The mainstream UK media recently published survey results that suggest the majority of British adults under 25 are sceptical about constitutional monarchy as a form of government. Over 60 percent of those who responded were in favour of Britain becoming a republic. Every so often a story is published that is critical of the establishment. It can and does happen, so thank God for freedom of expression and freedom of the press. These are two blessings of our incomplete democracy. While this is something to celebrate must news of political and social evolution be greeted with only cautious optimism?
Almost everyone born in the United Kingdom is groomed from infancy to accept monarchy and aristocracy. A pattern of predictably inherited opportunity thereby slithers under the radar. The British continue to tolerate divisions based on ethnicity and family background that effectively constitute segregation. The inheritance of property, wealth, celebrity, and influence is enabled without anyone ever asking whether those advantages are deserved. There is even less concern about whether they will be used to promote wider social benefit. The collateral damage is that it justifies the inheritance of disadvantage without any reference to an individual's gifts or effort.
The Crown and Royal Family are institutions the British grow up with. Questioning their existence must seem entirely unnecessary, perhaps even offensive ‐ definitely controversial. That's because the institutions occupy a blind spot. People are conditioned to treat them as facts of life. Royalty in Britain is supposed to represent the pinnacle of human evolution; the top of the empire's old "order of races". The absurd contention that such beings exist (and reside in London, of all places) is a conceit so extreme it is nearly impossible for the British to dial it back. However not everyone is subdued by the indoctrination, so those who describe themselves as royalty can occasionally receive negative media attention. Is it the increasing international embarrassment that is leading young adults to wake up and consider an alternative future? Is there a sense of urgency to pull the country's reputation from the flames?
Britain’s Royal Family serve one main purpose. They are the most visible example of the inheritance of privilege and power. One of its members ultimately succeeds, as the monarch, to the role of Britain’s head of state. Aside from the obvious problem with this, there is potentially a more insidious danger. If people are socialised to believe that a person with no special aptitude or qualifications for leadership merits that position, are they being trained to silently accept the inheritance of every other leadership role or profession? Is this the template for Britain's rejection of merit and reward for failure culture? If you ignore that the system is unjust, it's still just wasteful. Isn't that the crucial issue? The value and potential of people dissipates while mediocrity is rewarded. In fact, monarchy is a way of ensuring mediocrities are usually in charge. Continually broadcasting the fiction that a person can be born to lead is proof that a nation is stuck in its past. We can speculate about what volatile cocktail of qualities it takes for anyone to persist in a role for which he or she is ill‐equipped. Equal parts hubris and denial, perhaps?
Is it any more reasonable to trap people in these high‐profile roles than it is to trap many more in poverty? Both are restrictions on basic choice of lifestyle. Monarchy seems like strange and unusual treatment imposed on individuals from birth. Should it be banned under conventions for human rights? There can be sympathy for accidental confederates of the ruling order.
Ultimately royalty takes one for the team. They are used as decoys for Britain's legion of oligarchs and plutocrats. The mind job is so deep that Harry and Andrew might lose some titles but remain princes. That, of course, is supposed to prove that being a prince is a real thing that cannot ever be lost. It is a genetic relaity, like blue blood. History will judge the British harshly for persisting with what Jefferson described as a tyranny over the human mind. How much longer will the majority be wilfully blind to it? How much longer will the rest have to endure the nausea and shame?
Arguments like this are far from new but struggle for traction amongst the people who would benefit most from the founding of a republic ‐ anyone without a connection to the establishment, whether through birth, sycophancy, or even delusion. Identification with oppressors is a crippling national affliction. Ignorant establishment attitudes are perceived as the norm. They are associated with wealth and glamorous lifestyles. Most people (particularly those in the over 25 age group) only listen to information that confirms their derivative sense of superiority. When they open their mouths the culture of privilege and exclusion speaks.
The British have internalised a mind‐numbing array of double standards and contradictions: Monarchy and democracy, enforced deference and recognition for accomplishment, nepotism and competition based appointment, or convention and written law (to name a few). These concepts are treated as being compatible when it makes more sense to insist they are mutually exclusive. It is so overwhelming that people won't begin to consider that they might be wrong, no matter what evidence to they are presented with. They are so stupefied by non‐sequiturs that they allow members of the royal family, with their gigantic carbon footprints, to give sermons about the environment. If it were possible to refine that level of hypocrisy into energy it could power the galaxy. They get away with it because it's considered terribly unsophisticated to criticise.
Most Britons are brainwashed into believing that the Crown is synonymous with justice. Nothing screams fairness and equality quite like monarchy and aristocracy?! Perhaps the most obvious double standard is the selective application of laws to prevent discrimination on the basis of race. In a society that makes genuine efforts to be multicultural, the head of state is potentially always going to be from one privileged white family. Is that consistent with a policy of diversity? If it isn't, the establishment seems to be arranging the wagons of ethnic exclusivity in a circle. Any legislative program for racial justice that applies only to the masses looks suspiciously like divide and conquer. This is the ruling clique's oldest dirty trick, perfected during the days of empire, and being used in the last campaign where it might continue to work.
For a people so adamant about democracy the persistence with constitutional monarchy is another baffling anomaly. Britons have demonstrated the maturity to adhere to the outcome of a 2016 referendum that was decided with a narrow majority. Why do they tolerate an unelected head of state with reserve powers, and an unelected chamber in Westminster that can frustrate the intent of elected representatives?
What the talented and gifted people of this country could contribute will remain a mystery under these conditions. The voices of people opposed to the establishment have been whispers compared to the loud proclamations of those who endorse the status quo. What new ideas and concepts are suppressed if old ideas are endlessly rehearsed? Why should anyone try to advancce the culture when their words will be ignored? As the problems facing humanity increase in complexity we need to hear from people who can think ten steps ahead, not merely the one step required to defend established interests. These are protected at the expense of the majority and the environment. At least if you organise elections for every civic leadership role the wrong people don't retain power merely because you are royally hypnotised. Elections invite scrutiny; monarchy is a veil. A democratic presidency requires voters to exercise a conscious choice; succession is a fait accompli.
Is Britain going to be a museum of imperialism or a dynamic modern republic? It could be a democracy that protects equality of opportunity for every child while working co‐operatively on global solutions to environmental threats, poverty, conflict, and disease. Do we want people with the best minds working on these issues or just those with a prodigious sense of entitlement? Intelligence isn't predictably inherited, although title and advantage clearly can be.
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