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Thread: What’s the Cure for Ailing Nations? More Kings and Queens, Monarchists Say

  1. #1

    Exclamation What’s the Cure for Ailing Nations? More Kings and Queens, Monarchists Say

    What’s the Cure for Ailing Nations? More Kings and Queens, Monarchists Say

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/06/w...advantage.html

    By LESLIE WAYNE JAN. 6, 2018

    OXFORD, England — From the comfort of his country estate in Oxford, a distant relative of the Russian literary giant Tolstoy says he has the perfect solution for what ails the United States.

    America, he declares, needs a monarchy.

    In fact, Count Nikolai Tolstoy says, more kings, queens and all the frippery that royalty brings would be not just a salve for a superpower in political turmoil, but also a stabilizing force for the world at large.

    “I love the monarchy,” Count Tolstoy, 82, said as he sat in his lush garden behind an expansive stone house. “Most people think the monarchy is just decorative and filled with splendor and personalities. They do not appreciate the important ideological reasons for a monarchy.”

    The count is not the only voice advocating rule by royalty. An author and a conservative politician who holds dual British and Russian citizenship, he leads the International Monarchist League and is part of a loose confederation of monarchists scattered across the globe, including in the United States.

    Their core arguments: Countries with monarchies are better off because royal families act as a unifying force and a powerful symbol; monarchies rise above politics; and nations with royalty are generally richer and more stable.

    Critics say such views are antiquated and alarming in an era when democracies around the globe appear to be imperiled. The count and his band of fellow monarchists, however, are determined to make their case at conferences, in editorials and at fancy balls.

    A recent study that examined the economic performance of monarchies versus republics bolsters their views. Led by Mauro F. Guillén, a management professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, the study found “robust and quantitatively meaningful evidence” that monarchies outperform other forms of government.

    Far from being a dying system, the study said, “monarchies are surprisingly prevalent around the world.” They provide a “stability that often translates into economic gains”; they are better at protecting property rights and checking abuses of power by elected officials; and they have higher per-capita national incomes, the study said.

    Mr. Guillén says he was “shocked” by the results, which have not yet been published. “Most people think monarchies are something anachronistic,” he said. “They think that modern forms of government are superior and have trouble accepting that monarchies have advantages.”

    When he presents his findings, “there is more skepticism in the room than with the average paper,” said Mr. Guillén, who is not a monarchist. “It’s been an uphill battle.”

    His findings come as no surprise, however, to monarchists, who aim to preserve existing monarchies and to support royals who live in exile. They believe that countries with exiled royals should return them to the throne, and that nations without monarchies should consider a switch.

    “We support the retention and restoration of monarchies anywhere in the world,” Count Tolstoy said. “Our goal is to persuade people.”

    History books, of course, are replete with examples of monarchies that became symbols of repression and rapacious, cloistered wealth. Some were ousted by bloody rebellions (the American and French Revolutions) or collapsed in ruins (the Hapsburg Empire), and many have ruthlessly marginalized whole classes of people.

    But Count Tolstoy insists that monarchists are not pining for the days of absolute rulers and the divine right of kings, when Henry VIII of England could order up the execution of unwanted wives and political foes.

    Instead, his group advocates constitutional monarchies, in which a king or queen is head of state and the real power rests with an elected Parliament — much like those in Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway and Spain (although demonstrators in 2014 demanded a referendum on the Spanish royal family after King Juan Carlos abdicated).

    All of those countries, the monarchists note, have relatively strong economies.

    Mr. Guillén’s study shows that since 1900, 22 countries have abandoned royal leaders, while 35 others adopted them. Forms of constitutional monarchies took root, at least for some time, in emerging economies like Malaysia and Thailand.

    Still, the study noted that some current monarchies lack basic democratic freedoms, including in Brunei, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Swaziland.

    After the Arab Spring, some analysts noted that monarchies like Morocco, Jordan and the Gulf States demonstrated much more stability than countries like Iraq, Libya and Egypt.

    But Sean L. Yom, a political-science professor at Temple University who studies Middle Eastern governments, said that stability might be fleeting: With some of those monarchies propped up by oil money rather than a love of any royal family, “monarchies are on their way out,” Mr. Yom said.

    “Those surviving in the Middle East are the very lucky survivors of history, and it is just taking more time,” he said. “These countries look so good only because their neighbors look so bad.”

    Finding people to reject the monarchists’ vision is not hard, even in Britain, where Queen Elizabeth II is revered by many.

    A London-based grass-roots organization called Republic, which wants the country to hold a referendum on the monarchy when the queen dies, says bluntly on its website, “The monarchy isn’t fit for purpose. It is corrupt and secretive.”

    The group has a clear mandate: “We want to see the monarchy abolished and the queen replaced with an elected democratic head of state,” it says.

