>>520439 Politics is the art of bribing powerful people. No matter the system of governance, this is the form it will take. Jobs, resources, money, armies, all of it needs to be distributed to certain ends. A good ruler (even and abstract one) effectively appeals to their interests most accurately. A bad one grossly misunderstands where interests and power actually lie in society.
Democracies are effective because they are the most organized, direct and quickly responsive systems of dealing with shifting power and interests. They keep everyone invested in the system being maintained. And while an autocratic system can take decades to 'understand' changes in interest and power, a democracy can do it quite quickly. This is also why they are so difficult to implement in some societies: it is a complex, and advanced system, and some societies lack the organizational capabilities for it.
>2: Are traditional monarchies better places to live? >Much of the Reactionary argument for traditional monarchy hinges on monarchs being secure. In non-monarchies, leaders must optimize for maintaining their position against challengers. In democracies, this means winning elections by pandering to the people. A monarch can ignore their own position and optimize for improving the country. >...But some of my smarter readers may notice that “your power can only be removed by killing you” does not actually make you more secure. It just makes security a lot more important than if insecurity meant you’d be voted out and forced to retire to your country villa. >Let’s review how Elizabeth I came to the throne. Her grandfather, Henry VII, had won the 15th century Wars of the Roses, killing all other contenders and seizing the English throne. He survived several rebellions, including the Cornish Rebellion of 1497, and lived to pass the throne to Elizabeth’s father Henry VIII, who passed the throne to his son Edward VI, who after surviving the Prayer Book Rebellion and Kett’s Rebellion, named Elizabeth’s cousin Lady Jane Grey as heir to the throne. Elizabeth’s half-sister, Mary, raised an army, captured Lady Jane, and eventually executed her, seizing the throne for herself. An influential nobleman, Thomas Wyatt, raised another army trying to depose Mary and put Elizabeth on the throne. He was defeated and executed, and Elizabeth was thrown in the Tower of London as a traitor. Eventually Mary changed her mind and restored Elizabeth’s place on the line of succession before dying, but Elizabeth’s somethingth cousin, Mary Queen of Scots, also made a bid for the throne, got the support of the French, but was executed before she could do further damage.
>>520744 >Actual monarchies are less like the Reactionaries’ idealized view in which revolt is unthinkable, and more like the Greek story of Damocles – in which a courtier remarks how nice it must be to be the king, and the king forces him to sit on the throne with a sword suspended above his head by a single thread. The king’s lesson – that monarchs are well aware of how tenuous their survival is – is one Reactionaries would do well to learn. >This is true not just of England and Greece, but of monarchies the world over. China’s monarchs claimed “the mandate of Heaven”, but Wikipedia’s List of Rebellions in China serves as instructional (albeit voluminous) reading. Not for nothing does the Romance of Three Kingdoms begin by saying: >An empire long united, must divide; an empire long divided, must unite. This has been so since antiquity. >And of Roman Emperors, only about thirty of eighty-four died of even remotely natural causes
>Are traditional monarchies more free?
>A corollary of Reactionaries’ “absolutely secure monarch” theory is that monarchies will be freer than democracies. Democrats and dictators need to control discourse to prevent bad news about them from getting out, and ban any institutions that might threaten the status quo. Since monarchs are absolutely secure, they can let people say and do whatever they want, knowing that their words and plans will come to naught.
>It is true that Elizabeth did not censor the newspapers, or bludgeon them into publishing only articles favorable to her. But that is less because of her enlightened ways, and more because all newspapers were banned in England during her reign. English language news in the Elizabethan Era had to be published in (famously progressive and non-monarchical!) Amsterdam, whence it was smuggled into England.
>>520750 >Likewise, Elizabeth and the other monarchs in her line were never shy about killing anyone who spoke out against them. Henry VIII, Elizabeth’s father, passed new treason laws which defined as high treason “to refer to the Sovereign offensively in public writing”, “denying the Sovereign’s official styles and titles”, and “refusing to acknowledge the Sovereign as the Supreme Head of the Church of England”. Elizabeth herself added to these offenses “to attempt to defend the jurisdiction of the Pope over the English Church…”. Needless to say, the punishment for any of these was death, often by being drawn and quartered.
