Why is it that Monarchical Kings are not viewed with the same infamy as Dictators?

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Modern dictatorships exist in a world after the various democratic revolutions which prize 'liberty' and 'self-determination' among other things. They don't have thousands of years of being the dominant political system of the world and all the justification by the intelligentsia that that entails. Indeed, they are the thing which the powers that be contrast themselves in order to get away with their own shortcomings.

It is important to understand that dictatorship, monarchy, republicanism, Athenian democracy and so on and so forth have all existed because they suit the interests of the ruling class as the ruling class understands them. How well they perform in metrics such as responsiveness to public opinion or economic productivity and stability has been always and continuously secondary. They exist because they allow the powerful to optimize exploitation against political stability. What we call 'democracy' exists now because the ruling class wanted people who could read to work in factories; literacy was no longer some mythical attribute confined to the nobility and priesthood, so the illusion of aristocratic superiority disappeared. The ruling class needed a way to keep a purchase on politics while letting the people believe that they have the power. Thus, private property (and resultant private accumulation) is a sacred institution above politics.

Modern dictatorships tend to exist where the vast majority of wealth is generated by something extremely simple, such as pumping oil out of the ground. The existence of a resource that can enrich by simple extraction and exportation makes literacy, the economic integration of the country, and infrastructure (aside from that needed to extract and export) not a priority of the ruling class-- hardly beneficial, mostly just threatening. Which is why they are so often economic basket-cases. It's by design.

Satinavian:

None of those fit your description at all. Only the first one comes anywhere close.

How? For starters I was only giving an explanation of one of what I was trying to get at ... the fact that monarchies and other hereditarytitles in a feudal relationship are routinely challenged in conflicts. I was pointing out that clearly they're not stable, because either someone is challenging your title, and quite clearly a monarch must routinely protect the territory of those that have offered their fealty to protect your claim.

How is that 'stable' in your argument?

A concentration of power combined with hereditary title creates conflict ... thus monarchs need to secure loyalty, and they need to be prepared to fight to protect those that legitimate your rule. But that relationship between hereditary title and the consoliation of political power is inherently asking for conflict.

Samtemdo8:
The Romanticism of Kings and Kingdoms certainly contributed, I mean you won't see a modern Dictator portrayed in this fashion:

It's important to note these monarchs are romanticized as having EARNED their thrones, and that fictional monarchs who do not earn this in some manner or exhibit bad traits were not given good press in stories dating back to folklore. The stories of the past exhibit the traits the people of the time desired, so it's important to remember that we have always had a notion of what a "good ruler" should or shouldn't do based on our social values of the time.

Have you ever seen a Monarchist (from a country that's a Republic) debate with a Republican (from a country that's a Monarchy)?

I have. And it's a lot of fun.

Also, I'd add that you can find a lot of defenders of despots of all sorts, be they monarchs or dictators. Usually defended by people they happen to politically align with.

Addendum_Forthcoming:

Satinavian:

None of those fit your description at all. Only the first one comes anywhere close.

How? For starters I was only giving an explanation of one of what I was trying to get at ... the fact that monarchies and other hereditarytitles in a feudal relationship are routinely challenged in conflicts. I was pointing out that clearly they're not stable, because either someone is challenging your title, and quite clearly a monarch must routinely protect the territory of those that have offered their fealty to protect your claim.

No, you described succession as some kind of deadly competition where the heir gets to be the sole one left. And where charisma and personal followers are more important than succession rules, birth order or blood relation.

That is completely wrong. In fact that would match pretty good for most dictatorships. It is even more true for republics where indeed some kind of competition for succession occurs, even if far less bloody.

Gethsemani:
Successful by which metrics?

Successfull as in "the most wildly adopted system of gouvernment over the whole historic time of the earth (explicitely excluding prehistory here) that was also held by most of the most powerful and most prosperous nations of their time and region.

If you wanted to show that monarchy and feudalism contributed in positive ways to society and development, and not just survived for a long time, you'd need to show how it was better then either of the Roman systems of government, for example.

Do you mean the Republic with a class system exactly as rigid as what feudalism produces later ? A thing ruled by a small group of families sharing all positions of power between themself (in later centuries there were exceptions)? An aristocracy whose privilege included "being actually allowed to know the law" ( until uprising eventually them to write it down)? A system so prone to internal blockade that they had to invent the habit of chosing a full blown dictator every time they had a crisis and just hope he would give up the office afterwards ? A system so ineffectual at being employed beyond the scope of a single city that they had to uphold the hegemony they achieved through a system of pseudo-vassals with different gouvernment systems instead of integrating them ? A system where, when eventually some posts would be given to the plebeians that was more about including some very rich plebeian families into the group of ruling families without having to allow a transition to the gentiles ? A system that when it reformed to have actual Roman armies (instead of mostly allies) far away from the capitol for a long time was instantly under constant theat of commanders moving them back to rome to force the senate to do whatever ?

