A New Kind of Royalty

Jonathan Kolber
3 min readJun 11, 2022

The Atlantic recently published a story about Europe’s disenfranchised royalty. It included this arresting statement:

“People have a deep, almost spiritual hunger for leaders who are more than mere bureaucrats or legislators. We want symbols.”

Indeed, we do. In countries without a history of royalty, others are substituted. In America, pop stars, sports figures, and celebrities substitute for royalty. In decades past, the Kennedys were treated like a royal family. Today, some treat the Trumps this way.

The obvious problem with all such symbols is that, like much else about today’s societies, it’s hit-and-miss. Sometimes, as with Thailand’s recently deceased King Bhumibol, the person is a living saint. King IX, as he is reverently known to millions of Thais, eschewed a lavish lifestyle and spent the many decades of his reign serving the people. He endlessly looked for ways to make their lives better.

If King IX was a saint, many Thais privately think of his son, Maha Vajiralongkorn, rather differently. (In Thailand, it’s illegal to speak negatively of the royalty.)

If this need for living symbols is a part of human nature, it cannot be ignored without consequences. But how can it be met in a better fashion?

In our proposal for a Celebration Society, we advocate a new fourth branch of government in addition to the legislature, judiciary, and administration. This would be a meritocratic royalty. In no way like a monarchy, people would very…



Jonathan Kolber

I think about how to create societies of sustainable, technological abundance. My book, A Celebration Society, offers one solution. It has been well received.