The Biology of Kingship


This is BAP's article from Volume I Issue I of The Asylum magazine by The Pierian Spring.

I used to call myself a monarchist but it was in public. In part I was honest, but it was also for self-protection. My real views were far worse to a normalfag, but no one really takes monarchism seriously: it has steam punk smell. It’s a way to advertise a kind of quaintness and safety, like historical reenactment carnival. So I stopped calling myself this. Spiritual cleanliness should stop you whenever you realize you’re getting “two bird one stone” effects like this or becoming performing clown...it’s a sign something is off. In one move you get to set yourself against modern dysfunction, to carve out a unique social niche in your near circle, to advertise your harmlessness, and to distinguish yourself from those lowly peasant middle American types—after all no one would ever associate a monarchist and especially a Traditionalist Monarchist or most of all a Catholic Monarchist with a lowly snakehandling redneck MAGA chauvinist. How convenient! This repulsed me, when I realized why others were doing it. It’s become another pose of the insecure bowtie conservative and reactionary. Well, I guess it was at this point I stopped doing it, when I realized it amounts to showing off a gay hanky code for lavender DC crowd; I didn’t want to know what goes on at integralist cognac and cigar parties behind closed doors.

There are two factions that claim to take “monarchism” seriously in America today, the integralists or “Catholic monarchists,” and the “neoreactionary monarchists” who follow Moldbug usually in some way. I don’t take the former seriously because I’ve known the genuine French kind for a long time, and I recognized the American DC version as another gay striver snob group. Just one difference: whereas almost all the French monarchists are sedevacantists or members of SSPX who consider post-Vatican II church to be traitors, the American “integralists” – almost all of who are converts, by the way – believe somehow that the gay bouncer Pope, or any other of the post-Vatican II impostor popes, whose purpose is to defend the liberal social state, will bless a pan-American reactionary “Empire of Guadeloupe”. I will believe them when they follow Bishop Richard Williamson. But even then they will still not understand what is monarchy.

And as for the neoreactionary version, it’s more genuine because it does make an attempt to go to the root of what monarchy is and what keeps it going; but while I consider Moldbug a friend, I find the analogy neoreactionaries make to a corporate executive or a startup chief to be both unrealistic in practice, and as a historical matter “incomplete,” or a misreading of what is monarchy and what its prerequisites are. Sovereignty can’t be understood in terms of property rights, or even by analogy to these; kingship and rule speak to another order of life ignored by both these groups.

But it’s not my style to engage in hairsplitting argument on this or anything else, but to show something else entirely; so I thought I’d try to give small introduction here to what I think is kingship in its beginnings and ends.

No one today except maybe in Bhutan, in dark nooks of Japanese imperial palaces, or similar fossil pocket holdouts has any right to the luxury of continuation of tradition. The reason conservatives and especially social conservatives appear to be both disingenuous and also losers—to always lose, to always play a caricature or foil of the left, ultimately to play the cuckolded husband who is being mocked by adulterous mistress and her lovers and all the audience—is because of what we call roleplaying or LARP’ing, but which is the pretense or even worse the belief that you are upholding traditions or institutions when these have been violated, impregnated, and transformed by interloping others into something else. And therefore you are reduced to a steward and protector of your enemy’s aims and offspring, which is after all the definition of the cuckold, in this case with the added buffoonish humiliation of having the trappings and airs of the patriarch and Head of the Household. This describes almost all social conservatives (for example when they scold men to “man up” and marry aged ladies with cunts smelling of rotten meat and with the body counts of prostitutes of former ages).

In our time the question can’t possibly be about the continuation of any traditions, which have almost all been inseminated by rogues, but about the foundation of new traditions: which immediately brings questions, what traditions are for, and how are they founded and why. As these are subjects for big books, and as I like to skip many steps I will tell you small other secret; once you think long enough about these things you will come to this conclusion: that founding traditions isn’t even possible in our time, not at this moment, but that you must work for something that must exist even before the foundation of a new tradition. What is this something? Maybe I leave it this vague and general for now: work for conditions where “foundation of traditions” in a real sense, in a real political and social sense, where this becomes possible. What this looks like?