Satinavian:

Addendum_Forthcoming:

Satinavian:

None of those fit your description at all. Only the first one comes anywhere close.

How? For starters I was only giving an explanation of one of what I was trying to get at ... the fact that monarchies and other hereditarytitles in a feudal relationship are routinely challenged in conflicts. I was pointing out that clearly they're not stable, because either someone is challenging your title, and quite clearly a monarch must routinely protect the territory of those that have offered their fealty to protect your claim.

No, you described succession as some kind of deadly competition where the heir gets to be the sole one left. And where charisma and personal followers are more important than succession rules, birth order or blood relation.

That is completely wrong. In fact that would match pretty good for most dictatorships. It is even more true for republics where indeed some kind of competition for succession occurs, even if far less bloody.

Monarchies were many and varied in their approaches to succession. Alexander might say "the Strongest!" Mehmed might say "whichever of my sons becomes the Emperor must kill all his brothers". Succession rules, birth order, or blood relation were not always the most important thing; plenty of family dynasties were created or fell to extinction upon succession.

Seanchaidh:

Monarchies were many and varied in their approaches to succession. Alexander might say "the Strongest!" Mehmed might say "whichever of my sons becomes the Emperor must kill all his brothers". Succession rules, birth order, or blood relation were not always the most important thing; plenty of family dynasties were created or fell to extinction upon succession.

I already mentioned the Ottomans earlier. That kind of thing was really rare. And Alexander was a conquerer that never managed to make a proper monarchy out of his huge territory which is why it fell apart instantly.

Yes, birth order amd blood relations were not always that important. But succession rules always where, that is one of the defining aspects of. Without an established succession rule that is expected to be upheld under normal circumstances, it simply is not a monarchy.
Most monarchies where birth order or blood relation was not that important were some kind of elective monarchies. Most of the rest had some form of heir adoption process or at least the monarch declaring which of his family members gets to be heir.

Forcing potential heirs to kill each other so the winner takes all ? Not really common at all as succession model. It is far to destructive, especcially when done with armies. Not only does a potential civil war every generation bad, not being able to use the royal family as loyal pawns is limiting too.

Also switching dynasties does not always mean a break in the succession rules. In Europe, dynasties also ended when a female heir took the family name of her queen consort and her children would then be counted under the other dynasty.

Satinavian:

Seanchaidh:

Monarchies were many and varied in their approaches to succession. Alexander might say "the Strongest!" Mehmed might say "whichever of my sons becomes the Emperor must kill all his brothers". Succession rules, birth order, or blood relation were not always the most important thing; plenty of family dynasties were created or fell to extinction upon succession.

I already mentioned the Ottomans earlier. That kind of thing was really rare. And Alexander was a conquerer that never managed to make a proper monarchy out of his huge territory which is why it fell apart instantly.

Yes, birth order amd blood relations were not always that important. But succession rules always where, that is one of the defining aspects of. Without an established succession rule that is expected to be upheld under normal circumstances, it simply is not a monarchy.
Most monarchies where birth order or blood relation was not that important were some kind of elective monarchies. Most of the rest had some form of heir adoption process or at least the monarch declaring which of his family members gets to be heir.

Forcing potential heirs to kill each other so the winner takes all ? Not really common at all as succession model. It is far to destructive, especcially when done with armies. Not only does a potential civil war every generation bad, not being able to use the royal family as loyal pawns is limiting too.

Also switching dynasties does not always mean a break in the succession rules. In Europe, dynasties also ended when a female heir took the family name of her queen consort and her children would then be counted under the other dynasty.

Monarchies were incredibly unstable upon succession, just like modern dictatorships. The fact that many had a pretense of succession rules that were more or less usually followed at least loosely is more a function of monarchs intentionally biasing the situations they'd leave their heirs so that power relations would naturally shake out into something that resembled what the law might call for, not a function of the law being dispositive; the legal heir would be groomed for the role and have relationships with key supporters already in place not because the law says so but because that's what any halfway decent heir to the throne (or usurper) would do.

