Monarchy vs Democracy

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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Karma Dorje » Fri Apr 19, 2013 2:07 pm

It's not the form of government that is responsible for freedom. I would say that the distribution of wealth is a clearer indicator. When there is a more equitable distribution of wealth, government takes a more laissez faire approach. When wealth inequity takes hold, government is pressed into service to protect the vested interests.

Frankly, I would take the Bhutanese monarchy over government run by businessmen any day of the week. There is no moral anchor in today's corporatist oligarchy.
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby BuddhaSoup » Fri Apr 19, 2013 2:08 pm

Jikan, your points regarding the fallacy of actual democracy in our government are very well taken. Take a look at the recent US Senate vote on requiring gun show background checks. Though roughly 80-90 percent of the populace support these checks, the Senate voted to deny a bill requiring these checks. In other words, the constituents' wishes were trumped by corporate interests (in this case, the NRA and gun manufacturers).

Is there an alternative? What would that alternative look like?


I like the idea of a parliamentary form of government, where, instead of our useless two party system, there can be members of parliament that represent districts, these members from a variety of political parties. These multiple parties then form blocs to create a more representative government. I don't profess to know much about these systems, but our present two party system of "democracy" is something of a fallacy and a failure in many respects. Had we a parliamentary system, with members from the Democratic Party, the Green Party, and other left, center and center-right parties, we would have passed some form of a gun control bill, and the wishes of the country would have been represented.
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Karma Dorje » Fri Apr 19, 2013 2:16 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:Monarchy, huh?

I mean, what could be more logical and intellgent than a system of poltical rule based on birthright and sanction by God?

We are living in the 21st Century right?

And, no, I am not a supporter of bourgeoise (representative) democracy (oligarchy I would say) either. I mean most modern democratic states (especially the economically developed ones) actually function under a form of corporatism anyway.

When I think "democracy" I envisage direct democracy. In the words of the Ancient Hellenic historian and philosopher Herodotus:

"I neither wish to rule, nor to be ruled."


Yes, nothing says 21st Century more than a dead philosopher from the 4th Century BCE. :thumbsup:

In all seriousness, the "direct democracy" of Athens in ancient times is a perfect example of a workable form of democracy: only the citizens vote, meaning those who had completed military service and were not slaves or resident aliens. Such direct democracy probably never exceeded 25% of the total population. Opening up decision-making to people who don't know the issues is a recipe for manipulation by bribe or by demagogue.
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Apr 19, 2013 2:17 pm

Simon E. wrote:Maybe. I think the forces that shape the UK have nothing to do with the monarchy.
Its what goes on the Square Mile of the city of London that do that.
Not what happens in Buckingham Palace.
And the royal family and their court have no interests vested there, do they now?

And what of tithings and dues paid to the royal family by the English state (ie the English tax payers)? Didn't the Queen just ask for a raise? What is she getting paid nowadays?

And the fact that an Englisman's home is not his castle, but actually the Queens and he basically rents it from her?

Minor details, right?
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Apr 19, 2013 2:40 pm

Karma Dorje wrote:In all seriousness, the "direct democracy" of Athens in ancient times is a perfect example of a workable form of democracy: only the citizens vote, meaning those who had completed military service and were not slaves or resident aliens. Such direct democracy probably never exceeded 25% of the total population.
Ancient Athenian democracy (of which Herodotus played no part in, since he died about 125 years before it was instiuted and he didn't live in Athens anyway, he lived in Halicarnassus, in Asia Minor) was an oligarchy since the largest part of the population (including all women) were not part of the decision making process. So it is not an example of direct democracy. Democracy is a strange term anyway because it actually means rule by burgher, not rule by citizens. Initially in Ancient Greece, a burgher was a member of a particular family group (not unlike feudalism) and later the term came to encompass all males that had completed military service.

The prerequisite military service for citizenship still exists in Greece. Nowadays you can get exemption on physical or psychological grounds and it does not carry the stigma that it use to when your CV had to include evidence of your military service and an exemption qualified you as incapable of work in the public sector. Not only that, but without military service papers it was almost impossible to be issued a passport. But I am digressing (or maybe not?).
Opening up decision-making to people who don't know the issues is a recipe for manipulation by bribe or by demagogue.
Sure, to an extent, but if you suport monarchy then you are basically saying that "not knowing" is tantamount to not being more inbred than your pedigree corgi (since being a member of a monarchy is based on this characteristic too).

