January 7, 2018

NOTHING A MONARCHY WOULDN'T PERFECT:

What's the Cure for Ailing Nations? More Kings and Queens, Monarchists Say (LESLIE WAYNE, JAN. 6, 2018, NY Times)

From the comfort of his country estate in Oxford, a distant relative of the Russian literary giant Tolstoy says he has the perfect solution for what ails the United States.

America, he declares, needs a monarchy.

In fact, Count Nikolai Tolstoy says, more kings, queens and all the frippery that royalty brings would be not just a salve for a superpower in political turmoil, but also a stabilizing force for the world at large.

"I love the monarchy," Count Tolstoy, 82, said as he sat in his lush garden behind an expansive stone house. "Most people think the monarchy is just decorative and filled with splendor and personalities. They do not appreciate the important ideological reasons for a monarchy." [...]

A recent study that examined the economic performance of monarchies versus republics bolsters their views. Led by Mauro F. Guillén, a management professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, the study found "robust and quantitatively meaningful evidence" that monarchies outperform other forms of government.

Far from being a dying system, the study said, "monarchies are surprisingly prevalent around the world." They provide a "stability that often translates into economic gains"; they are better at protecting property rights and checking abuses of power by elected officials; and they have higher per-capita national incomes, the study said.

Mr. Guillén says he was "shocked" by the results, which have not yet been published. "Most people think monarchies are something anachronistic," he said. "They think that modern forms of government are superior and have trouble accepting that monarchies have advantages."

When he presents his findings, "there is more skepticism in the room than with the average paper," said Mr. Guillén, who is not a monarchist. "It's been an uphill battle."

His findings come as no surprise, however, to monarchists, who aim to preserve existing monarchies and to support royals who live in exile. They believe that countries with exiled royals should return them to the throne, and that nations without monarchies should consider a switch.

"We support the retention and restoration of monarchies anywhere in the world," Count Tolstoy said. "Our goal is to persuade people."

History books, of course, are replete with examples of monarchies that became symbols of repression and rapacious, cloistered wealth. Some were ousted by bloody rebellions (the American and French Revolutions) or collapsed in ruins (the Hapsburg Empire), and many have ruthlessly marginalized whole classes of people.

But Count Tolstoy insists that monarchists are not pining for the days of absolute rulers and the divine right of kings, when Henry VIII of England could order up the execution of unwanted wives and political foes.

Instead, his group advocates constitutional monarchies, in which a king or queen is head of state and the real power rests with an elected Parliament -- much like those in Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway and Spain (although demonstrators in 2014 demanded a referendum on the Spanish royal family after King Juan Carlos abdicated).

All of those countries, the monarchists note, have relatively strong economies.

The usefulness of a monarchic republic is obvious in a situation like ours, where the king could dismiss Donald and order a new presidential election.



Posted by at January 7, 2018 7:30 PM

  

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