Opinion: Liberal Democrats for a republic

Liberal Democrats believe in democracy. Indeed ‘Democrats’ is in our title.

We believe in representative democracy, from parish councils to (though we’re still fighting for it) the House of Lords.

We believe those who make the laws of our land should be voted for by the people of our land.
Government of, for and by the people.

We believe this should be extended to those occupying the highest positions in British Government.

If we believe, as we rightly do, that no peer of the realm should be able to be a legislator just because of who they were born to or who they were appointed by…but only because they’ve been elected by the people, then this must surely extend to the Monarch, the person who, ultimately, signs our laws into legislation?

I’m proud to have been appointed Coordinator of Liberal Democrats for a Republic, a new internal pressure group in our Party. We’re working in partnership with Republic-The Campaign for an Elected Head of State.

I’ve set up a Twitter account for our group (@Libs4ARepublic) and sent out an e-mail to those who’ve already expressed an interest in getting involved.

So, why do we need Britain to become a Republic? Here are the top five reasons:
1. The Monarchy is undemocratic.
2. There is a democratic alternative.
3. Inheriting power and privilege is indefensible.
4. The monarchy gives enormous power to the Prime Minister.
5. A republic would be good for tourism.

So, what is the point of our new group? To gather support for the Republican cause in our Party, to lobby for us to have policies which support a democratic alternative to the Monarchy, to lobby Government Ministers, to use our voice to call for a change.

I’m thrilled by how many people have already expressed an interest in supporting the group and getting involved with us. If you’d like to do so, please contact me, either via e-mail [email protected] or through Twitter, via @Libs4ARepublic or @HulbertMathew. I’m aiming to meet up with supporters at federal Conference at Glasgow in September to talk about how we move our campaign forward.

Let’s show we’re fully committed to democracy at every level of our constitution.

* Mathew Hulbert is a parish Councillor in Leicestershire.

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  • Leekliberal 27th May '13 - 9:07am

    Reason no 5 ‘A republic would be good for tourism’ is odd. Quite the reverse I would have thought. While I am a republican at the heart the quality of our present monarch and the thought of President Blair makes me a monarchist for the time being.

  • The great advantage of a republic for tourism is that we could open up all the historic sites that are now closed for the use of the royal family – just as France, which gets vastly more tourists than we do, does.

    We can’t call ourselves a democracy at all until we are a republic.

  • Eddie Sammon 27th May '13 - 9:22am

    I am very enthusiastic about removing the monarchy. I have recently learnt to respect tradition, but I really think it’s the right time to start calling for the monarchy to be removed.

    We should respect them as individuals who sacrifice a lot for the country, but on balance I still think it’s wrong that we have hereditary constitutional powers. The idea of campaigning for the monarchy to be removed was actually one of the reasons I became a Lib Dem.

  • Andreas Christodoulou 27th May '13 - 9:23am

    The only reason the people love the monarchy is because they represent a vague notion of power and togetherness without any responsibility to do anything, know anything or fix anything. For example now, the economy is in the gutter and people are being angry at the people offering solutions, because they’re different to the solutions they want. The Labour party are offering a higher tax and hopefully higher growth solution to stop the deficit, the Tories want a lower tax, lower spending approach and it’s legitimate to criticise elements of both approaches.

    What’s the Queen’s opinion about the deficit? Does the Queen favour higher taxes and more government spending – a Keynesian approach, or is she more on the side of the right, considering a lower spending approach to be more appropriate to directly cut the deficit and get the country on track?

    What’s the Queen’s opinion on the legalisation of cannabis? Of other drugs? On the bedroom tax, the proposed “snoopers charter”, the arms embargo on Syria, the Iraq War, the Afghanisatan war, animal testing, stem-cell research, tax avoidance, free schools, …

    You can repeat the above for pretty much any member of the royal family, although I concede we do know some of Prince Charles’ entirely idiotic opinions about homeopathy.

    The above isn’t actually an argument for or against the monarchy, it’s simply an observation. People prefer the monarchy to politicians because politicians actually have to do things and offer solutions – and inevitably these aren’t going to please all of the people all of the time. If you want an elected head of state you’ll have to put up with the fact that you’ll want him or her to actually do things, and that you won’t like them. That’s democracy, live with it.

  • Eddie Sammon 27th May '13 - 9:33am

    Oh and sorry Matthew, with regards to your new group: as much as I am a fan of your aim, I don’t actually believe in internal pressure groups. I think Lib Dem Voice should be the grassroots pressure group for everyone and that the central office should respond to campaigns conducted on here.

