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Do we still yearn for a King?

electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
edited May 2011 in Debate and/or Discourse
The ruckus about the Royal Wedding weirds me out. It weirds me out because I ended up watching it. I too had to know what type of dress the bride wore! Oh I had my reasons for that line of inquiry, but they feel invented - like, secretly, I wanted to watch the pomp and circumstance of the Royal Family in England.

It also makes me wonder about a larger question: do we still yearn for a King?

Now, King is a loaded term. It's rightly, literally interpreted as a leader who is created by either succession or circumstance, and who's successor is created by familial relation. But in many respects, the idea of a King seems to pervade through to our wider consciousness -

"What this country needs is a dictator" --> "Musolini made the trains run on time" --> Is a King not a despot but with well-defined succession?

The way we seem to talk about the English Royal family seems to have a particular yearning for a King, the way we talk about the US president seems to almost want King-like powers, the way I watch HBO's Kings finds me at time thinking "hey, this is great, things are getting done".

So the question I'm asking, D&D, is do you think that this whole concept of democracy, is obvious and forever? Or do you think that it would not take too unrecognizable changes for us to flip back to having a King, or some minor variant thereof?

EDIT: To be clear - obviously - from an enlightened perspective, both women and men could command the type of absolute power I'm referring to, but from a Western perspective "proper power" is encompassed by the "masculine" pronoun. I have an internal crisis over how to refer to it - do I use the singular pronoun i.e. "sir" being used for male and female captains (ala Star Trek Voyager, where I might know it from) or do I acknowledge a distinction? Why shouldn't the commander of absolute power simply always be "King"?

It is of course, also a literary strategy - everyone "gets" the idea of a King.

electricitylikesme on
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Posts

  • EchoEcho staring is caring Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited May 2011
    You can get ours for cheap, he's getting a few miles on him.

  • RMS OceanicRMS Oceanic Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Human beings don't like uncertainty. I think our instincts appeal for a world that is relatively orderly and predictable, even if that predictability is a world where one has little control over their lives.

    Dropping the "King" issue for a bit, a major argument against coalitions in the UK is that "nothing would get done". I think people feel reassured when there are people taking decisive action. They may not realise that decisive action is a catastrophic mistake, but "Hey, they're doing something".

    I think part of it is a desire to regress to childhood on one level or another: The world is a frightening complicated place, and the rules for thriving in it are not set in stone. Sometimes you're tempted to just disengage and let someone else do it for you.

    Jeeze, my thoughts on this are disjointed. If only a strong leader could take charge and instill some order and stability in my posts so I feel safe and secure without having to think about it...

  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Yes, there is something appealing about a king-like figure. I think the appeal of authoritarianism is the illusion that a guy--this guy is always an ideological ally of the person with the authoritarian fantasy--who wants to get things done can just do that.

    I think one of the problems of America is that, given the absence of symbolic head of state, the POTUS becomes a kind of mythical figure/lightning rod/person given undue deference.

    Here's a neat blog item I read on that a little while ago:

    The resilience of this impulse, even in a democratic age, is probably the best case for the constitutional monarchies of Europe, their silliness and stuffiness and frequent tackiness notwithstanding. Toasting Prince William and his soon-to-be princess this week, the Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens made a fine Burkean case for the British crown: “Royalty is the most venerable embodiment of British tradition, tradition is the lifeblood of identity, identity generates social cohesion without resort to force, and social cohesion is the sine qua non of a viable polity.” But I think it’s that “without resort to force” that’s the most important part of the argument. Whatever their customs and traditions, even the most modern polities often find themselves yearning, like the Israelites of old, for a kinglike authority. And the existence of a largely-powerless royal family can be a useful hedge against the perpetual temptation to invest ordinary politicians with quasi-royal powers, and then (almost inevitably) watch them run amok. (The experience of post-Franco Spain suggests that the restoration of a hereditary monarchy after a long period of dictatorship can play a similar stabilizing role.) Having a monarch as the symbolic head of state keeps elected officials in their place, provides an apolitical outlet for popular hero worship and the cults of celebrity, and satisfies the human hunger for ceremonial authority. If it’s an affront to democratic sensibilities, it’s also a safeguard for democratic institutions. Better a real king, crowned and powerless, than the many pseudo-kings who have strutted (and still strut) so destructively across the modern stage.

