Reality Conditions

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A defense of the Divine Right of Kings

Some days ago Jason Kuznicki asked for suggestions for an "Opposite Day" in which he would play devil's advocate and defend as best as he could a position he opposes completely. Suggestions made either by him or by the commenters included a defense of Intelligent Design, of censorhip against the Danish cartoons, or of Catholic theology. I thought those suggestios were "too easy" as there are many people around defending these things and one could just copy their arguments, or at least use them to "get into" their mindset. Much more dificult -and fun- to argue for a position so alien to us that it is almost impossible to understand how one could support it. Knowing that Jason is a libertarian fond of quoting Locke, I suggested a defense of the divine right of kings and he accepted the suggestion with delight.

The post appeared finally here, and it really worth reading. Parody is mostly avoided, and an attempt as serious as possible these days of giving a modern defense of absolute monarchy is made. I found particularly clever the use of the Milgram experiment to suport the claim that people are inherently fit to obey and not discuss their authority. Of course appeals to what God said to Adam in Genesis do not carry much weight in modern political controversies, but it was difficult to avoid that kind of argument if the defense had to be for the divine right of kings.

Now Ed Brayton is considering writing a similar defense of Intelligent Design. I would advise him not to. We all know how fond creationists are of quote-mining, and if he wrote such a defense his words would be without a doubt taken and quoted in ID defenses for decades and decades. Jason did not incurr in a similar risk, as so far as I know there are no groups actively defending absolute monarchy and pushing to "teach the controversy" between it and democracy to school children.


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