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Catherine J 09-26-2012 12:26 AM

The Value of the Monarchy
 
Last weekend, around our weekly neighbourhood campfire, I found myself across from an anti-monarchist. Naturally, we began a lively discussion.

I am wondering, simply, why do you believe/disbelieve in the value of the Monarchy and can you quantify that sense of value/no value.

My answer is fairly straightforward. Primarily I like the idea of an apolitical Head of State whose main purpose is to "ensure the welfare" of their people - by way of interaction with the elected government and acts of public service, charity, comfort and support. I like that in times of crisis or jubilation people can come together under that HoS regardless of personal politics under the unifying principal of "nationality". I like that it enforces a system, however weighted down it might be with protocol, whereby we are reminded of the importance of respect. In exchange for "having our backs", we show respect.

I like the continuity. I have watched Prince William grow up (my eldest child is the same age as William and my youngest is the same age as Harry) and I feel like I *know* him, in the sense that I have had a chance to witness his character and sense of duty. I feel like I *know* Charles, he has been a fixture in my life as long as I can remember and I feel confident in his character. Here they are and here they will stay and it is a thing to count upon in a world that is ... transient.

What say you? Are you for or against (a Monarchy)? Why?

Catherine J 09-26-2012 12:27 AM

Requisite small talk: [After a year and a half, I have just discovered the profile page (!), realized "thanks" come to that page (!!) and figured how to start a thread. Yay me. Ahem. My intellect is an astounding thing, no?]

My answer to the actual thread is in the original post.

Mariel 09-26-2012 01:59 AM

Monarchy is to be respected if and when it acts respectable. Sometimes it doesn't. I presume various people would have different standards of what is respectable or admirable. Being here on the forum for a few months, and reading a lot here, I see people in royal families whom I admire and find very valuable, and at the other end, people who are disgraceful in their behavior. So I can't give an overall "pass" to monarchies. They seem to be very different among the group presented here on the Royal Forums.

But they do also have the value of entertaining us with their lovely clothing, jewels, and gracious traditional ceremonies.

Jacknch 09-26-2012 03:19 AM

Most Monarchs have, in my opinion, acted with a great deal of respectability as well as most of the heirs to the thrones. It's some of the other royals you have to be watchful of who have acted disgracefully at times!
A respectable president has my admiration too, especially the non-political ones such as the Icelandic or Irish presidents and the lovely Mrs Halonen the former president of Finland.
I favour less the political presidencies because by the very nature of being political, as a head of state they cannot properly represent their people and therefore hold less value in my mind.
To me, a head of state is the human embodiement and symbol of a nation, representative of the people and focus for the nation in good times and bad (kind of like a human form of a flag such as the stars and stripes). It's an old fashioned idea, but I do like the idea of a mother or father of the nation!

nwinther 01-13-2013 03:24 PM

For - definitily!

I am for for a number of reasons.

The most important one is the superiority of monarchies, which I see as stability, continuity, community.

While a monarchy must never take despotic form, it is superior to republics for the reasons stated above. Unlike the president, the king must look ahead, because he has something at stake when he isn't king anymore. This stake is his eldest son - the future king. The president will have noone to answer to, once he's on his final run. This is an enormous temptation towards corruption in the republic.

Also, the posibility for actual reform is harder in a republic, as the head of state is dependent on the bureaucracy (for votes) - or is indifferent, at it won't matter when the HoS has left office - why help the substitute?

Also, the long-term responsible behaviour is non-existent in a republic. The monarch must be responsible - also in the long term - for the reasons stated above.

Another matter is the capability of a president. The guy who becomes HoS in a republic is in no way the man who is better at the job. It is solely the man able to drum up more votes.

Then there's the legitimacy of it all.
In a republic, large parts of the population will be against the president - they voted for the other guy. In a monarchy, this is not the case and as such, the monarch is everyone's monarch.

