All the King's Men
June 26, 2009 4:12 PM   Subscribe

Monarchy vs. Democracy: "Was the change from monarchy to democracy a step backwards? In practical terms, there is no question: democracy has had tremendously bad effects compared to monarchy."

More monarchist libertarianism:

While some defend monarchy in its current form, others try and re-invent monarchism in their own image.

Further reference (and no strangers to the blue):

Hans-Herman Hoppe, probably the most-cited source for monarchist libertarianism, is a Distinguished Fellow with the Ludwig von Mises Institute. The Introduction to his book Democracy: The God That Failed can be read on their site. Hoppe is a controversial figure, but his fans do extend outside of Europe.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing (110 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is such unbelievable libertarian tripe, I'm having a hard time making it through.
posted by lumpenprole at 4:14 PM on June 26, 2009


I'm not a fan of democracy, but this article is so ludicrously uncomprehending of what historical monarchy actually entailed that it's impossible to take it seriously.
posted by nasreddin at 4:18 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Look, MJ was a self-proclaimed king. His crown holds no sway in realms political.

Anyway, I don't think his children want to claim the title, so that will be up for someone else to defend as their own. The Kingdom of Pop will have to be without a ruler for a while.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:18 PM on June 26, 2009 [8 favorites]


Any and all taxation falls directly on producers—taxation is a penalty on production.

Most of his argument falls apart if a single tax is implemented on land values. Now if only we could convince Congress...
posted by Durin's Bane at 4:20 PM on June 26, 2009


Winston Churchill supposedly said, "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."

But he was probably drunk when he said that, so whatever.
posted by chillmost at 4:21 PM on June 26, 2009 [11 favorites]


uhhhh....
posted by thisperon at 4:21 PM on June 26, 2009


Prior to the late enlightenment, there were any number of great thinkers who would have agreed with this premise. Voltaire preferred monarchy to the mob, as did Hobbes. Of course, Plato argued for philosopher-kings. Really, in the history of political philosophy, democracy is a winner only lately...
posted by mr_roboto at 4:22 PM on June 26, 2009


"Government is immoral, unnecessary, and doesn't work!"

I wrote and deleted a number of snark-ass comments, then realized that the tag line there pretty much just stands on it's own.
posted by Xoebe at 4:27 PM on June 26, 2009


Since the government is his personal property, a monarch has an interest in both the present tax revenues and the long-term capital value of his kingdom. His incentive is to tax moderately, so as not to diminish the future productivity of his subjects, and hence his future tax revenues.

Good argument, except for all the EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE that points in the exact opposite direction.
posted by GuyZero at 4:29 PM on June 26, 2009 [12 favorites]


MetaFilter: immoral, unnecessary, and doesn't work!
posted by GuyZero at 4:29 PM on June 26, 2009


So it's LOLBERTARIANS all round, then?
posted by ook at 4:30 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


*sigh*
posted by brundlefly at 4:33 PM on June 26, 2009


Good argument, except for all the EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE that points in the exact opposite direction.

My all-time favorite dismissive response to something came in a long-archived Ron Paul thread on SA: "Good point. On the other hand, recorded history."
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:35 PM on June 26, 2009 [61 favorites]


We need someone to make a crawler to go through the MeFi backfile and create a database of all the "Metafilter: ..." comments. Then create a random-serving banner/header/tagline/whatever for the front page.

Come on, it would be neat.
posted by Decimask at 4:35 PM on June 26, 2009 [8 favorites]


And honestly, if ever you needed proof that libertarianism boils down to nothing more than "BUT I DON'T WANNA CLEAN MY ROOM PAY MY TAXES", here it is.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:35 PM on June 26, 2009 [5 favorites]


So it's LOLBERTARIANS all round, then?

Just to be clear - my intentions are more to see what people would have to say about monarchy v. democracy or, barring that, what the flaws of democracy are.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:36 PM on June 26, 2009


yes, LOLBERTARIANS all around

Anyone who defines civilization so narrowly ("the outcome of saving and investment") is a fool. Of course, when your goal is to eliminate certain institutions, it helps to eliminate institutions as part of the definition of civilization. That way, you are free to note all the bad things that institutions do without any of the good things. Hooray!
posted by taliaferro at 4:36 PM on June 26, 2009 [6 favorites]


We need someone to make a crawler to go through the MeFi backfile and create a database of all the "Metafilter: ..." comments. Then create a random-serving banner/header/tagline/whatever for the front page.

Yeah, until somebody hits the front page and is greeted with "Metafilter: Shit piss fuck cocksucker asshole".
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:36 PM on June 26, 2009 [5 favorites]


If you equate civilization with the accumulation of capital you obviously don't shit about civilization. The reality is unless you can get a large percentage of a people to treat each other decently and government that supports them fairly and looks out for their interest, it doesn't matter what kind of government you have, you won't have civilization. Of course, by that definition, most countries aren't really civilized, but that shouldn't surprise anyone.
posted by doctor_negative at 4:36 PM on June 26, 2009 [5 favorites]


Not that I don't think democracy is terrible, but his replacement is monarchy? Has he taken a look at the kinds of dudes who've been monarchs, and how well that's worked?

Also, I'm bristling like hell at:

civilization is crumbling


Motherfucker, you will KNOW civilization is crumbling when I'm standing in your kitchen with a bowie knife, rifling through your canned goods, sigils painted on my body to ward off evil-spirited men. Until such time as you see that, it's safe to assume civilization is still chugging along, replete with printed money, Kellogg's cereals, bittorrented TV shows, and all the other comforts you've apparently forgotten about.
posted by Greg Nog at 4:38 PM on June 26, 2009 [78 favorites]


But yeah, I won't deny the unintended comedy of the article.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:39 PM on June 26, 2009


Libertarian anarchy? Where did this tendance tautologiste of cretins crawl out from?
posted by Abiezer at 4:40 PM on June 26, 2009


This guy should move to Swaziland.
posted by Flunkie at 4:42 PM on June 26, 2009


It's the end of the world as he knows it, and Greg Nog feels fine.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:42 PM on June 26, 2009


On a closer look, he's not actually arguing for monarchy as such--he's arguing that democracy is worse than monarchy, and, by that logic, those who oppose monarchy are bound to oppose democracy too. It's a way of getting people to reject the state.

I can't say I find the argument terribly effective, and his estimation of its rhetorical value is pretty much wishful thinking. But still, it's a bit more subtle than it looks at first glance.