    I worry about factionism, cronyism, the restriction of communication and the stigma that can result from joining or not joining a party group.

  • Eddie Sammon 27th May '13 - 9:35am

    Plus the money from joining the different groups, it has to be said. And the takeover tendencies.

  • Mathew Hulbert 27th May '13 - 9:44am

    Great to see a hearty debate about this issue taking place already and to read of a number of people sympathetic to the Republican cause…I hope you’ll all get involved!
    Leekliberal, we could attract so many new tourists if we could open all the palaces, gardens and homes to the public; therefore a republic would indeed be good for tourism.
    Simon, it’s very debatable whether the Monarchy has ‘real powers’ or not, I believe it does actually, but beyond that you make some god points…in an article this short it was impossible to cover every reason for not having a Royal Family.
    Eddie, am glad to hear you’re enthusiastic about the cause, but sorry you’re not keen on getting involved in the group.
    There is currently no plans to charge people to be involved and we’re not a faction, we’re a campaign. This isn’t a left/right thing, this is about moving forward to a democratic alternative to the monarchy.

  • Chris – good argument about France. A quick check on the stats indicate France gets nearly three times more tourists than the UK, and the Palace of Versailles attracts 10 times as many tourists than Buckingham Palace.

    Simon – yes, the worst feature of the monarchy is that it reinforces the British class system, and the belief among a large minority that some people are entitled to a privileged life away from the masses.

    The problem is – most people don’t want to hear this. A very effective PR campaign since 1997, helped by the Royal Wedding, Jubilee, and the London Olympics, has created the perception that the royals are central to ‘brand Britain’. 9 out of 10 voters are “satisfied” with the job the Queen does.

    I suspect a majority on the left and centre-left of UK politics are anti-royalist, but don’t dare to say so in public.

  • Brenda Lana Smith 27th May '13 - 10:03am

    An interesting welcome possibility of Britain democratically having a lesbian, or a gay, or a bisexual, or a trans-person, or an intersex, or a person of colour as head of state crosses my mind—c’est la vie…

  • Melanie Harvey 27th May '13 - 11:46am

    Does HM uphold the laws they ascend is the crutial question, Maybe those of benefit to them but not it seems when or if they have connections to it and against them. The Monarch is head of our justice system… Lets put it this way, a case before the Chancellor of the High Court (PI very complex would be high profile, public interest etc.) and whom was former Attorney General to Prince Charles and for which contained negligence by the Jockey Club Estates, HM head of, has been refused trial despite evidence in support. !! Need I say more ?

  • Stephen W, how do you know the Monarch has the consent of the people?

    This could, of course, be easily established by a referendum…

  • Stephen W :

    “The vast majority of people support a monarchy,”

    And the vast majority support the death penalty.

  • Mark Yeates 27th May '13 - 1:04pm

    Being neither a Christian nor a monarchist – I see the whole issue of a monarchy as a redundant concept of ruling. Anyone that thinks the Royals keep out of politics are living in a fantasy and anyone who actually thinks we live in a proper democracy needs to seriously redefine their philosophy in this regard.
    For me it is a simple issue. I believe in a democracy, For that I want an elected head of state. I am an atheist,, therefor I need no ‘Defender of the Faith’.

  • I think Simon sums up the problem with the monarchy quite well; however, I also think that at this time we should be concentrating our efforts on other things. This is something we need to play the long game on, as if we openly express these kinds of views at this time, we are basically opening ourselves to unneeded attacks on an issue which needs to be handled in a sensitive and careful manner if we are ever to get people to listen to us.

    As for the tourism point – I think Frances’ weather, position in Europe and membership of the Schengen Agreement has more to do with that than the ‘Royal Family’ being able to use buildings.

  • Eddie Sammon 27th May '13 - 1:25pm

    Good to hear Mathew, best of luck.

  • Peter Watson 27th May '13 - 2:19pm

    For me, a great reason for becoming a republic is that we could get rid of our dreary so-called “national” anthem asking God to prolong the monarch’s life, and replace it with a proper national anthem that celebrates being British and/or English.

  • Adam Corlett 27th May '13 - 2:22pm

    The point about the PM having too much power seems to me a separate issue. Replacing the Queen with an inanimate carbon rod would allay the theoretical and practical concerns many LDs have with the monarchy, without in practice giving any more power to the government (aside from the freedom to ignore Charles). So it seems odd to insist that ending hereditary monarchy must also go alongside much broader constitutional reform, with a President, further elections, a transfer of powers and a written constitution. That serves only to turn away people who are otherwise happy with our unwritten constitution, and especially to turn away the large majority of voters who say they really don’t want another political election.