When wealth inequity takes hold, government is pressed into service to protect the vested interests.
Wealth inequity is also caused by governments as is wealth distribution. In terms of democracies refer to Norway, Sweden, Denmark etc... Now these are all constitutional monarchies too, so I gues you can draw whatever conclusion you wish. Germany, France and Austria are other examples too (minus the monarchy).

There is no moral anchor in today's corporatist oligarchy.
And since when was the presence of a monarchy a "moral anchor"? I can think of a whole series of examples (scandals) that show the complete opposite.
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Simon E. » Fri Apr 19, 2013 3:18 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Simon E. wrote:Maybe. I think the forces that shape the UK have nothing to do with the monarchy.
Its what goes on the Square Mile of the city of London that do that.
Not what happens in Buckingham Palace.
And the royal family and their court have no interests vested there, do they now?

And what of tithings and dues paid to the royal family by the English state (ie the English tax payers)? Didn't the Queen just ask for a raise? What is she getting paid nowadays?

And the fact that an Englisman's home is not his castle, but actually the Queens and he basically rents it from her?

Minor details, right?

No, the Queen does not own anyones house. Not even her own. They belong to the Nation.
If we are talking finances, and there are other criteria, the enormous income derived from tourism specifically arising from the current monarchy far outweighs the cost to the Nation. The UK is a tourist destination for millions of people a year and its not our beaches or climate that brings them flocking.
But basically Greg unless you intend becoming a British citizen its not an issue that needs to keep you awake in the wee small hours , is it ? :smile:
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Karma Dorje » Fri Apr 19, 2013 3:20 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote:In all seriousness, the "direct democracy" of Athens in ancient times is a perfect example of a workable form of democracy: only the citizens vote, meaning those who had completed military service and were not slaves or resident aliens. Such direct democracy probably never exceeded 25% of the total population.
Ancient Athenian democracy (of which Herodotus played no part in since he died about 125 years before it was instiuted and he didn't live in Athens anyway, he lived in Halicarnassus in Asia Minor) was an oligarchy since it the largest part of the population (including all women) were not part of the decision making process. So it is not an example of direct democracy. Democracy is a strange term anyway because it actually means rule by burgher, not rule by citizens. Initially in Ancient Greece, a burgher was a member of a particular family group (not unlike feudalism) and later the term came to encompass all males that had completed military service.


Thanks for the history lesson, but I am well aware of where Herodotus is from and how he was parodied in Athens. I apologize for not making the segue more clear. I was saying that Athenian democracy is an example of a working system where citizenry is defined as educated persons invested in the civil society. Now there were those little niggling problems like slavery, women being second-class citizens, etc. but hey, nobody's perfect.

gregkavarnos wrote:
There is no moral anchor in today's corporatist oligarchy.
And since when was the presence of a monarchy a "moral anchor"? I can think of a whole series of examples (scandals) that show the complete opposite.


The presence of a monarchy is not ipso facto a moral anchor. However, a monarch is uniquely situated to provide one, such as the Druk Gyalpo in Bhutan, Ashoka, Trisong Deutsen, Tzu-hsi, etc.
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Sherlock » Fri Apr 19, 2013 3:35 pm

All forms of government have their flaws which can be managed by checks and balances, but over time, the checks and balances themselves turn into problems. That is the main thing driving anacyclosis IMO.

The best form of government is no government: personally I think nomadic pastoralism is the best mode of human society in many ways. Nomadic communities would usually tend not to accumulate in densities thick enough for monarchy or democracy to become necessary, and their nutrition of nomads would have been far better than that of settled peoples.
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Apr 19, 2013 4:12 pm

Simon E. wrote:The UK is a tourist destination for millions of people a year and its not our beaches or climate that brings them flocking.
It's not the Queen either, since nobody really gets to see her anyway. Or the cuisine for that matter! :tongue:
But basically Greg unless you intend becoming a British citizen its not an issue that needs to keep you awake in the wee small hours , is it ? :smile:
I am a Commonwealth citizen as well as a Greek citizen. ;)
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One will not attain the real result
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Apr 19, 2013 4:14 pm

