Mr. E. wrote:
anorton, would you agree that most people make bad decisions on these things? It seems like you would, given what you said about democracy(that it will deteriorate over time, and that occasionally we might have enough people to make a positive change). But then wouldn't that mean that most kings would be bad too? So we could have a system that starts good, but slowly deteriorates until it stinks, until there's a revolution and the system is rebuilt/redesigned, or we could have a system that stinks most of the time(because most kings would be bad), and sometimes doesn't. It seems to me that the first option would be better.
That may be, but your argument is different than Lewis'. Lewis was saying that, as no men are fit to be masters, we should not have a king and instead defer to the people. I'm saying that turning it over to the people does not solve the "no men fit to be masters" problem.
Of course, since playing devil's advocate and arguing for aristocracy is fun:
You're assuming that the "goodness"/"badness" of a king is Markovian; i.e. the current goodness of a king doesn't depend at all on the prior goodness of kings. I contend this isn't the case--godly parents are more likely to have godly children than ungodly children. (This latter part is an assertion based on personal experience and with some
consideration given to the kings of Israel. I won't pretend to know enough about history to claim this is true for English kings, for example.) Thus, if we start with a good king, I'd believe you'd alleviate this "mostly bad" problem; especially if it is culturally expected for one to go to church/read the Bible (thus, even a bad king's kid could be exposed to truth and grow in it).
However, I'd argue that the biggest disadvantage of the democratic side is that, once it slides into disrepair, you need a revolution to fix it. This would have been less of an issue 200 years ago, but the current military strength of most developed countries means it is almost impossible for a revolution to succeed. Furthermore, with the advent of nuclear warfare, revolutions ever couple hundred years to fix evil countries is not a great plan.
Idk. Just a couple of random thoughts. I think there are some benefits to kings that the founders took for granted when designing the Constitution; as such, in Constitution 2.0, we might want to apply a different strategy towards balancing centralized vs. uncentralized power.
I agree that good kings are more likely to be followed by good kings, but bad kings would be more likely to be followed by bad kings as well. In fact, I would argue that, since it's easier to be bad than good(hence, more people being bad rulers than good ones), it's more likely for a good King to be followed by a bad one than for a bad king to be followed by a good one. Israel started with a good king, and, as I recall, had far more bad kings than good ones. Maybe that doesn't stand for Judah, or at all(I don't have a list of their kings in front of me), but I think that's how it went.
Your point about revolutions is a good one. Hmm... The government wouldn't necessarily have control of the military. What if the military were controlled separately from the rest of the government? What if you were to sabotage to main government so that you could guarantee that the military would deteriorate more slowly and help in a rebellion? Just a random thought from late at night, so probably not a good one, and I'm certain it doesn't really respond to your argument, but it seems interesting.
Not knowing much about politics(I'm really not sure I should be having this discussion with how little I know of it, but it should be educational), I don't know what you mean by centralized vs uncentralized power. Could you elaborate on that? I would agree that there are benefits to aristocracy though.