Long Live the King?

The New York Times runs a think piece on why the world needs more monarchies.

Tolkien and Kant both thought well of the concept of a monarchy, but the American tradition is not well-served by the idea. None of our political dynasties are a good fit: not the Kennedy family, absolutely not the Clinton crew, nor even the Bush family. I'm sure some people would love to appoint Barack and Michelle Obama as King and Queen of America, but others would greatly despise the idea. King Trump? His wife and daughter would be a good fit for the royalty they'd meet on state occasions, but people go nuts enough about having the Donald as first citizen, primus inter pares. Making him king is right out.

So, it's just a fun piece for a Sunday? Or what?

UPDATE: Queen Oprah? Americans might really vote for that, heaven help us.


Assistant Village Idiot said...

Tolkien's king was quite distant for the residents of the Shire, or Bree, and come to think of it, just about everywhere else. His picture is more idyllic than real, with unsupervised peasants with goods and food variety from the very late 19th C existing and prospering in a 12th C world. https://assistantvillageidiot.blogspot.com/2016/04/tolkiens-time-periods.html

I'm not sure he and Lewis qualify as monarchists so much as scholars who see something good in monarchy. That's about where I am myself. I see advantages in kings and queens, especially ceremonial ones. Just not enough to outweigh the disadvantages and move in that direction.

Anonymous said...

I think the Kennedys, Clintons and Bushes make fine examples to contemplate as royalty, because they collectively contain all of the weaknesses of real monarchies. Those weaknesses are the other members of the family.

Long, sad experience has taught us that a family that produces a king does not necessarily produce a second good king. Indeed, experience suggests that fine successors are a matter of rare luck. Further, the role of leader of a country is important to a country's wellbeing. For example, the outcome of the rivalry between Scotland and England for control of Great Britain appears to be heavily influenced by a succession of children-and-regents-and turmoil versus a fortunate succession of competent adults at a critical time in history.

In a country with a population of better than 300M people, we have the opportunity to make a selection from very large numbers of families, thereby maximizing the likelihood of selecting a talented person for this critical role. At any rate, we are guaranteed an adult.

I suspect that the good Tolkein and Lewis see in a monarchy has something to do with the personal trait of noblesse oblige, that sense of responsibility that leads to honorable, generous, and responsible behavior. I submit that, in the United States, this sense of acting nobly has become commonplace: it is expected of the vast bulk of citizens who have ordinary authority. Getting rid of titles of nobility may have been a stroke of genius on the part of our forefathers.

By getting rid of orders of nobility and setting character expectations for people in all kinds of public office, we have broadened our opportunities to find and select capable people.


Ymarsakar said...

The Republic is dead. Although I suppose if Americans want some divine proof of divine punishment, they can elect a King or Queen and see what happens, Soddom or not.