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Hi Blog. As I am inundated with classes this fall (it’s my busiest semester ever), I decided to write about what was on my mind with the passing of a historical figure. Should monarchies still be allowed to exist when millennia have showed that there are much better forms of government out there? Enjoy. Debito Arudou, Ph.D.
(PS: This is the 3000th post on the Debito.org Blog since it started more than 15 years ago. This doesn’t of course include the posts made on Debito.org proper before this blog was started, since 1995. Long may we run.)
Visible Minorities: Queen Elizabeth, Monarchies, and Progressivism
Shingetsu News Agency, Sept 19, 2022, by DEBITO ARUDOU in COLUMN
SNA (Tokyo) — On the death of Queen Elizabeth II, let’s talk about monarchies. Why do they still exist, and should they still be allowed to exist?
Monarchies are as old as civilization. Kings and hereditary power were once the norm worldwide, as they were the means to control land and offer protection for farming peasants, exchanging food supply for protection from invaders—when the system worked as promised.
But it often didn’t. “Good” kings were relatively rare and their legacies unsustainable. Sooner or later, the people got unlucky under some ruler whose only claim to power was divine right, suffering under a king or queen who had gotten a God Complex, or was being manipulated by an unscrupulous elite.
Either way, their regimes cared naught about the welfare of most people in their kingdom, forcing them to pay treasure to corrupt systems, sending them to die in meaningless wars, and leaving them dirt poor at the best of times or starving in the worst.
That’s the reason why today very few absolute monarchies remain in the world. You simply can’t trust kings and queens to look out for any interests but their own. It took a couple of millennia, but people eventually realized that a monarch, or any leader unaccountable for their actions, had to be reined in.
Most countries acknowledge that the best of all flawed systems is a government where people can choose their leaders. That’s why even one-party autocratic states have elections. Replacing leaders bloodlessly on a regular basis, under a franchise that expands suffrage to as many people as possible, on average produces a better minimum standard of living for all.
So why do so many stable advanced democracies, such as the United Kingdom, retain their monarchies?
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