Iliad ~ Homer
Book II line 204-05
Until recently, democracy and monarchy have been nothing more than terms for good and bad government. Living in a democracy, I typically only hear of the evils of monarchy….but I wonder if there isn’t something good in monarchy that we miss in an overwhelmingly democratic world.
The stories (fairy tales and history) are all too fresh in my mind of the evil king or queen who tortured their people and forced unbearable living conditions upon them while they sat in their cushioned seats clothed in the most expensive material. Then characters such as Robin Hood, come on the scene and begin to help the poor by stealing from the rich and rallying together the people from the surrounding villages to fight back. However, it is interesting that they are not looking to replace the form of government…rather the person in power. Replace the evil king with a good king.
It seems a little risky on the part of Robin Hood (and people like him)….didn’t it cross their minds that such absolute power would more than likely corrupt whoever attains/receives it? What good was there to be had in monarchy that made it worth the risk?
Here’s what I have come up with so far….monarchy tends to work in extremes. It either produces such evil as can be imagined or it produces a utopia that a democracy could never possibly attain. Where democracy plays it safe by distributing power among all the people, monarchy says, “A virtuous man who rules righteously will bring about perfect peace in a kingdom….however, an evil and corrupt man will produce atrocities that were before unthinkable.” Confusion and frustration seem to preside over a democratic government…but it is exactly those two states of being which prohibit such evils as Auschwitz from becoming a reality. At the same time, they also prohibit peace and prosperity as was found during the reign of King Oswald (700 A.D.) and Richard the Lion Heart.
I’m not sure if reinstating a monarchy would be the best thing to do at this point in time in history. I know England still prides themselves on maintaining one…but even then the country is mostly run by the Prime Minister and a Parliament. It would be too much of a shock (especially for America) to demolish democracy and replace it with a monarchy. The very reason the pilgrims left England was to escape the government (and I think some of those hard feelings still linger among the American culture).
Is Homer right then? For the Kingdom of Christ which is to come…yes! However, until that time I think a democratic society is ultimately the safer and more effective way by which people ought to be governed.