Monarchy in the New York Times

New York Times, Merry Times for Commoners (May 26, 2004)

Tim Naylor, Royalty is Outdated (dated May 26; published May 30)

Joseph Crisp's response to Mr. Naylor (May 30):

Mr. Naylor’s letter (Re "Merry Times for Commoners" -editorial, May 26) reveals the woeful state of public education in this country, as well as the total lack of regard for the traditions and culture of people not like us (as in republicans). He first states that royals’ status was, “originally won through force and oppression”. He must be unaware that the current royal families reigning in Sweden, Norway, Belgium and even Great Britain, were placed on the throne by elected parliaments. The Spanish monarchy was likewise confirmed by the democratic process and the establishment of the Dutch monarchy was merely the elevation of the princely house that had presided over the Republic of the United Netherlands. Where are these monarchies “won through force and oppression” Mr. Naylor speaks of?

He also calls monarchy “the ultimate role model for racism”. Yet another display of historical ignorance. The Brazilian monarchy was abolished because the Emperor had dared to abolish slavery, the British monarchy abolished slavery long before our great republic did so, and even the Russian Empire abolished serfdom, by a simple decree from the Tsar, before America did so, not by the democratic process, but by military force. Finally, it is the phrase that, “The French had the right idea” which I found most disturbing. Is he suggesting that is a good thing to effect political change by cutting off the head of anyone who disagrees with you? He would do well to read more about the horrific slaughter of the “Reign of Terror”, the genocide in the Vendee and the bloodbath unleashed by Napoleon before he praises the French method of overthrowing kings.

It is not difficult to see that abolishing a monarchy is most often a terrible thing to do. When Germany did so, the monarchy was replaced by Hitler, when Russia did so it was replaced by Stalin, and there are many, many more examples. Where is education at in this country if such blatant falsities as Mr. Naylor’s be taken for the truth?

Joseph Crisp II

My response to Mr. Naylor (May 31):

To the Editor:

As a monarchist, I was saddened by the letter from Mr. Tim Naylor. The Spanish royal wedding in particular was a valuable opportunity for Spaniards to find relief from the aftermath of the March terrorist attacks, and it is no surprise that even non-royalists joined in the rejoicing.

Mr. Naylor complains that royalty was "won through force." This is simply not an accurate explanation of the development of current European monarchies, some of which (such as Norway's) were established via democratic referenda. And how exactly does he think the American republic was established?

Mr. Naylor claims that "the French had the right idea." If murdering thousands of innocent people, plunging Europe into 23 years of war, and philosophically paving the way for 20th-century totalitarianism seems like a good idea to Mr. Naylor, than I shudder to think what his other ideas might be.

Theodore Harvey

Jørn K. Baltzersen's response to Mr. Naylor (May 31):

Dear Mr. or Mme. Editor:

I am troubled by Mr. Naylor's attack on monarchies. He tells us that monarchy is a "sad reminder of an institution that should be legislated out of existence in any modern democracy."

As a citizen and resident of Norway, a country which was under Nazi occupation for 5 years during the twentieth century, and which bordered the Soviet Union for nearly 3 quarters of the same century, to me republics serve as sad reminders of some of the worst - if not the worst - tyrannies in the history of mankind.

To me the king represents the fight against Nazism. King Haakon VII made it crystal clear that he under no circumstances would serve Nazism. From London he led the resistance against the occupation, a resistance in which my grandfather risked his life, but fortunately did not give his life.

J.K. Baltzersen

Monarchy and the Media