rather we suggest that the various values within the monarchical system be kept in perspective: it is all too easy for over-zealous attachment (or opposition) to an individual to cause one to lose sight of the system as a whole. The Constantian Society supports the present heads of exiled or non-reigning Houses as de jure sovereigns, this recognition being co-existent with the realization that the institution is, in the end, more important than a particular claimant.

The Weakness of Presidential Governments

Modern experience shows that kings generally rule better, not worse, than do presidents, due to the practical circumstance that a king is born to his office, is trained all his life to be king. A president must spend half his time learning his job, the other half preparing for the next election in an attempt to keep that job. His loyalty is to many sometimes competing constituencies all of whom combine to help him get elected. The king is a genuine professional, an expert in state craft. His constituency is his whole nation, and he serves that constituency with polished professionalism. As Archduke Otto observes, in all walks of life the fully qualified, trained expert is rated more highly than the gifted amateur; knowledge and experience may often outweigh sheer ambition.

Monarchy provides the stability which is essential to the solution of major problems. In a republic, whoever is in office must achieve a positive success in the shortest possible time, for otherwise he will not be re-elected. This urgent need, the constant spectre of re-election, leads to short-term policies which cannot cope with problems of worldwide scope. A king faces no elections, and is able to make long-term plans and policies, for the duration of his reign, which is his lifetime, and for the hereditary succession. A monarch, too, through the vestiges of that misunderstood Divine Right and because of his symbolic paternal role, faces a higher responsibility than a professional politician; Prince Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia told the Society in an interview, "The duty of a king or of a prince worthy of the name consists of remaining true, under all circumstances, to the noblest and most legitimate ideals of the nation to which he belongs."

The justification of the hereditary succession is not only in the professional upbringing of the future king, not only in the continuity of a line, although these are important factors, but in the fact that an hereditary ruler does not owe his position to any particular social or interest group, but rather to divine will alone. This is the meaning of "by the Grace of God" - the ruler is not an exceptional person, but rather a person with an exceptional burden, extraordinary obligations, a great task. The formula "by the Grace of God" is a constant reminder to the sovereign that an accident of birth, and not his own merits, was responsible for his position, and he "must prove his fitness by ceaseless efforts in the cause of justice," as Archduke Otto says. John Adams, one of the redoubtable Founding Fathers of the American republic, said that "Mankind have not yet discovered any remedy against irresistible corruption in elections to offices of great power and profit but making them hereditary."

A king is much freer than a president, in that he is not tied to any party, as a republican leader invariably is. The king does not owe his position to a body of voters or to the support of powerful groups; the office of a royal ruler is based on higher law, his power derives from a transcendental source, whereas a president is always under someone's very earthly debt. It is probably impossible to become the president of a republic without immense financial and organizational support of certain groups, and a president bears too heavy an obligation to those who really put him in office. A president is not truly president of all the people, regardless of what the electorate may think, for he is president first of all the groups which enabled him to attain office. There is a very real and constant danger that a republic will cease to safeguard the interests and rights of all citizens when the highest positions become the privileged domains of the groups which placed a president in office.

The greatest danger of the monarchical system is that an incompetent might succeed to the throne. This danger, however, is not restricted to monarchies, for incompetents and worse (consider Warren Harding, Adolf Hitler, Ayatollah Khomeini, Fidel Castro, Idi Amin, Muammar Qaddafi, Saddam Hussein) have been popularly chosen or otherwise come to power in republics. During the Middle Ages, it was always possible to replace an unsuitable successor with a more suitable one, and the system has not entirely disappeared: King Saud of Saudi Arabia was essentially deposed by his family, and replaced by his eminently capable brother, Faisal. Any decision as to the suitability and competence of a successor by primogeniture should preferably be left to a dynastic tribunal, which would be empowered to change the order of succession, if necessary, or to require a regency.

The Cycles of History

King Simeon II of Bulgaria has said that "the fact that some countries do not have a monarch now does not mean anything -- it is just one of the cyclic periods in history." Archduke Otto concurs that history develops in cycles, that all political thoughts and forms have already existed, and come and go, which demonstrates the absurdity of claims that certain governmental forms belong to the past, present, or future. The republic, said by republicans to belong to the future, existed in ancient Greece, Carthage, and earlier. The recital of such catch phrases merely shows one's political and historic ignorance. Political forms develop as human life does, and when the cycle reaches its end, a new one begins.

King Simeon has said:

"There is no ideal political system, but in certain historic periods one system appears to be better than others. Though forms of government rotate in a cyclic manner, Monarchy is the one that has always lasted longest. In our age of agitation and extremism, the image of the Ruler as a moderator is unique. The King belongs to all his people, not to 51 percent, 78 percent, or 99 percent. He does not owe his soul or allegiance to a party, or to a faction, but to his country. He is objective and independent, and has no need to make political maneuvers merely for the sake of the opinion polls! Even today, when Monarchy has so many loud and bushy-haired detractors, it still has great appeal. A glimpse at any magazine proves this...there is something mystic and dazzling which cannot be equaled! times of professionalism and specialization, a sovereign who has had a lifetime's training and schooling for his job, is more qualified for it than any amateur or political conjurer, and this is irrefutable...Monarchy, even in chaotic times, guarantees objectivity, progress, social justice, and international respect!"

The widespread canard that monarchy is an expensive form of government is an uninformed or deliberate misstatement of the facts. The figures (see elsewhere in this site) show that modern monarchy is, indeed, more likely to be a bargain. King Simeon told The Constantian in an interview, "I would be very surprised if any single European monarchy costs more to the taxpayer than any democratic European republic... To put it quite flatly, considering human weakness, I feel that a King's "appetite" should be logically lesser because his family has been on the throne for generations and has always been told that one is there to help and not to help oneself!"

A king is the living representative of a nation's history. He is not the leader of a party, not the representative of a class; he is the chief of a nation. The Crown is able to combine the loyalties of parties which may disagree on all else, and be a symbol for those who need one. Monarchy offers much to the modern age; as Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia said, monarchy offers security in these very insecure, troubled times, a feeling of connection with a long past, giving faith in the future. Archduke Otto says that it is erroneous to speak of any political form as belonging to past, present, or future; certain political forms should be accepted as having permanent value. Although their outward appearances may change, their substance will generally remain. Monarchy is an intelligible and honest form of government, and it is our belief that it is better suited and able to serve the common good under present and future conditions than any other.

Randall J. Dicks, J.D., Governor and Editor
840 Old Washington Road
McMurray, Pennsylvania 15317-3228
Telephone (412) 942-5374

This entire site copyright 1997, The Constantian Society. All rights reserved.

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