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Rex_Tremendae

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Hello, my teacher asked me today in class (debate) how I can defend the lavish lifestyles of monarchs while their subjects lived in poverty, it was a friendly and sincere question, and I suppose the "Let them eat cake" of the French Revolution comes to mind. A little help here?
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BlayneII

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Reply with quote  #2 
Heads of State have always had a privledge of lifestyle. Look at our presidents. Some exhibit thrift, some excess; same with monarchs.

I think the Revolutionary period in France was just a perfect storm. It wasn't so much the lifestyles of the nobles as it was the fact the Absolutist system couldn't work for a more subdued and sweet man like Louis XVI. I think when times are bad people look to those that have more, that's just human.

I'd simply point out that Heads of State always do well, and while there are unnecessary excesses, the same can more than be said for our presidents. Also, the lifestyles of the monarch and their homes bring in a great deal of tourism revenue for their nations. It is a very much a monetary benefit for the nation too. Appearance of dignity is important as you know. In the same way people visit the state White House, people pay to go see the even more majestic European palaces. It's good for the nation.

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"More glorious to merit a sceptre than to possess one." -- Napoleon I of France

"These are rare attainments for a damsel, but pray tell me, can she spin?" -- King James I of England, upon being introduced to a woman who was fluent in Latin, Greek and Hebrew.
Ponocrates

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Reply with quote  #3 
Why do some people only see things only through the lens of materialism and creature comforts?    That betrays a base disposition.     A monarch has many duties which are not equally shared.   He also represents the majesty of the state.   Majesty does include many of the good and beautiful things, which are inherited from previous generations or newly acquired by sponsoring artists, musicians, craftsmen, and etc.    They also must entertain and do business with powerful persons - both subjects and visitors - and this requires a certain kind of court and reception, which is dignified and conveys majesty.    What does the society aspire to be - something noble and lofty, or something equally mediocre?       

The following lines from Henry V also come to mind about the difficult burden of being the monarch in comparison to the private man of even a humble condition:    

Upon the king! let us our lives, our souls,
Our debts, our careful wives,
Our children and our sins lay on the king!
We must bear all. O hard condition,
Twin-born with greatness, subject to the breath
Of every fool, whose sense no more can feel
But his own wringing! What infinite heart's-ease
Must kings neglect, that private men enjoy!
And what have kings, that privates have not too,
Save ceremony, save general ceremony?
And what art thou, thou idle ceremony?
What kind of god art thou, that suffer'st more
Of mortal griefs than do thy worshippers?
What are thy rents? what are thy comings in?
O ceremony, show me but thy worth!
What is thy soul of adoration?
Art thou aught else but place, degree and form,
Creating awe and fear in other men?
Wherein thou art less happy being fear'd
Than they in fearing.
What drink'st thou oft, instead of homage sweet,
But poison'd flattery? O, be sick, great greatness,
And bid thy ceremony give thee cure!
Think'st thou the fiery fever will go out
With titles blown from adulation?
Will it give place to flexure and low bending?
Canst thou, when thou command'st the beggar's knee,
Command the health of it? No, thou proud dream,
That play'st so subtly with a king's repose;
I am a king that find thee, and I know
'Tis not the balm, the sceptre and the ball,
The sword, the mace, the crown imperial,
The intertissued robe of gold and pearl,
The farced title running 'fore the king,
The throne he sits on, nor the tide of pomp
That beats upon the high shore of this world,
No, not all these, thrice-gorgeous ceremony,
Not all these, laid in bed majestical,
Can sleep so soundly as the wretched slave,
Who with a body fill'd and vacant mind
Gets him to rest, cramm'd with distressful bread;
Never sees horrid night, the child of hell,
But, like a lackey, from the rise to set
Sweats in the eye of Phoebus and all night
Sleeps in Elysium; next day after dawn,
Doth rise and help Hyperion to his horse,
And follows so the ever-running year,
With profitable labour, to his grave:
And, but for ceremony, such a wretch,
Winding up days with toil and nights with sleep,
Had the fore-hand and vantage of a king.
The slave, a member of the country's peace,
Enjoys it; but in gross brain little wots
What watch the king keeps to maintain the peace,
Whose hours the peasant best advantages.


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royalcello

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Reply with quote  #4 
First of all, Marie Antoinette never said "let them eat cake"; that was revolutionary propaganda.

This article is a good start:
http://traditioninaction.org/bkreviews/A_007br_Trianon.htm

It is true that there was certainly inequality in the era of the monarchies, but there is also inequality today in democracies and republics.  Many of the improvements in quality of life we take for granted today are the results of technological and medical advances that have benefited everyone; in many ways the life of a "poor" person in France today is more comfortable than that of an 18th-century French king.

There always have been and always will be "haves" and "have nots," and I think it's better to be honest about it as a formalized class system is.  Ironically, generally the monarchs who have been blamed for Revolutions were themselves genuinely compassionate and charitable and did what they could to alleviate the suffering of the less fortunate.  This was certainly true of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

A perhaps more important point, though, is that the existence of so-called "lavish lifestyles" is a good and necessary thing, even for those not able to live them themselves.  This may seem a shocking thing to say, but think about it: many non-wealthy people depend, and have depended throughout history, for their very livelihoods on professions and trades that could not exist without "lavish lifestyles."  Think of manufacturers of luxury goods and those who supply their materials.  Think of chefs creating gourmet delicacies, and those who supply their ingredients.  Think of architects of palaces and mansions and those who work on building them, and those who supply their materials.  Think of artists who in order to make a living from painting must charge prices for their work that no one of limited means could possibly afford.  And of course, think of those of my own profession, musicians, who have relied on the patronage of wealthy people, now almost as much as then, though the form of such patronage has changed.  Public concerts as we know them today did not exist in the 18th century and before; if there had been no royalty and aristocrats able to afford their own court orchestras (part of that much-maligned "lavish lifestyle"), no one could have earned a living as a secular musician, as I like to imagine myself doing had I lived in a previous era.

