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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Suggesting an American Monarchy, for the Wrong Reason

Suggesting an American Monarchy, for the Wrong Reason 

MadMonarchist

The New York Times, that liberal bastion of leftist propaganda, recently saw fit to publish an article titled, “Consider a Monarchy, America” by one Nikolai Tolstoy, chancellor of the International Monarchist League. I must question the motives of such an institution as the New York Times allowing such a person to write such an article for their paper but kudos to Mr. Tolstoy for having a go at it. He, of course, remarks on the widespread amount of contempt that exists for both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and argues for a royal Head of State, apart from the head of government, as a solution for the United States of America. It is a good argument that he makes, however, it is not really an argument for traditional monarchy and makes a number of assumptions with which this Mad Monarchist would have to disagree. The case he makes could just as easily, and more realistically, be made for having a republic of the sort that currently exists in countries such as Germany or Italy with a figurehead president as Head of State and a prime minister who effectively runs the country. A simple look at either of these countries would, however, show that to be no recipe for success.

The first example he names as a model the USA could follow is, as he calls it, “contented Canada”, America’s northern neighbor. However, the very fact that it is necessary to have a Canadian Monarchist League to fight against the forces of republicanism in that country, would tend to reveal that not everyone in Canada is so ‘content’ with their constitutional monarchy. Certainly American conservatives would look at a country with strict gun control, strict controls on freedom of speech, socialized health care, higher taxes, heavier regulations, a larger welfare state, a tiny military, two official languages and a country that only recently elected leftist daddy’s boy Justin Trudeau prime minister as a disastrous example to follow. If Canada is content it is only because the population as a whole has largely been brow-beaten or propagandized into more uniformity of thought. This is a country that, not so long ago really, actually changed its national flag in an effort to be more “inclusive” and “multicultural”, something which no American would ever even consider for a single, outrageous moment!

Mr. Tolstoy asserts that dictators have disliked monarchies, which is largely true, but also seems to imply that monarchy would prevent dictators from coming to power. Germany is cited as the obvious example, with the inclusion of a quote from Mr. Churchill effectively blaming America for the downfall of the German Kaiser and thus the coming to power of Adolf Hitler. Now, that, I must point out, is rather rich considering that Churchill was second to none in urging America to get involved in the First World War, but it also ignores the fact that the German Kaiser was ultimately brought down by the Germans themselves and that the U.S. refused to ratify the disastrous Versailles Treaty and made its own separate peace agreements with the Central Powers. The rise of Hitler had very little to do with the United States and much more to do with the damaging reparations payments Britain and France demanded as well as the carve-up of territories with various other soon-to-be Allied nations made by the French and British long before the United States ever entered the war.

The author does, however, give America credit for allowing the Japanese to retain their monarchy after World War II, though this does tend to discredit his previous argument given that the Empire of Japan was a monarchy that was partners with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. What goes too far is the line that, “This wise policy enabled Japan’s remarkable and rapid evolution into the prosperous, peaceful democratic society it has been ever since.” Honestly, if the monarchy was what was responsible for this, then Japan should have already been a “prosperous, peaceful democratic society” before World War II and the U.S. occupation, which, Mr. Tolstoy seems to imply, that it was not; which is rather a problem. In point of fact, Japan was prosperous before the war, was fairly democratic by the standards of the day at least and though not peaceful, since the war Japan has had no choice but to be peaceful considering that it is illegal for the Japanese government to go to war unless it is attacked and since the war it has been under U.S. military protection and when you are protected by the most powerful military on earth it is highly unlikely that anyone is going to attack you.

More bizarre, however, is Mr. Tolstoy’s effort to refute the argument of incompetent hereditary rulers by pointing to existing political dynasties in America. Strangely, he uses the example of the thoroughly discredited Bush family rather than the more topical but more controversial example of Hillary Clinton, wife of a former President (perhaps the NYT wouldn’t have allowed the article to appear if he had). However, it seems quite absurd to say that, “Americans chose to be governed by George Bush II” as an argument given that, again, his opening example of a monarchy America could be more like was Canada which just chose to be governed by a prime minister who is also the son of a former prime minister! His next line that, “The framers of the Constitution were, without question, men of preeminent judgment and intellect” also does not jive with the overall argument that the system which they established (on their second try, having made a pig’s breakfast of the first effort) is the one he is advocating be abandoned.