Konigsplein 01-14-2013 01:33 AM

Also, there's always this video:

http://.youtube.com/watch?v=bhyYgnhhKFw

I'd like to know what anti-monarchists respond to it.

Princess Pillow 05-14-2013 01:21 PM

Because it is a great base to operate in when delving into history, I support the monarchy. I donít believe elected leaders are as good for historical study. Then their history isnít as ancient either another complaint is they are constantly changing. So, I am for the monarchy, as for historical study.
It is a pleasure to read some of the other posts for it, giving me greater perceptive, and understanding. Thanks everyone.

:flowers:

Sonjapearl 07-22-2013 01:22 PM

I do enjoy the history of monarchy. I'm American so I can't fully understand the value of monarchy, but the idea of a non-political head of state does make good sense.

But sometimes I get cynical of it, and I wonder if royals themselves feel trapped, like their privilege is actually a prison. Everything they do is crafted carefully through spin doctors and PR. They almost cannot make a mistake, and if they do, it is harshly scrutinized. Sometimes it is warranted, like Prince Laurent or Infanta Cristina. But when Infanta Elena got a divorce, there was a lot of criticism as though she was unroyal for getting a divorce. Royals also have enormous pressure to choose the right spouse, especially if they are the heir. After they marry, then they have more pressure to make their marriage work or else it will fall apart and the scrutiny will be intense. And I don't blame the media entirely for the scrutiny - the public fuels interest and they want to know where their tax money goes.

From there, I wonder if it is really worth it to put people on a pedestal and make them to be national symbols when they have little say in it. Most of them are born into it, and those who aren't marry in into that world. It is like we are looking for idols and symbols in human beings, and that is a flaw. A person on this kind of pedestal can become very full of themselves (which many despise) or will be overwhelmed with the pressure (which some don't seem to sympathize). It is just a tall order, and you can't expect a human being to live up to the ideals of royalty. People do have this need to put others on a pedestal like it is a need to worship and admire something, but I'm sure many royals feel trapped on that thing.

Also, to admire royals just for their jewels and fashion is superficial. They are reduced to being models, all just to serve the public. Nevermind what they are doing or saying, what they wear is all that matters.

I know I'm sounding very cynical and negative here, but I think I am also pointing out the downside to being royal. Everything they say or do belongs to the public; nothing is really theirs, not even their own lives. That sounds more like a prison than privilege. I don't think royalty is silly or stupid, but it does say a lot about the public when they feel the need to put someone on a pedestal.

Jacknch 07-22-2013 05:28 PM

The idea of a non-political head if state makes perfect sense! The national representative of a country and human embodiment if the state should represent all the people not just those of the same political pursuation. The head if state should not seek such high office nor presume they are the best person to be in that position. I find it appalling that some heads of state are able to tell their people who they should vote for - at the very least it is disingenuous.

AdmirerUS 07-22-2013 07:00 PM

In most Republics our politicians are old enough and are often not re-electable. As a result, we don't often get to experience a day where the hope of the nation gets payed forward. When a heir is born. :smile:

You can't buy that experience - it is priceless. It's like dropping a winning coin in a slot machine of the future. You just can't value that kind of goodwill! IMHO

CSENYC 09-08-2013 05:56 PM

An apolitical head of state who can serve as an additional check and balance on a crazy head of government and legislature makes sense.

The US system has checks and balances by having branches (an allegedly independent judicial branch, an executive and a legislature) that are designed to block the crazy elements in each other branch, but if crazies get elected to the legislature and the executive (and they are from time to time), then they can also pack the judicial branch with crazies, and the country is then doomed. Laws are only as good as the people enforcing them.

I'd definitely prefer to have someone immune from partisan politics who can at least say NO and slow down the crazies in the rest of the government from turning the country into a tyrannical state.

