The Meaning and Function of Monarchy (4)

This is the final installment of the essay by Julius Evola that was published under the title Significato e funzione della monarchia. This section concludes Part II of the original essay.

⇐ Segment 3


Now, a similar turning point obviously presupposes the retention, the perpetuation, of the state of class struggle, in terms of Marxist ideology. But we believe that one of the prerequisites for a new, organic, and monarchical order must be seen exactly in overcoming this antagonistic division of national forces. Corporate reform should aim precisely at that, which the mentioned alternative is carried out, opposite which the restored monarchy would be found, or would fail to a large degree. Even if within corporations, or whatever you want to designate as the primary representative authority, opposing tendencies were asserted, one is to think that the preeminence given to the principle of jurisdiction would reduce the ideological factor considerably in such differences.

In a sector that has become increasingly important to the system of corporate representatives on the basis of responsibilities could exhibit an actual character of a particular path of development exhibited by almost teratology presented by the technocratic element and, in general, by the economy. We know of the criticism against the technological civilization of consumption in the most advanced industrial society; the destructive aspects that are typical have been shown, the need to put a brake on economic processes that have become almost independent, like the image of the ” unleashed giant” used by W. Sombart. Now it is not possible to envisage a brake on the system, a restraint, without the intervention of a higher political power. The task of adequately restraining and ordering on the strength of a more complete hierarchy of interests and values?,? the forces in motion in society, obviating also a paradoxical situation that has occurred in recent times, that of an increasingly strong state with an increasingly weak head, would evidently find the most favorable environment for its implementation in a true monarchical state. Institutionally, the authority could be provided either by a single assembly, but, alongside representatives of economic and productive forces also comprising representatives of the spiritual and cultural life (as there were, in fact, in the ‘General States’ or Diets, similar assemblies of ancient traditional monarchical regimes), or by the bicameral system, an Upper House and a Lower House, the latter being truly corporative, the former making itself felt instead in the higher-level instances. We know that the latest “conquest” of absolute democracy was to reduce the upper House, or Senate, to a useless duplicate of the other House because even for it the principle of the election of the masses and of interim elections (at least for most of its elements) was asserted. As in the Italy of yesterday, the definition of the Upper House should be, instead, one of the essential tasks of the monarchy, even if only conveniently assisted, continuing the formal nature of the appointment from above.

In this way the Upper House would remain the political body closest to the Crown and it would be natural that loyalty, fidelity, and active impersonality were present in it to the highest degree. It should have power, authority, prestige, and a meaning different from that in the Lower House. As custodian of values and higher interests, it would constitute the real nucleus of the state, its “head”. It would, therefore, have to emphasize its active functional character in the place of the codetermination of the political line, a character that will differentiate it greatly from what had been, in post-Risorgimento monarchical Italy, the Senate: an assembly of worthy people, of “high intelligent men”, of notable personages according to worth, yet as essentially decorative role, without any real, vigorous organic function.

Without dwelling on the details, it is clear that a system of this kind would overcome the aberrations of absolute democracy and the republican partocracy and it would have its natural integration in the monarchy. Here monarchy would not be something heterogeneous, almost the remains of another world, superimposed on the current parliamentary system. Therefore, de rigueur, the problem of monarchy returns as part of a larger problem, that of the “revolutionary” reshaping of the entire modern state.

But for the functions of the monarchy that we have tried to sketch out, in order to be able not only “to reign” but also to have an active part —  more or less critical depending on the circumstances — in the “government”, it is clear that it would require a special qualification of the sovereign not only in terms of character, pursuant to the strict traditional education of princes, but also in terms of expertise, knowledge, and experience. This is made necessary by the character both of the times as well as the modern state. The ancient regal Far Eastern conception of wei-wu-wei, of ‘”action without action”, is suggestive, alluding not to a direct material action but to an action “through presence”, as the center and quintessential power. This aspect, while maintaining its intrinsic validity in terms just mentioned, when, as in current times and probably still more in those that were predicted, everything is in motion and forces tend to move out of their normal orbit, needs to be integrated, while taking care that it is not crippled in this way. As we said, in other times in a monarchy the symbol also had preeminence over the person; given the overall climate and given the strength of a long tradition and legitimacy, it was able not to be jeopardized by the merely human aspects of the person who in either case embodied it. If today or tomorrow we were to come to a restoration of the monarchy, this would no longer be possible: the delegate should be at most at the stature of the principle, not through the ostentation of the person, but through the opposite. He should also have the qualities of a true leader, a man capable of holding the scepter more than just symbolically and ritually. Such a qualification to this day cannot be only like that of the ages of the warrior dynasties. The qualities of character, courage, and vitality, while remaining the essential basis, should be united with those of an enlightened mind and essential political knowledge, adequate to the complex structure of a modern state and the forces at work in contemporary society.

The decline of traditional regimes had two causes which acted firmly even before the materialistic climate of modern civilization and industrial society was added. On the one hand, at the top there was in fact a growing inability to fully embody the principle especially when the general structures were beginning to creak; on the other hand, at the bottom, there was the failure, in the people who had become more or less the “masses”, of a specific sensibility, of certain capacity of recognition. Therefore, the possibility of a monarchical restoration is subjected to a double claim, and appears to be conditioned by the removal of both negative factors. On the one hand, rulers would be valued, who do not owe their prestige only to their super-elevated position, to the symbol that overshadows them, but who are also able to cope with any situation as exponents of an idea and a higher power. On the other hand, that change in general mental and moral level of the masses would be required, which need we have not tired of emphasizing.

Nowadays, one or the other conditions appear hypothetical. But if we do not have to come to essentially negative conclusions, to be drawn from studies on monarchy in the modern state, such as that undertaken by Loewenstein; if it must not be considered merely as an institution, a pale shadow of what monarchy was, it is now almost entirely devoid of its meaning and its essential raison d’être, there is no other way of laying out the problem. It is therefore worthwhile to repeat that the fate of monarchy appears to be, in a certain way, in agreement with that of the entire modern civilization and more properly depends on what may be the solution to a crisis which, as appears from many clues, is assailing the very foundations of that civilization.

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