Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Royal America?

Michael Barone has a piece that is to me both interesting and sad. (hat tip instapundit) With the candidacy of Senator Clinton, he asks is not the presidency of United States taking on a touch of Royalism. “Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton. It sounds like the Wars of the Roses: Lancaster, York, Lancaster, York.”

Those who have read my work, know that as a theoretical matter, I consider a well designed constitutional monarchy to be the best form of government. However, I believe that since in fact American liberty was won-defended as a historical achievement by republican (in the narrow sense) governments and enshrined in our republican constitution, it would be dangerous to liberty to abandon our constitution.

Further I admit to a desire to keep the experiment in non-monarchical government going for as long as it protects most liberties. This is motivated by both patriotic sentiment and scientific curiosity. It is for me a passionate hope that I will died and my children, grand children and great grandchildren should live and die as citizens of the Republic. However if the American people really want a royal family to ogle at and be the center of national life then let us not accept the pallid substitute of the Bushes, Clintons, and Kennedys.

For 169 years from 1607 to 1776, what is now the United States was reigned over by a royal house who’s pomp and majesty has never been surpassed and which was and to a greater extent today is relatively amiable to liberty. If we really mean after 231 proud years to bring our experiment in non monarchical government to an end, then I have a suggestion.

She is the High and Mighty Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary by the grace of God of Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Australia, the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, Barbados, the Confederation of Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, the Dominion of New Zealand, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and her other territories, Queen, Duke of Normandy and Lord of Mann

She would be a most suitable head of state both because she is the legitimate claimant and because she is a women of rare dignity and vast experience. To give but one example her first Prime Minister was Sir Winston Churchill, she has been reading the dispatch boxes for 55 years. We could even keep the republic titularly non monarchical by calling her Lady Defender of the Republic or some such. If we really wanted to restore the monarchy there is even a suitable event coming up, she is scheduled to attend the 400th anniversary of the settlement of Jamestown this summer (she also attended the 350th).

However if we want to keep the Republic non monarchical, than we ought not to keep electing people from the same families to be chief magistrate. I for one am looking forward to Elizabeth’s diamond jubilee in 2012 when I hope she will still reign over all 16 of the Commonwealth Relms, I do not want the United States to be one of them.

Long Live The Republic!


Paul Marks. said...

A Republic can have a Queen - if we take the old definition a Republic - res publica (of the public).

Aristotle taught that the difference between a Monarchy and an Tyranny was that a Monarch operated under the basic laws of the Polis (what the Romans were to later call the res publica or Republic) and a Tyrant did what they liked.It was only when the Kings of Rome decided to act like Tryants (violating the basic limitations on government) that the Romans decided to drive them out.

Of course to Aristotle this was also the difference between a polity where the government was controlled either directly or indirectly by votes, but kept withing the limits of basic rules - and a "democracy" where the voters (or those they elected) could do anything they felt like.

Broadly speaking the United States was a polity of the constitutional republic type before the "New Deal" and has been a "democracy" since then.

To most classical writers (and indeed most political writers up to the 19th century) a "democracy" either of the direct or the representative kind was considered to be lawless "mob rule".

adams said...

Yes I know, I am trying in my spare time to write a paper of republic and monarchy.