Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Monarchist Quote

"Constitutions become the ultimate tyranny. They're organized power on such a scale as to be overwhelming. The constitution is social power mobilized and it has no conscience. It can crush the highest and the lowest, removing all dignity and individuality. It has an unstable balance point and no limitations. I, however, have limitations. In my desire to provide an ultimate protection for my people, I forbid a constitution." -From Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert

5 comments:

  1. Ah, but the God-Emperor of Dune was a giant worm-man, wasn't he? And he controlled the spice. Or something like that, I'm not too familiar with Dune.
    Although a constitution can be useful to prevent royal tyranny, it would be bad to limit the monarch too much, like in today's Constitutional Monarchies. A balance where thr monarch is strong, in charge, but still responsible to his people (though not subject to them or their will in any way). For example, a constitution could make budget provisions to prevent overspending on palaces and such. King Ludwig II of Bavaria, for example, spent a lot of many on the beautiful but ultimately useless castle Neuschwanstein, which while stunning an glorious, was an expression of his sort of "fantasy", whereas I'm sure he could have spent that money improving Bavaria.
    Then again, I can see why Constitutions degrade the institution of monarchy itself, so I suppose it's a case of culture and precedence.

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  2. Althought i never read this book i don't agree with the idea of no having constitution the in my opinion the constitution is needed to protect the people and it must make and division of the power in a 50% for the monarch and a 50% for the people because the monarch must be the protector of the people, the freedom, and of course the democracy.
    A monarch must be a profesional politician not a rag doll of tne parlament or the PM and the keeper of the peace in the society.
    Hi from Argentina

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  3. I've never read the books either (I don't often read anything fiction) but I liked the quote. Of course, I am one of those hopeless reactionaries who would have cheered on Tsar Nicholas II in refusing a constitution. Some have worked well, others not. However, you cannot codify justice, you cannot have some damn piece of paper that will solve everything. And constitutions can be "interpreted" to mean whatever the ruling government wants so they are, in the long term, even when obeyed, capable of being an instrument of tyranny.

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  4. Really, written and unwritten constitutions I think have been born out to be mostly the same, only that the unwritten constitution is more honest. A written constitution is not a person, it can't defend itself or explain its meaning. It relies on actual people to do that, and as we've seen in the United States, such people will often "interpret" a constitution to mean even something that directly contradicts the plain meaning of the text.

    At least with unwritten constitutions, everyone knows that those in power (whomever that may be), will determine exactly what the constitution is. It's not pretty, but at least it doesn't give people a false sense of security and tradition.

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  5. Well, while I would like nothing more than absolute monarchies myself, as has been said, "there are no absolute monarchies, only absolute monarchs". An unwritten constitution is something I know too little about to pass judgment on. However, and seems to be based on tradition rather than a text, am I correct? Such as in the United Kingdom.

    Also, I humbly recommend you read more fiction. It needn't even be Science-Fiction or Fantasy. Tolstoy is an excellent fiction writer, and I think pro-Monarchy, so I recommend him especially.

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