Best Of The Web
“Most modern monarchies are constitutional: While the monarch is still the official head of state, the constitution imbues an elected legislature with actual power and the duties of government. The monarch holds a symbolic role intended to provide an unbroken link to the past and a sense of national pride and unity among a country’s populace. Today’s royals, however, not only have far less political power than their forebears, they also live more modern lives. Akihito, for example, was the first Japanese emperor to marry a commoner. Dutch King Willem-Alexander revealed in 2017 that he’d secretly been co-piloting Dutch Royal Airline flights for 21 years. “You cannot take your problems from the ground skyward,” he explained. “You can completely switch yourself off and focus on something else. That’s the greatest relaxation for me.”
Will monarchies last? Most seem to be on a strong footing. In the Middle East, the absolute monarchs have been able to buy public acquiescence — and the support of powerful allies such as the U.S. and Britain — by controlling their countries’ mammoth oil revenues. But even in more modern and democratic societies, monarchies remain popular with the public. “Presidents come and go,” said Kenneth W. Gunn-Walberg, head of the International Monarchist League’s chapter for the Eastern U.S. “There’s continuity, a sense of history with a monarchy.”
More than mere figureheads: Despite seeming to be anachronisms, most monarchies actually provide effective governance, according to Wharton School of Business management professor Mauro Guillen. He studied 137 countries from 1900 to 2010 and found that monarchies — especially constitutional ones — generally provide a higher standard of living and are better at protecting property rights than even republics. Monarchies are usually dynastic, he said, and thus likely to “focus on the long run,” protecting the foundations of society and curbing potential abuses of power. And even though many of today’s kings and queens are figureheads, monarchies act as a check on the egos of elected chief executives. “If you’re the prime minister and you know there is a higher authority,” Guillen said, “you are a bit more subdued.” Finally, monarchies are better at navigating periods of uncertainty, because they provide a stable connection to a nation’s history — as the British monarchy is now doing amid Brexit turmoil”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"The likely successor to British Prime Minister Theresa May, Boris Johnson, has plans to subsume the government department overseeing development aid into the foreign office, effectively eliminating it. That will destroy a post-Brexit United..."
"Gerard Baker, editor-at-large at the Wall Street Journal (no reflexively anti-Trump publication) recently wrote a piece decrying Donald Trump and his foreign policy as a fount of erratic unpredictability. This essay will give the counter view...."
"On Wednesday, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar announced that she will be visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories in the coming weeks. Omar will be accompanied by Rep. Rashida Tlaib. The two freshman congresswomen have become a focal point of..."
"Netflix may have lost US subscribers for the first time since it began making its own shows, but that didn't stop the streaming giant from dropping new figures about how many people are sucked into its Adam Sandler vortex. (Spoiler: More than..."
"A few years ago, Amy Balliett, CEO of a Seattle-based design and marketing firm, noticed that as the work week slogged on, her employees’ energy and productivity wilted. “That would slump to such an extent that the same task on Monday would..."
"Over the last few days the #faceappchallenge has taken over social media. This “challenge” involves downloading a selfie-editing tool called FaceApp and using one of its filters to digitally age your face. You then post the photo of your wizened..."
"Although there are plenty of irrational aspects to life in modern America, few rival the odd fixation on lawns. Fertilizing, mowing, watering — these are all-American activities that, on their face, seem reasonable enough. But to spend hundreds..."
"Can a book change the way we think? I don’t mean that in the sense of a reader’s opinion or ideology shifting—of course the right literary work can do that. But can a book rewire the brain itself, literally changing the way one particular mind..."
"It’s our job to let kids know we see and hear them, but we’re not necessarily going to solve siblings’ conflicts for them (or else they never get the practice). When squabbles start, imagine you’re a sportscaster and describe what you see in..."
"Magali Trejo-Martinez, a 22-year-old living in Salem, Oregon, recently went on a date that was rather uninspiring. “I had dinner, had a couple margaritas, and then went home,” is how she recapped the evening. This outcome wasn’t entirely..."
"The first lunar landing was many things — a D-Day-like feat of planning and logistics, a testament to the power of man's will, an ostensible propaganda coup for NATO. It was also, I think, one of the most misunderstood events in the history of..."
"THE FIRST TIME Bernie Sanders ran for president, he didn’t talk much about being Jewish. In fact, he didn’t talk much about himself at all. His 2016 primary campaign, like his whole political career, was relentlessly focused on one topic: income..."