Ah, the monarchy: a bone of contention for many libertarians. I have explained some of my thinking in a recent post
, but there are a few points that I'd like to address.Peter Risdon has left this comment
I find these ostensibly libertarian defences of monarchy depressing. If we own ourselves we can't be subjects. If power comes from citizens it can't come from the crown. It's as simple as that.
Perhaps that's why I like the idea of keeping the monarchy; I have met far too many "citizens" to want to give them any power. And, let's face it: I am a posh bastard. I have far more common feeling for the Royal Family than I do to a bunch of scrotes on a Council Estate or, indeed, the bunch of scrotes in government...
You see, I don't want power: I don't want to be able to tell other people what to do. I just want to ensure that no one tells me
what to do. We have seen "people power" revolutions and they aren't pretty.
In fact, no libertarian should be interested in wielding power, which is why organising them is so damn difficult. But, for the record, I would much, much rather be the subject of a disinterested monarch than a citizen of a country with an overbearing and interfering government.
From everyone's point of view, we have the worst of both world's right now.
What's more, having the power of a monarch exercised by Parliament means that Parliament has unlimited power, and that's irreconcilable with libertarianism, and also with classical Liberalism, really.
Whereas if a government wields power in the name of the people, it does not have unlimited power? Well, we know that that is bullshit.
Although I could quote Communist Russia and any other numbers of "citizen dictatorships" I don't really need to: I'll simply point at our Parliament. Our government have, effectively, unlimited power because their is no authoritative brake on what they wish to do.
I proposed that those brakes should be a strengthened monarchy and a strengthened House of hereditary peers. Why? Because they work and, fundamentally, I am not interested in wielding power and that some are brought up to do so from birth doesn't bother me.
Monarchy and limited government cannot be combined, they are mutually exclusive.
Again, this is simply not so. You are confusing systematic theory with outcomes.
Look, in the early days of Parliament, the government and the monarch fought like cats and dogs. What was the upshot of this? That the people were left well alone and a good thing too.
I say, bring back a system wherein those in power are so busy trying to make their piss-marks on their own territory that they have no time to interfere in our lives.
And what is a monarch? Effectively, they are the same as an unelected president. Big deal. I don't like our elected government, why the hell am I more likely to like our elected president?
What I like about the hereditary idea is that these people are outside politics. The monarch, for instance, does not need to pander to five-year election cycles or the prevailing majority: this is a feature
, not a bug.
Instead, we have exchanged, as RM points out
, "the Divine Right of Kings for the Divine Right of The Majority."
Or, to put it into modern parlance, the tyranny of the majority.
As I said, my libertarianism is about utility not dogma.
Anyway, Peter continues...
Government needs to be limited by a constitution, not by the arbitrary whim of a strengthened monarchy.
A Constitution does not, as I pointed out before, limit an inimical government. The only reason that it has worked in the US is because the government has made no real effort to ride roughshod over the document.
As I pointed out, where the US government wanted to get around the provisions of the Constitution, they did so: the idea that blacks were not "men" as defined in the Constitution allowed slavery. So why this faith in a piece of paper that was, in any case, drawn up by the Executive?
Documents can be destroyed and Constitutions can be altered and amended with any amount of will. We have seen that for ourselves.
Because, you see, we have a fucking written Constitution in this country: it is made up of a number of separate documents, the principle ones of which are Magna Carta Libertatum
('Great Charter of Freedoms') and the 1689 Bill of Rights
And what good have these declarations, these laws, done us? None. Because we have a government—or rather, a huge number of governments, of which NuLabour is the worst—that are not interested in maintaining those rights. They can use their majority to ram any damn law they like through Parliament, hence the erosion of our most fundamental rights.
So, here's an idea: let us make the monarch the guardian of the Constitution. The manrchy shall carry on as they are now—ambassadors and figureheads—but with this proviso: the monarch is required
not to give Royal Assent to any law that contravenes those rights laid out in Magna Carta Libertatum and the Bill of Rights—and a modified Act of Settlement which will lay out the measures outlined below.
If the monarch should do so, they will trigger an immediate referendum after which, should they lose, the monarch will be dethroned and replaced with the next in line to the throne. At the same time, any Bills given Royal Assent in the current and previous Parliamentary session shall be declared null and void, must be re-presented and the whole saga gone through again.
That should provide adequate punishment for both monarch and Parliament for attempting to fuck over the people, and keep Parliament so tied up that they cannot do a fucking thing. And that can only be to the good.UPDATE: Peter has left another comment
DK, the fact that I am a subject is the reason why my freedom of speech has been curtailed, and is being reduced even further.
This is, of course, absolute crap. This is nothing to do with our monarchy: it is because our government has been allowed to ride over our Constitution.
No, one can say that this is only because the monarch has the power to change the Constitution, but they don't actually. Magna Carta bound the monarch as much as anyone else. The entity which is destroying our Constitutional Rights is the same entity which reduced the monarch to the current level of powerlessness: Parliament.
Leave aside the theory of power in this country for the moment, and look at the actualite
The story of the last few hundred years has been an increasing, and more or less unopposed, power grab by the "People's Parliament": tyrants ruling in the name of some of the people. Their last great power grab was the 1911 Parliament Act
, which was then bolstered by the 1949 Parliament Act.
Parliament is the great dictator: Parliament has been the entity that has ensured that it can rule unopposed. Parliament raises taxes and makes the laws. It is the supreme power in the land and it is the only relevent power in the land (at least until the European Union—an organisation even more adept at gathering power than our Parliament—came along).
It is why our political parties are increasingly homogenous and why they are so keen on using measures, such as state funding, to ensure that other parties are hamstrung. Project Parliament Power is complete and so cowed are the people of this country that Parliament could probably declare the abolition of elections tomorrow and there would be barely a stir amongst the pathetic people of this country.
And what would we do about it? March on the streets and wave some banners on a fucking Saturday when the cunts aren't even there? What? Our 1689 right to bear arms has been abolished and the numbers allowed to have guns has been whittled down to a tiny fraction, the very amount of ammunition that they are allowed to store is tightly controlled.
Did the monarch do this? No. It was the tyrants of the House of Commons, the tyrants of the majority. Politicians: hang them all.
Labels: freedom, libertarianism, monarchy, musings, politics