Recently I contacted Austin Pomper, leader of the United Monarchist Party of America, to have a conversation with him about monarchism, America today and America in the future. Though a small party, they are loud with their radical traditionalist approach so I thought what better way for America to get to know them better...
1. America, 2021. The two-party system has failed the American people, How does the United Monarchist Party of America make themselves a viable option to the American people?
Answer: By providing the citizens of the USA with a new political philosophy and theory through which they can view not only our government but also the history of the government, the convention of 1787, our founding fathers, what the American revolution was all about, and the root causes which produced the revolution in the first place of which our founders themselves theorized during the 1760’s and 70’s. And hopefully by doing so we can inform ourselves about how we should be moving forward as a nation and as a community.
It’s clear that the US government is toxic, that politics infects every part of our lives. Everything takes on a political dimension anymore, and what one side agrees with the other side would automatically disagree with almost like a law of nature.
We want to provide a platform for the citizens of this nation that is truly Big Tent, and in which we can all find a common ground and move forward from there.
2. What is it about monarchy that makes it the savior of western civilization and culture?
Answer: Monarchy is a paradox in many ways, and by looking at some of its core aspects I hope I can demonstrate why we believe monarchy is the best way to move forward.
Let us first address the elephant in the room, Democracy. Many would argue that monarchy is antithetical to democracy, but on the contrary; democracy is simply the amount of direct control the wider population has in each area of government or the running of government. This can range from total, to some, to none at all, even within the same nation. Democracy also is used synonymously with Representation, and indeed many use the word in this way despite being incorrect.
Monarchy, through being hereditary, is naturally A-political. They are impartial and are not compromised by partisanship and faction. This is an orthodoxy of royalist political theory, the monarch having inherited their position doesn’t need to fight for it in elections, therefor they stand above faction, party, and politicking and view all decisions they make from a very broad perspective. As such they are in the best position to act in a universal way and with equal favor towards all of the citizens. Elections are naturally divisive; they are never unanimous and pit one group against another to gain power in government; such a setup is unbecoming to choose an executive.
A monarch, in the diplomatic and cultural sense also, is like a living flag. Their family and ancestors were present long before many of our families either emigrated to the country or even came into exitance. Their person is rooted in the very history and culture of the nation itself. The buildings, cities, and monuments seen around us could’ve been financed by their ancestors, and in that way we greatly benefit from that historical patronage. A Royal Family and a Nation are often very intimately connected, and many places and names are seen as synonymous with the family itself.
Monarchy is like a trade or apprenticeship. Education in the art has been seen from the earliest to be crucial for any future monarch. Being educated in languages, law, literature, diplomacy, etiquette, philosophy, history, rhetoric, mathematics, culture, etc. would not be uncommon subjects to learn as a monarch in training. Proper education, along with checks and balances as outlined in later developed political theory, was seen as a bulwark against the potential for any tyranny. Taking inspiration from the Platonic dialogues, one can read the ship allegory; that a country is like a ship, would you want just anyone to steer the vessel or those educated in how to sail? Why therefor, would the choice be different for those that steer the ship of state.
Monarchs are able to draw loyalty and support from a very wide range of peoples, religions, cultures, ages, and political affiliations within the country. Such a thing is impossible for most if not all presidents or prime ministers; that focus of support and loyalty for the monarchy is coming from an entirely different angle and almost defies conventional logic. Because why should people hold greater support for a person for whom they have not directly voted vs a person they have?
We often think that a person or an institution is representative only if we as a national body elect that person; but really, representation is not rooted just in voting and as such the Whig view of government is unsatisfactory. Representation isn’t just based on direct action, like voting. It isn’t even just based on the “image” theory either, the idea that you can be represented by people who look, act, dress, work, and sound like you do; the theory that a legislature is a miniature of the total and as such only It is capable of true representation. Representation really is based on authorization, and that can come in many forms, those just mentioned like direct voting, but also from a small group of electors who act on behalf of specific regions, or even an hereditary monarchy as well. Just so long as these institutions have been authorized, they are all representative institutions, and therefor do not conflict with the liberties and freedoms of citizens.
3. To those Americans who treasure the constitution and their rights, how do you win them over?
Answer: By explaining to them that none of their rights, liberties or freedoms would be taken away. Also, by providing them with the sources from our Founding Fathers themselves that demonstrate they were not anti-monarchists, and indeed the revolution itself was very different in purpose from how people today learn about it in school. To help we’re going to need a bit of history.
King George III of Great Britain was not an absolute monarch ruling over the Colonies as he wished, not even in Britain itself, in fact parliament had been as institution in governance since at least the 13th century. After the English Civil Wars of the 17th century (1600’s), parliament took a much more active role in government, and during the reigns of George I and George II, powers of the monarchy shifted more and more towards the parliament and the ministry. The reasons for this were because their family were German Princes, the Electors of Hannover, and so spoke either no English at all or not well and they much preferred Hannover to Britain. Why were the Hanoverians on the throne if they spoke no English? Because parliament had set down in the Act of Settlement that only a Protestant could inherit the throne, and the closest protestants in the succession where the House of Hannover despite being rather removed from the immediate succession. So, our popular stereotype of George III, his family, and the form of British government is wrong from the outset.