Therefore, it is an economic fallacy to assume that the lavish lifestyles of royalty and aristocracy caused poverty.  Rather, there would have been even more poverty if the ordinary people in the professions described above had not been able to indirectly benefit from the economic activity generated by those lavish lifestyles.  This has been proved time and time again by the results of the egalitarian revolutions that have attempted to eliminate the luxury of privileged classes: more misery and suffering for everyone.



royalcello

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Reply with quote  #5 
I notice that there's a bit of overlap between my response and those of BlayneII and Ponocrates.  Great minds think alike, I guess.    I'd like to note though that I had not seen their responses before posting mine.
MozartBoy

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Reply with quote  #6 
what everyone else said.

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Graham

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"Every enhancement of the type ¡®man¡¯ has so far been the work of an aristocratic society - and it will be so again and again - a society that believes in the long ladder of an order of rank and differences in value between man and man, and that needs slavery in some sense or other. Without that pathos of distance which grows out of the ingrained difference between strata - when the ruling caste constantly looks afar and looks down upon subjects and instruments and just as constantly practices obedience and command, keeping down and keeping at a distance - that other, more mysterious pathos could not have grown up either - the craving for an ever new widening of distances within the soul itself, the development of ever higher, rarer, more remote, further-stretching, more comprehensive states - in brief, simply the enhancement of the type ¡®man,¡¯ the continual ¡¯self-overcoming of man,¡¯ to use a moral formula in a supra-moral sense."

Nietzsche, "What is Noble?"

Far from requiring justification, the wealth, happiness and strength of the aristocracy are the justification. Monarchy is centralized aristocracy.






Rex_Tremendae

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Reply with quote  #8 
Thank you all so much, I'll tell you his reply.
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BaronVonServers

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Reply with quote  #9 
The defense of the lavish lifestyle is first to ask, where in does the sin of a lavish lifestyle lie?

Is it the disparity that is the point of concern, or the poverty?

If it is the disparity, the answer is that disparity is not thought ill of when practiced today. 
How many people in the Republic have nearly identical 747s waiting to take them wheresoever they wish to go?
Is it not right and proper that those who represent the dignity and power of the state have at their disposal the means equitable to their duties?

If it is the poverty, the defense is 'and how much relief is gained if the monarch's support is lifted?'.

Would the poverty stricken be made wealthy because the King went about in linen instead of silk?
What becomes of the paid gardener, the maid, the cook if the King does his own farming, cleaning, and cooking?

The court cost the poor little, and gave them, at least, a chance to see and dream of what greatness could be.


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LoyalMonarchist

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Reply with quote  #10 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex_Tremendae
how I can defend the lavish lifestyles of monarchs while their subjects lived in poverty


in your debate, also point out that the US President is as good as a Monarch, and lives an even more lavish lifestyle than Monarchs present and past. Also, point out that that Modern day monarchs dont live in lavish lifestyles while their citizens live in poverty. HM the Queen Elizabeth the Second only costs us 60 pence a year and makes most of her money in investments and the stock markets.

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MozartBoy

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BaronVonServers
The defense of the lavish lifestyle is first to ask, where in does the sin of a lavish lifestyle lie?

Is it the disparity that is the point of concern, or the poverty?

If it is the disparity, the answer is that disparity is not thought ill of when practiced today. 
How many people in the Republic have nearly identical 747s waiting to take them wheresoever they wish to go?
Is it not right and proper that those who represent the dignity and power of the state have at their disposal the means equitable to their duties?

If it is the poverty, the defense is 'and how much relief is gained if the monarch's support is lifted?'.

Would the poverty stricken be made wealthy because the King went about in linen instead of silk?
What becomes of the paid gardener, the maid, the cook if the King does his own farming, cleaning, and cooking?

The court cost the poor little, and gave them, at least, a chance to see and dream of what greatness could be.



How much were the Russians or French peasants helped in their rebellions?

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DeMaistre

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Reply with quote  #12 
Also good to mention that in reality, the "lavish lifestyles" of the monarchs was never abolished, as royalcello, society would collapse without the upper class. Instead now we have a whole Senate killing each other to get to the top.
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MozartBoy

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Reply with quote  #13 
I was on another forum, and we had broached the topic of modern architecture, then someone had made this comment:
Quote:
Originally Posted by X


Oh, I don't know. Is a building built for efficiency by paid workers for educational purposes more degrading to humanity than a tsar's palace built by the blood and sweat of slaves?



I responded:


Quote:
Originally Posted by me
That's a myth.

They were built by skilled craftsmen, most of whom were out of jobs after the "glorious" (godless) revolution.


The response to that post was:
Quote:

It is well known that St. Petersburg was built by serfs.

Could anyone help me out here?

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ContraTerrentumEQR

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Reply with quote  #14 
Firstly, serfs are not slaves. Secondly, lucky for them they were being given work; after the revolution, they starved. Thirdly, so what if they were serfs ? What's so horrible about serfdom ?
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BaronVonServers

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Reply with quote  #15 
Compare and contrast the life of the serf with that of 'day labour' in the US, Russia, China, etc.

Discussion should include family and job stability, respect within the community, and degree of societal interaction.

Do not omit discussion of the large numbers of illegal aliens, who are denied basic benefits, including workers compensation, etc, that are utilized in the construction trades (in the US and Russia), contrast this 'sub-culture' with the guilds, family associations, and church relief societies available to the serf.




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