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Spengler

Two Cheers For Monarchy

July 23rd, 2013 - 6:38 am

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Over at Mosaic, former Commentary editor Neal Kozodoy’s new online webzine, there is a lively debate over the relation between religion and state involving such luminaries as Profs. Moshe Koppel and J.J. Weiler, a professor of constitutional law at NYU. Israel does not have a written constitution because it has never reconciled its secular parliamentary democracy with its Jewish character. The Jewish religion cannot be left out of the constitution; nor can Israel be governed by Torah scholars.

Wyschogrod offered a solution more robust, in my view, than what is to be found in the Mosaic debate:

Israel must reconcile the requirements of its secular citizens, who wish to live in a modern parliamentary republic, and its religious citizens, who insist that religious and legal tradition must inform the Jewish state. The danger in secular rule is that modern Israel will fail to present itself unambiguously as a Jewish state and eventually lose the battle to remain a Jewish state….

The crowning of an actual Davidic monarch today would require prophecy to select the proper person. In the absence of prophecy, this is impossible—and the sages of Israel declared almost two thousand years ago that prophecy was gone from Israel. Israel nonetheless can be declared a Davidic monarchy without a reigning king. This action would build into the self-understanding of the state of Israel the messianic hope of the Jewish people, while excluding a messianic interpretation of the present state of Israel.

The solution that I propose is by no means unusual for a constitutional monarchy. It is a common occurrence in monarchy that no king is present or that the present king cannot rule, for example, due to youth. In such situations, a regent is appointed as a placeholder for a king. Such a placeholder can either be appointed or elected.

A constitutional monarchy with an empty throne would conform to the thrice-daily prayers of the Jewish people for redemption, as one of the Eighteen Benedictions states:

Return in mercy to Jerusalem Your city and dwell therein as You have promised; speedily establish therein the throne of David Your servant, and rebuild it, soon in our days, as an everlasting edifice. Blessed are You Lord, who rebuilds Jerusalem. Speedily cause the scion of David Your servant to flourish, and increase his power by Your salvation, for we hope for Your salvation all day. Blessed are You L-rd, who causes the power of salvation to flourish.

But it would also allow Israel’s democracy to function without theological interference of any practical kind.

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All Comments   (11)
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Mr. Goldman,
While this was not likely something you considered in your argument, I could predict that such a claim of Davidic monarchy sans monarch would likely be supported by Christian Zionists. As Christian belief holds that Jesus of Nazareth is the rightful heir of the throne of David, (The book of Matthew makes this a primary theme), this would be seen as preparing the way for His return, and not as an insult.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"A constitutional monarchy with an empty throne would conform to the thrice-daily prayers of the Jewish people for redemption...But it would also allow Israel’s democracy to function without theological interference of any practical kind."

David, are you seriously calling for Israel to install a King Empty Chair? The USA has one already and I don't think we should wish anything similar on anyone, anywhere!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Hmmm...there are a few surviving Romanovs around. How do you feel about a real Tsar succeeding the elected one in 2018 when Putin decides to retire, David?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"That is not the way that classical political rationalism looks at the matter, but Wyschogrod’s logic is sound."

And it's wrong. The hard left elite believes free speech means pornography, and the right to bear arms only means muskets. It uses judicial fiat to twist and pervert the constitution into meaninglessness. But, it is impossible for ordinary citizens of the majority who honor its principles to ever have any influence on it. It becomes unholy.

Theology is possible in flesh, not law, because kings can discipline leftist elites or can be overthrown and replaced if necessary, usually for not doing enough to discipline leftist elites. Putting any constitution, including scripture, as the "spiritual" base of a government fails. Long before the written constitution the Anglo-Saxon people always understood its rights, by nature.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Israel does not have a written constitution because it has never reconciled its secular parliamentary democracy with its Jewish character."

I had always thought that it was because Israel was following the Westminster Model. The mother country does not a written constitution either, because the can be no limit to Parliamentary sovereignty. Or at least that is what I thought.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Or because Moschiach Ben David has not (re)appeared.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I blame Bismarck for all this democracy nonsense, as well as the welfare state. Otto von B. thought he could use the vote to accomplish his Kaiser's goals. But then the Kaiser died and in 1890 Wilhelm II fired Otto, only the first of his many blunders. Democracy stayed like the cancer it is, and soon consumed the German spirit.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Here in Canada, we have a monarch who only shows up in country about once every five years for a week. I argue that this is an ideal head of state, calling minimal attention to self. But my arguments still seem unconvincing to anti- monarchists. There is an idolatrous desire for some figure to "represent us as Canadians".
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
After Prince(ss) of Wales, you could have the Pince(ss) of Ontario?? (or in deference to Canadian needs, Prince(ss) of Onto-Quebec)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Wales is the right model. Go West, young man....
1 year ago
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