British monarchy

Submitted by adri on September 9, 2022

Maybe worth creating a thread on the so-called queen seeing as how many leftists and unions are mourning her, or defending the idea of royalty, amid the cost of living crisis in the UK (e.g. the RMT and CWU have both suspended strike actions). I personally (as a non-Brit) don't see how the British monarchy is still a thing; it's just wrong in every conceivable way, both historically and with respect to the very idea of a privileged group of people who deserve our respect and admiration owing to their birth or delusions of grandeur. I'm not the biggest Thomas Paine fan, but I think he made some valid points against royalty/monarchical rule 250 years ago,

Paine wrote: This is supposing the present race of kings in the world to have had an honorable origin; whereas it is more than probable, that could we take off the dark covering of antiquity, and trace them to their first rise, that we should find the first of them nothing better than the principal ruffian of some restless gang, whose savage manners of preeminence in subtlety obtained him the title of chief among plunderers; and who by increasing in power, and extending his depredations, overawed the quiet and defenseless to purchase their safety by frequent contributions.


1 year 7 months ago

Submitted by Reddebrek on September 9, 2022

I think a lot of it has to do with political realities rather than myths and pageantry, the monarchy and the wider aristocracy are not separate but an integral part of the political and economic system. I jotted down my scattered thoughts here.

To summarise, the monarchy survives through a conservative inertia, the system isn't perfect but the sky hasn't fallen so far so none of the usual levers of social reform have much interest in tackling it, leaving a small dedicated cluster of democratic republicans who are also hamstrung by how mild and reasonable their vision is. And people who wish for revolutionary change have this issue where not only are they marginal, but since the monarchy isn't the dominant force in British society its not something they focus on either.


1 year 7 months ago

Submitted by adri on September 11, 2022

Reddebrek wrote: I've encountered one exception, and its the constitutional monarchy makes for stable governance.

Yeah, I don't really get the arguments that constitutional monarchies create stability or somehow lead to the prosperity of their subjects. Besides royalty being inherently unjust, such arguments also just brush aside the historical involvement of European monarchies in colonial subjugation (one could take the suppression of the Mau Mau Rebellion under Elizabeth II, or the virtual enslavement of Congolese under King Leopold II, etc.). It’s sort of incredible that the bourgeois Republic (anti-monarchy organization) has better politics on the monarchy than some self-described communists; opposing monarchies, and not “paying your respects” to them, seem like pretty straightforward communist positions. I'm sure there's a deeper analysis to be had on the financial/entrepreneurial aspects of the British monarchy (came across this piece for instance), but I'm not read up on that stuff and I don't really follow the royal family...

In any case, there's an ACG piece here.


1 year 7 months ago

Submitted by adri on September 12, 2022

If anyone's going to write something on monarchies and needs a cool article image, I might suggest that one painting of Beethoven snubbing royalty in Teplitz while with Goethe. See here,

Supposedly, the two men were walking together one day when the arrival of the imperial party interrupted them. Goethe is said to have moved aside, deferentially removing his cap, bowing deeply; Beethoven continued on through the crowd unmoved, tipping his cap only with barely concealed contempt. The story may be apocryphal, yet Beethoven’s disgust for Goethe’s position at the Weimar Court, and the writer’s perceived obsequiousness in the face of nobility, was undeniable.