Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Charles I of England

Part One

A study of Charles I of England is quite useful in this modern age.

It all happened in the first half of the 1600s. Much like our own President Bush/Cheney, Charles I was an advocate of the Divine Right of Kings.

According to Wikipedia, Charles' "last years were marked by the English Civil War, in which he was opposed by the forces of Parliament, which challenged his attempts to augment his own power, and by Puritans, who were hostile to his religious policies and Catholic sympathy."

Sounds familiar. We've got the Iraq War--which is clearly a Civil War---that is threatening to spill over into Iran, Israel, and Turkey. We've got a Democratic Congress who is (at least on paper) hostile to Bush's edicts, and we've got the Christian Right, who has grown increasingly dissatisfied with King George's various policies.

We've also got a president who, at every turn, has tried to gain more power for the presidency. Dick Cheney, in particular, has been very clear about his notion that Presidential Authority trumps everything...even the US Constitution.

Part Two

Wiki continues: Charles "remained defiant by attempting to forge an alliance with Scotland and escaping to the Isle of Man. This provoked a second Civil War (1648 - 1649) and a second defeat for Charles, who was subsequently captured, tried, convicted, and executed for high treason. The monarchy was then abolished and a republic called the Commonwealth of England was declared. Charles's son, Charles II, became King after the restoration of the monarchy in 1660."

In other words, the more powerful Charles became, the more he thought he was above the law. Turned out he wasn't. Eventually, the people caught up to him and "took care of business" by separating his head from his body.

Now, I'm not suggesting that Bush will be tried, convicted, and beheaded. Instead, I want to conjure up a separate troubling point discussed on this blog a few days ago: The US has inherited the monarchy that England trashed four hundred years ago.

The first piece of evidence is that the current US president behaves like King Charles. And, as Ralph pointed out, we may--if Hilary Clinton is elected--be in a position where we could be under the reign of either a Clinton or Bush for 28 years in a row (Bush I: 4; Clinton I: 8; Bush II: 8; Clinton II: possibly 8).

Is that a democracy or a monarchy? It's rule by blood, so I'd say the latter.

It seems we've inherited entirely too much from England on this count...even governing parts of England that the English didn't want.

Part Three

Finally, this article from The Economist describes the circumstances of Charles I's execution. It's worth reading.



Ralph said...

The main difference I see between Bush and Charles is that Charles seems to have been acting on his own will, while I've always felt Bush was a puppet for some unseen powers that be. It reminds me of a story I read in a baseball book last year. The book was written before had become president and was discussing his time as part-owner of the Texas Rangers. He had come into some meeting and made some outrageous comments/demands and after he left the room, one of the owners asked another Rangers partner if Bush had any power in the organization. "No, but we like to let him think he does," was the reply.

I guess that's a long-winded way of saying that executing Bush would not solve the problem. As for this Bin Laden thing and how it relates to our current reighn of monarchy, that's something that needs further investigation.


DrD said...

I agree. That's why I was trying to amplify the Cheney aspect in this comparison.

Someone said recently that no man has been less qualified for the position of president than George W. Bush. I believe that.

Yes, it will be interesting to see how the Bin Laden question plays out over time. He's a Saudi, of course, so that has to enter into it as well.

By the way, I've read about 100 pages of the Kisella book. Pretty good so far.

I hope to pick it up again during Thanksgiving or Christmas break.