    Graham Smith, Republic’s chief executive, said that current polls showed about 20 to 25 percent of Britons to be anti-royalty, and that it had been hard to win broader support. “Our job is to keep raising that number,” he said, adding that “public opinion takes time to shift.”

    As for the Monarchist League, Mr. Smith dismisses it as “a crank organization.” He said: “They are going against the general direction of history. You cannot just pluck a family out of obscurity and put them in charge of a country.”

    Count Tolstoy acknowledges that the International Monarchist League had turned into a “league of eccentrics” under its former chancellor, Victor Hervey, who had been jailed for a jewel heist, worked as an arms dealer and sought tax exile in Monaco.

    It was founded in 1943 on the belief that the monarchies of Eastern Europe could be a bulwark against Soviet expansion. Count Tolstoy took over in the mid-1980s, and says the current members are “sensible, run-of-the-mill people.”

    Count Tolstoy has written books on ancient and postwar British history. He has also run, unsuccessfully, as a parliamentary candidate for the far-right U.K. Independence Party in four general elections.

    When he considers the United States, Count Tolstoy is certain it would be better off without a presidency.

    “There is an alternative,” he wrote in an opinion article for The New York Times before the 2016 election. He noted that neither candidate “appears to be a Washington or a Lincoln,” and pointed to a neighbor as an example: Canada, he wrote, “demonstrates that democracy is perfectly compatible with constitutional monarchy.” “

    But being an American monarchist can be a tough sell. The country, after all, was born of rebellion against a British king.

    Charles A. Coulombe of Los Angeles, a former stand-up comic and a monarchist, said, “If you say you are a monarchist, there is a strain of disloyalty or treason.”

    There are no reliable estimates of how many monarchists there are in the United States. But to help disseminate their message, a Washington think tank, the Center for the Study of Monarchy, Traditional Governance and Sovereignty, opened this past year.

    American monarchists also find ways to help the cause abroad. Thomas R. Hutson, a retired State Department diplomat who was posted in Belgrade, has been advocating the restoration of Alexander, the crown prince of Yugoslavia, as the monarch of Serbia.

    On his own dime, Mr. Hutson has repeatedly traveled to Serbia to promote the prince, who was born in exile in London and later moved to Belgrade. But Mr. Hutson admits that he is making little headway.

    “I tell people I’m a monarchist and the conversation lasts three seconds,” he said. “There is resoundingly no interest in him coming back as king. It’s a generational thing. The monarchy completely goes by young people who lack of a sense of history.”

    He insists, however: “I’m not giving up.”

    The Rev. Canon Kenneth W. Gunn-Walberg, the rector of St. Mary’s Anglican Church in Wilmington, Del., and leader of the Monarchist League’s chapter for the Eastern states, said the appeal of monarchies was simple.

    “There is style, a mystery and ethos with a monarch,” he said. “Presidents come and go. There’s continuity, a sense of history with a monarchy.”



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  3. #2
    Paging @r3volution3.0 Hamilton is calling on line one.
    Last edited by phill4paul; 01-08-2018 at 07:28 PM.
    Theye have refused their Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

    Theye have erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

    Theye kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies

    Theye have combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution,

    For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

    For cutting off our Trade with parts of the world:

    For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

    For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

    Theye plundered and destroyed the lives of our people.

    Theye are at this time transporting Armies of Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy of a civilized nation.

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by phill4paul View Post
    Paging @revolution3.0 Hamilton is calling on line one.
    That's @r3volution 3.0
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    Correct. Thank you.
    Theye have refused their Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

    Theye have erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

    Theye kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies

    Theye have combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution,

    For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

    For cutting off our Trade with parts of the world:

    For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

    For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

    Theye plundered and destroyed the lives of our people.

    Theye are at this time transporting Armies of Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy of a civilized nation.

  6. #5
    R3v will have a field day with this thread.

    The rest of us don't want a government system that is even more unaccountable.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  7. #6
    More kings and queens!

    Donald Trump: 'What you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening'

    "Truth isn't truth"- Rudy Giuliani

    "China has total respect for Donald Trump and for Donald Trump's very, very large brain," - Donald Trump.

    I am Zippy and I approve of this post. But you don't have to.

  8. #7

  9. #8
    Talk about the worst Tolstoy. Lets here from a better Tolstoy, Leo Tolstoy:











    “Maybe I forgot to mention something to you: I don’t believe in queens. You think freedom is something you can give and take on a whim. But to your people, freedom is as essential as air. And without it, there is no life. There is only darkness.” -Zaheer

    "A man chooses. A slave obeys."-Andrew Ryan

    "There are three things the parasite hates: free markets, free will, and free men."-Andrew Ryan



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  11. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    The rest of us don't want a government system that is even more unaccountable.
    The sovereign is always unaccountable. That is what sovereignty means: final (non-reviewable) decision-making power. The only variable across different forms of government is the identity of the sovereign and his/their incentives. You trust in unaccountable voters with awful incentives; I trust in an unaccountable monarch with excellent incentives.

