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Monarchy or Democracy?

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Monarchy or Democracy?

Postby CPWSolf » Tue Jul 07, 2009 11:20 pm

Hi,

I have become fed up of the current capitalism debate that is raging on: mainly because I can't contribute as I was not in it from the start so am rather lost, not because it's boring or anything like that.
As a result I have sat (with pipe) to come up with a new suitable topic for the discussion of us pipe smokers.

Residing as I do in the United Kingdom I live under a pseudo-monarchy. I feel in this country the Royal Family do an exceptional job and are well worth the money it costs us as tax payer. People often argue that the monarchy has no power, that the Government is really in control. With this I must strongly disagree. No laws can be passed without the Queen's approval, no Parliament can sit without the Queen's approval, no Prime Minister can rule without the Queen's authority.

This is just an initial taster to start things off...I would love to hear from all nationalities on this.

Possible thought to keep in mind:
1. What are the alternatives - democracy, anarchy, strict monarchy etc.
2. Ignore economic/political agendas eg. Capitalism/Communism - focus on who rules the country.
3. What works, where does it work and why does it work?
Chris

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Re: Monarchy or Democracy?

Postby Irminsul » Tue Jul 07, 2009 11:33 pm

Now it begins. Now it really begins.
"The pipe marks the point at which the orangutan ends and man begins."
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Re: Monarchy or Democracy?

Postby RompinDonkey » Tue Jul 07, 2009 11:41 pm

Irminsul wrote:Now it begins. Now it really begins.



:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

This is funny - I actually passed an "A" Level in "British Constitution" (this was in 1974) - which is quite an achievement as we Brits don't actually have a Constitution.

PS: An "A" Level is an exam that we Brits take at age 18.
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Re: Monarchy or Democracy?

Postby piper » Tue Jul 07, 2009 11:57 pm

The first thing to remember is that all societies/governments are ultimately only individual men acting together. So you have to decide whether or not men acting together should be subject to the same social principles we all generally agree on (as in not stealing from one another), or whether society somehow transcends those rules. And if, as so many answer, it is the latter, then on what grounds do you make that claim.

John Locke's position was that many forms of government are possible and acceptable, but the minute the government crosses the line of natural law (meaning don't, without due cause, steal, kill, restrain, etc.), it has gone out of bounds. Read his second treatise on government, it's quite good.
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Re: Monarchy or Democracy?

Postby RompinDonkey » Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:03 am

piper wrote:The first thing to remember is that all societies/governments are ultimately only individual men acting together. So you have to decide whether or not men acting together should be subject to the same social principles we all generally agree on (as in not stealing from one another), or whether society somehow transcends those rules. And if, as so many answer, it is the latter, then on what grounds do you make that claim.

John Locke's position was that many forms of government are possible and acceptable, but the minute the government crosses the line of natural law (meaning don't, without due cause, steal, kill, restrain, etc.), it has gone out of bounds. Read his second treatise on government, it's quite good.


Oh Crickey!!

It looks like our debate on Lizzie & Phil has been infiltrated by those darn Russkies........

Never mind aye? Another cup of tea Vicar.......... ?
Alan

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Re: Monarchy or Democracy?

Postby CPWSolf » Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:36 am

RompinDonkey wrote:
Irminsul wrote:Now it begins. Now it really begins.



This is funny - I actually passed an "A" Level in "British Constitution" (this was in 1974) - which is quite an achievement as we Brits don't actually have a Constitution.


Actually we do have a Constitution - just an unwritten one. Often referred to as a constitution (note with lower case c) - our comes from legislation and judicial decisions. To change either is actually quite difficult under British law.

Secondly it also depends on ones definition of a C(c)onstitution - many writers like Dicey and Paine have stated now formal document is needed if the systems of governance are in place and acting for the people (please note this is very simplified!!). Why does a Constitution have to be written down?
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Re: Monarchy or Democracy?

Postby CPWSolf » Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:40 am

piper wrote:The first thing to remember is that all societies/governments are ultimately only individual men acting together. So you have to decide whether or not men acting together should be subject to the same social principles we all generally agree on (as in not stealing from one another), or whether society somehow transcends those rules


Surely society can never transcend only the individual, if it based on principles we generally agree on then that is society in agreement. Thus any transcending of these principles would be carried out merely by the individual (not always a bad thing)
Chris

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Re: Monarchy or Democracy?

