Tag: Monarchy

Government Shutdowns and Debt Ceilings

Craig Axford | Canada

Government shutdowns and flirtations with default by putting off raising the federal debt ceiling have become regular occurrences in Washington, D.C. I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised given the number of representatives and senators regularly expressing disdain for the very institution they were elected to run, but still.

Americans like to believe their nation is exceptional, and it is: it’s the only developed nation on the planet that doesn’t guarantee all its citizens healthcare, higher education is more expensive there than just about anywhere else, it has the only government that it’s possible to shut down without having to resort to violence, and it’s the only nation that flirts with suicide by requiring votes on its debt ceiling.

That’s right. No other governments have even one, let alone two, kill switches built into their system. And why would they? What’s the point? Unless the intent is to erode public confidence in government it makes no sense for elected officials to even contemplate closing down popular national parks or giving all the people in charge of enforcing our public health and safety regulations an extended unpaid holiday?

The habit of shutting down the government now and then (as well as the continuing resolutions passed to avoid them) is an unintended bug in the American system rather than a feature of it. So too is the necessity to authorize more borrowing periodically once the national debt has reached a predetermined threshold. Both of these bugs are extremely dangerous but, unfortunately, they are likely to remain unfixed for the foreseeable future.

America’s founding fathers were revolutionaries. As such, they were no fans of the British government, which by the late 18th century was already well established and quite recognizable to any citizen of the 21st century. Though King George III was the titular head of state, like his contemporary successor Queen Elizabeth II, he had very little actual power to match the privileges that came with his hereditary title. Parliament was already very much in charge.

Nothing like what took place in Philadelphia following the American Revolution had ever been seriously considered, let alone attempted, in London. To intentionally sit down and craft rules for a new government quite literally being built from scratch was a radical idea if ever there was one. To call America an experiment is not an exaggeration. As with any experiment, the outcome is unknown until it has come to a close. The American experiment hasn’t ended, but so far it certainly has produced some unanticipated results.

In creating the modern world’s first republic, America’s victorious rebels were faced with the task of establishing rules for a country that no longer had centuries of tradition to fall back on. The norms of the mother country they had just abandoned had evolved over hundreds of years of power struggles between the aristocracy and the crown, with a nascent merchant middle class increasingly making its own demands over the course of the 17th and 18th centuries. The newly independent colonies wanted to distinguish themselves from the nation they had just liberated themselves from, but how?

The US Constitution settled for a president instead of a monarch, while the House of Representatives took the place of the House of Commons and the Senate stood in for the House of Lords. Each elected member of these respective branches is subject to regular fixed terms of office, with the power balanced more or less equally between them rather than resting largely in the representative branch (i.e., parliament) alone. With the exception of the extremely rare and difficult case of impeachment, the US Constitution provides no opportunity to hold any single officeholder accountable for failure during the period between elections, let alone the government as a whole. Federal judges receive lifetime appointments, something else not seen in any other developed representative democracy to this day.

In a parliamentary system, the failure to pass something as routine as an annual budget triggers a crisis. Under the Westminster parliamentary model followed in the UK, Canada and several other members of the Commonwealth, this crisis brings down the government and forces the monarch or her designated representative to dissolve the government and call an election. In unstable periods when minority governments are common, elections tend to be relatively more frequent, while in less turbulent political times a majority government can persist for five years or so before facing a vote.

Likewise, when a parliament authorizes spending beyond the government’s anticipated revenues, it is understood they have necessarily approved an increase in the national debt. Therefore, there is no need to consider raising the debt limit independently. From the perspective of citizens living in parliamentary countries, it makes no sense that the same Congress that approved deficit spending one month can spend time the next flirting with a refusal to allow any borrowing. It’s like having a government that doesn’t know its own mind.

Unfortunately, the kind of crises that bring down governments in parliamentary systems has become commonplace in the United States. Budgets go years without being approved, with Congress lurching from one continuing resolution to the next while various factions hold federal employees and the citizens dependent upon their services hostage until some pet project or favorite policy or another is approved in exchange for keeping things running for a while longer. A Prime Minister Donald Trump would either be facing a vote of the people at this point in the budget process or a leadership challenge by members of his own caucus. One year in office would be unlikely, but four would almost certainly be impossible.