Mariel 09-08-2013 06:28 PM

CSENYC, you do come up with a reason why it would be difficult to find a monarch for the US. I like you would not want a Bush, Clinton, or Kennedy. So who? By what process could we elect a king? We are not doing well with the political process which elects a president. How then to find a king or queen? I do not think we could do it. The RF must take whoever is born to the throne, so there is lots of hope invested that this person will be satisfactory, even great. This hope that history over the long haul will produce a great monarch out of the repeatedly enthroned family gives an aura of hope to the proceedings. So hope is one of the benefits of monarchy. I am amazed that some young "crown princes" and princesses seem to be improving the stock a lot,and starting to behave like real royals. Is this the benign influence of new blood infusing them, by marriage to commoners? I think it can be, although isn't always. But the practice of being able to marry for love is bound to improve the married life of the younger royals. For that, thanks to those who made it possible

CSENYC 09-08-2013 07:17 PM

Speaking of the difficulty of finding a monarch, I couldn't imagine Obama and Congress picking a royal family- at least not one that would be satisfactory to most people. I can definitely see why so many European countries picked Saxe-Coburg-Gothas and other members of reigning royal families, all from other countries.

I'd just pick a member of the British Royal Family and import him or her as a new dynasty, since s/he already speaks English and is apolitical (hopefully), although I would anticipate that certain people would explode at putting a wealthy white family as a new dynasty.

Of course this is just never going to happen, so it's just idle speculation.

Iluvbertie 09-08-2013 11:01 PM

I live in a constitutional monarchy and this past weekend we did something strange it seems. We elected a new government - you know that democratic thing where the people vote and chose the people who will govern for the next three years. The two things - constitional monarchy and democracy aren't mutually exclusive.

AristoCat 09-08-2013 11:07 PM

Lately the royals want everyone to accept that since they have it SO HARD that they should be able to marry who they want and let that person represent the nation. Thankfully politicians aren't stupid to think that the public should accept someone like Sofia as a taxpayer representative of a nation and a president actually manages to represent and run the nation. The royals are often an ornamental distraction.

Iluvbertie 09-08-2013 11:18 PM

Actually politicians are that stupid as they choose their partner, usually years before being in a position to represent the nation whereas the royals know their partner has to do that from the beginning of their marriage.

Not all presidents actually have a say in the government e.g. the President of Germany and Ireland - both figurehead Presidents.

Mariel 09-08-2013 11:23 PM

Some of the royals have married commoners who are well behaved, educated, helpful, have great genetic stock to contribute, etc. Prince Daniel, Kate, Letizia, at least those.
I suppose Stephanie and Mathilde are not commoners, being "nobility", but they are weren't royal. To me it is dreadful to contemplate close cousins marrying, like Elizabeth and Phillip, even GD Jean and Josephine Charlotte, although sometimes the children come out quite well, like Jean and JC's children. How far we have come in a few decades so that now we do realize that close cousins should not marry. this isn't off the subject of support for the monarchy, because I could not support a monarchy which continued this practice. Some of Elizabeth and Phillip's children seem to have come out well, probably because neither Elizabeth or Phillip had any major genetic defects, praise the Lord. One problem is, however, in genetics a distant relationship may suddenly pop up, especially if the gene comes from both sides of the family.
Nobel people also have inbred.

Ish 09-08-2013 11:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by COUNTESS (Post 1597452)
So, leave the US and live in a Constitutional Monarchy. I, too graduated from an IVY, as you put it, Columbia, but I am only a physician, so I, stupidly, like democracy and not feeding the families of those born to "rule". It is not a good choice. But here we have a choice.

So... What you're saying is that countries with monarchies are not as democratic as the US?

Funny, because 4 of the 5 most democratic countries in the world - Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and New Zealand - are constitutional monarchies. According to the same report that puts them in the top spots, the US is in spot 21.

https://portoncv.gov.cv/dhub/porton....?p_doc_id=1034

NGalitzine 09-09-2013 12:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AristoCat (Post 1597458)
Lately the royals want everyone to accept that since they have it SO HARD that they should be able to marry who they want and let that person represent the nation. Thankfully politicians aren't stupid to think that the public should accept someone like Sofia as a taxpayer representative of a nation and a president actually manages to represent and run the nation. The royals are often an ornamental distraction.

