Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A proposed role for the monarchy

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.


Anonymous said...

fantastic idea! one thing i would add and thats politicians cannot benifit from their own legislation with big penalties.

knirirr said...

I find the complaints of anti-monarchists about being a "subject" to be rather annoying. A quick comparison of the ability of parliament &c. to screw me over compared with the ability of the monarch to do the same, and the relative financial burden that each of them is upon me shows to which I am really subject.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree. I read somewhere that they cost each citizen under a quid a year. I'd pay at least double for Prince Philip alone. Sometimes I think that he is the Boris Johnson of the Royal Family.

Devil's Kitchen said...

I have never actually been able to find precise figures for how much they cost. The government takes in all revenues, and then pays out the Civil List, but I cannot seem to find any proper figures.

But, yes, given that MPs expenses alone cost every man woman and child in this country £1.45 this year, I think the Royals aren't a bad deal.

They certainly add to the gaiety of the nation rather more than David "so which one of them is sterile?" Miliband...


John Trenchard said...

There are times when even my republicanism dissolves into utter mush.

The evening C4 broadcast a clip of the Coldstream Guards (???) military band playing music as King Abdullah pulled into the palace to meet the Queen.

And do you know what they were playing?

The Darth Vadar Evil Empire "Imperial March" from fucking Star Wars.

Since all music and film is banned in Saudi, Abdullah wouldn't have had a clue.

I suspect that it was Liz herself (or maybe Philip) that did it maybe. (for putting them through such an excrutiating, hypocritical experience no doubt...)

I hope somebody sticks it up on YouTube

Anonymous said...

Devil`s Kitchen,

Do you wish for a regime like the UAE then, or even Saudi Arabia ?

John Trenchard said...

"I find the complaints of anti-monarchists about being a subject to be rather annoying."

You can count me out of that. I choose to live here, and as such, I am bound by the laws of the land. I have no problem with being a subject in a monarchy, even though i'm a republican.

Dk - you're idea is a good one. Very practical and good half-way house between republic and monarchy. And dare i say it - a thoroughly British and practical solution. I like it.

After all , we seek the same ends - democratic accountability and freedom for the citizen/subject from government.

robin -> re-read what dk has written. he's not suggesting that.

"That should provide adequate punishment for both monarch and Parliament for attempting to fuck over the people"

He's actually suggesting that the Monarch be held accountable for breaching the Bill Of Rights and the Magna Carta.

Devil's Kitchen said...


Assuming that you have bothered to read this post, does it sound like I want a regime like UAE or Saudi? Seriously?

Where on earth do you get that idea from?


Devil's Kitchen said...


Thank you: it came to me whilst I was writing (as most of my ideas do).

The thing is, you see, I am not terribly into the destruction of institutions for the sake of principle: otherwise I am simply imposing my principles on others which is not very libertarian.

I propose the destruction -- or the massive reorganisation -- of our government on grounds of practicality.


John Trenchard said...

i too am VERY against the ZaNU Labour "year zero" way of doing things. Tradition is what makes a nation and what makes people feel as if they belong to a nation.

I'm a Republican purely from an ethical and moral position. Doesn't mean that it's actually practical in the current nation of Britain. And indeed I recognise that some constitutional monarchies have done a good job with preserving freedom.

Good examples are the Dutch and the Danes - both aren't republics and yet seem to have freedoms we can only dream of.

But the thing is , with the ENGLISH nation there is a long tradition of republican thought. Ok , it didnt work out with Cromwell. But there is a tradition there that goes right back to the Levellers - and it is that strand of English thought that created America.

note the contrast with what happened in French Republic.

Anonymous said...

Devil`s Kitchen,

I thought the UAE monarchy seemed more civilised than a monarchy and parliament battling for power. You are left alone except obeying Sharia law,and can petition the Sheikh for redress.The near absence of crime and no graffiti lowers the stress levels too.

Anonymous said...