Satinavian:
No, you described succession as some kind of deadly competition where the heir gets to be the sole one left. And where charisma and personal followers are more important than succession rules, birth order or blood relation.

That is completely wrong. In fact that would match pretty good for most dictatorships. It is even more true for republics where indeed some kind of competition for succession occurs, even if far less bloody.

Quiteclearly I didn't. Unless you reckon that 'being charismatic or securing loyalties' is mass murder. But even then it's not unprecedented. What you're saying here is pure sophistry about a generalized argument. That monarchies and hereditary title are clearly not stable formations precisely because of a concentration of power without necessarily a concentration of loyalty ... and even when you have a legitimate heir (as is the case with the War for Brittany) ... that doesn't stop another having what they would argue is an equally legitimate claimant.

And that can trigger devastating internal and external conflicts.

Governments should hopefully last longer than a single life without a possible war for succession.

And you cannot separate a monarchy from a possible war for succession. Well, a Constitutional Moarchy, sure, but the power balance has shifted, and it's no longer the monarch that provides any stability. It's the principle foundations of codified law built (hopefully) beyond a consolidation of political power in an heir apparent.

Neither can you separate a monarchy over a kingdom of any large size or populace from a network of regional lords that you must first secure the allegiances of. A feudal society of sufficient size and political dimensions is one asking for trouble inevitably. This is particularly true as you get strings of marriages, strings of birthrights ...

Like, a multigenerational plan to secure the birthright of an eventual Charles V ...

Yeah--guess how stable, and the shadows it would cast over Europe (and the world), that would turn out to be?

Addendum_Forthcoming:

Samtemdo8:
The Romanticism of Kings and Kingdoms certainly contributed, I mean you won't see a modern Dictator portrayed in this fashion:

Of course, both of these are from British writers from the first half of the 20th Century.

Also from the same time these writers were born?

Queen Victoria Building, Sydney ... the statue is, of course, Queen Victoria.

It's actually probably the most pretty and regal shopping mall in existence.

It's not really 'romanticism' (either in an artistic movement sense or reimagined definition of it to solely mean a rose-coloured perception of the past) when even the colonies were producing grand architectural facades dedicated to European monarchies and their power.

And this particular bit of architecture is from the Federation era. You know... instead of building more railways, roads, universities, libraries, and expanding health care ... no, overly designed marketplaces for late colonial day trade of luxury and consumer goods. Priorities, you see.

This particular edifice to an English monarch becomes even more absurd when you consider it was designed by a Scottish emigre to Australia who later naturalized and was a critical part of developing the architecture of buildings that would later accelerate and come to partly represent the birth of the Commonwealth of Australia and a formal shift from colonial dominion to true self-governance.

How about this one then, there was a degree of reverence with Charlemagne here:

They dont, they are just a shit ton more kings that dictators thru history. So there are bound to be more good ones to pick from.

Shitty kings with bad fame:
-henry the 8
-Leopold 2
-Ivan 4
-King John
-Mary queen of the scots

and we can go on.

The thing is, when a king is good, it directly affect the people and the memory they have of them. it brings stability, and safety to the peasants.

sonofliber:
They dont, they are just a shit ton more kings that dictators thru history. So there are bound to be more good ones to pick from.

Shitty kings with bad fame:
-henry the 8
-Leopold 2
-Ivan 4
-King John
-Mary queen of the scots

and we can go on.

The thing is, when a king is good, it directly affect the people and the memory they have of them. it brings stability, and safety to the peasants.

Is Henry VIII actually remembered as a bad King or just an exceedingly terrible husband?

To the political right, that's been controlling the narrative throughout most of human history, the abolishment of feudalism is, in a sense, the original sin. Entitlement to power through nothing but birthright is the state they want to restore more than anything and it's end was the biggest defeat they ever suffered.

There's a reason why Disney and Co are so obsessed with righteous kings and fair princesses and charming princes... all of these won't go away anytime soon as long as it's capitalists who are producing the entertainment our kids watch. Most actual historians will agree that the feudal or monarchist society was one of the greatest perversions of humankind. The elevation of the few over the many by divine right. We haven't recovered from it yet and I don't think we will anytime soon.

Seanchaidh:
Is Henry VIII actually remembered as a bad King or just an exceedingly terrible husband?

Mostly just a terrible husband.

As a king, he was a bit of a mixed bag. He was a strong patron of arts, intellectual pursuits and enriched the country in that sense; he was personally charismatic and athletic (at least until later life). On the downside he was extravagant and wasted money on frippery and ineffectual warfare, and a little too fond of executing people who displeased him.

