I am writing an essay for my civics class and was wondering how our lives would be different if we lived in a country ruled by a monarch.
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It depends on the monarchy. If we had a parliamentary system like in Europe I am not sure that our lives would be much different. In that case the monarch is kind of a figurehead. They have a prime minister, but elect a party and not a president.
My mind goes to the notion of "selection" and elevated status and the social implications of having a royal family. Psychologically, everyone living in a monarchy has to comes to terms with two important facts, which have bearing on a sense of self: 1) There are people (the royal family) who are born into power, status, etc. 2) There are people who are not born into power and status and who are, therefore, "lesser people".
The equanimity of democracy is undone in a monarchy, at least to some small but necessary degree.
Two aspects of this occur to me. First, what a monarchy would be like depends a great deal on whether it is a constitutional monarchy, as England is, with guarantees of various rights and processes built in, or a monarchy with no constitution, which, of course, leaves people at the whim of the monarch, for better or worse. Second, because a monarchy generally calls for hereditary succession, a country can swing wildly from a benevolent leader to a cruel dictator, from one generation to the next. This lack of stability does not bode well for a country because its people and institutions have no way of knowing which they will get.
One key difference is that we would not have to worry about standing in those long lines on Election Day; the country would no longer be divided into red and blue states. Then, by saving all of the millions of taxpayer dollars spent on elections, the Supreme Monarch of the United States could increase my humble educator's salary...or build himself a grand new palace in Las Vegas; there is no way of knowing how that monarchy would work out, for better or worse. Historical evidence suggests that as long as you have a good, fair-minded king on the throne, the country will be in decent shape; the only problem is when that monarch turns out to be a total loser or insane, like George III.
This depends a lot on what kind of a monarch it was. If we were ruled by a "good" monarch, our lives might be better on a day-to-day basis than if we are governed by a bad Congress and President. Of course, we might get a bad monarch. And even if we got a good monarch, we still wouldn't have the same sense of having political power of a sort.
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