Can Constitutional Monarchy be More Democratic Than Representative Democracy?

Check out this blog post: 3 reasons why New Zealand has the best-designed government in the world.

And here’s the topic relevant quote:


Monarchs are more effective than presidents precisely because they lack any semblance of legitimacy. It would be offensive for Queen Elizabeth or her representatives in Canada, New Zealand, etc. to meddle in domestic politics. Indeed, when the Governor-General of Australia did so in 1975 it set off a constitutional crisis that made it clear such behavior would not be tolerated. But figurehead presidents have some degree of democratic legitimacy, and are typically former politicians. That enables a greater rate of shenanigans — like when Italian president Giorgio Napolitano schemed, successfully, to remove Silvio Berlusconi as prime minister due at least in part to German chancellor Angela Merkel’s entreaties to do so.

Napolitano is the rule, rather than the exception. Oxford political scientists Petra Schleiter and Edward Morgan-Jones have found that presidents, whether elected indirectly by parliament or directly by the people, are likelier to allow governments to change without new elections than monarchs are. In other words, they’re likelier to change the government without any democratic input at all.

This is a seriously strange result, but perhaps it’s not too surprising. After all, representative democracy can be seriously messed up. If anything, what this post shows up that we would need to move towards direct democracy to have a system that is truly superior to constitutional monarchy – because the current representative democracy is an empirical democracy fail!

On the other hand, a just-for-fun monarch would be cute – perhaps as state mascot ;D

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Yeah, I had thoguht of that. In a political system where everyone would be given nearly the same amount of power it would be useful to have a monarch figure to act as a strong national symbol and appeal for greater unity and stability.

Representative politics seems to always
dissolve into oligarchy. In the interests of proper representation, I
feel a direct democracy makes the most sense.

We need a
representative that gets picked by the community. The president is a
representative that makes his own decisions, wouldn’t it be nice if
the community was consulted better? Yes there are people that
probably can’t coherently decide what is really best for them, and
while they are loud, I don’t think they are the norm. With the advent
of the internet I feel today’s youth are smarter as a populace than
ever. If we focus on higher education to the masses, with in no time
we will have a better informed populace, that votes in favor of
logical laws.

Current representatives will be weeded out
faster. Term limits won’t even be an issue except for those positions
deemed necessary. The future starts when we decide what we want to
make of it.

Our leadership will become a decoration, except in
cases of emergency depending on how effective true democracy is

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I’m not sure what kind of system you are in favour of, Daniel. You seem to want some direct online democracy, but also some kind of directly elected representative in a decorative position – except for cases of emergencies. Is that correct? What about parliament? Will something like that be needed or do you wish a better educated people to vote about individual issues on their own without interference from any kind of representative organ?

Personally, I think we might need something really innovative that combines democracy intelligently with meritocracy like Democratic Intelligence.

And education is always a critical factor. We really need to find ways to improve it in many dimensions. How would education that prepares people to be “good direct democrats” look like?

I feel any concrete solid system put in
place would suffer from constantly being out of date. Say we succeed
in our life extension, along the way we will likely find
technological changes impacting social structures so rapidly non
fluid political models will fall behind constantly. First within
years but increasingly systems that are implemented will be out of
date within months. It is a technological singularity after all, we
can’t see beyond it. Fluid systems will have to be developed, at
present the intricacy of it all is… frankly beyond my current

Even a system that uses self improving code will
fall behind as the information it bases its decisions on becomes
outdated. Perhaps a short term memory base might work, except that
data would be easier to manipulate. e.g. highly rated specialists
used to organize key issues might be successful in relations to
current topics but fall behind on newer law. How do you inform a
populace with such rapid change?

Also assuming we succeed in
pushing space exploration and colonization how do you coordinate
across vast distances? Who has a say in it all? I see borders as
being futile within 100 years. Who determines the laws? How will
existing law merge across cultural divides?

Not only do
borders disappear but divides in the stages of human/cyborg arise.
Some people will wish to remain human in the traditional sense, who
looks after them in a transhuman heavy populace?

Interesting. I’ve thought about a few alternative political systems when I made my Our Ascent timeline a few years ago.

If we don’t innovate the political system, then it will be the roadblock that will slow down progress the most: Singularity cancelled due to political friction.

Liquid direct democracy could work pretty fast, I think. It can scale pretty nicely.

Being up to date could be supported with AI helpers so that they always support the latest information that you need at the moment.

When it comes to space exploration, then territorial laws will most probably be confined to the different planetary bodies. Coordination will become a bit more difficult.

Who will look after traditional humans in a transhuman heavy populace? Humans, transhumans, AIs?