>But at least she didn’t have a secret police, right? Wrong. Your source here is Stephen Alford’s book on, well, the Elizabethan secret police, although reason.com’s review, The Elizabethan CIA: The Surveillance State In The 16th Century will serve as a passable summary.
>2.2.1: How come we perceive traditional monarchies as less oppressive than for example Stalinist Russia?
Before about the 1600s, the average non-noble neither had nor could have any power. All wealth was locked up in land, owned by nobles, and all military power was locked up in professionals like knights and men-at-arms, who could defeat an arbitrary number of untrained peasants without breaking a sweat.
After about the 1600s, wealth passed into the hands of capitalist merchants – ie non-nobles – and military power became concentrated in whoever could hold a gun – potentially untrained peasants. As a result, kings stopped worrying only about the nobility and started worrying about everyone else.
>>520755 >Or else they didn’t. Remember, all of the longest and most traditional monarchies in history – the Bourbons, the Romanovs, the Qing – were deposed in popular revolts, usually with poor consequences for their personal health. However paranoid and oppressive they were, clearly it would have been in their self-interest to be more so. If monarchy were for some reason to be revived, no doubt its next standard-bearers would not make the same “mistake” as their hapless predecessors.
>2.4: Are traditional monarchs good leaders? >Onto the historical counterexamples. Historical counterexample the first: Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, “Caligula” to his friends. Absolutely beloved by the Roman populace. Unclear whether he killed his uncle Tiberius to gain the Empire, or just stood by cackling kind of maniacally as he died. Took power to general acclaim, ruled well for a couple of months, gradually started showing his dark side, and after a year or two reached the point where he ordered a large section of spectators at the colosseum to be thrown into the ring and torn apart by lions because the average amount of tearing-apart-by-lions at a Roman gladiatorial games just wasn’t enough for him.
>Historical counterexample the second: Ivan the Terrible. His father died of infection when Ivan was three years old. His mother was named as his regent – kind of a coincidence that the most qualified statesman in the realm would be his mother, but let’s roll with it – but she died of poisoning when Ivan was eight. In this case I’m not sure who exactly is supposed to decide whether he’s an idiot or psycho, and apparently neither were the Russians, because they crowned him Czar in 1547 . Ivan was okay until his wife died, at which point he became paranoid and started executing the nobility for unclear reasons, destroyed the economy, and burnt and pillaged the previously glorious city of Novgorod (part of his own kingdom!)
>>520765 >Ivan himself often spent nights dreaming of unique ways to torture and kill. Some victims were fried in giant frying pans and others were flayed alive. At times, he turned on [his death squads] themselves, and subjected their membership to torture and death. In a fit of rage, he murdered his own son; however the guilt of this act obsessed him and he never recovered. >Our story does not end there! Ivan died of a stroke, leaving the throne to his intellectually disabled son. Here at least the system worked – brilliant statesman Boris Godunov was installed as regent and ruled pretty well. He did, however, eventually seize the throne – likely because if he had not seized the throne everyone else would have killed him out of suspicion that he might seize the throne. He died, there was a huge succession squabble, and thus started the Time of Troubles, whose name is pretty self-explanatory.
>Historical counterexample the third: Charles II Habsburg of Spain (not to be confused with various other Charles IIs). A strong contender for the hotly contested title of “most inbred monarch in history”...As Charles’s father died when Charles was 3, he was given a regent – his mother (another case in which the most qualified statesman in the land is the monarch’s mother! What are the odds?!) But when his mother died, Charles took power in his own name and ruled for four years. His only notable achievement during that time was presiding over the largest auto-da-fe in history. He died at age 39. Thanks to the vagaries of self-interested royal dynasties, his passing caused a gigantic succession struggle which drew in all the neighboring countries and caused hundreds of thousands of deaths.
