I recently started a series of posts looking into the idea that democracy isn’t all that great – and I took a look at one possible alternative, the theocracy. This time around, I’ll be taking a closer look at the monarchy.
What is a monarchy? It’s a form of government where a single individual rules the country. They are not usually without advisors, but their power is absolute. Power is passed down the family line – usually from father to son, though here in the UK the law was recently change so the eldest child – regardless of sex – would become the monarch. Historically a number of countries across Europe have been governed by monarchies.
The problems with ruling via a monarchy are obvious. Placing so much power in the hands of a single individual can easily lend itself to corruption. The rulers of various countries have historically been prepared to indulge in oppressive measures designed to keep the population under control, and would hoard the wealth and riches of the country, keeping it within a select circle of trusted families. Representation of different peoples in a monarchy is virtually non-existent. As monarchies were often considered to be as close to God as a human being could be, their word was considered unquestionable and civil rights – including freedom of speech – didn’t exist.
Another issue with a monarchy is that it’s entirely too transitory. A king or queen can decide, based on their God-given authority, to change laws and rules on a whim. When one ruler dies, their heir might decide to undo previous legislation, simply out of spite. Supporters of the idea might point to some of the good and just rulers in history, but all too often, without a system to check their power, a country ruled by a monarchy will inevitably face what amounts to a dictatorship.