This is a site for discussing roleplaying games. Have fun doing so, but there is one major rule: do not discuss political issues that aren't directly and uniquely related to the subject of the thread and about gaming. While this site is dedicated to free speech, the following will not be tolerated: devolving a thread into unrelated political discussion, sockpuppeting (using multiple and/or bogus accounts), disrupting topics without contributing to them, and posting images that could get someone fired in the workplace (an external link is OK, but clearly mark it as Not Safe For Work, or NSFW). If you receive a warning, please take it seriously and either move on to another topic or steer the discussion back to its original RPG-related theme.
The message boards have been upgraded. Please log in to your existing account by clicking here. It will ask twice, so that it can properly update your password and login information. If it has trouble recognizing your password, click the 'Forgot your password?' link to reset it with a new password sent to your email address on file.

Author Topic: The merits of monarchy?  (Read 2212 times)

Enkhidu

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • E
  • Posts: 121
    • View Profile
The merits of monarchy?
« Reply #30 on: March 01, 2006, 09:24:50 AM »
Quote from: Humanophile
...Enk, to get to the heart of the matter, why don't you just agree to let the matter drop with this friend?  I've seen a similar position too often, that religion automatically makes people good.  Talking someone out of that sort of position is a nigh-impossible task.  (And if it were a true statement, your friend's political ideals would be fully workable.)  It's fun to tear these ideas apart when you want to go at someone hammer and tongs, less so when you want to actually stay on good terms afterwards.


Thanks for the thought, but I think our friendship can survive this sort of thing. It's not like we haven't gotten, vehement about our discussions before. Heck, the first argument we had was over him making some stupid claim about the depth of the power of a dictator over basic human rights. He said something completely inane - something like a ruler even had the right to interfere in marriages or something - and I got some mad we actually came to blows over it. If we can get over something like that, I think we'll be OK.

By the way, thanks for the thought on this.
 

Janos

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • J
  • Posts: 90
    • View Profile
The merits of monarchy?
« Reply #31 on: March 01, 2006, 09:29:06 AM »
Quote from: Dacke
In the really old days, Sweden had elected kings. Basically, the rich landowners got together and selected one of their number to be king. I'm not sure if said king ruled until he died or for some set term, but it's a neat idea.


I think that it's probably a better form of government than a hereditary monarchy, but that just emphasizes my problem.  A new person isn't going to have the same focus and drive, so a lot of effort from the previous generation is squandered.
 

Sobek

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • S
  • Posts: 184
    • View Profile
The merits of monarchy?
« Reply #32 on: March 02, 2006, 10:03:05 PM »
As others have said, (truly) Enlightened Despotism is the closest to perfect we're gonna get -- in theory.  In practice, we're long on despots and short on enlightenment.
 
The biggest problem in the real world is that "people are stupid".  It's relatively easy to convince any large group of people of your benevolence/enlightenment.  That's how you end up with Hitlers.  It's also why politicians have such a bad rep.
 

tleilaxu

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • t
  • Posts: 75
    • View Profile
The merits of monarchy?
« Reply #33 on: March 03, 2006, 12:45:05 AM »
see... i have the counterexample for y'all...

a theocratic despotism is optimal, as long as it is the kwisatz haderach in charge.

we just have to wait 20,000 years for it to be born.

boo-yah muthas!

edit: and dacke... how is the old swedish system different from how democracy works? seems like the rich rule to me.
at the moment of sacrifice let no blood be spilled!

Nicephorus

  • She took off her What?!?
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2099
    • View Profile
The merits of monarchy?
« Reply #34 on: March 03, 2006, 01:07:11 PM »
Quote from: Dacke
In the really old days, Sweden had elected kings. Basically, the rich landowners got together and selected one of their number to be king. I'm not sure if said king ruled until he died or for some set term, but it's a neat idea.

Anglo-Saxon England had a mix between this and hereditary monarchy.  A council of nobles (the Thing I think) chose the next king. generally confirming the eldest son but not if he was an idiot.
 
