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The merits of monarchy?

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RPGObjects_chuck:

--- 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.
--- End quote ---


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:

--- Quote ---So by your rationale they must have dissolved Parliament right?
--- End quote ---


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.

RPGObjects_chuck:

--- 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.
--- End quote ---


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:

--- 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.
--- End quote ---


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.

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