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  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I doubt more than a vanishingly small percentage of people who watched the royal wedding were thinking "it would be great if that inbred doofus and his London party tart could rule over us with an iron fist."

    The royal wedding was really just a celebrity wedding on steroids. Modern education and mass media have really made the idea of a king/dictator obsolete in the Western world. It's only in backwards and/or repressive societies where such an idea lives on.

    Aetian Jupiter - 41 Gunslinger - The Old Republic
    Rigorous Scholarship

  • Brian888Brian888 Registered User
    edited May 2011
    Your conscience may force you to vote Democrat, but deep down you long for a Republican to lower taxes, brutalize criminals, and RULE YOU LIKE A KING!

    Anyway, I'm comfortable enough in my small "r" republicanism and atheism to admit that I was taken by the Royal Wedding. For one thing, the story at the heart of it is rather compelling, the stuff that every second romantic film is based on (a commoner is "ennobled," in this case literally, by love). For another, there was an powerful, undeniably majestic aesthetic surrounding the event. I'm not a Catholic, but I can still appreciate the inherent beauty of a well-done Mass, for example. Ceremony does have a place in the public sphere, and the British do ceremony particulary well.

  • RMS OceanicRMS Oceanic Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Modern Man wrote: »
    I doubt more than a vanishingly small percentage of people who watched the royal wedding were thinking "it would be great if that inbred doofus and his London party tart could rule over us with an iron fist."

    The royal wedding was really just a celebrity wedding on steroids. Modern education and mass media have really made the idea of a king/dictator obsolete in the Western world. It's only in backwards and/or repressive societies where such an idea lives on.

    I think what ELM was commenting on was an instinct that a lot of people has to defer to authority. It was just that the wedding is what got him thinking about it.

  • TwoQuestionsTwoQuestions Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    It would be kinda nice to have one guy dress up fancy and kiss babies while another actually gets shiat done.

    I'll have to research this later, but I think a few medieval societies were like this; as in you'd have a king inspire people in battle, and the upper-level clergy handle affairs of state. I donno though, this merits further thought.

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  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Jeeze, my thoughts on this are disjointed. If only a strong leader could take charge and instill some order and stability in my posts so I feel safe and secure without having to think about it...

    Like a mod?

    Couldn't resist, though I did post this thread after reading ElJeffe's sticky, which was in part the inspiration.

    It's just a concept which shows up in so many parts of society? "The judiciary will take care of it", "the ombudsmen's report says...", or for an Australian example "the Henry tax review...".

    There's this ongoing theme of vesting near-absolute power in a singular, individual, authority and the wider context where we tend to also put it in named committee of some sort which tends to have a spokesmen. What Wikileaks chose to do with Julian Assange is almost a picture-perfect example - let's make one man represent an entire organization - and as a result surprisingly little public focus is put on who else is there except for a "I don't have an opinion, so here's some BS about how they should reveal all their members" rent-an-opinion perspective.*

    * Note: I don't discount the notion that intelligence analysts are actually talented and under-appreciated people who are probably onto this and a ton of other ideas regarding almost anything. I do however wholly discount the idea that I underappreciate the BS they have to deal with regarding management. Nothing they say could surprise me.

  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    People have a somewhat disturbing tendency to gravitate toward pomp and circumstance, and on a large scale an even more disturbing desire to be told what to do by an ultimate authority figure. Obviously this isn't universal, but it applies to a sizable subsection of the population.

    I don't think that necessarily means that "we" "want" to be ruled by an absolute monarch, but the underpinnings are certainly there for some of us.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

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  • DirtyDirtyVagrantDirtyDirtyVagrant Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I've watched a bit of sunday mass at the vatican a few times, just because the ceremony is really beautiful and because I feel like it carries a lot of historic weight.

    I don't think a king is the right way to go about things, if only because instead of having some asshole in power for 4-8 years, you have him until he dies, at which point his son will come into power, and his son may or may not be an even bigger prick.

    I am waiting for a president to run on a hard line anti-corruption/reformist platform. Probably never happen, but *dreamy sigh*.

  • jakobaggerjakobagger KøbenhavnRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    It would be kinda nice to have one guy dress up fancy and kiss babies while another actually gets shiat done.