I’ve been living in Canada for the better part of a decade now. On most days I find myself feeling pretty ambivalent about the monarchy if I even think about it at all. That’s not because I can see equal merit in both sides of the argument regarding having someone born into the role of head of state. It’s because I recognize all societies require a sense of continuity and for some countries that can take the shape of a monarchy that has existed in one form or another for centuries. A woman that appears on our money while playing an entirely ceremonial role is harmless, if not for the actual person forced into the job by an accident of birth then at least for the rest of us.

I’m not feeling so ambivalent about having a parliament, however. I have strong opinions about the two Canadian prime ministers I’ve lived under so far. But the extent of my approval or disapproval aside, at least I know that the nearby Pacific Rim National Park will, weather permitting, always be open and that with the exception of national holidays at the local Services Canada office the door will never be locked. Even the UK Brexit debacle hasn’t convinced me parliaments are less effective or ultimately less democratic than the divided governments that have become the norm in the US.

If for some reason, it turns out parliament can’t do its job there will be an election lasting a little over a month while the people try to vote one in with a sufficient mandate to do it. In the meantime, things will go on pretty much as before without any nightly news reports about government employees unable to pay the rent because someone got it into their head they wanted to build a wall. I know it’s incredibly unAmerican to say so, but if you were to put me in a time machine and send me back to 1776, I would tell the founding fathers to get rid of the monarchy if they must, but at least keep the parliament.

Follow Craig on Twitter or read him on Medium.com


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Democracy: Perpetually at Odds with Unmolested Capitalism

Tu Lee | United States

America was birthed not just as a reaction to expensive tea, but as part of a more bedrock fight to preserve unfettered capitalism. As such, it should be expected that any notion to undermine this with socialist ideals would deeply offend even the most flimsily rooted patriots. As to not offend these types, welfare was initially pitched as “the opportunity to live in decency and dignity” by LBJ or even adherent to a more adequate “second Bill of Rights” by FDR. As a stale Democratic Party struggles to maintain their hold on an American public which increasingly views Revolutionary era capitalism as a decorative fantasy we are merely obligated to include in high school history textbooks, these niceties have been quickly abandoned. Just recently Democratic Senator Kamala Harris introduced $6,000 lump-sum checks to the poor and Democratic Senator Cory Booker flashed plumper $50,000 cash prizes to those who elect to prop up him and his regime. Our political discourse has reached a tipping point; politicians have ditched the previous sensitivity to blatantly bribe the remaining non-voting poor on the taxpayer’s dime. The politicians offer these bribes out in the open with their backs turned to those still expecting better acting on the American Playhouse stage. Disappointed as we may be as spectators, this new jump from our politicians erodes away a crucial truth about the relationship between Democracy and Capitalism.

Seemingly out of a Bernie Sanders daydream, the Pareto principle describes a widely present phenomenon where a small section of a population controls a vast majority of a resource. More commonly this is called the 80/20 rule, and it can apply to anything from wealth to consumption of healthcare resources. Essentially, most people are more or less mediocre producers, and those who happen to be good producers are exponentially amazing producers (think the Bill Gates or Trumps of the world). Interestingly, this general distribution occurs in wealth-generating economies regardless of historical or geographical context. If Democracy is equally representative, the Pareto principle tells us it will advocate for the worst 80% of contributors to the economy in disregard to the exceptionally great top 20% of contributors. While the advocation for the lazy majority could be peaceful, it’s often too effective for politicians to resist energizing the lower class against the upper class to maximize voter turnout. Jealously is stirred up and the democratic mass easily swallows the narrative of a rigged playing field or even the scapegoating of unrelated everyday problems. So long as historically inevitable Pareto distributions continue to exist in society, then Democracy, if truly representative of the masses, will fundamentally serve to throttle the economy’s greatest producers and therefore the fuel of the economy itself.

