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

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Of Republics and History

In honour of the recent post made by Neil Welton of Monarchy Wales, and as my first post in this distinguished blog, I've decided to tackle a common flaw in the much vaunted republics that most people tend to overlook.

Republics, for the most part, do not get along well with history.

Now, what could I possibly mean by that? Well, for one, let's take a look at the findings the Telegraph reported. Over a fifth of the canvassed teenagers in the study reported that Sir Winston Churchill, one of the United Kingdom's most distinguished heroes, did not exist. Why? Because 77% of them did not open a history book, and 61% said they'd rather flip channels than watch a historical or educational broadcast.

Now, considering that this massive failure in education is happening amidst a constitutional monarchy, shouldn't we assume that this is another of those supposed "failures" the republicans shout about like a pack of rabid dogs?

No. On the contrary, this increasing failure can be mostly attributed to the constant desire of republicans to lower the educational threshold. If it hasn't been intentional on their part, then it nonetheless fits in with their agenda quite well. It is a situation that, contrary to popular conception, is not limited to the decaying United Kingdom, but is rather prominent in such republics as the United States, Panama, Colombia, and other such followers of the outdated diatribe of a long-dead hypocrite (coughJeffersoncough).

Go to each of these countries (I dare you) and ask the average teenager about their pre-Republican history. The result, I can guarantee you, is nothing short of drop dead dreadful. The average teenager in the United States is taught to believe that the American Revolution broke out entirely on the grounds of liberty, freedom, and all those pretty words, but fail to mention that a good deal of the reasoning behind the treason they committed was their unwillingness to pay taxes that the Crown had every right to demand, since they [the Crown] had funded most of the war effort in the Americas during the Seven Years War.

In fact, the very demands for a regional Parliament were, at the time, completely outrageous, considering there wasn't a single precedent to justify Parliament granting them any such thing.

Every period of history from there on is simply an exercise in revisionist history, where the USA is the battle-hardened colossus whose very touch is like Midas' touch of gold, except replace gold for utter failure, and you get the approximate results of every situation in which the US has ever meddled, with the only exceptions being those few events where the plan they designed actually worked (such as the Marshall Plan).

But back to the problem at hand.

The republicans will, undoubtedly, blame the Crown, somehow, for this atrocious drop in intelligence amongst the wayward teenage population of the United Kingdom. In fact, you can bet your grandmummy's hidden stash of cash under the mattress that they're jumping on their revolving chairs right now trying to find a way to spin it in their favour. The best thing they could do, however, is just sit back and watch as Labour's educational policies of total failure continue to degrade the very social fabric of the United Kingdom.

Why is that, you ask? Well, I'm glad you asked.

See, Republics thrive on the uneducated. It's basically a requirement for its electorate. The basis of their thought pattern, I believe, is that the less the people know, the more they can get away with (case in point, George W. Bush and Mireya Moscoso). Anyone smarter than the average Joe, then, is then considered a dangerous radical, and god forbid you criticize the government, at which point you're simply a traitorous lout who has no sense of patriotism.

In fact, as a show of how little they expect of their electorate, I present to you the ultimate demonstration of how little they think of the people. The flag.

That's right. The flag.

An inanimate piece of cloth that has been dyed with pretty, shiny colours and is waved from a flagpole, then burned after a few weeks of being battered senseless by the weather. According to republicans, that piece of cloth that will probably be replaced in two weeks is the one thing you, the common man, should be paying undying loyalty to. Nevermind that it has no feelings, or a mind of its own; it's the flag. And if you've ever watched a crowd in a republic gather around a flagpole like mindless sheep to honour a flag, you'll find that's it remarkably similar to watching small children getting entertained by an adult waving shiny keys in front of them.

It is, frankly, insulting that any rational human being would ask me, personally, to swear allegiance to something that’s not even alive. A human being, on the other hand, I can deal with. I could even disagree with him/her. I could make my own rational opinion of the person’s worth, and even protest their actions. A human being can be redeemed, and made to rethink their actions. A flag, on the other hand, is not rational. It is not human. And therefore, it is nothing but a symbol that has absolutely no safeguards against abuse.

Yet again, I seem to have gone off on a tangent, so let me digress.

