January 20, 2021

Long live the king?

Posted on 23. Jun, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics, Social/Cultural

When asked which monarchy is the most famous, most people will probably say England’s. Indeed, Queen Elizabeth II of England is celebrating her 60th year on the throne, so God save the Queen.

And while that long reign may be worthy of celebration, there are many other European queens of note. Some queens are regnant (queens who reign on their own) and others are queen consort (those whose husbands are kings).

I lived in three countries that were governed by a monarch: The Netherlands (Queen Beatrix), Trinidad and Tobago (Queen Elizabeth II) and Denmark (Queen Margrethe II).  While there are several other countries whose sovereigns are queens regnant or consort, the vast majority of monarchies are in the hands of kings.

During the 18th century, our colonists showed more than a passing interest in the policies on our own king, George III, monarch of England. Times were very different back in 1775 when our population of approx. 2.5 million Americans had simply had enough of the monarchy and rebelled. The rest, as they say, is history, but the question that remains unanswered is, “does history repeat itself?”

Constitutions and the monarchy

Many modern monarchs like those of Denmark and The Netherlands govern under constitutions, and have little power to affect the directions their countries take. Their roles are largely ceremonial, but the people of those countries love their queens and their royals.

An interesting footnote is that the British still don’t have a written constitution that sets forth British subjects’ rights! Instead, their laws have evolved through common law, the ‘Bill of Rights of 1689’, the ‘Great Reform Act of 1832’ and the ‘Representation of the People’s Act of 1928.’ Britain’s entry into the Common Market, and later the European Union (EU) brought England under a common set of laws that govern many aspects of their daily lives.

Are we moving closer to an American monarchy?

Americans are justifiably proud of their democracy and their Constitution, but every so often our patience is sorely tested as politicians of both stripes, in our Legislature and Executive Branch, push the envelope of our tolerance by acting as if the Constitution doesn’t apply to them.

Recent laws and actions like the Patients Affordable Healthcare Act (aka Obamacare) which is now before the Supreme Court, possible Executive Branch-condoned security leaks and now the new edict from the President on declaring a cessation of prosecuting 800,000 no-fault immigrants is sending strict constitutionalists into a tizzy.

It’s anybody’s guess whether these three issues will be the new shot heard around the world for the beginning of the end of America’s constitutional protection from government intrusion into our lives. Scholars, lawyers, legislators, political pundits, the media and the President’s men are adopting Parkinson’s Law (‘work expands to fill the time available for its completion’), liberally, and without apparent concern for the urgency of our situation and for the consequences that wrong decisions will have on our liberty.

In the year 900, Gorm the Old became the first King of Denmark, and I suspect his concerns were not about the pursuit of happiness, but were more about how to govern a bunch of unruly and impoverished people. It wasn’t until 1849 – nearly 900 years after his reign – that the Danes got their first constitution. By comparison, it took us less than two centuries (September 17, 1787) to get ours.

In 2004, Constitution Day became law when the late Senator Robert Byrd attached an amendment to a spending bill renaming Citizenship Day to Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. I was not a big fan of the late Senator, but I sincerely thank him for his actions.

America needs to be reminded, that without the protection of our Constitution we are merely subjects in waiting for the next monarch who thinks he can ignore the most important document of our history.

- Editor


Comments are closed.

Bad Behavior has blocked 151 access attempts in the last 7 days.