But I talk here of kingship, and it comes in a few kinds. As for the types of kingship that exist after many generations of foundation, this is very interesting subject, and totally irrelevant to our possibilities today. Anyone who talks of reestablishing any of the European royal houses, the Habsburgs, the Stuarts, or whoever, is, like I say, a roleplayer. The Habsburg family for example as a whole right now supports the European Union project, meaning not just the European Union as a political structure, but the social-spiritual project of that miserable mesquin creature, the New Man of the European Common Market who Leon Degrelle realized had inherited the nations by the 1970s. All of these royal houses lost title to rule, sometimes ignominiously as in the case of the unfortunate Tsar Nicholas II, who looks dashing in a hussar outfit—and who I too like to remember as a symbol of what was done to Europe by its enemies; and nevertheless, he was a stupid man who is to be blamed for what he lost. In 19th Century Donoso Cortes already realized the modern world allows only for Catholic dictatorship, not monarchy: as in Franco, a stopgap, an emergency holding position for a time, until saner age arrives. Thus in this view all of modernity, as a Satanic project, presents a long-enduring “emergency,” until it passes.

Maybe this is good plan, good response to modern crisis. It’s a plan, at least. American integralists, however, as roleplaying pussies playing to a leftist sensibility, can never admit to position like this, which is why magazines like First Things run pieces slandering Franco, pretending that his holding regime had no long-term effect. Anyone who visits Spain today, however, can tell it had quite some strong effect, as did Salazar’s dictatorship in Portugal. It saved these nations from the worst of the rot affecting the rest of Europe. This is seeping in now in Spain and Portugal as well after decades of leftism, but not in same way—overall they are spared the worst of mass immigration and modern faggotry, and their men and women look better, act better, have more vitality. Spanish cities are almost the only real cities left in Western Europe, that don’t feel like museums and nursing homes.

Phenomenon of early kingship is distorted by the propaganda of two hundred years of liberal republicanism. Absolute monarchy was its original antagonist. Carl Schmitt say formula “liberal democracy” developed in response to absolute monarchy, but the liberal part opposed the absolute, and the democracy the monarchy. In the long run democracy and communism won out over liberalism. Liberal democracy tries to take credit for the great scientific and technological progress European man has given mankind since 1800. But it’s just as possible that such advances were accelerating before 1789, because of some other third reason, and that the modern regime even retarded this acceleration. Prussia-Germany had the best science, best technology, best universities, most sophisticated industrialization before 1945, and it was one of the least liberal and least democratic—isn’t this what Anglo historians say? Nietzsche denounced the Reich as too democratic, and maybe it was: maybe it would have done even much better with less democracy. Lee Kuan Yew didn’t develop Singapore so fast with liberal democracy. Maybe liberal democracy arose because certain classes of men got a glint in the eye, saw this great acceleration of scientific-technological progress, and sought to hijack it. Maybe these factions under the banner of “liberal democracy” noticed they could promise the great bounty created by this technological acceleration, they could promise to siphon this to “the people” and use this as slogan for political agitation. If you look now at hysteria over a weird man like Bezos going into space, with demands that his money should be used to advance “the disadvantaged” and “them programs,” it certainly doesn’t look like “liberal democracy” is something that favors wild acceleration in technology and science, but the retardation of it for “the social good.” This is made explicit during recent years, when Oboma election in America significantly and symbolically scrapped the space program: how dare people suggest that the brightest minds of the nation should be dedicated to spacefaring? The brightest should instead be sent to rural Alabama to build skrewls for black teens—oh what scholars! It doesn’t look like the dysfunctional government-media-academic clerisy-oligarchy that goes under the name “liberal democracy” has any right to take credit for great technological progress since 1800; or that it has a right to attack absolute monarchy as backwards. If Europe had retained absolute monarchy for the last two hundred years, mankind would have colonized the solar system by now, and likely beyond.