    I'll have to research this later, but I think a few medieval societies were like this; as in you'd have a king inspire people in battle, and the upper-level clergy handle affairs of state. I donno though, this merits further thought.

    Not quite the same thing, but the Roman republic had a ceremonial king, to take care of the various ritual duties the real king had had before the republic. And then the consuls, senate etc. to actually rule.

  • Dis'Dis' Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    It would be kinda nice to have one guy dress up fancy and kiss babies while another actually gets shiat done.

    I'll have to research this later, but I think a few medieval societies were like this; as in you'd have a king inspire people in battle, and the upper-level clergy handle affairs of state. I donno though, this merits further thought.

    Well pretty much any early european state was like that - you had a King/Tsar/Grand Prince/Khan/Kagan/Doge/Sultan/Emir/Bey at the top, and then a small group of people who got things done under the aegis of royal-divine legitimacy (this group may or may not include the actual king).

    on the actual OP: the primate pecking order runs pretty deep in us, even in very basic and small tribes you have someone be in charge/responsible when a crisis comes along.

  • LucidLucid Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Human beings don't like uncertainty. I think our instincts appeal for a world that is relatively orderly and predictable, even if that predictability is a world where one has little control over their lives..
    I think the paradox of humanity is that we're both risk aversive and risk seeking at the same time. We want safety and discovery, curious yet cautious. I think it's healthier in the long run for us to pursue our exploratory side more, the uncertain side of us breeds fear. A monolithic figure like a king sort of traps us.

  • autono-wally, erotibot300autono-wally, erotibot300 love machine Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Only an animal king

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  • B_RB_R Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Funny thing is, that dictatorships never last that long.
    And the mortality rate of Kings was enormously high.
    To me, Democracy seems way more stable, becuase we don't have to kill our leader to get rid of him.

  • CharismaismydumpstatCharismaismydumpstat Registered User
    edited May 2011
    HM the Queen is half Scottish and is Queen of the United Kingdom. For the sake of my own blood pressure and that of all of the other Scots, Irish and Welsh PAers don't call her Queen of England.

  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • Dis'Dis' Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    HM the Queen is half Scottish and is Queen of the United Kingdom. For the sake of my own blood pressure and that of all of the other Scots, Irish and Welsh PAers don't call her Queen of England.

    It would have been funny in the 1700s parliament had gone through with renaming England and Scotland to South and North Britain like they wanted.
    And the mortality rate of Kings was enormously high.

    Just the ones you hear about, lots of monarchs lived out the reigns or stepped down peacefully.

  • BagginsesBagginses __BANNED USERS regular
    edited May 2011
    HM the Queen is half Scottish and is Queen of the United Kingdom. For the sake of my own blood pressure and that of all of the other Scots, Irish and Welsh PAers don't call her Queen of England.

    You'd think the Irish would be a little touchy about that, given that she was one of the RIC Auxies at Croke Park.

  • QuetzatcoatlQuetzatcoatl Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Doesn't the fascination with all of this come as much from a desire to be a king (or at least live like one), than wanting a ruler?

    Also, did you know Mexico had a king for a little while, although it didn't work out well for him.

  • RMS OceanicRMS Oceanic Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Bagginses wrote: »
    HM the Queen is half Scottish and is Queen of the United Kingdom. For the sake of my own blood pressure and that of all of the other Scots, Irish and Welsh PAers don't call her Queen of England.

    You'd think the Irish would be a little touchy about that, given that she was one of the RIC Auxies at Croke Park.

    Given my own brief understanding of the dates of existence for the Royal Irish Constabulary and the date of birth of the Queen, Imma have to assume I'm missing something here and say "lolwut"?

  • KorlashKorlash Registered User
    edited May 2011
    I'm a French Canadian. I hate the royal family just like pretty much my entire province. So maybe it's just a French thing, but there are certainly some people who don't yearn for a King.

    Let's be honest: why should we care about Britain's royal family? They're another country. I couldn't care less about what these guys think of us.

