As my libertarianism is enormously influenced by Founding Fathers and the American Revolution of 1776, my republicanism is derived from a central premise of those brave men, and that seminal event in history - namely the premise that "All men are created equal under God".
As someone who does not believe in a god, that doesn't really hold for me. Besides, the US hardly stuck to that, although they might argue that their general belief that blacks were not strictly speaking "men" did ensure that they stuck to the letter of the law.
It was, in fact, completely necessary for blacks to be regarded as animals for the Constitution to be consistent with slavery. You see, it isn't enough to simply have a document, and a Constitution does not make men free. One only needs to examine the Constitution of Hussain's Iraq or Stalin's Russia to be amply reminded of this.
This kind of demolishes any idea of the "divine right of Kings" , and thus with it any sort of monarchy.
The divine right of kings was a relatively late addition to the British monarchy; the Norman kings were well aware that they were invaders and not divinely ordered. The concept of divine right was first used by that supreme politician, Henry VII, when he usurped power from Richard III.
In the same way, although the rituals were observed, William of Orange knew perfectly well that he was invited on sufferance. He was not an absolute ruler: he was merely a pawn of Parliament for no real reason other than that of good form.
The English in general are not great fans of upheaval; they have an inherent sense of "good order", if you like. William was invited to invade and then to take the throne, essentially, because to not have a monarch offended the British sensibility.
But from that day forth, the monarch became essentially a tool of Parliament; a nominal brake on its power and a reminder less of a divine ruler than of a single embodiment of the British people. In short, the monarch—who ruled "in the name of the people" as well as god—reminded politicians of whence their power derived.
And yet, when I see Prince Charles meeting up with fascist Islamist thugs like King Abdullah of Saudi, I lurch back into my republicanism and wonder about DK's support of the monarchy.
Why? Do you worry about other people's support for a democracy when our elected leaders will not only meet the King but were the ones who invited him in the first place?
The reason why Prince Charles is meeting the Saudi King should be obvious: the monarchy is no longer a servant of the people, it has become the servant of Parliament.
Prince Charles goes where he is ordered to go and he meets whom he is ordered to meet. The monarchy are not superior to anyone else: they are the slaves of people, Parliament, duty and country.
Then again, I can understand that say 19th century England was quite a libertarian place, with a monarchy. But it also made use of 10 year old coal miners and appalling working conditions for about 80 per cent of the population. So, I'm not sure if we want to return to that.
What? Let me reformat that.
- Then again, I can understand that say 19th century England was quite a libertarian place, with a monarchy.
- But it also made use of 10 year old coal miners and appalling working conditions for about 80 per cent of the population.
Now that's just fucking silly: proposition one has absolutely fuck all to do with proposition two. 19th Century England was quite libertarian because the government were laissez-faire: they were paid little and were occupied with other things. The monarch had no more real power—other than that which they possessed as a person—than they do now.
Taking on board all of the above, from a libertarian point of view I think that one can, in fact, make an argument for strengthening the monarchy and making it explicit, when they take their oath, that they are always to act in the best interests of the people of Britain.
Were the monarch to refuse to give Royal Asssent to one or two Bills—or even to have the power to force a referendum on sensitive issues—it would, once again, remind those who are elected whose powers it is that they wield. And they will always need reminding.
I support the monarchy for the same reason that I support the hereditary Lords: from a practical point of view. Those who are brought up and dedicate their entire lives to the service of the country are infinitely more experienced and have less grounds for vote-whoring, bribery and corruption than those whom we elect.
I am not precious about status as such; I don't believe that the Royal Family are intrinsically more valuable human beings than I, for I do not believe in a deity. But they are a practical and, indeed, profitable institution.
In fact, the only real libertarian argument that I could construct for abolishing the monarchy—as it stands in this day and age—is from the point of view that they themselves are slaves and deserve to be as free as we would have everyone else be.
You see, although I am a libertarian, I am a consequentialist not an idealist. I do not believe in dogma, I believe in the most practical solution. As far as I am concerned, the monarchy is that practical solution.
And, whenever I doubt it, I look to history; for every USA—that throws off the "shackles" of the monarchy—there is a Communist Russia, a revolutionary France, a Communist China. Remember, we tried a republic in Britain and it didn't suit us (not least because our Lord Protector attempted to set up his own dynasty).
The monarchy serves an admirable function and its retention—and even its strengthening—is desirable from the point of view of utility. Besides, they are fun: everyone likes a little pomp and circumstance from time to time...
For more on this subject, I highly recommend this article at LibertarianUK.