Saturday, August 11, 2012
Politicians Are a Good Argument for Monarchy
It is amazing how so many people in the world are passionately loyal to the republic as an ideal while widely despising politicians in general. Bizarre as that is, the low opinion most people have for the vast majority of politicians is one of the most valuable weapons in the monarchist arsenal. Politicians are inherently divisive figures, even the most beloved and highly praised amongst them. In the United States, I doubt any president (certainly in my lifetime) has been so idolized, praised and celebrated as President Obama. Yet, roughly half the country not only does not revere him but considers him the worst president ever. President Ronald Reagan, for another example, has become near-deified by the right since his death yet in his own time, popular though he was, the left considered him a senile buffoon at best and a dangerous warmonger at worst. Franklin D. Roosevelt was popular enough to be effectively elected President-for-life yet there were people like my grandfather who considered him a disaster, that his “New Deal” was the “Raw Deal”. Politicians can only ever seem to be adored by half the populace at best or despised by all at the worst. In Britain, Margaret Thatcher is still loved by many Britons but hated by others. Politicians are simply naturally divisive and, when real power is at stake, they will not hesitate to intentionally divide the public to advance their careers.
Actions have consequences (how many times has that come up) and just because something may not be the “best” argument, does not make it an invalid one. I doubt most monarchists are utopians and I at least will freely admit that there has never been a perfect government and every monarchy that does or has existed has had their share of faults and imperfections. However, republicans should take a long hard look at what they are getting into before scrapping centuries of tradition and a tried and tested form of government that has worked perfectly well. One reason I could never be a utopian is the fact that humanity so often repeats the same mistakes and refuses to see facts that are right in front of them. Would the people of France who supported the Revolution have done so if they could have foreseen the “Reign of Terror” that was to follow? I doubt it, and yet, time after time a majority have returned to republicanism, closed their eyes to the facts and embraced the myth of the Revolution. In a more controversial example, how many countries have condemned the United States for intervening in their affairs who have themselves called on America for help in times of crisis, over and over again? On the whole, humanity seems fairly thick to me.
At times it is necessary to put the grander arguments aside to reach the hoi polloi who like to think themselves practical creatures (even if they are not). And the fact is that one can have a monarch or a president and most presidents are nothing to write home about and you will immediately encounter resistance from some quarter when potential presidents are named. If politicians as a group are so despised, why reward them with an even grander office and, in some cases, vastly more powers -more than most monarchs could dream of having? The simple truth is that monarchs are prominent individuals. Everyone in the English-speaking world knows who Queen Elizabeth II is and everyone in the Spanish-speaking world knows who King Juan Carlos is. Republican leaders, on the other hand, are well known only if they hold powers that monarchs would never be allowed to have or if they get caught behaving badly. Everyone in the world knows the who Queen of Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand etc is but no one knows who the President of Germany or Italy is. They know who the chancellor is because she exercises political power and most knew who Berlusconi was simply because of the scandals attached to him.