Saturday, August 11, 2012

Politicians Are a Good Argument for Monarchy

Recently I tried to highlight the absurdity of elected politicians as the best possible argument for monarchy and was rather surprised at the number of people who claimed not to understand the point I was making. I was asked again and again what a bunch of ridiculous politicians had to do with the argument of republicanism versus monarchy. I also, apparently, confused some poor souls by including the likes of Tony Blair or Gordon Brown amongst the examples as these men were both from a monarchial system. Well, allow me to try to explain the point. My starting point for this tactic was the fact that I have developed the habit of answering people who ask me why royals “deserve” their position and finery by asking, “Why do you think politicians deserve more?” It seems to me that is often a potent ‘weapon’ left unused in the monarchist arsenal. Many republics think that royals don’t “deserve” their status, their palaces or yachts. They think royals should have less but these republicans are seldom called upon to explain why they think politicians deserve more. In my experience, the dreary, ridiculous and at times downright stupid or even wicked reputation of politicians has made many otherwise lukewarm people come down on the side of monarchy when the question comes up.

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.

I know, many people don’t seem to like it when I advance this argument, saying that it is somehow unfair to promote monarchy simply by saying it is better than the alternative. The bottom line though, is that it IS better than the alternative and that is the world we live in. It is worth the effort, I think, to point out to people just how unspeakably ugly republican politics can be contrast that to the beautiful tranquility of a monarchy with a monarch who can be the one pristine patch of a government otherwise devastated by scorched earth political campaigns. There will, of course, always be mud-slinging malcontents but in most monarchies at least these are a minority when it comes to the sovereign. Take the United Kingdom as an example. Most people like the Queen very much, some admire her and are greatly devoted to her and others, at least, see her as a benign and benevolent figure who does no harm to anyone and does a great deal of good for many people. She is a respected, admirable figure on the world stage. Now, compare this with the current presidential election in America in which the partisans of the President recently accused his opponent of practically killing someone. When republicans in Great Britain say that they want a republic; is this the sort of ugliness they wish to share?

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.

In the time of the American or French Revolutions people could at least plead ignorance. There were no other major republics in the world to compare themselves with. But after that, royalists could have posed the question, “Is the chance of a George Washington worth the risk of a Robespierre?” Today the argument is even more compelling as there have been far, far more republican leaders of the Robespierre type, many of them far worse. Additionally, most people should not have to be reminded of the likes of Mao, Stalin or Hitler to see the danger in republicanism. Everyday politicians should do the job on their own with their lies, pandering, nastiness and scandals. However, it still seems to me that the divisiveness of politicians is a better argument than even most of those. A moral failing on the part of a national leader often harms only him/herself. It looks bad but doesn’t usually harm the country as a whole itself. A country is harmed, however, when politicians so wantonly turn people against each other for their own benefit. Anything that can be used to divide people has and is being used by politicians the world over to divide them, from race to religion to how much you have in the bank. Particularly in the western world, there doesn’t seem to be much to unite people to begin with these days and politicians actively work to make existing divisions even worse by telling different groups of people that “the other guy” is their enemy.

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.

The bottom line is, republicans should be forced to answer this question. It may not be the best argument, but it is a valid one. Anyone who wishes to change the structure of government should have to demonstrate how that change will be an improvement. If they want to have a president instead of a monarch, they should have to start naming some names of who they have in mind. The reason they don’t do this on their own is because they know it is a losing proposition. It has been argued that the primary reason the republican referendum in Australia failed was because there was no clear picture of what sort of system would replace the monarchy and most people, even if not avowed monarchists, decided that what they had was too good to risk on an unknown. British republicans, for example, should have to answer the question; will it be a President Brown or a President Cameron? Either answer could only increase support for the monarchy. And as for those in Canada or Australia who wish to make the Governor-General the President and keep everything otherwise as it is now, the fact should be pointed out that most people in the world have no idea who the Governor-General of Canada is, not terribly many probably know who Stephen Harper is but everyone, from America to Africa to Asia knows who the Queen is. Politicians can truly be one of the best weapons in the monarchist arsenal.

20 comments:

  1. Democracy, by its very definition is about dividing and stealing.

    Divide one segment of the population from the other and win support of the 51 percent. Then you can pillage the treasury and punish your enemies and it's all completely legal.

