Friday, June 14, 2013
Mad Rant: Monarchy Value for Money
First, to be fair, we can certainly understand why the images of opulence exist in the popular imagination. One of the things most monarchists love about monarchy is the pomp and splendor that (traditionally anyway) goes along with the institution. Royals live in palaces, ride in gilded carriages attended by liveried footmen and wear magnificent jewels. It certainly looks pretty lavish, doesn’t it? Even the famously bicycling royals of The Netherlands don an ermine robe when it comes to swearing-in day. However, the fact remains that those magnificent jewels and robes are very old family heirlooms, bought and paid for many years ago (in some cases centuries ago) and their continued use costs the taxpayer nothing. In Great Britain, the Queen is known for being exceptionally frugal, using the same car until it practically falls apart. In fact, in a recent year, the travel expenses for the entire British Royal Family was considerably less than the travel expenses for President Obama and his small crew. The Queen would never dream of spending so much as the American president nor would any British government allow such a thing for ‘mere’ royals. Yet, when the average republican thinks of royalty, they think of big expenses for taxpayers. They do not think of the Prince of Liechtenstein whose subjects pay him nothing at all. In fact, he gives from his own private funds to help the government run smoothly.
Of course, not every monarch was known for being frugal. Neither has such a trait always been considered positive. Indeed, even as far back as the Roman Empire, certain Caesars were criticized for being miserly. However, these examples should be pointed out, and there were plenty of others (such as King George VI putting the palace and Royal Family on the ration system in World War II). Even today, the spending habits of some monarchs are no doubt troublesome. The King of Swaziland, for instance, does himself no favors in that regard. However, the fact remains that monarchy remains a much better value for money than the average republic even if not every one is like the Emperor of Japan, growing his own rice. Monarchs, especially today, are much more thrifty than politicians if for no other reason than that they are scrutinized to such a vastly greater extent than any elected official. There is also the fact that much of what people see as the lavish and glamorous side of royalty comes at the private expense of the royals and not from the public trough which is, again, something rarely seen in a republic. Furthermore, most of the expense comparisons between monarchies and republics do not even usually take into consideration the immense costs of elections and election campaigns, held with great frequency even if they never seem to actually change anything.
But, of course, I would; I am … The Mad Monarchist