Essay # 1
The question of monarchy versus republic is mostly discussed from a highly emotional rather than a rational point of view. A few undignified occupants of royal thrones are enumerated, and are then presented as examples of monarchy as such. The defenders of monarchy are no better. They point to corrupt professional politicians, of whom there exist a sufficient number, and claim that this is the necessary consequence of a republican constitution. Neither is a rational argument. There have been good and bad monarchies -- good republics (like Switzerland), and others which are far from living up to the same standard. Every human institution, after all, has its good and bad sides. As long as this world is inhabited by men, crimes and mistakes will continue to occur. Republicans are fond of claiming that a monarchical regime means the rule of the aristocracy. Monarchists, on the other hand, point to the economic difficulties, the tax burdens, and state interference in private life in present-day republics, and compare this state of affairs with the freedom and economic well-being under the pre-1914 monarchies. Both arguments are unconvincing. They use the old propagandist trick of comparing results brought about by entirely dissimilar causes. Anyone who is honest will compare present-day monarchies with present-day republics. It will then be apparent that the aristocracy of birth occupies no greater share of leading positions in monarchies than in republics, and that all states, whatever their form of government, are equally affected by the serious problems of the present day.
Republicans frequently claim, in addition, that monarchy is a form of government belonging to the past, while republicanism is that of the future. Even a slight knowledge of history is enough to disprove this. Both forms have been in existence since the earliest times. In any case, it is misleading to call an institution which we already find in ancient Greece and Rome, the form of government of the future. The essential purpose of the State, its "content," is rooted in natural law. The State is not an end in itself; it exists for the sake of its citizens. It is therefore not the source of all law (a claim that is still far too widely accepted), nor is it all-powerful. Its authority is circumscribed by the rights of its citizens. It is only free to act in those fields that are outside their free initiative. The State is therefore at all times the servant of natural law. Its task is to give practical effect to this law; nothing more. If the mission of the State is the practical realization of natural law, the form of government is a means by which the community attempts to achieve this aim. It is not an end in itself. This explains the relatively subordinate importance of this whole question. Undoubtedly a great deal of importance attaches to the choice of the right means, since this choice will determine whether or not the end is attained. But what is lasting in political life is only natural law. The attempt to realize this law in practice will always have to take account of current conditions. To speak of an eternally valid form of government, right under all circumstances, shows ignorance and presumption. From this it would seem to follow that it is fruitless to try to determine, the objective value of one or the other form of government. The discussion will only become fruitful if we keep in mind the end which every such form is intended to serve. It is therefore not a question of investigating what value we are to attach to monarchies or republics as such. What we must ask ourselves is which form offers the best chances of safeguarding natural law under present-day conditions. Once this point has been clarified, we can pass on to two other problems, which have frequently been dragged into this discussion and are threatening to poison the whole atmosphere. There is constant controversy...
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