Even the Declaration of Independence is seen as a great Republican and Anti-monarchist document, but that’s only because the King is the focus of the document. Is that really what the document is about? Taking the history of British politics and the wording of the Declaration both into account the resulting story becomes rather surprising. The word “Parliament” doesn’t even appear once in the declaration, but the word “King” does; in a legalistic sense the document itself is claiming that it is only the King from whom independence needs to be declared and it is only the King who wields any legitimate authority over the then colonies. Let’s look closer at point 13 of the Declaration, points 14 – 22 are actually subscripts of point 13:
“He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:”
The “others” being described here are the Lords and Commons in Parliament. The King only acts tyrannically in this sense because he gave his Assent to their “Acts of pretended Legislation” rather than refusing assent or vetoing them. But in Britain at this time, there is no such thing as the King outside of Parliament and to a greater or lesser degree the King was between a rock and a hard place. The veto itself had also not been used by a monarch in Britain since Anne I at the beginning of the century, she was also the last Monarchy to formally summon her councilors without controversy. So here, the declaration is lamenting that the crown is too weak and should have revived its rightful prerogatives, the veto in this case. Looking again to the Declaration:
“In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.”
Unpacking yet further; “A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.” The founders do not say that Monarchy is by nature tyrannical or that one cannot find freedom or liberty under the rule of a Prince (Monarch), what they are saying is that this Prince, George III, has behaved towards them as a tyrant would and so is not worthy to be their sovereign (because he was unable to rule them without parliament as they wished and so they set about to replace him).
“We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence.” Here they further define not only the language preceding in the document but the previous point mentioning the King. The Parliament is defined by them as the British legislature and nothing more; elsewhere in the Empire parliament was the supreme legislature, to the Americans they never regarded it as such. And indeed, they regarded the Parliamentary authority over America as a usurpation of legitimate authority, that it was an illegal authority. How they squared that circle before the Revolution was returning to earlier political theory and claiming they were only subjects of the Empire through the person and prerogative of the King, never the parliament. And that the King governed (or rather should only govern) the colonies in cooperation with the colonial assemblies but parliament had usurped powers for itself, and the revolution was a rebellion against a tyrannical and illegal legislature, not the King.
Such thought can be found in the writings of Alexander Hamilton in his “The Farmer Refuted”, John Adams “Defense of the Constitutions of the United States”, and even in private letters and correspondence between many of the Founders. Reading the Notes from the convention of 1787 we can read what the members talked about and debated there as well; chief amongst them were the powers and position of the presidency. And much like their earlier thought and insistence before the revolution that the Executive should not be severely weak nor subject to the legislature; they created a single chief executive, armed with a veto, power of appointment to executive offices, commander-in-chief, clemency/pardon, appointment to the supreme court and other federal justices, etc. A far more powerful figure than George III was or any English Monarch since.
In closing it would be interesting to note that at the mustering of the Continental Army on Cambridge Common a British officer noted the scene:
“The Rebels have raised the [royal] Standard in Cambridge, and they call themselves the Kings Troops and us they call the Parliaments. Pretty Burlesque!” – Lieutenant John Barker, Light Infantry Company, 4th Regiment of Foot (Red Coats)
It will never serve us well as a nation to hold these unnecessary prejudices against monarchy or royalist political philosophy when even our founders had not done so. Though the propaganda to the contrary may be strongly rooted, it is by no means uncontested.
4. Would there be a nobility? And if so, who would make up the nobles and how would they be selected and why?
Answer: Yes. The individuals who would make up the noble class would be chosen based on their merit. This is a very old principle found in most western monarchies. People who demonstrate great skill in a variety of areas; be them military, culture, science, music, art, literature, finance, etc. would be rewarded for not only their prowess but also their services to the nation in these fields. There are a great many examples of relatively obscure individuals and families rising to become ennobled for any number of reasons, but chief amongst them was their merit in a certain regard. The greatest honor anyone could receive for their works and dedication, in my opinion, would be a title and an estate for themselves and their posterity that proclaims their efforts and accomplishments.
5. Why are you the man to lead this party to victory?
Answer: I am only the current man to lead our movement, perhaps another will be just as capable as I am in the future. Personally, I see myself as a rather open minded and tolerant figure and that is something which is not often found in most of the more vocal partisans of monarchy and monarchism. Or at the very least, that is what many assume.
Many people when they think of Monarchy they immediately think of the Middle Ages, feudalism, the Inquisition, the Crusades, anything which to their mind seems “old and antiquated”, but really these are caricatures and do not demonstrate real history. Of course, feudalism existed, the crusades and inquisition happened, but rather than seeing these as events within a certain time, people equate them with everything they personally see as not modern, which does nothing but demonstrate their ignorance. Often people retroactively think about time periods in relation to modern day rather than taking each period in its own specific time; they will criticize it on the basis of that period not being as advanced as we are today in so many things, themselves failing to realize the stupidity in such a criticism. It is completely beside the point.