He would perhaps be viewed far less favourably except that he was also blessed with a large quantity of highly capable ministers who ran and developed the country extremely well despite him. Perhaps his greatest talent was letting them get on with things (at least until he banished or executed them).

Agema:

Seanchaidh:
Is Henry VIII actually remembered as a bad King or just an exceedingly terrible husband?

Mostly just a terrible husband.

All that because he desperately wanted a Protestant Male Heir to his kingdom. And his direct Protestant Male Heir died only after a few years while he was still a boy.

It is one of the greatest ironies in the history of the world that his protestant daughter Elizabeth would be considered the most iconic and greatest monarch to ever sit on the English throne to the point that even her legacy overshadows Herny's :P

To the femenists, this is a prime example of why inheritance should not be exclusive to males.

I'd say the fact that we remember Henry VIII for all the gluttony and wife shenanigans and nearly bankrupting the country rather than any good he might have done suggests he was a pretty bad king

Palindromemordnilap:
I'd say the fact that we remember Henry VIII for all the gluttony and wife shenanigans and nearly bankrupting the country rather than any good he might have done suggests he was a pretty bad king

Those of us on the Catholic end of things also resent him for what he did to Catholics in his attempt to find a legal way to dump his wife. The Ecclesiastical Appeals Act 1532 is illegitimate, I tells ya!

Samtemdo8:
It is one of the greatest ironies in the history of the world that his protestant daughter Elizabeth would be considered the most iconic and greatest monarch to ever sit on the English throne to the point that even her legacy overshadows Herny's :P

To the femenists, this is a prime example of why inheritance should not be exclusive to males.

"The feminists"? Some feminists, perhaps. EDIT: I mean, yes, inheritance shouldn't be exclusively male, because obviously, but Elizabeth 1 might not be a great example.

Certainly, Elizabeth 1 is generally viewed as a great monarch. But, off the top of your head, how many reasons for that, how many good things she did, can you list?

Because a divinely appointed monarch is inherently more wise than any earthly authority.

image

Samtemdo8:
All that because he desperately wanted a Protestant Male Heir to his kingdom. And his direct Protestant Male Heir died only after a few years while he was still a boy.

Well... Henry VIII was not really a Protestant. Protestantism - in terms of the teachings of Luther, Calvin etc. - fundamentally challenged the theology and doctrines of the Catholic church. Henry VIII was thoroughly opposed to Protestantism, and believed firmly in Catholic teaching all the way to his death. He just didn't believe the Pope should be allowed to tell him what he could and couldn't do in his own kingdom.

Nor was Henry VIII the first monarch to do this. In the earliest medieval days, monarchs had originally (like Roman emperors) exercised a lot more control over the church in their territory. The Catholic church had steadily eroded that over the centuries and assumed authority, although numerous kings in Europe had attempted to reassert their privileges of times past.

Henry VIII would have been horrified by the direction the Church of England took under his son and younger daughter.

Samtemdo8:

How about this one then, there was a degree of reverence with Charlemagne here:

Only in relationship to other monarchs. The point is that the sociological fundamentals of feudalism require a simplicity of function that a good monarch will outshine a poor one, but even the best of monarchs given a power of being would never compete over conventional ideas of something like a civil bicameral government through representational politicians.

Basically the best possible monarch is a Hobbesian benevolent dictator.

And beyond a handful of people has that ever been an applicable case of a truly benevolent dictator. And arguably it still requies situations of which simplicity of the application and direction of labour, time and resources makes it viable. Josip Broz Tito was both an remarkable leader in war and peace. But then again having a system that requires a Josip Broz Tito constantly as 'president for life' is a system liable to collapse once a leader dies.

Tito was commander of the most successful partisan group of WW2. He was gifted at understanding logistics. Incredibly charismatic and understanding the fundamentals of industrial relations. He quadrupled the number of publicly accessible universities., Gave businesses to the workers rather than the capitalist owners, and created work packages and details that saw gross, cross spectrum living quality improvements.

That sort of gifted leader, that sort of guiding hand, comes with a very unique and special person.

He had his flaws, but that being said ... he's kind of the 'dream politician' that simply became more effective the more power he was granted. And that is incredibly rare. Requiring a level of conviction that is otherwise superhuman of others to tolerate or bear long term ... and all while achieving a longevity of high political office few leaders could even have the stamina, much less the health, to match.

