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deepseas72's avatar

What is the point of royalty today?

Asked by deepseas72 (1076points) May 30th, 2009

I don’t “get” royalty. You were born, and therefore worthy to rule? How does the simple fact that birth to the right family make you a good leader? Perhaps I’m too American…and have no experience with the subject. I can understand them representing a national identity, wouldn’t that identity be better focused on the people and their values instead?

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30 Answers

MrGV's avatar

Because it’s years of tradition that started a longgggggggg time ago.and it makes their family feel good about themselves why would they stop now?

Dog's avatar

I know ordinary people more qualified to be leaders than some royalty.

That being said it seems much of the royalty today is merely following historic tradition and they do not run the politics as they did in the past.

This all being said I would not like to be a “royal” they have no privacy, have to behave properly at all times, are constantly in a schedule of boring diplomatic duties and are obsessively watched by the media. I would be such a disappointment to the throne fodder to the media. ;)

dynamicduo's avatar

It’s for show, but it’s also a relic of times long past. They don’t really harm anyone with their existence, and in fact let us remember times where kings and queens ruled the lands.

Yes, back in the old times, many people considered the royals to be descended from God or some derivative of that (divine, etc), thus having their blood flowing through one’s veins imparted some amount of prestige or power. The rationalist in me observes that a solid and indisputable family chain helps pass on and contain the ruling power and lands.

There aren’t any “identity points” per country or anything, there’s no need to be efficient or limit the amount of identity a country has. So as long as they don’t rally up armies to attack people (ala that recent episode of South Park with the Queen, hehe), it’s all good.

fireside's avatar

Tabloid Fodder

MrItty's avatar

If you’re talking about the British Monarchy (for example), they do not “rule” at all. They have no decision making ability over anyone at all. They are pure figure heads.

If you’re talking about the monarchs of other countries, that actually are heads of state/government in fact in addition to in name, it’s because they’re supported by both tradition and the military, and they therefore haven’t been overthrown yet.

oratio's avatar

This is a question that comes up now and then in Sweden. There is great value in having a monarch in a democracy today. They have no constitutional power, and their job is to represent their country.

The alternative is having a president, and many countries have presidents with no real power where which their job description is the same. A monarch carries tradition, culture and is a great figurehead for the country. Replacing the monarch for a president doesn’t change much, and in my and many others opinion would be a down trade for no other reason than it would feel fair ideologically.

The monarch of Sweden is doing a great job, and the Crown Princess seems to be very well suited to take the throne.

laureth's avatar

There’s the function of “ruling,” and there’s the function of “head of state.” In the U.S., the President serves in both capacities – inasmuch as he shares “ruling” with other entities such as Congress. Often, countries with royalty have some other body that actually rules (see: Parliament) but you can’t assign a “head of state” function to a body like Congress or Parliament, so the President (or Queen, etc.) is also the ceremonial representative of the country.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

The world has out grown the need for monarchy. It doesn’t serve the will of the people and there are far better options.

Bagardbilla's avatar

Same as it’s always been, the masses need some rich basterd to hate, and it reminds them of their own miserable state. They also make good sacrificial lambs for revolutions. Paybacks are a bitch eh?

oratio's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic I agree that a monarch shouldn’t have any power at all in any country, and democracy must be the system of choice.

But I think the type of government is what is important. The argument against a representative monarch in a democracy is mostly that it’s undemocratic, and by the principle it is. Would it serve a purpose to remove the monarch? What would you gain with a powerless president? The monarch is also a living carrier of a cultural legacy, and once you remove them, they are gone for good.

I would say that the world has outgrown the need of anything else than democracy and the power should be in the hands of the people.

kevbo's avatar

They issue many of the world’s currencies.

Mtl_zack's avatar

Technically, in Canada, the monarch of England can overrule any law or decree that is passed through the various legislative parts of the government.

Lightlyseared's avatar

well here in the UK we tried getting rid of the king but unfortunately the bloke we got instead was so evil he banned Christmas (as well as drinking, dancing, music, the theatre and a whole load of other fun stuff) so we got a new king with the deal being he would stay out of the running of the country and we wouldn’t cut his head off but if the prime minister tries to ban Christmas again we have a back up plan to get rid of them.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@oratio A monarch carries tradition, culture and is a great figurehead for the country.
well said

chelsea_steve's avatar

It’s to remind the general public about the dangers of inbreeding.

aprilsimnel's avatar

HMQEII of the UK, etc., etc. does have a few governmental duties. Also, it’s probably a good idea for whoever is Prime Minister to get on her good side, since s/he has to see HM once a week, anyway. She’s probably more aware than most on how people in Parliament deal with issues and each other and can probably give some good advice, not that the PM has to take it. I never got the feeling Elizabeth was stupid about politics. Stubborn, maybe, but not stupid.

Harold's avatar

They are utterly pointless and a waste of space. If the Brits, for example, wanted to help their economic situation, they would chuck out the royals, and turn their property into tourist attractions. They’d make a squillion.

Crusader's avatar

Preservation of historic values embodied in a certain ‘family’ at best, at worst, preservation of money and power exclusively with nonexistant,elitist, contentious, or hypocritical ‘values’

DarkScribe's avatar

They don’t rule – haven’t for a long time. They are merely figureheads – not much more than tourist attractions. If ever they tried to use the powers that are supposedly theirs, they would get laughed out of town. Effectively they are no more than the heirs to a wealthy family fortune and property. Americans seem more impressed by them than Brits.

Crusader's avatar

Not true, many kingdoms in the world where the royalty have absolute authority, most Islamic countries for a start.

DarkScribe's avatar

@Crusader Yes, I suppose that I am only thinking of European Royalty, mostly Brits. Some Arabs still have real authority.

Crusader's avatar

Also many African kings, as well as SE Asian, Japan still has an Emperor with real power, how much is not known except to Japanese…

wundayatta's avatar

Royalty can play a very important symbolic function. They are the face of a nation, and can generate good will for the nation. Their images are appropriated for use by the state, and they barely have a private life, as a result. One could think of it as more of a family curse than something to be jealous of.

Crusader's avatar

Celebrities are cursed so to speak by attention and paparazzi, plenty of folks would trade anonymity for such wealth, priviledge, and respect. An Ivory Tower is often better than a grass hut with mud floors…

wundayatta's avatar

@Crusader “An Ivory Tower is often better than a grass hut with mud floors…”

Those aren’t the only two choices.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

most of them are figureheads, pretty much, but there are certainly some places in which royalty has power.

Tomfafa's avatar

To get fashion tips

sarahjane90's avatar

Tradition, patriotism, and symbolism to a nation.

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