>>520774 >Historical counterexample the fourth: Henry VIII. Really? Yes, really. While perhaps calling him an idiot or psycho goes too far, he certainly thought that marrying confirmed hottie Anne Boleyn and having a son with her was worth converting England to a newly-invented Protestant religion – a decision which killed tens of thousands, displaced some of the country’s oldest and most important institutions, and set the stage for two hundred years of on-and-off warfare. Whether or not you like the Church of England (or, as it was almost named, Psychotic Bastard Religion) yourself, you have to admit this is a sort of poor reason to start a religious revolution.
>King Henry wasn’t an idiot or a psycho. He was just a selfish bastard. You can’t expect his father to pick up on that. Even if you could, his father wasn’t exactly Mahatma Gandhi himself. Worst of all, his personality may have changed following traumatic brain injury from a jousting accident – something that could not have been predicted before he took the throne.
>This is exactly the sort of problem non-monarchies don’t have to worry about. If Barack Obama said the entire country had to convert to Mormonism at gunpoint as part of a complicated plot for him to bone Natalie Portman, we’d just tell him no.
>There’s another important aspect here too...a monarch may have desires much more complicated than [improving the country]. They might, like Henry, want to marry a particular woman. They might have religious preferences. They might have moral preferences. They might be sadists. They might really like the color blue. In an ordinary citizen, those preferences are barely even interesting enough for small talk. In a monarch, they might mean everyone’s forced to wear blue clothing all the time.
>>520780 >You think that’s a joke, but in 1987 the dictator of Burma [U Ne Win] made all existing bank notes illegitimate so he could print new ones that were multiples of nine. Because, you see, he liked that number. As Wikipedia helpfully points out, “The many Burmese whose saved money in the old large denominations lost their life savings.” For every perfectly rational economic agent out there, there’s another guy who’s really into nines.
>2.5: Are traditional monarchies more politically stable?
>Habsburg Holy Roman Austria was conquered by Napoleon in 1805, forced to dissolve as a political entity in 1806, replaced with the Kingdom of Austria, itself conquered again by Napoleon in 1809, refounded in 1815 as a repressive police state under the gratifyingly evil-sounding Klemens von Metternich, suffered 11 simultaneous revolutions and was almost destroyed in 1848, had its constitution thrown out and replaced with a totally different version in 1860, dissolved entirely into the fledgling Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1867, lost control of Italy and parts of Germany to revolts in the 1860s-1880s, started a World War in 1914, and was completely dissolved in 1918, by which period the reigning emperor’s wife, brother, son, and nephew/heir had all been assassinated.
>Meanwhile, in Progressive Britain during the same period, people were mostly sitting around drinking tea.
>This is not a historical accident. As discussed above, monarchies have traditionally been rife with dynastic disputes, succession squabbles, pretenders to the throne, popular rebellions, noble rebellions, impulsive reorganizations of the machinery of state, and bloody foreign wars of conquest.
>Imagine the US presidency as a dynasty, the Line of Washington. The Line of Washington has currently undergone forty-three dynastic successions without a single violent dispute. As far as I know, this is unprecedented among dynasties – unless it be the dynasty of Japanese Emperors, who managed the feat only after their power was made strictly ceremonial. The closest we’ve ever come to any kind of squabble over who should be President was Bush vs. Gore, which was decided within a month in a court case, which both sides accepted amicably.
>To an observer from the medieval or Renaissance world of monarchies and empires, the stability of democracies would seem utterly supernatural. Imagine telling Queen Elizabeth I – whom as we saw above suffered six rebellions just in her family’s two generations of rule up to that point – that Britain has been three hundred years without a non-colonial-related civil war. She would think either that you were putting her on, or that God Himself had sent a host of angels to personally maintain order.
>Democracies are vulnerable to one kind of conflict – the regional secession. This is responsible for the only (!) major rebellion in the United States’ 250 year (!) history, and might be a good category to place Britain’s various Irish troubles. But the long-time scourge of every single large nation up to about 1800, the power struggle? Totally gone. I don’t think moderns are sufficiently able to appreciate how big a deal this is. It would be like learning that in the year 2075, no one even remembers that politicians used to sometimes lie or make false promises.
