Thursday, January 10, 2013

Rebutting Republican Myths

Monarchies are un-democratic! 
Not true. Actually, most monarchies in the world today are more democratic than most republics in the world. Further, in most republics (even the United States) the President is not directly elected by the people anyway. However, being democratic is not necessarily a good thing. Benevolent leaders and bloodthirsty dictators have both come to power through democracy.

Monarchies are too expensive!
Not true, not by a long shot. Some monarchs (such as the Prince of Liechtenstein) cost the public nothing at all. In the United Kingdom, the money the Queen grants the government from the Crown Estates is considerably more than the allowance she receives from the Civil List, so Britain effectively makes money off the monarchy. Republics often spend more on their presidents, past presidents and first families than monarchies do on their royal houses. Many countries (like Australia, Jamaica or Canada) share a monarch and pay nothing and monarchies do not have the constant, massive expense of elections and political campaigns for the top job.

Hereditary monarchy just isn’t fair!
Why not? How can any system for determining national leadership be absolutely fair? It hardly seems fair that one person should receive the top job simply because he or she is more popular. Surely the correct criteria should be how qualified a person is rather than if they are good at making speeches, more photogenic or being more gifted at graft and deceit. In a monarchy the top job goes to someone trained from birth to fill that role. In a republic, even under the best circumstances, an elected president will take half their term learning to do the job and the other half campaigning to retain it; hardly a model of efficiency. Hereditary succession seems much more “fair” than granting power to those able to swindle enough money and promise enough favors to the powerful to obtain the highest office in the land.

Monarchies are dangerous! What if the monarch is incompetent?
The same question could be asked about republican leaders. However, rest assured, monarchs who are not capable of fulfilling their duties can be replaced and have been throughout history. Take two of the oldest and most stable monarchies; in Great Britain, when King George III became incapacitated the Prince of Wales was made regent and exercised his duties for him. Similarly, in Japan, when the Taisho Emperor was no longer able to fulfill his duties, the Crown Prince took over those duties for him as regent. On the other hand, even in the most successful republic in the world, the United States, only two presidents have ever been impeached and neither one was actually removed from office.

Monarchy is an archaic throwback! It’s simply out of date!
Certainly monarchy is an ancient institution as it developed naturally from the dawn of time and the growth of human civilizations. However, democracy and republicanism is just as archaic. The Greek city-states of ancient times tried direct democracy and found it of very limited value, lasting only so long as people found out they could vote themselves the property of others. Republicanism was tried on a large-scale by the ancient Romans and yet they too found that it caused too many divisions, factions and civil wars before they decided a monarchy was preferable. The oldest republic in the world today was founded in 301 AD. How out of date is that?

What about cruel monarchs like Nero or Attila the Hun? Surely no benefits could be worth risking leaders like that!
Actually, far more people have been butchered in wars or massacred by those in power since the start of the revolutionary period than in all history previously. Nero or Attila the Hun were unsavory characters but nowhere near as bad as republican monsters like Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong or Pol Pot. It has only been in the post-revolutionary era of mass politics and political ideologies that governments have taken to killing their own people in huge numbers. Nero was cruel to his own family and later persecuted Christians who were still a tiny minority and Attila the Hun, as ruthless as he was toward his enemies, ruled his own people well from what we know and with justice. No monarch ever wiped out as many of their own people as the communist dictators of the Twentieth Century, all of whom did so in the name of “the people” and “fairness”.

Royals are too out of touch. They have no idea how regular people live.
Some people believe this, but it simply isn’t true. Queen Elizabeth II was a mechanic and truck driver during World War II, the King of Thailand is a renowned jazz musician and composer, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark has painted illustrations for several books, including the Danish edition of “The Lord of the Rings”. The Emperor of Japan grows his own rice, the King of Cambodia was a practically anonymous dance instructor before coming to the throne and many royal heirs take ordinary jobs, often in obscure places where they are unknown, after finishing school. Despite what people think, royal life is not all champagne and caviar. Compare this to many presidents who have often never worked outside the public sector in their entire lives, never served in the military (as most royals do) or ever known any other life besides making speeches and casting votes.

At best, monarchs are unnecessary. A president could do just as good a job.
Not true at all. Some republics have ceremonial presidents that are supposed to be non-political but they still invariably have a political background and are beholden to the party that appoints them. A monarch, on the other hand, is above all political divisions and has a blood connection to the history of the country, its traditions and most deeply held beliefs. No politician could ever represent a people in the way a monarch can whose family history has been the history of the country itself.

Monarchies must be bad or else there would be more of them!
That argument could only begin to make sense if most monarchies had fallen because of a conscious decision by the whole people to see them end. This has certainly not been the case. Most monarchies have fallen because of brute force exerted by a powerful, motivated minority or because their country was defeated in war and their state collapsed. How about looking at how people live? The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development annually puts out a list of the best countries to live in based on a variety of factors and monarchies invariably outrank republics by far. Last year, 2012, is a typical case with 8 out of the top 10 best countries to live in being monarchies; the only republics to make the top 10 were the United States and Switzerland. If republics are so great, shouldn’t their people be living better lives than those in monarchies?

Monarchs are so set apart, they cannot represent ordinary people.
Actually, that is precisely why they can represent everyone in a way no politician ever could. President Hollande of France is an agnostic socialist, so how can he truly represent those French who are Catholic or capitalists? President Napolitano of Italy was a long-time communist, which is certainly not representative of most Italians. President Obama of the US, a liberal from Hawaii, cannot have much in common with a conservative from South Carolina. Yet, a monarch, because they are set apart, can represent everyone because they are not from any particular group.

Republics bring progress, monarchies only oppressed.
Historical fact says otherwise. Time and time again history has shown that the end of monarchy makes things worse for a country, not better. In France it resulted in the “Reign of Terror” that saw tens of thousands of people get their heads chopped off. In Russia, the loss of the monarchy allowed the Bolsheviks to take power who then created the Soviet Union which spread oppression around the world and murdered millions of people. In China the result was a chaotic period of warlord rule followed by the bloodiest civil war in human history and then a communist dictatorship that took the lives of 60 million people. The end of monarchy in Germany and Austria resulted in divided republics that allowed Adolf Hitler to come to power, devastate the continent and butcher 9 million people. The fall of the Shah of Iran allowed a radical theocracy to take power that has spread terrorism around the world and brutally oppressed its own people. These are only a few of the examples that could be cited and the facts are inarguable.


  1. Most of the top ten on the global democracy index are monarchy’s

  2. Thanks for this sort of condensed list, it provides a single quick thing on this site to refer people to when talking with them about monarchy.

  3. This is a nice addition to this brilliant website. It is unfortunate that there are so many people out there who are too foolish and ignorant to realize facts and then there are people who always care only about themselves and ignore the well-being of their nation and what happened in the past or what is happening to this world. If another monarchy is abolished, I think I would lose faith in humanity. But, without power, what can we change or even protect efficiently?

  4. I appreciate you writing this list down. It has been a hard time for a lone and young monarchist like me to survive in a less-than-friendly attitude towards the monarchy as such portrayed by the Malaysian people.

    Daulat Tuanku!

  5. Thank you M.M. for this list.

    It will provide excellent reference when I am debating the Republicans.

    Vive le Roi


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...