Saturday, 6 June 2015

Still ruled by princes

The UK may nominally be a monarchy and lots of other countries republics, but in reality the duties that the state assumes for itself and the duties that conservatives would like to limit a state too, are those of a medieval prince.
The first duty of a medieval prince was the defence of his lands, mainly from other medieval princes, to fight in the wars of his allies and those he owed fealty to.

Protecting them from his knights or from each other was a long way down the list, protecting them from disease and injury was even further down the list. In the case of disease, it doubtful they could actually have done anything.

The standing of a prince amongst his peers was judged by the his wealth, his victories in battle and the wealth of his knights.

Today, governments around the world will spend enormous amounts of treasure and blood to stop the likes of ISIS and Al Qaeda from killing its citizens, it will deprive its citizens of the basic freedom of privacy, deprive those from other countries of the freedom itself.

The most princely of states are the ones that actively eschew the hereditary principle, while their citizens are killed by disease, injury and their fellow citizens. The measure of a modern state should not be the prestige of its leaders.

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