Why should the genius working day and night for the bettering of the society, his only roadblocks the laws vomited out of his country’s legislative belly have no recourse against the bum and his mindless kin? What is usually pitched as a loophole in our Democracy is actually one of it’s greatest unintended features. It makes sense that someone intelligent enough to sit on the peak of a Pareto distribution would be smart enough to tweak the governmental game when unfairly pressed. Whether it be through Super PACs, lobbying, or revolving doors, the nudging is not boundless and must happen within a degree reasonable enough to stay under the public radar. The natural tendency of those at the top to weasel into power over politics is a healthy restraint of Democracy, even if this assertion occurs in largely unsavory ways. Regardless of this, in Democracy’s immutable quest to serve the unconstrained will of the masses there will always be inherent toxicity, economic asphyxiation, and demonization of those who serve the country most by the very same masses who are simultaneously surrendering their own wealth voluntarily to those demonized.


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The Case for Libertarian Monarchism, Part Two: Monarchy and Success

By Daniel Szewc | Poland

Democracy is a failed concept. It is based on the Marxist doctrine of intellectual equality of all people, which is defied by the evolutionary principles of specialization and natural selection. Individuals vary in intelligence and in basic knowledge. In fact, in a recent poll, only 26% of Americans could name the branches of their government. These, mind you, are the people who decide, in a democracy, who the most qualified to manage government affairs.

Democracy also implies a collectivist mindset, as well as collective responsibility, which diminishes personal liberty. It is an obvious concept that for personal liberty to be practiced, personal responsibility must be applied too. But, the only way for government to have personal responsibility is via its privatization. In other words, it must become an absolute monarchy.

Monarchism is the most efficient system possible. Unlike democratic governments, a monarchy claims its power because it holds the state as private property. Often, this is implied to be God-given. Thus, it establishes property as a God-given right. Moreover, it is impossible for an absolute monarch to support socialism or communism, as both oppose hierarchy, and a monarchy is of course a hierarchy. The biggest enemy of communism, which it would favor a monarch to support, is a free, unregulated market.

Furthermore, monarchs will tend to support a free market to gain competitiveness on a global scale. Prince Hans Adam II of Liechtenstein does exactly this. As a result, his economy thrives. A monarch looks for the best, most prosperous system, because ideological lines are not his or her goal. Rather, a monarch’s goal is to bring prosperity to the owned country.

In this case, using what past monarchs didn’t have, (Austrian school of economics’ studies and axioms) he or she would determine that a free market is the best option for the economy. For, what a monarch wants, is not to be personally rich, but rich compared to neighboring states. Of course, nothing makes your neighbors poorer than giving the firms that pay taxes to them a better deal. In turn, the neighbors, seeking the same goal, would lower taxes further.

This constant prisoner’s dilemma between the monarchs of the world would shrink governments to a fraction of their current sizes. Ultimately, the only key remaining aspects would be diplomacy, a justice system, the military and a police force. Even with these, monarchs would be seeking cost reductions. Even if the free market proves itself inferior, the systems which are most effective will still prevail. For any economic stance, a monarchy will allow for a country to truly prosper.


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The Case for Libertarian Monarchism, Part One

By Daniel Szewc | Poland

To many, the sheer idea of any government form that isn’t reduced to nothingness is incompatible with liberty. Yet, to see the full picture, we must look at it from all angles possible. In the case of government systems, the placement of power is the most important. In democracy, the power of the state is absolute, yet the state is a public entity, run by majority rule.

This is precisely presented by the fact that Adolf Hitler came to power democratically. “Democracy is the road to socialism”, as the founder of communism, Karl Marx, once said. What many forget, is that the second power in the Bundestag during the 1930’s was the Communist Party. Thus, totalitarianism in Germany was simply not possible to avoid.

In fact, any system that uses democratic measures of picking leaders is bound to fall into an étatiste (Fr. for “statist”, a term corrupted by modern English speaking anarchists) spiral, over a longer period of time. Whenever democratization occurs, in the long run, so does the expansion of the state apparatus. In Europe, on the other hand, monarchism often has lasted over a thousand years.