Education has always been a benchmark of constitutional monarchies. The basis of the constitutional monarchical society is that knowledge is power, and those who can are promoted, whereas those who can’t are not. It is not unfair; it is not a crime—it is, in its very essence, a meritocratic system of advancement that favours the citizen who devotes his energies to further himself and, by consequence, the nation. If you're really good at what you do, then you are honoured with a knighthood, or even raised to the Peerage, thus setting your name in stone for all eternity.

In a republic, however, that drive to promote the state by promoting themselves is completely gone. Instead, it is replaced by the drive to promote oneself and only oneself. It promotes success, yes, but often at the cost of everyone else. If you happen to be good at what you do, then the only honour given to you is being plastered on the face of every finance or educational magazine in the country with the small hope that someday, teenagers will read about you in their history books. Hardly seems fair, doesn't it?

In Canada, one of the most successful constitutional monarchies, the focus is not on the individual, but the community. This is not anti-liberal, or anti-rights. It is simply an acknowledgement that though we be individuals, we are also part of a larger community which we cannot ignore simply because they do not profit us.

Furthermore, in the realm of education, let us not forget that the countries whose histories are discussed more in full, with criticism from all sides being discussed, are monarchies. It seems that those who hold on dearest to their traditions are also those who are more willing to admit they have made mistakes in the past. In the short time I’ve delved uniquely in British Imperial history, I’ve noticed more British admissions of past mistakes than any other US or other republican history book I’ve come across.

But the larger question here, I would argue, is not whether or not republics and history don’t get along, but why.

The reason, I think, lies within the inevitability of a republic’s downfall. Now, why is this, you wonder. It is because eventually, people, usually the same teenagers who here demonstrate appalling education, start asking questions that the republican governments are too uncomfortable answering; questions such as “Why did we abolish the monarchy?”, "Why did we rebel?" or “How come the books say something different?”

In the present-day constitutional monarchies—those which hold true to the constitutional monarchy, that is—these questions are answered openly by either the government, or other intellectuals. Monarchies are more liable to admit that they’ve done wrong, and so, other than immediately sensitive information, most constitutional monarchies are very willing to admit when they’ve erred, with some exceptions.

So when republics are faced with these uncomfortable questions, what do they do? They try and erase their tracks. Soon, statues and monuments to royalist heroes become torn down under lame excuses, or their history is rewritten to fit the government’s needs. Men like Churchill become fictitious, and fictitious protest symbols embedded in popular culture become real people.

Eventually, however, the teenager who today clamours for a republic begins to clamour for a return of the monarchy. The Jacobite becomes a Loyalist, and the cycle begins anew. That is, unless the cycle is torn apart by those of conscientious minds. This stoppage, ladies and gentlemen, would not be the work of laissez faire, as far as teaching goes, but rather an increase in focus on the rejuvenation of the education process. Schools that are successful in producing good citizens should be modelled after, not shut down. Those which are failing ought to receive government funding so they can rise to the levels of those which succeed.

God (or the gods, or whatever it is you believe in) raises only those who raise each other. And under a constitutional monarchy, that is exactly what we do.

God Save the Queen, and Her Heirs.

23 comments:

Lord Best said...

Excellent post.

Actually your comments on the US remind of when I was talking with an American numismatic collector. I had recently bought a medal struck in 1814 to commemorate some event or other of the War of 1812. I happened to mention the burning of Washington and the White House.
"That never happened" he said.
I corrected him "Actually, it did occur, Blair just apologised for it last year". (this was in 2004)
Next minute I'm being accused of being an anti-American, liberal, terrorist sympathiser, and I never heard from him again. This from an otherwise educated man. The idea that the great democratic capital of the great republic could have been sacked by the British was abhorrent, so it was removed from the history books, apparently.

It happens in Australia to some extent as well. As part of a school project I was given the task of writing an 'alternative viewpoint' of the Eureka Stockade, a rebellion of miners against gold licenses in the Ballarat Goldfields. So I wrote a piece from the perspective of the Crown officers who put down the rebellion with great violence after some idiot priest told them the miners had 1500 muskets and many cases of shot. I recieved an F adn had to rewrite it. When I took it to the coordinator and complained, he marked it, and gave it an A+. All because I challanged the myth.

Palmerston said...