    100 Million Americans are now on Welfare, when you break it down to Voting blocs, that is nearly 50%. That is what Democracy is- the Political System for the Looters, Parasites, and Kelptocrats, the steal from the other segment of the Population, the One that Monarchy is best for- Wealthy, Hard Working, and Informed Populace.

    Lets look at my own social circle, the Hard working and successful women all adore and religiously follow Princess Charlene of Monaco and the Duchess of Cambridge (among others). They try to act like them, Dress like them, Follow every one of the trends they set.

    While those women I know who are on welfare go out in public in their Pajamas, sit at home all day, and no Providing Politician can do any wrong.

    Royals are leaders and creators.

    Democracy's are followers and takers.

    I would take Princess Stephanie and all her "baggage", over Hilary Clinton ("the most admired women in america") finding ways to take form her political opposition, any day.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your argument is valid for us Brazilians, some Brazilians idolize the former president of Brazil, Lula, but is occurring an judgment in which his fellow are involved, the biggest corruption scandal in Brazil "Mensalão", and that people do not care, "Lula steals but do!"! But last week there was a round to select the "Greatest Brazilian's" and Lula was eliminated by Ayrton Senna, with a 65% rejection of votes, but still has many fans saying that there was fraud, because he deserved win cause He promoted Brazil to be respected, but I think that many foreigners do not know who was Lula, as I do not know who are the european presidents, in the last election a clown Became the second-most-voted congressman in Brazil's history,he used slogans including "It can't get any worse, vote Tiririca", for me this is the best slogan for the Brazilian Republic, at recent poll asked "you trust most in your family or in your politicians? 99% said family, please Madmonarchist, help us to promote the Brazilian Empire (Dom Pedro I, Dom Pedro II and Isabel,Princess Imperial of Brazil) Isabel is a finalist in the "Greatest Brazilians" with 4 former presidents,1 republican martyr and 1 republican architect, but a i think that the Princess can win, or Ayrton Senna or Santos Dumont, 3 monarchists! For us Brazilian Monarchists the Empire can be restored until 2022, support us!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I loved the story of Emperor Pedro II, he was clearly a great Monarch who did a lot for his beloved Fatherland despite his many personal problems. I think it is disgusting that he was overthrown by a group of self-interested republicans who were going against their entire country who loved the Emperor to achieve what they wanted and force him from his home.

      Your country deserves better.

      Delete
  3. You present a very compelling argument for continuing a monarchy rather than switching to a republic. What do you suppose the prospects might be for a republic switching to a monarchy today? I'm afraid that people are so fearful of giving up what they believe to be the "power of the vote" that there is little chance of any country voluntarily changing from a republic to a monarchy. I would love to hear your thoughts on that - Is it possible in today's world or could it only arise from the ruins of a collapsed society? How might a monarch be chosen (if "chosen" is the correct word)? Can you think of a scenario where it would be possible?

    Those of us who live under what is allegedly a republic seldom, if ever, seriously consider whether some form of monarchy might be better than what we have now. Perhaps it is not; however what we have now is clearly not working out as the Founding Fathers intended. We have a duty to our posterity to at least consider other options.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is hard to overcome the mentality that "because I vote for the President that means he has to care about me". In truth, the more people vote, the less significant each vote is and you can look at any of the major powers today and see that democracy is slogan, not an actual system. In China they don't even pretend to be democratic, in the EU they talk about it but all the big decisions are made by unelected appointees and they consistently ignore anti-EU votes and even in America how many times have we seen the President use regulations to get what he could not get done democratically through Congress?

      I continue to hope for republics voluntarily changing to monarchies simply because that is the only way we have to work with at the moment. However, most restorations in recent times have come about in extraordinary ways. In Spain it was done by the will of Franco, in Cambodia it was in the wake of the destruction of the Khmer Rouge by Vietnam and even for those countries that elected to become monarchies when gaining independence (like Norway or Belgium) it was at a time when republics were the exception rather than the rule.

      As to how it would be done, I would say the same way it was done in the past. Most countries have an heir-to-the-throne to restore and for those who don't the usual method is to choose a foreign royal not in direct line to a throne. Hence why there was a Hohenzollern ruling Romania, a Coburg ruling Bulgaria, a Glucksburg ruling Greece, another Coburg ruling Belgium, a Glucksburg ruling Norway and (briefly) a Savoy ruling Spain. A native son or daughter could be elevated to royal status but, at least in recent years, that hasn't worked out well.