Both of these had some advantage over standard monarchy.  It kept the inbred simpletons and the Paris Hiltons off of the throne.  It also made sure that the ruler was someone liked by those with power - fewer revolts.   The big problem would be if they couldn't agree on a candidate.

RPGObjects_chuck

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • R
  • Posts: 754
    • View Profile
The merits of monarchy?
« Reply #35 on: March 05, 2006, 09:57:46 PM »
Monarchy's success or failure begins and ends with the sole possessor of power: the monarch.

When the monarch is competent and well-liked, such as Henry V of England or Octavian in Rome, there is no better form of government.

When the monarch is incompetent or weak, such as Henry VI of England or Nero of Rome, there is no worse form of government.

If you recall both British and Roman history, their movements away from Monarchy and toward Republicanism/Parliamentarianism came after bad monarchs (Tarquin and King John respectively).

Rather than ride the roller-coaster of good monarch/bad monarch, both governments sought a body to provide a check/balance (primarily) against a bad king or one who sought too much power.

Chuck

willpax

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • w
  • Posts: 128
    • View Profile
The merits of monarchy?
« Reply #36 on: March 06, 2006, 08:32:21 PM »
Quote
When the monarch is competent and well-liked, such as Henry V of England or Octavian in Rome, there is no better form of government.


I disagree. A competent and well-liked monarch usually ends up disempowering people through her or his competence, making people less able to govern themselves and more prone to not be able to steer the next monarch straight.
Cherish those who seek the truth, but beware of those who find it. (Voltaire)

Ragnarok N Roll

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • R
  • Posts: 109
    • View Profile
The merits of monarchy?
« Reply #37 on: March 07, 2006, 03:56:45 PM »
Quote from: Enkhidu
I've got this friend who thinks the best form of gov't is a theocratic monarchy. The problem is that he's not a very, well, sharp knife if you know what I mean, and doesn't get the limitations inherent in that form of rulership.

Anyway, we've been round the proverbial bend on this one before. So many times, in fact that he's heard all my arguments.

So what's your take?


What's the old saw? "Never argue with a moron, they'll drag you down to their level and beat you with experience."

If this guy is a french fry short of a happy meal as you say you're never going to convince him.
"God is dead" - Nietzsche

"Nietzsche is dead" - God.

Vermicious Knid

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • V
  • Posts: 131
    • View Profile
The merits of monarchy?
« Reply #38 on: March 07, 2006, 05:13:08 PM »
Quote from: RPGObjects_chuck
Monarchy's success or failure begins and ends with the sole possessor of power: the monarch.

When the monarch is competent and well-liked, such as Henry V of England or Octavian in Rome, there is no better form of government.

When the monarch is incompetent or weak, such as Henry VI of England or Nero of Rome, there is no worse form of government.

If you recall both British and Roman history, their movements away from Monarchy and toward Republicanism/Parliamentarianism came after bad monarchs (Tarquin and King John respectively).

Rather than ride the roller-coaster of good monarch/bad monarch, both governments sought a body to provide a check/balance (primarily) against a bad king or one who sought too much power.

Chuck


So all we need to do is genetically engineer a perfect monarch. Sweet!
 

Enkhidu

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • E
  • Posts: 121
    • View Profile
The merits of monarchy?
« Reply #39 on: March 07, 2006, 05:23:54 PM »
Quote from: Vermicious Knid
So all we need to do is genetically engineer a perfect monarch. Sweet!


I hope that my friend never reads this thread. If he were to ever read this, he'd be crowing about it for a week.

2/3rds my ass.
 

RPGObjects_chuck

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • R
  • Posts: 754
    • View Profile
The merits of monarchy?
« Reply #40 on: March 08, 2006, 06:46:16 PM »
Quote from: willpax
I disagree. A competent and well-liked monarch usually ends up disempowering people through her or his competence, making people less able to govern themselves and more prone to not be able to steer the next monarch straight.


Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria, for example, were two of the most popular and powerful monarchs history has ever seen.