A democratic-like system in the USA is failing already, before it’s 300 year mark. This failing state has not faced threats from its usually peaceful neighbors in 200 years. We can see the fall of the system in the USA, by viewing it’s support for socialists like Bernie Sanders within its youth, as well as populists and career politicians for it’s older generation.
Why does this happen? The answer is simple. Whenever elections of any sort occur, conflicts of interest begin to appear. Then, the losing side lobbies to give voting rights to those who support their ideas. The more voters, the more conflicts, and so the snowball effect goes. In the end, people with no meritocratic basis get the right to vote, and strong, monarchism eventually may take over from within or from outside.

Some consider the Republican model as the best idea to preserve liberty, yet in all its forms, it assumes an elective body, and/or a constitution, which is insentient as the sovereign. In this case, since ownership of the state cannot be considered a part of the Constitution’s role, it is viewed as a passive manager of the morals (…of policies passed by sentient beings, able to manipulate words and context).

All of the above disproves two main forms of government- ones in which the sovereign is a person chosen by the majority, and one in which the sovereign can be edited and interpreted by the irrational mob that holds sovereignty. Clearly, monarchism, to be detailed more in part two, is a more secure system to protect liberty.


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Is Patriotism a Gateway Drug to Slavery? – Jonny Watt

By Jonny Watt | UNITED STATES

Is patriotism the mere act of loving one’s country, or is this movement detrimental to the wellbeing of society?

This blindly followed movement is extremely contradictory with liberty and self-ownership, and on a praxeological basis, we can deduce that this ideology should have no support amongst freedom-lovers.

That said, patriots will argue that, while it has its faults, America is the greatest country to exist, and without the state, this wouldn’t be possible. While I tend to agree that America is better than most, I see a direct flaw in saying that the state is responsible for this. Rather than America being great because of the intervention of the state, America is great despite it. In fact, just about all of America’s flaws exist due to the government, and saying that it could be much worse, and thus continuing to praise America and the state is both illogical and hurtful for society.

The more leeway we, as citizens, give to our government, the more in control they are, and the more likely a shift to a more coercive and tyrannical government will occur. In fact, this is one area in which a private run (monarchical) government is superior to that of the public run (democratic) government. The very visible and extreme dichotomy between the general populace and ruling class nobles, as seen in democracy, left the former with more discontent and distrust for their government, as they felt completely separated from said government.

Due to this, monarchs had to be mindful of everything they did, as any decision deemed too coercive by the general public could be followed by either a revolution or perhaps simply a less productive society, which would hurt the king and his fellow nobles. While citizens of a democratic government tend to be more trusting of their government, as they feel a sense of involvement, American Patriots take it to the extreme and continue to let the government commit terrible, coercive, right-infringing acts.

With Patriots continuing to stay quiet, how long could it be before an age of total enslavement by the state is upon us?

Conscription, taxes, and jury duty indicate that we’re already in a state of partial enslavement. While patriots tend to be opposed to taxes, they, generally speaking, see no problem in supporting the government when it comes to conscription and jury duty, both of which border onto involuntary servitude.

If the definition of traditional slavery is the state of being the legal property of another, and thus being forced to obey them, then how can anyone justify conscription or jury duty, the legal act of the state forcing you to give them your labor? A patriot would respond that, as we are under state law, and given what the state does for us, we should be willing to give up some of our labor and fruits of our labor in order to “pay back the state.”

The problem with this argument is it completely misses the point, as this exact same argument could be applied to any other instance of slavery (including traditional slavery in America prior to 1865.) Of course, some patriotic Americans will argue that the state is what grants us our rights, and as such, we should thank them for this. While the government cannot give us rights, in rare cases, the state does protect certain God-given, inalienable rights, however, we should not thank an institution prone to infringing on our rights, just because it hasn’t yet infringed on them all.

Living with and preaching this mindset would only lead to further infringement and an overall reduction in wellbeing and freedom.  

The only solution, then, is to be as critical and judgmental of the state as possible, rather than being patriotic and supporting our country at every turn. America was founded by straying away from an overreaching and overly coercive government, and thus, to support the states attempted enslavement of its populace by following the blind path of patriotism is about as un-American as it gets.