Monarchy vs Democracy

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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Nikolay » Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:17 am

Not sure having something like IRA in your country is a good thing. I would prefer to do without one.

Basically, here is my problem with democracy:
A monarch (in theory) is supposed to rule in accordance with traditions and religion. He must base his decisions on them in order to remain, as we say, "legitimate".
A democratic ruler (in theory) is supposed to represent the interests of the majority of country's population. He is legitimate because he is acting in accordance with their wishes.

For democracy, this effectively means that a ruler is forced to cater to the lowest common denominator. To be successful and get re-elected he has to appease the most base qualities of his electorate: anger, fear, desire, that kind of stuff. Unpopular measures that aim at some less obvious long term benefits are met with resistance. For example, measures taken so far to preserve natural environment are frankly pathetic, because the public is not willing to even consider any limits to their consumption, and politics will not risk the fallout. I won't even mention any possible measures aimed at elevating the people ethically/spiritually in some way. They are either never considered at all, or fall into the same trap of ugly populism.

Of course in practice both positions are routinely abused. Which is why power checks are necessary, both in democracy and in monarchy. I doubt that anyone here is seriously supporting absolute monarchy, but constitutional monarchy seems like a good compromise to me. Ideally it should involve power checks both on the "higher" level (aristocracy and clergy, who should ensure monarch stays true to the guiding principles of his rule) and on the "lower" level (elected representatives from the general population, who will not allow monarch to forget the welfare of his people and will block any extreme measures).
Then we come to another sticking point of monarchism: aristocracy vs meritocracy. In a monarchy, power is inherited, and not gained through capacity/ability.

Problem is, in practice power in democracies is gained through being the most ambitious, populist, ruthless, back-stabbing and two-faced person around. In other words, through the capacity to be evil.
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:41 am

mirage wrote:Not sure having something like IRA in your country is a good thing.
Didn't say it was.
I would prefer to do without one.
And I am sure that the Irish would prefer not to have a (violently) imposed foreign monarchy.
For democracy, this effectively means that a ruler is forced to cater to the lowest common denominator.
Lowest common denominator? You mean those that do all the most essential work? Imagine a society without Lords and Ladies, now imagine a society without road cleaners and rural labourers.
To be successful and get re-elected he has to appease the most base qualities of his electorate: anger, fear, desire, that kind of stuff.
Whereas a monarch appeasing and appealing to these qualities in an inbred aristocracy is sooooo... much better. Right? For a democracy to work the citizens have to be educated (not literate, educated) and (objectively) informed. In the corporatist oligarchy of the US education levels are quite low (by developed world standards) and information is provided by corporatist interests.
Problem is, in practice power in democracies is gained through being the most ambitious, populist, ruthless, back-stabbing and two-faced person around. In other words, through the capacity to be evil.
Guess what? The same happens in monarchies too. Internal conflicts between siblings on who will rule is a common problem in monarchies.
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Nikolay » Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:22 pm

Lowest common denominator? You mean those that do all the most essential work? Imagine a society without Lords and Ladies, now imagine a society without road cleaners and rural labourers.

I am referring to personal qualities and desires, not people. Please do not make my words look more unsympathetic than they already are :tongue: A person can be poor and have the most menial of jobs, yet have purest and highest aspirations. But such qualities are rare, regardless of social class, and appealing to them will not win you an election.
For a democracy to work the citizens have to be educated (not literate, educated) and (objectively) informed.

A nice and idealistic theory. Pity it doesn't work that way.
Guess what? The same happens in monarchies too. Internal conflicts between siblings on who will rule is a common problem in monarchies.

Well, yes. But this is mostly incidental, since the heir is determined by law, not by his popularity, connections or other qualities, while in democracy this is basically a job requirement.
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:34 pm

mirage wrote:I am referring to personal qualities and desires, not people. Please do not make my words look more unsympathetic than they already are :tongue:
Sorry for misinterpreting your statement.
A person can be poor and have the most menial of jobs, yet have purest and highest aspirations. But such qualities are rare, regardless of social class, and appealing to them will not win you an election.
In which case there is no advantage in having an aristocracy.
A nice and idealistic theory. Pity it doesn't work that way.
I agree, it is a pity.
Well, yes. But this is mostly incidental, since the heir is determined by law, not by his popularity, connections or other qualities, while in democracy this is basically a job requirement.
Lots of things are determined by law but...
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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 shaunc » Tue Apr 23, 2013 1:37 pm

Just out of interest. Is anyone keen on a benevolent dictatorship. :lol:
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Apr 23, 2013 2:23 pm

I asked the question a while back: "what is the fundamental difference between a monarchy and a despotism/dictatorship?" but nobody answered. Gee... I wonder why?
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One will not attain the real result
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Nikolay » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:03 pm

]In which case there is no advantage in having an aristocracy.