    Quote Originally Posted by From the Article
    his group advocates constitutional monarchies, in which a king or queen is head of state and the real power rests with an elected Parliament — much like those in Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway and Spain
    The incentive-based argument for monarchy that I've always made is an argument for a monarch having real (indeed, absolute) power. I see no argument at all in favor of symbolic monarchy (except that it might more easily evolve into real monarchy). For the present time, political outcomes in those countries with symbolic monarchs are the same as they would be if they had no monarchs at all (naming Jacques Cousteau honorary proprietor of the oceans won't eliminate the commons and stop over-fishing). The monarchists cited in this article appear to be attracted primarily to the aesthetics of monarchy.

    A recent study that examined the economic performance of monarchies versus republics bolsters their views. Led by Mauro F. Guillén, a management professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, the study found “robust and quantitatively meaningful evidence” that monarchies outperform other forms of government.
    His conclusion is flawed, since he misdefined monarchy, but the average monarchy is nonetheless more economically free than the average democracy. Looking beyond the handful of contemporary monarchies to history, the liberal tendencies of monarchy become extremely obvious.
    Last edited by r3volution 3.0; 01-09-2018 at 06:10 PM.

  12. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    The sovereign is always unaccountable. That is what sovereignty means: final (non-reviewable) decision-making power. The only variable across different forms of government is the identity of the sovereign and his/their incentives. You trust in unaccountable voters with awful incentives; I trust in an unaccountable monarch with excellent incentives.
    + rep

  13. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    The sovereign is always unaccountable. That is what sovereignty means: final (non-reviewable) decision-making power. The only variable across different forms of government is the identity of the sovereign and his/their incentives. You trust in unaccountable voters with awful incentives; I trust in an unaccountable monarch with excellent incentives.



    The incentive-based argument for monarchy that I've always made is an argument for a monarch having real (indeed, absolute) power. I see no argument at all in favor of symbolic monarchy (except that it might more easily evolve into real monarchy). For the present time, political outcomes in those countries with symbolic monarchs are the same as they would be if they had no monarchs at all (naming Jacques Cousteau honorary proprietor of the oceans won't eliminate the commons and stop over-fishing). The monarchists cited in this article appear to be attracted primarily to the aesthetics of monarchy.
    I said the government was more accountable not the sovereign, there is a difference with a republic but not with monarchy, as you say the sovereign is accountable only to GOD and whatever consequences it can't evade but the government can be made accountable by removing sovereignty from it.

    And a monarch's incentives are no better than the electorate's since his primary concern is to retain power by dividing the spoils with the various oligarchs and vassals who prop up his power and could conspire to take it from him.

    We do need an more responsible government than we have and the way to achieve it is to remove checks and balances and concentrate power and responsibility in fewer officials (ideally one) who are easier to remove and punish.
    Last edited by Swordsmyth; 01-10-2018 at 12:54 PM.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  14. #12
    I'm not convinced of the monarchists argument, but there is a valid point here:

    Last edited by Anti Federalist; 01-10-2018 at 02:46 AM.

  15. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    I said the government was more accountable not the sovereign, there is a difference with a republic but not with monarchy, as you say the sovereign is accountable only to GOD and whatever consequences it can't evade but the government can be made accountable by removing sovereignty from it.
    State and sovereign are synonyms. To "remove sovereignty from the state" is to abolish the state, which you I both know is impossible. Again, the only difference between different forms of government is who constitutes the state/is the sovereign. In a democracy, the voters are the state/are the sovereign; they have the final, non-reviewable decision-making power. In an oligarchy, the oligarchs are the state/are the sovereigns; they have the final, non-reviewable decision-making power. In a monarchy, the monarch is the state/is the sovereign; he has the final, non-reviewable decision-making power. They are all unaccountable. If they were accountable to someone else, then that someone else would be the sovereign, not them. Sovereignty is precisely the property of not being accountable to anyone else: of having final, non-reviewable decision-making power.

    And a monarchs incentives are no better than the electorate's since his primary concern is to retain power by dividing the spoils with the various oligarchs and vassals who prop up his power and could conspire to take it from him.
    Even if it were true that monarchy is really oligarchy (because the monarch must share power with certain influential officials: e.g. generals), it doesn't follow that the incentives of monarchy are the same as the incentives of democracy. The problem isn't binary: i.e. either power is unitary or divided. Rather, there's a continuum; the more divided is power, the worse the incentives of each power-holder, just as with property ownership: 1 owner/ruler is better than 10, is better than 100, is better than 100,000,000. If there's a specific threshold along this continuum where incentives suddenly get worse, it is at the point where the group is large enough to induce rational ignorance. That is always the case with democracy, by design.