Postby gnossos » Wed Jul 08, 2009 2:53 am

Democracy coupled with a well-armed citizenship
--sayeth the American Liberal (even tho he owns no guns himself)
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Re: Monarchy or Democracy?

Postby Serpov » Wed Jul 08, 2009 5:45 am

A very interesting question. Please bear in mind that I'm not a student of British history or British government but I will weigh in from time to time as I feel necessary.

CPWSolf wrote:Residing as I do in the United Kingdom I live under a pseudo-monarchy.


Actually the UK is classified as a constitutional monarchy. There is a Queen and she does have some powers, at least on paper but her role is mostly ceremonial.

I feel in this country the Royal Family do an exceptional job and are well worth the money it costs us as tax payer.


British people are certainly entitled to feel that way if they wish. But the fact of the matter is that Parliament over time has eroded so many of the Royal prerogatives that aside from ceremonial responsibilities the Queen and the Royal family have very few actual responsibilities. But they are exceptionally good at smiling and waving--and with the exception of the Prince of Wales not to hard on the eyes.

People often argue that the monarchy has no power, that the Government is really in control.


They argue that because it is more or less true.

With this I must strongly disagree. No laws can be passed without the Queen's approval, no Parliament can sit without the Queen's approval, no Prime Minister can rule without the Queen's authority.


True, however if the Queen exercised her veto power (which hasn't been exercised in nearly 250 years) I'm sure that there would be a a great deal more people than a few MPs ticked off with her--that is of course assuming she doesn't have a very very very good reason for issuing the veto. Further I cannot see the Queen prohibiting the sitting of Parliament--especially the Commons--and it not resulting in massive riots and perhaps even revolution. And no monarch has rejected a PM elected by the Commons in the past 250 years.

So in essence what you have is a system where the monarch has the power to veto, the power to dissolve Parliament and the power to remove the PM but if she actually exercised these powers without a very very very good reason--and the backing of a majority of the people of the country--she would loose her pretty crowned head.

Therefore I would say that the UK is not so much a Monarchy as it is actually a bourgeois parliamentary democracy. That being said I think the reason why the UK has survived with this form of government as long as it has is due to its unwritten constitution. Most written constitutions, the US being a big exception, have a life span of about 50 years or so and then they need to be redone. This can be seen in various written constitutions in Europe, and the States of the US.

--------------------------

piper wrote:The first thing to remember is that all societies/governments are ultimately only individual men acting together.


This is only partially true. All societies are ultimately collections of individual men acting together. However no man can really act independently of all the other men of his society. In short what is the actual case is that societies are individuals acting together toward a certain goal--their continued existence. Much the same way a human body is made up of billions of cells all acting together but none of which alone would survive very long.

So you have to decide whether or not men acting together should be subject to the same social principles we all generally agree on (as in not stealing from one another), or whether society somehow transcends those rules. And if, as so many answer, it is the latter, then on what grounds do you make that claim.


First it is both at the same time. Each society has its own set of social principles by which men agree to live with one another. These are generally called laws. These laws are created and decided upon collectively in most cases--even in non-democratic political systems--and apply collectively. Second society does transcend those rules because it makes those rules itself. In other words if something was acceptable yesterday it can be prohibited tomorrow. And since there are no "natural laws" as set forth by Locke by which all humans agree to live--because if they did all societies would look quite a bit alike--which they don't except in that all societies to our knowledge are made up of collections of human individuals--something that might be acceptable in Society A might be completely unacceptable in Society B.

John Locke's position was that many forms of government are possible and acceptable, but the minute the government crosses the line of natural law (meaning don't, without due cause, steal, kill, restrain, etc.), it has gone out of bounds. Read his second treatise on government, it's quite good.


John Locke's position is only possible in a society which accepts the idea of private property extending beyond simple personal goods. Not every society does this. For example in many tribal societies one can certainly own a loin cloth or a spear but they do not own a field or the flint/obsidian mine where spear heads are made.

As such if the means of production of a society (in a Primitive Communist, or Marxist-Socialist society) are owned by the society at large it is impossible for there to be theft by the society from the individual. That would be akin to saying your liver steals food from your lungs. Which quite frankly is absurd.

As for societies not killing, I have never seen a society which has not at one time used capital punishment or gone to war. In fact no society has ever not killed. In fact many times it is necessary for the society to kill for self-preservation. As for restrain, if one breaks the moral precepts or legal definitions of a society--which are of course created collectively--that society has the right to do with that individual as it pleases.

