Guest Post: In Defense of Autocracy

Jacques emailed the blog with the following argument defending autocracy:

Jan [Sobieski] said it would be interesting to hear a defense of autocracy. Here goes. To be clear, it’s only a defense. I don’t claim that autocracy is a good system of government, or better than others. I only mean to defend autocracy against objections to the effect that it’s a bad system, or worse than some other one. The defense is straightforward: no political system is good, or better than others, because no particular system is necessary or sufficient for (or even related in any important way to) any of the goods we might hope to achieve politically. (I’m ignoring logically possible political systems that are just obviously evil or irrational, e.g., systems where anyone with red hair must be tortured to death or systems where no one is allowed to do productive work. And I assume that what we hope to achieve politically is some familiar bunch of things—things like peace, social harmony, prosperity, education, individual freedom, etc.) A good society is simply a society where the people who exercise political power are good—wise, reasonable, virtuous, and so on. There’s no way to define precisely the nature of a good person or group of people, no system of rules for how good people should act in any situation that might come up (other than rules so vague or trivial that they’re useless in real life deliberation). So there’s no particular system that constitutes a good society, or facilitates a good society, or makes it more likely that society will be good.

John Adams said that the US Constitution “was made only for a moral and religious people” and “is wholly inadequate to the government of any other”. That seems right to me. In a society such as the contemporary United States—one that has a huge population of ignorant and brainwashed leftists, parasites, traitors, culturally backward or unintelligent or hostile or unassimilated foreigners, criminals and people who sympathize with criminals—the system encoded in the US Constitution is probably not going to make for a healthy or happy society. Constitutionalists will argue that the problem is simply that the Constitution is not being properly interpreted or applied. Leftist ideologues sit on the Supreme Court, appointed by other ideologues. This just pushes the question further back, though. How did it happen that a country founded on these excellent principles has degenerated to the point where leftist ideologues could attain political power? Why didn’t the Constitution prevent all of that from happening? Now surely that couldn’t have happened if the American people had always been moral, wise, virtuous, etc. But if they had been like that all along, would they really have needed the Constitution or any particular political system in order to have a good society? Maybe they could then have had a pretty great anarchist or socialist or ethno-nationalist society too.

In debates about the 2nd Amendment, we often hear that citizens need to be armed as some kind of protection against tyrannical government. If Trump were to declare himself Emperor for Life, requiring everyone to convert to the Church of Positive Thinking, the militias would descend on DC in righteous fury and restore Constitutional government. But suppose there were citizen militias able to do that kind of thing. How then could the rest of society (or the government) be assured that the militia men wouldn’t get together to impose some tyrannical system of their own? What if they wanted to replace Constitutional government with a permanent military junta?

There’s no systemic or theoretical or principled solution to this problem. In the end, the only real protection against bad outcomes is the character of the people who wield power—those who can credibly threaten overwhelming violence against others who want power. In the hands of the right people, any system can produce a really good society—one where life is good for most people, by whatever standards seem most important to them, or to a reasonable third party. In the hands of the wrong people, any system will produce a really bad society.

I guess autocracy is tyranny (if we assume some non-pejorative definition of tyranny). If the tyrant or autocrat is wise, moral, virtuous (etc.) then it’s entirely possible that his society will be a very good one. Louis IX of France appears to have been a pretty good autocratic ruler. Given the realistic political alternatives at the time, and the broader circumstances within which he had to operate, it seems reasonable enough to hold that his autocratic system was the best deal for everyone in his society. But, of course, we wouldn’t approve of the same system or society if Louis were replaced by Caligula or Stalin. Likewise, I can imagine that the United States would be far better off if the whole current system were replaced by a good autocracy. Imagine that we could resurrect John Adams, for example, and persuade him to take up the responsibilities of Emperor for Life—or until such time as Americans were “a moral and religious people” once again. Given the state of things today, I think Adams might well agree to this—reluctantly and regretfully, like a true philosopher king.

