Democratic Aristocracy and Aristocratic Democracy
THE MOST restricted form of oligarchy, absolute monarchy, is founded upon the will of a single individual. Sic volo sic jubeo. Tel est mon bon plaisir. One commands, all others obey. The will of one single person can countervail the will of the nation, and even today we have a relic of this in the constitutional monarch's right of veto. The legal justification of this regime derives its motives from transcendental metaphysics. The logical basis of every monarchy resides in an appeal to God. God is brought down from heaven to serve as a buttress to the monarchical stronghold, furnishing it with its foundation of constitutional law -- the grace of God. Hence, inasmuch as it rests upon a supra-terrestrial element, the monarchical system, considered from the outlook of constitutional law, is eternal and immutable, and cannot be affected by human laws or by the human will. It follows that the legal, juridical, legitimate abolition of the monarchy is impossible, a fable of a foolish political dreamer. Lawfully, the monarchy can be abolished by God alone -- and God's will is inscrutable.
At the antipodes of the monarchical principle, in theory, stands democracy, denying the right of one over others. In abstracto, it makes all citizens equal before the law. It gives to each one of them the possibility of ascending to the top of the social scale, and thus facilitates the way for the rights of the community, annulling before the law all privileges of birth, and desiring that in human society the struggle for pre-eminence should be decided solely in accordance with individual capacity. Whereas the principle of monarchy stakes everything upon the character of a single individual, whence it results that the best possible monarchical government offers to the people as a whole no guarantee for permanently benevolent and technically efficient rule, democracy is, on principle, responsible to the community at large for the prevailing conditions of rule, of which it is the sole arbiter.
We know today that in the life of the nations the two theoretical principles of the ordering of the state are so elastic that they often come into reciprocal contact, "for democracy can