Robin -

"You are left alone except obeying sharia law."

Left alone...? Sharia law...?

Oh dear. Daisy! Fetch the smelling salts!

Perhaps Mr Kitchen would be kind enough to comment.

John Trenchard said...

"you are left alone except obeying Sharia law"....

oh dear. i think i'll fetch myself another drink.

Machiavelli's Understudy said...

I'll read your post more thoroughly later on, but I just wanted to pick up on these straw man arguments put forward by republicans (and/ or anti-monarchists) about us being 'subjects', which is about as guided as a fucking North Korean Taepodong-2 missile.

The British Nationality Act (1981) establishes that Britons (for the sake of simplicity in my point) are citizens and are, have been and will be since 1983.

Furthermore, we are also not just British citizens, but European Union citizens, too. Happy happy joy joy. Why don't you lot go and fucking moan about that? At least it would be worthwhile. Complaining about whether or not you're a British citizen or subject is about as useful as pondering over which side of toast ought to be buttered.

Mark Wadsworth said...

A Korean Tampon-2 missile? That goes off once a month? What a bloody ness!

Machiavelli's Understudy said...

Well it'd made a damn sight more mess than the Taepodong! :P

Peter Risdon said...

A decent statement of my position is in order. It's going to be long, so here's part 1, Magna Carta.

Anonymous said...

DK quoth: "As I said, my libertarianism is about utility not dogma."

I was going to say that Peter was a tad harsh is describing your earlier position as 'conservatism'. However, by consciously adopting a utilitarian point of view, you automatically subject yourself to shifting moral sands - there is no defining rigour to underpin any ethical, philosophical or political position that you choose to adopt at any given moment. Instead, you merely end up asking 'what seems to be the best (or least worst) option right now, for most people?'.

At least some of the time, the answer to that question, for a utilitarian, is an increase in state power. That way madness lies.

If you'll excuse the long quote, I think that Rothbard makes the case against utilitarianism being a useful or positive strand to libertarian thought quite eloquently:

There were two critically important changes in the philosophy and ideology of classical liberalism which both exemplified and contributed to its decay as a vital, progressive, and radical force in the Western world. The first, and most important, occurring in the early to mid-nineteenth century, was the abandonment of the philosophy of natural rights, and its replacement by technocratic utilitarianism. Instead of liberty grounded on the imperative morality of each individual's right to person and property, that is, instead of liberty being sought primarily on the basis of right and justice, utilitarianism preferred liberty as generally the best way to achieve a vaguely defined general welfare or common good. There were two grave consequences of this shift from natural rights to utilitarianism. First, the purity of the goal, the consistency of the principle, was inevitably shattered. For whereas the natural-rights libertarian seeking morality and justice cleaves militantly to pure principle, the utilitarian only values liberty as an ad hoc expedient. And since expediency can and does shift with the wind, it will become easy for the utilitarian in his cool calculus of cost and benefit to plump for statism in ad hoc case after case, and thus to give principle away. Indeed, this is precisely what happened to the Benthamite utilitarians in England: beginning with ad hoc libertarianism and laissez-faire, they found it ever easier to slide further and further into statism. An example was the drive for an "efficient" and therefore strong civil service and executive power, an efficiency that took precedence, indeed replaced, any concept of justice or right.

Second, and equally important, it is rare indeed ever to find a utilitarian who is also radical, who burns for immediate abolition of evil and coercion. Utilitarians, with their devotion to expediency, almost inevitably oppose any sort of upsetting or radical change. There have been no utilitarian revolutionaries. Hence, utilitarians are never immediate abolitionists. The abolitionist is such because he wishes to eliminate wrong and injustice as rapidly as possible. In choosing this goal, there is no room for cool, ad hoc weighing of cost and benefit. Hence, the classical liberal utilitarians abandoned radicalism and became mere gradualist reformers. But in becoming reformers, they also put themselves inevitably into the position of advisers and efficiency experts to the State. In other words, they inevitably came to abandon libertarian principle as well as a principled libertarian strategy. The utilitarians wound up as apologists for the existing order, for the status quo, and hence were all too open to the charge by socialists and progressive corporatists that they were mere narrow-minded and conservative opponents of any and all change. Thus, starting as radicals and revolutionaries, as the polar opposites of conservatives, the classical liberals wound up as the image of the thing they had fought.

