Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Madalogue on the Nature of Monarchy

I was recently discussing American politics with a staunch conservative who places the blame for the current woes of the US on the failure of political leaders to abide by the Constitution. It is a position I am largely in agreement with, however, I could not resist the urge to question the fundamental nature of constitutional government as a whole and brought up the situation in the late Russian Empire where the idea of a constitution was considered unthinkable and was only implemented several years into the 20th Century. Needless to say it did not save the Russian Empire but ever since then there has been at least some argument as to whether the solution was a stronger constitution and those who thought any constitution was a bad thing.

Needless to say this person thought that any constitution would be better than none. However, I countered by pointing out that it is impossible to codify justice, humanity and good government and that, even in so successful a model as the United States (as this person first pointed out) constitutions either become an ignored formality or a bloated, oppressive bureaucracy at the hands of power-hungry politicians. I said it was with good reason that the Russian Tsars for so long forbid a constitution because they had seen the countries which implemented them and, from their point of view at least, none had done well. They wanted no politics, no political parties, no factions and ideological disputes dividing and hardening their people. The Tsar could rule with the human touch while any constitution inherently cannot.

The republican (a very conservative and Christian individual) then asked if that was the only option in Tsarist Russia; unfettered democracy or dictatorship. I responded that the Tsar would not have seen himself as a dictator anymore than the patriarch of large family would view his own authority as dictatorial. This good Christian then tried to get ahead of me saying that it would have to then depend on whether the Emperor served the best interests of his people or simply his own. I put a question in response, ‘Do all parents truly serve the best interests of their children?’ Although the vast majority do, naturally and without prompting, yet there are those parents who are cruel to their children. Still, any good society would never think of violating the ‘Divine Right of Parents’ to raise their children as they see fit. It was conceded that I might have a point there and so the discussion ended.

Now, I am not trying to advocate for absolutism here (nor am I attacking the idea), as has often been stated I would prefer even the most toothless of monarchies where they are for at least having the benefit of a head-start in rebuilding over revolutionary republics. However, I do think that one of the key components of monarchies and what makes even an absolute monarch far different from a dictator is that familial bond which unites a traditional monarch to his or her people in the way that no appointed dictator or strongman who claws his way to power ever could.

For truly, is not every parent an absolute monarch over their own children? Would they not rightly object to any effort by a government or a legal code to interfere with how they manage their household or raise their children? Parents naturally do their best for their children because they are their own and similarly, in a way no politician ever could, monarchs do what is best for their people because they are *their* people, bound to them by blood, history and sacred tradition. Some might still dismiss this as condescending paternalism but is a cold political machine that sees people merely as nameless numbers, units, poll results to be manipulated or interest groups to turn against each other for their own benefit preferable? I suggest not.


  1. I have said much the same myself. Al I ver am told is that I support Dictatorship because I reject the right of the people to select their leaders. Never mind that "The people" are at each others throats and "The peopels choice" is only ever about 51-55%...

    Monarchy is based upon the origional order, and is the Nature of man. But man seems to be aggressive agaisnt his own nature, and so prefers a system that allows him to grab power and debase himself.

    Ill write mroe later.


    I quiet agree with you on this. Monarchy is base don a totally different Mindset than Republicanism or Democracy, and this makes it hard for people brought up in a Republic, called a Democracy, to really understand it. This is especially true when you realise most see Monarchy as the same as Dictatorship and tyranny, for they do not elect the King and thus assume people lack freedom of speech, press, and association, as well as any other basic right.

    I’ve often asked them why they think Voting for office holders automatically means we have freedom, and why they think a King wouldn’t be able to allow them. I never get a good answer, though.

    In our age of Democracy, an old style Monarchy in which the King exercised real power should be unthinkable, largely because of this misconception though. People just assume that Voting and Human Rights are part of the same general Democracy package that must come together and which are exclusive to each other.

    Besides, most nowadays have the democracy mindset, that all power rightly belongs to the people, and it is from the People that our Government comes from. Coming from a background that assumes that Sovereignty belongs to the people generally and that Government exists to represent and administer the will of the people, they wouldn’t be able to appreciate the Mindset of a Monarchist which views power coming from Above, and hat removes that power, and would in fact view such removal as removing freedom itself. Monarchy rests on the Principle of Family, and can only exist in a society based around a Hierarchy in which power is divided from the top down, and that views the people as a whole as ruled rather than Ruler.

