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Sobend

Thoughts on Monarchies in the 21st Century?

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(I am referring to the European figurehead sort, not hereditary dictatorships.)

Monarchies seem completely outmoded in modern democratic societies.  At best, they act as an extra-governmental feature.  I can only think of several benefits to maintaining a monarchy--

1. Tourism

2. Connection to History

3. A stable (but powerless) head of state.

I live in the United States, where there is no official monarchy.  I was wondering what people from limited monarchical governments (e.g., UK) thought of monarchies in the current world.  Harmless?  Silly?  A way to keep national identity?

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On 9/26/2021 at 9:21 AM, Sobend said:

I live in the United States, where there is no official monarchy.  I was wondering what people from limited monarchical governments (e.g., UK) thought of monarchies in the current world.  Harmless?  Silly?  A way to keep national identity?

I live in New Zealand, which still has some reference to the mother land of Britain and England with that monarchy having some symbolic status. An image of the queen exists on our twenty-dollar bill, and on the reverse side of our coins.

I consider it to be totally irrelevant and to be done away with, if the world were more logical and sane. I believe in a secular, clean society in which realistic government is the primary figurehead of power in all senses, and hopefully in the hands of the people while doing so (pipe dream, sadly?). It is worthwhile to note that some of the people from these very exclusive families have a tough time of their lives always being under a spotlight of media and state expectation, at least in some European society. In Thailand the monarchy commands a certain respect and reverence that borders on religious - that is unhealthy, to my mind.

However, in order to keep a true and accurate sentimentality for the past, these power structures may have some validity for reminding us of times we have long since outgrown, but must remember.

Edited by Sajoh

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19 hours ago, Sobend said:

I was wondering what people from limited monarchical governments (e.g., UK) thought of monarchies in the current world.  Harmless?  Silly?  A way to keep national identity?

Living in a Constitutional Monarchy is a bit odd. I believe the Monarchy should be abolished, because being born into the rigbt family hardly makes you a qualified leader, when commoners also have access to education and funding. Common people have removed the gap to royalty, proving that they can become better leaders than someone born to power.

That said, I think few things can be as unifying as our King. He is not burdened by voters or politics. When he speaks, he speaks for all the people, and he has been an extremely strong unifying voice, both during tragedies and uncertain times. I know that someday soon, our King will die, and that will be a great loss. I hope his son, and grand-daughter, prove themselves worthy successors in the coming Century, but.. I doubt they can fill that role. If they can, I hope the Monarchy lives on. If they prove to be poor leaders, then we should transition away from Monarchy for good.

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On 9/27/2021 at 5:17 AM, Yuanrang said:

Living in a Constitutional Monarchy is a bit odd. I believe the Monarchy should be abolished, because being born into the rigbt family hardly makes you a qualified leader, when commoners also have access to education and funding. Common people have removed the gap to royalty, proving that they can become better leaders than someone born to power.

That said, I think few things can be as unifying as our King. He is not burdened by voters or politics. When he speaks, he speaks for all the people, and he has been an extremely strong unifying voice, both during tragedies and uncertain times. I know that someday soon, our King will die, and that will be a great loss. I hope his son, and grand-daughter, prove themselves worthy successors in the coming Century, but.. I doubt they can fill that role. If they can, I hope the Monarchy lives on. If they prove to be poor leaders, then we should transition away from Monarchy for good.

Where exactly do you live, Yuanrang? Edit: You're Norwegian?

Interesting you mention the idea of not being burdened by voters or politics; symbolic and some non-political leaders have those abilities. You raise a good point. I also believe that those functions can be performed by someone outside the monarchial system, or by someone selected on the edges of the political system, or perhaps even by musicians and other cultural figures. Billy Bragg sang a song about the Iraq war being organized "all about the price of oil", which it was by the way. Symbolic leaders don't have to be wealthy, elite, or above the political system we have in order to perform those things, although being born into wealth creates a more realistic opportunity, sadly. But I'm reinforcing what you were saying.

You bring up another point with your post. When a political party, system, leader or policy is brought into place, there are plenty of forces that can make the good cause of that action to be either corrupted or watered down. Often it isn't uncommon to find people who vote selfishly or even spitefully for example, or having commercial forces that hold a government to puppetry. Symbolic monarchies or other organizations that serve a public good that are exempt from forces of corruption can be useful, provided they do not really govern. It is difficult to corrupt a wealthy family that is held to the very high standard of media and indirect state expectation when they do not actually govern, rather than an entity influenced by voters, money, or most directly, commercial enterprise.