This utilitarian crippling of libertarianism is still with us. Thus, in the early days of economic thought, utilitarianism captured free-market economics with the influence of Bentham and Ricardo, and this influence is today fully as strong as ever. Current free-market economics is all too rife with appeals to gradualism; with scorn for ethics, justice, and consistent principle; and with a willingness to abandon free-market principles at the drop of a cost-benefit hat. Hence, current free-market economics is generally envisioned by intellectuals as merely apologetics for a slightly modified status quo, and all too often such charges are correct.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Good point, Patrick. Perhaps I chose my words badly.

What I meant is that I do not despise, for instance, the monarchy because I am a subject. Whilst someone adhering to libertarian dogma says, "you cannot be a libertarian and be a subject" I maintain that it is whether you are in practice or not that matters.

Those under Communist rule were citizens, not subjects, and yet they were far from being free.

Equally, were we to remove both the laws that oppress us and Parliament, and left the monarchy with as much practical power as it has now, would we be more free? Yes.

That's what I mean when I say utilitarianism.


Edwin Hesselthwite said...

Nice argument Mr Devil... And it made sense - in the 18th century...

Read old Tom Paine's Common Sense (i'm sure you have), and you'll see this is pretty much precisely the system described as being the operative/ideal one in Britain at the time. The problem is we have to put up with whatever monarchs we get, and The Sax-Coburgs are all vermin. Back in Tom Paine's day he was railing against the House Of Hanover, a likeable bunch with solid urbanist-democratic credentials... Liz here on the other hand has managed to repeatedly, and unquestionably, neglect the responsibilitiesshe has to intervene in the political system... The problem with your ideal is that it doesn't allow for work-shy, parasitic, deference-obsessed cowards like Elizabeth II.

The fact that she's had the throne for 50 years has hidden the insidious influence of the harridan from the historic eye, but she has, on numerous occasions, abdicated major constitutional responsibilities... and allowed them to reside in the hands of the parastic PM.

Some examples:

WWI was declared by the king, it is only a recent innovation for it to be declared by parliament.

The Leader Of The Conservative Party was chosen by the Queen up until Ted Heath.

The Dismissal crisis in Australia was caused by exactly the type of Royal privilage influence you describe, problem was she had her eye off the ball completely and allowed her governor to make a complete pig's ear of the whole business, so she'll never be able to do it again.

And before you say this is politics, not her... Any of these would have been affected by the tone of a different leader.. Her hands-off non-managerial style has led each of these occasions to be treated as a relic, rather than a duty. See, she doesn't actually give two shits about the constitution, and has neglected her job on this every, single, time that a situation has arisen where she has to... I personally would say The David Kelly affair was a key time for a third party to take the reigns... But the woman is a harridan, and prefers to dote on her offspring, her tedious hand waving meet-and-greet responsibilities, and demand that her money and deference is maintained.

I have absolutely no faith that any member of the verminous Sax Coburg Clan would be capable of doing the job any better...

Fortunately tho.. This idea of having a fundamentally ineffectual, fundamentally in favour of freedom, only gets it arse in gear when there is a crisis form of government does actually exist... The EU-Parliament-Legal system tryptic is a pretty perfect example of the sort of check/balance system you describe. As a Libertarian: a system of government as long-winded and ineffectual as the EU is the perfect guarantee against parliamentary tyranny, and I beseach you to give it your full support.

When it comes to Lvkajiz, hand me a shotgun and I'll blow her away myself.

Edwin Hesselthwite said...