    You are right, this is no different from Natural Family Relationships, and in fact is no different form any other Human Relationship apart from Governance in a Modern Democracy. Take Private businesses as an example. When you sign up for a new job, unless you own the company, you work for someone else. Most Companies are not Democratic at all, for he owner decides how the Business shall be run, and your job is simply to do his wishes. No one thinks this is wrong apart from a Communist, and Communism is really the highest expression of Democracy, though most Americans, especially American Conservatives, would denounce that Statement.

    The same applies to the Military, even in a Communist State. The Military is not a Democracy, you are expected to take orders form your immediate superiors unless those orders are superseded by orders from his superior. They don’t ask the Soldiers to vote on Military strategy, it is their lot to obey.

    And no one thinks this is wrong either.

    Even the clubs we join tend to be top down.

    Only in Government do we actually think Democracy is good, and even then we tend only to elect the wealthy who have powerful backers and represent special interests, and then Fawn over them as if they are Royalty. We speak of the President as a Servant, but treat him as a King. He say our Senators are only Common men and in fact subject to our will as peoples delegates, and again servants, but they are given the luxury of Lords.

    No matter how hard we try, we can’t break Human Nature. We are geared toward Monarchy and always want leaders whom rule over us and who guide us, and we honour and reverence our leaders. Monarhcy is just Honest about this trait in Humanity.

    One last post on Elections and their results later. Something came up and this is too long.

  3. Democracy is usually a lie anyway, it sounds nice and keeps the masses compliant but it is almost always a phantom. The US has always been the one democratic republic that worked pretty good, but things have changed alot and not for the better. As power is centralized the "czars" and assorted advisors and bureaucrats have more and more power and no one elects them. Even more stark an example is the EU where all of the most important decisions are made by political appointees who were never elected by anyone -- yet everyone thinks it is all democratic and therefore it is okay. That's what they *want* you to think! "There are none so enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free" after all.

    It is one of the greatest lies of modern age that the majority will never freely vote themselves into bondage. That is simply not the case, it happens all the time, whether freely or through manipulation which is the more common method.

  4. Building further upon the points made, republicanism and democracy are inherently disunifying, a theme that I have brough up time and again in my blogs. The setting of interest groups against each other creates an 'us and them' mentality - rich against poor, races against each other, etc. Even under constitutional monarchy, there is a temperence to this disunifying element, and it is non-existent in an autocratic state.

    Indeed, both you and Zarove are correct in stating that the modern perception of monarchies as tyrannical places is, in fact, a lie. It is a lie because the truth is the opposite - you were permitted to live, for the most part, as you saw fit, and had a far greater freedom from government control than one can really imagine today.

    It is a lie perpetuated because the truth undermines their own position, and their own failed promises and dreams.

    Though one can never underestimate good common sense, it can also be very easy to manipulate emotions, and because of that, and that humans are hardly the creatures of pure rationality that many think we are, people do not always vote wisely or in their best interests. A single issue may decide their vote, blocking out all the others. Or, there may be a whole string of issues.

    The problem gets worse when one looks at how much democratically elected leaders can get away with. Here in New South Wales, Australia, we have the most incompetent government in the entire antipodes under NSW Labor. There have been, quite literally, three state premiers in two years. Palace coups are the norm, and Labor is utterly contemptuous of those who don't vote for it (believe me, there's a lot of grief for me since I'm in a blue-ribbon Liberal (conservative) seat), and really couldn't care less about those who do. They're trying to secure enough votes to scrape in in the next election (in 2011), but they still won't change. The Liberal-National opposition is prepared to tear itself apart over factional infighting as well, and really, the voters of NSW often lament the wilful stupidity of everyone on Macquarie St.

    A monarch in the same situation would have people calling for open rebellion and revolution. But just because they got voted in, they're allowed to get away with it, with the rest of us just grumbling.

    Take Silvio Berlusconi as well. And Hugo Chavez. And one can go on and on. Were these people monarchs, their behaviour would not be tolerated. But as they are 'elected', they are somehow allowed to be our very worst.