    What to you appears appealing (all the "pomp") appears ridiculous and overwrought to a lot people here. There is definitely a cultural aspect to it. I think certain people are more predisposed to liking the idea of monarchy. For example, in the states, there is always some sort of cult of personality around the president, who is a very powerful and visible figure in politics. One could see then why many Americans were eager to follow the royal wedding. But in some other countries, people are not so in love with their politicians.

    In the end, the royal family just provides another target for tabloids (that is actually their only contribution to society, really), so people who follow the personal lives of movie stars will tend to also follow the lives of the royal family. That's not everybody however.

    And when it comes to actually bringing back monarchy as an active participant in politics... maybe in the role of what we call here in Canada the Governor General (basically, someone who gets to officially form the government and do things like prorogue parliament when asked by the prime minister). But not in an important legislative or executive position. It might work for one generation, but the next would be quickly asking for plans to a guillotine. That your father was a good person is no indication you will be a good one.

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  • hanskeyhanskey Registered User
    edited May 2011
    I think democracy is generally superior, because power is shared with the goverened, but democracy is easy to hijack whereas a king or dictator is not. However, if you don't like an absolute ruler's policies you are stuck with them until they die or listen to reason, but in a democratic form of government you can always vote out the bums who won't listen. The main point I would argue is that democratically governed societies are far more free, and grant regular people far more rights than any absolute ruler ever did, because freedom threatens absolute rule.

    However, as I mentioned democratic forms of government are pretty easy to hijack which means that we must actively watch and carefully control our government, because a common end state of democratic rule is that a charismatic absolute ruler instates themselves in power in the name of stability or national security, by force of arms. As many scholars have noted about the U. S.:
    Executive power, and the scope of executive power tends to grow with every new crisis and never are all the new powers returned to the people and laid down by the executive. My guess is, that like other ancient democratic forms of government, if the growth of executive power is not checked, then this trend will eventually result in the office of the Presidency morphing into an effectively absolute ruler some time in the next few centuries.

    It's one of the reasons that all the social studies teachers I ever had, described the U.S. as a great and ongoing experiment in government. Their message was always that we must actively engage our democratic system to make it suitable for living under, or eventually it will be become an untenable form of government just like dictatorship's become untenable when they fail to meet the needs of the governed. The power is in our hands to do something about it and I would hate to give that up for a little security or pomp and circumstance. It's not a perfect system, but we can and should improve it wherever we can.

    The real difference between our system and absolute rule by a single individual is not really the democracy parts, since you could (and I think people did in the past (Spartans?)) elect absolute rulers, even if it was an uncommon practice. For me the real difference is the splitting of pre-US constitution executive power, into the three branches of government, executive, legislative, and judiciary. Prior to our splitting apart of these 3 sets of powers they were all held by absolute rulers of the U.K and elsewhere, but our splitting apart of them has resulted in a unique set of checks and balances that has given us many benefits.

    Also, it's easy to romanticize about monarchy at this point in time, because the monarch's of the U.K. are no longer seen as threatening. After all, they have no real governmental power any longer, compared to what they used to possess, so the pageantry can easily evoke a powerful nostalgia, but only because we didn't live through all the bad shit of being ruled by an absolute power.

  • Andrew_JayAndrew_Jay Registered User
    edited May 2011
    Modern Man wrote: »
    I doubt more than a vanishingly small percentage of people who watched the royal wedding were thinking "it would be great if that inbred doofus and his London party tart could rule over us with an iron fist."

    The royal wedding was really just a celebrity wedding on steroids. Modern education and mass media have really made the idea of a king/dictator obsolete in the Western world. It's only in backwards and/or repressive societies where such an idea lives on.
    Yet, much of the Western World is "governed" by monarchs. Of course, there is nothing remotely "iron fist(ed)" about it.

    And the Queen does serve an important constitutional role, along with symbolising the authority and sovereignty of the state. It doesn't hurt to have a non-partisan individual filing an office that, essentially, is there to break any ties that occur in the democratic system (for example, if David Cameron lost the confidence of Parliament, it will be Her Royal Majesty who decides whether that results in a new election or if Labour is given a shot at governing).

    Of course, all of that could be accomplished by allowing the government to appoint someone, which is what the members of the Commonwealth already do for the Queen's representatives - respected, largely non-partisan and retired or all-but-retired public figures.