But it’s not enough for the demagogues of “liberal democracy” to slander absolute monarchy, they also try to smear early kingship. Early kingship is very different from absolute monarchy. The Spartan kings led the armies in battle, but had little power outside of military leadership. Sparta was a republic of course, and there was line, when Spartan law calls, the kings run. But Aragon was not a republic: when king of Aragon accepted position, the nobles had line, we support this king if he upholds the law, and if not, we don’t. This is very common in European history. In Homer the Greek kings are of course little more than tribal chieftains, constrained not only by their small holdings, but often insecure power even in what they have: Odysseus’ son is not guaranteed succession, and only repeated assertions of physical might and violence can secure the rule in archaic Greece and probably before. There are many debates about the words basileus and anax in Homer, but it’s obvious these were kinglets constrained in many ways by custom, by retainers, by local rivals with claims to rule. Maybe the only time they had stronger leadership was when they returned to their pure function, leading men into battle, like wolf at head of wolfpack on task. The image of Saxons electing king under the oak tree was very important to Anglos, even into the American Revolution; as in, bottom-up elective kingship versus top-down imposed Roman rule: and this derived from model of kingship or chieftainship you see in Germanic world, described by Tacitus:

On matters of minor importance only the chiefs debate; on major affairs, the whole community. But even where the commons have the decision, the subject is considered in advance by the chiefs. Except in case of accident or emergency, they assemble on certain particular days, either shortly after the new moon or shortly before the full moon. These, they hold, are the most auspicious times for embarking on any enterprise. They do not reckon time by days, as we do, but by nights. All their engagements and appointments are made on this system. Night is regarded as ushering in the day. It is a drawback of their independent spirit that they do not take a summons as a command: instead of coming to a meeting all together, they waste two or three days by their unpunctuality. When the assembled crowd thinks fit, they take their seats fully armed. Silence is then commanded by the priests, who on such occasions have power to enforce obedience. Then such hearing is given to the king or state-chief as his age, rank, military distinction, or eloquence can secure- more because his advice carries weight than because he has the power to command. If a proposal displeases them, the people shout their dissent; if they approve, they clash their spears. To express approbation with their weapons is their most complimentary way of showing agreement.

This is a very conditional kind of rule. Even the Byzantine emperor, who approached an Oriental despot in his autocracy, or some think so, but he often “ran when the law called”; and enormous respect was paid in Constantinople court at least to the idea of the law; in a dispute with Byzantine king you could invoke the law and he had to listen.

European kingship is restrained because it begins and continues only as military command. But military command is rule primarily over a retinue of friends. Here Tacitus describe German kingship in action:

On the field of battle it is a disgrace to a chief to be surpassed in courage by his followers, and to the followers not to equal the courage of their chief. And to leave a battle alive after their chief has fallen means lifelong infamy and shame. To defend and protect him, and to let him get the credit for their own acts of heroism, are the most solemn obligations of their allegiance. The chiefs fight for victory, the followers for their chief. Many noble youths, if the land of their birth is stagnating in a long period of peace and inactivity, deliberately seek out other tribes which have some war in hand. For the Germans have no taste for peace; renown is more easily won among perils, and a large body of retainers cannot be kept together except by means of violence and war. They are always making demands on the generosity of their chief, asking for a coveted war-horse or a spear stained with the blood of a defeated enemy. Their meals, for which plentiful if homely fare is provided, count in lieu of pay. The wherewithal for this openhandedness comes from war and plunder. A German is not so easily prevailed upon to plough the land and wait patiently for harvest as to challenge a foe and earn wounds for his reward. He thinks it tame and spiritless to accumulate slowly by the sweat of his brow what can be got quickly by the loss of a little blood.

Insofar as the king becomes less of a warband leader his absolute power in some cases will greatly increase, because there is no peer warband or powerful nobility to check him. But in time he will become less of a king because of this: he will be relegated in not too long to a ceremonial position of some kind. Those elements of the tribe or nation that are misrepresented as “the people,” but which I’ve more accurately called the matriarchal longhouse—which includes not just women, but the mass of feminized males, the old men of certain kinds, the types of huemans who seek to use words and language to weaken and denature, and which form institutions to support the obfuscations of language, this faction of hueman nature begins its ascent when king ceases his function as lord of armies.