And finally there is the "Without Due Cause" clause which is open to complete interpretation as to what due cause is. The definition of due cause in Society A may be vastly different than the definition in Society B. Even if a society does accept private property beyond simple personal goods, and does accept that killing people without "due cause" is bad, and does accept people without "due cause" is bad. The society itself does define what due cause is. As such all laws being the creation of the social context of the society in question are subject to the whim of that society and can be changed at any time.
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Re: Monarchy or Democracy?

Postby CPWSolf » Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:13 pm

British people are certainly entitled to feel that way if they wish. But the fact of the matter is that Parliament over time has eroded so many of the Royal prerogatives that aside from ceremonial responsibilities the Queen and the Royal family have very few actual responsibilities. But they are exceptionally good at smiling and waving--and with the exception of the Prince of Wales not to hard on the eyes.


Firstly not only British people believe this! The Royal Family is not purely ceremonial as you state-they are leaders in many fields. Their roles have changed yes, but so has everyones. They contribute more to society than most, charitable works, patrons, working themselves: particularly in the military (remember Harry on the front line).

True, however if the Queen exercised her veto power (which hasn't been exercised in nearly 250 years) I'm sure that there would be a a great deal more people than a few MPs ticked off with her--that is of course assuming she doesn't have a very very very good reason for issuing the veto. Further I cannot see the Queen prohibiting the sitting of Parliament--especially the Commons--and it not resulting in massive riots and perhaps even revolution. And no monarch has rejected a PM elected by the Commons in the past 250 years. Therefore I would say that the UK is not so much a Monarchy as it is actually a bourgeois parliamentary democracy.


If the Queen was to use her power she would be doing it for good reason - she is exceptionally bright and current with the world. As for riots and revolution: we live in the UK not Communist China or an anarchist society. The worst that will happen is a media outcry. Though like I said she would have valid reason for any.

First it is both at the same time. Each society has its own set of social principles by which men agree to live with one another. These are generally called laws. These laws are created and decided upon collectively in most cases--even in non-democratic political systems--and apply collectively. Second society does transcend those rules because it makes those rules itself. In other words if something was acceptable yesterday it can be prohibited tomorrow. And since there are no "natural laws" as set forth by Locke by which all humans agree to live--because if they did all societies would look quite a bit alike--which they don't except in that all societies to our knowledge are made up of collections of human individuals--something that might be acceptable in Society A might be completely unacceptable in Society B.


So by this logic there is not such thing as individualism in a society!!

As such if the means of production of a society (in a Primitive Communist, or Marxist-Socialist society) are owned by the society at large it is impossible for there to be theft by the society from the individual. That would be akin to saying your liver steals food from your lungs. Which quite frankly is absurd.


So when as happens in Communist Russia of old (and I am sure today too to some extent) the ruling classes have all the food and the poorer people have none that's fine because it is not stealing? May have wrong gist for this quote though so please correct me if I am wrong
Chris

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Re: Monarchy or Democracy?

Postby CPWSolf » Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:16 pm

Can I just add this is a really great debate already :D
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Re: Monarchy or Democracy?

Postby RompinDonkey » Wed Jul 08, 2009 7:34 pm

The bit that I never manage to get my head round is how at each General Election, the country turns out, at great expence, to vote for 600 odd MPs. Once those elected MPs get to parliament - out comes the three line whip, and they all do as they are told. It seems to me that it would be a lot cheaper to just vote for say four party leaders and have done with it. After all no candidate or party ever carries out their election promises........

Also the expenses scandal has shown MPs to be what I have always suspected. That is that they are a bunch of money making bastards who are interested only in their own development. They are a bunch of liars and cheats.

Our constitutional monarchy works ok - the Queen would never dare to refuse to sign legislation - that would be the end of the royal family if she ever did.
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Re: Monarchy or Democracy?

Postby CPWSolf » Wed Jul 08, 2009 8:23 pm

Very very true!! However I would like to point out that we also have no choice as to who the prime minister. The majority party can elect anyone they wish to that post!

I disagree that it would be the end of the monarchy because for the Queen not to sign said legislation would be because she herself doesn't think it is right for her people.
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Re: Monarchy or Democracy?

Postby Christoff » Wed Jul 08, 2009 8:35 pm

This is such a huge subject one could rattle on for hours! For the sake of brevity I'm going to set out my views in a brief skeleton format:

1.I am not a monarchist and not a fan of the Royal family. The Queen is not bright - she just happens to be well informed - that is the all important distinction! On balance I'm persuaded that we should have a slimmed down monarchy only because the truth is there is still much support for the Monarchy in Britain.

