"The Monarchy is the real defender of liberty and equality"
In an opinion piece for the ABC Philip Bond, "a political thinker and social-economic commentator" writes today:
" ... there are advantages to being a subject of the crown rather than a citizen of a republic. Traditionally English monarchs conferred the status of subject on all in their realms, thus making all equal. This effectively subverted the rule of feudal lords by making the King responsible for the peasants who worked the land. Conversely, citizenship in republics was often only conferred on a privileged group and could be denied of whole classes of people, such as slaves or women.
"When monarchy and republics collide, it quickly becomes clear which is the more just. For example, in 1772, when Lord Mansfield freed an American slave named Somersett who had landed in Britain, he declared slavery an odious institution and argued that it had no place in British common law. Fear that this would extend to the American colonies helped provoke the war of independence, resulting in a republic that maintained slavery. As the former slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass noted on leaving America in 1845 for Britain, he would be sailing from "American republican slavery, to monarchical liberty."
"And English colonial history is replete with examples when the monarch tried to restrain colonists from pillage and murder precisely because the natives where also subjects of the Crown. So progressive is constitutional monarchy that, had the American Revolution been avoided, I suspect slavery in the United States would have abolished decades earlier, the civil war would not have occurred and the Native American population would not have been slaughtered.
"Nor are the virtues of monarchies confined to the distant past. Constitutional monarchies comprise some of the world's most developed, wealthy, democratically accountable and progressive states. According to the UN, seven of the top ten countries in the world in terms of quality of life are constitutional monarchies. Monarchies really do help guarantee liberty and prosperity.
"High tories used to argue that because the monarch stood alone, he or she could not be bought off by vested interests or the corruptions of representative politics. Indeed, English monarchs have regularly allied with the people against vested interests - so, when landowners were evicting peasants in the sixteenth century, the king campaigned against enclosure and the landed interest.
"Similarly, today Prince Charles sponsors through his foundations and charities political and educational work that is often more radical and transformative than anything state or private endeavour has yet achieved. A populist monarchism also brought Spain out from fascism and monarchy remains central to many European states, precisely because people trust the institution more than they do politics and politicians.
"In an era when representative government is so despised and democratic accountability has resulted in the creation of undemocratic and unaccountable elites who are nothing less than a modern oligarchy, do not be surprised that monarchy becomes ever more popular. It is, after all, the real defender of liberty and equality."