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Titus's open letter to the Queen of England
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Kuros



Joined: 27 Apr 2004

PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fox wrote:
Moreover, it's all well and good to talk about rights, "Even the king cannot suspend without due process," but -- and this is something libertarian-inclined individuals seem to struggle with -- the world doesn't really work like a board game played by strict rules.


Usually I enjoy Fox's posts, but I stopped reading after this. We're trying to sketch the outlines of a monarchy in speech. We are going to make some big assumptions at the start. That's just the nature of language. It has nothing to do with libertarian-inclined individuals.

If you're not going to be open to the idea of monarchy, then this thread is probably not for you.
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Fox



Joined: 04 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kuros wrote:

If you're not going to be open to the idea of monarchy, then this thread is probably not for you.


I'm open to considering it, but I'm not predisposed towards it, meaning it is on you to convince me handing a huge amount of political power to a single individual is genuinely unlikely to result in what I've described. Unless of course you had in mind a group-think thread where the potential problems and downsides of Monarchy are not considered, in which case I'll oblige and stay out of it, as I've no wish to pointlessly pester; I thought an actual discussion was desired, but if not, that's fine.
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Leon



Joined: 31 May 2010

PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While I'm not open to the idea of a monarchy, I think in the right circumstances a technocratic leader can do things that a democracy can't in a shorter period of time. Lee Kuan Yew comes to mind. That being said, I think it's only effective when they step down after their mandate expires, everyone I know in Singapore doesn't like him, and wants the system to open up.
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Kuros



Joined: 27 Apr 2004

PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For those who don't believe a country can have a Monarchy and civil rights, I point you to the Charter of Liberties, the Magna Carta and the 1689 Bill of Rights. It is not merely possible, but actually precedented, to have the rule of law coexist with a Monarchy.
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Fox



Joined: 04 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a reasonable point, but we can see the long-term results of such rights-based policies in the nation in question: slow gravitation away from true Monarchy and towards "tourism Monarchy" coupled with representative rule. Once you sufficiently constrain the King -- sufficiently check his power -- the motivation behind having the King as a genuine, effective leader (as opposed to a figurehead) fades.

Now to be fair to Kuros, that sounds very much like a slippery-slope argument as I read it back, but I suppose I'm suggesting that in political systems, sometimes there really are slopes, and they can at times have a certain degree of inevitable slipperiness to them. Maybe there's some steady orbit in there wherein a genuinely limited, rights-based Monarchy could be maintained indefinitely without losing its essential character, I don't know.
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Kuros



Joined: 27 Apr 2004

PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fox wrote:
That's a reasonable point, but we can see the long-term results of such rights-based policies in the nation in question: slow gravitation away from true Monarchy and towards "tourism Monarchy" coupled with representative rule. Once you sufficiently constrain the King -- sufficiently check his power -- the motivation behind having the King as a genuine, effective leader (as opposed to a figurehead) fades.


First of all, any serious Monarchy wouldn't be absolute. The Monarch wouldn't be absolute in terms of its ability to wield power on individuals at any time (it would be constrained by the rule of law). And the Monarch wouldn't be absolute in terms of the field of its power (it would be checked by some democratic and oligarchic forces, if not by the constitutive order then at least by practical reality).

Second of all, we have a living, breathing system with a sort of acting Monarch: the United States's imperial Presidency. This Monarch may be deficient in some ways: the President is democratically elected, constrained to a specific Executive function, and subject to political and partisan politics. Nevertheless, the United States Presidency functions more as a Monarch than the many Parliamentary heads of parties, usually named Prime Ministers, who can be removed almost immediately by a no-confidence vote and whose power derives directly from the legislative body's constituency.

When Titus speaks of a Monarchy, I think of it in a particular way. I think of the American system but perhaps with a different history. I think of a less powerful legislature and a more powerful Executive-as-Monarch. But I also think of a change in kind. No longer would legitimacy derive directly from the people. Instead, the state would take on a character as the commonwealth and domain of a single individual. 50% +1 would no longer be the order of the day. And the Monarch could halt oligarchs in their tracks (if it were so disposed).