Hmmm.. Probably best not to have a threat on the life of the reigning monarch... Lets just say I'm not fond of her.. Cheers.

Devil's Kitchen said...


As I have pointed out in the follow-up post, the advantage of my approach is that the monarch would, very definitely, have to scrutinise and understand legislation or they could unwittingly cause their own removal.

Slightly off-topic, but can I also express my irritation with those who persist in labelling our monarchy as German? Unless you also believe that, say, all third generation blacks in this country are still African or Caribbean rather than British, in which case I recommend stating that so that we can all weigh in with the brickbats.

The EU-Parliament-Legal system tryptic is a pretty perfect example of the sort of check/balance system you describe. As a Libertarian: a system of government as long-winded and ineffectual as the EU is the perfect guarantee against parliamentary tyranny, and I beseach you to give it your full support.

Aaaaahahahaha! You're fucking joking, right? No, really, you're joking. Yes?

You're serious? Fuck.


Edwin Hesselthwite said...

Oh of course, The whole "German" thing is a tad ridiculous...

I just prefer to call em Sax Coburgs because the word makes clear the connections with the Bulgarian, Belgian, etc etc parasitic royal houses out there...

I can hate them as Windsors just as easily. Tis about the family, not about the nationality.

Anonymous said...

I'm all up for a decent monarchy - though it's amusing that your core argument for its revival is pretty much the same as my argument for supporting the EU: the dangerous strength of parliament needs to be overridden somehow. So I'd agree vaguely with Edwin on that score - a revival of the power of the monarchy is, after all, rather less likely than Brussels overruling Westminster... (I went into this at length at my place recently, though the chap with whom I was arguing the point kept shifting the goalposts and denying the sovereignty of parliament, which made life difficult)

Edwin Hesselthwite said...

Hey DK...

So you nailed me for using a name you didn't like... Then ad hominimed me for favouring the EU.. Ah well, love you anyway DK...

And I think the rest of the argument holds enough water that I reposted to The Little Man...

If you fancy a stand-up fight... I'll take it.

Devil's Kitchen said...


I can see where both you and Nosemonkey are coming from with the EU, but it is a false analogy. I propose that the monarch has one function: to defend the freedoms of a Constitution.

The EU structures are not set up like that. The Commission is the only body that initiates law in the EU: yes, like the monarch, they are unelected but the monarch (as I propose it) may not initiate law.

In my model, the monarch binds the Parliament through the mechanism of the Constitution; the people bind the monarch through the mechanism of the referendum, and the people still elect the law-making body.

The EU structures are not bound by any of this.

The other reason that I will never ever support the EU is that I loathe the system of Roman Law which holds that a man may only do what the law, i.e. the state, deems legal. That is pretty much the opposite of the libertarian position as I see it.

Both you and NM -- and I realise that I may be misrepresenting your position but, having crossed swords with NM on and off for some years now, I am pretty sure that I know his position -- have to realise is that the EU that you desire is not going to happen.


Anonymous said...

"Except for obeying Sharia law"

The point is ,they WANT to obey Sharia law there. It`s not an infringement as we see it.

Edwin Hesselthwite said...

Hello DK,

Cheers for such polite responses to my haranguing (I've got another thread of harrang going on over at LMWN, but lets split this argument in half).

I see your case, really I do, but I am still convinced the EU sits there pretty solidly doing that job. And I think it is without question that it already has an extremely solid history of tyranny prevention (I wrote this up a long time ago, not my best argument but a solid one, here. I have many, many examples of where the EU has, on the continent wide scale, improved the lives of the majority.

The problem with your argument is it near always consists of "this is what the EU is doing to us", and I don't see that "us" at all - its not a very libertarian position. They have demonstrably prevented tyranny in post-communist nations, solidified multiple democracies, and fed infrastructure investment in nations where it proved profitable to all concerned.

They are an extremely ineffectual government, but thats all for the good as far as I am concerned, and I utterly trust them to step on Westminster if ever Westminster goes bad.