Am I stating the obvious? Anyway I enjoyed your post, made me change my mind a bit.

Edited by Sajoh

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I think you'll be hard pressed to find someone in support of monarchies, even if you asked this question 100 years ago. Most modern monarchies have held only the most tenuous of grasps on their titles ever since the late 18th and early 19th centuries, with the exception of Japan until the mid 20th century. In fact, I'd wager that most of the people of the world through the history of kingdoms and empires didn't really hold much stock in their rulers. Fear and force would keep people in line. Maybe shame and religion too. But I feel the era of mass media made people realize how unimportant royal families truly are, and that's why we saw a large collapse of monarchies in the 1800s to be replaced by parliamentary systems, constitutional governments, and other elected forms of rule. 

That said, I personally, I think the title of King or Queen or Emperor can have an extremely powerful role in maintaining a national identity. From my limited knowledge of various kings and queens (and reinforced by what Yuanrang said above), an apolitical figurehead of a country would be able to unite an otherwise split populace. For example, from this outsiders view, in England you either love or hate Boris Johnson. But, God save the Queen. 

As an American, it would be kind of nice to have a neutral third party that everyone can look up to. I know my viewpoint isn't what you asked for, but I figured I'd share anyway. 

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7 hours ago, Chaoss said:

an apolitical figurehead of a country would be able to unite an otherwise split populace. For example, from this outsiders view, in England you either love or hate Boris Johnson. But, God save the Queen. 

You have got to be joking here. You are?? Plenty (but not all) of western political leaders are individually enigmatic, varied and hardworking, to be neither loved nor hated unless they are extremely convex to the view of an individual. Perhaps your type of viewpoint is a healthy dose of reality on how these things cannot be changed in the context of our own minor influence, I guess, but to me, your post was kind of contradictory, and not very inspiring; sorry.

In the film True Stories, a preacher says "we can build a nation, inside a nation, right where we are".

Edited by Sajoh

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9 hours ago, Sajoh said:

You have got to be joking here. You are?? Plenty (but not all) of western political leaders are individually enigmatic, varied and hardworking, to be neither loved nor hated unless they are extremely convex to the view of an individual. Perhaps your type of viewpoint is a healthy dose of reality on how these things cannot be changed in the context of our own minor influence, I guess, but to me, your post was kind of contradictory, and not very inspiring; sorry.

In the film True Stories, a preacher says "we can build a nation, inside a nation, right where we are".

I speak from a limited viewpoint on English politics, but I live in and area of the US that has a large portion of Brits living here temporarily. When the topic of royalty or politics comes up, there seems to be near unanimous approval of the Queen and fairly split approval of any other partisan political figure.

I'm not saying individual politicians are not hardworking, I'm saying it must be nice to have a head of state that isn't villainized because of party lines. 

Not seeing how I'm being contradictory. I'm definitely not trying to be inspiring lol. I'd never enjoy a United States under monarchial rule - even if it was only in name only. 

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15 hours ago, Chaoss said:

I speak from a limited viewpoint on English politics, but I live in and area of the US that has a large portion of Brits living here temporarily. When the topic of royalty or politics comes up, there seems to be a near unanimous approval of the Queen and fairly split approval of any other partisan political figure.

I'm not saying individual politicians are not hardworking, I'm saying it must be nice to have a head of state that isn't villainized because of party lines. 

I disagreed with the idea that most political figures should be becoming villainized in people's minds in the first place. Party lines are a fairly invisible thing when you get down to the practicalities of the job, at least in the UK, most of the time. In New Zealand the partisan gap is all for show. Perhaps this is different in the US, which is far more partisan, but really - what goes on behind closed doors and during sitting time in a parliament is not at all what the media portrays. Have you heard of MMP, or even STV? They're better than the American system. When government works, I goddamn love it.

A symbolic head of state, like a Royal Family, is maybe, for me, going to be divisive and villainized because; they only serve their own countries' values, unlike a government - look at the British Royal Family - they selfishly represent their own culture and own culture directly, and follow an outdated model on how a country should behave.

People don't seem to see past their immediate expectation of these figures, governmental or symbolic. Not that I am saying it is true of you, but it certainly is true of people, perhaps the brits you know.

