In a recent article published on MISES.org writer Lipton Matthews contends that monarchies are better for economic growth than democratic republics. His article cites a number of studies to demonstrate this point. For most Americans, our political and cultural departure from monarchy is a source of pride. We are confident in our own governing system and the idea of monarchy has only become more unfamiliar with time. In fact, there are Christians who look at the narrative of Israel in the old Covenant through this lens of vague distaste and suspicion and come to actual doctrinal conclusions because of it.
In reality, the issue is much more complex and nuanced than most realize. It behooves us to reexamine our understanding of any system of government with principles in mind rather than national pride.
The primary factor that contributes to better economic growth in a monarchy is the future-oriented vision of the dynasty. The crucial element of a stable dynasty is its ability to think and govern in terms of a multi-generational legacy. Towards this end, the monarch will seek to ensure that his primogeniture inherits a prosperous realm. This in turn contributes to longer cultural stability and cohesion among subjects. Tradition, built on sound principles and applied in moderation, is a good and powerful thing.
There is one important point that Lipton Matthews bypasses. Multi-generational legacy and dynastic stability are not important goals in and of themselves. These elements of a monarchy are important in the context of good character, and an attitude of service towards others. A monarch who governs purely for self-interest is a tyrant. This tyrant would gladly plunder his own people for personal gain and prestige. The monarch who exhibits godly wisdom, virtue, and self-control is the monarch who establishes a lasting dynasty and multi-generational legacy.
We have a great dearth of character in our world today. As such we do not have a future-oriented vision of legacy and faithfulness. No amount of democracy, representative rule, powerful lawmakers, or monarchs can protect us from the consequences of sin. Solomon said, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” In this verse, we find the key for restoring character and virtue in our society, and therefore peace, safety, and prosperity. We must fear the Lord and then put into practice all that he has commanded us, beginning with our own self-government, self-control, virtue, and character.