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Constitutional Monarchial Capitalism

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I've spent a lot of time recently thinking about how to prevent what happened in America: The gradual corruption and elimination of the principles of truly limited government. Given enough time, any system can become corrupt, and completely over run the constitution with no problems. The "checks and balances" system is easily eliminated by a "it's outdated" philosophy, circumventions such as we see today with the 16 czars, or more commonly, easily, and simply, bribery and blackmail. I've been trying to find a solution that keeps the system as free as possible of this corruption, and keeps the ideas of a capitalist government so airtight only outright military takeovers could get rid of it.

I've had some conclusions - give the population the legal authority to storm the branches of government and replace it's members by whatever means necessary. Unfortunately, this requires an educated population, which may not be sustainable over the long run. It's also violent, filled with destruction, and would be an over the top reaction in many instances.

Recently, I was reading "Reflections on the Revolution in France", and he was talking about the concept of Monarchy in England. He was talking about how the hereditary transference of a limited, constitutionally stated amount of power by a King could insure a passing on of tradition, and keep certain concepts about governance passed down and kept in the government.

So I was thinking - could we not have a constitutional monarchy in a Capitalist state, where a hereditary king brought up in the traditions of free enterprise would hold something like the powers of Speaker of the house and be on a cabinet or something (not to mention the enormous cultural role he would pose) to ensure the security of Liberty for as long as possible?

I'm not saying I am in support of this theory - I was just thinking about it. Tell me what your thoughts are, both on the idea and the concept of ensuring an airtight constitution.

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The Philosopher King? Wasn't this Plato's favorite idea... Minus the democracy part

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I'm not saying I am in support of this theory - I was just thinking about it. Tell me what your thoughts are, both on the idea and the concept of ensuring an airtight constitution.

Eternal Vigilance -- and understanding the moral basis of capitalism. Our system didn't get corrupted just because the Constitution was ignored or mis-interpreted, but rather because corrupt philosophy made it nearly impossible to defend the rights of man against a centuries old onslaught of wrong ideas. I don't think a "philosopher king" relationship coupled with educating the next ruler would work, because the education of the next ruler would be key. Besides, we are not looking for a ruler, but rather a protector of individual rights. And the primary protectors of individual rights must be the people being governed -- as in by the people, for the people, and of the people.

So, education of the proper theory of individual rights is the key.

What I would like to see one day, though it may be quite some time for it to happen, is to have something like Miss Rand's statement about Man's Rights be the pre-amble to the Constitution. If the issue is state clearly enough, there won't be so much wiggle room as it tends to be corrupted due to power lust.

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So I was thinking - could we not have a constitutional monarchy in a Capitalist state, where a hereditary king brought up in the traditions of free enterprise would hold something like the powers of Speaker of the house and be on a cabinet or something (not to mention the enormous cultural role he would pose) to ensure the security of Liberty for as long as possible?

An Austrian-School libertarian already wrote a whole book on that, and apparently actually advocates it.

I'm not saying I am in support of this theory - I was just thinking about it. Tell me what your thoughts are, both on the idea and the concept of ensuring an airtight constitution.

I don't either. No set of political institutions can stop people from eventually getting the kind of government they deserve. The only thing that can be done insofar as the design of institutions is concerned is to put up some guides & signposts, and for the three powers to be set up as checks and balances against each other. That, and only that, is the purpose of a Constitution, and part of that must be to make each of the three powers answerable to those from whom they obtain their authority.

People themselves are answerable to morality. Thomas is right - the only way to protect liberty is through objective morality, and in turn the only way to protect that is through objectivity. This is the point that the libertarians and other primacy-of-politics types refuse to understand.

JJM

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Another alternative that I consider to be a better answer than copying the US form of government, is a Constitutional Nomocracy. A state run by rule of Constitutional Law. In this system, various positions would be elected to for administrative purposes, perhaps even a president of some kind, to handle issues of war or what have you. But the body of law from which all other laws in the land must hierarchically spring would be written into the constitution. And the constitution will include the preservation of specific individual rights, all explicitly, and outline guides for interpretation of these laws for the court system to use to adjudicate issues of law. There may still be political parties, but they'd disagree only in the methods by which administrative issues should be carried out, not on the fundamentals. For instance, under this system, a communist party would not exist. Communism necessarily advocates breaking individual rights in order for its political machinery to work, therefore it is against the constitution, and as such can have no political legitimacy. Law in the constitution may be changed but only after a very long arduous process involving more than just the executive and congressional branches, if a congressional branch would even exist under such a form of government.