>If you remember nothing else about the superiority of democracies to other forms of government, remember the fact that in three years, we will have a change of leadership and almost no one is stocking up on canned goods to prepare for the inevitable civil war. [Unless someone tries to Stump the Trump]
>>520799 2.7: Are traditional monarchies just in general more successful and nicer places to live? >Great Britain and America have throughout their histories been the two most progressive nations on Earth. They’ve also been, over the past three hundred years or so, the two most successful.
>Limiting our discussion to the present, our main obstacle to a comparison is a deficit of truly Reactionary countries. Reactionaries are never slow to bring up Singapore, a country with some unusually old-fashioned ideas and some unusually good outcomes. But as I have pointed out in a previous post, Singapore does little better than similar control countries, and the lion’s share of its success is most likely due to it being a single city inhabited by hyper-capitalist Chinese and British people on a beautiful natural harbor in the middle of the biggest chokepoint in the world’s most important trade route.
>Saudi Arabia also gets brought up as a modern Reactionary state. It certainly has the absolute monarchy, the reliance on religious tradition, the monoethnic makeup, the intolerance for feminist ideals, and the cultural censorship. How does it do? Well, it’s nice and stable and relatively well-off. But a cynic (or just a person with an IQ > 10) might point out that a lot of this has to do with it controlling a fifth of the world’s oil supply. It’s pretty easy to have a good economy when the entire world is paying you bazillions of dollars to sit there and let them extract liquid from the ground. And it’s pretty easy to be stable when you can bribe the population to do what you want with your bazillions of dollars in oil money – in fact, Saudi Arabia is probably that rarest of birds – a Reactionary welfare state.
>2.7.1: If we could perform a controlled experiment pitting reactionary versus progressive ideals, what would it look like?
Well, assuming you were God and had infinite power and resources, you could take a very homogeneous country and split it in half.
One side gets a hereditary absolute monarch, whose rule is law and who is succeeded by his sons and by his sons’ sons. The population is inculcated with neo-Confucian values of respect for authority, respect for the family, and cultural solidarity, but these values are supplemented by a religious ideal honoring the monarch as a near-god and the country as a specially chosen holy land. American cultural influence is banned on penalty of death; all media must be produced in-country, and missionaries are shot on site. The country’s policies are put in the hands of a group of technocratic nobles hand-picked by the king.
The other side gets flooded with American missionaries preaching weird sects of Protestantism, and at the point of American guns is transformed into a parliamentary democracy. Its economy – again at the behest of American soldiers, who seem to be sticking around a sufficient long time – becomes market capitalism. It institutes a hundred billion dollar project to protect the environment, passes the strictest gun control laws in the world, develops a thriving gay culture, and elects a woman as President.
Turns out this perfect controlled experiment actually happened. Let’s see how it turned out!
>>520812 >(Actually, this point requires further remark. Reactionary states tend to be quite rich. In the case of Singapore, Reactionaries trumpet this as a success of Reactionary principles. In the case of Saudi Arabia, that sort of causation is somewhat less credible. I propose an alternative theory: Reactionary states can maintain themselves only by bribing the population not to revolt. These bribes may be literal, as in the case of the Saudi welfare state. Or they may be more figurative – “Look how rich my government has made you – you let me stay in power and I’ll keep up the good work.” China is the classic example of this particular formulation. This is important because contra Moldbug’s inverted pendulum theory it suggests Reactionary regimes will be inherently unstable.)
>From the Reactionary perspective, North Korea has done everything right. They’ve had three generations of absolute rulers. They’ve tried to base their social system on Confucianism. They’ve kept a strong military, resisted American influence, and totally excluded the feelings of the peasant class from any of their decisions.
>South Korea, on the other hand, ought to be a basketcase. It’s replaced its native Confucian traditions with liberal Protestant sects, it’s occupied by US troops, it’s gone through various military coups to what the CIA calls a “fully functioning modern democracy”, and it’s so culturally decadent and degraded that it managed to produce Gangnam Style. Yet I don’t think there’s a single person reading this who doesn’t know which one ze’d rather live in.