This is not merely a historical peculiarity; it is meaning of kingship as such, and it can’t be substituted by other kinds of “utility,” such as economic arguments, arguments about rights, even ultimately Hobbesian arguments about security or safety, although these latter deceptively try to “impersonate” the mystery of kingship. In regard to the Hobbesian distortion: a king who is there to quell the fear of death of every “unit of biomass,” who is there to guarantee the lives of spinsters, prostitutes, half-prostitutes, to make them feel safe by having clean, well-lit streets...that may be one of the functions of the king, but cannot be the main one. Insofar as the safety of the weak is provided for, it is as a side effect, intended or not, to the king’s leadership of the assembly of armed men, which is to say, the nobility. In considering a “king without nobles” or without nobility, certain thinkers like Machiavelli and Hobbes were in fact doing away with kingship as such. Because a king can only be understood as “the most noble of the nobles” and has meaning and continuity only in a society ruled by nobles, which is to say, by armed men who are also able to lead other men. I try to show why this in different way now.

Early kings are always given a religious sanction and function: whether they are blessed by a god, or whether they are living gods. Is this a big difference? Japanese Emperor, Pharaoh are living gods; Babylonian Hammurabi king, Persian king, many others rule by divine blessing. Ancient traditions are not unified things. Rome is well known to have been syncretic Mediterranean religion by end of Empire, it accommodated many different gods and religious sentiments and traditions, some opposed to each other. Orphic rite is not the same as Apollonian, giving respect to Persephone isn’t the same as to Zeus: it isn’t just that these support different types of priests and oracles who will have opposed spiritual and material interests but even that they correspond to different types of human and therefore different factions in a state. In Athens certain old families who traced origin to Phoenician heroes had their own, separate Phoenician shrines: that is very clear example of ethnic or racial difference; similar, Dorian and Ionian paid respect in different way to different deities and heroes. Class or caste differences, if they are long-lasting, almost always have origin in racial difference. In some cases mythological fight between gods or dual pantheons, like Aesir and Vanir or Olympians and Titans, are maybe because conqueror and conquered population had different gods: then story gets retold as one of divine conquest and subjugation, or of reconciliation, or of something in between.

The king’s holiness is the triumph of the warband and of the principle of force and of blood over the priesthood, the institutions of the matriarchy, especially over the principle of the word and language, of ancestral custom that is embodied in the council of old men. That the priesthood then is either coopted or comes to an understanding with the warband leader, that for a time it may even be transformed or gotten rid of altogether as warriors themselves perform sacrifices or other religious functions, or that these two factions may even for a very long time have common interests: none of this contradicts that as human types they have fundamentally different natures and interests and can therefore just as easily come into conflict. In Egypt the famous conflict between the Pharaoh, a living god-warrior, and the clerics or scribes led to the funny episode in Herodotus where the mouse-god saved the nation: a scribe became king, disrespected the warrior class. So they refused to fight against Hittites. The scribe prayed to Apollo the mouse-god who sent rats to chew the Hittites’ bows before a battle. This is a priest’s fantasy and earthly paradise.

But usually when priesthood takes a country, when men who rule through the obfuscations of language get the upper hand, national degeneration and weakness comes soon after. This is almost always the case in republics and democracies that become “advanced,” meaning, legalistic and procedural. Here a class of unholy priests soon neuters the nation and lays it open to conquest.

In Christendom the king may be blessed by God: and his majesty is in role of Defender of the Faith. Frog frend tells me the religious majesty of such a ruler far exceeds that of pre-Christian sacral and divine kings. This is possible, but the king’s divinity can’t result only from a religious declaration of a belief in a proposition. It’s not a doctrinal matter: this is the point. Is maybe point of this essay to try to show you: but is very hard for modern to see because, no experience of kingship, and no real religious experience for most, ever. A king’s holiness has nothing to do with the particular content of this or that one religion, or how they go about proving this divinity or blessing, through what genealogies or myths. That comes after, that’s an afterthought. It is the king’s being or body itself that is the holy experience for the people. It is his presence and magic aura that is holy. This is not abandoned in Christianity. Regardless of the content of Christian religion, the older understanding of what is kingship is never lost so long as actual kingship existed; or else it would have stopped existing. If you want to see Christian preservation of this older view read Ernst Kantorowicz books The King’s Two Bodies and especially his biography of Frederick II Hohenstaufen. The Germany of his time was attempting to rebirth this being of the king-savior.

