May 21

A leading US based economist argues for monarchy

The response to Illinois Governor Blagojevich’s arrest for trying to sell the senate seat vacated by Barack Obama was universal shock and dismay—“or feigned versions thereof,” writes JD Seagraves in Citizen Economists.

“After all, is it really that surprising that a politician would put his own self interests ahead of his constituents’?’ he asks.  “Isn’t that what congressmen and senators do every day in Washington?  In fact, there’s a case to be made that Blagojevich is truly a rare breed: an honest politician.”

He points out that the University of Nevada, Las Vegas economist Professor Hans Herman Hoppe argued in his quite remarkable 2001 book, “Democracy: The God That Failed,” that hereditary monarchy is a better form of government than democracy.  

Professor Hoppe is referring to heredity monarchies in which the King plays an active political role.  
Examples of countries in which the Crown still plays an active political role, but does not enjoy absolute power are Morocco, Tonga, and Liechtenstein. 

…why the Australian Crown must remain above politics, Your Excellencies….

In the Westminster  system, the monarchy evolved from this in the nineteenth century so that the Crown plays no active political role. 
 
The Crown has become an important constitutional check and balance over the political class. That is why the recent entry into the political arena by the Governor-General, one of the Governors is such an egregious breach of their duties.  The political interventions over the last few years by governors in waiting are equally serious. (“Vice regal choice: silence on political issues or stand for election,” 20 April 2009) 
 

Professor Hoppe argues that kings who ruled took pride in the “ownership” of their countries. The hereditary principle meant that   they were able to pass on their kingdoms to their heirs. As Seagraves puts it, “they didn’t loot as aggressively as democratic rulers—who, by comparison, “rent” their kingdoms—do today. Blagojevich was simply trying to collect a rental fee.”

He stresses that despite the favourable portrait he presents of monarchy, he is not a monarchist and does not defend monarchy. He merely advances the proposition that if one must have state authority it is economically and ethically advantageous to choose a monarchy over democracy.

Professor Hoppe condemns the French revolution as belonging in "the same category of vile revolutions as well as the Bolshevik revolution and the Nazi revolution," because the French revolution led to "regicide, egalitarianism, democracy, socialism, hatred of all religion, terror measures, mass plundering, rape and murder, military draft and the total, ideologically motivated war."

….and constitutional monarchy?….

Although seeing monarchy where the sovereign governs as superior, he seems to favour (chapter 1, footnote 19) constitutional monarchy, or a crowned republic, over the alternative, the politicians’ republic. Professor Hoppe’s theory is not one which ACM endorses, for we are constitutional monarchists. It is however refreshing to see an intellectual defence of monarchy based on an academic assessment of the economic and ethical advantages of different forms of government.

This debate brings out an important point. The word ‘republic’ is next to meaningless without some qualification. Even the word ‘monarchy’ is capable of many meanings. And neither word excludes the other. The term ‘crowned republic’ is a reasonably good description of the form of government under which countries such as Australia Canada and New Zealand enjoy.

To say you are a republican – or to put a plebiscite about becoming “a republic” – is meaningless.

  


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