Among the many explanations or explanations for the roaring buzz following the death of the Queen of England and the announcement of a new king, I note three plausible ones, from the most comforting to the most relatable—from a classical liberal or libertarian perspective.
The first, optimistic, explanation is that people (by which I mean “most people”) Like a hands-off remote sovereign as opposed to omnipresent harassment. They would rather picture a monarch limited in public office than a constitutional, i.e. limited, interventionist and divisive fifty-percent-plus-one president. The Queen has arguably never done anything against one of her subjects, unlike Trump or Biden. In a fertile imagination, the Queen might evoke Anthony de Jas’s “capitalist state,” which reigns but does not. to ruleThat is, it does not impose costs on some subjects for the benefit of others, and whose only role is to prevent the establishment of a state that will rule.
This overly optimistic view is tempered by the fact that the Queen allowed English independence to decline (although she probably could not have prevented it). As a symbolic representation, compare the 96 cannon shots that mourned his death with the prohibition for any subject to keep a revolver in his nightstand drawer. Moreover, by any account, the decline of English independence began before the reign of Elizabeth II anyway.
A second explanation is that People just love ceremonial rituals, decorations and traditions, which is very different from what they get under egalitarian and totalitarian democracies, a sausage factory of discriminatory laws that favor some and against others and change every few years to the cheers of the numerical majority and the cries of the exploited minority. . Not a ride in a carriage pulled by a white horse passing through a checkpoint. A ceremonial king or queen makes the subjects feel above all else.
As de Jassay points out, however, a state that appears innocent can only “disarm distrust”. In this context, the Good Queen’s main advantage may be a fairy tale for her subjects to dream about. They love royalty as much as they love celebrities. The propaganda power of the state should not be overlooked. Instead of a queen or a king, the French have the timeless Marianne, an attractive woman who represents the republic (see image below). How can that be dangerous?
A third and most pessimistic explanation for the buzz around Elizabeth II and Charles III is that People may aspire to obey a flamboyant and powerful sovereign. James Buchanan wondered if individuals really wanted equal liberty as classical liberals had assumed for centuries. British shouts of “Long live the king” become analogous to Americans’ proud “Trump is my president” or perhaps “Biden is my president.”
The actual mix of these interpretations among different individuals may determine how far down the “road to slavery” we are.