Monday, March 28, 2011

Some thoughts on Monarchy & Democracy

In this video is outlined the principles of what monarchists believe in. It is not wholly accurate, as it seems to portray the average monarchist as a Godfearing reactionary - not that being Godfearing or reactionary is a bad thing. However the sentence that drew my attention is "when one hears the word Communist, Anarchist or Conservative it is clear what that person believes in. Yet when one hears the word 'Monarchist' it is not so clear." He then goes on to say "It is no surprise considering the many myths about this ideology and the many branches of this ideology". Certainly there are many branches of the monarchist ideology - one can be an Australian monarchist who simply wants to keep the Queen, or an absolutist who believes in vesting absolute authority of the realm in the person of the king, or anything in between.

I think we can divide most monarchists into two rough camps - those who believe in monarchy for the sake of monarchy, and those who believe in monarchy for the sake of good government. Some people have a foot in both camps - some people are further into one camp than the other. One's preferred "branch" of monarchism is usually irrelevant here. Some constitutional monarchists just like having a Queen, or are monarchists because their country has always been a monarchy, rather than for any particularly great desire for constitutional stability. Some absolutists genuinely believe that absolute monarchy is the best form of government, and they are usually good at supporting this.

I have a foot in both camps, alternately stepping further into one or the other on a regular basis, but essentially I am a constitutional monarchist. Even though I can sympathise with its supporters, I am not a fan of absolute monarchy. It is primarily because I believe in democracy, and because I think that, while absolute monarchy certainly has its strengths, it can equally be an irresponsible and dangerous way of governing, when one man's word is law.
Read the rest here.


rabidgandhi said...

This is good. As Soviet communism showed itself not to be communal and US democracy increasingly shows itself not to be democratic, an energetic, open debate about all of these systems (anarchism, trotskyism, maoism, various forms of monarchism, etc...) can only help, before the bombs fall on the next recipient of western democratisation.

sjgmore said...

I've always considered myself a republican, although, to be perfectly frank, my ideals tend more towards anarchy -- as Tolkien defined it, "the abolition of power" not "whiskered men with bombs". But I have to say, since I consider all forms of government to fall short of the ideal stateless society, I'm more and more being won over by monarchism.

It's pretty clear that republicanism is just as prone to devolution into tyranny as any other form of government, and the idea of republicanism itself is rapidly devolving into, on the one hand, stooge governments that maintain the illusion of representing the will of the people while engaging in cronyism and oppression, and on the other hand, pure democracy, in which critical public policies are essentially decided by polling data drawn from a misinformed and self-serving public.

I'm just finding it hard to continue to reject the idea of monarchism when I contemplate the fact that our republican society upholds Julius Caesar as some kind of high-minded hero and denigrates Marie Antoinette as the heartless consort of a despotic king, and not because of their own traits, which are largely the opposite, but because "republicans", even dictators, must be "good" and queens, no matter how virtuous, must be "bad".

At any point, it's all moot. My opinion on these issues isn't going to matter much.