(There's some.... interesting product endorsement on his blog, too.)
posted by nasreddin at 4:42 PM on June 26, 2009


Oh my goodness. I just read more. Did you know that under a monarchy, civilian life is unaffected by wars?
posted by taliaferro at 4:42 PM on June 26, 2009


He being Toban Wiebe
posted by filthy light thief at 4:43 PM on June 26, 2009


Democracy: 51% of the country can fuck over the other 49% if they want.

Monarchy: 1 dude fucks over everyone else.

Fascism: One dude and his party fuck over everyone else.

Communism: See Fascism

Republic: The poor elect the wealthy to positions of power so that the poor may be more efficiently fucked over.

Libertarianism: Similar to Republic, but with fewer elected offices and more efficient.

Tribalism: the Chieftain gets to fuck everybody. No, literally.

==

Welcome to Humanity: Get yourself some lube.
posted by Avenger at 4:44 PM on June 26, 2009 [25 favorites]


His blog should be renamed hired-thought, amirite?
posted by filthy light thief at 4:45 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Anarchy = Orgy?
posted by filthy light thief at 4:46 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Or is anarchy more of a "go fuck yourself"?

I need to work on collecting my thoughts before posting
posted by filthy light thief at 4:48 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Motherfucker, you will KNOW civilization is crumbling when I'm standing in your kitchen with a bowie knife, rifling through your canned goods, sigils painted on my body to ward off evil-spirited men. Until such time as you see that, it's safe to assume civilization is still chugging along, replete with printed money, Kellogg's cereals, bittorrented TV shows, and all the other comforts you've apparently forgotten about.

I don't think anything else needs to be said about this post. Greg Nog wins.
posted by spitefulcrow at 4:48 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


On top of falling living standards, civilization is crumbling: war, poverty, crime, debt, disease, social dysfunction, family breakdown, hedonism, etc.

For a self-described libertarian anarchist, he seems to care an awful lot about how others live their lives.
posted by HumuloneRanger at 4:54 PM on June 26, 2009 [4 favorites]


For a self-described libertarian anarchist, he seems to care an awful lot about how others live their lives.

There's a lot of right-wing Christian libertarians. They're nearly indistinguishable from Moral Majority types.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:56 PM on June 26, 2009


Look, MJ was a self-proclaimed king. His crown holds no sway in realms political.

Anyway, I don't think his children want to claim the title, so that will be up for someone else to defend as their own. The Kingdom of Pop will have to be without a ruler for a while.


First of all, while Michael certainly took up the title with confidence and gusto, there is much evidence to point to it being proclaimed, at least first, by Liz Taylor, though there may have been behind-the-scenes mechanations for the throne. We may never truly know.

In any case, noting the dearth of a clear heir apparent, a friend of mine today decided to trace the Pop Monarchy line of succession, leading back to Gordy Berry as the Elector of Motown. From Berry the crown was bestowed, at least briefly, upon Marvin Gaye before he was deposed, when it was passed along to Diana Ross, the Grand Duchess of Soul. Countess Gladys Knight, upon discovering the nobility of young Michael, helped to engineer artistic unions between Michael and Diana, eventually leading to his rule.

While Michael's marriage into the Presley line of Rock Monarchy was both politically wise and well intentioned, it failed to bear an heir, and amicable dissolution soon followed.

With King Michael's untimely death, and collaborators such as Sir Paul McCartney and Edward Van Halen poor choices to succeed, the crown transfers to his sister, Janet. While Janet may, in fact, rule as Queen of Pop, she has been shedding the public eye as of late, and so we may be most assured in te title of King of Pop (apparent) falling to her most influential and currently prominent collaborator, Justin Timberlake.

May the lord guide his Rule of Popdom in these troubled times.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:58 PM on June 26, 2009 [28 favorites]


And yet another wonderful theoretical article supporting monarchy. The fact that history doesn't support any of the contentions it makes (such as monarchies having lower taxes) is irrelevant; the theory is wonderful, and in libertarianland, theory is everything.

Seriously, there's a weird tendency among libertarians and old-school SF fans to love monarchies. The only reason I can think of for it is a thought process that goes something like: "Democracies don't have the policies I like. This is all the fault of my inferiors voting against those policies. Therefore, democracy is a failure, and we need a wise, powerful ruler, to implement the policies I like for the good of all."
posted by happyroach at 4:59 PM on June 26, 2009 [6 favorites]


Man, I wish I remembered where I'd heard this, but somebody (and I want to say one of my high school European History teachers) made the point that there is nothing bad about monarchy in and of itself -- there have been 'good' kings who have been more effective than the argue-y democracies

(and there have been largely ineffectual democracies, for example In the 16th century, no single person or small group dared to hold up proceedings, but, from the second half of the 17th century, the liberum veto was used to virtually paralyze the Sejm, and brought the Commonwealth to the brink of collapse. The liberum veto was finally abolished by the May Constitution of Poland in 1791.)

The problem, however, is succession and picking 'good' kings. Most kings want to give the kingdom to their kid, and there's no guarantee that the kid's going to be any good at it. That's why sometimes you'd see one European country rampage across all of Europe, conquering everything in sight, and then next thing you'd know, bam, bottom of the barrel. With a democracy you don't get the focused power of a really good king, but you're generally spared the wackiness of a really awful king and all the wars over who gets to be king next.

Like Churchill said:

It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.
posted by Comrade_robot at 5:13 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I like the quote above... "On the other hand, recorded history."

Just a few lies culled from the pile:
posted by zompist at 5:16 PM on June 26, 2009 [6 favorites]


Metafilter: somebody hits the front page and is greeted with "Metafilter: Shit piss fuck cocksucker asshole".
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:24 PM on June 26, 2009 [6 favorites]


"To understand how democracy destroys civilization, we must first understand how civilization comes about. Civilization is the outcome of saving and investment, in other words: capital accumulation. "

Yeeeeah that's what it is.
posted by edheil at 5:27 PM on June 26, 2009


Okay, it's worth pointing out again to all those who missed it: this article ain't supporting monarchy, rather asserting that democracy is worse, and if we consider monarchy unsuitable as a form of government, then we should consider democracy likewise unsuitable. The article is crazily flawed, but here's the main points:

1) Neither monarchy nor democracy are forms of government, rather sources of political legitimacy. The key difference is that one legitimizes the hereditary rule of a single sovereign, the other legitimizes the direct or indirect choices of citizens. Though monarchy is only one possible option for a 'single sovereign' system, democracy is a catchall for many differents systems that incorporate the citizen body as sovereign in some way. The writer doesn't really define exactly whether just monarchy or any single sovereign would be better than democracy, nor does he decide what kind of democratic system he's comparing monarchy with. He's expecting our preconceptions and shortsightedness to inform his statements, believing modern Western democratic systems to be representative or even exhaustive.

