Monday, March 1, 2010

The best argument against a republic I have seen

( from / comments)
Keith #4 8:22am

Anyone who thinks that becoming a republic is just a matter of having a debate and then signing the legislation off has not bothered to read history. Most republics in history have been born out of war, revolution or constitutional crisis - not debate. And even most nations that became republics in the post-WW2 era have collapsed into some form of military or political dictatorship at some stage of their existence. Republicanism guarantees nothing in terms of democracy, even in countries with a European-based culture. France, Germany, Italy, Russia and Spain all suffered dictatorships in their early republican history and names such as Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini and Franco have become by-words for everything that can go horribly wrong in supposedly civilised nations. Even the United States could not avoid a brutal civil war early in its history. South Africa and Rhodesia both declared themselves republics in the belief that breaking their ties with Britain would solve all their racial problems. Instead, it just made things worse. Rhodesia - now Zimbabwe - is an absolute basket-case of a republic ruled by a racist megalomaniac. The republic of Fiji has spent most of its time under military rule. The republic of Turkey has just arrested most of its top military officers on charges of plotting a coup. The Spanish restored their monarchy after the death of the dictator, Franco, because they understood its unifying value in a politically-divided nation. Contrast these events with the relative political stability enjoyed by constitutional monarchies such as Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands and you can see what we have to lose. Yes, New Zealand may become a republic sometime in the future but there is no justifiable political reason to do it now.