>6.1.2: If we don’t do Reaction, does that mean we’re stuck with a boring inoffensive centrist democracy forever and ever? >No. There are lots of extremely creative ideas for radical new forms of government that don’t involve any Reactionary ideas at all. The better ones are off of the right-left spectrum entirely. Futarchy is my favorite [not as hot as it sounds]
>>520744 While I agree with many of his points, but I don't think this guy is qualified to make judgements on Caligula and Ivan the Terrible without having studied them in depth. It seems like he's citing examples he read on wiki or from hearsay. His assessment of Henry is awful (Henry was never declared himself a Protestant), did not kill tens of thousands as far as I know, and has absolutely no responsibility for setting "the stage for two hundred years of on-and-off warfare," whatever that means.
>>520439 Historically speaking, this is basically the best time to be alive as a human by a whole bunch of metrics, you are better fed, better educated, less likely to die violently than damn near any point throughout human history.
The fact is that states and governments are not stable or safe. There is a permanent insecurity everywhere, because that is what it means to live on this planet of 7 billion people who have different motivations and ambitions, and some of whom are psycho and sociopathic.
Why any other form of government supposedly should be "better" than any other, presumes that there is some standard which defines the absolute worst society, and the absolute best society, which there is not.
Now, having said that, bare in mind your own motivations. Is your faith in democracy waning because you think it is harmful to "the majority", or is it waning because you personally do not benefit from it's existence?
Be honest, because answers differ a lot depending on which of them you answer.
democracy doesn't work because most people are stupid and don't know what's good for them, and monarchy doesn't work because absolute power corrupt absolutely, humanity tries to govern populations that are too large to efficiently maintain without many flaws, we will always live in an imperfect political governing as long as we live in populations that are made of more than approximately 10000+ people.
>>521052 Jacobites revolted several times in the 18th century, but the fact that the Jacobites or that James II got overthrown in the Glorious Revolution was not caused by Henry VIII in any meaningful way. Same even goes for the Troubles considering that Ireland had a good chance of staying in the union until Parnell failed at gaining home rule.
>>521174 >absolute power corrupt absolutely this is such an overused remark that people throw about all the time but never back up with hard facts. most monarchies have never historically been absolutist in any sense of the word. next time use your own words instead of this meme remark.
>>521204 no fuck off, it doesn't become an untruth because it's "overused", it's obvious that giving one man and his chosen advisors decide everything is a recipe for a corrupted government I don't even need to state any theories or facts more than this one because it's so obviously stupid in this day and age.
>>521234 >>521234 >monarchy doesn't work because absolute power corrupt absolutely these are your words. its a crude generalization to say that all monarchies are absolutist and therefore corrupt. there are a variety of different monarchical systems, most of which contain considerable checks on the monarch. I don't see how the corruption that "naturally" arises from monarchy cannot be found in any other political systems either. Tons of democracies are corrupt for reasons inherent in that system. Politicians have to raise funds from monied interests to campaign and if they win, they sometimes repay these interests by giving them leeway, or appointing interested parties to government positions, which is no different from your scenario of a monarch appointing "chosen advisors."
>>520439 >My faith in democracy is wavering, /his/.
>Convince me that it [DEMOCRACY] works...
SO, YOUR FAITH IN DEMOCRACY IS WAVERING, BUT FOR THE WRONG REASONS; ID EST: NOT DUE TO ETHICOMORAL REVELATION, BUT DUE TO UTILITARIAN DISSATISFACTION.
DEMOCRACY EVIDENTLY WORKS, BUT PERMANENCE DOES NOT NECESSARILY IMPLY BENEVOLENCE, NOR OPTIMALITY; ID EST: THE FACT THAT A DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENTAL SYSTEM CAN LAST FOR CENTURIES DOES NOT IMPLY THAT THAT GOVERNMENTAL SYSTEM IS OPTIMALLY FUNCTIONAL, OR ETHICOMORALLY NOBLE.