    We do need an more responsible government than we have and the way to achieve it is to remove checks and balances and concentrate power and responsibility in fewer officials (ideally one) who are easier to remove and punish.
    To whom?

    ...and then to whom is that party responsible?

    ...and then to whom is that party responsible?

    ...and so on.

    The buck must logically stop somewhere, and that person with whom it stops (aka the sovereign), is by definition unaccountable.
    Last edited by r3volution 3.0; 01-10-2018 at 11:14 AM.

  16. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    State and sovereign are synonyms.
    No they are not except in a monarchy or other similar form of government, the state is the active government that makes rules and enforces them while the sovereign approves or disapproves and replaces government officials, in our federal government system the people are the sovereign but they have no legislative or executive power and the state has insufficient responsibility to them.


    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    To "remove sovereignty from the state" is to abolish the state, which you I both know is impossible.
    To eliminate sovereignty is impossible but the whole point of democracy/republicanism is to make the people sovereign while reducing the state to their servant rather than their master.

    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    Again, the only difference between different forms of government is who constitutes the state/is the sovereign. In a democracy, the voters are the state/are the sovereign; they have the final, non-reviewable decision-making power. In an oligarchy, the oligarchs are the state/are the sovereigns; they have the final, non-reviewable decision-making power. In a monarchy, the monarch is the state/is the sovereign; he has the final, non-reviewable decision-making power. They are all unaccountable. If they were accountable to someone else, then that someone else would be the sovereign, not them. Sovereignty is precisely the property of not being accountable to anyone else: of having final, non-reviewable decision-making power.
    The sovereign is unaccountable as I already agreed to but the state shouldn't be the sovereign and must be responsible to the sovereign.



    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    Even if it were true that monarchy is really oligarchy (because the monarch must share power with certain influential officials: e.g. generals), it doesn't follow that the incentives of monarchy are the same as the incentives of democracy.
    I didn't say they were the same, I said they were just as bad.

    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    The problem isn't binary: i.e. either power is unitary or divided. Rather, there's a continuum; the more divided is power, the worse the incentives of each power-holder, just as with property ownership: 1 owner/ruler is better than 10, is better than 100, is better than 100,000,000. If there's a specific threshold along this continuum where incentives suddenly get worse, it is at the point where the group is large enough to induce rational ignorance. That is always the case with democracy, by design.
    Which is why power needs to be concentrated in a republic with one "steward" who is responsible to the people, if a monarch could be independent of the oligarchs and wield power as an individual then you might be better off under a monarchy if the people had a healthy tendency to revolt against bad monarchs and replace them but since a monarch must divide the spoil with the oligarchs then monarchy is also always beyond the threshold where incentives suddenly get worse, the group in power is always large enough to induce rational ignorance.



    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    To whom?

    ...and then to whom is that party responsible?

    ...and then to whom is that party responsible?

    ...and so on.

    The buck must logically stop somewhere, and that person with whom it stops (aka the sovereign), is by definition unaccountable.
    I have agreed to your point already but the state must be responsible to the people it governs.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  17. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Anti Federalist View Post
    I'm not convinced of the monarchists argument, but there is a valid point here:

    The number of tyrants must be minimized while keeping them responsible to the people, monarchy fails to keep the minimal number of tyrants (the king and his oligarchs) responsible while our current form of government fails on both counts, it multiplies the number of tyrants many fold and insulates them from responsibility, the SCOTUS being irresponsible to the point that they are almost some kind of limited monarchy.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  18. #16
    @Swordsmyth

    There's no reason to argue semantics, so I'll go with your definitions of "government" and "sovereign."

    You say that you want a government which is accountable to the people (who would in turn be accountable to no one: i.e. they would be the sovereigns). Put simply, you want the people to be making the decisions. Now, tell me why they would make better decisions than a monarch (and your answer can't have anything to do with accountability, we've arrived at the buck's final destination). Can you make an argument that an enterprise would be better run by 100,000,000 unpaid managers than by a sole proprietor?
    Last edited by r3volution 3.0; 01-10-2018 at 02:00 PM.



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  20. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    @Swordsmyth

    There's no reason to argue semantics, so I'll go with your definitions of "government" and "sovereign."

    You say that you want a government which is accountable to the people (who would in turn be accountable to no one: i.e. they would be the sovereigns). Put simply, you want the people to be making the decisions. Now, tell me why they would make better decisions than a monarch (and your answer can't have anything to do with accountability).
    Overall your odds are not very good either way but there are two reasons that sovereignty should rest with the people:

    1 The richer and more powerful someone is the better they are able to evade consequences, the people on average are poorer and less powerful than a monarch and therefore are better restrained by consequences than a monarch is.

