Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The other throne speech

Another interesting piece from the Cato Institute.
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Blogger mamegann said...

Yet another reason why a useless monarchy (as Canada has) is so handy. The people, apparently, want a king. Even God couldn't fight that one. So our figurehead queen absorbs that deep-seated desire of the collective unconscious, and we are free to treat politicians like the humans they are. So (generally) our politicians don't act like sovereigns. I doubt that Queen Elizabeth is wiretapping anyone.

9:41 PM, January 31, 2006  
Anonymous Mike Anderson said...

One can only hope that Gene Healy will next take on some other modern American irritants, like the direct election of senators, the personal income tax, women's suffrage, instant coffee, and automatic transmissions. Earmarking is the current fad in American politics, and President Bush at least does it out in the open.

I got the impression from the recent election that a plurality of Canadians were disgusted with a group of politicians who WERE acting like sovereigns. Nothing like a minority government to coax everyone to make nice.

The Crown has been wiretapping folks since at least Hitler's time, and has now advanced to 24/7 video surveillance.

Having said all that, we Americans do envy you your royalty. Archaic and outmoded, but still kinda cool.

10:47 PM, January 31, 2006  
Blogger Raywat Deonandan said...

Mamegann, I completely agree. This is the sole purpose of a monarchy in a modern democracy: by allowing for a powerless head of state to cut the ribbons and absorb the pomp, we necessarily reduce the true power --the PM-- to a mere man. It's the monarch's face that appears on our money, not the political leader's. And it's the monarch's entrance that garners a silent standing room, not the leader's.

Contrast this with the US system where, in absence of a ceremonial head of state, the Presidency has evolved monarchical and almost deific standing. There is no better example of this in that everyone must stand when the President enters or leaves the room. This is a sure recipe for encouraging one man to feel above the law.

10:17 AM, February 01, 2006  
Blogger Nick Barrowman said...

What about having a prime minister AND a (largely ceremonial) president like they do in the Republic of Ireland? The president plays the role of head of state, cutting ribbons and absorbing pomp (as Ray so eloquently puts it). In fact here in Canada we have a Governor General who plays that role. The Queen plays virtually no role, except to satisfy the Monarchist League.

5:58 PM, February 01, 2006  
Blogger mamegann said...

Absorbing pomp, indeed. Have you noticed that the place to go in DC is the White House? . . . where the President lives? Who cares where he lives? Can you imagine touring 10 Downing Street, or wherever it is the PM lives? God bless Canadians for lining up at Parliament Hill.


10:06 PM, February 01, 2006  
Blogger Nick Barrowman said...

Not sure I follow you there, Adele. The White House would be an interesting place to visit because of all the history. Besides, after watching all those episodes of West Wing, it would feel like home!

10:22 PM, February 01, 2006  
Blogger mamegann said...

The White House is the most famous building in DC, if not the whole US. Until I went to DC, I assumed that's where the government was, so I was astonished to find out that it was a residence. Of course, that was before West Wing. Now I know how interesting that building really is! I doubt, however, that the West Wing is on tour.

2:35 PM, February 04, 2006  

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