      Right now, Montenegro seems the closest to a restoration. In fact they have practically restored the monarchy already in all but name, it would take only a minor final step to make it official. Support remains fairly high in Serbia as well. The conversion from republic to monarchy is really not that difficult. Even in the United States (just to be absurd for a moment) it would take only 2 or 3 amendments to the Constitution to do it. The bigger challenge is replacing the republican mentality with a monarchist one.

      Delete
  4. Well, it is a pipe dream, of course, but I have often thought I would like us, when the Republic fails (as all do) to be a parliamentary monarchy:

    An hereditary Emperor/Empress exercising powers similar to those originally assigned to our President (including the veto - recast as royal assent/dissent), with an appointed Prime Minister and Privy Council to deal with much of the day to day administrative business subject to the Emperor's approval;

    A Senate of no more than 100 elder "leading lights" from the academic, scientific, industrial, religious, and military fields (original members, since we have no hereditary peers, appointed by the Emperor, then themselves electing new members to fill vacancies, subject to confirmation by the Emperor);

    An elected House of Representatives (same number of reps from each state/province - much like our current Senate); and a form of supreme court.

    Same thing at the state/provinical level, except an hereditary King/Queen (or Duke/Duchess, perhaps) instead of a governor to handle local government and a unicameral legislature instead of bicameral ones (This is roughly how the German Second Reich was constituted).

    As for how to "choose" a monarch to establish a dynasty, perhaps we could choose a "spare" from a Royal House into which an American has married, so that the new monarch had some American "lineage" blended into his/her royal bloodline. If Hawaii stayed in the "Empire," perhaps a member of its Royal Family could be persuaded? It might at last bring full circle the shameful way in which our countrymen deposed Hawaii's rightful monarch, stole the islands, and demeaned the native inhabitants. Liliʻuokalani's revenge, as it were!

    Just my thoughts! Anyone else?

    Fr Theodore

    ReplyDelete
  5. To the above comment. It is interesting in theory. Yet I see less hope in america becoming a monarchy in the near future. It is more likely that we will become more and more "monarchial" until a dictator arrises and puts himself into an almost monarch position. Then over a few generations whe'll have our own "Caesar" of America as it where. Though it would still be a republic in name. This is not my dream rather it's what I expect will happen.

    As for the article, it is a good one. And this poses the problem, as many monarchist have polititions somewhere that they really admire, such as Reagan and Thatcher. I admire them both in a way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I expect this will happen as well. The power and unifying factor of the executive has only increased in our time, and the trend seems to be continuing. I doubt it would ever yield a nominal monarch however... especially as the image of the defeat of the "tyrant" King George III is so ingrained in the collective American consciousness.

      Off note, but why do Monarchists admire Reagan? I understand why they might admire Thatcher.

      Delete
    2. Monarchist tend to lead to the "right" end of the spectrum. While monarchist are against politicians there just are people who get elected who are closer to the side of conservatism. Conservatism tends to mean leaning towards more judeo/christian values, state's right, a nations soverienty, and to the extreme sometimes monarchy. Reagan tends to be a good example of a president a republic dreams of, a good person not totally bent on his own will. He also helped end the soviet union, an entity hated by monarchist. My definition of conservatism and monarchist ties to it are anything but universal. In fact I'd say a huge number would not fit anywhere in what I just said.

      Delete
  6. I agree with your argument, but let me play devil's advocate (or perhaps republican's advocate). Many say that the same could be said about monarchs. Fingers quickly point to Louis XIV, Nicholas II, Ivan IV, Henry VIII, etc. They also quickly point out that having a bad monarch can be worse, as they stay around for life. They might concede that politicians' purpose is to divide people, but they don't want to risk a tyrant either.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a very tired republican line -and one reason why I refuse to argue with republicans if they will not be specific. They warn against the limited monarchies of today by pointing to absolute monarchies of the distant past. Modern, limited monarchs cannot do what those back then did. Republican leaders can and republican leaders, particularly the very worst of them, stay around for life too. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Castro, etc never had to face being voted out of office. Today, however, royal tyrants are nothing to worry about because they are allowed no power at all. It is literally impossible for them to do any harm because they have no power to influence policy at all -that is all handled by elected ministers. People may not want to risk a tyrant but they do so at every election and they are in greater danger of an elected tyrant if for no other reason than that the rights of people are never in greater danger than when they are held by those in whom they have the least suspicion.

