The dangers of foreign influence

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
29 March, 2018

New Zealand’s republicans have a point. There is a nefarious foreign influence dictating too much in New Zealand. But it isn’t the Queen.

I am a rather strong supporter of the monarchy. You might be surprised to hear this, as three days of the week I flirt with the idea that the anarchists were right all along. But the monarchy solves a couple of rather serious problems.

First, constitutional government always has the problem of the infinite regress. That which guards the guardians is difficult to bind. New Zealand has solved the problem by vesting supreme executive power in a foreign potentate who is largely unwilling to wield it.

Should crisis ever demand it, we might hope that the Queen’s agent might intercede on our behalf. The potential of Royal intervention may help encourage our government to behave itself.
Australia is the exception that proves the rule. Their republican movement is too strong now. Royal intervention like 1975’s would be impossible. And just look at how silly Australia has become as consequence.

At least as importantly, the monarchy reminds us of the fundamental absurdity of government. All real-world political authority is at least as absurd as Monty Python’s description of the monarchy, but at least monarchy is obvious about it.

And the Queen’s demands here are simple. We respect one simple statutory holiday every year. It does not even fall on her birthday. It is a holiday in which we celebrate the Queen and her forebearers, on a date that is convenient for us. The first Monday in June, every year. Every time, it gives us the same long weekend. People can plan for it.

Imagine the horrors that would ensue if we decided that, because the Queen was born on the first day of the fourth Waxing Gibbous moon of 1926, we should time the monarchical celebrations to follow each year’s lunar calendar. It would be a disaster. Keeping track would be impossible. Planning school and university calendars around it would be pointlessly difficult.

The Republicans have it all backwards. The Queen gives much and asks little. The real foreign despots to whom we bend too much the knee, secular though a plurality of us may be, are Rome and Canterbury.

Fix the date of Easter and end the chaotic “movable feast”. It isn’t hard. The first Monday after the 8th of April sounds nice.

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