… sometimes I despise the idea that the world is divided into countries in the first place, and follow more the idea that the world is a sea of individuals and groups who require culture mixing as soon as possible. Listen to this song, maybe. Morph your mind around the concepts. It's a bit sarcastic, but give it a chance. I'm waiting to hear your opinion. Remember it is based on a real quote from a real US Congressman when they visited New Zealand in the nineties.

15 hours ago, Chaoss said:

Not seeing how I'm being contradictory. I'm definitely not trying to be inspiring lol.

You've got to be trying to express something constructive - you were trying to do that, and you did. Kudos.

What I would like to point out here is that I under the context of this discussion we should be aiming to put forth the opinion representing the best possible scenario we would like to see.

We do agree here about the good of the lack of any monarchy in the United States.

Edited by Sajoh

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I support monarchy if I get to be the monarch.

Otherwise, monarchy sucks and we need a violent revolution.

Edited by Guitarguy
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The only practical governmental reason I can think to have one would be to have a unifying figure in the event the regular government implodes.  Not likely, but maybe that is a good idea to prevent the country from descending civil war or something. 

If the (hereditary) monarch has some power, then he also has an incentive to ensure the long-term stability of the state so he can pass on his position to his children.  In pure democracy, individuals have a lot of other incentives which tend not to lean towards this (see national debt of every western democracy and Japan).  Not advocating a return to hereditary monarchy, isnt my favorite form of government, just pointing out that democracy without significant restraints has major problems too.

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22 minutes ago, Shooter585 said:

(see national debt of every western democracy and Japan).  Not advocating a return to hereditary monarchy, isnt my favorite form of government, just pointing out that democracy without significant restraints has major problems too.

I have just been looking up Japan's national debt. 12.04 trillion US dollars at this point?

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On 9/28/2021 at 3:43 PM, Sajoh said:

I disagreed with the idea that most political figures should be becoming villainized in people's minds in the first place.

Tell that to Americans. :ice:

Feel you on the rest. 

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On 9/27/2021 at 6:24 AM, Sajoh said:

Where exactly do you live, Yuanrang? Edit: You're Norwegian?

Interesting you mention the idea of not being burdened by voters or politics; symbolic and some non-political leaders have those abilities. You raise a good point. I also believe that those functions can be performed by someone outside the monarchial system, or by someone selected on the edges of the political system, or perhaps even by musicians and other cultural figures. Billy Bragg sang a song about the Iraq war being organized "all about the price of oil", which it was by the way. Symbolic leaders don't have to be wealthy, elite, or above the political system we have in order to perform those things, although being born into wealth creates a more realistic opportunity, sadly. But I'm reinforcing what you were saying.

You bring up another point with your post. When a political party, system, leader or policy is brought into place, there are plenty of forces that can make the good cause of that action to be either corrupted or watered down. Often it isn't uncommon to find people who vote selfishly or even spitefully for example, or having commercial forces that hold a government to puppetry. Symbolic monarchies or other organizations that serve a public good that are exempt from forces of corruption can be useful, provided they do not really govern. It is difficult to corrupt a wealthy family that is held to the very high standard of media and indirect state expectation when they do not actually govern, rather than an entity influenced by voters, money, or most directly, commercial enterprise.

Am I stating the obvious? Anyway I enjoyed your post, made me change my mind a bit.

I am Norwegian, yes.

I am not entirely sure whether the symbolism can be performed by someone outside a royal family, and I certainly would not trust them to be symbolic or objective. See, politics is both a fantastic thing, and a truly horrible force. Politics does not really unite a nation, it rather creates friction. You can point to culturally significant figures, but celebrities are generally swayed by politics or by outside force. Our (Norwegian) royal family is incredibly careful to not interfere with politics. They do not comment, nor do they interfere. Our King has weekly cabinet meetings and is fully informed of what happens in the country, but he does not comment, or interfere.

However, there are those rare occasions. An act of terrorism. A natural disaster. Public debate on topics such as racism and gender identity. On those rare occasions, the King speaks up and speaks in a way meant to bridge people together, and... well, no one really objects or disagrees. He becomes a voice of reason. If you are curious how he is, look at this video to see how he just includes everyone to be his fellow Norwegians. 

