Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Why I am a Monarchist

Below are the main reasons that I am a Monarchist:

- I do not trust politicians. When you take ordinary people, whether ambitious for their own ends or genuinely concerned with 'making a difference', and give them power they will use it. If given power without adequate checks and balances then they will abuse it. It may be cliche but power does corrupt. I do not hate or blame politicians entirely for this, a society gets the politicians it deserves, the ultimate fault rests with the electorate. Which brings us to:

- 'The People', I do not trust the people. I know it is considered terribly elitist to say this, but it is true. It is not that I consider myself better, more intelligent or more capable than the average person, but I am thoughtful, whereas most people tend to be reactionary and thoughtless.
We in Australia recently saw the end of a grossly incomptent 'conservative' government, after eleven years. It stayed in power through the judicious use of middle class welfare (and other even more despicable means) to effectly bribe the electorate. It was obvious, everyone knew but no one cared because they were being rewarded. The population at large put their bank balance above their integrity and above their duty to their democracy.
A democracy can not function when the population at large is willing to turn a blind eye to corruption and incompetence. I dare say the current centre-left Government of the Commonwealth of Australia will disgrace itself in a similar fashion eventually.
Now, before I am accused of being left or right ring I will say this: I am neither. Politics is too important to treat as a football league, with support for one side being unconditional and irrational. I will examine individual policies and formulate my opinions based on them, and the conduct of the politicians. I will admit a certain disgust for politicians (or anyone else) who one one hand claim to be conservative but also support a republic. You can not be a conservative and at the same time support the abolition of the oldest and most important institution in the Australian Commonwealth. That would be like claiming to be a Christian, but that you do not believe 'in all that Jesus rubbish'.
To those of you with partisan sympathies one way or the other, I ask you this: Would you want to give John Howard, or Kevin Rudd, absolute power? Because that is what would happen if you abolish the Crown.

-Monarchy is cheap and efficient. We have had over a century of politicial stability thanks to the Crowns check on political power, and we pay very little for it. The annual cost of the Governor General, the Governors and their respective staff and residence is nothing compared with the cost of to the taxpayer of our politicians and their staff and allowances and whatnot (I do not begrudge them any of that, so long as it is not abused). The cost of the Monarch herself (or himself, as it will be again in the future) is technically born by Her British subjects, but even then the annual allowance of fifty million pounds or whatever it may be exactly is more than offset by the hundreds of millions of pounds the Crown Estate (the income of which is granted to the Government by the Monarch in exchange for said allowance) generates per annum.
It may be that we could develop an institution that will provide the checks and balances of our present system under a republic, but how much more expensive will that be to initiate and maintain? How many independent watch dogs and committes will it require? We have a remarkably effective system at very little cost.

-Monarchy is the great equaliser. No matter how wealthy or distinguished an individual may become, they are still merely a subject of the Crown along with the humblest factory worker, teacher or tradesman.

-Monarchy provides continuity. Prime Ministers, Presidents and governments come and go, but the Monarch remains.

-Monarchy is beautiful. Watch the footage of Her Majesty's coronation, or the Trooping the Colour or even just the Monarch opening Parliament and tell me that it is not splendid stuff.

-Monarchy is compelling. We grow up with stories of Kings and Queen, Princes and Princesses. When did you last read a fairy tale about a noble president going on an arduous quest to save his first lady (republicans have tried to publish such stories, I understand)? The simple fact is, most people like the trappings and titles of Monarchy. Even those erstwhile republicans in the former American colonies of the British Empire have a fascination with royalty and titles.

Monarchy is dutiful. Her Majesty the Queen has over four hundred official engagements every year, the Prince of Wales even more. Never a complaint from them. Both Crown Prince William and Prince Harry have done mmilitary service, Prince Harry was even sent to an active war zone before his return was forced by the disgusting behaviour of the media. How many sons of presidents are serving in the military? How many sons and daughters of republican politicians worldwide are serving in an active war zone? The answer is very few.

God Save the Queen.


Susan said...

So, you're a Monarchist because you don't trust politicians and their desire to actually fulfil leadership duties and see changes for the better make, preferring instead a leader who is in their post by birthright, whether they have a passion for leadership or not? That seems awfully counter-intuitive to me.

Similarly, the Queen does not actually reject any legislation sent to her for royal assent - there is some scope to do so but it never actually happens - unlike a US Presidential system where some truly bad legislation has been vetoed, and the threat of a veto (as currently seen in their universal health care debate) is credible. The Monarch role is ceremonial only in Australia at this point in time.

Next, there is considerable support in the UK now for a republic. Will your views about monarchy as a 'cheap' form of governance change if the UK were to secede from the Commonwealth and the royal family were funded from the Australian public purse?

Finally, your argument of continuity in monarchy seems flawed. Yes, Prime Ministers and Presidents come and go, however I assure you that Monarchs do likewise. The current Queen is most certainly not immortal.

While I don't dismiss your right to have a differing view to me, I would suggest that you need to follow your arguments through to their logical conclusions, as above, before using them as a rationale for your views.

Ryan said...

"It may be cliche but power does corrupt."

So who better to rule us than one family that's been in power for generations? Surely power won't have corrupted *them* yet! Or wait, wouldn't they be even more corrupt than the average politician, because they've been closer to power and it's corrupting influences for longer?

Maybe the Divine Right of Kings protects them from corruption, kinda like a moral condom. Now there's a mental image that's staying with me all day...

Bob said...


The Queen cannot be corrupted, because unlike politicians she has no power. She is constrained by precedent unlike any polician. A president, whether elected by Parliament or directly by the people would have far more scope to meddle.


Having the sovereign selected by accident of birth contains a rather poetic symbolism. No matter how intelligent, articulate, thrusting, or ambitious, all politians sit underneath a sovereign who is there by accident. It symbolises not just
tradition and the evolutionary way our system of government developed, but that the state is more than any one here today gone tomorrow politician.

Lord Best said...

Susan, as Churchill said, the monarchy is important not for the power it wields but the power it denies others. I do not trust politicians to wield absolute power, as it corrupts. The beauty of monarchy is that it no member of the system has absolute power. Contrast that to the U.S where the president is practically an absolute monarch with congress and the senate there merely to rubber stamp what the executive does.
If by significant support you mean under 20% of the population, then yes there is.
Her Majesty has reigned for fifty six years, do you know any prime minsters or presidents who have lasted that long?

Ryan, the divine right of kings ended in Great Britain in 1649. Most educated people know this. Political power is vested with the elected representatives, reserve and ceremonial power with the monarch. Neither one has the capacity to control all the apparatus of government.