Friday, October 29, 2010

Why Constitutional Monarchy Rocks

There are a lot of Yglesias-haters in the comment box, but I would like to point out that he makes a damn good case for constitutional monarchy.

There is glamour in power. That's an irreducible fact about human nature. But democratic politicians shouldn't have access to that glamour.

Also, for some purposes, we need someone who can make gestures on behalf of the nation. Active politicians can't sensibly do that, because about half the population (give or take) hates their guts.

Unfortunately, Yglesias is too sanguine about actual Canadian practice. Liberals don't understand the monarchy, and have spent a lot of time trying to undermine it, so it isn't as unifying as one would hope. Quebec can't really get into it. And first ministers want the glamour, for the very reason they shouldn't have it, so they try to marginalize those in possession of vice-regal authority.

The crazy thing is that people who should know better think the vice regents are a bigger threat to democracy than the desire of the Prime Minister's Office to presidentialize our system.

Bottom line: You should totally be allowed to call the premier or prime minister "dude."