2) His unstated aims of the state seem simply to be to uphold the law and to allow private and commcercial life to flourish. While these may be his priorities, they aren't the priorities of everybody. His criticisms of any kind of government are based on that, and particular only to him and likeminded people. The same criticisms are probably meaningless to those with other values or goals.

3) The inferences from history are false, but that's okay, as they're so obviously wrong. Seriously, several times in that article he makes a statement which is actually back to front, in that the complete opposite is true. It's hard to disagree with a man who's making your arguments for you.
posted by Sova at 5:33 PM on June 26, 2009 [5 favorites]


Well, here's the thing. You switch back to monarchy and your tiles are suddenly producing ore, grain, and trade at about 1/3 of their former levels. Doesn't this guy know anything?
posted by thisperon at 5:33 PM on June 26, 2009 [19 favorites]


Wait, a Libertarian thinks a rich person owning everything is a good idea?
posted by Artw at 5:44 PM on June 26, 2009 [7 favorites]


Since the government is his personal property, a monarch has an interest in both the present tax revenues and the long-term capital value of his kingdom. His incentive is to tax moderately, so as not to diminish the future productivity of his subjects, and hence his future tax revenues.

This is a variation on the argument that corporations won't endanger their reputations and risk losing customers by selling defective or harmful products. In the minds of people who make these statements, the following terms do not exist: asbestosis, Kerr-Mghee, Bhopal, tobacco-caused disease, Ford Pinto, Peanut Corporation of America, etc., etc. It's amazing how easily they dismiss huge areas of common knowledge in pursuit of their foolish, selfish goals.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:48 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


In one, corner we have democracy, represented by some problems of modern government (all of which are solely the fault of democracy).
In the other corner, we have monarchy, represented by the ideal of a virtuous, capitalist king (who doesn't seem to have ever existed).

How is 'current failings' vs. 'fantasy ideology' a legitimate comparison? By this standard, pretty much any political system is justifiable.
posted by Hume at 5:50 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


1) Neither monarchy nor democracy are forms of government, rather sources of political legitimacy. The key difference is that one legitimizes the hereditary rule of a single sovereign, the other legitimizes the direct or indirect choices of citizens. Though monarchy is only one possible option for a 'single sovereign' system, ...

Uh, I realize this is unclear and a bit confused. Monarchy is a form of government, but apart from the legitimization of hereditary rule, it doesn't differ from other single sovereign systems. The hereditary principle is important to the thesis, but the author doesn't explore how the potential for issues of inheritence in democratic systems. Citizens may vote according to the needs of their children, and favor parties that take longterm views. Likewise, a single sovereign without a definite heir may be prone to shorttermism.
posted by Sova at 6:06 PM on June 26, 2009


A very good debunking of most of the nonsense in this article, which clearly discredits the article's thesis, which obviously discredits all two dozen posts on Toban and Michael Wiebe's weblog, which definitely discredits all philosophies describing themselves as "libertarian" or "anarchy". LOL.

Well, the first and second clauses of that chain were true, anyway...

On the other hand:

poverty rates declined precipitously as welfare rose in the 20th century

Welfare, the information revolution in the US, manufacturing and agricultural productivity worldwide, the industrial revolution in major US trading partners, and a billion other correlated factors.

Of course, most of those factors have been relatively steady, whereas the welfare state was a more sudden invention. And there did seem to be a significant change in the first derivative of the poverty rate when the War on Poverty was started, so perhaps there was some effect...
posted by roystgnr at 6:10 PM on June 26, 2009


I saw a "Who is John Galt?" bumper sticker today on a car with a Jesus fish. If Libertarians have any thread in common, it is the gestalt of right-wing kookery oriented around submission to paternalistic authority. It's only natural that one would bat his eyelashes toward monarchy.

Of course, I always have to present this link whenever their anti-egalitarian ideology pops up: Natural Elites, Intellectuals, and the State. Their longing for aristocracy is palpable.
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 6:16 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I started reading the first link and got to "decline in living standrads". I checked the links to that and all of them are complaining about the decrease in real wages among middle class men (mostly) since Reagan first came in. (So much for tax cuts.) To leap from that to an argument for monarchy is pretty stupid. Living standards have risen world-wide since the end of monarchy as the most important form of government, whether you place that 1800-15, or 1914.
You want arguments against monarchy. Oh, how about the recent history of Nepal where a crazed, spoiled, uber-rich prince murdered the rest of the family plunging the country into civil war? How about King Leopold's Congo where we can see exactly what unrestrained monarchial management means (don't give me that "master won't damage his property" crap, it's a proven lie). I say that Russians are better off now (call it democracy or not) than under the czar and I can find figures at least as good as those given here to prove it. But, say, Herodotus gave the best argument back when he described Athens beating the poo out of Persia: a democracy can draw on the talents of all its citizens, despotism only on the select few. But this is silly -- do you really think there is a meaningful debate here?
posted by CCBC at 6:27 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


With King Michael's untimely death, and collaborators such as Sir Paul McCartney and Edward Van Halen poor choices to succeed, the crown transfers to his sister, Janet.

And what of his rival, the Black Prince?
posted by vibrotronica at 6:29 PM on June 26, 2009


Oh, and democracy is a mock civil war, a play fight to determine which side has the most members, and is therefore most likely to win. Monarchy is the the brutal and thorough suppression of all competing political tribes. Monarchy is actually the failure of government.

Therefore, regicide is the duty of all free men and women. The vassals of kings deserve the same fate as kings, as they would just as well enslave you in their master's name. Keep your weapons ready when dealing with a Libertarian.

(Someday I'm going to make a website to out-kook these people, so they would waste their time getting flummoxed by the stupid things I write.)
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 6:30 PM on June 26, 2009 [5 favorites]


The only good monarchy is the one in which I am the King.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:36 PM on June 26, 2009


I like how, when debating gun control, he remains unconvinced by 'empirical' evidence (that supports his position), so he makes an argument based purely on theory.

