I’m on holiday now. I am not doing too much during this holiday, but I have been thinking about monarchism and dictatorship. You see, many people are monarchists, but I cannot understand why anyone could be a monarchist.
Dictionary.com defines monarchy as “a state or nation in which the supreme power is actually or nominally lodged in a monarch.”
A monarchist is someone who advocates for rule by a particular monarch. What is a monarch? A monarch is just a person. Is there anything special about Queen Elizabeth? She is just a person. Hence monarchism is advocacy for rule by a particular person.
But wait? Isn’t this the definition of dictatorship?
Dictionary.com defines dictatorship as “a country, government, or the form of government in which absolute power is exercised by a dictator.” It is also “absolute, imperious, or overbearing power or control.”
Dictatorship is rule by a dictator. Similar to a monarch, a dictator is just some person. Is there anything special about Adolf Hitler or Josef Stalin? No, they are just people.
In other words, monarchy and dictatorship pretty much mean the same thing.
Why do I raise this up? What is the point? You see many people supporting monarchism but hardly anyone goes around supporting dictatorship.
Why is that?
Is it like cult versus religion where a cult is a belief you hate while a religion is a belief you like? Perhaps authoritarianism by someone you like is referred to as monarchism but authoritarianism by someone you hate is called dictatorship.
Aren’t developed countries like the UK and Australia well functioning monarchist countries?
These countries have what is called constitutional monarchism, and constitutional monarchism is effectively just democracy except the monarch has no power and simply has a ceremonial role. If that is the case then, in my opinion, monarchism is a waste of money. Why should taxpayers pay a monarch and her family to ride around in horses and live in castles?
The opposite of constitutional monarchism where royalty has no power is absolute monarchism where royalty has absolute power. Absolute monarchism exists in Saudi Arabia and Thailand.
Can monarchism or dictatorship be successful?
You can always give examples of dictatorships that succeeded. I’d argue Communist China is a somewhat successful dictatorship as judged by economic growth. Benevolent dictatorship is possible in theory but top-down control is usually hard and for every example of good dictatorship you can give there is always Hitler, Stalin, etc. If you were a monarchist leading a political rebelling to restore monarchy in America with the hope that you get a benevolent dictatorship, this is a risky strategy because you might end up with another Hitler or Stalin.
Democracy can be more inefficient that dictatorship but the spreading out of power under a democracy lowers the risk that comes with concentration of power.