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Eternal Vigilance -- and understanding the moral basis of capitalism.

Exactly. No amount of safeguards can prevent government from doing whatever it wants if it can persuade enough people to let it.

Even so, safeguards could work as speed bumps which might prove helpful. So there are two I would like to propose:

1) A very explicit constitutional article stating that government can only do what the constitution says it can, and not even a microscopic iota more.

2) Make it very hard to pass laws. Require a super majority for passage, or require every law to be justified with constitutional citation (the law would have to spell out what part of the constitution grants government the authority to encat the contents of the law). Or even both.

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D'kian, I like your idea but a constitution also spells out the structure of the government. The sort of purely administrative things like the number of senators and such. I would not like to have to achieve some sort of superior majority every time the government wanted to gerrymander the constituencies to adjust to population changes and the like.

I do think that there should be certain inviolate articles within the constitution though.

I'd definitely include a bunch of "Government shall not..." clauses but this time I'd include the actual definitions of the words as they are intended to be used so that little gems like 'regulation' and 'general welfare' are not able to be construed to mean limitless control and unending handouts...

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D'kian, I like your idea but a constitution also spells out the structure of the government. The sort of purely administrative things like the number of senators and such. I would not like to have to achieve some sort of superior majority every time the government wanted to gerrymander the constituencies to adjust to population changes and the like.

Aren't the shapes of Congressional districts ahndled at the state level? But, yes, a super majority in such cases could be detrimental. I can imagine Party A trading favors for advantageous districts with Party B.

I still like the idea of citing the constitutional authority for every law.

I do think that there should be certain inviolate articles within the constitution though.

That's a tempting idea.

I'd definitely include a bunch of "Government shall not..." clauses but this time I'd include the actual definitions of the words as they are intended to be used so that little gems like 'regulation' and 'general welfare' are not able to be construed to mean limitless control and unending handouts...

I'm less sure on that. I'm ambivalent as regards the Bill of Rights. It's really not necessary to grant rights to people, as rights are inherent to people. And it gives an opening for what we have now, particularly among the right, that such ennumerated rights are all the rights the Constitution guarantees (or imparts, which is much worse).

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I'm less sure on that. I'm ambivalent as regards the Bill of Rights. It's really not necessary to grant rights to people, as rights are inherent to people. And it gives an opening for what we have now, particularly among the right, that such ennumerated rights are all the rights the Constitution guarantees (or imparts, which is much worse).

No, you've misunderstood me. Rights as we are aware are not granted by any government or man.

I am speaking of prohibitions on the power and scope of government.

for example...

Government shall pass no law except as required to protect individuals from initiation of force.

Government shall make no legislation limiting business or other free and voluntary associations and agreements.

Government shall raise no taxes.

The idea is to constitutionally prohibit the rampant expansion of government. Of course as mentioned all of this is for naught if the people want to live in a nanny state... but at least it couldn't happen without explicit intent if there were hard and fast defined limits.

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Tell me what your thoughts are, both on the idea and the concept of ensuring an airtight constitution.

I think that it's neither possible, nor desirable, to have an "airtight" constitution, regardless of the form of government it defines.

1. Any constitution's terms must be objectively defined, and its language parsed meticulously to avoid misinterpretation. America's Founders attempted this, yet changes in meaning have exposed 'holes' in the Constitution that Congress has driven expansionist legislation through. Written today, the issue of electronic eavesdropping would give many pause when it came to broad search & seizure protections. Such a problem was totally unimaginable at the time the USA Constitution was written.

2. Any constitution must be amendable. Even the greatest philosophical-political minds in history cannot predict the future, thus there must be some opening for future legislators to add new laws or limitations on government power. The Founders could not have envisioned our world; what will our grandchildren's grandchildren be dealing with in the 23rd century that we can't imagine now?

