Thursday, November 11, 2004

Monarchy and the right

Why is republicanism (in the Commonwealth) often seen as a left-wing belief, while most rightwingers (with honourable exceptions such as Lewis & less honourable ones such as Rupert Murdoch) tend to be monarchists?

For a snapshot of right-wing attitudes to government, I found this quote from Chris, a typical right wing bloggist:
"It is scandalous that the government continues to thieve off us like this and no amount of bullshit third way labour spin neo-keynesian nonsense will justify it".

In say, 17th Century Europe, this would have made perfect sense. The government was essentially the monarch and their cronies, and the main application of state funds was to enhance the personal lifestyle of the court (and very often to expand the realm through conquest).

In a modern (social) democracy, this isn't the case - the government is the entity by which the people provide themselves with services on a collective basis. The quantity and quality of such services, the mechanisms of provision and the detail of financing are a matter of collective decision, but the government *is* the people - it can no more "thieve" from the people than I can steal from myself.

Keeping the remaining vestiges of a monarchy blurs this. In NZ, we refer to the entity of government as the "Crown", maintaining the pretence that our government is not us, but an overlord beyond our control. This helps the conservative argument that a tax surplus (for instance) is not our money being squirelled prudently in a big bank account somewhere, but is somehow being spend by politicians on Louis XIV style amusements.

Hence, monarchy is a great way to keep people isolated from and distrustful of government...

1 comment:

dpf said...

More than one right wing republican :-)