Cause, you know, theory is so much more relevant than what actually happens.
posted by sandraregina at 7:00 PM on June 26, 2009


With King Michael's untimely death, and collaborators such as Sir Paul McCartney and Edward Van Halen poor choices to succeed, the crown transfers to his sister, Janet.

All I know is that if he'd been a real king, someone would've appointed a regent a long time ago.
posted by HumuloneRanger at 7:09 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.
posted by sfts2 at 7:09 PM on June 26, 2009


"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until a majority of voters discover that they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury."

Alexander Tytler
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:16 PM on June 26, 2009


Democracy is not based on the theory that having other people vote is good. It's based on the idea that having other people vote is bad, and so we should likewise be able to vote to cancel out their idiocy.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:18 PM on June 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


The only good monarchy is the one in which I am the King.

Just so. And that is, I think, the central fallacy of democracy. It's pretty hard to put someone else in charge, because, then, they're better than you., and that's pretty hard to admit if your opinion, though uninformed and barely considered, is just as good as everyone else's. (Comma barrage!)

Putting aside the old 'bread and circuses', though valid, monarchy-as a system- has the best track record for stability. Even if it does come in the generational cycle of savior of nation-rester on laurels-corrupt despot/self-absorbed hedonist-military rule/barbarians-then Hero again.

Heinlein, I wonder, was a sort of closet Monarchist (of some variety), or at least believed that the mob was essentially unable to rule itself. 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress' had a monarchist who said something along the lines of 'you people haven't been happy since they took your royalty away' and that the people needed a monarch to protect them from 'the worst of all tyrants, themselves.'

His personal leanings aside, the only people that really run the nation are those in the bureaucracy. The king is dead, long live the king, and, oh, sire, if you would sign/proclaim/glance at these new acts that the last fellow didn't quite have time to finish... what with the beheading and all.

Short of that (heh heh), at least the 'single' head of governments model has the longevity to do the necessary, though unpleasant, when required. Or, I guess, is told he must do the unpleasant. It's pretty hard to judge the poor bastards, inbred children as they were.

Sadly, I cannot come up with any alternatives myself. The only one I really liked growing up was some sort of, I admit it, libertarian anarchy. Eventually, I realized not all people were right-thinking (me), and that it would just devolve into a bunch of real -I hesitate to say- bastards doing what they like. Perhaps everyone went through this stage?

Hi folks, I finally joined the MetaFilter mob!
posted by LD Feral at 7:31 PM on June 26, 2009


Motherfucker, you will KNOW civilization is crumbling when I'm standing in your kitchen with a bowie knife, rifling through your canned goods, sigils painted on my body to ward off evil-spirited men. Until such time as you see that, it's safe to assume civilization is still chugging along, replete with printed money, Kellogg's cereals, bittorrented TV shows, and all the other comforts you've apparently forgotten about.

That's not "crumbling". That's "fallen." It takes awhile to get to magic bullet-proof sigils.

Monarchy: 1 dude fucks over everyone else.

But he must sleep sometime. And if he screws up too bad, his head ends up on a pike. When 535 lawyers screw up too bad, you get a few hundred more lawyers struggling over the left-overs.

This is a variation on the argument that corporations won't endanger their reputations and risk losing customers by selling defective or harmful products.

Corporations have a lot of cogs spinning in a lot of directions. They aren't ever unitary rational actors, they are a bunch of units hopefully (at least to the stockholders) moving in the same direction. Like engineering and sales are never at cross purposes!

Anyhow, carry on.
posted by codswallop at 7:59 PM on June 26, 2009


For all the merits of a democracy, it is still a pretty new political system compared to monarchy; much of its history is still to be written.

I think a large problem with traditionally implemented monarchy is hereditary succession. This is, I feel, a terrible way to choose a new monarch.
posted by gushn at 8:00 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Apart from the God-awful Star Wars prequel, I've always thought that the idea of an elected monarch was an interesting one.

Has something like this ever happened in real life, or is it just theoretical?
posted by paisley henosis at 8:18 PM on June 26, 2009


the only monarch in history whose rule was a total blessing for humanity was emperor norton
posted by pyramid termite at 8:21 PM on June 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


Hooray for the Emperor Norton; a madman who almost convinced them to play along. Some inspired stuff there, that's for sure.
posted by LD Feral at 8:31 PM on June 26, 2009


Has something like this ever happened in real life, or is it just theoretical?
Been several where the title of supreme monarch was granted by election from a given class - the Holy Roman Emperor (hence the title Elector of Hanover etc) or the Mongol khagans.
The idea that a monarchy would provide stability for accumulation of capital seems blind to the fact that what did away with monarchy was the forces unleashed by just that process. Bizarre.
posted by Abiezer at 8:34 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


mr_roboto: Of course, Plato argued for philosopher-kings.

No, he didn't. One of Plato's writings mentioned philosopher-kings. Moving right along…

from article: Since the government is his personal property, a monarch has an interest in both the present tax revenues and the long-term capital value of his kingdom. His incentive is to tax moderately, so as not to diminish the future productivity of his subjects, and hence his future tax revenues.

GuyZero: Good argument, except for all the EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE that points in the exact opposite direction.

This is a fair point, but I wonder several things.

First of all, being rather enamored of our own democracy, most of us (who have never experienced any other sort of régime or have only experienced other régimes very little) are naturally quite biased toward our particular form of government; but given that (at least in my estimation) we know less about history than at almost any other time in the last two hundred years, are we certain that we aren't just reading the historical facts in a way that confirms our bias? What is the empirical evidence that monarchs tend to tax immoderately—that is, beyond that famous incident in American history?

Second of all, even by making the appeal to empirical evidence aren't we displaying a kind of bias? Democracy is in many ways the child of the enlightenment hope that the ever-growing realm of scientific inquiry would extend also to political history. The earliest coherent arguments for democracy that we can call modern—Spinoza's, for example—proceeded along this path: ‘because almost all régimes have historically failed, and because life in the wake of a failed regime is nasty, brutish, poor, and short, it makes sense to set up only the kind of regime that is least likely to fail;’ so we tend to think about it in those terms. But it's important to note that political science has quite pointedly not attained the level of the other sciences; it's not possible to speak of historical events as “empirical evidence,” at least not in the final and immediate sense: history isn't repeatable, it's not something we can experiment with, even if it were possible to truly observe it—and even this is somewhat doubtful. History is broad and multifarious enough that it seems as though anyone could argue almost any political thesis and point to certain specific historical events as ‘empirical evidence’ that that thesis is true.

