Thursday, October 18, 2012

Republican Rant on Royalty

That's small "r" republican, it's just in the title so tradition dictates that I capitalize it (yes, that is meant to be ironic).

The British Royal family is just background noise for me. It gets mentioned in American news often enough that I just think of it as one more weird thing the British do.

But they're pretty much the only royal family that Americans get regularly exposed to, so I think a lot of us (well, at least me) go through life with the impression that the civilized world has done away with that particular barbarous relic and the British are just weird.

Then every once in a while something like a marriage in Luxembourg reminds me that this is not the case. I know in my head that lots of modern societies still have royal families and I know that none of them have any real power, but I sort of forget about it (except in the case of the British) until news items like this pop up.

And then it bugs me.

The French were admittedly a little excessive. There was no reason they couldn't keep their heads (although it wasn't the worst crime in history). But every self-respecting modern society should have done away with all this by 1918 at the very latest. There's certainly no excuse to let a fellow human being prance around with pretenses of nobility and royalty in the 21st century.

Or put it this way - in the 21st century, what do civilized societies do when people run around proclaiming themselves to be royalty? We give them a dollar so they can buy some food to take back to their cardboard box, or if they are a particularly bad case we put them in a mental health treatment center.

14 comments:

  1. If it makes the Danes happy to have a Royal family, what is it to you?

    Much of the civilized world looks on American politics with horror.

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    1. I'm not picketing the Fredensborg Palace, am I?

      They can have their royalty.

      I just think it's undignified. I don't have to like it, do I?

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    2. Gosh, as opposed to the dignity of the current American bun fest?

      Check out the Danish Crown Prince and his family. The Brits were so impressed that they sent William out to find the nearest he could to a clone of the Danish Princess Mary.

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    3. That would the Australian Danish Princess Mary then ...

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  2. Just think of it as a safety net of civilization decay that we can resort to in a Mad Max future. If it didn't exist you would have to invent it.

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    1. Yes, because in a Mad Max future we will all be fawning at the feet of some inbred, jewel-studded brats.

      Those are the sorts of people able to command power in all the post-apocalyptic movies I've seen: the rich entitled brats.

      :)

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  3. I think there is an intangible benefit to protecting such interesting and historical institutions like this; they also bring in a lot of money in tourist revenue (more than it costs to maintain them) so there is an economic benefit also.

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    1. I'm not saying civilized people should bulldoze palaces. Tourism is great. I'm saying civilized people should strip these families of their titles.

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    2. So, the Brits, Canadians, Dutch, Belgians, Danes, Norwegians, Swedes, Spanish, Japanese, Thais, Malaysians, Australians, New Zealanders, Cambodians, etc are failing in their duty towards civilisation?

      Have you noticed how many constitutional monarchies are nice places to live? Have you noticed that the best Arab countries (apart from Saudi Arabia) are monarchies?

      A sense of continuity and separating the power from the glory are useful in themselves.

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  4. Nonsense. The 1776 rebellion was a mistake. The US could have remained a peaceful, lawful, governable part of British North America, as loyal subjects of Her Majesty, just like Canada. Just admit it was a mistake, take a quick oath of loyalty to Queen Elizabeth, make your president her Prime Minister, rejoin the Commonwealth, and we won't mention that past little unpleasantness ever again.

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    1. And now I fully agree with Nick Rowe! The best constitution is a mixed one; we've known that since Aristotle and the absolute disaster that was Athenian direct democracy. The idea that all of modernity has been a record of straight line advance is one of the most disastrous ideas kicking around today; I will illustrate this in a post soon.

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    2. 1. I agree, all modernity is not a straight advance. I don't think I said that. I certainly don't think that.

      2. I'm not sure why you think "we've known since Aristotle" that a mixed constitution (I assume you mean mixed with monarchy) is the best one. Of course Athenian direct democracy was a disaster. It's almost as if the American founders knew that when they chose not to establish a direct democracy in the United States! Thankfully we have some entirely republican options at our disposal that have neither direct democracy nor a hint of monarchy.

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    3. No War of 1812, no Civil War, slavery abolished earlier and peacefully, no French Revolution, no Napoleon, keeping the Indian treaties ...

      Yep, it would have been an improvement if 1776 had not happened.

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  5. 'The French were admittedly were a little excessive' What really went on would make your blood curdle.

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