    2 It is a matter of principle that those who are governed deserve as say in how they are governed.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  21. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    Overall your odds are not very good either way but there are two reasons that sovereignty should rest with the people:

    1 The richer and more powerful someone is the better they are able to evade consequences, the people on average are poorer and less powerful than a monarch and therefore are better restrained by consequences than a monarch is.
    What kinds of consequences?

    2 It is a matter of principle that those who are governed deserve as say in how they are governed.
    I disagree

    The only principle in politics is: what is best is what will maximize liberty.

    Popular representation is not valuable in itself (nor, for that matter, is monarchy).
    Last edited by r3volution 3.0; 01-10-2018 at 02:22 PM.

  22. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    What kinds of consequences?
    The results of bad policies, there are too many kinds of bad policies and consequences to make a list but we discuss many of them on this site all the time.

    Examples are inflation, foreign policy blowback, over-regulation, police violence etc.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  23. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    The results of bad policies, there are too many kinds of bad policies and consequences to make a list but we discuss many of them on this site all the time.

    Examples are inflation, foreign policy blowback, over-regulation, police violence etc.
    And you're saying that the voters have better incentives to avoid those policies than would a monarch?

  24. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    And you're saying that the voters have better incentives to avoid those policies than would a monarch?
    They are less able to evade the consequences and therefore are more likely to be susceptible to arguments against the policies that will cause/are causing them.

    Monarchs throughout the ages have evaded the consequences of bad policies until the point of no return was passed and their kingdoms and empires collapsed, and all the while the people suffered even worse because the consequences were shifted onto them.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  25. #22
    UGH.
    THIS again.

    Freedom is NOT something that is DISPENSED.
    All modern revolutions have ended in a reinforcement of the power of the State.
    -Albert Camus

  26. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    They are less able to evade the consequences and therefore are more likely to be susceptible to arguments against the policies that will cause/are causing them.

    Monarchs throughout the ages have evaded the consequences of bad policies until the point of no return was passed and their kingdoms and empires collapsed, and all the while the people suffered even worse because the consequences were shifted onto them.
    Let's talk about consequences, or costs.

    Every deviation from laissez faire decreases economic output (i.e. the tax base). A profit-maximizing monarch has no incentive to deviate from laissez faire unless it benefits him. In other words, he may tax for his own consumption (though this still has a cost in terms of reduced future income), but he has no incentive to implement mass or corporate welfare schemes, labor regulation, environmental regulation, etc, etc. It is the same with the sole proprietor of a small business. He may choose to increase his income at the expense reinvestment in the business (at the cost of reduced future income), but he has no incentive to allow his employees to steal their paychecks from one another (analogous to a monarch implementing welfare transfer payments), as that only retards production and his own income.

    Do we agree on that at least?

    If so, then the remaining issue is how much the monarch would tax on his own behalf, to finance his consumption spending, and how that compares to the interventions likely to be carried out by other types of governments. The actual fraction of economic output that the monarch taxes away depends on his time preference: how much future income he's willing to forgo for increased present income (just as with the sole proprietor deciding how much to may himself v. reinvest in the business).

    How does oligarchy compare? If the oligarchs (let's say there are 10 of them with equal votes) have the same time preference as the monarch, and they operate by unanimous vote, there wouldn't be any difference; they would choose the same tax rate. But if they operate by majority vote, the situation is different. If members of the majority can either capture more of their share of the revenue from a tax increase, or bear less than their share of the cost (in terms of lost future revenue), any given tax increase looks more attractive to the members of the majority than it would to the monarch. For example, suppose a tax increase of $1000 would ultimately (over whatever period of time) cause a loss in revenue of $1500. For a monarch, the ratio of gain to loss is 1:1.5 ($1000 now, $1500 in the future). Whereas, for each member of the majority in the oligarchy, the ratio would be 1.67:1.5 ($167 now, $150 in the future). The monarch may or may not go for this tax increase, depending on his time preference. Every oligarch would happily trade $167 now for $150 forgone in the future.

    So we can see that, all else being equal (esp. time preference), a monarch would tax less than an oligarchy.

