Why I am a Monarchist and Social Democrat

How can somebody with socialist inclinations believe in Monarchy?

Erik Engheim
16 min readApr 17, 2021

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King Haakon the first monarch of a free and independent Norway. The king that defined what the Norwegian monarchy should be about.

One of the oldest demands from socialist movements has been the abolition of Monarchy. The idea of inherited position and power comes across as an anachronism in a world where we believe in meritocracy, democracy and freedom. There is nothing more quintessentially conservative than being a Monarchist. Those who follow me on Medium should know from my writing that I am most definitely not a conservative.

I have written about socialism in positive terms on many occasions: What is Modern Scandinavian Socialism in 2020?

Thus it may seem like a complete oxymoron that I am a champion of Monarchy. I did not always hold this position. Ironically I did not favor Monarchy when I was strongly opposed to all forms of socialism. So what made me change?

I never followed the traditional political trajectory that so many people do in Anglophone countries, like the US. In the US, young people often become socialists or atheists in opposition to their conservative parents. That is what teenage rebellion looks like in a predominantly conservative country. But I did not grow up in a conservative country. I grew in a country marked by decades of social democratic rule. What American conservatives imagine as their worst nightmare today was pretty much reality in Norway in the 1980s when I grew up. In your average Norwegian middle class family, everybody voted for the Norwegian labour party, as their parents had.

Voting for the conservatives was not the same as in the US. The conservative party was for the moneyed elite. The spoiled brats. People with silk scarfs, light blue shirts. Businessmen, doctors and lawyers. Not Joe Average. Now, your parents may no longer be working shifts in a factory. My parents certainly did not. But there was this sense of owing your allegiance to the labour party. It was the party that had raised your family tree out of poverty and into the middle class lifestyle they now enjoyed. Conservatives were marked as the ones who had always been a roadblock against the working class. Always voted down union rights, shorter work week, universal health care, etc.

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Erik Engheim

Geek dad, living in Oslo, Norway with passion for UX, Julia programming, science, teaching, reading and writing.