Why do Americans want a king?

The American colonists fought a long, bloody war to free themselves from the tyranny of a king, but in the ensuing 240 years, America has slowly but surely reestablished a monarchy – if not in name, at least in form.

The president exercises unprecedented powers today. With the stroke of a pen he establishes “law,” and he sends young men and women off to die with a wave of his hand.

Every election cycle, I’m reminded of America’s longing for a king. People line up on either side of the political aisle and declare their candidate will save America (or make her great again.) When they aren’t coronating their candidate as a messiah, they’re proclaiming the opposition is the destroyer of nations.

“If we don’t elect [insert lame candidate’s name here], America is doomed!”

Recently, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton said Republican Donald Trump wasn’t qualified to “run the economy.” Apparently she thinks she is. This reveals the ludicrousness of American politics. No human being can “run an economy.” A true economy exists only as the aggregate of billions of individuals freely entering into mutually beneficial transactions. Nobody runs such a thing. Nobody would presume to.

Except a king.

But the vast majority of Americans play into this monarchical charade. They obsess over the presidency. Their entire political universe revolves around the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Why do Americans want a king?

In a recent article, Ron Paul put things into perspective. We don’t need a king. We shouldn’t want a king. And the next king to move into the White House will not “save” America.

As long as people expect the president to provide economic and personal security, the presidency will be a threat to liberty regardless of who holds the office. Therefore, instead of obsessing over whether demagogue A is less dangerous than demagogue B, we must focus on spreading the ideas of liberty.”


But Americans want a king,

As the saying goes, there is nothing new under the sun. In fact, the Israelites begged God to give them a king. They wanted to be like other nations. God warned them what would happen.

They insisted.

God gave them what they asked for.

One day the nation’s leaders came to Samuel at Ramah  and said, ‘You are an old man. You set a good example for your sons, but they haven’t followed it. Now we want a king to be our leader, just like all the other nations. Choose one for us!’

Samuel was upset to hear the leaders say they wanted a king, so he prayed about it. The Lord answered:

Samuel, do everything they want you to do. I am really the one they have rejected as their king. Ever since the day I rescued my people from Egypt, they have turned from me to worship idols. Now they are turning away from you. Do everything they ask, but warn them and tell them how a king will treat them.

Samuel told the people who were asking for a king what the Lord had said:

If you have a king, this is how he will treat you. He will force your sons to join his army. Some of them will ride in his chariots, some will serve in the cavalry, and others will run ahead of his own chariot. Some of them will be officers in charge of a thousand soldiers, and others will be in charge of fifty. Still others will have to farm the king’s land and harvest his crops, or make weapons and parts for his chariots. Your daughters will have to make perfume or do his cooking and baking.

The king will take your best fields, as well as your vineyards, and olive orchards and give them to his own officials. He will also take a tenth of your grain and grapes and give it to his officers and officials.

The king will take your slaves and your best young men and your donkeys and make them do his work. He will also take a tenth of your sheep and goats. You will become the king’s slaves, and you will finally cry out for the Lord to save you from the king you wanted. But the Lord won’t answer your prayers.

The people would not listen to Samuel. ‘No!’ they said. ‘We want to be like other nations. We want a king to rule us and lead us in battle.’

Samuel listened to them and then told the Lord exactly what they had said. ‘Do what they want,’ the Lord answered.

‘Give them a king.’” (1 Samuel 8:1-22 CEV)

On second thought, perhaps we should rethink the whole king thing.


Photo by DonkeyHotey via Flickr