  • BagginsesBagginses __BANNED USERS regular
    edited May 2011
    Bagginses wrote: »
    HM the Queen is half Scottish and is Queen of the United Kingdom. For the sake of my own blood pressure and that of all of the other Scots, Irish and Welsh PAers don't call her Queen of England.

    You'd think the Irish would be a little touchy about that, given that she was one of the RIC Auxies at Croke Park.

    Given my own brief understanding of the dates of existence for the Royal Irish Constabulary and the date of birth of the Queen, Imma have to assume I'm missing something here and say "lolwut"?

    Did I mention that she's...


    poisonous!
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  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Civilization needs leaders. Unfortunately, the leaders have to be human. We all know humans; humans suck. Some of them are better than others, but they all crack under pressure and none of them are going to do what we think is the right thing in any situation.

    How much better to have a leader who is somehow more than human? And since we largely don't believe in things like divine right anymore, we make our leaders super-human by force of belief. We in the US want our president to be king-like; we want him to be larger than life, to speak with the voice of a gentle god, and to always do the right thing. Maybe we don't think it's the right thing at the time, but we want the kind of person in the hot seat who, after the fact, we can look back and smile and nod and say, "Yeah, he knew what he was doing."

    We don't get that, for the most part. Sometimes we get one who has the odd good run or who fits our expectations for part of the time, but mostly they're just guys. Some of them are smarter than others and they largely all do the job better than any of us probably would, but still just guys doing the job.

    When we non-royalists look at Royalty in other nations, no matter our stance on politics or theism or whatever, we see someone who is publicly acknowledged as being basically super-human. These people are so goddamned awesome that their kids get to run the country just by falling out of their Royal Naughty Bits. Why wouldn't you want someone that awesome in charge of your country?

    And for the royalists whose Royals are getting hitched or crowned or whatever... It's a time when they can look at the royal family and feel that super-humanity that we all want. For that one day they can forget whatever stupid bullshit the government has been pulling recently that they don't like and just wear a pretty hat, put on a kettle, and feel good because that guy/gal in the sweet duds is Their King/Queen/Prince/Princess.

    I can see why it doesn't work for, say, Canada. You guys don't get to pretend that a King or Queen would do a better job than your actual leader and they have too much physical and emotional distance to really give you the warm fuzzies when they put on the fancy clothes and play the old music.

    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Jesus, people. This thread is like a running gunbattle with stupid bullets.
  • AtomikaAtomika Hypercritical Queen Bitch of Cinema Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I think things like Prop 8 and the Hamas Government of Palestine, in addition to a hundred other things, are proof enough that Democracy isn't a perfect tool for equality, justice, or consistent rational policy. I do, however, feel that by the amendment process and judicial review we can, over slow and painful amounts of time, hone democratic representation to a point nearing closer and closer to perfection.

    What most people don't actualize is that Democracy, i.e. government by collective will, on its own is a potentially dangerous and harmful tool, and very prone to abuse. We shouldn't actually want personal liberty to be expanded to the point of anarchy, and democracy isn't just three wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner. The Jeffersonian ideals of "for the people, by the people," aren't actually good aspirations for wide-spread application. The "people" can be malicious, ignorant, and misinformed (or worse).


    That all said, the only perfect form of government is a quantifiably and objectively benevolent dictator, which given all the nuance and different ends need to be met in both foreign and domestic policy, such a thing can hardly be conceptualized, let alone pined for. However the idea raises an interesting thought; given that progressivism continues the path it's been on since Gettysberg, what will be the role for a representative democracy in a future where civil rights issues are no longer legitimately contested?

  • BagginsesBagginses __BANNED USERS regular
    edited May 2011
    Civilization needs leaders. Unfortunately, the leaders have to be human. We all know humans; humans suck. Some of them are better than others, but they all crack under pressure and none of them are going to do what we think is the right thing in any situation.

    How much better to have a leader who is somehow more than human? And since we largely don't believe in things like divine right anymore, we make our leaders super-human by force of belief. We in the US want our president to be king-like; we want him to be larger than life, to speak with the voice of a gentle god, and to always do the right thing. Maybe we don't think it's the right thing at the time, but we want the kind of person in the hot seat who, after the fact, we can look back and smile and nod and say, "Yeah, he knew what he was doing."

