Are absolute monarchy and theocracy only irrational and senseless because we look at it with our own biases?

Nov 2014
172
ph
#1
Is something like Chinese or Byzantine autocracy or Islamic theocracy crazy and irrational only because we look at it from the perspective of modern liberal philosophy? But they actually make sense and are rational within their own philosophical worldview? Like how having your head chopped of or having your entire family killed for planning to have the emperor's head placed on a pike may seem senseless and insane from our modern secular liberal point of view, but actually makes sense within how the Chinese or Byzantines saw the philosophical concept of an absolute monarch? Or how stoning for adultery or cross dressing may seem abhorrent and a crime against humanity to modern libertarian philosophical, but is actually rational and logical within the Islamic philosophical worldview.
 
Last edited:
Oct 2012
321
#2
Is something like Chinese or Byzantine autocracy or Islamic theocracy crazy and irrational only because we look at it from the perspective of modern liberal philosophy? But they actually make sense and are rational within their own philosophical worldview? Like how having your head chopped of or having your entire family killed for planning to have the emperor's head placed on a pike may seem senseless and insane from our modern secular liberal point of view, but actually makes sense within how the Chinese or Byzantines saw the philosophical concept of an absolute monarch? Or how stoning for adultery or cross dressing may seem abhorrent and a crime against humanity to modern libertarian philosophical, but is actually rational and logical within the Islamic philosophical worldview.
Well, I surely have a strong bias against autocracy and theocracy and very much so against head chopping and stoning people to death. If that makes me a biggot, so be it.
 
Mar 2018
250
UK
#3
I think I would agree, although I would choose different words.

It isn't about biases (which are cognitive shortcuts that leads to erroneous decision making), but more about beliefs and values. If the most important thing *for people in that society* is to honour father figures, then it is certainly consistent that there should be some strict punishment for insulting the emperor. If *they* believe that questioning father figures is shameful, then it makes sense they would have an autocratic regime.

Now we might not share their belief for what is important in a society, and we would claim that western liberal values are better because they lead to more freedom/prosperity/happiness. But all that is saying is that we hold freedom/prosperity/happiness as important things. If other people don't, then no argument would change their mind as to what they consider important to themselves.

Now historically it was only a small elite who held the value that, for example, father figures should be honoured, and they imposed that on everyone else. Clearly, that goes against our values, but it may not go against theirs.
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
4,034
Portugal
#4
Is something like Chinese or Byzantine autocracy or Islamic theocracy crazy and irrational only because we look at it from the perspective of modern liberal philosophy?
The question that you made in the thread title: “Are absolute monarchy and theocracy only irrational and senseless because we look at it with our own biases?“ is significantly different from the quoted part and the rest of the post.

Anyway in generic terms absolute monarchy and theocracy aren’t necessarily irrational and senseless, so if I don’t agree with the premise, I have difficulties to agree with the reasoning and with the conclusion.

Furthermore there was something in your post like the words “head chopped“ and “theocracy” that seemed to me that you were thinking in more recent realities. And we can’t transpose literally old realities to our current world – this last sentence is an opinion.
 
Mar 2018
250
UK
#5
Well, I surely have a strong bias against autocracy and theocracy and very much so against head chopping and stoning people to death. If that makes me a biggot, so be it.
It doesn't make you a bigot. It is a consequence of your underlying values; those values (something like the belief that freedom of religion and expression and etc...) are certainly not those normally referred to as bigoted.
 

Ighayere

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
2,340
Benin City, Nigeria
#6
Is something like Chinese or Byzantine autocracy or Islamic theocracy crazy and irrational only because we look at it from the perspective of modern liberal philosophy? But they actually make sense and are rational within their own philosophical worldview? Like how having your head chopped of or having your entire family killed for planning to have the emperor's head placed on a pike may seem senseless and insane from our modern secular liberal point of view, but actually makes sense within how the Chinese or Byzantines saw the philosophical concept of an absolute monarch? Or how stoning for adultery or cross dressing may seem abhorrent and a crime against humanity to modern libertarian philosophical, but is actually rational and logical within the Islamic philosophical worldview.
Most monarchies were not really absolute. But anyway, monarchy was/is the foundation of state-building and the basis of all higher (more developed) political organization everywhere. To describe it as an irrational form of government is to misunderstand how places actually develop. There is no possible side-stepping of that level of political centralization on the path to development.

Also, specific laws that may seem unjust usually do not have much to do with a particular form of government.
 
Feb 2011
5,770
#8
The OP makes the pre-condition that autocracy automatically means believing X and theocracy automatically means believing Y.
X being: having your head chopped of or having your entire family killed for planning to have the emperor's head placed on a pike
Y being: stoning for adultery or cross dressing
That COULD be the case, but not necessarily, nor where those things necessarily practiced even in an autocracy or theocracy. Many times it depends on the individual belief. Not all autocracies are the same, not all theocracies are the same, just like not all Democracies are the same. Take for example, early American democracy where only white male landowning citizens could vote, and modern American democracy with universal suffrage.
 
Jul 2017
128
USA
#9
Monarchy makes sense through libertarian point of view because it is cheaper to run a kingdom than a democracy, and most affairs are left up to the individuals since monarchs's affairs are safety, security, and taxes.

The main problem with monarchy at least in well-off countries is that today guns are available, and people love to gather to discuss how to run a country, even though they can hardly run anything in their lives. In other words, the main problem with maintaining a monarchy today is the evil in people. And that was always the problem with the world, only now guns are available.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
7,679
#10
Monarchy makes sense through libertarian point of view because it is cheaper to run a kingdom than a democracy, and most affairs are left up to the individuals since monarchs's affairs are safety, security, and taxes.
There's no reuirment for that to be teh case. The Monarch;ss afairs is whatever they want it to be.

The main problem with monarchy at least in well-off countries is that today guns are available, and people love to gather to discuss how to run a country, even though they can hardly run anything in their lives. In other words, the main problem with maintaining a monarchy today is the evil in people. And that was always the problem with the world, only now guns are available.
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I would have thought the major flaw were children and idiots. Run teh system for any lenth of time and they occur regulery. Neither is well suited to running a country.
 

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