    I’d be happy to see any solution that didn’t involve the position being inherited. Elections are unimportant if Head of State is to be a powerless role, and if you wish to make it a powerful role that is – as I said – quite a different (and unpopular) kettle of fish. To maintain all the pageantry and tradition, while projecting a more liberal image to the world and ourselves, I suggested we let random Brits fill the position: https://www.libdemvoice.org/opinion-the-lottery-winner-who-would-be-king-or-queen-28952.html
    It seems to me entirely preferable to hereditary monarchy in terms of liberal principles, and an easier sell to the public than “President Blair” and “bla bla constitution bla bla”.

  • 1. The Monarchy is undemocratic.
    Bleargh, it’s a bit school-boyish , that. The blanket of accountability is much wider than the bed of democracy.

    2. There is a democratic alternative.
    Yuk. There would be nothing worse in my mind than having a political leader, whether executive or purely ceremonial, that I positively voted against.

    3. Inheriting power and privilege is indefensible.
    The Monarch doesn’t really have that much power and in other European monarchies has even less. That’s our fault for not moving with the times. There have been ample opportunities to improve all three of the House of Commons, the House of Lords and the Monarchy. The resistance to those changes has always come from the vested interests of our elected politicians, not some power-mad Monarchy.

    4. The monarchy gives enormous power to the Prime Minister.
    Well, that’s our problem for electing politicians (who the one who actually have the power) who continue to let themselves and their political successors operate on the basis of Royal Prerogative rather than through consensus Parliament. Our Parliament is only as good as the people we elect, and it’s our fault, not the fault of the existence of the Monarchy – which has very little power.

    5. A republic would be good for tourism.
    That really isn’t worthy of an answer. The thought that the Monarchy, or a policy, or a body of thought, or a mode of life should either exist or not exist based on its impact on tourism is outrageous. Anyone who argues that from either side of the fence should simply be Ceausescu’d.

  • the problem with this argument start in the first sentence.

    Liberal Democrats do not simply believe in ‘democracy’, with all the oppositional baggage this carries with it. We believe in open, proportional, representative, liberal democracy with the sense of welcome participation and community this imbues.

    I don’t want the head of our state to promote or intervene in contemporary political debates. Our head of state exists by their ability to fulfil the duty to represent the will of the people as established by Parliament – because Britain is a Parliamentary democracy and a constitutional Monarchy.

    So this is a vapid and irrelevant question – criticism of ‘the Monarchy’ is a substitute for failure to exert influence on Parliament, which is done primarily by winning elections and gaining majorities.

    And if people concentrated their efforts on winning seats then they would waste less of their breath on social media sites.

    The President of the USA is an elected monarch in all but name and crown. Do we really want to re-divide the country by re-importing the bloated system of top-down control?

    Versailles may get many more visitors than Windsor (a better comparison than Buckingham Palace), but this is for many different reasons, not least several which are out of any or immediate control (ie weather, geographical position and tourism infrastructure like hotels, restaurants and transport).

    Perhaps the author of this posts could learn from their experience shows that setting up a guillotine is the start of many new problems, not the end of old ones.

    If we want real change we need real action, not more waffle about misunderstood symbols.

  • @Leekliberal why dredge up that old chestnut ? Always a ‘President Blair’ or before that ‘President Thatcher’ ?
    The likelihood that Blair would be interested in becoming a purely ceremonial president is between nil and zero anyway. And , even if he sought the position, the probability that the British people would elect him to that limited role is lower still.

    The whole point isn’t about seeking better leadership ; the Queen’s views are unknown to the people whom she reigns over now. The aim is simply answering No.3 on that list : 3. Inheriting power and privilege is indefensible.

  • “Stephen W, how do you know the Monarch has the consent of the people?

    This could, of course, be easily established by a referendum…”

    It’s established by repeated, consistent opinion polls. In fact interestingly when people are asked the Monarchy is the one situation they don’t want a referendum on, because the Monarchy is so popular that a majority of people see it as a waste of time to even bother asking.”

    Opinion polls can’t be used to establish consent!

    What would be the point of holding elections if this were so?

  • Congratuations, you have come up woith the most politically toxic idea for teh LibDems.