    We don't get that, for the most part. Sometimes we get one who has the odd good run or who fits our expectations for part of the time, but mostly they're just guys. Some of them are smarter than others and they largely all do the job better than any of us probably would, but still just guys doing the job.

    When we non-royalists look at Royalty in other nations, no matter our stance on politics or theism or whatever, we see someone who is publicly acknowledged as being basically super-human. These people are so goddamned awesome that their kids get to run the country just by falling out of their Royal Naughty Bits. Why wouldn't you want someone that awesome in charge of your country?

    And for the royalists whose Royals are getting hitched or crowned or whatever... It's a time when they can look at the royal family and feel that super-humanity that we all want. For that one day they can forget whatever stupid bullshit the government has been pulling recently that they don't like and just wear a pretty hat, put on a kettle, and feel good because that guy/gal in the sweet duds is Their King/Queen/Prince/Princess.

    I can see why it doesn't work for, say, Canada. You guys don't get to pretend that a King or Queen would do a better job than your actual leader and they have too much physical and emotional distance to really give you the warm fuzzies when they put on the fancy clothes and play the old music.

    I guess we just don't want people in Nazi uniforms anywhere near our line of succession.

    Anyway, one of the odd things about monarchies is that they often have populist origin myths. For example, the Israelite monarchy started when the people pestered God to name a king until he relented and did so.

  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Bagginses wrote: »
    I guess we just don't want people in Nazi uniforms anywhere near our line of succession.

    Anyway, one of the odd things about monarchies is that they often have populist origin myths. For example, the Israelite monarchy started when the people pestered God to name a king until he relented and did so.

    That way you get the best of both worlds. The monarch is more than man and is also what The People asked for, as opposed to some dick who came in and took over.

    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Jesus, people. This thread is like a running gunbattle with stupid bullets.
  • chiasaur11chiasaur11 Never doubt a raccoon. Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Yes, but Elvis is retired now, so we make do without.

  • hanskeyhanskey Registered User
    edited May 2011
    What I love about this topic is that is is one of the major themes of the Greatest Sci-Fi series ever written: The Dune Series. Power and its uses and forms is a major theme throughout all the books, and God Emperor Dune explorers the end of the rule of an absolute monarch with actual god-like powers.

    The Tyrant, as Leto II is known later, rules as a perfect benevolent dictator for 3000+ years in order to make real the understanding of the danger of relying on charismatic absolute rulers, so that humans never deify their leaders again. It one of the goals of the Golden Path and one of the reasons I love those books so much, but I think it represents a nice challenge to the old idea that perfect government takes the form of a benevolent absolute ruler.

    Personally I believe the ideal form of government is a state of near anarchy where people just do the right thing, because they want to. Everyone would rule themselves, and consensus would be the only binding form of rule making or decision encapsulation. To me that would be ideal, but humans have to come a long, long way to get to that point, and we may never reach the point where that is practical. Democracy is as close as we can get to that ideal IMO.

  • Tiger BurningTiger Burning (poster is a bear)Registered User, SolidSaints Tube regular
    edited May 2011
    comic.php?date=11022007

    We ought all take stock.

    “You could tell by the way he talked, though, that he had gone to school a long time. That was probably what was wrong with him.”
  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I don't care for aristocracy, though I recognize that the US is chock full of aristocratic families who just use different titles like "Senator" or "CEO." I respect good leaders for their skills, knowledge, and ethics, but at no point do I elevate them to some special status beyond that. I only respect authority inasmuch as playing along is beneficial to society - a cop or a boss or a president is still just another person working for a living whose job simply happens to involve setting or enforcing rules.

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  • hanskeyhanskey Registered User
    edited May 2011
    Frankly, I have pretty much no natural respect for authority.

    To me, no one is special enough to have the right to coerce me into anything.

    That's not to say I want to rule others, because I don't, but I will never see any form of government that places it's authority over mine in my daily life as preferable to one that doesn't.

    Of course if I behave in an immoral manner, then I should be stopped and put in my place, because then I am behaving as though I'm more important than others, which is wrong (with a possible exception in extreme survival situations).