Schopenhauer words on monarchy are very good. This is the meaning of kingship:

In general, the monarchical form of government is that which is natural to man; just as it is natural to bees and ants, to a flight of cranes, a herd of wandering elephants, a pack of wolves seeking prey in common, and many other animals, all of which place one of their number at the head of the business in hand. Every business in which men engage, if it is attended with danger—every campaign, every ship at sea—must also be subject to the authority of one commander; everywhere it is one will that must lead. Even the animal organism is constructed on a monarchical principle: it is the brain alone which guides and governs, and exercises the hegemony. Although heart, lungs, and stomach contribute much more to the continued existence of the whole body, these philistines cannot on that account be allowed to guide and lead. That is a business which belongs solely to the brain; government must proceed from one central point. Even the solar system is monarchical. On the other hand, a republic is as unnatural as it is unfavourable to the higher intellectual life and the arts and sciences. Accordingly we find that everywhere in the world, and at all times, nations, whether civilised or savage, or occupying a position between the two, are always under monarchical government. The rule of many as Homer said, is not a good thing: let there be one ruler, one king; How would it be possible that, everywhere and at all times, we should see many millions of people, nay, even hundreds of millions, become the willing and obedient subjects of one man, sometimes even one woman, and provisionally, even, of a child, unless there were a monarchical instinct in men which drove them to it as the form of government best suited to them? This arrangement is not the product of reflection. Everywhere one man is king, and for the most part his dignity is hereditary. He is, as it were, the personification, the monogram, of the whole people, which attains an individuality in him. In this sense he can rightly say: l’etat c’est moi. It is precisely for this reason that in Shakespeare’s historical plays the kings of England and France mutually address each other as France and England, and the Duke of Austria goes by the name of his country. It is as though the kings regarded themselves as the incarnation of their nationalities. It is all in accordance with human nature; and for this very reason the hereditary monarch cannot separate his own welfare and that of his family from the welfare of his country...

Nietzsche say similar somewhere else that power draws all around it in a kind of magical remote effect. There is monarchical instinct in man, yes. For rooster if you present oval spheroid wood shape, they will try to copulate: so strong is the male instinct to mate. But it would be stronger for a hen. Female will respond to “general maleness” less than to something more specific: Schopenhauer say of women’s desires,

Nature has appointed that the propagation of the species shall be the business of men who are young, strong and handsome; so that the race may not degenerate. This is the firm will and purpose of Nature in regard to the species, and it finds its expression in the passions of women. There is no law that is older or more powerful than this. Woe, then, to the man who sets up claims and interests that will conflict with it; whatever he may say and do, they will be unmercifully crushed at the first serious encounter...

They are less attracted to Chuck Schumer. As the people is a woman, so its instincts for monarchy are much stronger for the more suitable object: will accept even a child or a woman, but both are far from the proper type. People can’t think clearly about Trump because of emotion. He’s not a military leader and maybe not even a leader, but more than anyone in recent decades he make clear the magic of power, the allure of the one man in time of crisis. He had no ruler’s skills but had consummate skill in image, and trained long in media career. It doesn’t matter here, his achievements or failures outside of this: he reminds world of the magic of power, and how one savior-king can draw peoples in orbit around him, with strong gravity of loyalty, by magic remote effect. This is maybe more frightening to the pretend technocracy than Trump’s substantive program. Their view of political life is devoted to erasing this possibility and repressing this part of human nature. Their whole post-World War II religion is there to prevent emergence of Caesars or tribunes of the people like arose in the emergencies after 1917. To suppress this is for them as important as is for old husband to suppress his young wife’s desire for handsome muscular Chads, and as useless. But, one fears, if she is kept locked up long enough, will she grow too old for real passion? Western nations are captive to a jealous old Scrooge.

