Monarchy – The Good and the Bad

Dec 3, 2022 | Articles, Culture, Political

Monarchy is a form of government where power and sovereignty are given to one person or several individuals. Duration of the reign remains until the time of death or if the monarch abdicates and gives up the throne. That is the case of Queen Elizabeth II who became the Queen after her uncle abdicated his throne to marry a non-royalty American actress.
Monarchies have different forms. Throughout history, some people have considered monarchy a bad form of ruling and governance.
The most famous monarchy today is the British Monarchy. Queen Elizabeth II is the monarch of 16 Commonwealth realms.
The principality of Andorra, the Kingdom of Belgium, the Kingdom of Denmark, the Kingdom of Netherlands, and the Kingdom of Norway, the Kingdom of Spain, and the Kingdom of Sweden are other European countries that have a monarch. But they are fully democratic states where the monarch has a limited or largely ceremonial role.
Liechtenstein and Monaco are two constitutional monarchies where the Prince retains many powers of an absolute monarch.

Some of the Muslim monarchies include the Kingdom of Bahrain, Nation of Brunei, Malaysia, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the State of Kuwait, Kingdom of Morocco, Sultanate of Oman, State of Qatar, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

History of Monarchy

It is evident that monarchy has had quite an impact on the world and history. In the early times, the monarch was considered to be a divine person and deification of the ruler was a common culture.
In Rome, the coronation of the ruler by a bishop or pope was a special occasion. In protection of absolute monarchy in Europe, a political doctrine stated that “the kings derived their authority from God and couldn’t not be held accountable for their actions by any earthly authority such as the parliament”.
As time passed by, people let go of this notion. They came to a realization that a monarch was powerless and remained at that post mainly because of the nobility of the state.
During the renaissance period in Europe and the age of Pharaohs in Egypt, absolute monarchy led to the suffering of the citizens. They were exploited by their ruler.
Riots in Europe against the absolutist rule completely changed the system by bringing rise to new forms of monarchical ruling like constitutional monarchy and nationalist monarchy. These two allowed for more balance in the system.
In the modern world, as we saw, most nations with monarchy are controlled by political legislation formed by the people. The ruler remains the symbolic head of state. Only a few Arab countries have a ruler with absolute power.

Different forms of Monarchy

One of the reasons why people have bad opinion about monarchy is tyranny and absolute monarchy. But these are only some of the forms of monarchy. There are many more.
For example, Diarchy is a form of monarchy where two individuals share the position of heads of state.
Tyranny is a form of government where person has power. It is a form of government of oppression and aggression originating during the 5th century BC.

Absolute monarchy started during the 16th century AD, it is a type of government which gives absolute power to the monarch over the people.
Elective monarchy is when the monarch rules over a sovereignty through an election.
Constitutional monarchy is a form of government where legislation is made and executed by an elective parliament, but the monarch has a symbolic role.
Emirate is a type of government that appears in Arab countries.

Advantages of monarchy

Every form of governance comes with its good and bad sides. The same applies to monarchy. Here are some advantages of monarchy.
Reduces partisanship and creates a sense of unity
In this governance system, there is no need for different parties that focus on different ideologies. Instead, the monarch unities the country. The lack of competition discourages polarization.
Quick decision making process
Unlike parliamentary systems where elected individuals vote, in a monarchy, the decision comes down to the monarch. There is no need for majority of vote to pass a law. In times of need, this allows the government to act immediately.
Saves money
In a monarchical system, there is no need for elections. And we all know how much money elections cost.
Smooth succession
In monarchies, the power passes on a successor who is either a family member or an elected monarch who stays in the position until death or abdication. More often than not, this way is more peaceful and less complicated way of succession.
People respect the ruler
With a long history on to the reigning monarch, people usually have respect for their King or Queen. The Head of State is respected by most people of their country. That helps with unity in the nation.
Less corruption
Succession happens upon death of the one in power or if he/she abdicates. Because of this, duration of the tenure can last a long time. This gives reigning monarch no reason to be corrupt.
Trained leader
In the modern era, crown princes are trained from a young age and they are well-educated on political matters. At times, they get more education than the people’s elected representative.

Disadvantages of monarchy

May lead to tyranny
This is one of the biggest reasons critics do not support monarchies. Sometimes, they lead to tyranny. A monarch with absolute power can easily be blinded by the authority.
Misuse of authority for oppression of the poorer sections of society often leads to riots and suffering.
Lack of diversity in the government
Political experts often believe that for the government to work according to the needs of the citizen, it is necessary that there are people conveying the needs of a particular class. Diversity in representation equals in diversity of the laws formed. There is no such thing in monarchies.

One person or family controls a country
This type of government gives control of the whole nation under selected individuals. This leaves the people voice, whatsoever. The public dos not have freedom in making and implementing laws.
Monarchs have expensive lifestyle
Another critic of monarchies, people with power often have luxurious and expensive lifestyle. That is because monarchs are provided with all the luxuries, including upkeep of their royal residence.
You cannot do anything with an oppressive monarch
Because the tenure of a monarch ends only with death or abdication, he/she can stay in power for decades. And if the monarch is a bad person, the people have no way to end his reign. The only option is riots, which usually end up with more suffering from the people. Or assassination of the monarch.

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Thomas B.