    Now that we have established that can we move on to something people actually care about, and will afffect their daily lives?

  • @ jedibeeftrix and Chris Smith

    Spot on. This really sums up a relative of mine’s description as the party for free chewing gum.

  • Melanie Harvey 27th May '13 - 11:24pm

    Stephen W. Most people fear as to what it may be like without one as they are used to such and not for any other reason. (The old boys network does somewhat pee people off), It may not be a case of losing them completely (which we cant from a historical perspective alone) but certain injustice that comes with it in respects of the general populace really do need addressing.

  • @ Mathew Hulbert

    You have sugested the most toxic policy the LibDems could add to a minifesto. Personally I see the monarchy as a least worst option (I am not impressed with any planned alternative) so I wold be a monarchist for that reason.

    @ LiberalAl

    “As for the tourism point – I think Frances’ weather, position in Europe and membership of the Schengen Agreement has more to do with that than the ‘Royal Family’ being able to use buildings.”

    I agree that the the use being made of the buildings is not the reason but I don’t think you have the main cause on the list. To try and compare Buck House to The Palace of Versailles is loonacy. The scale and extravogance of Versailles is worth traveling to, Buck House is a residence that apparently even most Monarchs have not been keen on. Some people are really over estimating the appeal of certain UK destinations for tourists.

    That said any one who uses tourism as a basis for their argument for or against a particular Head of State system is on shaky ground. That applies to those who, like me, would support the monarchy as well.

  • andrew purches 28th May '13 - 9:38am

    I cannot see any point in any of this posturing: I do believe that,by and large,our democracy does work for the majority of our citizens, and is subject to a reasonable degree of oversight by the unelected upper chamber, who do what is expected of them in reviewing and modifying contentious legislation proposed by a far from democratic Commons. It is that place that needs serious attention. Who on earth mandated the Foreign Secretary,in cahoots with the French and the U.S. to successfully persuade the E.U. to permit the possible shipment of arms to the perceived “moderate” opposition to Assad in Syria. This is madness,wicked madness,from a man who should know more of the history of our actions along with the French, that created this post Ottoman cess- pit of Sunni / Shia religious conflict.
    Our democracy is currently trying to control the byproduct of our Blairite actions in Iraq,Libya and Afghanistan, and yet we go on allowing the blinkered leaders that we voted for to add fuel to the fire of terrorism with the proposal to send even more arms into this Middle Eastern bear garden that we created in the first place.The only beneficiary here will be Israel – another beacon of democratic republicanism.

  • Simon Titley: the analysis isn’t hard to do. Because our monarchy is undemocratic and because any involvement in political controversy is seen as dangerous an possibly toxic for it (partly because the monarch’s reign is limited only by death and then there is a succession by descent, not election), the monarch steers clear of the sort of cautious but sometimes decisive interventions a directly or indirectly elected President can make to resolve political crises or protect the constitution and basic values of the country. There are good examples of such interventions by German, Italian, Indian and Irish presidents.

    Even those presidents who were essentially party hacks (loyalists) often achieve genuine independence once elected. For a LIberal, an elected president is attractive as a check on the overmighty power of a Prime Minister at the head of a secure majority, but (s)he can also be invaluable as a facilitator at times of political confusion. I saw this kind of role during a period of no overall control without coalition on Waltham Forest council, when the Chief Executive worked behind the scenes to unblock the kind of impasse that could develop when three parties had quite different positions, not measurable along a single measure, and no position commanded a majority.

    In principle, yes. because I’m in favour of democracy (even after the last local elections) and against titles, distinctions and grades of importance except when they’re functional and necessary.

  • Paul Reynolds 28th May '13 - 1:00pm

    Maybe we could have an elected monarch and only allow those of royal blood to stand for the post. If none wish to step forward we could similarly only allow those with more than 1m hectares of land in their possession to stand, or even better, allow foreign royals to stand. A landowning eligibility criterion could also be applied to those allowed to vote. I know these are old ideas but it might be nice to have domething a bit different. However I can already hear the whingeing civil servants saying ‘we tried that once and…. it worked’

    Ha ha

  • Eddie Sammon 28th May '13 - 1:07pm

    I have changed my opinion on this. Although I would still like to see a Republic happen, I don’t think we should be promoting it as a policy. We need to learn to respect and enjoy tradition and above all the public’s wishes.

    I think rather than campaigning for the removal of the monarchy we could privately lobby to get the Monarch to pay inheritance tax on private assets, which they do not currently. They might even agree to this if it improves public consent for their role in society.