So by your rationale they must have dissolved Parliament right?

You're imposing a 20th century ideology on these people. Not all power corrupts. Not all monarchs have an overreaching ambition OR desire to found a dynasty.

For every Julius Caesar and Napoleon Bonaparte there are dictators who were powerful and popular and did what they needed to do, without attempting to change the rules.

Chuck

willpax

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • w
  • Posts: 128
    • View Profile
The merits of monarchy?
« Reply #41 on: March 08, 2006, 09:50:13 PM »
Quote
So by your rationale they must have dissolved Parliament right?


Please don't put words in my mouth, especially intentionally absurd arguments that I didn't make. There are ways that civil society can fray that don't involve outright tyranny. For example, the concentration of power that just seems efficient and wise when you have a smart ruler can, in hindsight, be disastrous with the successor, but social institutions don't turn on a dime without violence or catastrophe.

Your examples are, of course, rather interesting in their own rights. Elizabeth started out a very weak monarch, and only through a lifetime's work did she make her rule and her country strong. Her successor, James I, began a fraying process that led in two generations to a civil war and the execution of a king. People who should have been accommodated instead found that they had no way to influence a powerful monarch, leading to warfare.

Victoria is a somewhat better example on the surface, but Victoria, for the most part, presided over the gradual de-politicization of the monarchy in Great Britain. While still an institution with tremendous symbolic power, Victoria (especially later in life) involved herself less and less with the actual government of the nation. I'm not sure that's the example you are thinking of.

I apologize if I come across somewhat snappish on this topic. The romanticization of "benevolent autocrats" rubs this anarchist sympathizer the wrong way every time, and historically, has never actually worked as well as its proponents say it will. Even in a monarchy, distributed power tends to lead to greater stabiity than concentrated power (although such a broad generalization is itself open to many exceptions and extreme cases). I know many people really hope for the infinitely wise parent who will run their lives for them, but the times in history that such hopes are given real political expression have rarely been happy for long.
Cherish those who seek the truth, but beware of those who find it. (Voltaire)

RPGObjects_chuck

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • R
  • Posts: 754
    • View Profile
The merits of monarchy?
« Reply #42 on: March 09, 2006, 09:16:34 PM »
Quote from: willpax

I apologize if I come across somewhat snappish on this topic. The romanticization of "benevolent autocrats" rubs this anarchist sympathizer the wrong way every time, and historically, has never actually worked as well as its proponents say it will. Even in a monarchy, distributed power tends to lead to greater stabiity than concentrated power (although such a broad generalization is itself open to many exceptions and extreme cases). I know many people really hope for the infinitely wise parent who will run their lives for them, but the times in history that such hopes are given real political expression have rarely been happy for long.


I understand distrust of authority. In fact my original point was that senates and parliaments came into existence to limit such power.

I have no romantic notions about monarchs or emperors. But neither do I see them as 20th century boogeymen. They were what they were. Some monsters, some benevolent and effective.

This doesn't mean I was advocating it as a form of governemnt. I believe I pointed to several autocrats that no one would want to be ruled by (Nero).

But you can find examples of as many good ones as bad.

Chuck

willpax

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • w
  • Posts: 128
    • View Profile
The merits of monarchy?
« Reply #43 on: March 10, 2006, 08:59:44 AM »
Quote
This doesn't mean I was advocating it as a form of governemnt. I believe I pointed to several autocrats that no one would want to be ruled by (Nero).

But you can find examples of as many good ones as bad.


I don't think anyone can argue against this point. I was trying for something a bit more subtle--that really dynamic leaders can have a long-term disempowering effect. Not that it is impossible to have as a leader a person who simply makes those around her or him better; but that "helper" qualities and "leader" qualities seem to rarely be found in the same person (together with "social climber" qualities and "good administrator" qualities to boot, especially in caste systems that don't develop the talents of everyone equally well).

So I wouldn't say that we are really disagreeing with each other, just having a slightly different emphasis.
Cherish those who seek the truth, but beware of those who find it. (Voltaire)