Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Let's Bring Back The Monarchy

I've recently realized...although we complain of political dynasties...there really is a case to be made to bringing back the monarchy.

Maybe things aren't quite as bad as I thought but if they are: Could we do much worse? I personally think if we picked someone at random out of the phone book we might actually do a bit better than currently...

Now this might be the most radical political view we currently have available---but I think I can get it going. How about it? Anybody feel like making our head of state an inherited position? (Certainly NOT the current head of state...I say we pick someone from a list of very well-qualified candidates.)

Of course the first problem is: What about the aristocracy? The monarchy typically depends on an aristocracy and unfortunately the aristocracy always really sucked. So I say--we bring back the monarchy without all that aristocracy business. Just a monarch and his descendants will have heritable positions and titles....However, we do need backup monarchs and so the direct and indirect descendants of the monarch need to be given titles and a certain amount of prestige so that when they step into the job they already have the props necessary to rule.

We don't even have to call them "King" or "Queen"...We can use more interesting names like "The Big Guy" or "Kahuna" or "Tsar" or "Caesar."

Reason #1: Monarchs don't have to bow to public opinion. They can do what they regard as the best choice without worrying about their political futures.

Here, I think our guiding light should be Edmund Burke: "When the leaders choose to make themselves bidders at an auction of popularity, their talents, in the construction of the state, will be of no service. They will become flatterers instead of legislators; the instruments, not the guides, of the people."

Reason #2: Monarchs unite the country under a spirit of common feeling. If they are dignified and courageous we look to them for inspiration. If they are weak and insipid we ridicule them but without the despairing sense we have now that it wasn't really supposed to be this way.

Edmund Burke again: "In this choice of inheritance we have given to our frame of polity the image of a relation in blood; binding up the constitution of our country with our dearest domestic ties; adopting our fundamental laws into the bosom of our family affections; keeping inseparable and cherishing with the warmth of all their combined and mutually reflected charities, our state, our hearths, our sepulchres, and our altars."

Reason #3: Especially apt at the current moment: Vainglory. I'm too lazy to search for a quote...Hobbes' general idea (I'm about 75% sure) was that constant strife among people is the result in part of vainglory. People's natural tendency to assume they are right will cause them to continually war against one another. This will result in civil conflict and general disorder--which is not in our interest. Thus, we need an absolute sovereign.

At the same time, Hobbes claims we are all created equal. So you don't have to hold the divine right of kings to want absolute sovereignty.

I don't want our sovereign to be absolute...I suppose the vainglory point doesn't really support what I was thinking about...But aren't our current leaders vainglorious? At least a sovereign would limit the number of people whose vainglory will be a problem.

Reason #4 : Avoiding the blame. At the current moment every American citizen is subject to blame, censure, criticism and possibly even death for every idiotic, indifferently callous, irresponsible, murderous, wicked thing our government does. Why? I take it the reason is that we are ostensibly a democracy and hence 'we' (whoever the hell 'we' are) are responsible in some way for all these actions taken by our government--secret or public. 'We' are supposed to know...and to stop...somehow...our government from violence, war, economic exploitation of other countries, etc., etc.

How 'we' could do this is a mystery but I take it that the idea is that as long as 30% of us still vote we are taken to endorse the actions of the government. Further, some of these actions are quite popular. I fully admit that. The lack of dissent--the weakness of dissent?--is taken to be a full endorsement.

At the moment I guess...the burden seems to be on every American to engage in non-stop protest. I guess that's certainly the case. But we're just so busy and everything...and it all seems a bit futile. It's not like we can take those mortar launchers and submachine guns that are legal in many parts of the country and just turn them on our own government? It is obvious that they have much greater firepower. And who has the time?

A monarchy could stop all that! We could no longer be held responsible for these hideous doings. We'd be completely off the hook, in fact.

Reason #5: Avoidance of government stopping political scandals. There really is no point in bothering with these scandals if your monarch is powerful enough. (Not like those British monarchs who have somehow turned into celebrities rather than monarchs.) Plus, the monarch will be raised to be monarch. He will know ahead of time not to get arrested driving drunk or having affairs with the wrong people...And actually, it won't be such a big deal if he does have them--since he's the monarch after all. That's what monarchs do.

A major question is: Who gets to be the monarch? Well, at first I was thinking it would be easiest if we just picked a king and queen that were already famous, likely to breed and loved by all. So I was thinking--What about Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston?

However, I think it is clear that the monarch should definitely be black. I assume I don't have to give a lot of reasons for this--It's just obvious that there is something creepy about those kind of blonde monarchs. First I thought--what about Will and Jada? But Will doesn't have the gravitas to rule. So I believe Denzel Washington and his wife would work exceedingly well as first monarchs. Morgan Freedman would also make an excellent monarch except I don't know much about his current children and I think it would be nice if the first prince/princess were born in the castle.

Not quite sure yet...or if it even has to be someone famous. My alternative view is that we should just let those guys who picked out and raised the Dalai Lama be in charge of picking the monarch. Look at the Dalai Lama! Wouldn't you want him for a monarch? Those lamas obviously have a knack that the American public lacks. (Of course, I'd say--it's not our fault...if we just got to pick from any baby...anywhere...we'd be doing alright. It's the range of choices we have that really causes the problems.)

Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France


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