Wednesday, August 20, 2014

New John Higgs book

While we wait for John Higgs' big alternative history of the 20th century, he is meanwhile coming out with a short ebook on the British monarchy.

                          John Higgs, loyal subject of British pet Elizabeth II

Our Pet Queen: A New Perspective on Monarchy will be issued Tuesday by Random House. The blurb says, "In the modern, democratic twenty-first century, the notion of an unelected, dynastic monarchy is not easy to defend.This new book argues that the current monarchy is by far the best system for choosing a Head of State - providing that it is understood that we are not subjects and that the monarchy are not our superiors. They are, in actual fact, our pets.
"In this original eBook, John Higgs, author of the The 20th Century: An Alternative History, makes an argument in favour of the monarchy that will annoy royalists even more than it will annoy republicans. This is a tongue-in-cheek, witty examination of the persistence of monarchy in the modern world."

On his blog, Higgs comments, "It's a continuation of what seems to be a major theme in my books, namely that looking at the world rationally leaves you far more bewildered and angry than when you recognise and enjoy the magical thinking that really shapes the world.

"It's 15,000 words, contains revolutions and beheadings, and you can pre-order now from Amazon UK for £1.94 or from for $3.25."

Higgs isn't the only British author I follow who has written on the monarchy. Sean Gabb aka Richard Blake, in this essay, wrote a defense of the institution.

Sean is not a fan of the current queen, but adds, "This does not, in itself, make a republic desirable. Americans may be very pleased with an electoral system that has given them so many interesting and even entertaining heads of state. But, from an English point of view, American history is something more enjoyably observed than suffered."

A couple of graphs later, he adds,

"Symbolic functions aside, the practical advantage of having a monarchy is that the head of state is chosen by the accident of birth and not by some corrupted system of election; and that the head of state is likely to show a longer term, more proprietorial interest in the country than someone who has lied his way to one or two terms of office.  (This is the essential argument of the German libertarian Hans-Herman Hoppe`s book Democracy: The God that Failed.)"

I'll bet a dialogue between these two gentlemen, both subjects of Her Majesty the Queen, would be interesting.

I still feel a patriotic loyalty to the American system, where every four to eight years, we get rid of our president and replace him with one who is equally bad. I only wish our president was about as powerless as the British hereditary monarch.

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