Now I’m sure there are all kinds of objections to autocracy that aren’t addressed by what I’ve said here. Fire away.


A former police officer, AR-15 (or “AR”) knows the difference between an assault rifle and home defense rifle. AR now fights with other weapons and demolishes arguments. He agrees that the pen is mightier than the sword, but he isn’t so stupid to bring a pen to a gunfight.

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  1. Actually autocracy is the ideal form of government, which will ultimately be realized on a global scale when Jesus Christ returns for His Second Advent.

    I suppose one could quibble this is technically a *theocracy* since Jesus is the Second Person of the Triune God incarnate.

    Maranatha, Lord Jesus!

  2. Have you guys done a post on the leftist fixation with appeasing Islam and how that’s uber-inconsistent with the leftist’s fixation with the promotion of all forms of aberrant sexuality, and feminism? How do they keep a coalition like that together in this actual universe?

    • That’s an interesting topic isn’t it? Some speculations…

      In the actual world most people don’t care much about consistency or principles; if they care at all about these kinds of ‘issues’ it’s mostly because they want to have power. (For example, power to help friends and harm enemies.) Besides, leftist principles (and modernist principles generally) are pretty obviously inconsistent with each other to begin with–but that never stopped anyone from being a leftist!

      So the left has done a pretty good job of temporarily aligning a whole ‘coalition of the fringe’ against the majority normal population–i.e., the white Christian Euro oppressors. Most members of the coalition probably don’t think much about whether they could actually share a tolerable society with the other members. They just think about the immediate future: how can I get more stuff for my faction or sect or social circle, how can we gain status and power, how can we dominate and humiliate our white Christian Euro enemies?

      I think the people in charge of the left don’t really _believe_ anything they claim to believe. People who cared about sex equality or ‘rape culture’ would surely have a few things to say about Pakistani grooming gangs in England or Sharia law, etc. The elite leftists are cynics or psychopaths using their proclaimed values and principles as a means to power and status. They’d all be Nazis or Talibans if the wind were blowing that way. Then there are the useful idiots, who inhabit a ‘secondary reality’ that completely obscures the real world. When they hear about Pakistani Muslims raping and torturing white British girls, or Muslims throwing gays off buildings, they really do _believe_ that this has nothing to do with Islam, nothing to do with the (vibrant, diverse) immigrant cultures we have brought into the west. Or they sort-of-believe that there’s something ‘problematic’ here but they’ve been very well conditioned; as soon as they start to think about it just a little, their Crime Think alarms go off and they find ways to change the subject–let’s talk about the real rape culture on our college campuses, where frat boys are on a rampage against women of color, or whatever. They’re not psychopaths, but rather psychotic.

      The other members of the coalition are also probably divisible into psychopathic elites and useful idiots. In these other cases, the useful idiots are probably less often psychotic. For example, your regular Muslim on the street may not really know just how weird the left is–he may be FOB and not au courant wrt ‘gender studies’ or whatever. He may not be too involved in internecine western ideological conflicts. Likewise, lots of black American Democrats probably just doesn’t care much what’s going on with the left or the right; they know the left and the Dems are the ones that tend to give more stuff to blacks, take their side in racial show-downs, etc. Who cares about trannies or Sharia, so long as the EBT is working. So in these other cases the idiots are probably just ignorant or indifferent rather than psychotic.

      The whole thing works out pretty well for the left and their various pet victim groups as long as they can keep everyone focused on their mythical narrative about evil white Christians (or fascists or whatever). I assume the people in charge expect they’ll be able to put the Muslims and blacks and other on a leash once they destroy the normal majority once and for all. Get everyone on board with tranny bathrooms and multi-cult harmony, etc. (And good luck with that guys! Once the normal white Christian people are gone there’ll be no one to protect you.)

  3. Maybe it’s as simple as, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. In fact your points may be reducable to this common denominator.

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