Mr. Tolstoy asserts that dictators have disliked monarchies, which is largely true, but also seems to imply that monarchy would prevent dictators from coming to power. Germany is cited as the obvious example, with the inclusion of a quote from Mr. Churchill effectively blaming America for the downfall of the German Kaiser and thus the coming to power of Adolf Hitler. Now, that, I must point out, is rather rich considering that Churchill was second to none in urging America to get involved in the First World War, but it also ignores the fact that the German Kaiser was ultimately brought down by the Germans themselves and that the U.S. refused to ratify the disastrous Versailles Treaty and made its own separate peace agreements with the Central Powers. The rise of Hitler had very little to do with the United States and much more to do with the damaging reparations payments Britain and France demanded as well as the carve-up of territories with various other soon-to-be Allied nations made by the French and British long before the United States ever entered the war.
More bizarre, however, is Mr. Tolstoy’s effort to refute the argument of incompetent hereditary rulers by pointing to existing political dynasties in America. Strangely, he uses the example of the thoroughly discredited Bush family rather than the more topical but more controversial example of Hillary Clinton, wife of a former President (perhaps the NYT wouldn’t have allowed the article to appear if he had). However, it seems quite absurd to say that, “Americans chose to be governed by George Bush II” as an argument given that, again, his opening example of a monarchy America could be more like was Canada which just chose to be governed by a prime minister who is also the son of a former prime minister! His next line that, “The framers of the Constitution were, without question, men of preeminent judgment and intellect” also does not jive with the overall argument that the system which they established (on their second try, having made a pig’s breakfast of the first effort) is the one he is advocating be abandoned.
Personally, I tend to think that if HM Queen Elizabeth II were ruling the United States according to her own good judgment, America would be better off but that is not what is being proposed here, nor is it the case in the U.K. or Canada or anywhere else in the English-speaking world. It is not that the argument being presented here is necessarily wrong, it is rather subjective, but I do think it is something of a double-edged sword. After all, if things in Denmark, Belgium or Britain are fine and dandy, if Canadians are so content, and that is attributed to their constitutional monarchs, then if you think things in these places are not so great, if Canadians become less than contented, then logically their monarchs could be held to blame and that, I think, would be very unfair. It would be, if you can follow me, like keeping your cat in a cage and then blaming it for not catching any mice. If your cat is caged and you do not have any mice, I don’t think the fact that you have a caged cat is the reason for your lack of rodents.
The real problem is with the liberal political system itself which, as I have pointed out before, has broken down. It has broken down partly because of its own inherent flaws and partly because it is based on everyone agreeing to abide by one set of rules and that is no longer the case. It is a system that *cannot* work if only one side follows the rules. It cannot work if one party is protected by the Justice Department and effectively given immunity from prosecution, it cannot work if the press refuses to scrutinize one party and it cannot work if one party can simply import new voters when their arguments fail to convince the existing population. Both sides have to be subject to the same rules and that is blatantly no longer the case. Europe is in much the same situation. In the U.S. if the ruling political class cannot get the public to vote for what they want, they simply get the Supreme Court to impose their wishes on the country. In Europe, if the people do not do as they are told, you have the unelected, unaccountable European Union leadership to impose its wishes in similar fashion. Monarchs, where they survive, have nothing to do but watch, having been stripped of any power to do good or repress evil.