Can't feel any real conviction about republicanism Watch

SaucissonSecCy
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Did anyone else start out republican, have you grappled with republicanism in theory, to end up unconvinced?

I see it in myself as a bit like what some people go through over faith, their rationality tells them atheism, but their deeper intuition can't shake religion.

However much I have wanted to believe in it and see myself as politically quite radical, I just can't maintain any conviction about it. Humans have tendencies exhibited globally, to look downwards, to create hierarchy, to practice snobbery, inhumanity, bigotry, whatever. There are living standard and financial inequalities, and never complete equality in how people are treated. I can't help feeling it's better the devil you know, that a system that somehow is honest and pessimistic, or 'non-utopian', for want of better phrase, in manifesting these human tendencies works better, is more truthful and potentially provides more happiness, order, and liberty in the process. Even an ordered class system can provide better manners, and a social contract, more realism about where you can end up and even happiness in where you do, and also a sense of irony and perspective -e.g whether it's good for people psychically to be advanced above their intellect anyway, whether there are other ways to aspire, whether it should be an obligation etc. It can even provide more social mobility, with scholarships and grammar schools etc. France and America, the former especially, with their revolutions, seem subject to prejudices and deep conservatism, and aren't as tolerant or ordered as us. I am realizing I have much more in common with the English 'empiricism' than I would like to believe, the kind based on tradition, and intuition, with the patriots over internationalist rationalism. I also think it may be more possible for institutions like the NHS to survive, and even things like the National Trust, outwith the EU and with a Monarch. Every politician is state funded and gets the privileges afforded to important people, so it is illogical to oppose the monarchy on this basis when they are often much less damaging, and also when so much of our political class has been self-selecting, and our media acts as an elite in cahoots with them so often, there are real limits to their accountability, and how much they are representatives of people or wanted by them democratically. This again blows republican logic away.

I like a few more things too- That people might revere Diana or the Queen more than a Dumbass like the pope or some Imam, is a testament to our (well, up until recently)secularism- a hybrid of secularism, characteristic English dislike of religious zeal(even our state religion was very mild and non-zealous) and patriotismthat is quite pleasing compared with that goes on elsewhere. Hell, when they revered with Diana it was even someone who had stirred up the monarchy and been anti-establishment within it, so that was quite contradictory and complex.

I somewhat like that our class system has catered for the fact that humans can be pompous and self inflated anyhow, intellectually, as political or religious authorities, or however, and it's often quite random(and sometimes unjust) who is respected. Intellectual matters change like the wind and are often unreliable and subjective, so rewarding something quite arbitrary, where the people who marry in are nakedly aspirational or from wealth, but are often just as principled as pretentiously high-minded people who are just as voraciously aspiring and demanding of respect, is not only nuanced and displaying again a certain honest reflection of human nature, it's also contrarian, anti-pomposity, punk and anti-establishment in it's own way. It is in my view these trends are directly linked to our historical skill of irony, pragmatism and realism, and dislike of extreme zealotry, of a political or religious kind, not to mention appropriate distrust of utopianism-part of an appreciation of greater mysteries beyond dogma which doesn't really solve anything. Republicanism starts to seem very very conventional and even looks like it could open the gates to a real conformity and authoritarianism.

Provide me with good reasons why I'm wrong and I'll be very interested as I still want to believe something could really change through the rejection of a certain conservatism. I've grappled with this confusing issue a long time as I can't quite figure if I'm conservative or not. I think I might like to keep the Monarchy, seeing it in the bracket as the NHS- a noble state funded institution about duty- however I would still like to get rid of boarding schools and state subsidized 'private' schools. This would be far more revolutionary and against classism, and yet would respect our constitutional history and provide stability. The worst would be republic with rampant classism and confromity like France.

I think in the past my republicanism was all tied up with the school system, now I have looked at other countries I realize it is not this simple, and that the latter is far more pernicious than the former.

Oh well I have basically convinced myself what I think- I don't think there is much ambiguity. I think I want to change such things as the regional wealth divides based on plunder and unfair funding, and get rid of elitist schooling, especially boarding schools, and improve social mobility. That's far more progressive and a revolution than petulant destruction of institutions that are historical and complex.
I don't know if you can ever reasonably do it with universities, or what the solution is there as elite unis do give people not at the top class wise a way to shine, adding in theory another layer of complexity to our country, but there has to be social mobility for this, and as far as I can see 'modest' yet potent class displays rule all in a country where talking up the university you attended, especially not at the top of the class scale, would get you looked up as common.

Not convinced the elite universities are good as part of my political philosophy, although if they really fostered social mobility and didn't just take the most bloodthirsty or drilled students, bu the most thoughtful and creative ones, they could work perfectly well as part of something very progressive.

So what does everyone think?
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Sternumator
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I think Republicans want to abolish the monarchy for symbolic reasons. I don't believe it is worth turning our country upside down for that alone.

Our constitutional system has provided us with stable government and prosperity for centuries. People take that for granted but they should not.

If the monarchy is abolished, there are no guarantees about what will replace it. There are not even any guarantees of a peaceful transition.