Aristocracy is another check on the power of the monarch. Both they and elected representatives serve to prevent despotism, additionally they serve to prevent populism.
More to the point, aristocracy exists anyway, whether we want it or not. Just look at the US.
I asked the question a while back: "what is the fundamental difference between a monarchy and a despotism/dictatorship?" but nobody answered. Gee... I wonder why?

I can answer. First, monarchy does not imply unlimited power for the ruler. Absolute monarchy does, but not constitutional. Second, even if we are talking about absolute monarchy, the difference is that a dictator does not inherit his position, but seizes it. This implies a negative selection process even worse than in a democracy. Third, a dictator can rely neither on tradition, inheritance laws and the sacredness of his position, nor on the democratic election process to justify his power, and has to use populism, coercion and brute force.
In short, dictatorship combines the negative sides of democracy and absolute monarchy, and adds some extra. Constitutional monarchy, on the other hand, combines the positive sides, at least in my opinion.
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:48 pm

mirage wrote:Aristocracy is another check on the power of the monarch. Both they and elected representatives serve to prevent despotism, additionally they serve to prevent populism.
The aristocracy normally supports any move the monarchy makes which gives them (more) power and money. If that includes a despotic stance by the monarch... And what is wrong with populism if the monarchy/aristocracy is corrupt? What is wrong with referendums (a populist and democratic tool) for example?
I can answer. First, monarchy does not imply unlimited power for the ruler. Absolute monarchy does, but not constitutional.
This is ture.
Second, even if we are talking about absolute monarchy, the difference is that a dictator does not inherit his position, but seizes it. This implies a negative selection process even worse than in a democracy.
How is seizing power (which may, to an extent, show poltical will and strength) any worse than inheriting power? Take a look a the Thai monarchy (for example), people are living in dread of the death of the current king Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) since the heir is a womaniser and a spendthrift.
Third, a dictator can rely neither on tradition, inheritance laws and the sacredness of his position...
And what makes these qualities positive per se?
... nor on the democratic election process to justify his power, and has to use populism, coercion and brute force.
Well, monarchs have been known to utilise these methods too you know? ;)
Constitutional monarchy, on the other hand, combines the positive sides, at least in my opinion.
So how would you (if you are American) feel about instituting the Bush family as a royal family of America? They seem to have all the qualities you laud: traditional (in a W.A.S.P. sort of way), morally upstanding, popular, well educated, trained to rule, sanctioned by God, sucssfully executed the sacred (in God we trust) office of head of the largest and strongest nation in the world, etc... Maybe the Kennedy's? Maybe they could start a civil war (the reds vs the blues) and whoever wins the war (consolidates political and economic power for their bloodline) could then crown themselves emperor of the United Kingdom of the Americas? I mean, that's how it worked everywhere else with royal families.
"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 Nikolay » Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:19 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:The aristocracy normally supports any move the monarchy makes which gives them (more) power and money. If that includes a despotic stance by the monarch... And what is wrong with populism if the monarchy/aristocracy is corrupt? What is wrong with referendums (a populist and democratic tool) for example?

Aristocracy supports moves beneficial for them, bourgeoisie supports moves beneficial for them, etc. Checks and balances. Aristocracy tends to oppose monarch gaining too much personal power (certain episodes from English history come to mind).
By populism I mean politics and measures aimed at gaining support of the "common people" in short term, but which give poor results long-term. Like a new ruler lowering the taxes drastically to boost his popularity, which later leads to economic backlash. I am not sure if this is the correct meaning in English.
How is seizing power (which may, to an extent, show poltical will and strength) any worse than inheriting power? Take a look a the Thai monarchy (for example), people are living in dread of the death of the current king Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) since the heir is a womaniser and a spendthrift.

I do not exactly regard political will and strength as huge virtues. People who desire power are generally the last ones we want anywhere near it. In fact, I would advocate selecting the ruler by nationwide lottery, but there is a huge chance we would get someone completely unsuitable and unqualified. A heir is trained to rule from his childhood, which at least gives some guarantees. Of course, there are still hits and misses.
And what makes these qualities positive per se?

