Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

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The Role of Modern Royalty

The Queen of England's recent birthday, combined with a recent recollection of a very long conversation I had a long time ago, inspires me to ask of you all, what is/should be the role of modern royalty (and, perhaps, other largely ceremonial roles in government) in society. Historically, Royals/Nobles were very different than they are now, having power that was both temporal (i.e. nonsymbolic) and actual (meant to be used). In modern times, only the highest royals/nobles have an administrative role in their nation (if at all), and that role is increasingly symbolic. Some modern nations have stripped their royals of all power (e.g. Germany and France), while others never had them (the United States under its present government). The monarch of England has had their power transformed into theoretical (reserve) power whereby their actual use of it is bound by tradition into certain limits, while some other monarchs have no power even in theory. Monarchs today provide a symbol of the state, a tie to history/tradition, provide grandeur, and serve a diplomatic function for their nation. The cost of a monarchy is financial, perhaps also symbolic, and can be limiting in the shape and nature of the continued development of the state. Additionally, in rare circumstances the monarch (or state machinery associated with them) may exercise powers that may lead to a constitutional crisis. There have been movements across Europe (and other parts of the world) to abolish monarchies (Republican movements, as in Ireland, Canada, etc), to reestablish them (as in Greece and Germany), and to weaken/strengthen their role in government. Some resent them because they are the remnant of an older power base than the business class (new money), while others celebrate them for the same reasons.

I ask you to take a position on these things and briefly argue for said position. Further, do largely ceremonial roles, e.g. the President of Israel (the First Minister of the Knesset is the actual effective leader of Israel), differ in your judgements?

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