But, more importantly, why should likelihood of failure be our criteria in selecting a régime? Our democracies are a conglomeration of failsafes and checks and balances designed to prevent anything disastrous. But isn't the point of government to create justice in the world? And, given that (as I've indicated) every time and place is different and has different conditions from any other, and therefore that there are unique possibilities and opportunities at any given moment in history, doesn't it make some sense to at least hope for a just régime rather than merely a stable régime?

I say most of this in light of something that Sayyed Hussein Nasr once wrote, something that is logically true even if it sounds counter-intuitive to us:

Theocracy is essentially good, and only accidentally corrupted; whereas democracy is essentially corrupted, and only accidentally good.

Just a few thoughts. I don't know if I prefer a monarchy or a theocracy to a democracy, but I wonder sometimes.
posted by koeselitz at 8:34 PM on June 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


The British seem to be doing okay.
posted by atchafalaya at 8:47 PM on June 26, 2009


That doesn't seem logical to me at all. A theocracy is only essentially good if you happen to agree with the theocrat in charge and then only if you aren't on the wrong end of that theology's ire.
posted by feloniousmonk at 8:48 PM on June 26, 2009


I prefer a monarchy or a theocracy to a democracy

I should be shocked that, in 2009, there are still human beings whose response to "theocracy" isn't the curling of their fingers into a fist, but the internet's slowly destroying my shock response.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:09 PM on June 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


Oh, come on PG, that's a pretty selective quote.

But if you want to stop wondering, have a look at Iran or Inquisition-era Spain to evaluate theocracy.

Ask your doctor if Theocracy is right for you. Side effects include burning at the stake, torture, imprisonment or diarrhea. Don't take Theocracy if you're currently nursing or believe in science.
posted by GuyZero at 10:09 PM on June 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is the kind of boring drivel you encounter at school among 15 year olds. There's always that one "contrarian" guy, who takes the position that, say, "Hitler was really good" or whatever, and then you're forced to endure a lecture or essay composed of pseudo-clever arguments based on a lot of hormones and a pinch of Nietzsche. If he's lucky, his skin clears up and he gets a girlfriend, and that's the last you hear from him. If not, he keeps polishing ever thicker glassess and eventually moves out of his mom's basement and into one of these conservative institutes where he can trade his collection of $5 words for a regular salary.
posted by VikingSword at 10:15 PM on June 26, 2009 [7 favorites]


I once misread Elector Counts as Electric Counts, which would have been pretty cool if a bit Warhammery if the Holy Roman Empire had them.
posted by Artw at 10:16 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've been watching The Tudors a lot lately, and I gotta say, monarchy sucks! First, you're friends with Spain and hate the French and love the Pope. Then your king decides he wants to sleep with some lady, and suddenly you hate Spain and are friends with the French, and you don't even know what you're supposed to think about the Pope, and then he gets all pissy, and people are getting beheaded left and right and you don't know who you hate or like or worship. And, furthermore, he can't even sire a boychild properly, leaving you with only girly options for the next regent! Sheesh.

The show rocks, though. It's kind of like The West Wing + porn.
posted by Ms. Saint at 10:36 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


: That doesn't seem logical to me at all. A theocracy is only essentially good if you happen to agree with the theocrat in charge and then only if you aren't on the wrong end of that theology's ire.

A “theocrat”—which is to say, God—is presumably more wise and therefore more just and more benevolent, not to mention more practical, than any human being can possibly be. Given that there seem to be corrupt human beings in every society, it is likely that a theocracy will therefore involve some corruption, though not in its essence. If the “theocrat” in question isn't God, then the régime in question is a monarchy, not a theocracy. This isn't a minor point: a supporter of theocracy would argue that it is far better to seek the will of God and govern accordingly than it is to allow governing to happen on its own by appealing to the lowest common denominator.

Whereas there are despicable human beings in any population, at least presumably; and, therefore, handing government over to all human beings is essentially and unavoidably corrupt, and only happens to be beneficial if some worthwhile side effect happens to occur.

In fact, our own democracy only survives because it is distinctly not a democracy; in ancient Athens, for example, where there were at least a few characteristics of a society more democratic than our own, public officials were chosen at random from amongst the populace; whereas we have a specific class of people who are our governors. This would have been seen by an Athenian as a strange kind of oligarchy.
posted by koeselitz at 10:44 PM on June 26, 2009


Pope Guilty: I should be shocked that, in 2009, there are still human beings whose response to "theocracy" isn't the curling of their fingers into a fist, but the internet's slowly destroying my shock response.

It's a sure sign of provincial small-mindedness when someone responds to differing viewpoints by displaying distinct anger tempered with strong anxiety.

Another sign is when someone doesn't stop to read the words around the words that make them so upset.
posted by koeselitz at 10:49 PM on June 26, 2009


(There's some.... interesting product endorsement on his blog, too.)
posted by nasreddin at 6:42 PM on June 26 [+] [!]


Vibram FiveFingers shoes are A-MA-ZING. No, really. If even one MetaFilter user goes out and tries on a pair of these awesome shoes, then I'd consider this FPP among the most useful and greatest in MetaFilter history.

No, really - I have plantar fasciitis secondary to another physical ailment. These shoes have made an -incredible- difference in my ability to walk longer over rougher ground, and have enabled me to experience less foot-related pain in general.

Now if only some otherwise-whackjobbish political theoretician would advertise cheap zero-gravity lounge chairs so I could extol their virtues as alternative beds for people with chronic lower back pain, that'd be awesome!
posted by mountain_william at 10:57 PM on June 26, 2009


We must rebuild. But who will lead us in the rebuilding process?
Man, it's got to be someone with the know-how
and the elbow grease to lead us to a new land.
No, not me and KG, we don't have the cognitive capacity to lead...
Alright, we'll do it!

[sung]
We'll lead as Two Kings, We'll lead as Two Kings.
Ahhhaaa (Two Kings, we'll lead as Two Kings)
Ah-ha ah-how, We'll lead as Two Kings.

[spoken]
The first decree is to legalize marijuana.
The tyranny and the bullshit's gone on too long.
You old fuckin' shrivs who blocked it's legalization, you're banished from the land!