    Turning to democracy, it appears similar to oligarchy - i.e. the majority can implement policies that disproportionately benefit themselves at the expense of the minority - but there are important differences. (1) The larger the group in absolute terms, the larger the minority in proportional terms: i.e. 4/10 (40%), 49/100 (49%), 4,999,999/5,000,001 (49.999999%). Hence, the larger the group, the greater the opportunity for cost externalization by the majority. Where the oligarch majority (6/10) could only push 40% of the costs of their tax hike onto the minority, the democratic majority (5,000,001/4,999,999) can push 49.999999% of their costs onto the minority. In other words, any given deviation from laissez faire is "cheaper" in a democracy from the perspective of voters. (2) But in fact the voters are rationally ignorant, and aren't even aware of most of the costs (they really only see the direct cost of taxation, not indirect costs like slower wage growth or price inflation). This makes interventionist economic policy yet cheaper (much of it in fact cost-less) from their perspective. And finally, (3) because of the rational ignorance of the voters, the lobbies (via the politicians, who are just tools of whoever will help elect them) control much of the policy-making, e.g. on regulations. And what costs do they bear for such interventionist policies? Essentially none, and the benefits to them always dramatically outweigh whatever minor, indirect costs there might be. Where the oligarch majority could capture 100% of the gain and bear only 60% of the cost, the lobbyist who gets a tariff on imported sugar (for instance) will capture 100% of the gain and bear ~0% of the cost.

    To conclude: Every deviation from laissez faire has costs in terms of economic output. Whether a political actor has a material incentive to support interventionist policy depends on how much (if any) of that cost he bears. A monarch bears the full cost. An oligarch in the majority bears a sizeable fraction of the cost. The share of cost borne by a democratic voter is only slightly smaller than in an oligarchy, but he is rationally ignorant of much of that cost, for which same reason he leaves large swathes policy-making to people who bear virtually no cost at all (lobbyists). Hence, economic policy is likely to be most liberal under monarchy, somewhat less so under oligarchy, and dramatically less so under democracy.

    N.B. Think about the business analogues of monarchy, oligarchy, and democracy. Monarchy would be a sole proprietorship. Oligarchy would be a partnership. What would democracy be? A corporation, where millions of people hold exactly one (inalienable) share, which they obtained in virtue of being alive upon turning 18. Sole proprietorships are common; partnerships are common. Have you ever once heard of a "communistic" corporation such as I described? No, because such a thing would be a monstrosity of inefficiency; it wouldn't survive in the market. The management would focus less on profitability of the company and more on looting the rationally ignorant shareholders (sound familiar?).

  27. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by otherone View Post
    UGH.
    THIS again.

    Freedom is NOT something that is DISPENSED.
    Are you saying once you acknowledge me as King you will not feel more free ?



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  29. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    Let's talk about consequences, or costs.

    Every deviation from laissez faire decreases economic output (i.e. the tax base). A profit-maximizing monarch has no incentive to deviate from laissez faire unless it benefits him. In other words, he may tax for his own consumption (though this still has a cost in terms of reduced future income), but he has no incentive to implement mass or corporate welfare schemes, labor regulation, environmental regulation, etc, etc. It is the same with the sole proprietor of a small business. He may choose to increase his income at the expense reinvestment in the business (at the cost of reduced future income), but he has no incentive to allow his employees to steal their paychecks from one another (analogous to a monarch implementing welfare transfer payments), as that only retards production and his own income.

    Do we agree on that at least?

    If so, then the remaining issue is how much the monarch would tax on his own behalf, to finance his consumption spending, and how that compares to the interventions likely to be carried out by other types of governments. The actual fraction of economic output that the monarch taxes away depends on his time preference: how much future income he's willing to forgo for increased present income (just as with the sole proprietor deciding how much to may himself v. reinvest in the business).

    How does oligarchy compare? If the oligarchs (let's say there are 10 of them with equal votes) have the same time preference as the monarch, and they operate by unanimous vote, there wouldn't be any difference; they would choose the same tax rate. But if they operate by majority vote, the situation is different. If members of the majority can either capture more of their share of the revenue from a tax increase, or bear less than their share of the cost (in terms of lost future revenue), any given tax increase looks more attractive to the members of the majority than it would to the monarch. For example, suppose a tax increase of $1000 would ultimately (over whatever period of time) cause a loss in revenue of $1500. For a monarch, the ratio of gain to loss is 1:1.5 ($1000 now, $1500 in the future). Whereas, for each member of the majority in the oligarchy, the ratio would be 1.67:1.5 ($167 now, $150 in the future). The monarch may or may not go for this tax increase, depending on his time preference. Every oligarch would happily trade $167 now for $150 forgone in the future.

    So we can see that, all else being equal (esp. time preference), a monarch would tax less than an oligarchy.