For example, after the financial crisis, I don't see a Monarch fretting over whether nationalizing the banks would appear to be socialist. If it were what was needed, the Monarch would try an accomplish it. Likewise, I don't see the Monarch bothering with whether the mortgage-interest deduction were popular. The Monarch would pluck it away and provide some other ameliorative policy to the people. The state would function differently, and no longer would special constituencies, minority or popular, hold such a stranglehold over decision-making. Or would it?
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Leon



Joined: 31 May 2010

PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kuros wrote:
Fox wrote:
That's a reasonable point, but we can see the long-term results of such rights-based policies in the nation in question: slow gravitation away from true Monarchy and towards "tourism Monarchy" coupled with representative rule. Once you sufficiently constrain the King -- sufficiently check his power -- the motivation behind having the King as a genuine, effective leader (as opposed to a figurehead) fades.


First of all, any serious Monarchy wouldn't be absolute. The Monarch wouldn't be absolute in terms of its ability to wield power on individuals at any time (it would be constrained by the rule of law). And the Monarch wouldn't be absolute in terms of the field of its power (it would be checked by some democratic and oligarchic forces, if not by the constitutive order then at least by practical reality).

Second of all, we have a living, breathing system with a sort of acting Monarch: the United States's imperial Presidency. This Monarch may be deficient in some ways: the President is democratically elected, constrained to a specific Executive function, and subject to political and partisan politics. Nevertheless, the United States Presidency functions more as a Monarch than the many Parliamentary heads of parties, usually named Prime Ministers, who can be removed almost immediately by a no-confidence vote and whose power derives directly from the legislative body's constituency.

When Titus speaks of a Monarchy, I think of it in a particular way. I think of the American system but perhaps with a different history. I think of a less powerful legislature and a more powerful Executive-as-Monarch. But I also think of a change in kind. No longer would legitimacy derive directly from the people. Instead, the state would take on a character as the commonwealth and domain of a single individual. 50% +1 would no longer be the order of the day. And the Monarch could halt oligarchs in their tracks (if it were so disposed).

For example, after the financial crisis, I don't see a Monarch fretting over whether nationalizing the banks would appear to be socialist. If it were what was needed, the Monarch would try an accomplish it. Likewise, I don't see the Monarch bothering with whether the mortgage-interest deduction were popular. The Monarch would pluck it away and provide some other ameliorative policy to the people. The state would function differently, and no longer would special constituencies, minority or popular, hold such a stranglehold over decision-making. Or would it?


I think regardless of the system, large international corporations and their interests would be powerful and hold some sway over the leader. What might happen is what happened in Russia where Putin might as well be a monarch, where he picks winners and losers in a more definitive way then bailout money ever did, and where if you end up on the wrong side you disappear or are put away. I mean Russia theoretically has laws and a constitution, but in practice it's flexible to fit the needs of the leader. I think that's what would happen, or the Monarch would eventually become a figure head like Fox describes.
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Unposter



Joined: 04 Jun 2006

PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, I am a little surprised by the turn this thread has had. It started off as a nice piece of humor and has turned into a serious thread on the advantages of monarchy - by professed libertarians - in the 21st Century no less. To me, it is a bizzare hodgepodge of beliefs here.

To start, the Charter of Liberties and (no article) Magna Carta were more about how keep the aristocracy in power than it was to provide liberties to the common person. Of course, history has changed some of this, in the sense that it did lead to the eventual expansion of enfranchisement, but it did only after the American and French Revolutionary Wars and changes in 19th Century thinking. Though, obviously, the English Civil War was significant as well.

But, I think Fox made a very strong argument that a monarchy is only acceptable when the monarchs policies reflect the interest and will of the people and if it does not, and if the monarch is actively involved in politics, it will eventually differ.

