Debito.org post #3000: SNA Visible Minorities 38: Visible Minorities: “Queen Elizabeth, Monarchies, and Progressivism” (Sept 19, 2022), on whether royals should still be allowed to exist

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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.)

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Visible Minorities: Queen Elizabeth, Monarchies, and Progressivism
Shingetsu News Agency, Sept 19, 2022, by DEBITO ARUDOU in COLUMN
https://shingetsunewsagency.com/2022/09/19/visible-minorities-queen-elizabeth-monarchies-and-progressivism/

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?

Rest is at https://shingetsunewsagency.com/2022/09/19/visible-minorities-queen-elizabeth-monarchies-and-progressivism/

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7 comments on “Debito.org post #3000: SNA Visible Minorities 38: Visible Minorities: “Queen Elizabeth, Monarchies, and Progressivism” (Sept 19, 2022), on whether royals should still be allowed to exist

  • Excellent, balanced, thought-provoking; thank you.

    Steven Fry reflected on monarchies in an interview … :
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7FbQSp5caA
    (1’30”)
    … with a naughty twinkle in his eye, much as I suspect Debito had when he wrote this.

    Part of me still inclines, however, to the Bolshevik solution: a bullet to the back of the head for each of them, their bodies dumped in an unmarked, abandoned mine shaft, their wealth confiscated and nationalized, their loot returned to the people it was stolen from.

    People usually don’t consider monarchies in an academic way, as an abstract tool of diplomacy or governance;
    they react to how the people involved play their roles.
    “We” used to have QEII as head of state, now we have her cranky son? Bummer!
    Ms. Maxwell is doing time, Prince Andrew is doing fine …

  • And we’re all just suckers for pomp and circumstance.

    Well no, we really aren’t. It just depends on the person. I dislike most ceremonies and where reasonable avoid attending or watching them.

  • So why do so many stable advanced democracies, such as the United Kingdom, retain their monarchies?
    Short answer; division of power, and popularity.
    But this is a website about Japan so lets talk about or around the taboo subject of the Japanese Emperor system. Surely it is linked inexorably by association to a certain relatively recent mass genocide in its name?
    More to the point, the LDP gerontocracy inheriting their seats in rotten boroughs, i.e. following the old fashioned UK system of a parliamentary demoracy.

    I ll say this for Japan, at least the upper house is elected and not full of lords appointed by said monarch at the behest of the Prime Minister. Similarly, Japan has the Single Transferable Vote so some second placed parties are represented; this was incredulously rejected by the Uk populace in a recent referendum much to my horror. Apparently they were holding out for Proportional Representation. Well, they could be holding out for a few more decades!

  • @Bogfly, I take your humourous point but
    -Bolshevik solution
    = more like a panicked arbitrary decision by a faction within a faction as the white army were advancing
    -a bullet to the back of the head for each of them, their bodies dumped in an unmarked, abandoned mine shaft, their wealth confiscated and nationalized, their loot returned to the people it was stolen from.
    I doubt “the people” ever saw anything of that loot, directly or indirectly. Unless you count the Moscow underground train system. Looks like it was decorated with said loot.

    Hardly a solution to aspire to. And especially these days, we need to finally eliminate violence and oppression from Russia- the last brutal outlier- and the European continent as a whole.

  • Andrew in Saitama says:

    Ah, emperors.
    The nationalists are prepared to die, and moreover, kill in the name of the emperor.
    Woe betide anyone who says anything that could possibly be twisted into a criticism of the emperor.

    Also, if the emperor states that the imperial line probably came from the Korean peninsula, ignore the emperor.

  • Well i spoke to a British man a few years back who said the monarchy made him feel British. Americans have Disneyland and the British have Buckingham palace, as a place for tourists. You need a monarchy to feel British? I could not understand.

  • @Brooke

    “Americans have Disneyland and the British have Buckingham palace”

    Yes the British royals provide exactly the same value as a theme park. The whole of UK is a glum theme park that most people don’t want to go to.

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