Thursday, December 22, 2011
The Case for Monarchy: Portugal
Ask anyone to name the greatest figures of Portuguese history and they will most likely come up with names like King Manuel I, Henry the Navigator or any of the number of great explorers from the golden age of Portuguese history. In short, they will name people from the era of the Kingdom of Portugal. Ask them to name some great or even significant Portuguese figure from the era of the republics and you will be answered with deafening silence. It is not to say that no one from Portugal has done anything significant since then, but that is one of the things that comes with the loss of monarchy. Everything seems altogether more ordinary and mundane compared to countries that are part of the club of royalty. For instance, more people know about Catherine of Braganza, the Portuguese Queen consort of Great Britain, wife of King Charles II, who brought part of India as her dowry and who introduced the custom of drinking tea to England than any of the “first ladies” of even any Portuguese republican official to say nothing of foreign leaders. Even when the Kingdom of Portugal had fallen on hard times in the years prior to the revolution, Portugal was still a country that mattered to the other great powers of Europe because it was a royal country, worthy of consideration for marriage alliances because of their lofty rank. Since the republic, Portugal has been largely ignored on the world stage until recently when her mountainous debts have threatened to cause economic hardship for others.
It is truly heartbreaking to see the state of Portugal today. Heartbreaking because it was not necessary, it was avoidable and because a simple look at any history book in the world will show that Portugal is a better country than this and the Portuguese are better people than this. Alleviating the problems in Portugal today should be a very simple matter of checking the historical record. Portugal was once prosperous, vastly wealthy even, with a population known for their hard work, ingenuity and abundance of faith rather than their abundance of debts. All one need do is take a look at the historical record, see when Portugal was at her best and then simply do what they did back then (with some modifications to suit modern times of course). If reform is to start at the top, the first change that should be made is in the highest level of national leadership. If Portugal was greatest when she was a monarchy then she should be a monarchy again. It would not solve every problem instantly of course, but a restored King of Portugal could provide the sort of moral leadership Portugal needs so that the people can be inspired again, united and motivated to help each other and, as in the old days, find new ways to grow and prosper. Only a figure like a monarch could lead such a movement, lead Portugal in restoring her faith, her pride and her pursuit of excellence. And that is why the Portuguese monarchy should be restored in quick order.