“I hope to be able to encourage conversations tending toward a definition of Christian monarchism in the abstract.”-Charles Coulombe, Star-Spangled Crown
Recently, in a blog post titled Uanswered Inequality Challenge, I’ve had some brief conversation online with a fellow who is strongly opposed to monarchy. What I find surprising is that this man is none other than John C. Wright, a fantasy and science fiction writer, and a Catholic convert.
His distaste for monarchy is amazing to me for several reasons.
For starters, like me, he is a Catholic convert. This means that at some point he has opened his mind to a new idea, a new philosophy, and a new way to go on in life. Typically with converts, we become very intense and full of zeal for our new faith. This happens because the Faith can fill our insight if we choose to let it, and so the knowledge and wisdom of the Church is rushing into our minds like a jet stream of water from a fire hose.
Yet, on this issue–when it comes to government–Wright has either turned down the flow of Catholic influence, or shut the valve completely. I am uncertain he has read any of the arguments put forth by either Coulombe or Medaille. I am even more uncertain if he has read what St. Thomas Aquinas or St. Bellarmine had to say on the issue. Yet supposing Wright has read these writers’ opinions–how could he disagree? After all, the Catholic Church Herself is a monarchy. That alone should open a Catholic’s mind to the subject.
There is a second reason I find Wright’s distaste for monarchy surprising: he is a fantasy and science fiction writer. People who write such fiction are usually capable of imaginations that transcend the bounds of reality. Writers like him derive a certain inspiration from even the overlooked things of this world.
But when it comes to monarchists, Wright scoffs: “I suspect a romantic attachment to tales of King Arthur is to blame.” And, in fairness, he describes himself as a “cold and remorseless thinker, as logical and dispassionate as a Vulcan.”
Yet, ought not a fiction writer be inspired by such things? Is not the mind of a fantasy writer naturally subject to inspirations from Scriptures, the mundane features of life, and the extraordinary tales that we grow up with as children?
“We’re all born Monarchists. Or, at least, we used to be. Every boy raised by parents who want their sons to become gentlemen will be given the example of Prince Charming. Every little girl should be lucky enough to be Daddy’s Little Princess. Every child wants to live in a castle, sees his father as a king, or her mother as a queen. No little five-year-old dreams of living in an executive mansion or imagines his mother to be a charming and able politician’s wife.”-Michael Davis, “Why I’m a Monarchist“
History has shown that it is kingdoms, not republics, that last the longest. The inspiration of leaders and heroes is what helps a nation endure through the ages. Archetypes instill a lasting impression in even the hearts of children. Not administrators or representatives who cave in to lobbyists. “The hands of the king are the hands of a healer,” as Tolkien once wrote.
There is one final reason Wright surprises me with his strong and outspoken opposition to monarchy. Not only is he an active Catholic who appears open to reading and writing about extraordinary things, but he could also be categorized taxonomically with the current batch of men on the Right who have abandoned the self-imposed restrictions that prevented any kind of outside-of-the-box thinking.
It is true that Wright firmly states he does not wish to be a part of the Alt-Right (see also HERE). Yet, honestly, I can think of few other currently-published fantasy and sci-fi authors who think more outside of the box than Wright. For proof, I would direct you to read his work Awake in the Night Land. A reading of that book will help you to conceive just how original, surprising, deep-thinking, and marvelous his writing can be.
Despite the fact that Wright is living through a sort of Renassiance on the Right, however, there are some stifling boxes he prefers to remain in. The American Myth has a firm hold on his heart, and he is an adherent to the spirit of the “Shining City on a Hill.” His politics seem four parts Catholic and one part Hebraic Puritan. A step towards Christendom is simply not the direction he desires for America, as we shall ever be a rebellious Lucifer among the nations.
Time will tell if his thinking develops on this issue. The fact that Wright is a staunch Americanist, however, should not deter you from reading his amazing fiction. He is truly a taste of the times, and I recommend supporting him with your patronage. He is a good and thoughtful Catholic who has worked to argue against some of the more unfavorable directions of the Alt-Right. Namely, he has taken a bold stance against the hopeless ethnonationalist tendency in some extreme circles (see HERE, and HERE). As my readers know, for what it’s worth, I have certainly joined him in efforts to steer away from blatant American ethnonationalism and to bring some sort of a direction to this new political energy.
In spite of our slight political differences, I do still think a lot of Wright’s ability, and I continue to remain a fan. That being said, though, I think that Tolkien would be on my side when it comes to monarchy:
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.