2.The Queen could never refuse to sign legislation. We had a thing called the English Civil War where it was established that Parliament must always reign supreme over the monarchy. To this day the Queen is not allowed into the House of Commons - this is highly symbolic.

3. Oliver Cromwell is the greatest Englishmen that has ever lived

4. On the issue of the British constitution - it may not be written down but it has worked well over the centuries. Today however, as a result of the enactment of the Human Rights Act 1999 (which incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights) a very important part of our constitution is indeed in writing.

5. I agree with Serpov - written constitutions vary in their respective effectiveness. A really good exercise (one I did as a law student) is to compare the 1977 Soviet Constitution with that of the United States. The former seeming to give many rights to the people (but not in practice) and the latter being quite vague and non specific but yet having tremendous power especially in the courts.

6. Princess Diana showed the Royals how to be Royal. She was shamefully abused by the Royal family to produce heirs to the throne. Charles was never in love with her. Charles is not fit to be king and I hope we can skip a generation in this regard.

This just for starters!
Last edited by Christoff on Wed Jun 02, 2010 8:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Monarchy or Democracy?

Postby KT00na » Wed Jul 08, 2009 9:52 pm

The following opinion is coming from an American, so take it as you will.

The Monarchy in Britain, to me, seems like an entirely useless and antiquated piece of the government process. Why even bother? And doesn't the Royal Family have expenses, and are any of these expenses being paid for with tax payer money? If they are, then the Royal Family is nothing but a bunch of well-dressed leeches. Sure, I suppose they have their symbolic importance and all, but really all they amount to in my mind are celebrities. To me it would be like us Americans having Paris Hilton have a say in the legislative processes, if she felt like it.

But then again, I don't really know what I'm talking about.
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Re: Monarchy or Democracy?

Postby CPWSolf » Wed Jul 08, 2009 10:12 pm

Having just returned from an evening bowl of Balken Mixture in my new (estate) pipe: a Colonel Henry Fraser Lovat (house warming gift from my little sister, plus a nice rack) I thought I should point something out
This debate shows the great depth and range of pipe smokers globally. This is shown in mine and Christof's differing views: we are both following the same path - barristers, though Christof has a few more years of experience than I, yet we hold opposing opinions on the monarchy. We are united as pipe smokers yet remain individual!

This is why pipe smokers are a different kind of fellow to most we can argue and debate our views in a civil, well constructed and meaningful way without offending!

I would beg to differ that Oliver Cromwell is the greatest Englishman to live: not when one considers the huge catalogue of those that have lived and contributed to our world. For example: Duke of Wellington, Admiral Nelson, Issac Newton, William Pitt to name a few
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Re: Monarchy or Democracy?

Postby ruraldean » Wed Jul 08, 2009 10:29 pm

KT00na wrote:The following opinion is coming from an American, so take it as you will.

And doesn't the Royal Family have expenses, and are any of these expenses being paid for with tax payer money? If they are, then the Royal Family is nothing but a bunch of well-dressed leeches. Sure, I suppose they have their symbolic importance and all, but really all they amount to in my mind are celebrities. To me it would be like us Americans having Paris Hilton have a say in the legislative processes, if she felt like it.

But then again, I don't really know what I'm talking about.


Last week it was revealed that the cost of the Monarchy to the British people is just 69p ($1) per head, per year. Strangely, the pomp associated with the Monarchy is what draws countless numbers of Americans over here, in addition to the tourists from most other countries.

Not everyone thinks they're useless, and I'm not just talking about us Brits.
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Re: Monarchy or Democracy?

Postby Serpov » Thu Jul 09, 2009 7:24 pm

CPWSolf wrote:Firstly not only British people believe this!


CPWSolf, first let me apologize for my tardy response. I was quite busy yesterday with dealing with the intricacies of the American Governmental Bureaucracy.

My point is that the British people are entitled to think whatever they like about the Monarchy. They are the ones who have to live with it, not the French or the Germans or the Americans. We might have our own opinions on the usefulness of the system that the UK uses, but ultimately the preservation or dissolution of the Monarchy is up to the British Nation to decide.

The Royal Family is not purely ceremonial as you state-they are leaders in many fields.


But we aren't speaking of "other fields" we are talking about governmental responsibility, which is why I said the Queen aside from ceremonial responsibilities really has very little power. Whether the Queen, Prince of Wales, and any other Royals patron the arts, serve in the military, or do any thing else is irrelevant to the discussion of their role in governing the UK.