    Turning to democracy, it appears similar to oligarchy - i.e. the majority can implement policies that disproportionately benefit themselves at the expense of the minority - but there are important differences. (1) The larger the group in absolute terms, the larger the minority in proportional terms: i.e. 4/10 (40%), 49/100 (49%), 4,999,999/5,000,001 (49.999999%). Hence, the larger the group, the greater the opportunity for cost externalization by the majority. Where the oligarch majority (6/10) could only push 40% of the costs of their tax hike onto the minority, the democratic majority (5,000,001/4,999,999) can push 49.999999% of their costs onto the minority. In other words, any given deviation from laissez faire is "cheaper" in a democracy from the perspective of voters. (2) But in fact the voters are rationally ignorant, and aren't even aware of most of the costs (they really only see the direct cost of taxation, not indirect costs like slower wage growth or price inflation). This makes interventionist economic policy yet cheaper (much of it in fact cost-less) from their perspective. And finally, (3) because of the rational ignorance of the voters, the lobbies (via the politicians, who are just tools of whoever will help elect them) control much of the policy-making, e.g. on regulations. And what costs do they bear for such interventionist policies? Essentially none, and the benefits to them always dramatically outweigh whatever minor, indirect costs there might be. Where the oligarch majority could capture 100% of the gain and bear only 60% of the cost, the lobbyist who gets a tariff on imported sugar (for instance) will capture 100% of the gain and bear ~0% of the cost.

    To conclude: Every deviation from laissez faire has costs in terms of economic output. Whether a political actor has a material incentive to support interventionist policy depends on how much (if any) of that cost he bears. A monarch bears the full cost. An oligarch in the majority bears a sizeable fraction of the cost. The share of cost borne by a democratic voter is only slightly smaller than in an oligarchy, but he is rationally ignorant of much of that cost, for which same reason he leaves large swathes policy-making to people who bear virtually no cost at all (lobbyists). Hence, economic policy is likely to be most liberal under monarchy, somewhat less so under oligarchy, and dramatically less so under democracy.

    N.B. Think about the business analogues of monarchy, oligarchy, and democracy. Monarchy would be a sole proprietorship. Oligarchy would be a partnership. What would democracy be? A corporation, where millions of people hold exactly one (inalienable) share, which they obtained in virtue of being alive upon turning 18. Sole proprietorships are common; partnerships are common. Have you ever once heard of a "communistic" corporation such as I described? No, because such a thing would be a monstrosity of inefficiency; it wouldn't survive in the market. The management would focus less on profitability of the company and more on looting the rationally ignorant shareholders (sound familiar?).
    There are several problems with your point of view.

    First as usual you focus only on economic issues since that is where your argument looks best, but there are many aspects of liberty that are more important but are much less likely to be valued or respected by a monarch.

    Second you are forgetting that a monarch or an oligarchy (and it is my contention that every monarchy is an oligarchy with a dominant oligarch) needs to buy the support of the people either for the present regime or for one or more factions seeking to seize control, consequently monarchies and oligarchies throughout history have overtaxed their people or granted monopolies etc. and then dispensed welfare to the people at large or one or more favored groups to buy their loyalty.

    Third you are assuming that you will have many or even all kings and oligarchs who understand laissez faire and prioritize economic health over other temptations, history has shown that the tendency is towards ignorance and succumbing to temptations to control things or to build monuments or to please their cronies or to gain glory from conquest etc. It is true that the electorate suffers from the same tendencies but they are less likely to trample on all the other rights that are not economic. (humanity in general has a pretty bad track record on all counts but the rise of democracy/republicanism has lead to a reduction in slavery and serfdom etc.)
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  30. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    There are several problems with your point of view.

    First as usual you focus only on economic issues since that is where your argument looks best
    I'm focusing exclusively on economic motivation, because that's what interests me, and it's clearly a major driver of political action.

    If you'd like to make an anti-monarchy argument on some non-economic basis, feel free.

    but there are many aspects of liberty that are more important but are much less likely to be valued or respected by a monarch.
    How so?

    Second you are forgetting that a monarch or an oligarchy (and it is my contention that every monarchy is an oligarchy with a dominant oligarch) needs to buy the support of the people either for the present regime or for one or more factions seeking to seize control
    It sounds like you're saying not only that monarchy is really oligarchy, but that all governments are really democracies. While it's true that the people always have some political influence in virtue of their power to revolt, this is trivial in comparison to the power they wield through voting. It's not hard to see why this is the case: rebellion is extremely costly, while voting costs essentially nothing. Rebellion is extremely unlikely except in extraordinary circumstances (e.g. people are literally starving), hence the risk of revolt only restrains state action to the extent that the state will try to refrain from creating those extraordinary circumstances. A king avoiding the most radical actions in order to prevent an extremely unlikely revolt is not remotely in the same position as a politician who faces regularly scheduled elections.

    Third you are assuming that you will have many or even all kings and oligarchs who understand laissez faire and prioritize economic health over other temptations
    Yes, this argument only applies if the monarch has some understanding of economics and is motivated at least in part by material self-interest (the end need not be personal consumption, mind you - all projects require resources), but the conclusion of this argument isn't that all monarchs will always behave perfectly liberally; it's only that monarchy tends to be more liberal than democracy.
    Last edited by r3volution 3.0; 01-11-2018 at 04:50 PM.