Karma Dorje wrote:The presence of a monarchy is not ipso facto a moral anchor. However, a monarch is uniquely situated to provide one, such as the Druk Gyalpo in Bhutan, Ashoka, Trisong Deutsen, Tzu-hsi, etc.
How are they more "uniquely situated" than a president (for example)?
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Simon E. » Fri Apr 19, 2013 4:38 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Simon E. wrote:The UK is a tourist destination for millions of people a year and its not our beaches or climate that brings them flocking.
It's not the Queen either, since nobody really gets to see her anyway. Or the cuisine for that matter! :tongue:
But basically Greg unless you intend becoming a British citizen its not an issue that needs to keep you awake in the wee small hours , is it ? :smile:
I am a Commonwealth citizen as well as a Greek citizen. ;)

Actually quite a lot of people see her...and the cuisine is changing rapidly. We have lots of Aussie Chefs to show us the way.
Of course like it or not, as a Commonwealth citizen she is your Queen too... :smile:

Come on..doff that cap... :twothumbsup:
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Apr 19, 2013 4:45 pm

The word Greek word Democrat is the same as the Italian (Latin) word Republican. The phrase democratic monarchy (also a Greek word) does not exist in the Greek language.

You are a democrat or you are a monarchist.
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Karma Dorje » Fri Apr 19, 2013 5:47 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:The word Greek word Democrat is the same as the Italian (Latin) word Republican. The phrase democratic monarchy (also a Greek word) does not exist in the Greek language.

You are a democrat or you are a monarchist.


I also live in the Commonwealth. If that's the choice, count me a monarchist.

From every latent foe
From the assassins blow
God save the Queen
O'er her thine arm extend
For Britain's sake defend
Our mother, prince, and friend
God save the Queen
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Simon E. » Fri Apr 19, 2013 6:00 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:The word Greek word Democrat is the same as the Italian (Latin) word Republican. The phrase democratic monarchy (also a Greek word) does not exist in the Greek language.

You are a democrat or you are a monarchist.

Ah.. but Perfidious Albion has managed to produce a third way. ;) Its what were good at.
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Zhen Li » Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:54 pm

From the Buddhist perspective, I believe, as with all things, the only aim of government, regardless of the form, should be harmony. As for everything else, it doesn't really matter because of impermanence. Harmony helps us to maintain the precepts, everything else is superfluous and will pass away in time.

The closest we can come to a formulaic Buddhist political philosophy I believe, were the seven conditions for a nation's welfare the Buddha provided to Vassakara in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta:
1. Assemble and disperse peacefully,
2. Attend to your affairs in concord,
3. Neither enact new decrees nor abolish existing ones, but proceed in accordance with your ancient constitutions,
4. Show respect, honour, esteem, and veneration towards your elders and think it worthwhile to listen to them,
5. Refrain from abducting women and maidens of good families and from detaining them,
6. Show respect, honour, esteem, and veneration towards your shrines, both those within the city and those outside it, and do not deprive them of the due offerings as given and made to them formerly,
7. Duly protect and guard the arhats, so that those who have not come to the realm yet might do so, and those who have already come might live there in peace.

If anything, however, democracy can really hinder the adherence to these conditions. Especially if the state is not inclined to show respect to religious shrines, and if it is inclined to create new laws as the people change their minds all the time. Clearly, there is a reason why the Cakravartin isn't a principle, but a person, a monarch, whom the Dharma inspires, and is upheld.

By no means are we talking about autocracy either, since condition 1 and 2 would require meetings. In other words, I think we are looking at a constitutional monarchy - that is to say, a monarchy which abides by a set of pre-ordained principles and rules. The British model, is a great example I believe, where the Queen is both defender of the faith and constitution. All you need is more polite and concordant debate in the House of Commons.

As with anacyclosis, the Buddha recognises the need to protect the way of doing things in the past, "Neither enact new decrees nor abolish existing ones, but proceed in accordance with your ancient constitutions." Every civilisation has it's own way of doing things, and that tends to be what is best suited to their people's temperament. To suppose that one approach is suitable for everyone, is to be quite culturally arrogant. While idealism may make one believe that things are better off after revolutions, harmony tends to dwindle too because people lose ancient and well established, tried and tested ways of dealing with one another. There are accounts of social behaviour prior to and after the French revolution, where all manners had disappeared. Similarly in Russia, where today, after a century of turmoil due to idealism, you can't even drive down the street without encountering an unwieldy dose of aggression which ancient customs develop to avoid. Even more so in China, where the differences can easily be seen just by travelling to and from Taiwan, where the cultural revolution did not hold sway. But also, one must remember that as a foreign nation, you also have a duty to respect foreign ways of doing things, and the degradation of the Chinese polity is as much to blame on mad men from Europe and America as it is on mad men within. But in the end, one must also recognise that all which arises must also fall, and the past must not be lamented once it is gone, for that only hinders the development of harmony in the present - though one may use the past as a guide in doing that, and as a reference for revealing what tried methods worked best, and which did not.

