Sixty Joyless De-Britished Uncrowned Commonpoor Years (1949-2009)

Elizabeth II Vice-Regal Saint: Remembering Paul Comtois (1895–1966), Lt.-Governor of Québec
Britannic Inheritance: Britain's proud legacy. What legacy will America leave?
English Debate: Daniel Hannan revels in making mince meat of Gordon Brown
Crazy Canucks: British MP banned from Canada on national security grounds
Happy St. Patrick's: Will Ireland ever return to the Commonwealth?
Voyage Through the Commonwealth: World cruise around the faded bits of pink.
No Queen for the Green: The Green Party of Canada votes to dispense with monarchy.
"Sir Edward Kennedy": The Queen has awarded the senator an honorary Knighthood.
President Obama: Hates Britain, but is keen to meet the Queen?
The Princess Royal: Princess Anne "outstanding" in Australia.
H.M.S. Victory: In 1744, 1000 sailors went down with a cargo of gold.
Queen's Commonwealth: Britain is letting the Commonwealth die.
Justice Kirby: His support for monarchy almost lost him appointment to High Court
Royal Military Academy: Sandhurst abolishes the Apostles' Creed.
Air Marshal Alec Maisner, R.I.P. Half Polish, half German and 100% British.
Cherie Blair: Not a vain, self regarding, shallow thinking viper after all.
Harry Potter: Celebrated rich kid thinks the Royals should not be celebrated
The Royal Jelly: A new king has been coronated, and his subjects are in a merry mood
Victoria Cross: Australian TROOPER MARK DONALDSON awarded the VC
Godless Buses: Royal Navy veteran, Ron Heather, refuses to drive his bus
Labour's Class War: To expunge those with the slightest pretensions to gentility
100 Top English Novels of All Time: The Essential Fictional Library
BIG BEN: Celebrating 150 Years of the Clock Tower

Saturday, 7 July 2007

Our Monarchy, Our Traditions

Does history matter to our present tense culture? Tragically no. Part of the value of our monarchy lies in its apparent absurdity in our demotic age. Monarchy is both a very hard and very easy concept to grasp. Being the King or Queen of something carries a fairly strong impression for most, if only at the level of a Saturday morning cartoon. Why monarchy matters, and more importantly why our monarchy matters, is something that has to be understood.

The whole complex of history, tradition and values that compels allegiance to an old Englishwoman is of course not apparent. You have to work to understand and to appreciate the monarchy. The spirit of egalitarianism has so corrupted the world that everything must be easy and obvious. Even the modern world's irony is of the crudest and simplest form, endless versions of the old vaudeville routine of the pompous dowager slipping on a banana peel. The hardest thing, however, for moderns to grasp is tradition. Most traditions make absolutely no sense until studied, appreciated and then ultimately experienced. Tradition is often subtle and obscure, much of its details are not directly necessary to the values being expressed. Take the trooping of the colours, done each year for two and half centuries on the occasion of the Sovereign's official birthday.

The movement of the soldiers, their gestures, the design of the flags being displayed are meticulously thought out and executed. One can easily say that red isn't an especially sensible colour for soldier's uniforms, though it once was. The lock step precision of the marching and riding is also hopelessly antiquated, a modern army, indeed any army since the Sedan, behaving that way on a battlefield would be cut to ribbons. It is a demonstration of discipline, but there are other ways to display discipline. The whole pageantry says simply that We are loyal to You and You are a symbol of Us. More than that it is OUR way of showing Our Loyalty to You and Us. Whether a family, or a city, or a province or a whole nation, the details are essential for the tradition, though not necessary for the values being expressed, another set of details might say the same thing but it would be another's expression. Unity but OUR Unity.

This, however, is not collectivism. To join together, or to stay together if the joining was not a matter of choice, with others is not collectivism so far as the goals are common and the capacity of the individual to think independently is not subverted. An old Englishwoman is the symbol for Canadians and the other fifteen nations that "share" the sovereign of freedom, the rule of law and parliamentary government. The defense of the monarchy, then, takes on an added burden. In defending this "absurd anachronism" we are defending our freedoms but also defending that which sustains freedom, a certain set of traditions. Values to survive must survive through traditions. Values require actions to become real. Humans being creatures of habit (because we are conceptual beings) need to express values within groups and across time in traditions. We cannot always be making ourselves anew in every way, keeping us in childhood forever and in all ways.

The idea of tradition is very much in danger and we live in a pragmatic era where the apparent practicality of the moment rules all - most are cut off from the last moment and one beyond, the span of generations is then beyond comprehension. A high level civilization cannot be sustained by amnesiatics. Even if the man in the street is indifferent to most traditions and all but the most basic of values, some men aren't, they are the priests tending the fire in the temple. Their actions may seem esoteric and irrelevant but their influence is vital. A piece of music played in the park, the design of a monument or the manner of address or language, they call the usually indifferent to something higher, they remind him of the High that needs to be striven for. Stripped of that effort, whether to ideals supernatural or human, leaves us as cold naked animals and ultimately leads us to conduct becoming thereof. One of those things that can inspire is monarchy.

In defending the Crown we are defending at the same time those values that sustain our lives as human beings. Other nations express that same striving by other paths, no less sacred than our own, but the monarchy, the Canadian but British born Crown, is Our Way.


Oom Jislaaik said...

a well-written piece, thank you Kipling.

Brian said...

I agree, Thank You