    I can't recall who said it, but someone lamented that the Australian Labor Party no longer represented to cream of the working class, but the dregs of the middle class. And it's happening all over the world, that parties are being taken over by people who play politics for their lives, a new, dishonest aristocracy that lies and decieves its way into power, permitted to scheme and plot and divide and rule by a system that should instead seek to be elevating those who would unite and lead.

    Lord Acton knew the game, and it's a simple question - why on earth would you give power to those who pursue it, seeing these results? At least with monarchy, you will get (however occasionally) those who do not seek or pursue power, but instead use it for the betterment of their nation.

    A monarchy requires one man to be wise. Democracy requires the majority to be wise. Which is more likely?

    [Apologies for what is a very long rant].

  5. This is certainly the place for it.

    I am reminded of the former PM Baronness Thatcher who said that those who think a politician would make a better national leader than a hereditary monarch should probably get to know politicians a little better. Someone else (name escapes me) once said that if monarchy is a lottery, so is republicanism. Britain and the Commonwealth played the lottery last in 1952 and won big whereas republics have to roll the dice every few years and for the most part the results have been leaders who have been mediocre to horrific.

  6. mR. wELLS you'r comments stole my htunder, for that was the next mention on my list. Electiosn are divisive, and I never really understood why other people don't realise this. Instead, we are told how much Unity Democracy Creates. Watchuign the News over the last 9 years and seeing th Liberals protest everythign Bush did, an dnow seeing TEA party protestors doing exactly the same hting with Obama, I have to wonder why they think elections unite Americans.

    Though hey do, and many think, stangley, that when the Naiton is divided its the other side thts at fault. Durign the 8 years Bush was president, the reason America wans't United depended on who you spoke to. Liberals blamed Bush and the Religious Ruight, for they refused to cooperate and listen to the voices of the Average American. Bush's COnservaive supproters coutnered with th Liberals beign the real reason the Naion is divided, because htye coudln't accept the will of the people in that Bush was elected and work with him, but always had ot cunter him.

    The same excuses now exist for Obamas fialure to Unite Americans. Only the roles are reverses. Liberals claim that COnservatives refuse to accept Obama and won't work with him and are the soruce of disunity, and COnservaives claiM Obama refuses to work with them and listen to their claims.

    Democracy is never aulted, for in their inds its ne er the problem, but peopel refusign to be Democratic by cooperating.

    They seem not to realise that Cooperating isn't what Votign i about. Votign pits sides agaisnt eahc other, and naturlaly the side that Voted agaisnt Obama can't stand that he won and works agaisnt him. He doesn't representhtem or thir interests and got into power precicely by oposing the htings they hodl dar. Did they really expect him to unite America? Or Bush? Or anyone thats ever been PResident?

    Even George Washington had peopel opposed ot him! And not just the Tory Loyalists.

    Then their is the matter o the COnstitution. I actually think havin a written cotnract is a god idea, for it clealry defines ones duties and the laws, and establishes for all oto see what is and is not permite dby a RUler or a Subject. However, I don't invest in them in the same way Modern Rpeublicans do, for I know one thign they seem not o realise. A Written Constitution is only as good as the pepel who follow it, and if the Goverment ecides ot ignroe part of it, it usually ius ignored. A Constitution can't enforce itself. The US COnsitution, a much venerated and mythic Document that we all in Ameirca view as having its wn Divine Power, won't magically spring to life and CHastise COngress or the PResident for Violatin its Tenets. It wont start to glow and peak and threaten HEllfire rainign for the sky shudl we violate it.

    Its ultiamltey a peice of Parhcment.

    Much like the Bible, the COnstitution cna't do anythign in and of itself. We have to live by it.

    The real wuesiton is, do you trust a never endign cycle of Politicians to alays honour the OCnstitution and follow it? Men who come form diverse bakcgroudns with a pelthra of agendas who ar ebeholden to special itnerests and makign promises o those interests?

    A King is more likely to, anyway, since Monarhcies are roote din Tradition, and a Kign ruleds by PRecedent. Republics, especially new ones, always have a Revolutionary zeal, and the idea of breakign Tradition i much Stronger.

    And as Wells said, peopel seem to not oppose a Democraticlaly Elected Govenrment as they oudl a King.

    This is because hye have na illusion that the Govenrment is "Of the people" and a smucha s they perosnally see it fial they still think it Represnts them.

    Its all just wildely CHaotic and insane.


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