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Wednesday, June 1, 2022

The Monarchy is a Blight

 The Queen’s pending jubilee is a great reminder that the monarchy is a blight. Once upon a time, feudal warlords conquered and claimed, and filled a necessary protective role in pre-industrial societies where mounting armed warriors on horses was critical to protecting the peasants and people from slavery and death. Not so, today. They trot them out for ribbon cuttings and speeches, refusing to take sides on controversial issues (and thank goodness, because these aren’t exactly folks with a strong background with a strong background in philosophy and social justice issues), and generally just keep up appearances to great expense of the common taxpaying citizen. Cut them off from governance, and they’re still fabulously wealthy plutocrats with investments and property that really should just be turned over to the state for museums and refugee housing, and let them go. 

That they are nominally a head of both a church and a state rings alarm bells of ethics, in the modern era. They refuse to exercise these rights, on the whole, and just trot out for ceremonial appearances. Does their salary and upkeep fit the role they play in public life? Should the budget for their daily staff exceed the gdp of some whole countries once ruled with iron and death by these same warlords? 

As an American, I am often mystified by the Royal obsession. One thing that is often not well-conveyed by the rosy British-loving propaganda shows on Britbox and Mystery series is how miserable everyone was. The warlord culture was one of being cold to children, who might not survive until adulthood. They were sent to miserable and abusive boarding schools, raised by staff, and generally taught to see the world as a place to dominate. Alcoholism and domestic violence were common and expected. And the long, damp, cold winters pushed everyone to the limits of endurance. The royalty that emerged from these conditions conquered the world and spread vile racist lies that continue to haunt our world for generations. 

On the queen’s pending jubilee let’s all take a moment to consider how ending monarchy and enacting democracy was one of the most important moments in human history to date, and celebrating that democracy is a greater cause for joy this summer than the birthday of an old woman who should have retired decades ago, along with the very job she claims to hold. 

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