If the Queen was to use her power she would be doing it for good reason - she is exceptionally bright and current with the world.


The current Queen so far has only used what power she has left very judiciously. However, this does not mean that any future King or Queen would be as judicious in their use of power. The Veto prerogative does not stipulate that the monarch actually requires a reason, and as it hasn't been used in so long any precedent or tradition associated with its use is most likely of a less democratic form than is current for the UK of the modern era.

As for riots and revolution: we live in the UK not Communist China or an anarchist society. The worst that will happen is a media outcry. Though like I said she would have valid reason for any.


Again the Current Queen would probably have a very good reason. However, she has also never used her veto prerogative, her parliamentary dissolution prerogative, or any of the other remaining prerogatives. But I will say that if she did use any prerogative in a manner that proved to be extremely unpopular with the populace there would likely at the very least be protests. That is of course assuming the UK has not become a tyranny. IE--Where the masses fear the government there is tyranny, where the government fears the masses there is liberty.

Of course this could also be an expression of my own Jacobin tendencies.

So by this logic there is not such thing as individualism in a society!!


Individualism in the sense that person A might like X instead of Y and person B likes Y instead of X does exist in society. However the the driving force of society is always in collective expression: Political parties, Social Classes, Fashion, Language, etc

Further all social conventions are derived collectively. People actually do this sub-consciously so in many cases in the West in particular which prides itself on its individualism for some bizarre reason individual expression collectively determined social conventions sometimes can be mistaken for taking an individual point of view. Most actual individualism is only important to non-socially determinative matters. For example John like Balkans, Steve likes aromatics, Jane wants to wear trousers, Sally prefers dresses.

So when as happens in Communist Russia of old (and I am sure today too to some extent) the ruling classes have all the food and the poorer people have none that's fine because it is not stealing? May have wrong gist for this quote though so please correct me if I am wrong


Actually its even worse today than even in the Revisionist Era of the Soviet Union. At least in the revisionist "Party-Bourgeoisie" of the Khrushchev-Brezhnev era actually tried to ensure that everyone had enough food. The reason being they did not want a revolution on their hands--as happened with Gorbachev with his perestroika debacle.

That being said Khrushchev introduced state-capitalism back in 1956 and as such the Soviet Union ceased being socialist in the Marxist Sense then. That being said, prior to that there was nearly no class system in the Soviet Union after 1936 or so. Further food, clothing and shelter during the socialist era was a given provided that one worked, had worked (IE the old had a state pension, etc), or would work in the future (IE children were always given priority in distribution).
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Re: Monarchy or Democracy?

Postby deerhunter721 » Mon Jul 27, 2009 11:53 am

CPWSolf wrote:Hi,

I have become fed up of the current capitalism debate that is raging on: mainly because I can't contribute as I was not in it from the start so am rather lost, not because it's boring or anything like that.
As a result I have sat (with pipe) to come up with a new suitable topic for the discussion of us pipe smokers.

Residing as I do in the United Kingdom I live under a pseudo-monarchy. I feel in this country the Royal Family do an exceptional job and are well worth the money it costs us as tax payer. People often argue that the monarchy has no power, that the Government is really in control. With this I must strongly disagree. No laws can be passed without the Queen's approval, no Parliament can sit without the Queen's approval, no Prime Minister can rule without the Queen's authority.

This is just an initial taster to start things off...I would love to hear from all nationalities on this.

Possible thought to keep in mind:
1. What are the alternatives - democracy, anarchy, strict monarchy etc.
2. Ignore economic/political agendas eg. Capitalism/Communism - focus on who rules the country.
3. What works, where does it work and why does it work?


That is why we drafted a Constitution and Bill of Rights and formed The United States. The sad thing is, It has been hijacked by socialist idiots. We just need to get back to our founding principles. America is a Republic, NOT A dEMOCRACY.
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Re: Monarchy or Democracy?

Postby Vulcan1976 » Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:04 pm

I know that this thread is old....and I apologise for opening it up again...but as I am a newish member I read it all with great interest....perhaps you can clear something up for me...why is it that British people are called 'British Citizens? now? surely a citizen is for the inhabitant of a Republican country.....are we not 'Subjects'?
Since there also seems a legal slant to this thread (barristers?) do you not feel sad to see the wig and gown go? I do....it is a crying shame....the day when the Speaker of the House of Commons gave up the wig and gown was a sad day.....each year we lose a little more.......
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