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Tyler Cowen

Should the US Have a Monarchy?

It’s a terrible idea, but the very question says a lot about the current state of thinking on the American right.

Who would you rather have as head of state?

Who would you rather have as head of state?

Photographer: Steve Parsons/WPA Pool/Getty Images Europe

The just-completed celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee in the UK have prompted a question in some quarters of the US: Should America have a monarchy? In particular, the notion of absolute rather than symbolic or constitutional monarchy is finding some new adherents on the right.

The engineer and entrepreneur Curtis Yarvin, who also has written under the pseudonym Mencius Moldbug, has called for a new American monarchy, more like Elizabeth I than Elizabeth II. The usual instant American reaction, of course, is to dismiss absolute monarchy as unjust, old-fashioned and unworkable. And in fact that remains the correct reaction — yet it’s worth thinking through what the desire for monarchy says about the current state of America’s intellectual right.