Yes, there is an unfortunate tendency by too many in the United States to view their history as if 1776 was the year in which God proclaimed "Let there be light, and there was". Although the period 1776 to 1783 was a time of "arrested consitutional development", America benefited greatly from the long period that came before. In fact without it, the Great Republic would not have turned out so great.

Jeff S. said...

As an American who can wholeheartedly agree with everything written by palmerston, I must say that I have never heard an educated American or seen an American history text, no matter how revisionist, ever deny the burning of Washington and the White House during the war of 1812. Every young child will hear of Mrs. Madison's heroic saving of George Washington portrait.

Marquis Black said...

Unfortunately, I have. Everywhere. It seems to me that every time I bring it up, I'm giving people a history lesson on their own country. Which they subsequently deny.

David Byers said...

The part of your piece that talks about “The Flag” and the reverence that republicans show it, and indeed make oaths to, reminds me of a very strange phenomena here in Australia. In Australia we removed the Queen form the oath of allegiance because – it is wrong to give an oath to a person (the reason I now never will attend a citizenship ceremony) but support for honouring the Australian Flag is unbelievably high (even though it has the Union flag in it which is a royal flag!). Very odd, thought I do like the flag we have; our allegiance should be to our Crown. Many people in Australia seem to hate the Monarchy but love the flag which is a Royal Badge. Australians are very, very nationalistic.

adams said...

Well regaurding the general level of historical knowlage in the US I agree it is very bad, but I doubt that it is because we are a republic. It is true that british republican thrive on historical ignorance, but is that true in the US?

Neil Welton said...

Welcome Marquis Black!

Marquis Black said...

Neil, thanks =D

Adam: ask yourself that same question. Do they? More often than not, you'll find that yes, they do. For instance, it is more often than not the pro-republicans that end up claiming that the US has never been invaded, but the War of 1812 seems like a stark contradiction to that statement. They are also the ones that claim that the US has never lost a war, but again the War of 1812 seems a contradiction, as does Vietnam.

All I can say is be careful of republican weasel words.

Lord Best said...

I'd like to believe it was just an aberration but I've encountered it elsewhere as well. Even one left wing American was saying things like "Washington is the one Imperial capital that has never been sacked in world history, lets get out while we are on top".
I would imagine that the abysmal standard of history education is not universal, and there are many people in America who recieve a decent, accurate knowledge of their history. But I would hesitate to say it was anywhere near a majority. I'm hardly an expert though, and happy to be proved wrong.

Neil Welton said...

Pleasure - very interesting piece Marquis. You offer a different view and perspective which, as you may have already gathered, I rather like. Look forward to reading your next entry.

Viscount Feldon said...

Excellent post!

Unfortunately, Lord Best, I think that historical knowledge is faltering in many countries. I think that one movie character, what was his name, "Churchill"? would agree.

Stauffenberg said...
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Stauffenberg said...
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Stauffenberg said...

What a great piece. I thoroughly enjoyed Marquis Black’s analysis.

There may be exceptions, but in the English-speaking world most republics indeed do not get along well with history (I am thinking of the U.S. and Ireland, in particular) because they have to re-invent themselves “ex negativo” all the time and you can only declare a politician’s tunnel-vision a value if you redesign the traces of previous times.

It was good of the Marquis to point out the Republican need for overstating symbols to compensate the lack of substance.

Mind you, I appreciate the unique and dignified style of the Union Flag, and much as I enjoy its sight in places like Canada it was not in itself what made me appreciate the traditions, the substance if you will, of Britain and the Commonwealth. On my first visits to the UK around 1990, these were epitomised by the – receding – remnants of community spirit, a quiet, unobtrusive patriotism, manners and general kindness.

While I shall continue to show respect to all national flags and pay compliments to service colours at appropriate ceremonies, this post and some comments have made me aware of their shortcomings, once more.

Republican-style flag cult seems to gloss over many things and demands far greater public conformity than true monarchy would ever dream of asking of anyone. Monarchy knows human nature and an enlightened monarch will always be aware of the lacks and shortcomings of people in his or her own lineage.

