Why Monarchy is better than Democracy and why neither is better than both

on Jun, 06 2011

I scribbled the title for this article about two months ago but I had no idea how to actually approach writing it, or perhaps too many ideas.  I would have to present so many precedents and disclaimers to the reader prior to presenting my utterly preposterous argument, in order not to be misunderstood, that it actually became impossible.

Nonetheless, here's two: Monarchy is wasteful and ridiculous, but democracy is wasteful, immoral, destructive of property and ridiculous.

There is no way to write a bite-sized argument about how monarchy is comparitively more compatible with human dignity and morality than democracy without being thought of as an regressive-professor-groupie who longs for a return to the past, particularly as I'm an Irishman.

There is no way to blog the multitude of reasons why democracy is perhaps the single worst social structure in modern history, if not, in the entirety of human history - whilst also addressing common reactionary arguments that any writer who respects his or her audience would do.

At least that's what I thought, until I stumbled across an unknown and obscure pamphlet entitled "Natural elites, Intellectuals and the State" by a man called Hans-Hermann Hoppe.  I would parallel this pamphlet to that of Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" which fuelled the minds of the 'revolutionaries' of America - men with the remarkable talent of emparting large ideas with the least possible words.  Well, Mr. Hoppe did a far better job than I could.  I've picked the most potent and sweeping section of the publication which summarises every single sentiment I planned on writing - but couldn't do myself for your reading pleasure.




"As elementary economic theory could predict, with the transition from monarchical to democratic one-man-one-vote rule and the substitution of the people for the king, matters became worse. The price of justice rose astronomically while the quality of law constantly deteriorated. For what this transition boiled down to was a system of private government ownership — a private monopoly — being replaced by a system of public government ownership — a publicly owned monopoly.


A "tragedy of the commons" was created. Everyone, not just the king, was now entitled to try to grab everyone else's private property. The consequences were more government exploitation (taxation); the deterioration of law to the point where the idea of a body of universal and immutable principles of justice disappeared and was replaced by the idea of law as legislation (made, rather than found and eternally "given" law); and an increase in the social rate of time preference (increased present-orientation).


A king owned the territory and could hand it on to his son, and thus tried to preserve its value. A democratic ruler was and is a temporary caretaker and thus tries to maximize current government income of all sorts at the expense of capital values, and thus wastes.


Here are some of the consequences: during the monarchical age before World War I, government expenditure as a percent of GNP was rarely higher than 5%. Since then it has typically risen to around 50%. Prior to World War I, government employment was typically less than 3% of total employment. Since then it has increased to between 15 and 20%. The monarchical age was characterized by a commodity money (gold) and the purchasing power of money gradually increased. In contrast, the democratic age is the age of paper money whose purchasing power has permanently decreased.

Kings went deeper and deeper into debt, but at least during peacetime they typically reduced their debt load. During the democratic era government debt has increased in war and in peace to incredible heights. Real interest rates during the monarchical age had gradually fallen to somewhere around 2½%. Since then, real interest rates (nominal rates adjusted for inflation) have risen to somewhere around 5% — equal to 15th-century rates. Legislation virtually did not exist until the end of the 19th century. Today, in a single year, tens of thousands of laws and regulations are passed. Savings rates are declining instead of increasing with increasing incomes, and indicators of family disintegration and crime are moving constantly upward."

In short, though monarchy is wasteful and silly (the ruling class parading around on the achievements of their ancestors and the might of their army instead of their own merits), democracy represents an even more wasteful and silly structure - that of every individual exploiting their neighbour through both taxation and legislation with absolutely no one in the wrong. Yesterdays oppressed and trampled minority is tomorrows vindicated hero, and so on back and forth. Constant bickering and debate abounds with the barest morsel of progress to show.

At least in monarchy, the ruling class wish to preserve the value of their "inheritance" long-term. If the king engaged in socially-destructive policies or introduced unfeasible taxation, his dynasty would intervene for fear of losing their place among royalty to the violent mobs who would eventually destroy them. They at least have reason to think twice about wasteful spending and laws that hinder industries' profits.

In democracy, quite the opposite is true. If a social program is shown to be effective, it might recieve more funding. If a similar program is shown to be ineffective, it might be thought of as under-funded and thus could recieve more funding. A democratically elected body has, for the most part, no way to calculate where and when to spend money as it recieves payment regardless of results, so it naturally defaults to taking the side of whatever minority happens to be making the most noise about any given issue. An even graver concern of the democratic system is precisely how it deals with the issue it was designed to address - that of picking the right person for the job.

In business, someone who is proficient at growing vegetables could become a farmer. He can sell food to his community and if it's good quality and the right price, people will buy it from him. Do the people need to hold a general election to elect him to be head farmer over the rest? Would they even pick him if he was running against a better-looking and smoother-talking farmer who may otherwise be totally inadequate at farming? Maybe, but maybe not. Funny that everyday businesses continue to operate and be profitable through meeting the needs of their fellow man without referendums!

Government is just as important as business, so why is it treated in such a trivial way - like a talent show!


Every single person is given ability from God to achieve particular goals in life, whether that's farming, marketing, cleaning or leading. Leaders, and by extension governments, should and would rise out of a free environment, in order to meet the needs of the people - not by vote or inheritance.


They would be accountable not to a ballot box or a shady newspaper poll but to principles of integrity, honour and love for the people they lead. They would only succeed by the level of their ingenuity and wisdom. I can think of no other way true leadership can be judged.

You can read the full Hoppe publication (or download and print it for free...) here.

Last modified on on Dec, 29 2011

Add comment

Security code