If it aint broke, don't fix it.
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mojojojo101
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As an Anarchist I believe that all hierarchy and power relationships need to be justified. They need to, without doubt, be in the best interests of all involved, be as simple and accountable as possible, last only as long as is absolutely neccesary. A monarchy fails on all those grounds absolutely spectacularly.

Then again, I'd also argue that parliamentary democracy also fails that test as well.
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SaucissonSecCy
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Anyone else?
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Midlander
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(Original post by SaucissonSecCy)
Anyone else?
I have held republican views since my teens and they are as strong as ever. I have always found it odd to be told that I'm a republican for symbolic reasons, by people who support an institution that serves a purely symbolic purpose. We don't need it, and we can do much better.

When the buffoon Charles takes to the throne I think we will see a spike in republican support.


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ChaoticButterfly
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We should replace her with President Corbyn.
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jkls92
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I think that your mistake is seeing class as the most important discriminant between monarchy and republic. I understand the Queen is the source of all honours, but abolishing the monarchy would create a new class system, instead of removing it. The upper class wouldn't be the reserve of the aristocracy anymore, but it would still exist. As you said, changing the school system may be more effective as regards social fairness.

But this is not the point about Republicanism. It's that people are citizens, not subjects, and they hold sovereignty: me and you, the rich, the poor, old money, new money, educated, uneducated, everyone is sovereign, everyone is free. Republic is about the ideal of libertas. However, since the UK has implemented a very liberal system where the monarch acts as an important element of stability and doesn't exercise much illegitimate power, it's legit to ask whether it's more convenient to keep the monarchy.
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jkls92
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(Original post by ChaoticButterfly)
We should replace her with President Corbyn.
This post shows how ignorant you are about how Republics work.
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ChaoticButterfly
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(Original post by usualsuspects)
This post shows how ignorant you are about how Republics work.
Or I might have a sense of humour...
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username2766878
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It's a tiddly non issue.
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SaucissonSecCy
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(Original post by usualsuspects)
I think that your mistake is seeing class as the most important discriminant between monarchy and republic. I understand the Queen is the source of all honours, but abolishing the monarchy would create a new class system, instead of removing it. The upper class wouldn't be the reserve of the aristocracy anymore, but it would still exist. As you said, changing the school system may be more effective as regards social fairness.

But this is not the point about Republicanism. It's that people are citizens, not subjects, and they hold sovereignty: me and you, the rich, the poor, old money, new money, educated, uneducated, everyone is sovereign, everyone is free. Republic is about the ideal of libertas. However, since the UK has implemented a very liberal system where the monarch acts as an important element of stability and doesn't exercise much illegitimate power, it's legit to ask whether it's more convenient to keep the monarchy.

I'm not sure I agree, because that was always my rationale for it. If you take that out of the equation then I'm not sure I prefer French or American elitism to our monarchy, I very much saw it as part of a wider trend of pronounced class difference- if you subtract that from the equation I'm more pro-monarchy in the British empirical sense than I like to think. The whole driving force for removing it in my mind goes away.

Liberty is only an abstract, easier to talk about possessing than having in reality. It's been shown that liberty and democracy don't exactly connect and are sometimes inimical, you know like Edmund Burke's ideas. Maybe in that case more a libertarian monarchist country was better than a democracy that could become authoritarian, like Germany.
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Order 66
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Republicanism has never really appealed to me at all. I wouldn't say I'm really a monarchist either. Just satisfied with the status quo.
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jkls92
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(Original post by SaucissonSecCy)
I'm not sure I agree, because that was always my rationale for it. If you take that out of the equation then I'm not sure I prefer French or American elitism to our monarchy, I very much saw it as part of a wider trend of pronounced class difference- if you subtract that from the equation I'm more pro-monarchy in the British empirical sense than I like to think. The whole driving force for removing it in my mind goes away.

Liberty is only an abstract, easier to talk about possessing than having in reality. It's been shown that liberty and democracy don't exactly connect and are sometimes inimical, you know like Edmund Burke's ideas. Maybe in that case more a libertarian monarchist country was better than a democracy that could become authoritarian, like Germany.
I don't care much about social equality, so I support republics for reasons connected to liberty and democracy. A weak state is prone to authoritarianism whether a republic or monarchy. Germany was a weak republic before nazism and Italy was a weak monarchy before fascism (the king, contrary to what demanded by government and elected parliament, allowed fascists to take Rome militarily and asked mussolini to form a new government). Later, people chose to adopt a republican system with division of powers and checks and balances to better ensure that the state wouldn't fall to authoritarianism again.

However, I think that republics also do a better job with equality. Although the state of fact doesn't necessarily respect the state of law, in general republics are inherently (ideologically and constitutionally) more equal. This doesn't mean that there aren't social differences, only a socialist state would avoid that. But at least social classes and privileges aren't established by laws and the upper classes become more accessible. The UK still has the capitalist elite as the US, the snobbish old money elite as the French and the Italian ruling class of bankers, politicians, entrepreneurs and top managers. As the rest of the west, it also has a middle class which is somehow the prevalent social class. But, on top of this structure, it also has a titled and landed upper class which has some sort of political power or influence granted by law. Abolishing the monarchy would remove this latter stratum, but not the former ones.
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