The Essence of the Monarchy


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Last year during the Royal Wedding almost 1million Londoners left the city and the economy of the city actually shrank during that time frame. They voted yes but also voted for decades of left leaning govts.

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Democratic socialism and monarchy are not incompatible. Only in the stagnant backwaters of Thai scholarship could people get away with writing things like this on an academic blog. That means that the sine qua non of reforming the monarchy is the abolition of the lese majeste law. Has it been a success or failure? The British monarchy has been subject to public scrutiny and criticism for decades. A better comparison would be with the North Korean or Saudi leadership, which have penalties of a similar order for criticism of the head of the regime. I strongly agree with you on the fundamental importance of free speech.

There are clear cases, for example, of the beneficial effect of the Royal Project Foundation in enhancing tenure security, promoting livelihood development and mitigating the strict conservationism of some other government agencies in the uplands of northern Thailand. Of course, the costs and benefits of RPF activities and their broader ideological effect etc need much more concerted scrutiny than they receive, as the article argues.

If a proper democratic system was in place would there be any need for such patronage? The last time the UK monarch attempted to directly intervene in the Commons he lost his head and Civil War followed. Also the British monarchy are a compromising fudge in many ways — older UK aristocratic families call them The Germans. Specifically, acknowledging that 1 the monarchy lacks resonance among the young generation, 2 its PR is largely based on hollow glorification, 3 the development projects of the king have lacked transparency, critical thinking, and practical relevance in improving anything permanently.

A nation of such-minded people, arguing only over whether their institution is needed at all, would be a legitimate constitutional monarchy. To attack Anonymous for failing the shibboleth of condemning LM laws and entertaining republicanism reeks of dogma. I would also wonder if any liberal, democratic and apparently accountable governments have not claimed the same?

Patronage is an unavoidable social construct. Should this proper model should be replicated everywhere? Seems rather patron-like to me! While I agree that must be repealed, I disagree with the angle you attack from here because it allows for relativist arguments which are not helpful to its repeal.

What would be helpful is considering the views of Thais more, whose opinions are the ones which count, after all. Only on occasion do I see footnotes on this blog, which lends those posts that use them a tinge of credibility. I would be interested to read from you more on the role of the Monarchy. Furthers the conversation.

Thai Studies would be more a backwater without reactions such as yours! Whilt a situation remains where alternative views can get a Thai a lengthy jail term I am not sure we can properly judge what the shape of those views might actually be. Which is why the article is interesting, and not hopeless or awful as Jory has claimed — it at least makes an attempt to gauge the shape of how alternative views may be being generated — and pushes the agenda of institutional reform, which could hardly be some sort of apology for censorship.

One can only fairly judge the success or failure of a project if one has the freedom to criticise it and the person who initiated it.


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In fact, it has had a disastrous effect. We do not accept in Australia or the Western world more generally a situation where development projects that have a major impact on the lives of people are protected from criticism. Why should Western scholars argue that Thai people should have to put up with such a situation? Your point was about the royal projects, but my argument applies to the monarchy in general.

That is a basic principle of scientific investigation and for academic endeavour more generally. This is precisely why the Thai monarchy is such a backward, dysfunctional institution today, because it is protected from the transforming and improving effects of critical thought. Your points about the importance of freedom of speech are well made Patrick, but I think you underestimate the extent to which there is wide-ranging, and often critical, discussion of Royal Project activities.

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I have spent a lot of time talking with farmers about Royal Project activities and observing them first hand. Lots of weaknesses, lots of ideology, lots of problems, but also some very significant benefits. Some hard-line government agencies would be very happy indeed if the Royal Project was not part of the local scene. I would love to be advancing knowledge in a fully free and democratic system but, in the interim, I am not going to abandon the effort to improve understanding of social, political and economic dynamics on the basis of what is, of course, imperfect and incomplete information.

So the royal projects form an intrinsic part of royalist propaganda that the Thai royal family are geniuses in everything they do, the problem is the corrupt politicians ie. What if a project is actually bad in conception?

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Of course no-one would dare publicly criticize a project on those grounds. There is a larger problem to what you are saying. Many of these so-called Royal Projects, at least up here in the far North, are royal in name only. I have been told repeatedly that this or that project has nothing to do with the Royal Family, but that, rather an organization or foundation wants to have credibility so they pay, probably the CPB, and lease the name to put on the project.

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Latt, Sai. Critical Asian Studies. Working Paper No. I think Patrick is arguing for free and open discussion. And Keith Barney, those were interesting references and it is good to see that the royal projects are being discussed. But I wonder how much critical discussion happens in Thai journals. I previously politely asked you to point me and other readers to where we can read this kind of discussion.

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Not sure why. Where are these critical discussions taking place and where can we read them and possibly take part in them? Are the political opinions of farmers, local officials, RPF staff etc. I mean, really… come on guys. This level of thought must have emerged from that backwater aforementioned. Indeed, Patrick Jory shall be responsible for bloody revolution. The people like Nithirat who advocate their legal views freely and concede the same right to others are not the bloody revolutionaries.

It is those who want to deprive them of these rights unconstitutionally, and with violence or threats of violence who are the bloody revolutionaries. Were the Father and the Son different in substance and yet both adored, there would be two kinds of gods, and thus two gods. But though the common ousia is therefore necessary, it's not sufficient for monotheism. But in this case the common nature has a unity which is only conceivable in thought; and the individuals are parted from one another very far indeed, both by time and by dispositions and by power.

There are two main candidates for that "something more": perichoresis and monarchy.

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Social trinitarians make the former into a substitute for the latter, but that's not what the Cappadocians did. If anything, they put the emphasis on the monarchy, with the mutual indwelling following from the Son and Spirit's being the Word and Spirit of the One God. Although the phrasing is tricky, I think Or. The upshot is that the orthodox don't fall into the trap of multiplying gods by multiplying natures.

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The second part is controversial. Grammatically it's possible, but nothing in the Greek requires our taking it that way. All the text implies is that there is one source and that what comes from the one source "has reference" to it. If Gregory meant to enunciate the novel idea of the Godhead as the source of the persons, he hasn't made himself clear.

I think it's more likely he assumed his hearers would understand he spoke of the Father.

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