THE "POINT" IS NOT THAT DEMOCRACY DOES NOT WORK, BUT RATHER THAT DEMOCRACY IS AN INEFFICIENT, INTRINSICALLY FLAWED, AND ULTIMATELY PERVERSE, GOVERNMENTAL SYSTEM.
>>521264 >don't see how the corruption that "naturally" arises from monarchy cannot be found in any other political systems either
You are only helping to prove my point, what I said was "democracy doesn't work because most people are stupid and don't know what's good for them, and monarchy doesn't work because absolute power corrupt absolutely" my argument was that both are shit, I never said that democracy is "good" although I do think it's a better system.
>>521321 Because none of the approaches to the normative shit are philosophical in nature. I never see someone approach a normative topic in terms of deontology, or the attempt to determine the difference between politics as a habitus and the post-political as endless flows and convergences of power.
No, it is petty >>>/pol/ moralising and position advocacy.
>>521338 >you never heard of political philosophy? ever heard of Plato's Republic? I've never seen it practiced on /his/, no. It is almost as if you're blind to my really obvious indication of Deleuze's work on political philosophy, almost as if you have no interest in political philosophy at all, but instead hectoring.
Millions of citizens A mechanized economy A variety of sub-nationalities A functioning governing apparatus with the intent and ability to enforce its will Popular consent Rule of Law Large metropolises separated by large distances
Am I missing something?
And anyway, I was just saying that style of government, not the UK in particular.
>Why any other form of government supposedly should be "better" than any other, presumes that there is some standard which defines the absolute worst society, and the absolute best society, which there is not. Remember when people thought you had to understand mathematics before learning philosophy? What a crazy time.
>>520439 A greater chance of getting the average opinion than other systems. This sounds bad, until you realize people who vouched for other systems get things like >kill the birds for eating our crops >biology is a bourgeois myth >kill all the smart people because I don't trust them
>>521923 Are any of those statements really up for question?
Democracy is obviously inefficient due to filtering everything through democratic processes and accompanying bureaucracy.
Democracy is intrinsically flawed because... well that's a tautology every gov't system is intrinsically flawed.
Democracy is ultimately perverse because of its susceptibility to corruption and populism.
The question is if those things make democracy worse than other systems. Another thing that democracy is would be "robust", the "will of the people" while certainly fluid isn't going to be as fickle as the "whim of an autocrat" and thus democracy weathers regime changes really well.
Perhaps OPs problem isn't that democracy isn't good enough, but that they expect too much from a mere gov't. Government is a necessary evil, it isn't so much about having the "best" gov't as it is about having the one that gives you the least troubles.
That, I don't know. Plato never really elaborated on how the philosopher king would actually be found. All he said was that the candidate needs to be a "wisdom-lover" who has access to "ideas." A philosopher, according to Plato, needs to understand (For example) what the idea of beauty is, rather than what is beautiful.
It is possible to have a semi-constitutional monarchy. The monarch should, in theory, have unlimited power, but the use of this power should be limited by some sort of check. To me, this check would be their privy council, which would (In conjunction with the courts) be able to declare the monarch insane if they became a tyrant, and depose them for someone else.
>>521900 I would prefer it if the Monarchy wasn't expected to retain absolute silence on political matters though, they very very very rarely intervene when the government is doing something incredibly stupid.
Democracy can be good if it is derived from traditional liberties and privileges. Think of it as aristocratic privileges expanded to everyone else. That's nice, and actually, it is the basis of English democracy, the one that actually worked, and it's quite a reactionary phenomenom, it was founded as a reaction to the growth of the central state represented by Charles I. Do not believe Marxist bullshit, the English Civil War was a rebellion by the aristocratic estates against central authority, not unlike the Fronde in France and the Catalan Revolt in Spain that happened at the same time, with the difference that it worked.
Now, democracy as derived from egalitarian ideology, with bullshit like "general will" that Rousseau got out of his ass. That's shit and in the end it's only justification for tyranny exerced in the name of the "people".
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