Monday, January 12, 2009

Revolting Royals: Proof That the American Revolution Was Necessary

How is one to react to the news that yet another British "Royal" has provoked a scandal, and not by public drunkeness or fornication or any of those typical foibles of the upper classes? As the Scotsman reports:
PRINCE Harry faced a barrage of criticism yesterday after video footage emerged of him using the term "Paki" about an army colleague.
He was forced to apologise after he was shown referring to an Asian member of his platoon as "our little Paki friend".

In the footage, filmed three years ago while he was a cadet at Sandhurst Military College, the prince is heard calling another officer cadet a "f****** raghead".

Politicians, race relations campaigners and Muslim leaders led criticism of the prince. (full article)
How to react?  Well, not with surprise. After all, this is the dolt who thought it great--and harmless--fun to dress as a Nazi for a costume party. Both acts betray a callous indifference to decency and good taste, but the public culture of camp, as we have noted here (1, 2) has already eroded the barriers to the trivialization of historical racism and suffering.  We still draw the line, however--or so one thought--at racist comments directed at living human beings.  It is therefore curious that the newspapers scruple to spell out a perfectly good term of earthy speech but leave untouched the offending terms. Which is the more offensive?  Personally, I'd rather have them write out "fucking" and camouflage the terms of hate speech with the fig leaves of asterisks.

One wonders:  Only about a year and a half ago, Prince Harry said he was looking forward to a military career and was therefore "very disappointed" that, for security reasons, he would not be allowed to join his squadron in Iraq. Well, why: because he wanted to help one set of "r*****ds" build their country, or because he wanted to kill the other set of "r*****ds" who were trying to prevent them from doing so?  Maybe it's a good thing he stayed home.

One hates to say, "I told you so," but. . . the lesson is clear. In the Bible, the Israelites, living under judges, ask for a king, and God says, "Well I don't know whether that's such a good idea. Think it over, or you'll be sorry" (or words to that effect).  And sure enough (the rest is history).

Fast-forward to 1776. Tom Paine explained the problem very clearly in Common Sense:
Near three thousand years passed away from the Mosaic account of the creation, till the Jews under a national delusion requested a king. Till then their form of government (except in extraordinary cases, where the Almighty interposed) was a kind of republic administered by a judge and the elders of the tribes. Kings they had none, and it was held sinful to acknowledge any being under that title but the Lord of Hosts. And when a man seriously reflects on the idolatrous homage which is paid to the persons of Kings, he need not wonder, that the Almighty ever jealous of his honor, should disapprove of a form of government which so impiously invades the prerogative of heaven.
   Monarchy is ranked in scripture as one of the sins of the Jews, for which a curse in reserve is denounced against them.
. . . . . . . . . . .
To the evil of monarchy we have added that of hereditary succession; and as the first is a degradation and lessening of ourselves, so the second, claimed as a matter of right, is an insult and an imposition on posterity. For all men being originally equals, no one by birth could have a right to set up his own family in perpetual preference to all others for ever, and though himself might deserve some decent degree of honors of his cotemporaries, yet his descendants might be far too unworthy to inherit them. One of the strongest natural proofs of the folly of hereditary right in kings, is, that nature disapproves it, otherwise, she would not so frequently turn it into ridicule by giving mankind an ass for a lion.
Although Harry is only third in line for the throne, there's no mistaking which one he is.

The English almost solved their problem in 1649. The French did likewise in 1793 (we celebrate the anniversary in ten days). We like to tell ourselves that today's constitutional monarchs and their feckless spawn have relatively little power--but perhaps they have more than they and we know: They make headlines when they denigrate Muslims, Arabs, and South Asians, they debase themselves and discredit their own country and society.

Off with his head. He won't miss it because, obviously, he hasn't been using it.

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