David and Goliath

Today an author I enjoy wrote something along the lines of:

“The people who support implementing a monarchy do so because they want to abdicate the responsibility of participating in democracy.”

I am no  fan of monarchies, but I see this comment as lacking in generosity, and intellectually poor. For two reasons.

First: It automatically portrays those who hold a different view from the author as “lesser” people.

They are “those who want to abdicate responsibility.” IE. Lazy and / or cowardly. The idea creates a subconscious equation: if being a responsible citizen is a good thing (I think we are all in agreement here), and if desiring monarchy is abdicating this responsibility, then the people who desire a monarchy are irresponsible. And we do not like irresponsible people, do we?

Secondly: If we are going to (for brevity’s sake) reduce a complex political position to a single point, then we should choose to confront the best version of our opponent.

I do not doubt that there are those who defend the idea of monarchy so that they can be spared from the effort of thinking. But I seriously doubt that most royalists fit this description. There are other, generous things to say about monarchy, advantages it has over pure democracy.

For example, long-term plans can be made, without fearing that the next government will change everything after the next elections. This is something that is obvious even to a layman like me, after thinking about the subject for 5 minutes. Certainly, with a little study, one can find many pros and cons that come from implementing a monarchy.

We fall into this illusion: that our ideas are better if we paint our intellectual or ideological adversaries as asses. They aren’t.

We are the ones acting like asses, when we don’t make an effort to see the best in our opponents. Not because of empathy, or even fair play, but because we deprive ourselves of an opportunity to learn.

If our intellect is so great, our ideas so solid, why not test them against a worthy opponent?