God save the Queen

In perusing the many blogs from his blogroll presented by Kevin White a couple of weeks back, I came across a post from Josh of Quibbles 'n Bits, which talks about 'good government'.

A good government is one that has a peaceful method for its own removal.

Simple. Clearly identifiable. And indisputable.

All of the Great Democracies have such a mechanism. None of the most abusive regimes have such a mechanism.

buckingham palace.jpgMy recent travels took me to England, with its Throne tracing its history back a millenium to William the Conqueror. I stood in the Tower of London whose bricks had stood vigorous for 700 years before America was even born. I saw the Household Troops change guard before the Sovereign's quarters as they have done for over 500 years. The British monarchy is the very definition of authoritarian permanence, although it wields primarily ceremonial power today.

Yet, as enduring as the reign of the British monarchy has been, many British people I met held Queen Elizabeth and the royal family with more fondness in their hearts than Tony Blair and Parliament. Why? Is not democracy more preferable than monarchy? After all in democracy, everyone gets their say and if we do not like the current government, we can always vote them out, whereas in monarchy, a single person rules and is essentially irreplacable.

changing guard.jpgI vehemently disagree with Josh about his criterion for good government; function does matter and replaceability matters little. There is simply one quality of good government - one that allows individuals freedom from violence. The actual form of that government is largely irrelevant; it could be a monarchy, a democracy, a republic, a dictatorship, a subscription service, an oligarchy, a rule by philosopher-kings... It could have 2 parties, 3 houses, 5 executives, 4 military branches... It could be passed down through heredity, be elected every 4 years, be bought and sold over the market by citizens, be randomly appointed... These details do not matter.

Rather, ethics is what matters, as ethics is the bedrock upon which the foundation of politics is built. A good government allows individuals to have freedom from violence such that they may pursue their own destiny. Eleutheria enables the individual to determine for himself the course of his own actions. And of course the fact that more than one individual exists in a society means that one individual may not aggress against another, in order to allow him to pursue his own destiny.

Schoolchildren are taught that democracy is the highest expression of the power of the individual, as each of us gets a 'say' in how things are run. Victoria.jpgThis conveniently throws ethics out the window, as the will of the majority determines right and wrong. Mob rule emerges as every faction wants a piece of the public treasury. Each individual does get a 'say' alright - a 'say' in imposing his will upon all others. Rather than becoming a defender from violence, government becomes a systematic initiator of violence. As I have written before, Americans are less free today under this wondrous democracy than they were under George III in 1776. Democracies are no stranger to despotism; Hitler came to power in a democracy. For a clear demonstration of the very corrupting influence of democratic structure, one need look no farther than the atrocities committed during the Nazi regime. When majority rule dominates, the question of, "What is just action?" gets relegated to the trash bin. Salvador Allende was working his own tyrannical democracy before being forced out of power...undemocratically. Hugo Chavez is in the process of bringing Venezuela to its knees after he was elected by a landslide victory in a democracy.

Democracy has been obselete for over two thousand years. The Founders understood this and feared democracy. They tried to put mechanisms in place to ward off democracy. Unfortunately, they failed, and the current problems of an ever-enlarging state come from this supposedly enlightened form of government.

The people I spoke to in England who hold the monarchy in high esteem know that a monarch who presides over and represents a nation with dignity is much less subversive to individual liberty than a democratically elected polity that caters to the whim of the majority.

Democracy is overrated.

God save the Queen.

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Excellent.

Excellent.

Very well said, Jonathan. I

Very well said, Jonathan. I think it is quite fair to say that most Britons have a great deal more respect for the Queen than for Tony Blair or indeed any high-ranking members of our 'democratically elected' government. Most members of the Royal Family show a great deal of respect for the British public and the likes of Prince Charles frequently stand-up for popular public opinion and the concerns of 'ordinary' individuals when Blair and his crew are determined to ignore public sentiment - of course, when this happens, Blair and company simply accuse the Royals of 'interfering with the democratic process'.

I've lost count of the number of times I have been forced to remind people that 'democracy' is far from the best system of government available. 'Democracy' should not be confused with the limited type of democracy enjoyed in the US because it doesn't matter whether or not 'the majority' might want to ban free speech - it is constitutionally-protected. I believe the governments of modern Western democracies would be much more tyrannical today if 'pure democracy' was allowed to exist and it's important that 'democracy' is limited and kept in check, that is - if we have to rely on it.

i think that democracy is

i think that democracy is the only way and that it is good to keep some tradition around like the queen in office but tony blair has done an outstanding job and i think the english citizens that don't like what he is doing are selfish people and the queen wouldn't be so nice if she was in charge because she wouldn't have to be.

Hi,im from london, and i

Hi,im from london, and i strongly disagree with the point you made that Britons respect the queen more than the elected government.Many like myself despise the monarchy. They are born into a world of luxury without having earned it, take prince Harry, he recently bought a new car worth £15,000 and who do you think payed for it...the taxpayer.

Down with the queen

The posh bunch o pricks

Firstly, GOD SAVE HER

Firstly, GOD SAVE HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN. I live in Canada, and I like our system of constitutional monarchy, it is far better than any other form of government. I respect the Queen FAR more than my prime minister (PM's are cheating tricksy bastards). I support the Monarchy! Andrew Smith, please, rot in hell. Any briton or member of the commonwealth who hates their Queen so much should have their citizenship revoked and sent to afganistan, or worse, THE UNITED STATES:shock:. It is sad, that in Canada, people do not respect their monarchy enough. This is due to the attempts to "erode" the monarchy by some of our past and present goverments (e.g. they recently tried to remove the Queen from our oath of citizenship). Some kids in Canada actually think that the prime minister is head of state! It's sad! Any commonwealth country should be proud that we have a royal family to represent us through both good times and bad. Wonderful post, johnathan wilde.