  • Dave G Fawcett 28th May '13 - 1:25pm

    As an committed republican I nevertheless recognise that, at the moment, the overwhelming majority of British citizens support the monarchy, However there is one simple and relatively inexpensive way to continuously monitor public opinion. At each general election add two questions to the ballot paper.1: ‘Do you want the monarch to continue as head of state’? 2: Do you want an elected president as head of state’?

  • nvelope2003 28th May '13 - 1:45pm

    At least 2 German Presidents have been forced out of office recently, allegedly for inappropriate behaviour, though possibly because of disagreements with the Federal Chancellor. Those countries which are republics do seem to have a propensity for greater levels of corruption than the Northern European Monarchies.
    Any elected President , whatever constitutional limitations were put on his powers, unless he was a person of no character or ability, would be bound to clash with the elected Prime Minister from time to time, possibly provoking a constitutional crisis. When the Italian President Giorgio Napolitano tried, on legal advice, to veto a bill he was overruled by Parliament which simply changed the law .
    A symbolic monarchy such as we have largely avoids that possiblity as well as providing a focus for national unity and international identity. When I have been abroad I have been surprised by the interest that is shown in the British Monarchy, almost entirely favourable and of great benefit to Britain.

    Perhaps a more useful change would be the direct election of the Prime Minister and the election of the House of Commons by proportional representation which hopefully would reinvigorate that body to better represent the needs of the people. The Upper House could be converted into a Federal Chamber if Scotland should remain in the United Kingdom.
    The use by the Prime Minister of the Royal Prerogative is completely irrelevant to the issue of whether we retain the symbolic monarchy. We have been effectively a republic since 1689 when Parliament invited William of Orange to be King William III and subsequently vested the Crown in the descendants of the House of Hanover by the Act of Settlement.

    As others have said the reason why tourists love France is because it is so wonderful, as is Italy. We do not have anything like the beautiful buildings climate and scenery, in the former case because progressive people have encouraged the demolition of so many lovely old buildings and their replacement by the sort of concrete and glass structures that can be seen all over the world although not so much in France and Italy which were not heavily bombed in the War and opted to keep what they had. Anyone who has been to China will have noted the interest shown by Chinese people in their few remaining historic buildings after the depredations of the Cultural Revolution which seems to be still going on here.

  • Dominic Curran 28th May '13 - 1:46pm

    the title of this piece could also read: ‘Yet another way to make us irrelevent to the vast majority of the British public’

  • @nvelope2003: I completely agree with your point about the destruction of beautiful old buildings – it is tragic how often I see amazing old London buildings being knocked down in place of souless and often really ugly flats.

  • “@ LiberalAl

    “As for the tourism point – I think Frances’ weather, position in Europe and membership of the Schengen Agreement has more to do with that than the ‘Royal Family’ being able to use buildings.”

    I agree that the the use being made of the buildings is not the reason but I don’t think you have the main cause on the list. To try and compare Buck House to The Palace of Versailles is loonacy. The scale and extravogance of Versailles is worth traveling to, Buck House is a residence that apparently even most Monarchs have not been keen on. Some people are really over estimating the appeal of certain UK destinations for tourists.

    That said any one who uses tourism as a basis for their argument for or against a particular Head of State system is on shaky ground. That applies to those who, like me, would support the monarchy as well.”

    Very true.

  • jedibeeftrix 28th May '13 - 3:22pm

    stop tinkering with stuff that works perfectly well.

    if the tories have a fault in trying to wind back the clock (i.e. Totally against semi official philosphy), then the lib dem’s is to tinker obsessively with anything and everything.

    “ooooh, shiny little pretty, wants to play withs it does i!”

    change does npt mecessarily = progress

  • Eddie Sammon 28th May '13 - 4:24pm

    Very good point Jedi.

  • Michael Parsons 28th May '13 - 5:20pm

    Jedi: change does not necessarily mean progress! Yes: especially for Britain post 1960’s – improvement means worse! Downhill all the way, I’d say. Got any gum chum? Like a Special Relationship? Come and cheer our Queen. Buy a hugely over-priced house in London and think you really are somebody. Nightingales sing in Barclay Square. Mind that nice little Diana Memorial stream ,its a but slippery. Sorry this bridge is so wobbly ….

  • I believe that the monarchy strengthens the overall democracy of the UK – whether or not the institution itself is democratic. The monarch has right to refuse to give royal ascent to legislation – but in practice would only do so in extreme (but not specified in advance) circumstances. This is a valuable check and balance on a government that was acting in an undemocratic way (albeit having been elected at some time in the last five years).

