Science | History | PSHE

Monarchy better than democracy, says pundit

Should America have a royal family? US political theorist Curtis Yarvin has sparked a row with claims that America would be better run as a monarchy, rather than a democracy. It is the kind of spectacle Britain does best. The bunting is out, an official pudding has been declared – and the whole country is preparing for a long weekend of street parties and parades. At the centre of all these preparations is a woman who has been a fixture of British life for 70 years. Few people today can even remember a time before Elizabeth II was queen. Her platinum jubilee this weekend is proof of the sense of continuity she creates. Elizabeth is only the fourth monarch in history to celebrate a platinum jubilee, after Louis XIV of France, Johann II of Liechtenstein and Bhumibol of Thailand. The jubilee weekend serves as a reminder of just how devoted many people in Britain are to the monarch. Some 85,000 people have signed up to host 16,000 street parties across the country. And so perhaps it is no surprise that people in other countries want a piece of the action. One political scientist in the USA, Curtis Yarvin, recently made waves when he argued that the USA should replace its democratic system with a monarchy. Paradoxically, he argues, we would be freer under an authoritarian, unelected government with a monarch, because they would have no interest in interfering in our personal affairs. Yarvin is a controversial figure, far from the mainstream. But he is not the only American who is increasingly interested in the monarchical model. Some people with more moderate political views think America is divided because at any given time, around half the country voted against the head of state.  If it had a neutral head of state with limited powers, they suggest, that person could act as a unifying figure, embodying the nation as a whole rather than a party. Should America have a royal family? Monarchy in the USA Yes: Every system needs someone who can stand above the fray. A monarch with limited powers can be a symbol of national unity even as political parties battle it out. No: A monarchy can be just as politically divisive as an elected president. No-one is even sure if the British monarchy will last past the reign of Elizabeth. Now would be a strange time to introduce a royal family.   Or… You cannot simply transplant the political system of one country directly into another. It takes time for institutions to develop and gain legitimacy. An American monarchy would need to develop organically. KeywordsPlatinum Jubilee - Major anniversaries of coronations and other public events are called jubilees, and named after materials of increasing value. Fifty years, for instance, is a golden jubilee.

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