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Whither The Monarchy?

Summary:
Once upon a time Nations were the personal businesses of tyrants.  These businesses were inherited by their children.  The Monarch and his or her offspring were deeply involved in government because that government was the management of the family enterprise.  In England the power of the monarchy was greatly curtailed in the seventeenth century and its power overseas was limited in succeeding centuries, however, the monarchy still had considerable power due to its wealth and connections. Queen Elizabeth the Second has been the Queen of England in a period when the Monarchy changed from being the cutting edge of a powerful oligarchy that ran the British Empire from behind the scenes to a tourist attraction and figurehead.  Her reign of almost seventy years has obscured the

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Once upon a time Nations were the personal businesses of tyrants.  These businesses were inherited by their children.  The Monarch and his or her offspring were deeply involved in government because that government was the management of the family enterprise.  In England the power of the monarchy was greatly curtailed in the seventeenth century and its power overseas was limited in succeeding centuries, however, the monarchy still had considerable power due to its wealth and connections.

Whither The Monarchy?

Queen Elizabeth the Second has been the Queen of England in a period when the Monarchy changed from being the cutting edge of a powerful oligarchy that ran the British Empire from behind the scenes to a tourist attraction and figurehead.  Her reign of almost seventy years has obscured the fact that the monarchy has changed and has allowed the UK to avoid doing anything about this change.  Our modern monarchy is like a figurehead that has lost its ship.

Tom Paine, the great political philosopher who ignited eighteenth century republicanism in the USA and then France, considered the inherited power of monarchs to be absurd because vast empires could end up being ruled by idiot children.  In Paine's time heirs to the throne risked their lives if they failed to assume a monarchy and risked the lives of their subjects if they succeeded. In contrast the modern Prince or Princess does neither.  Were Paine writing today he might take a different view and might describe the inheritance of the British monarchy as no more than child abuse.

Where do we go from here?  The Royal Family is large and has all sorts of characters, some want to be private individuals and some have a sense of duty towards the nation and can survive the limelight.  The Royal Family also has councils of advisors who are highly experienced and might be able to select suitable candidates for King or Queen from the Family.  Perhaps a sensible way forward would be to allow the monarch to retire at the State retirement age and then hold interviews amongst those of the Royal Family who would actually like to do the job.  Position in the Order of Succession would be an important factor but other factors such as aptitude would be considered.

Why have a Head of State selected from a single family?  Why not have an elected Head of State?  These questions could confuse Americans but not us, the British Head of State is purely an honorary and ceremonial role and the Queen is not remotely like a President.  If the UK Monarchy were abolished little would change.  Our Head of State is simply an icon who represents our unity and history.  The UK Head of State still resides in a particular extended family because that family agreed to relinquish power peacefully after the Civil War and the Glorious Revolution so in a sense our monarchy is a sentimental attachment to the past.  This is a good thing because the changes of the past define the present and we should be proud of our present.  Having just come back from Central America I can assure you that we have much reason to be proud of our country by comparison with others.

Harry and Meghan want to terminate their duties as "Royals".  Take them off the payroll and let them go, they cannot be forced to be employees of the Queen.

10/1/2020

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