10,000 Men of Hapsburg

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I've gone all squishy about my youthful monarchism since I left Harvard, but I'm gratified that a new generation of campus conservatives has picked up the baton (or the sceptre?):

Asked to describe himself in three words, the classics concentrator-cum-Undergraduate Council presidential candidate takes a few moments of reflection and replies, "A human being." Roger G. Waite '10-'11 offered only a few words more, "To the best of my knowledge, I am a human being." Then, he leaned back in his chair, silent.

A stereotypical UC presidential candidate he is not, Waite insists. Dressed in an argyle sweater and tie and sporting a full beard that he described as unkempt, Waite is intent on differentiating himself from the system that he and his running mate Alexandra A. Petri '10 hope to overthrow.

... The Waite-Petri campaign is adopting an age-old tradition of using their platform to advocate for the abolition of the Council. There is one caveat, however. "We're going to invite a member of the House of Hapsburg to rule the student body indefinitely instead," Waite says.

"I think that a member of the Royal Family would be in a much stronger position to negotiate with the administration and faculty," he explains. "It's much easier for Harvard to blow off a group of self-important undergrads than it is the House of Hapsburg."

Digging into his jacket pocket, Waite presents a copy of "The Charter of 1650," the document that established the mission and governing structure of the University.

"It says nothing of student governance and nothing about this nonsense of an Undergrad Council," he says.

This plan is part of the campaign's broader goal of returning Harvard to its "founding principles."

Despite the fact that no American university has ever established a hereditary monarchy to rule over the student body, Waite says that this is certainly not an obstacle.

"Harvard is always on the forefront of change. We can set an example," he says.

There's much more in their platform, most of it calculated to set Rod Dreher's heart aflutter. ("They propose to use student activity fees to buy and cultivate arable land to produce foodstuffs ...") Personally, I would prefer to see a Stuart on Harvard's throne - both for wromantic reasons and because the Stuarts are, after all, our rightful monarchs - but it must be allowed that the Hapsburgs were considerably more competent, and the Larry Summers/Charles I parallel probably cuts a little too close for comfort.

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Ross Douthat is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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