The American Monarchy

England's greatest gift to the worldI absolutely need to disclaimer this by stating as a matter of FACT that I love this country.

We, the USA, land of the free and home of the brave, think we have history. We don’t. Like, technically we do as in we’ve done stuff and we’ve fought wars and we’ve secured at least a page in the history books. And lest you think I’m not giving us credit, I’ll be the first to praise our nation for making an unprecedented global impact founded upon an unprecedented system of government. Problem is, along with the whole “unprecedented” package comes a novelty status we have yet to out-live. Honestly, if this country were to end tomorrow, that page in the history books would have the heading, “The American Experiment.”

With that introduction in mind, I would like to make a statement which I will spend this blog post defending, and I only ask that you seriously consider the evidence to follow.

Here it is: On its current path American democracy will fail, and it will be the peoples’ (NOT the government’s) fault. Why? Because the American people do not want democracy, we want a monarchy; specifically, we want one person to make our decisions, fight our wars and take all blame. Still with me? Then stay with me and consider a few historical case studies.

Athens

Before us (or US, because puns), the only real model of democracy was 5th century (BC) Athens. Which meant that after the fall of the Athenian empire, nobody thought it was a very good idea for a long time. I’ll leave the particular systematic critiques to Thucydides and instead focus simply on Athens’ most fatal mistake¹: they got too greedy. As the empire grew in wealth and power, they stretched their arms and began poking around looking for more wealth and more power. Instead they just managed to tick off Sparta. I believe Zack Snyder taught us all what a poor decision that is. But, you take a vengeful warrior nation and throw in a little infrastructure instability with class warfare² and you’ve got a good recipe for the fall of ancient democracy. Now, the message here is not that we’re going to be conquered by Gerard Butler any time soon. We just need to understand that our nation’s current state of affairs is far from stable.

There's always that one guy
Oh come on, Leo, nobody likes that guy

France

Napoleon don't careNapoleon Bonaparte’s is the story of the perfect storm³. Our focus here is the storm itself rather than the man. I mean, the country was basically gift-wrapped and delivered to him, batteries included some assembly required. The scary thing is, the process was fairly simple. Basically, when you give a majority people a cookie– I mean, a government run by the corrupt elite⁴, they’ll want a revolution. When they’re done revolting, they’ll want another government. When they don’t see one lying around anywhere, they’ll turn to the man-of-the-people military hero. He and his friends will graciously accept the offer and establish a monarchy disguised as a tiered government (but when you give a majority a cookie… oh, nevermind). The moral of the story is that people want to be heard, but once they are heard they want to be led. And right now, I’ve never seen the people of America so desperate to be heard.

Germany

We of course have to look at Adolf Hitler’s Germany. But before we can get there we have to give a quick shout-out to Otto von Bismarck. Bismarck found Germany in a state of complete disunity, which, combined with a roller-coaster economy, allowed for a relatively painless seizure of power over much of Europe. It was actually the aftermath of Bismarck’s Germany that paved the way for Hitler’s rise to power. In the years that followed Bismarck, the nation grew increasingly economically troubled and displeased (to put it mildly) with the government. In fact, things were in such need of repair that the only ingredient left for Hitler to subject an entire nation to his twisted ideology was a common enemy. Now, take this next question at face value. Is there much difference between Germany’s pre-holocaust attitude toward Jews and our own brewing hatred of Muslims?

If you don't know what this is, you need to watch this clip. Or just watch it anyways.
If you don’t know what this is, you need to watch this clip. Or just watch it regardless.

USA

Every presidential election year I hear about how voter turnout is decreasing. If we’re to believe the stats, that’s not exactly true. In fact, there’s a scarier statistic: our country’s Senate and House of Representatives are voted in by a minority population. That means our laws are being made by people who DO NOT reflect the voice of the country, and that is a very bad thing. It also tells me two things about our national attitude: (1) we don’t understand how democracy works, and (2) we’re still looking to one man to make our decisions, fight our wars and take all blame. And when that man doesn’t actually have power to do all of that, things get… problematic

this is what it looks like when we tell a man to run a country he's not actually in charge of
this is what it looks like when we tell a man to run a country he’s not actually in charge of

My point with all this is simple. This week, get out and vote for our country’s representatives (remember that’s plural). Keep this democracy running. I love this country; I love the freedom our government allows and I love the opportunities available because of that freedom. And I DO NOT want to see history repeat itself.

