Trashing the British monarchy is an unfortunate, liberal (not in the classical tradition) impulse, prevalent in the US. Never mind that the British monarchy is purely titular. This American instinct mirrors the deracinated nature of American society, epitomized by the neoconservative creed. Strategically, Americans are taught, in state-run schools, that they form part of a propositional nation, united by abstract ideas, rather than by ties to history, heroes, language, literature, traditions.
In truth, America was founded on both. There was the Lockean philosophy of individual rights. But this philosophy, as the American Founders understood, didn’t magically materialize, or come into existence by osmosis. “Our founding fathers’ political philosophy originated with their Saxon forefathers, and the ancient rights guaranteed by the Saxon constitution. With the Declaration, Thomas Jefferson told Henry Lee in 1825, he was also protesting England’s violation of her own ancient tradition of natural rights. As Jefferson saw it, the Colonies were upholding a tradition the Crown had abrogated. Philosophical purist that he was, moreover, Jefferson considered the Norman Conquest to have tainted this English tradition with the taint of feudalism.”
The fathers of this nation, moreover, loved the American people; they did not delegitimize their ancestry and history by calling them eternal immigrants. John Jay conceived of Americans as “a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and custom.” The very opposite of what their descendants are taught.
To denounce the monarchy, as some libertarians have done, with reference to that 18th Century Che Guevara, Thomas Paine, is radical alright, but it is also nihilistic. Paine sympathized with the Jacobins—the philosophical progenitors of today’s neoconservatives—and he lauded the blood-drenched, illiberal, irreligious “Revolution in France.”
Pat Buchanan, in one historically rich column, provides an interesting juxtaposition between king and a despot far worse:
“Louis XVI let the mob lead him away from Versailles, which he never saw again. When artillery captain Bonaparte asked one of the late king’s ministers why Louis had not used his cannons, the minister is said to have replied, ‘The king of France does not use artillery on his own people.'”
In his seminal book, Democracy: the God that Failed, master of praxeology Hans-Hermann Hoppe provides ample support—historical and analytical—for his thesis which is this: If forced to choose between the mob (democracy) or the monarchy, the latter is far preferable and benevolent.
“[I]n light of elementary economic theory, the conduct of government and the effects of government policy on civil society can be expected to be systematically different, depending on whether the government apparatus is owned privately or publicly,” writes Hoppe.
“From the viewpoint of those who prefer less exploitation over more and who value farsightedness and individual responsibility above shortsightedness and irresponsibility, the historic transition from monarchy to democracy represents not progress but civilizational decline.”
… democracy has succeeded where monarchy only made a modest beginning: in the ultimate destruction of the natural elites. The fortunes of great families have dissipated, and their tradition of a culture of economic independence, intellectual farsightedness, and moral and spiritual leadership has been lost and forgotten. Rich men still exist today, but more frequently than not they owe their fortune now directly or indirectly to the state.
The democratically elected ruler has no real stake in the territory he trashes for the duration of his office. (Besides, Court Historians and assorted hagiographers will re-write history for him.) It was no mere act of symbolism for the Clintons to have trashed the White House on the eve of their departure.
The Queen of England might be a member of the much-maligned landed aristocracy, but she has acquitted herself as a natural aristocrat would—Elizabeth II has lived a life of dedication and duty, and done so with impeccable class. (It was a sad day when she capitulated to the mob and to the cult of the Dodo Diana.) The queen has been working quietly (and apparently thanklessly) for the English people for over half a century. According to Wikipedia, Elizabeth Windsor was 13 when World War II broke out, which is when she gave her first radio broadcast to console the children who had been evacuated. Still in her teens, Elizabeth II joined the military, “where she … trained as a driver, and drove a military truck while she served.”
It looks as though William, her grandson, has more of a sense of duty (not my kind, but nevertheless a patriotism his countrymen may appreciate) than most members of the pampered American political dynasties. Did any one of the atrocious Bush girls do anything worthwhile over and above preach for daddy’s wars and promote Obama’s healthCare?
But to reiterate, the monarch in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C. has far more powers, and uses them far more destructively, than does the monarch across the pond.
UPDATE (May 1): To the ahistoric contention below that American freedoms originate exclusively in … The Netherlands: I guess that the historian David Hackett Fischer, author of Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America, got it completely wrong. Ridiculous too is the contention, moreover, made by the letter writer (I never publish untruths about my written opinions) that I was an Anglophile for stating that historic fact. There is a chapter in my forthcoming book titled “The Anglo-America Australian Axis of Evil.” Yes, that’s the writing of an incorrigible Anglophile!