The highest ideal, of course, is a monarch who rules in accordance with the Dharma. A monarch who is not anointed by God, but by knowledge of what is wholesome, and what is unwholesome, and conquers the world with the world's consent, and rules them with the five precepts. Not because they are overwhelmed, but simply because he IS the Noble Wheel-Turning Monarch, and the wheel treasure shows it to be so. Cakkavatti-Sihanada Sutta:
"'But what, Sire, is the duty of a noble wheel-turning monarch?'
'It is this, my son: Yourself depending on the Dhamma, honoring it, revering it, cherishing it, doing homage to it, and venerating it, having the Dhamma as your badge and banner, acknowledging the Dhamma as your master, you should establish righteous guard, ward, and protection for your own household, your troops, your khattiyas and vassals, for brahmins and householders, town and country folk, ascetics and brahmins, for beasts and birds. Let no crime prevail in your kingdom, and to those who are in need, give wealth. And whatever ascetics and brahmins in your kingdom have renounced the life of sensual infatuation and are devoted to forbearance and gentleness, each one taming himself, each one calming himself, and each one striving for the end of craving, from time to time you should approach them and ask:
"What, venerable sirs, is wholesome and what is unwholesome, what is blameworthy and what is blameless, what is to be followed and what is not to be followed? What action will in the long run lead to harm and sorrow, and what to welfare and happiness?"
Having listened to them, you should avoid what is unwholesome and do what is wholesome. That, my son, is the duty of a noble wheel-turning monarch.'
"'Yes, Sire,' said the king, and he performed the duties of a noble wheel-turning monarch. And as he did so, on the uposatha day of the fifteenth, when he had washed his head and gone up to the verandah on top of his palace for the uposatha day, the sacred wheel-treasure appeared to him, thousand-spoked, complete with rim, hub, and all accessories. Then the king thought:
'I have heard that when a duly anointed khattiya king sees such a wheel on the uposatha day of the fifteenth, he will become a wheel-turning monarch. May I become such a monarch?'
"Then, rising from his seat, covering one shoulder with his robe, the king took a gold vessel in his left hand, sprinkled the wheel with his right hand, and said:
'May the noble wheel-treasure turn, may the noble wheel-treasure conquer!'
The wheel turned to the east, and the king followed it with his fourfold army. And in whatever country the wheel stopped, the king took up residence with his fourfold army. And those who opposed him in the eastern region came and said:
'Come, Your Majesty, welcome. We are yours, Your Majesty. Rule us, Your Majesty.'
And the king said:
'Do not take life. Do not take what is not given. Do not commit sexual misconduct. Do not tell lies. Do not drink intoxicating drinks. Enjoy your possessions as before.'
And those who had opposed him in the eastern region became his subjects.
"Then the wheel turned south, west, and north. ... Then the wheel-treasure, having conquered the lands from sea to sea, returned to the royal capital and stopped before the king's palace as he was trying a case, as if to adorn the royal palace."
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:14 pm

Karma Dorje wrote: I don't believe that any fool without education should make decisions for the whole. I am much more comfortable with educated people, or in this case realized people, deciding for the community who best exemplifies the lineage.

Under a monarchy, your opinion on this topic doesn't count.
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:40 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote: I don't believe that any fool without education should make decisions for the whole. I am much more comfortable with educated people, or in this case realized people, deciding for the community who best exemplifies the lineage.

Under a monarchy, your opinion on this topic doesn't count.
.
.
.
Touche! :smile:
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Karma Dorje » Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:56 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote: I don't believe that any fool without education should make decisions for the whole. I am much more comfortable with educated people, or in this case realized people, deciding for the community who best exemplifies the lineage.

Under a monarchy, your opinion on this topic doesn't count.


Under a Dharma king or queen, my opinion on this topic is not necessary.
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Apr 20, 2013 6:59 am

Karma Dorje wrote:Under a Dharma king or queen, my opinion on this topic is not necessary.
And the world is full of Cakravartins, right?
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Karma Dorje » Sun Apr 21, 2013 1:29 am

gregkavarnos wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote:Under a Dharma king or queen, my opinion on this topic is not necessary.
And the world is full of Cakravartins, right?


There aren't. Hence our many problems in the world. :tongue:
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