None of the reactionary factions who call themselves monarchist today pay attention to either of these prerequisites of kingship: the magical body of the king, or the king’s origin and most important function as military leader. For Integralists it is a matter of doctrine and Church sanction; for neoreactionaries, it is a matter of the systemic analysis of monarchy, how it would work as independent machinery, independent of the raw human material you put into it. It is the forgetfulness of the raw human material or the biological reality that is mistake in both. Integralists and neoreactionaries can agree to elevate Joe Pesci to “kingship” and deem members of the machine state’s bureaucracy “nobles,” but they will find that people and events disagree. Actually, unlike what Kant or others thought, you can’t have a republican machinery indifferent to the human material either...but obviously much less so for kingship. The most important question for understanding monarchy, how it arises, what keeps it going is, “What kind of a man is the king? Who is he? Where from? How does his kingship continue?” This last question brings up mechanism of succession, which is also ignored by the monarchist doctrinaires, because if they thought about it and its tremendous practical problems, they would see it is inseparable from the question of human quality. They might see that the decision to settle on hereditary succession isn’t tyranny or arbitrary caprice but a reasonable practical measure to increase likelihood of transmission of quality substance in person of the king. I once had argument with naïve republican. For some reason I pointed out, “At such time in the past, a great soldier arises in a border fortress; he is able through courage and intelligence and charisma to repel invaders. As a reward the king gives him rule over the fortress, then over the eastern March. He founds a great noble lineage. One day becomes king of new kingdom. This is the origin of all European nobility.” In Reddit way he replied that he didn’t see why an ancestor’s military success two hundred years ago should entitle his descendant to rule. I also don’t see why Elena Kagan or Sonya Sotomayor, or any of their lady counterparts in the “technocracy” of the European Union bureaucracy, why their taking a class on “Law and Economics” should entitle them to decide “the public good” and questions of daily life for millions. In the options available on menu for right to rule, continuous descent by blood from feats of warrior greatness, and consummate training to rule since birth are pretty good. It’s what got Europe to the 1800’s, by which time its world-rulership in the next century was already guaranteed. Other systems in other parts of the world, including “meritocratic” and bureaucratic, didn’t fare as well.

Monarchy thus appears as political manifestation of the principle of blood or heredity or breeding, as these are the only ways known to mortal humans to cultivate and transmit quality across generations. The continuity of monarchy rests on the presence of a culture of biological breeding, even if this should be limited only to the warband and its lineages, meaning to the nobility. The king exists as king—and not, for example as a cloistered figurehead—only so long as he remains “the most noble of the nobles,” the head of his warband. It is this type of ruler especially who is able to be target of the people’s passions, to “trigger” the monarchical instinct in the people, who are able to respond to his remote powers and spontaneously organize themselves in orbit around him. It could be added also that it is only through the king and his retinue that a nation in the proper sense exists as a political as well as organic unity. Outside of this there are only agglomerations of individuals vying for supremacy, but no political or hive order.

I don’t want to address here the counterexamples of Sparta or ancient Greek republics of virtue, as they are too alien for moderns, and have nothing to do with modern republics. I just say that the proportion of what I’ve been calling “high quality raw human material” was so high in those places as to make even kingship superfluous. But you are very far from them, and in the opposite condition, where we are overwhelmed by biological refuse. It is the overwhelming presence of billions of refuse that makes me think reestablishment of kingship in our age is a lot of pointless talk. The dysfunction and stupid oligarchy currently leading nations to ruin will have to be stopped, as a practical matter. But as I said in my book, the prospects even after their complete defeat are not good. I don’t believe this world of refuse is salvageable. The best will have to excise themselves, to amputate themselves off this cancerous mass of huemanity.

In remote Aryan antiquity, the youths were cast out from the tribe, and had to find their fortunes elsewhere: it was an interesting tradition that led to much expansion, many foreign conquests and adventures. In modern time it is the youth who will have to cast themselves out if they don’t want to be suffocated by giant nursing home. How do you plan to save a giant nursing home or barnstable longhouse village and make it not depressing? It is for this reason that task that will present itself for a long time to come will have nothing to do with good kings or good realms, but only...what does it take to resurrect the warband? How can warband exist again?