[sung]
We'll lead as Two Kings, We'll lead as Two Kings.
Ahhhaaa (Two Kings, we'll lead as Two Kings)
Ah-ha ah-how,
Lead as Two Kings.

[spoken]
The second decree: no more pollution, no more car exhaust, or ocean dumpage. From now on, we will travel in tubes!

[sung]
We'll lead as Two Kings, oh, yeah, We'll fuckin' lead as Two Kings.

[spoken]
Get the scientists working on the tube technology, immediately.
(Tube technology.) Chop, chop, let's go.

[spoken]
Third decree: no more... rich people: and poor people. From now on, we will all be the same... ummm, I dunno, I gotta think about that...

[sung]
We'll lead as Two Kings
Ah yeah, ah yeahhhahahaha. Ha-ha-ho-hee, ha-ha-ho-hee-ha-ha-ho-ho-ho-ho.

[spoken]
[JB:] Oh my God.
[KG:] Ahh... What?
[JB:] Dude, the red phone is flashing.
[KG:] Oh, yeah.
[JB:] Let me scoop that up. Hello? Two Kings.
[KG:] Who is it?
[JB:] What?! No! No fucking way!
[KG:] What?
[JB:] Rage, there's a potato famine in Idaho, you gotta go down there!
[KG:] Oh my God... what?
[JB:] Dude, I gotta stay here!
[KG:] Why do I have to go?
[JB:] Please! Please!
[KG:] Oh, God, okay.
[JB:] Awesome... is he gone? Alright, emergency meeting of Parliament. All right Parliament, I know this is fucked up, but Rage, he can't be King anymore. Dudes, he's encroaching on my decrees! Seriously, let's make him "Duke," a kick ass "Duke." Or "leader formerly known as King," but-- uh-oh he's comin' back...

[sung]
We'll lead as Two Kings, oh yes we'll really lead as Two Kings.

[spoken]
[KG:] Uh, dude?
[JB:] Rage.
[KG:] I went all over Idaho...
[JB:] Yeah?
[KG:] Uh, plenty of potatoes everywhere.
[JB:] What? There was no famine?
[KG:] Yeah, there was no famine, no.
[JB:] Dude.
[KG:] I don't know what's uh...
[JB:] A toast...
[KG:] A toast...
[JB:] Long live the "D."
[KG:] Long live the "D."
[clinking of glasses]
[JB:] Long live me. I'm sorry, I poisoned your wine.
[KG:] What?
[JB:] For the good of the land.
[KG:] You p-- I poisoned yours... huh heh, as well.
[JB/KG:] Noooooooooo!!!!!
posted by Saxon Kane at 11:22 PM on June 26, 2009


On another subject:

If the “theocrat” in question isn't God, then the régime in question is a monarchy, not a theocracy.

So I guess there have never been any theocracies in history.
posted by Saxon Kane at 11:24 PM on June 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


Public resistance - It’s worth noting that democracy’s tendency towards big government is significantly helped along by its public image. Any government ultimately rests on the consent of the governed, and democracy can more easily secure such consent. By fostering the illusion of self-rule (i.e., “We are the government”, “We are doing it to ourselves”), democracy systematically weakens public resistance to government interventions.

I see this as my sole point of agreement. Democracy does foster the idea that citizens should turn on each other rather than on those in power.
posted by kid ichorous at 11:27 PM on June 26, 2009


But isn't the point of government to create justice in the world?

Eh? Not that I've ever noticed.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:02 AM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Saxon Kane: So I guess there have never been any theocracies in history.

If you can say that with certainty, you are more advanced in wisdom than I imagine I'll ever be.
posted by koeselitz at 12:32 AM on June 27, 2009


Hahahaha oh koeselitz you are the antidote to smart.
posted by Avenger at 1:03 AM on June 27, 2009 [6 favorites]


Assuming the Bible is true, Israel was a theocracy, and Jesus has been resurrected to reign over another one that will first destroy all the other governments of the world.

It could also be argued that since the Bible says Satan is the ruler of this world and "the god of this system of things", then the entire planet is currently under a theocracy. Therefore koeselitz I must disagree that a true theocracy is necessarily a good.
posted by Danila at 1:19 AM on June 27, 2009


This is, to put it politely, a load of crap that only a fuckwitted American libertarian (with no actual experience of monarchism) would come out with.

If you want to know what a real old-fashioned king looks like, I present to you — Kim Jong-Il.

(Lest we forget, "king" is a short synonym for "hereditary dictator".)

In recent centuries, constitutional monarchies have left us with the pomp and ceremony of monarchy, but much less of the jackboot-on-the-back-of-the-neck sensation that is a traditional part of the package. Guess what? Constitutional monarchies are all democracies. And they usually only appear after a bunch of uppity citizens have taken king (n-1) and chopped his head off, thus pursuading king (n) to behave in a more circumspect manner.
posted by cstross at 3:00 AM on June 27, 2009 [8 favorites]


Seems to me that this "Theocracy is rule by God" thing depends on two things to be true: that God exists (which is untestable) and that the High Priest, or whoever, is actually receiving clear, direct and complete instructions from God (which is mental illness).
posted by Kalthare at 3:58 AM on June 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Seriously, there's a weird tendency among libertarians and old-school SF fans to love monarchies.

I'm guessing the thought process is something along the lines of "Oh, man! D&D/World of Warcraft/LARPing for real? AWESOME!"
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 4:16 AM on June 27, 2009 [4 favorites]


Any government ultimately rests on the consent of the governed majority, and democracy can more easily secure such consent.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:16 AM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's a sure sign of provincial small-mindedness when someone responds to differing viewpoints by displaying distinct anger tempered with strong anxiety.

It's a sure sign of ignorance or trolling when someone says a viewpoint never carries an implied threat.

Proponents of monarchy can never achieve their aims legitimately. The moment they pass from harmless kook to political force, violence is the proper response to their rhetoric, because violence is the only mechanism by which monarchy acquires legitimacy.
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 6:51 AM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


The most outstanding example of absolute monarchy on Earth today is North Korea. I doubt the article author would like to live in North Korea. Anyway, monarchy would work just fine if there were only some method of ensuring the ruler acted for the benefit of all; but the same is true of democracy, or anything else.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 7:29 AM on June 27, 2009


ZenMasterThis Any government ultimately rests on the consent of the majority,
Sure, but that's the majority of power, not the majority of people.

and democracy can more easily secure such consent.
It can paint a thick layer of legitimacy onto manufactured consent, in any case.

