Thursday, July 19, 2012
Lese-Majesty in Thailand
I have often said, when asked about this issue in the past, that if you are in Thailand and go around speaking derogatorily about HM the King, the lese-majesty law will be the least of your worries. You will be wishing for the police to show up and arrest you just to save you from the beating your likely to take from the ordinary people who admire and revere their beloved King and would not tolerate anyone defaming him no matter what laws existed about it. Of course, that in itself is something alien to most western countries. The leftist media elites particularly cannot even fathom the idea of a people being so devotedly loyal to their monarch that they would take great personal offense at any disrespectful words being directed at him. Mocking and ridiculing royalty has become so common in the west that it is simply expected at this point. That is a shame. Not only is it shameful, it is harmful and Thailand is actually quite correct to keep (and enforce) lese-majesty laws.
In virtually every modern monarchy the reigning monarch is expected to be a national symbol and a source of unity, a figurehead that everyone can get behind and support regardless of political faction or party. At least, that’s how it is supposed to work. It should work. After all, if a monarch has no power to influence or enact legislation, there is no legitimate, practical reason for any faction to have a problem with them. They are supposed to be a living symbol of the nation as a whole, its history and culture and if you find something so vague as the nation as a whole objectionable, you’re probably what would be classically defined as a traitor. However, we know that many people still do object to this; they’re called republicans and they will ridicule and verbally attack the monarch in any way they can in order to advance their agenda. They are not punished for this and feel not the slightest guilt in the hypocrisy of using the very rights and freedoms their monarch provides them to attack the monarchy itself. By not enforcing laws that protect the dignity of the monarchy and allowing anyone to mock and ridicule the sovereign the monarch is robbed of their ability to stand as a figure of national unity. The Kingdom of Thailand understands this but relatively few in the west seem to.