We here at Free Northerner (the royal we) are monarchists, possibly anarcho-monarchists. Becoming more reactionary by the day, we are probably now Jacobites. All hail the Stuarts.
In point of fact, we have made spirited defences of restoring the Stuarts in real life among both friends and strangers, to little effect, but still the effort was made.
Yet, labels do not fit us well, for we are also culturalists, subsidiaritists, and tribalists, and tribal English anarcho-monarchic localism, doesn’t really roll off the tongue.*
But, we are also Christian. In fact, our Christian identity should supersede our other identities (at least philosophically, if not always in practice).
So today, we will examine the neoreaction by the Bible (or at least part of it). For what is more reactionary than following the natural laws dictated by God thousands of years ago and sustained by tradition over millennia.
So, what does the Bible say of monarchy:
So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for a king from him. He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.” (1 Samuel 8:10-18)
That’s kind of harsh towards monarchs.
But notice, a tenth. The king only takes a tenth. Our blessed, generous democratic government takes four-tenths, more if you dare provide good service to your fellow citizens.
Even God himself only asked for one-tenth, yet the democrat asks for many times that.
The king thinks himself the equal of God; the democrat thinks government to be greater than God, if not God itself.
If one-tenth was tyranny, what is four-tenths?
Anyway, it should come as no surprise to anyone reading this that the masses desired more tyranny, so God gave them their king.
So, a monarch may take less than the democrat, but God and his servant clearly believe that is tyranny compared to what came before, even if the mob demanded tyranny. So, what came before?
And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, wbut they have rejected me from being king over them. According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them xand show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.” (1 Samuel 8:7-9)
Prior to the monarch God ruled directly. More accurately, the people constantly rebelled against the True King, got themselves in trouble in their rebellion, and then God rescued them through a judge, only to be abandoned once again.
And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals. And they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the Lord to anger. They abandoned the Lord xand served the Baals and the Ashtaroth. So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he gave them over to plunderers, who plundered them. And he sold them into the hand of their surrounding enemies, so that they could no longer withstand their enemies. Whenever they marched out, the hand of the Lord was against them for harm, as the Lord had warned, and as the Lord had sworn to them. And they were in terrible distress.
Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them. Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they whored after other gods and bowed down to them. They soon turned aside from the way in which their fathers had walked, who had obeyed the commandments of the Lord, and they did not do so. Whenever the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge. For the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them. But whenever the judge died, they turned back and were more corrupt than their fathers, going after other gods, serving them and bowing down to them. They did not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways. So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he said, “Because this people have transgressed my covenant that I commanded their fathers and have not obeyed my voice,I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations that Joshua left when he died, in order to test Israel by them, whether they will take care to walk in the way of the Lord as their fathers did, or not.” So the Lord left those nations, not driving them out quickly, and he did not give them into the hand of Joshua. (Judges 2:11-23)
The entire book of Judges is simply an endless repeat of variations on the same story. If we go even earlier in the Bible, we can see that the ruling of these judges was a part of the law of God:
“The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen— just as you desired of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ And the Lord said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him. (Deutoronomy 18:15-19)
This tells us about leadership during crises but how about political leadership in everyday life? To that we can go to the law on how leaders were chosen:
“You shall appoint judges and officers in all your towns that the Lord your God is giving you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment. You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality, hand you shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous. Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the Lord your God is giving you.(Deutoronomy 16:18-20)
“If any case arises requiring decision between one kind of homicide and another, one kind of legal right and another, or one kind of assault and another, any case within your towns that is too difficult for you, then you shall arise and go up to the place that the Lord your God will choose. And you shall come to the Levitical priests and to the judge who is in office in those days, and you shall consult them, and they shall declare to you the decision. Then you shall do according to what they declare to you from that place that the Lord will choose. And you shall be careful to do according to all that they direct you. According to the instructions that they give you, and according to the decision which they pronounce to you, you shall do. You shall not turn aside from the verdict that they declare to you, either to the right hand or to the left. The man who acts presumptuously by not obeying the priest who stands to minister there before the Lord your God, or the judge, that man shall die. So syou shall purge the evil from Israel. And all the people shall hear and fear and not act presumptuously again. (Deutoronomy 17:8-13)
Before the monarch, Israel was a series of tribes, 12 tribes to be exact, who more or less ran themselves locally with the help of the priestly tribe. In times of trouble, a leader appointed by God would save their stubborn asses. Law and politics was handled by locally appointed judges and priests.
Theocratic tribalism was the order of the day in Israel.
The priestly tribe, although given much political and legal power, was set apart:
“The Levitical priests, all the tribe of Levi, shall have no portion or inheritance with Israel. They shall eat the Lord’s food offerings as their inheritance. They shall have no inheritance among their brothers; the Lord is their inheritance, as he promised them. And this shall be the priests’ due from the people, from those offering a sacrifice, whether an ox or a sheep: they shall give to the priest the shoulder and the two cheeks and the stomach. The firstfruits of your grain, of your wine and of your oil, and the first fleece of your sheep, you shall give him. For the Lord your God has chosen him out of all your tribes to stand and minister in the name of the Lord, him and his sons for all time. (Deutoronomy 18:1-5)
It’s almost platonic in nature. A tribe of philosopher-kings (theologist-kings?) running the show, but who are not allowed to accumulate wealth or land.
God did allow for “political evolution” though.
“When you come to the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, ‘I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me,’ you may indeed set a king over you whom the Lord your God will choose. One from among your brothers you shall set as king over you. You may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall never return that way again.’ And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold.
“And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel. (Deutoronomy 17:14-20)
Despite his warnings of the corruption of kings later on, God did allow for Israel to appoint a king. Allowance does not mean it’s for the better though.
It’s almost as if monarchy itself were the first progress. This raises the question: is monarchism reactionary or are monarchists simply not dark enough? At the risk of trying to be darker than thou, should theocratic tribalism be what reactionaries, Christian ones at least, be working towards?
I don’t think it’s too important, either would be better than rule by the ignorant and apathetic and both were allowable and recommended by Old Testament law. Just something to think about.
Also, note how important the rule of law was under both tribalism and monarchism. It’s fairly obvious that the rule of law was more important to God than the specific ruler or method of ruling.
Who exercises power is less important than that there be law and the law be upheld justly.
From these readings we can tell the natural political order blessed by God is theocratic tribalism, although monarchism is allowable, even if it has its downsides (10% tax! The tyranny!). The rule of law is more important than either of these forms though.
At some point, I plan to look to the New Testament to see if there is a Christian political order apart from the Israelite order.
* Note for those who may be stupid: These are not code words. We are not white nationalists, white supremacists, nor white [insert label here], as whiteness is far too diverse and amorphous to base a community around (what have I to do with a Spaniard and what has he to do with me?). Neither are we racists, by any reasonable definition of said term. By culturalist and tribalist, we mean that people prefer to associate with people similar to them; either as close kith and kin (local tribalism) or by shared cultural understandings (culturalism). These are the two things one can build a cohesive society around: family or shared culture. For English nations, We advocate a return to a society based around the family, local community, and English culture. For non-English folk in English countries, we advocate them either accepting English culture and becoming English, or emigrating/separating to build their own societies however they please.