Relying on them makes it unnecessary for the ruler to rely on other methods, like brute force.
Well, monarchs have been known to utilise these methods too you know? ;)

Just as everyone else, but I dare say dictators have the worst track record overall.
So how would you (if you are American)

I am not. I'm glad my English is good enough that I can be mistaken for one.
feel about instituting the Bush family as a royal family of America? They seem to have all the qualities you laud: traditional (in a W.A.S.P. sort of way), morally upstanding, popular, well educated, trained to rule, sanctioned by God, sucssfully executed the sacred (in God we trust) office of head of the largest and strongest nation in the world, etc... Maybe the Kennedy's? Maybe they could start a civil war (the reds vs the blues) and whoever wins the war (consolidates political and economic power for their bloodline) could then crown themselves emperor of the United Kingdom of the Americas? I mean, that's how it worked everywhere else with royal families.

Impractical. USA is culturally among the countries least predisposed towards monarchy of any kind.
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Apr 23, 2013 7:55 pm

mirage wrote:Aristocracy supports moves beneficial for them, bourgeoisie supports moves beneficial for them, etc. Checks and balances. Aristocracy tends to oppose monarch gaining too much personal power (certain episodes from English history come to mind).
And why is it better for the aristocracy to maintain power instead of the bourgeoisie?`
By populism I mean politics and measures aimed at gaining support of the "common people" in short term, but which give poor results long-term. Like a new ruler lowering the taxes drastically to boost his popularity, which later leads to economic backlash.
And what stops a monarch from doing the same thing when their popularity wanes? It hasn't stopped them before.
I do not exactly regard political will and strength as huge virtues. People who desire power are generally the last ones we want anywhere near it. In fact, I would advocate selecting the ruler by nationwide lottery, but there is a huge chance we would get someone completely unsuitable and unqualified. A heir is trained to rule from his childhood, which at least gives some guarantees. Of course, there are still hits and misses.
Here in Greece we have families running the two major political parties that have been trained over generations to rule, what makes you think that this is any better or worse than a monarchy? What makes the ratio of hits-to-misses greater in a monarchical system?
Relying on them makes it unnecessary for the ruler to rely on other methods, like brute force.
Hogwash, monarchies have relied on brute force since monarchies were established. What do you thinks the system of knighthood was all about?
Just as everyone else, but I dare say dictators have the worst track record overall.
It just happens that we have direct and recent instances of dictators with modern means at their disposal. If the same means were available to the Romanovs or Emperor Napoleon III (who was a president and monarch of France) or the House of Orlean, etc... I am sure the track record would have been rather different.

You see all the qualities you project onto the monarchy or their republican rivals are not political weaknesses and excesses but human. As soon as you realise that, then we can have a rational and intelligent conversation about the pros and cons, until then you are basically coming across as an apologist.
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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 Nikolay » Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:31 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:And why is it better for the aristocracy to maintain power instead of the bourgeoisie?`

It is not better. Both should have their share of influence.
And what stops a monarch from doing the same thing when their popularity wanes? It hasn't stopped them before.

Ideally, opposition from other groups, as I said before. In general, of course it can happen, but dictators have more reasons to do so overall.
Here in Greece we have families running the two major political parties that have been trained over generations to rule, what makes you think that this is any better or worse than a monarchy? What makes the ratio of hits-to-misses greater in a monarchical system?

I am unfamiliar with your exact situation.
Hogwash, monarchies have relied on brute force since monarchies were established. What do you thinks the system of knighthood was all about?

Every government relies on force to some extent. I meant to say that it will not be necessary in certain situations, where a ruler without such support would be forced to do so.
It just happens that we have direct and recent instances of dictators with modern means at their disposal. If the same means were available to the Romanovs or Emperor Napoleon III (who was a president and monarch of France) or the House of Orlean, etc... I am sure the track record would have been rather different.

Well, we do have monarchies in modern era, quite a lot actually. Here is the list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monarchy#C ... monarchies.
And there were plenty of despotic usurpers in the past.
You see all the qualities you project onto the monarchy or their republican rivals are not political weaknesses and excesses but human. As soon as you realise that, then we can have a rational and intelligent conversation about the pros and cons, until then you are basically coming across as an apologist.

Well, that's part of my position, actually. The way I see it, as long as we have selfish, confused and short-sighted people ruling selfish, confused and short-sighted people, any laws, initiatives, political reforms and such are basically damage control. Modern states can be pretty good at damage control, but I feel it is not enough. If we want positive changes, we need to work with individual qualities of the people, improve them somehow. Improving the whole population is unrealistic, so I feel it should start with rulers, and constitutional monarchy seems to be the most fitting system for that. Idealistic, I know. I don't expect this to actually happen.