3. Checks and balances within government only go so far; the people must be the ultimate check against the expansion of government power. Without the vigilance of voters, no matter how "airtight" the constitution is, the government will spill out of its boundaries. What's to stop them from writing another constitution, one that gives them unlimited powers? You and me and 300 million others, that's who, and no Constitutional Amendment can assure that we maintain that vigilance.

4. No matter how simple a concept, no matter how universally agreed-upon the meaning of a word, no matter how clearly a legal concept can be drafted and interpreted, somewhere there's a lawyer or politician capable of hairsplitting it beyond the point of reasonable doubt.

- - -

Words on paper are nice, but the real Constitution is the people who keep their government in its place.

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... and keep certain concepts about governance passed down and kept in the government.

Concepts cannot be passed down mechanically through the generations. They have to learned and integrated within a specific persons lifetime of knowledge and experience. The same facts that can lead to an ordinary citizen being subject to philosophic corruption (fallibility, non-omniscience, volition) operates just as efficiently in any individual person nominated to be king, so monarchs are not inherently more virtuous than citizens.

Even thinking a monarch could be a shortcut in a transitional process because it is easier for one man to be virtuous than an entire country is an illusion. "The dictatorship of the proletariat" never ended well where ever it was tried because authoritarianism is morally corrupting to the authority as well as the subjects.

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There already are blanket prohibitions on certain actions. That's what the 9th and 10th Amendments say: if we didn't specifically tell you it's in the Constitution, it isn't.

Similarly, there are already rules requiring Congress to identify their Constitutional basis. What it always comes down to is "elastic clause" and "commerce clause". The solution there is not to try to make legislators more accountable by citing their charter at every step, but by writing the charter so that it cannot be cited improperly.

Which brings me to an amusing (in a depressing way) point: the phrase "regulate commerce" meant "to keep regular". How the mighty have fallen...

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So I was thinking - could we not have a constitutional monarchy in a Capitalist state, where a hereditary king brought up in the traditions of free enterprise would hold something like the powers of Speaker of the house and be on a cabinet or something (not to mention the enormous cultural role he would pose) to ensure the security of Liberty for as long as possible?

Ayn Rand said a lot about the proper role of government. I don't recall her saying very much about what form it would take. Simply calling her politics "Capitalism" as she did says *nothing* about whether it would be a monarchy, consititutional monarchy, republic, representative democracy, federation, separated powers, etc., etc. -- all stuff one would think would be part of "politics"! (I sometimes wonder if "politics" (rather than "political economy") is actually the appropriate name for this branch of the philosophy, given this lack.) Clearly, the harder it is for a proposed form to become corrupted the better. Frankly if we could guarantee it would never overstep its bounds, I wouldn't mind if all political power were vested in the person of a President-for-life or an "absolute" monarch who *never* pretended to regard me as a "constituent" who had to be "listened to." But clearly a vote is an important check on someone who *does* seek to overstep the bounds of his legitimate power. As to a figurehead monarch as constitutional monarchies have.... well, it's probably a waste of government funds, but other than that essentially harmless. (And if those government funds are voluntarily contributed who really cares?)

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Recently, I was reading "Reflections on the Revolution in France", and he was talking about the concept of Monarchy in England. He was talking about how the hereditary transference of a limited, constitutionally stated amount of power by a King could insure a passing on of tradition, and keep certain concepts about governance passed down and kept in the government.

So I was thinking - could we not have a constitutional monarchy in a Capitalist state, where a hereditary king brought up in the traditions of free enterprise would hold something like the powers of Speaker of the house and be on a cabinet or something (not to mention the enormous cultural role he would pose) to ensure the security of Liberty for as long as possible?

I'm not saying I am in support of this theory - I was just thinking about it. Tell me what your thoughts are, both on the idea and the concept of ensuring an airtight constitution.

Here's a problem I see right off the bat.

The King is a hereditary power.

As a government official he's getting paid I would presume?

So we have something pretty anti-capitalist and pretty anti-Objectivist from the start- someone born into unearned power and wealth, being paid via citizens' tax dollars for a job they did not get on their own merit. Not only that but generation after generation of taxpayer will be paying for generation after generation of nobility long after those that chose who would be king are gone.

That seems unsupportable.

Regarding the model of England's constitutional monarchy.. they slid into socialism faster than we did so that probably isn't the best example.

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