I just don't see the demon in the closet.

The Remittance Man said...

Hey Guys!

It's quite simple. DK's not proposing a return to droit de seigneur etc. Simply that the monarch be constitutionally bound to veto attempts by a democratic government to usurp more power than the people will allow it. You'll note that his proposal for the Royal Veto automatically sets up a referendum on whatever it is that is causing the ruckus.

And as far as I can see the advantage of conscripting someone into this job by virtue of their birth, is that they will be less tempted to pander to the mob than politicians and hence more likely to do the right thing as oposed to the "expedient".

Charles Pooter said...


When it come to the EU, you are nuts.

Anonymous said...

Oh Edwin, you are so ripe for a good disembowling.

WWI was declared by the king, it is only a recent innovation for it to be declared by parliament.

No formal declaration of war has been made since WWII anyway by either Parliament or the Monarch.

The Leader Of The Conservative Party was chosen by the Queen up until Ted Heath.

Bullshit. The Prime Minister was appointed by the Queen and still is. Prior to Heath, the leadership had never fallen vacant while the party was in opposition. When in government, the leader and hence Prime Minister was chosen by the Queen on advice of the previous Prime Minister. The election was merely a rubber stamping exercise.

Besides, do you really think it wise for the Queen to be held responsible for the ascendency of Margaret Thatcher? I'm a fan of the woman, but I recognise what she did caused hardship and hence animosity in many quarters and the role of the Monarch is to not be associated with that. That's why we have separation of Head of State and Head of Government.

The Dismissal crisis in Australia was caused by exactly the type of Royal privilage influence you describe, problem was she had her eye off the ball completely and allowed her governor to make a complete pig's ear of the whole business, so she'll never be able to do it again

The Governers General is part of the Constitution of the Commonwealth Realms. They are responsible for the day to day duties of the Monarch and have reserve powers accordingly. Kerr dismissed the government without consulting the Queen for fear he would be fired for interferring in the operation of the political machine.

I personally would say The David Kelly affair was a key time for a third party to take the reigns...

And what do you propose she do? Dissolve the BBC? Dissolve Parliament? As we saw, Labour got returned at the following election anyway so her attempting to boot out the government only to have it be returned by the people would have seriously undermined the crown. Dissolving the government because it gets in trouble will be seen as unnecessary and partisan.

She has reigned through the age of the horrible baby boomers who have railed against her position as our head of state saying she must not have such powers by hereditary right and then you come along and spit upon her name because she recognised the need for her to not be seen to interfere with the political machine. (Of course your examples have been debunked so I suppose I can dismiss your treasonous post and unjustified SSP scorn.) The problem is this is partisan. You have an opinion of the event and want someone to act in accordance with your opinion. Other people have different opinions. The Queen is constitutionally bound to remain impartial.

BTW, I missed the part when Victoria dissolved her government during the Irish famine because their refusal to do anything. Maybe it's because a democratically elected government is a democratically elected government. Would an elected president in a Westminster system do any different?

She's 81 and still doing her job, the job she was asked to do. I doubt most of Britain could say the same thing of the scale-snatchers at the EU. Your bile filled animosity to her seems to amount to nothing more (given that the rest of your case is bunk) than her not acting like a politician you would want to vote for. News flash: that's not what she is supposed to do!

I agree with DK's suggestion of the need to strengthen the Monarchy (but that doesn't include choosing the leaders of political parties), but I think she has acted entirely appropriately in not interferring with the democratically elected governments despite their huge cockups (hell if she had to intervene because of a grade A fuck up in Downing Street she be dissolving Parliament on a weekly basis).

Henry North London 2.0 said...


Someone actually did post it up

Good On them

It shows the Monarchy have a sense of Irony if nothing else

NHS Fail Wail

I think that we can all agree that the UK's response to coronavirus has been somewhat lacking. In fact, many people asserted that our de...