I regret that I look like an apologist. Actually, I am rather apathetic on the whole politics thing, and view this more like a curious thought experiment than anything else. I do have a tendency to put my opinions rather strongly (not helped by the fact that English is not my native language), so don't take it as my all-important political credo or anything :namaste:
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Nikolay » Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:53 pm

Oh, and it probably doesn't help that my very own democratically-inflicted government recently passed their first Internet censorship law, and I am still pretty bitter about the whole thing.
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby kirtu » Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:09 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:I asked the question a while back: "what is the fundamental difference between a monarchy and a despotism/dictatorship?" but nobody answered. Gee... I wonder why?


An absolute monarch is a despot or dictator. A constitutional monarchy, which is the system of all monarchies at a state level around the world now except Vatican City, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE, has checks and balances of some sort and a restriction of powers (in fact most monarchs have no power at all now or almost no power and is usually just a state level figure head [some monarchies have a formal role to play vetting new governments]).

Even in dictatorships there are pressures from vested interests (which is why Stalin, Hitler, Sadaam Hussein and other such people acted as they did).

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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby kirtu » Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:17 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:Here in Greece we have families running the two major political parties that have been trained over generations to rule, what makes you think that this is any better or worse than a monarchy?


That is a form of monarchy and is not unknown in a weaker form in the US. Many European countries have this feature.

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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby kirtu » Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:20 pm

mirage wrote:Impractical. USA is culturally among the countries least predisposed towards monarchy of any kind.


Oh yeah, that's why being part of the Kennedy or Bush clan or being from other families is a slam dunk entry into politics if you want.

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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby kirtu » Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:22 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:So how would you (if you are American) feel about instituting the Bush family as a royal family of America? ... Maybe the Kennedy's?


That is the de facto case in the US and it's not limited to these families either. The thing is that American monarchies are weak and do not last long (where are the Lincoln's and Roosevelts or Jefferson's in politics today?).

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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:31 pm

mirage wrote:Ideally, opposition from other groups, as I said before. In general, of course it can happen, but dictators have more reasons to do so overall.
Why? Monarchies rise and fall, despots rise and fall, democracies rise and fall, ad nauseum...
I am unfamiliar with your exact situation.
I am asking (as all my questions have been so far) "What makes the ratio of hits-to-misses greater in a monarchical system?" in general, not in the specific situation in Greece.
Well, we do have monarchies in modern era, quite a lot actually. Here is the list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monarchy#C ... monarchies.
Not absolute monarchies.
I regret that I look like an apologist. Actually, I am rather apathetic on the whole politics thing, and view this more like a curious thought experiment than anything else. I do have a tendency to put my opinions rather strongly (not helped by the fact that English is not my native language), so don't take it as my all-important political credo or anything :namaste:
The problem is my dear "mirage", that apathy is actually a form of tacit support for the status quo. I am not going to deny that the constitutional monarchy works for the UK. But let us not forget that the wealth of the monarchy, and of the United Kingdom in general, is based on the slaughter of millions of people (and animals), the conquest of vast tracts of land globally and the theft of the resources of these people and lands in the Kings/Queens name. It would be dangerously naieve to believe otherwise. Dangerously so.
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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 Konchog1 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:29 pm

Democracies are peaceful are they?
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Nikolay » Wed Apr 24, 2013 4:08 am

Well, whatever. I'm not passionate enough about this to continue this discussion, since we are starting to repeat the same arguments over and over.
apathy is actually a form of tacit support for the status quo

Heh. I live in Russia. People who are not apathetic on some level about changing things tend to suffer from indigestion and nervous breakdowns here, and that's if they are lucky. It's centuries upon centuries of changes from bad to worse.
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Konchog1 » Wed Apr 24, 2013 4:48 am

mirage wrote:Well, whatever. I'm not passionate enough about this to continue this discussion, since we are starting to repeat the same arguments over and over.
apathy is actually a form of tacit support for the status quo

Heh. I live in Russia. People who are not apathetic on some level about changing things tend to suffer from indigestion and nervous breakdowns here, and that's if they are lucky. It's centuries upon centuries of changes from bad to worse.
Well, Peters and Catherines show up from time to time.

Russian history is certainly some of the more interesting of national histories. All the leaders are amazingly charismatic or otherwise notable, from St. Olga to Putin.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

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