The basic problem with democracy as it is practiced is that it depends on near-complete honesty from the government to work, and that just doesn't happen; too many incentives stacked against it.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 7:35 AM on June 27, 2009


The intro to Hoppe's book, cited in the FPP, is a fascinating read. The author describes WWI as a conflict between Democracy, represented by the US, and Monarchy, represented by Austria. He goes on about Austria with such nostalgia that I think his oppostion to Democracy has to do with his love for the Austrian School of Economics and, in fact, he pretty well says as much. So the real problem is that Woodrow Wilson uprooted Schumpeter, von Mises, Hayek, and company.
One quote stands out for me (italics as per original): " A priori theory trumps and corrects experience (and logic overrules observation), and not vice-versa." Yes, who are you going to believe? Me or your lying eyes?
And I am bemused by the thought of an Austrian School economist based in Las Vegas.
posted by CCBC at 1:50 PM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


CCBC: Let me just note, pace Hoppe's "book", that the USA was two and a half years late to the party ... and took fewer casualties than Serbia.

Gaah.
posted by cstross at 2:59 PM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


One quote stands out for me (italics as per original): " A priori theory trumps and corrects experience (and logic overrules observation), and not vice-versa." Yes, who are you going to believe? Me or your lying eyes?

This is absolutely central to Austrian economics. Von Mises despised efforts to make economics more empirical and insisted that his ideas were far more important than anyone's observation.

In economics, pretty much everyone laughs at this claim. In metaphysics, it's the dominant theory.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:22 PM on June 27, 2009


cstross: Hoppe claims that the US was involved from the beginning, presumably by supplying the Allies. He claims that without US involvement, Europe would have been forced to end the war by 1916 or 1917, thus avoiding Bolshevism, Fascism, and assorted other evils. He doesn't mention that would leave Germany/Prussia the dominant power on the continent, almost guaranteeing a re-match with France.

Pope Guilty: I was surprised to read Schumpeter and find him both a staunch anti-Communist and a fervent admirer of Marxian theory. Schumpeter said something to the effect, "Marx best described the machine that runs of itself." I don't believe anyone in this Chaotic age accepts this kind of thinking. (Except of course Libertarians). Anyway, this devotion to theory explains why the Austrians (and their Libertarian children) all sound so ideological. Marx and Schumpeter: sisters under the skin.
posted by CCBC at 4:13 PM on June 27, 2009


ZenMasterThis, I think the original statement was that the government's legitimacy (“just powers”) derives thus. AIUI, even many non-democratic governments include this notion. In a feudal system, f'r example, obligations go both ways, and whether it's actually true or not there's a tenet that the vassals are benefiting from the arrangement.

As for the ability to govern, as aeschenkarnos points out, it rests on the majority of power, not the majority of consent— another political philosopher put it, it comes from the barrel of a gun. Hence also the Second Amendment, I suppose.

My theory on monarchies in SF is simply that a lot of SF authors mine history for interesting plots and settings, and most historical governments are what we'd call monarchies. I'm sure the narrative simplicity of the Benevolent Despot or the Evil Tyrant doesn't hurt either. There's less punch in writing about the Just Plain Human Councillors Who Have To Compromise And Cooperate And Aren't Actually Completely Sure What The Right Course Of Action Is In The First Place.
posted by hattifattener at 4:47 PM on June 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


And then there's Heinlein...
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:40 PM on June 27, 2009


Proponents of monarchy can never achieve their aims legitimately. The moment they pass from harmless kook to political force, violence is the proper response to their rhetoric, because violence is the only mechanism by which monarchy acquires legitimacy.

Say what? I'm a proponent of constitutional monarchy, and I certainly have no interest in any violence.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:24 PM on June 27, 2009


Oh, I don't know, Pope Guilty; my understanding of the last twenty-ish years of economic theory was that it really had no use for actual data, and that the theory dominated everything.
posted by kaibutsu at 9:29 PM on June 27, 2009


"monarchist libertarianism"

This is an oxymoron. It's a contradiction in terms. Anyone who is monarchist is incorrect if they self-describe as a libertarian.
posted by Eideteker at 11:53 PM on June 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


0xdeadc0de: Proponents of monarchy can never achieve their aims legitimately. The moment they pass from harmless kook to political force, violence is the proper response to their rhetoric, because violence is the only mechanism by which monarchy acquires legitimacy.

I am not a proponent of monarchy or theocracy or whatever—I'm generally a supporter of the oligarchy which is in force here in the United States where I live—but isn't this an insane thing to say? Ask someone from the British Isles how much crazy, malevolent psychological bullshit still lingers from the days when the English were mentally cowed into adoring their monarch; or better yet, observe from afar the nostalgia which they (and often even we) still feel for it. Look at the spirit of whatever was in the air at Princess Diana's funeral, for example. And to see the bad side, observe the struggles for power that still occur; observe the strange fascination which Brits have with class; observe all the trappings which remain of a society invested and enlisted wholeheartedly in the monarchy.

There are thousands of examples of monarchies that governed not by violence but by consent of the governed purchased through psychological manipulation and conceit. This is certainly not a good thing, but to say that monarchies only and always rule by violence—or, in other words, to say that no one in the history of the world has consented to be ruled by a monarch—is pretty much the textbook definition of insanity. People have consented to do all sorts of things, happily and without violence, which turn out to be completely unhealthy and even dangerous.
posted by koeselitz at 5:24 AM on June 28, 2009


There are thousands of examples of monarchies that governed not by violence but by consent of the governed purchased through psychological manipulation and conceit.

If fairness to monarchists, many non-Americans would make the same statement about the relationship of Americans to their leaders. Regan? Schwarzenegger? These guys weren't exactly elected on their sterling policy-making credentials.

Look at the spirit of whatever was in the air at Princess Diana's funeral

This is less to do with monarchy than the modern cult of celebrity. No one really cares when various hereditary dukes and earls knock off.
posted by GuyZero at 9:35 AM on June 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


These guys weren't exactly elected on their sterling policy-making credentials.
How to ensure that people with sterling policy-making credentials are elected, and once elected actually follow through with whatever policies they were were elected to implement, and once in office don't suddenly come up with policies that they were not elected to implement ... now, that is an impressively difficult problem. It can only be made more difficult by the presence of an opposition that primarily exists to oppose, with the sole objective of gaining power for themselves, rather than to intelligently critique the exercise of power by the current government, and by the presence of media that primarily exist to stir up controversy wherever it may be found.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 2:35 PM on June 28, 2009


It can only be made more difficult by the presence of an opposition that primarily exists to oppose

Unless you have more than two parties in which case each one has to cling to some actual ideology for better or worse. Also, in Canada we call it "Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition". That's kind of key.

