Saturday, December 23, 2017

a better monarchy

I can understand the appeal of the idea of ethnostates. I can understand the appeal of nations bound together by a common culture, history and religion.

The only problem with the idea is that very few of the currently existing nations qualify as ethnostates.

Britain doesn’t qualify, unless you regard Scots and Welsh and English as interchangeable. Italy doesn’t qualify - northern Italians and southern Italians are certainly not ethnically interchangeable. Spain definitely doesn’t qualify. Belgium is most certainly not an ethnostate.

I’m not talking about these nations as they are today - even fifty years ago before the beginnings of mass immigration they were not ethnostates. Germany maybe, but it was divided on religious lines.

As for countries like Australia, maybe up until the 1940s there might have been a chance for a kind of ethnostate except for the fact of the Irish Catholics. Canada never had a chance, unless they were prepared to sacrifice Quebec. There was never the slightest chance in the US.

So the big problem is that the creation of European ethnostates would have required the dissolution of most of the major nation states. That would not necessarily have been a bad thing had the EU been conceived as a loose federation rather a centralised bureaucratic super-state.

It’s understandable that those who dislike globalism tend to lean towards nationalism since nationalism seems like the only viable alternative. But is it? Perhaps we should be looking at other alternatives. Perhaps we should look to the Holy Roman Empire as an alternative. The reputation of the Holy Roman Empire never really recovered from Voltaire’s characterisation of it as neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire. But in fact its weakness (or its apparent weakness) was the very thing that was so great about the Holy Roman Empire.

It was also the great strength of the empire of the Habsburgs which overlapped with but was by no means identical with the Holy Roman Empire. There was a strong enough central authority to keep it intact and provide a strong army but it was not string enough or bureaucratic enough to enforce conformity. As a result the Habsburg Empire had lots of diversity. Cultural diversity, ethnic diversity, linguistic diversity, even religious diversity.

How could this have worked? Very simple. It was a monarchy. Unity was maintained by a common loyalty to the House of Habsburg. If you want to maintain a unity based on a concept like shared values you need the apparatus of totalitarianism in order to do it. Unity based on loyalty to the crown does not require totalitarianism.

That’s one of the key weaknesses of the United States. The one thing that might have made America workable was a monarchy.

On paper Australia is lucky. We are a monarchy. But it doesn’t work and we are sliding towards the horrors of the proposition nation nonsense as a result. It doesn’t work partly because the House of Windsor is not our monarchy. An English queen cannot provide a focus for unity and loyalty. What we needed, right from the beginning, was our own monarchy. Our own king. The other reason it doesn’t work is that the Windsors are a truly awful family. They’re basically celebrity trash. They’d provide a great basis for a daytime soap opera but as a force for Australian unity they’re pretty useless.

Our problem is that the failings of the present monarchy are likely to result in a renewed push for a republic and that would be much much worse. We need a monarchy, but we need a better monarchy.

5 comments:

  1. The benign monarchy - the eternal dream.

    ReplyDelete
  2. A little harsh on the Queen's family. Every family is pretty awful at times, but we do not get to hear about most of them. As for an Oz Monarch, Betty is Queen of Oz. If a problem exists it is that she did not appoint a new Regal line for Oz with a new 'under' Monarch. The Gov Gen does not cut it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As for an Oz Monarch, Betty is Queen of Oz. If a problem exists it is that she did not appoint a new Regal line for Oz with a new 'under' Monarch. The Gov Gen does not cut it.

      That's what should have been done. It would have been incredibly easy - there are hordes of surplus royals. It would not have been difficult to find at least one prince willing to be King of Australia. OK, he'd have to live here but how awful would that have been - a much nicer climate, a much richer country, and you get to be King! And the wife will be happy - she gets to be Queen.

      Prince Edward would have been suitable. By the standards of the Windsors he seems reasonably dignified. Not too bright but at least as bright as the rest of the family. That's really all you need - someone dignified who isn't a complete halfwit.

      The one big argument that republicans have is that our head of state is a foreigner who doesn't live here. A separate regal line would have demolished that argument.

      Delete
    2. Yes, I have always had a chuckle whenever the 'furriner' issue is raised. Pretty well everyone in Oz is a furriner and some sit in Parliamob holding allegiances to furring countries.

      When Oz was established as an independant nation, we were ALL British. (well, most) Furriners wuz anyone who wasn't. Betty is as British and as Ozzy as the 'founding fathers' of Oz.

      There are only two sorts of people in the World: English and Furriners.

      Delete
    3. There are only two sorts of people in the World: English and Furriners.

      As an English friend used to constantly remind me, wogs begin at Calais.

      Delete