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When we search the world for traditions that provide us with a suitable model, we find something very remarkable. Namely, the American Constitution, as it was originally written and understood, is the most monarchical-democratic document in the modern world.
If it seems strange that the American Constitution is the leading candidate for a monarchical-democratic reform, it should be remembered that the founders, whatever faults they might have had, were men of a classical education. They were familiar with the Aristotelian-Scholastic tradition of a mixed constitution, and they really did try to combine the best features of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy. And to some degree they succeeded. It must be remembered that at the time, there were no working models of this system; it was a theoretical idea only. The mixed constitution of the United States has provided a relatively stable regime for 229 years.
The Senate was designed by the founders to fulfill the “aristocratic” function, but it never actually functioned that way. The founders were not the only ones baffled by the problem. Both Aristotle and Aquinas had recognized the value of an aristocracy, so long as it was based on virtue.
The founders thought they had solved the problem by making the Senate an appointive office, isolating it from the pressure of electoral politics. But it didn’t quite work out, since legislative appointment still made it a political choice, just at one remove; it was an indirect election. Nevertheless, I believe that a solution to the problem of the aristocracy is available with a federal system. Two steps, I believe, would tackle the problem that vexed the ancients and make the Senate an institution where an aristocratic virtue could flourish. These two steps are to make the appointment of senators a personal privilege of the governors, and take away the Senate’s legislative powers.
I said at the beginning of this series that I am a monarchist because I am a democrat (small “d”); that is, I believe governance is by consent of the governed. But this consent cannot be reduced to the fashionable passions of the moment; rather it must respect both the past and the future, and this respect is best expressed in proper aristocratic and monarchical institutions.
Doesn't it make sense to replace greed with virtue?