  • ExrielExriel Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    hanskey wrote: »
    Personally I believe the ideal form of government is a state of near anarchy where people just do the right thing, because they want to. Everyone would rule themselves, and consensus would be the only binding form of rule making or decision encapsulation. To me that would be ideal, but humans have to come a long, long way to get to that point, and we may never reach the point where that is practical. Democracy is as close as we can get to that ideal IMO.

    In addition to people evolving socially to that point, a system like that would require access to unlimited resources. Most government is really just a means for efficiently and, hopefully to the best of its ability, fairly distributing resources. Most world conflict, at its core, is a competition for those resources. While not everything in life, especially at the macroscopic level, is a zero sum game, some things are. For example, if I eat this sandwich, you can't eat it too.

    Now, I suspect you would argue that in the perfect anarchy, the person who didn't get the sandwich would just shrug and move on, but that would be such a fundamental change to human nature, I'm not entirely sure it would be accurate to think of an entire group of people that behaved that way as still being "human".

  • InvisibleInvisible Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I really don't get the media love or the desire to watch them wed or any of it. I do not care even the slightest bit. It's a bunch of celebrities wedding only they haven't done anything to be called celebrities, they were born into it just like Paris Hilton.

    Frankly, if someone told me I had to refer to them as King, Princess or whatever and bow, follow certain protocol upon meeting them I'd laugh in their face.

    I have no desire to be ruled by one person and think the U.S. would like be better governed by a more representative government made up of more political parties, no 2-per-state Senate and no more winner take-all type elections.

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  • AtomikaAtomika Hypercritical Queen Bitch of Cinema Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Invisible wrote: »
    I really don't get the media love or the desire to watch them wed or any of it. I do not care even the slightest bit. It's a bunch of celebrities wedding only they haven't done anything to be called celebrities, they were born into it just like Paris Hilton.

    I didn't see Kate Middleton hard at work making a sex tape.


    Seriously. I've looked. It's not there.

  • hanskeyhanskey Registered User
    edited May 2011
    Exriel wrote: »
    hanskey wrote: »
    Personally I believe the ideal form of government is a state of near anarchy where people just do the right thing, because they want to. Everyone would rule themselves, and consensus would be the only binding form of rule making or decision encapsulation. To me that would be ideal, but humans have to come a long, long way to get to that point, and we may never reach the point where that is practical. Democracy is as close as we can get to that ideal IMO.

    In addition to people evolving socially to that point, a system like that would require access to unlimited resources. Most government is really just a means for efficiently and, hopefully to the best of its ability, fairly distributing resources. Most world conflict, at its core, is a competition for those resources. While not everything in life, especially at the macroscopic level, is a zero sum game, some things are. For example, if I eat this sandwich, you can't eat it too.

    Now, I suspect you would argue that in the perfect anarchy, the person who didn't get the sandwich would just shrug and move on, but that would be such a fundamental change to human nature, I'm not entirely sure it would be accurate to think of an entire group of people that behaved that way as still being "human".
    True, and I have no doubt that like all ideal governments there are huge fundamental practical problems. However, I was just throwing it out there since it was claimed that a perfect benevolent dictator would be the best ideal form of government and I think not.

    Basically I'm advocating that everyone has the potential of being their own personal benevolent dictator, and therefore free-will would not have to eliminated for near-anarchy to be viable (which is the normal argument). It's still completely impractical and perhaps unachievable without losing something essentially human.

    The main point is that I think democratic forms of government come closest to this ideal, which is why I prefer them.

  • AtomikaAtomika Hypercritical Queen Bitch of Cinema Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Hanksey, in your anarchian utopia, how are people supposed the know what "the right thing" even is?

    E: Also, if everyone is acting in a prescribed manner of "rightness," that's hardly anarchy. What you've described sounds more like some kind of hive-mind self-enforced communalism.



    Which sounds totally plausible.

  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Andrew_Jay wrote: »
    Yet, much of the Western World is "governed" by monarchs. Of course, there is nothing remotely "iron fist(ed)" about it.
    Whatever power monarchs may technically retain in Western countries is completey toothless. The first time Queen Elizabeth or some other monarch tried to exert such power without the consent of the democratically elected government would be the end of such monarchy as a nationally recognized institution.

    The British royal family retains its role because the British people don't see any pressing need to get rid of them.

    Aetian Jupiter - 41 Gunslinger - The Old Republic
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