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Old 05-19-2018, 11:44 AM   #801
Concept
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The Royal family is an affront to any notion of meritocratic or democratic society and annoys the shit out of me. They're also the most pragmatic way of choosing a head of state.

Compare the involvement of the royal family in day to day politics with that of almost any President on the planet. Comparatively, they do very little. Now compare their on paper powers with those of most western Presidents. On paper they have more power than most western Presidents. Why then do they exercise less? Because how much power they can exercise in reality depends far more on public perception than on what the law says. US presidents of both parties have been routinely overstepped their constitutional bounds for decades. Meanwhile the monarchy has powers they haven't used in hudlndreds of years (see the veto, unused in over 300 years).

The US (and other nations) presidents get away with overstepping their bounds because public perception is that they're the highest, legitimate authority in the country. Meanwhile as long as the monarchies powers are viewed as illegitimate - because they're undemocratic - any attempt to use them will fail, except in a true emergency (think their ability to call an election in the event the government attempts to suspend elections, for example) in which case they provide a single, centralised and non politically aligned backstop against abuses of the system by career politicians.

In short, having a single head of state with emergency powers is very useful in the event of serioua political abuse of power, and the single best way to keep that head of state from abusing their power is to make sure it seems illegitimate for them to use it except in emergencies. Public perception of what they should be able to do will win out over on paper laws any day, and in the case of elected head of states his imbues one person with dangerous amounts of power regardless of how much you try to curtail it with laws.
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Old 05-20-2018, 12:31 AM   #802
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Hey, props to you Concept, that's the kind of unique kingdom insight a closed-minded individual like myself wouldn't have imagined otherwise.

@AK2: I think humans, innately, desire some kind of royalty. You wouldn't imagine the number of people who crave the idea of "American Royalty" who flaunt wealth and power. They even coined the term "imperial presidency" to term how a president should act. Nothing annoys a poor person more than a rich person looking/acting poor. To them it's like, "you have all the advantages and are telling me my life is better bugger off".

I don't care for it though.
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Old 05-21-2018, 06:10 PM   #803
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See also my views on having an unelected second chamber - democratically I find it offensive, but in practical terms much more useful than having two elected chambers (pretty sure I had an argument with Kush about it in this very thread).
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Old 05-22-2018, 12:03 AM   #804
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It's the opposite with the US. The origins of the House and Senate were as a compromise between those who wanted proportional representation and equal representation, believing that two houses would act as a gatekeeper to prevent one state's interest from influencing the whole of US politics. In the early days of the US the House was where most of the action was, but after the first World War its impact has fallen considerably.

Why? Well before telecommunications expanded, you knew your Congressman because he was local and was an access point to Washington DC. But in places like California where population density has ballooned and the minutes in a workday stayed static, the relationship between a county and its congressmen is about as interpersonal as between one of the senators. Add that to the two year cycle and most people can't even name their local rep, with the position having very low prestige and influence nationally.

Post-telephone, the desire for singular celebrity figures magnified the power of the president and senators. With television, you feel closer to the president than the local congressman you never see on national TV. So the House, which was historically cohesive and more in-line with what democracy should ideally represent, is now a chaotic, disjointed mess that only serves as a checkpoint for policy. It can't effectively introduce policy or find agreement on changes that the senate would also accept. And hence, American politics has been kinda sorta spinning its wheels for the past 30 years on many domestic issues.

Though, that goes for a lot of things. For almost 100 years, before the industrial revolution and the era of imperialism, the US was pretty devoted to its democratic ideal. It's moved away from that toward a more authoritarian approach to the present day.
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