      I am amazed at how many times I have had to repeat this, and I don't enjoy it, but at the end of the day people have to take responsibility for their own actions and know that there never has been or ever will be a political system that is so perfect and fool-proof that no matter how the people behave, what laws or passed or who is elected there will never be any negative consequences. It is a ridiculous, utopian dream that there is some system or some certain arrangement of words on parchment that will prevent the people from ever being ruled badly. However, what is certain is that the most totalitarian states and the most murderous regimes only came about after the rise of modern republicanism with mass politics, party and ideological divisions, the nation-in-arms and governments that had "people's" or "democratic" in their names.

      Delete
    2. Re: Devil's advocate

      You make mention of Nicholas II, who was at worst a weak Tsar, and others, but consider this: Ivan IV was one man. Consider that in Congress and the Senate now, you have people who are indicted, some have been arrested WHILE IN OFFICE, Presidents who do not acknowledge the rule of Law. Which is worse: One bad man in charge, or hundreds of bad men and women?

      Delete
    3. I believe it was Thomas Paine who once said he'd rather one tyrant 5000 miles away than 5000 tyrants one mile away. The problem is in America that on California, it is further from DC Than London was from the Colonies. What goes on in Tennessee does not compute with Politicians from Illinois or Michigan or Massachusetts. America is too large to exist as a republic of this size.

      Delete
  7. Another brilliant piece! Thank you. I also shared this on Facebook. Long live the monarchy!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Politicians are the single best argument for Monarchy there is. Monarchists SHOULD use this argument, as it's among the best we have!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I would go one step further to assist our argument against democratic and republican forms of government. We ought to ask the following...

    Why do you think politicians AND BUREAUCRATS deserve more?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hello I am new to your blog and the idea of monarchy in general. I am interested in this although I am not quite sold on it. Frankly I wonder if we haven't gone too far to ever go back to such a system, but only God knows. Just a few observations I had, one, I don't think it's really fair or true to refer to Hitler, Mao, Stalin etc as Republicans. There really is little comparison to be made between these types of systems (and leaders) and say the current US system. And I'm pretty sure we have enough checks and balances in place to prevent us from descending into such a system.

    Also, I'm often perplexed by the vehement attachment to "free-trade capitalism" by those that consider themselves traditionalists. One of the problems I see with modern culture is it's materialism and consumerism. And while most conservatives like to lament the decline of culture, they bewildering fail to see or acknowledge the cause, that being our selling out to the almighty dollar. We've become a culture where anything that makes a buck is deemed good where anthing that doesn't sell is seen as a failure. Is this tradionalism? Pandering to the base whims of every consumer just to enrich yourself at the expense of degrading society? Don't get me wrong, I am not anti-capitalist per se, but it is a mean to an ends, there is nothing sacred in and of itself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Speaking for myself, Hitler and Stalin are perfectly valid examples because most republicans make no distinctions between monarchies of the past and present or even different styles that exist today such as the vast difference between monarchies like Saudi Arabia and Belgium or Swaziland and Australia. Also, Hitler, Stalin and Mao are, even if you deny that they are representative of republicanism, are at least representative of what republics can lead to. Each of their countries did not start out with them in power but they became republics and then such figures were able to take power later, within that system, despite all the checks and balances

      Delete
    2. Most monarchists are not concerned with the American system but even in America, the system has not prevented the President from gaining the power to ignore laws he disagrees with, enact laws without Congress, to spy on US citizens or even execute them without trial. That is all happening right now. As for capitalism, I don't know many people that have that level of devotion to capitalism but they do believe in respecting private property and your right to do what you like with what you have legitimately earned.

      Delete
  11. Re: American Monarchy

    I think it should be a descendant of Washington or Lee- Lee married the daughter of Washington's step-son- And the system should as follows.

    Each County would have a count residing over it, with limited but executive powers in their county. Each state would have a Baron, each region- New England, The pacific Coast, the South, etc. Would have a Duke. The Counts would form a council for the Baron's advisory, the Barons would work with their regions as a council of advisement for the duke- ie. A legislative body- And the Dukes would act as a council for the Monarch. The Checks and balances are that the Baron , Duke and King can police the counts. The Counts as a council, the Duke, and the King police the Baronial Class, the Barons as a council, and the King police the Dukes, and the Dukes as a council police the king. Hawaii would be returned to its royal family.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...