But the thing is unless you have someone just as good lined up it's all going to just crumble away once they die. The thing is a democracy allows for 'civil coups' ... where leaders can be toppled and a new one assume power and the effects are minimal.

Like Australia. We haven't had a Prime Minister serve a full term in office, election to federal election, since John Howard. So now, well over a decade and now most likely a decade and a half, we've effectively had a multiplicity of 'civil coups' ... But we've gone the longest in all recorded financial world history without a recessionary crisis, our living quality in 2nd highest in the world, and there is no rioting in the streets.

No true monarchy, or dictatorship, could survive that without a civil war. Democracies (can) allow that type of political crisis to play out without much adverse effects. Basically the biggest crack in the democratic process to date has been the very recent suspension of government for a few weeks. Where the lower house basically broke up assembly until the leadership turnover crisis could be addressed and a new cabinet formed.

And Scott Morrison right out of the stable is already sticking his foot in his mouth with partisan plitics that saw Abbott suffer the wrath of the Australian people.

So candidate for shortest running PM is still open with Morrison's name on it. Hell, they may even ditch him as leader before the election. They really, really should have gone with Julie Bishop...

Addendum_Forthcoming:

Samtemdo8:

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Somewhat off-topic can you or anyone else here give me your opinion and explination about Louis XIV of France?

image

What exactly do you mean when you say you want "an explanation" of Louis XIV? You mean "Why does everyone love him?" Because he was an excellent propaganda guy who was terrific at emphasising how powerful and rich France was during his reign (I visited the Palace of Versaille a few months ago, it is opulent as hell). It doesn't hurt that France was indeed doing pretty well while he wore the crown, in stark contrast to later years under Louis XVI

Samtemdo8:

Addendum_Forthcoming:

Samtemdo8:

snip

snip

Somewhat off-topic can you or anyone else here give me your opinion and explination about Louis XIV of France?

image

Anything in particular?

Addendum_Forthcoming:

Samtemdo8:

Addendum_Forthcoming:

snip

Somewhat off-topic can you or anyone else here give me your opinion and explination about Louis XIV of France?

image

Anything in particular?

That apperently he is the first true example of an Absolute Monarch in Europe. But appearently this was not always the case with many Medieval Kings and Emperors in Europe at all?

Charlemagne, Otto I, Richard the Lionheart, Edward Longshanks, none of them lead an Absolute Monarchy?

Samtemdo8:
Somewhat off-topic can you or anyone else here give me your opinion and explination about Louis XIV of France?

I think an important way to consider national leaders is that they are often measured by how they made things seem rather than how they actually performed.

If you has a charismatic, heroic king who has beautiful palaces built, encourages art, etc. people tend to think they're great. I mean, they look really spectacular, so they probably are. If you have a king who constantly sends the army over the border to kill foreigners, even if they never achieve that much (and as long as they don't lose) they appear glorious and brave and strong.

The fact that underneath all this, the institutions of state are decaying, the nation is virtually broke and up to its eyeballs in debt... that's the stuff people at the time didn't really notice. They saw the pomp and glory. The perception is how awesome the king was, how great the country was, and that legend or golden age becomes established as a national tradition. And then historians arrive a few centuries later and point out the popularly-esteemed king was actually a frivolous buffoon who, under the veneer, brought his country to the verge of ruin or failed to fix critically broken institutions.

Louis XIV is I understand well on the positive end of the scale by either measure. He was certainly glorious and grand superficially, but also achieved a lot for the country too. France was the most powerful European country of the time; he achieved plenty of conspicuous successes and advances in almost all areas, many of which were beneficial to the wider French people (arts, economic growth, commerce, culture, etc.) He might be criticised for excessive expenditure, excessive warfare, and for holding firmly onto principles of absolute rule that were starting to look a little shaky.

Samtemdo8:

Addendum_Forthcoming:

Samtemdo8:

Somewhat off-topic can you or anyone else here give me your opinion and explination about Louis XIV of France?

Anything in particular?

That apperently he is the first true example of an Absolute Monarch in Europe. But appearently this was not always the case with many Medieval Kings and Emperors in Europe at all?

Charlemagne, Otto I, Richard the Lionheart, Edward Longshanks, none of them lead an Absolute Monarchy?

Most of them spend a **** ton of time putting down dukes and rebellions on their own countries, and the nobles had a lot of power in the realm, absolute monarchy is usually said when the king was the undisputed sovereign of the nation. Most of the ones you named faced or had powerful aristocrats and the clergy

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