    Democracy is the result of all of the institutions of governance in a country, and not just one of them . There are countries in which the individual elections are “free and fair”, but the overall result is not democracy. In the UK, the opposite is true: the monarchy itself is arguably not “free and fair”, but it strengthens the overall democracy of our country.

  • Incidentally, opposition to the Monarchy has consistently polled higher than support for the Liberal Democrats.

    Any argument that suggests that opposition to the Monarchy should be ignored because it is not majority opinion is an argument against Liberal Democrat representation in government.

  • Yorkshire Guidon 29th May '13 - 10:10am

    Monarchy is ok as long as it is elected.

  • Shirley Campbell 30th May '13 - 2:56pm

    Some of the above comments have disappointed me and, quite frankly, I see them as views that are disrespectful to many of our forefathers. So-called “equality” was hard won and the swooning and fawning over those who have done nothing to deserve such worship makes me, an individual and a Liberal, cringe. Furthermore, and astonishingly, the so-called views of the “?” percentage of voters who can actually be bothered to vote are seemingly perceived to be pro monarchy.

    Thank you Graham Smith and the educated folk at REPUBLIC

  • Shirley Campbell 30th May '13 - 3:21pm

    I was cut off in my prime for repetition but I would like to say that I was outraged last summer when the BEAUTIFUL little children of our country were indoctrinated in our schools to believe in hereditary title and privilege. Shame on those who support this travesty of democracy.

    Before I am again cut off in my prime, I would seek to add that I shall be wearing a REPUBLIC “Born Equal” teeshirt across my bosom this summer. We have some very, very clever young people in our country and I want, eventually, to be able to vote for our people at ALL levels of the actual and the perceived government of our country. We have some very clever people, who have the ability to present an “effective prescription”, so let us support them. Let us get off our knees.

  • Malcolm Todd 30th May '13 - 4:16pm

    Jedibeeftrix: “change does not mecessarily = progress”

    … and if anyone on here was arguing “this would be progress because it would be a change” that would be a valid point. Casting aspersions on the imputed motives of the opposition is not an argument and if anything suggests that you lack valid arguments for your position.

  • Well, the outdated monarchic tradition (good for iron age clans) has all of the energy and resources of the state on its side – think pro-royal propaganda masquerading as news – and still is rejected by 1 in 3 citizens, sorry, subjects. Would it really be difficult to persuade another 1 in 5 that it’s had its day? Othercauses have moved much bigger odds in recent years.

    Oh, why do we need to remove it when the current annointed head of state works so hard, etc etc? Simple – the monarchy is the absolute embodiment of inherited privilege; obvious, as just one example, how else did Andrew Windsor get elected to Fellowship of the Royal Society ( in a ludicrous parody of an election to membership of a learned society)?

  • Shirley Campbell 1st Jun '13 - 1:58am

    Having read some of the above comments, I am apt to despair for the future of the PRINCIPLE of equality at the point of birth. Common sense and logic would support Thomas Paine’s argument expressed thus:

    Of Monarchy and Hereditary Succession
    MANKIND being originally equals in the order of creation, the equality could only be destroyed by some subsequent circumstance: the distinctions of rich and poor.
    But there is another and great distinction for which no truly natural reason can be assigned, and that is the distinction of men into KINGS and SUBJECTS. Male and female are the distinctions of nature, good and bad the distinctions of Heaven; but how a race of men came into the world so exalted above the rest, and distinguished like some new species, is worth inquiring into.
    To the evil of monarchy we have added that of hereditary succession; and as the first is a degradation and lessening of ourselves, so the second, claimed as a matter of right, is an insult and imposition on posterity. For all men being originally equals, no one by birth could have a right to set up his own family in perpetual preference to all others for ever, and tho’ himself might deserve some decent degree of honours of his contemporaries.
    Secondly, as no man at first could possess any other public honors than were bestowed upon him, so the givers of those honors could have no power to give away the right of posterity, and though they might say “We choose you for our head,” they could not without manifest injustice to their children say “that your children and your children’s children shall reign over ours forever.” Because such an unwise, unjust, unnatural compact might (perhaps) in the next succession put them under the government of a rogue or a fool. Most wise men in their private sentiments have ever treated hereditary right with contempt; yet it is one of those evils which when once established is not easily removed: many submit from fear, others from superstition.

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