However, it certainly doesn’t help the monarchist cause when monarchists (The Trads) pine for the days of almost theocratic government, when the “catholic church” was supreme and unchallenged in the west. The criticism of religious and cultural nostalgia surely has been leveled legitimately against some “wishing to turn the clock back”. The problem is that the critics often throw out the baby with the bathwater failing to realize that Monarchy, like Republics, are not caught in any particular time but are timeless forms of government, transcending many periods of history.
I would say that my ability to recognize this, seeking to legitimate monarchy on secular grounds, and hold a much more “inclusive” and broad interpretation of monarchy and monarchism is what makes me the one to lead. Since I founded the movement in August of 2020, we have seen interest from both liberals and conservatives, capitalists and those approaching socialism, religious and atheist, straight and LGBT. As I said before, monarchy is a paradox in its ability to bring together otherwise opposing groups, oppositions our republic only fuels.
6. Who would be King and what would that process look like?
Answer: That has not yet been decided for a few reasons. One, we are not at a place where we have enough political momentum for such a decision to be timely. Two, such a choice will be decided by what’s called an interregnum council which would be provided with all the resources necessary to properly deliberate on such a choice. And lastly, choosing now would be irresponsible because the candidate will automatically become the “face” of the movement and as such exposed to unnecessary and unwarranted attention. Anyone opposed to us would do anything in their power to find gossip or dirt about that individual, or their family if they are desperate, and attacks on them would be tantamount to attacking the movement and would invariably be used to discredit the movement and its principles.
There are two main criteria for who it can or would be: that they be a US citizen or have birthright citizenship, and that they be identifiably different from the masses. Why? One, Citizenship would provide them constitutional legitimacy and so would most likely be needed in the future. Two, as of the 2020 census there are over 331 million people in the USA so going through a list of that many people would be impractical, and what claim to a future monarchy could one average citizen possibly have over any other? Thus, they need to be “identifiably different” from everyone else and that also helps to cut down the list of possible claimants.
7. Would you advocate separatism if that meant installing a King somewhere in America?
Answer: No I would not. Most of the states in our Union would never survive without the Union or something approaching it in place. States receive resources from other states, they benefit from infrastructure and logistic system in other states, some do not have access to sufficient resources within their own boarders. Only the original 13 states, and arguably Texas and California, were founded as “self-sufficient” states, which leaves a remaining 35 states incapable of existing outside the Union. It’s not a matter of sovereignty but one of the ability to realistically survive and thrive outside the Union.
8. Who is your favorite Loyalist and why?
Answer: It would be wrong to assume that we follow the Loyalist line over the Founding Fathers. The Founding Fathers were more in line with our views than the Loyalists who argued for a continuation of the Whig settlement. But us, like Adams, Hamilton, Iredell, Wilson, etc., see the issue with the Whig system and are much more of kindred spirits. My favorite Founder would be Alexander Hamilton and he was very key during the pamphlet debates during the Imperial Crisis.
9. Bourbon or Bonaparte?
Answer: I don’t really concern myself with the claimants to the French Throne. I do admire both Louis XIV and Napoleon Bonaparte; I suppose it is up to the French whether they want an Empire or a Kingdom to see which of the Three claims they want to have as sovereign of France.
10. What does the future hold for the United Monarchist Party of America?
Answer: None of us can tell the future. But I would hope that we are able to expose the American people to the monarchist history of our country, the thought of many of our Founding Fathers and purpose of the Revolution itself.
Harvard Professor Eric Nelsons “The Royalist Revolution” is a great resource on this, but I would encourage everyone to read the writings of Founders like Hamilton, Adams, and Wilson and definitely look through the notes during the constitutional convention in 1787.
As for other monarchist sources there is Frederick II the Great of Prussia’s “Anti-Machiavel”, his pamphlet on monarchy in opposition to the Prince by Machiavelli. As well as the Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes which is another great resource and is well worth the read.
It is my hope and ambition that we are able to, at the very least, break down the arbitrary prejudices of many Americans on this subject and then we will really be able to get somewhere. And in the words John Adams in a letter to Benjamin Rush:
“I also, am as much a Republican as I was in 1775.—I do not ‘consider hereditary Monarchy or Aristocracy as Rebellion against Nature.’ on the contrary I esteem them both institutions of admirable Wisdom and exemplary Virtue, in a certain Stage of Society in a great Nation. The only Institutions that can possibly preserve the Laws and Liberties of the People. and I am clear that America must resort to them as an Asylum against Discord, Seditions, and [Civil War], and that at no very distant [period] of time. I shall not live to See it—but you may. I think it therefore impolitick to cherish prejudices against Institutions which must be kept in view as the Hope of our Posterity.” – John Adams, 9 June 1789
Thank you Mr. Pomper for your time and the interview.
Thank you Mr. Pomper for your time and the interview.
For more on the UMP of America you can follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/UMPofAmerica2020 or go to their website at https://www.unitedmonarchistpartyofamerica.com.