The democratic system is just as strong, in the powers invested in the President, as a constitutional monarchy, but with extra safety of elections and term limits (as in you have to run again after a term in office - not limitation of terms).

Now, I think for most libertarians who would want less interference in the economic sphere, I cannot understand why they would want more interference in the political sphere, which is what a monarchy would provide. It is a limit to the freedoms of the people to act upon their government as they desire.

Personally, I just don't get it.

When this thread started, I thought it had more to do with a turn toward "Anglo" traditions, because people were upset with the non-Anglo Obama's re-election. But, I had no idea, it was lets turn back the clock back to monarchy because we are so disillusioned by what democracy has given us.

That makes me very nervous.

Democracy is not always pretty. But, it allows for freedom. The cry for monarchy is a slippery slope to dictatorship and the pandoras box of affects it will bring.

The history of the British parlimentary system has been one of more and more democracy and less and less (even influence) of the monarch. And, it is for good reason. And, I don't see why anyone would want to go back.
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Unposter



Joined: 04 Jun 2006

PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was also surprised by Kuros' comment, "If you're not going to be open to the idea of monarchy, then this thread is probably not for you." This seems very out of character for Kuros. While it is polite and it is probably well meaning, it also has a passive-agressive feel of I don't value your opinion and I would rather you not speak your mind here, which IMHO, is not so libertarian either.

I will give you your space here but I do wonder why you seem so defensive and angry.
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CentralCali



Joined: 17 May 2007

PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kuros wrote:
Second of all, we have a living, breathing system with a sort of acting Monarch: the United States's imperial Presidency. This Monarch may be deficient in some ways: the President is democratically elected, constrained to a specific Executive function, and subject to political and partisan politics. Nevertheless, the United States Presidency functions more as a Monarch than the many Parliamentary heads of parties, usually named Prime Ministers, who can be removed almost immediately by a no-confidence vote and whose power derives directly from the legislative body's constituency.


Looks to me like the US president functions as both head of state and head of government. That doesn't make him a monarch of any sort.
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Fox



Joined: 04 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unposter wrote:
I was also surprised by Kuros' comment, "If you're not going to be open to the idea of monarchy, then this thread is probably not for you." This seems very out of character for Kuros. While it is polite and it is probably well meaning, it also has a passive-agressive feel of I don't value your opinion and I would rather you not speak your mind here, which IMHO, is not so libertarian either.

I will give you your space here but I do wonder why you seem so defensive and angry.


Last time we discussed this issue, through the lens of Aristotle's politics, I was not very generous to his position, and my thoughts remain largely unchanged since then (except, to a degree, regarding natural slavery -- albeit not precisely the form that Aristotle had in mind -- which I've got some current doubts about, but that was peripheral to the conversation). I can try to be more generous, but vigor and aggression in dissent is a part of my nature, so he's not necessarily wrong; if he wants to just have a calm chat about some ideas he admires, I see nothing wrong with politely asking me to step aside.
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Fox



Joined: 04 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kuros wrote:

First of all, any serious Monarchy wouldn't be absolute. The Monarch wouldn't be absolute in terms of its ability to wield power on individuals at any time (it would be constrained by the rule of law). And the Monarch wouldn't be absolute in terms of the field of its power (it would be checked by some democratic and oligarchic forces, if not by the constitutive order then at least by practical reality).


That's reasonable.

Kuros wrote:
Second of all, we have a living, breathing system with a sort of acting Monarch: the United States's imperial Presidency.


I think a line needs to be drawn between genuine monarchs, and political figures whose offices have merely a degree of monarchical character. It's obviously true that the Presidency of the United States has a certain monarchical character to it, but I also think it's obviously true that he's by no means a monarch, precisely because:

1) His authority, electoral-college chicanery aside, derives from popular mandate, and is subject, through the filtration of the elected legislature, to recall.