  31. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    How so?
    Freedom of speech, gun rights, due process and many others are a threat to a monarch's ability to do as he pleases and retain power, while others like freedom of religion prevent his possible imposition of what he believes is right or useful to him.


    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    It sounds like you're saying not only that monarchy is really oligarchy, but that all governments are really democracies. While it's true that the people always have some political influence in virtue of their power to revolt, this is trivial in comparison to the power they wield through voting. It's not hard to see why this is the case: rebellion is extremely costly, while voting costs essentially nothing. Rebellion is extremely unlikely except in extraordinary circumstances (e.g. people are literally starving), hence the risk of revolt only restrains state action to the extent that the state will try to refrain from creating those extraordinary circumstances. A king avoiding the most radical actions in order to prevent an extremely unlikely revolt is not remotely in the same position as a politician who faces regularly scheduled elections.
    My point is exactly what I said, that oligarchies have an incentive to pander to the public in general or one or more favored groups in the pursuit of gaining or retaining power and they enact bad policy in response to those incentives.
    And it is not just the public in general and their likelihood to revolt that must be considered, the members of the military, police and espionage services are recruited from the populace and retain ties to them, their propensity to participate in coups can be affected by the mood of the people in general, or they can become favored groups who are bought off with misallocated resources in and of themselves, in addition there are second tier factions who must be bought off lest they use their power to manipulate the public or the security services, bankers for instance.



    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    Yes, this argument only applies if the monarch has some understanding of economics and is motivated at least in part by material self-interest (the end need not be personal consumption, mind you - all projects require resources), but the conclusion of this argument isn't that all monarchs will always behave perfectly liberally; it's only that monarchy tends to be more liberal than democracy. The fact that not all monarchs will be both materially self-interest and sufficiently knowledgeable in economics doesn't undermine change that.
    Monarchies throughout history have been quite illiberal both in terms of economics and other human rights, at least in a republic there is a bloodless option for attempting to change a bad regime.

    By the way do you support the idea of a "Bill of rights" restraining your monarch which he can be removed from the throne for violating? (To be replaced by his "rightful" heir if you prefer for your system)
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  32. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    Freedom of speech, gun rights, due process and many others are a threat to a monarch's ability to do as he pleases and retain power, while others like freedom of religion prevent his possible imposition of what he believes is right or useful to him.
    The same can be said for all forms of government.

    Why is a monarch especially prone to this behavior?

    My point is exactly what I said, that oligarchies have an incentive to pander to the public in general or one or more favored groups in the pursuit of gaining or retaining power and they enact bad policy in response to those incentives. And it is not just the public in general and their likelihood to revolt that must be considered, the members of the military, police and espionage services are recruited from the populace and retain ties to them, their propensity to participate in coups can be affected by the mood of the people in general, or they can become favored groups who are bought off with misallocated resources in and of themselves, in addition there are second tier factions who must be bought off lest they use their power to manipulate the public or the security services, bankers for instance.
    Once again, this informal influence you're describing is not equivalent to the influence which comes from enfranchisement.

    Monarchies throughout history have been quite illiberal both in terms of economics and other human rights, at least in a republic there is a bloodless option for attempting to change a bad regime.
    Monarchies throughout history have been vastly more liberal than democracies.

    By the way do you support the idea of a "Bill of rights" restraining your monarch which he can be removed from the throne for violating? (To be replaced by his "rightful" heir if you prefer for your system)
    By whom? And why would that person/group be more likely to support this bill of rights than the monarch?

  33. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    The same can be said for all forms of government.

    Why is a monarch especially prone to this behavior?
    Because the monarch is distinctly not part of the subject population, the people are far more likely to care about retaining their own rights by not setting the precedent of removing others.



    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    Once again, this informal influence you're describing is not equivalent to the influence which comes from enfranchisement.
    It is sufficient to cause monarchies and oligarchies to enact bad economic policies and that is all that matters.



    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    Monarchies throughout history have been vastly more liberal than democracies.
    That is debatable.


    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    By whom?
    I said by his "rightful" heir.


    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    And why would that person/group be more likely to support this bill of rights than the monarch?
    Because they wouldn't want to lose the crown as their predecessor just did.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  34. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by oyarde View Post
    Are you saying once you acknowledge me as King you will not feel more free ?

    Chris

    "Government ... does not exist of necessity, but rather by virtue of a tragic, almost comical combination of klutzy, opportunistic terrorism against sitting ducks whom it pretends to shelter, plus our childish phobia of responsibility, praying to be exempted from the hard reality of life on life's terms." Wolf DeVoon

    "...Make America Great Again. I'm interested in making American FREE again. Then the greatness will come automatically."Ron Paul

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