But partisan US-bashing aside, the best one can hope for is politicians who give the populace what they want which is about as close as one gets in practice to getting what one needs (cue the Stones).
posted by GuyZero at 5:14 PM on June 28, 2009


GuyZero: This is less to do with monarchy than the modern cult of celebrity. No one really cares when various hereditary dukes and earls knock off.

Spoken like a true American.
posted by koeselitz at 7:58 AM on June 29, 2009


I suppose the bulk of the problem of politicians 'not following through' on their 'promises' (for who really believes they're going to do those things) balances on the political capital they now owe the part for helping them get elected. This is true in Canada, and the States. Some fraction of the Party's war chest is gifted to the hopeful, with the brand recognition of the established Party (and assuming the mien of the Party's ethos/leanings/whatever), on the terms that they conform to the Party's lead. Maybe, just maybe we'll have time to focus on your particular project... but we have to look after the country first, don't y'know.

In Canada, I can never decide if it's honesty, humour, or practicality, but the fellow in the Party who goes around and 'suggests' that rogue-like Party members should vote they way they ought to, instead of whatever they may be considering is called The Party Whip.
posted by LD Feral at 8:06 AM on June 29, 2009


Spoken like a true American.

Canadian, actually. And he's right; the massive outpouring of interest since Diana's death has very little to do with monarchy per se. It was entirely about celebrity worship. Nobody cares, really, about the deaths of e.g. the Duke of Westminster or the Earl of Arbuthnot or wherever (first two titles that popped into mind). She was a celebrity figure (and, to be perfectly pedantic, she wasn't royalty from the moment the divorce occurred; her title was derived from her husband's as per common practice and she was allowed to retain it as a courtesy post-divorce) first and foremost.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 3:06 PM on June 29, 2009


dirtynumbangelboy: Canadian, actually.

Really? GuyZero's user page lists him as being in California.

posted by koeselitz at 3:38 AM on June 30, 2009


Monarchy is useful for combating unhappiness when you are low on luxury goods or are doing a military buildup. It is an expensive but flexible way of preventing unrest. Democracy though is a great choice if you've been cottage spamming it allows your production to really take off.
posted by I Foody at 6:57 AM on June 30, 2009


Anyway, I don't think his children want to claim the title, so that will be up for someone else to defend as their own. The Kingdom of Pop will have to be without a ruler for a while.

Look around you, everywhere the people proclaim "The King Is Dead!' and all of Pop is in morning, but there is something else, no? Do you see it?

It's quiet. Every foreign power was expecting mass rioting and coups and gods knows what else once The King Of Pop died. The state of Pop, they say, was in such disarray that a revolution was only natural. They clucked at the absolute power of the King and the treatment of his subjects, without his awesome glare, they would surely take up arms.

But look around no. No one is mobilizing, no princes are getting stabbed or poisoned or paraded around town on a stick. The palace is empty, how can this be? How could everyone be so false in their predictions?

Simple. Those faraway Kings were thinking of the old King Jackson, or rather the young Prince Jackson Of Five who united all of Pop under his awesome banner. What he did was really amazing. There are two kinds of states you see, Easy to Take/Hard to Hold and Hard To Take/Easy To Hold.

In Easy to Take states, the Monarch or Emperor or whatever is weak, and the local nobles strong. It's easy to take the palace and claim yourself ruler but no one really cares cause all the power is with these country nobles and their fiercely loyal serfs and subjects and personal armies. The king there is usually ceremonial, or largely religious in nature, and can do nothing of importance.

In Hard to Take states, the situation is reversed. The provinces are ruled by rotating governors or Pashas, by the middle classes, if you please, and no one really has loyalty to them. All eyes are on the king and all power rests in his family's hand. These countries are difficult to conquer, but once subdued, the people to return to their Monarch worship.

What The Five did, or rather what Jackson did, was to turn Pop from being Easy to Take to being Hard to Take. He stopped the ceaseless wars between the Noble Houses and formed all their armies under one rule, his.

Then, the masterstroke. Not just take the power away from the Houses, but to make them willing give it up. He knew for all their posturing about authenticity the rulers of Pop cared for only one thing: image. And he gave them an amazing, glittering show and they all clamored to leave their Houses behind and join him at his Place, to be constantly entertained and distracted, handing the rest of Pop to him, smiling. Even the former King vanished into its endless, intoxicating halls, muttering and stuffing himself with fried sandwiches.

For Gods sake he even called it Neverland. It was like he was daring them.

So why is the death of such a worshiped and feared autocrat greeted with such ...calmness?

People forget how big Pop is. Massive country when you think about it, from the Shores of Sonority to the the Top of Middle C. For all the focus on Neverland and its court drama, people have been quietly filing out for decades now, reestablishing their fiefdoms and duchies. Neverland has become increasingly shabby and depopulated over the years, we all just got used to it's rusting and fading interior.The news of the king's death caused barely a ripple. That's why everything is so quiet, we all thought he'd been dead for years.

Hm?

Oh no, I doubt there will be any strong claim to the throne. There might exist a "Queen Of Pop" but it would be in name only. Janet has no desire to rein and is I think a little attached to the idea of being a Lost Princess or something. Dramatic personality you know, they all have that. The rest of the family is playing hot potato with the estate, trying to fob off its corrupt and slagging shell to anyone sucker enough to claim it. It'll be easy to make my claim, however tenuous, and I'll pick up the whole place for a song.

My plans? Simplicity itself. I'm knocking it down, the whole soggy mess of it. I'm working with a businessman for a brand new venture.

We're calling it, a Freeway.
posted by The Whelk at 7:04 AM on June 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Really? GuyZero's user page lists him as being in California.

Deceptive, aren't I?

One can be in a place but not be of that same place.

Also, MetaStalking - can we at least not admit in public that we do it?
posted by GuyZero at 9:29 AM on June 30, 2009


Hey, I'm not stalking anybody. And if anybody wants my home address, it's on my user page.
posted by koeselitz at 8:25 PM on June 30, 2009


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