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Sources, because I didn’t just pull all this out my rear-end:

1. Kagan, D. (1991). The fall of the Athenian Empire. Cornell University Press.

2. Nafissi, M. (2004). Class, embeddedness, and the modernity of ancient athens. Comparative Studies in Society and History, 46(2), 378-410. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/212608884?accountid=4488

3. Ellis, G. J. (2003). Napoleonic Empire. Gordonsville, VA, USA: Palgrave Macmillan. Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com

4. Nygaard, B. (2007). The meanings of “bourgeois revolution”: Conceptualizing the french revolution. Science & Society, 71(2), 146-172. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/216149127?accountid=4488

5. Stackelberg, R. (1999). Hitler’s Germany : Origins, Interpretations, Legacies. London, GBR: Routledge. Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com

22 thoughts on “The American Monarchy

  1. Glad to meet you, clarkellis, and your work. I am curious about the “love this country line.” One encounters it frequently in Americans’ work. I encountered something similar this morning in James Baldwin’s Notes of a Native Son. On the first level I would ask why the comment seems obligatory, and on from there to “what is this love?” “what’s love got to do with it” Etc. I used to say that in Russia you can criticize the country but not the government, and in the US the government but not the country. In any case, again, good to meet your work, and best wishes for the holidays, Wm. Eaton

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    1. Thank you for your comment. I’ll answer your questions in two ways.
      First, I’m sure you’re aware of how deeply patriotism runs in the veins of American culture, and I would even say more so than many other countries. One could make a historical argument as to why that seems to be the case, but at any rate American youth are instilled with this sense of “Red-blooded” Americanism (whether they take to it or not) and I would be ignorant to say that I am unaffected. That said, I’m sure everyone has different reasons for holding on to their patriotism; mine, as I hope is apparent in my article, is a hope that things may be changed for the better, and that this country will allow me the opportunity to do so. It’s an interesting dichotomy you pointed out that some criticize the country and not the government while we do the opposite. However, I feel that if you have issues with your country your only unfortunate options are to leave or live with it; if you see need for change in government, however, you may be in a position to do something about it.
      Second, simply stated I have always found change to be more powerful and lasting when enacted from a position of love. I love this country enough to want to see it improve.
      Where are you from? Does that answer your questions and do you have any more?
      Thank you again, have a very merry Christmas (or happy holidays in general).
      -Clark Ellis

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    1. Oh see I was afraid I would come off too cynical. Believe me, I love this country! It’s because I love it that I so desperately want to see it improve. Anyways, I’ll do my best to have a nice day, and I hope you do as well.

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  2. “Keep this democracy running” I agree with the sentiment but not with the assertion that the US is a democracy. It is, and has always been, a republic.

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    1. Yeah I was wondering when somebody would call me out on this. I know I cheated. We’re a democratic republic leaning heavily on the republic side of things, but that is just ssoooooo long to write every time!

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      1. I was being unduly picky but am gratified to know that yours is a gracious and reasonable spirit. There is precious little of that spirit in the world today. Congratulations on being one of the few.

        Ron

        Liked by 1 person

  3. hey thanks for following, you write well. I personally do not vote because I cannot support a system that has become evil…. there maybe one or two good politicians…. but at the end of the day, money rules….. I am not entirely sure how you go about solving this problem, but I won’t support it!
    All the best

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    1. Thank you and you’re welcome 🙂 I hear what you’re saying; those are the very problems I see with the system as well, and the reasons I didn’t vote as well for several years. I couldn’t tell you what the solution is (if there even is “a” solution) but I’ve decided I’m going to at least try to work for a better direction. And I appreciate people like yourself who also see the issues that I see. Good luck to you!

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  4. It feels so good to find someone who agrees with me about this stuff! I have so many problems with our government I could write a book. I’m still going to vote when I’m older because you know those who vote can’t complain. But yea. I agree with just about everything you said. We rely on everyone else to make our decisions and then complain when they don’t do what we wanted, even when we do nothing to help whichever side we are on. (And we have a republic)

    And thanks for following mu blog!

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