The core of the problem I have with the article overall, however, begins to be revealed in his next paragraph which points to the conservative icon Edmund Burke, a British statesman of incomparable ability who took the side of the American colonists in the war for independence (he was a Whig rather than a Tory) but who was an ardent defender of the British system of constitutional monarchy and became even more famous for his eloquent opposition to the monstrous French Revolution. Starting there, and in the lines that follow, Mr. Tolstoy makes it abundantly clear that he is arguing for a largely ceremonial monarchy according to the liberal worldview, which I do not share and which I do not think has been good for monarchy or ultimately good for anyone else. Frankly, I think this worldview, which I have previously referred to as the ‘republican/revolutionary mentality’ has ruined many outstanding monarchies among the precious few that remain in the world. Many of these countries are, I think, in a terrible state but I would certainly not blame this on their being monarchies but rather on the fact that they have become too nominal about being monarchies and have adopted the republican mentality or the liberal worldview if you like which is at odds with the fundamental concept of monarchy itself.

Personally, I tend to think that if HM Queen Elizabeth II were ruling the United States according to her own good judgment, America would be better off but that is not what is being proposed here, nor is it the case in the U.K. or Canada or anywhere else in the English-speaking world. It is not that the argument being presented here is necessarily wrong, it is rather subjective, but I do think it is something of a double-edged sword. After all, if things in Denmark, Belgium or Britain are fine and dandy, if Canadians are so content, and that is attributed to their constitutional monarchs, then if you think things in these places are not so great, if Canadians become less than contented, then logically their monarchs could be held to blame and that, I think, would be very unfair. It would be, if you can follow me, like keeping your cat in a cage and then blaming it for not catching any mice. If your cat is caged and you do not have any mice, I don’t think the fact that you have a caged cat is the reason for your lack of rodents.

The bottom line, for me, is that the public attitude, the prevailing mentality of the modern world in most parts of it, is the real root of the problem. For those unhappy with the two presidential candidates on offer today, would you be any more happy with them or think them any less disastrous if they were running for prime minister rather than president? Does the monarch in Britain or Canada or Spain have anything at all to do with how political parties choose their candidates? Did the Queen of Canada or her vice-regal representative have any real choice other than to approve of Justin Trudeau? No. According to the British political model, Hillary Clinton could still have been a candidate to be head of government because she was the choice of her party and in the British political model it is even more clear that the candidate for the top job is the choice of the party elites and not the party membership. The only candidate who might have been prevented from nomination is Donald Trump since he was able to achieve that status in spite of the adamant opposition of Republican Party elites and in the British system he would not have been able to win without their approval. Personally, I would be no happier if the choices for the person to govern America were Hillary and Jeb! Bush rather than Hillary and the Trump.

The real problem is with the liberal political system itself which, as I have pointed out before, has broken down. It has broken down partly because of its own inherent flaws and partly because it is based on everyone agreeing to abide by one set of rules and that is no longer the case. It is a system that *cannot* work if only one side follows the rules. It cannot work if one party is protected by the Justice Department and effectively given immunity from prosecution, it cannot work if the press refuses to scrutinize one party and it cannot work if one party can simply import new voters when their arguments fail to convince the existing population. Both sides have to be subject to the same rules and that is blatantly no longer the case. Europe is in much the same situation. In the U.S. if the ruling political class cannot get the public to vote for what they want, they simply get the Supreme Court to impose their wishes on the country. In Europe, if the people do not do as they are told, you have the unelected, unaccountable European Union leadership to impose its wishes in similar fashion. Monarchs, where they survive, have nothing to do but watch, having been stripped of any power to do good or repress evil.

Lastly, in case anyone draws the wrong conclusion from this, I am not saying that the existing, constitutional monarchs of the world are not worth defending. I firmly and adamantly believe that they are worth defending and must be defended. It is far easier to tear down than it is to restore and once the last semblance of monarchy is gone, it almost never comes back. Even if only the bare bones are left, I would fight to death to defend those bare bones and then push back to see their sinews grow back until they are healthy and vigorous once again. Monarchies must be seen in a cultural and not purely a political context. You don’t abandon your culture because others have sullied it, you don’t give up on your national traditions just because others have tried to pervert them. And, I would say, your view of monarchy should not be affected by presidential candidates and whoever wins tonight should make no difference. You should support your monarchy because it is yours and that should be enough.