2) His true authority is very strictly limited by the Constitution under which he operates, even if in current times the office in question probably steps over those limits to a degree.

3) The symbology of the Office of the Presidency and how it relates to the common citizen is much closer to "first among equals" than to "king and subject." This is intangible yet, from my perspective, important; Kingship, to be Kingship, needs a certain cultural atmosphere to genuinely manifest. In short, that transfer of dignity I mentioned earlier must be present.

Each of these points in term may be, on its own, insufficient to draw a line between "President" and "Monarch," but collectively, I think they imply a clear difference; our President is one of us, serving in a relatively limited capacity, at the pleasure of the populace and its other chosen representatives. I don't think that's mere deficiency of his monarchical power, I think it's genuine divergence from monarchy and into something which merely shares certain characteristics with it.

Kuros wrote:
When Titus speaks of a Monarchy, I think of it in a particular way. I think of the American system but perhaps with a different history. I think of a less powerful legislature and a more powerful Executive-as-Monarch. But I also think of a change in kind. No longer would legitimacy derive directly from the people. Instead, the state would take on a character as the commonwealth and domain of a single individual. 50% +1 would no longer be the order of the day. And the Monarch could halt oligarchs in their tracks (if it were so disposed).

For example, after the financial crisis, I don't see a Monarch fretting over whether nationalizing the banks would appear to be socialist. If it were what was needed, the Monarch would try an accomplish it. Likewise, I don't see the Monarch bothering with whether the mortgage-interest deduction were popular. The Monarch would pluck it away and provide some other ameliorative policy to the people.

The state would function differently, and no longer would special constituencies, minority or popular, hold such a stranglehold over decision-making. Or would it?


Being "above the partisan fray" introduces, however, another, inverted set of restrictive forces: the need to seem above the partisan fray. As a slightly tangential example, our nation's Supreme Court. In theory it ought to transcend partisan politics. Does it? Hard to say, but regardless, I get the feeling that Chief Justice Roberts worries about the Highest Court's image in that regard, and in fact, I suspect that's part of the reason he ruled as he did on the recently health care reform, implying the possibility that he subordinated his judgment to a desire to maintain a certain image for himself and his fellow Justices. Would a King not be subject to precisely the same? A Monarch truly worried about maintaining the legitimacy of his office -- to say nothing of his legacy -- might find his hands bound by partisan politics indirectly.
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Kuros



Joined: 27 Apr 2004

PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unposter wrote:
I was also surprised by Kuros' comment, "If you're not going to be open to the idea of monarchy, then this thread is probably not for you." This seems very out of character for Kuros. While it is polite and it is probably well meaning, it also has a passive-agressive feel of I don't value your opinion and I would rather you not speak your mind here, which IMHO, is not so libertarian either.

I will give you your space here but I do wonder why you seem so defensive and angry.


Because I'm a human being with emotions!
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GF



Joined: 26 Sep 2012

PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fox wrote:
that dignity is essentially transferred from the populace at large.


False. Nobody can give what he doesn't have. The lesser never bestows dignity on the greater. It's the reverse.

Fox wrote:
"I want a King" is really just a game of wish-fulfillment anyway


Wanting a King is not like wanting a Ferrari. It’s more like wanting a Wife – in the sense that it isn’t up to me or you to want such a thing: whoever/whatever wants it is much bigger than us.
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GF



Joined: 26 Sep 2012

PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unposter wrote:
Fox made a very strong argument that a monarchy is only acceptable when the monarchs policies reflect the interest and will of the people […]


I’m not sure that Fox really made such an argument, but leaving that aside, to say that something “is only acceptable” when it reflects premises contrary to its nature and which eviscerate its very purpose, is not so much a “very strong argument” as it is evidence of a tortured mind.

"The will of the people” is what monarchy is meant to protect us from; "the will of the people” is the Revolution’s bumper sticker.
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