Monarchy and the Modern World

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Anyone who is an astute observer of the internet can see the growth of a minority political opinion: monarchy.

Many will question why it has grown, but I think the answer is simple: people don’t like the present system. They are fed up with the false promises of modernity. This has led to some to revolt completely. Some even reject all elements of democracy and go about as far right as they possibly can.

I, however, am not one of them. While I certainly agree that democracy is not the god that many on the left view it to be (so long as that democracy accepts their conclusions), I think a democratic element within the governing apparatus is necessary.

Aristotle believed that the best government was a constitutional government, i.e. a mixture of oligarchy and democracy. I have to agree. Too often democracy is viewed as a sacred cow by the left and even the right.

Democracy is an important element, don’t get me wrong. I like to think of it as a pressure valve. It is a way of placating the masses, lest they revolt against the public order. However, democracy must be checked, lest it destroy the nation.

Undemocratic Democracy

But how democratic are our democracies? Are they democratic in the right ways?

The answer, in my eyes, is a definite no. Most countries, particularly the United States, uses first-past-the-post or plurality voting. This leads to a two-party system that has left many disillusioned and angry (I am one of them).

People feel as if their voices aren’t heard and their concerns aren’t addressed, and they’re absolutely right. There’s no real need for the politicians to address the concerns of the people because the plurality voting system allows politicians to win elections without even getting a majority of the votes.

In fact, the majority can even vote for everyone other Person A and Person A could still win the election. Let’s say that Person A receives 33.4% of the vote while Persons B and C receive 33.2% each. Despite 66% voting against him, Person A wins. That isn’t democratic.

A proportional representation system is far superior, but even in the countries that uses such systems, they find a way to make people feel as if their voice doesn’t count.

Take Germany. While they use a mixed-member proportional system, they have draconian laws against so-called “hate speech.” And we all know what that really is: speech the political class doesn’t like. Dare to criticise Islam—hate speech. Think immigration policy is too loose—hate speech. Think immigrants should assimilate into society—hate speech.

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to these problems. Countries are different. They have different cultures and different values. But there are solutions.

1. Constitutional (Hereditary) Monarchy

While many countries are constitutional monarchies, very few, if any, do it right. The closest to doing it right are probably Lichtenstein and Monaco.

The problem with most constitutional monarchies is that the monarch has too little power. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the monarch should run the country or decide day-to-day policy, but the monarch is there for a reason—to ensure good governance. The monarch should be a check against the power of politicians.

A monarch, however, cannot be a real check on government abuse if he is powerless. At the very least, the monarch should have the de facto and de jure power to veto laws (though this is something that should be rarely done), grant titles of nobility, award honours, and do the traditional things a monarch does.

But a person may rebut: Couldn’t an elected head of state do these things?

As far as veto laws and be the fount of honour, yes. But an elected head of state is still a politician and, thus, cannot be a check against the political class running amok because he is of the political class.

2. A Proper Legislature

During American constitutional convention, many were afraid of a too powerful federal government, and history has shown that these concerns were well-founded and justified. To curb these fears, Congress consisted of two chambers, the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House is elected by the people, and the Senate was originally elected by the state legislatures to prevent the federal government from ignoring the needs of the individual states.

But then came the 17th amendment, which mandated the popular election of US Senators. This severed the tie between the state governments and the Congress. No longer did the state governments have say over one half of the Congress. Now the Congress can bully, bribe, and extort states to do the bidding of an ever-growing federal government.

For a large country, history is clear: a portion of the legislature must answer to more local governments, lest the central government grow too powerful.

This is important for the sake of individual freedom. If one finds the laws of the city too burdensome, it is easier to leave the city than the county. Likewise, it is easier to leave the county that to leave the state, and it is easier to leave the state than it is to leave the country. But the farther one must one must go to leave a regulation, the more difficult it is. National laws, therefore, are more restrictive than state laws, state laws are less restrictive than county laws, county laws are less restrictive than city laws, and city laws are the least restrictive.

Therefore, a portion of the legislature must be selected by the people (preferably by a proportional method), while another should be selected more local governments to prevent the national government from growing too powerful.

And while I’m on the topic of legislatures, I think it is important to have a small minority of legislators who represent a special class—the scientists, philosophers, and other persons of merit. Too often are these people ignored.

3. Aristocracy

The original meaning of the word aristocracy was rule of the best. Today, however, it refers to nobility or sometimes people of wealth and social standing.

While I don’t think aristocrats should rule, they are an important part of society. Every society has a de facto nobility. Only by having a de jure system of nobility, may the aristocracy be regulated.

For some reason, people have rejected aristocracy in favour of super-egalitarianism. This was a mistake. While I don’t think nobles should have special legal privileges, it is important to recognise people of merit. And what better way to reward someone of merit than with a title of nobility? This is why the United Kingdom grant peerages to certain people in the arts and sciences, or anyone else who shows some form of merit.

A de jure system of nobility can also be used to hold aristocrats to a higher standard of ethics and virtue. Depending on the system in question, nobles would be attainted for committing high crimes or treason. In other words, their titles could be revoked.

4. Checks and Balances Between the Monarchy and the Legislature

Just as a judiciary should check the legislature, the must be a check between the monarchy and the legislature.

I recommend a body selected by professional organisations of scientists, engineers, businessmen, etc. For lack of a better term, I will call this group the Council of State. They would serve as a privy council and advise the monarch on various matters.

For example, the Council of State could recommend the veto of a bill passed by the legislature, and only the Council of State could overturn the monarch’s veto. This prevents the monarchy from abusing power and backs up the monarch when he needs to veto a bill that isn’t in the best interests of the nation.

5. Executive Power

The downside to the parliamentary system is that the chief executive, the person who executes the laws, is a “creature of the legislature,” as the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia put it. This means that the prime minister, chancellor, or whoever is determined exclusively by the legislature.

This is the one benefit the presidential system has over parliamentary system. This creates gridlock, preventing the chief executive, controlled by the legislature, from mandating its will upon the nation.

Obviously, a presidential system isn’t exactly consistent with a constitutional monarchy. This is why a recommend a semi-parliamentary system. In other words, the executive is elected by the people, separately from legislature.

Conclusion

It seems obvious to me, and I hope to many, that the problem with the modern world is one of dysfunctional thinking about government and what the governing structure should be. People are more concerned about the things they want than how the government should function. They care too much about the minutiae of mundane public policy while ignoring the constitutional structure of the government itself.

They worship false idols like democracy and irrational reject good things like aristocracy and monarchy because they seem antediluvian. It’s a pure emotional reaction reject these things outright without giving them serious consideration.

My challenge to everyone is to consider all the things I’ve brought up, to question what the governing structure should be. Only by asking these questions, the fundamental questions about government itself, can we even begin to fix the problems which plague the modern world. It just might be that the problem with the modern world is that it tries to be modern, everything else be damned.