1- is it the nudity bit that is throwing you off on Sifia? Some American s did after all elect a nude male Playgirl centerfold to the US Senate, but perhaps because he was a nude male you found that less offensive, He also had a record as a juvenile delinquent but the public managed to get over that as well. Some people are able to look at what a person is today and not dwell on the past, and most of us are better off that way.
2- yes in this day and age the public do seem to agree that royals, as with commoners, should be able to marry the people they love instead of being forced to marry a person selected from a royal stud book on the basis of bloodlines. Perhaps that is a bit too democratic for your taste but them modern constitutional monarchies are democracies. It does seem odd for an America to be holding on to, and advocating, an old tradition that in Europe pretty much ended at least 50 years ago in most countries. Seems quite snobbish and dare I say it, quite undemocratic.
3- Americans may not have hereditary positions but there are more than a few cases of widows being appointed to fill their late husbands terms in the House and the Senate. There are also a number of political dynasties from Adams to Taft to Kennedy to Rockefeller to Bush.
4- not all republics have executive presidencies. Some have ceremonial heads of state similar to a monarch. Some countries prefer their head of state to remain outside of active partisan politics.

Mbruno 07-26-2014 02:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CSENYC (Post 1597399)
An apolitical head of state who can serve as an additional check and balance on a crazy head of government and legislature makes sense.

The US system has checks and balances by having branches (an allegedly independent judicial branch, an executive and a legislature) that are designed to block the crazy elements in each other branch, but if crazies get elected to the legislature and the executive (and they are from time to time), then they can also pack the judicial branch with crazies, and the country is then doomed. Laws are only as good as the people enforcing them.

I'd definitely prefer to have someone immune from partisan politics who can at least say NO and slow down the crazies in the rest of the government from turning the country into a tyrannical state.

I am actually skeptical (BrEng "sceptical") about the ability of the Head of State to say NO to the elected government or parliament in modern constitutional monarchies The last significant time that happened was probably in Australia in 1975 when the Governor General dismissed the prime minister when he refused to resign or call a general election after failing to pass the federal budget in the Senate. The end result of that action was to make the Australian Labo(u)r Party embrace republicanism, thus weakening the monarchy, rather than strengthening it.

In more recent times, what we have seen throughout the Commonwealth is an increasing subservience of the Crown to the will of the partisan politicians. In Canada for example, Governor General MichaŽlle Jean agreed in 2008 to a request by prime minister Stephen Harper to prorogue parliament in a deliberate attempt to block a vote of no confidence in the government, even though it would be within her discretion to deny the PM's request, as she probably should have done IMHO.

In the UK, on the other hand, we would probably have to go back to William IV in 1834 for the last time a monarch oficially refused to follow the advice of his ministers and for Queen Anne in 1707 for the last time a monarch actually used the legislative veto power. More recently, there was speculation, even among many legal scholars, that Queen Elizabeth II could play an active role in government formation (and thus serve as an impartial, non-partisan "mediator") when the 2010 general election returned a hung parliament. That didn't happen though as the Queen was completely excluded from any coalition negotiations and only played a (symbolic) part in the process after the Conservative/Liberal agreement on a coalition had already been sealed and the Labour prime minister, Gordon Brown, had formally submitted his resignation.

I suppose in some countries like Belgium, or perhaps Denmark and Norway, the King still has some residual political influence, but that is definitely not the case in the UK and the Commonwealth, where any political power the Crown still has in theory is now mostly symbolic. Sweden went one step further in 1975 and decided to abolish the constitutional fiction altogether, stripping the King of any formal role in government formation and in the legislative process. In that sense, one can no longer talk of the monarch as a "check" on the government as far as the Swedish constitution is concerned, even though he retains the constitutional right to be informed about government affairs and to give advice and express his opinions to the cabinet, and, most significantly, has kept his position as the ceremonial Head of State.


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