Saturday, July 25, 2009

Thom Brooks on "No Rubber Stamp: Hegel's Constitutional Monarch"

Thom Brooks, "No Rubber Stamp: Hegel's Constitutional Monarch," History of Political Thought 28(1) (2007): 91-119. (subscription-only)


Perhaps one of the most controversial aspects of Hegel's Philosophy of Right for contemporary interpreters is its discussion of the constitutional monarch. This is true despite the general agreement amongst virtually all interpreters that Hegel's monarch is no more powerful than modern constitutional monarchs and is an institution worthy of little attention or concern. In this article, I will examine whether or not it matters who is the monarch and what domestic and foreign powers he has. I argue against the virtual consensus of recent interpreters that Hegel's monarch is far more powerful than has been understood previously. In part, Hegel's monarch is perhaps even more powerful than Hegel himself may have realized and I will demonstrate certain inconsistencies with some of his claims. My reading represents a distinctive break from the virtual consensus, without endorsing the view that Hegel was a totalitarian.

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