You can say a lot of things about Royalty, and I concede the fact that not all Royal families share the same values, nor are every member virtuous, but... King Harald has been raised all his life to be this Symbol. He was born into a future where he would have no power, no privacy, and a lot of privilege to go with it, and he has spent the better part of his life (80 years) fulfilling that duty. It is.... hard.... to not respect the hell out of the man for his service and dedication. Yes, I am sure he is fortunate and can live a carefree life in luxury and privilege, but.. it is a gilded prison. He has never been able to live a life in privacy ever. Heck, what drove him to be an accomplished sailor was mostly because he felt that, at sea, he could be himself and do what he wanted, not what was expected.

 

 

On 9/28/2021 at 5:40 AM, Sajoh said:

You have got to be joking here. You are?? Plenty (but not all) of western political leaders are individually enigmatic, varied and hardworking, to be neither loved nor hated unless they are extremely convex to the view of an individual.

Actually, it is fairly common that while not every political leader might be hated, they or their party's political stance is oft both controversial and outright hated by citizens with opposing views. Modern politics has become far more alienating towards opposing views, than embracing the healthy debate between conflicting views. It is improbable to be a political figure in a democratic society today, and be considered a great unifier of political views.

 

On 9/29/2021 at 2:37 AM, Guitarguy said:

I support monarchy if I get to be the monarch.

Otherwise, monarchy sucks and we need a violent revolution.

I support your ascension to the Throne, My Lord. I was running out of Royal Blood as ritual components.. :wizard: 

 

13 hours ago, bros before hoes said:

I like monarchies because if you are a member of the ruling family you get to be a pedophile with no consequences. 

I think it is safer to say that being a person in any position of wealth, power, influence or privilege allows you to be a pedophile with no consequences, rather than being royalty. After all, Larry Nassar was a pedophile with no consequences, and it would be totally unfair to paint all US males as pedophiles. It is perhaps best to not follow that logic, as that just devolves into a whodunnit type of discussion. :cute: 

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I'm from England, United Kingdom.

Over the last several decades, we have seen a shift away from religion as the older generations go. The United Kingdom has diversified in race, culture, class, and technology has changed a lot of things.

From what I have seen, religion mostly gets passed from parent to child; your views will be my views. But what's been happening are these shifts from different races, classes, cultures and technology allowing us to communicate more effectively and exchange ideas and ideologies.

You may have had rigorous parents who, even to this day you understand when you come home, you must behave a certain way. But when you're out of their world, your life is different. That's, in my opinion, how religion has been phased out. Children removing religion is a strict part of their lives, and their children care even less so.

So why am I talking about religion and not the monarchy? Well, the success of the UK monarchy, in my opinion, comes down to the success of Christianity in the United Kingdom. Our national anthem is titled God save the queen.

The popularity of the monarchy and nationalistic support have largely waned, and whilst this is not all due to Christianity back-step in society, it does play a factor. We've also seen the Queen take a step back and allow democracy to show its hand in the form of a government. At any point, she could step in and say no, but the people are supposedly backing what changes are put forward, so she ratifies our decisions.

We benefit from tourism, and in some sense, the identity of the UK does rely on the monarchy. Generally, if you hear an accent done, you'll listen to East London (closer to working-class, think Oliver) or the Queens English. (Prim and proper).

I don't think we'll be rid of our monarchy for a long time to come. It's rooted deeply in our foundations. We may not always have it so deeply entrenched in our culture; it's certainly nowhere near as popular as it has been in the past. However, the monarchy is a pillar defining what the UK is.

Something else which probably isn't worth considering too deeply, but perhaps makes an interesting discussion is Brexit. With the UK enforcing its own laws, controlling its borders and the like, could we see more from the royals as time goes on.

The queen isn't going to live forever and with her passing the crown goes to Charles and then William. With new leadership, new ideas come along with them, do they change anything and risk the UK turning against them. I guess that all remains to be seen.

Personally I don't want the monarchy to rule and I respect them all the more for just letting the UK get on with it. If they are boosting the economy, especially after the brexit sentiment, great.

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I think the concept of Monarchies remaining due to being tied to a religion, might not necessarily be true. It has only been 9 years, but when we reformed Norway away from being a Constitutional Christian country, and the King stepped down as the head of the Church of Norway, not much changed. 

While Norway might be extremely non-religious, I do not think it is unfathomable that other Monarchies might end up being as non-religious as Norway. I would imagine that even the UK has a steady decline in the amount of people considering themselves to be actual Christian believers.

In Norway, our Monarchy is far more of a cultural identity, than a religious identity. I would imagine that would be the future transformation of the UK Monarchy as well.

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