When some sycophant told the then King of Norway that a future cabinet minister had had a communist past, HM was reported to have brushed him off saying that he was the King of all Norwegians, communists included. No questions about un-Norwegian activities…

While I believe that there is a need to look into what may unite a nation, more often than not there seems to be little substance behind the ostensible flag waving. A piece of printed cloth can, at best, be the least common denominator, or, at worst, a tool of exclusion.

Juan Tolentino said...

Well, colour me rather umimpressed with this sensational argument. It seems that all you have done is vastly generalize the phenomenon of historical un-awareness and ascribed it, pedantically, as a basic feature of the big bad republics. Is a republic (as a whole) any less "alive" because it lacks a personal Sovereign upon which to direct allegience? Is there even no allowance for the possibility that the so-called reverence to the flag is but a debased form of allegience to that nation's ideals, which in our case is more empathically (and visibly) embodied in the person of the Queen? Is there even no consideration of the vast complexities and accidents of history that have contributed to the decline of historical awareness in various nations, republics and monarchies included? Hardly, as this post seems to be indicative of a disturbing antipathy towards republics as though they were inherantly evil systems of government.

I will be frank and say that I don't believe that there is anything inherantly good or "perfect" about a constitutional monarchy. In fact, I believe that to regard the monarchy, however good or beneficial it is, as anything more than a elevated system of human government is akin to the so-called "flag-waving" that the commenters on this post have been so eager to condemn. My loyalty to the Crown does not stem from a belief that it is the best system of governance, but because it is /our/ system of governance and it has served us very well these past few centuries. True love for one's country (or kingdom, in this case) is more often that not despite its character, rather than because of it.

I will admit that there are a number of issues in the republican system of government that give room for pause, but to denounce it wholesale belies a judgementalism coloured from the bitterness of personal experience. Others may be impressed by your arguments, but I am not, and if this is the pattern which I am to expect from you then I am not looking forward to your next contribution at all.

Anonymousterry said...

Juan Tolentino...good comment! Could not have said it better myself.

I am a recent reader to this blog and have had a few chuckles over some of the posts.

I would suggest here that anyone who happens onto this site would find some of these posts to be very very discriminatory to the point of being snobbish.

I would also point out to the posters on this site that it doesn't matter what the system of government is, we are all as Western Societies, facing the same problem which is the termiting of our histories and hertitage from within by the multiculti and PC crowd. This continues to occur under our very noses whether you reside in a monarchy a constitutional monarchy or a republic!

As for waving the flag. Any psychologist will tell you that in order to unite a people there must be a representative token or symbol that they can rally to. A National Flag is a perfect rallying point!

What do soldiers hoist up when they take thier objective. Their countrys national symbol of course. The Flag! It doesn't matter if the soldiers are American, Australian, British or Canadian it is thier national symbol!

Australians now love thier flag more than at any time in our history. Why! Because during the past few years, the PC crowd through various bodies and councils, has on several occasions tried to have it banned at some venues due to thier twisted view that it may cause trouble or worse, may offend minority groups.

The Austalian National Flag now means more to most Aussies because it is seen as a rallying point for Australian nationalism. Make no mistake here, most Aussies now fear that something is happening to thier country, for which they have no control over, and that flag is now more Australian to them than at any point in thier lives.

So get off your high horses fellas and start to realise, that unless you get back to earth and do something more constructive with your time than to criticize others who do not subscribe to your view of the world, we have lost it as a civilization. Terry

Marquis Black said...

Terry, let me ask you this: If we are criticized for taking our time to rebut Republican criticism towards our views, then why are they allowed to criticize us openly, without any retribution?

Furthermore, you claim that the flag is a major rallying symbol for troops, and the like. Were you aware that, when it was possible that Prince Harry was going to go to Iraq, most British troops put on shirts that said "I'm Harry!", in reference to the legendary anecdote that when Crassus demanded for Spartacus to reveal himself, his men all claimed to be Spartacus in order to protect their leader?

Flags are not the only possible symbol for national unity. In the Crown, the whole Anglosphere can find the greatest symbol of them all: the longest, most powerful empire to have ever graced the world. For over 400 years, the British Empire existed and for 300 or some years, it reigned supreme in a modernizing world. What better symbol can there be for the people? What better symbol for the great cultural legacy that these people possess exists?

In battlefields, you claim, the flag is the rallying symbol for the Commonwealth troops, but as far as I know, the battle cry of the Imperial troops were not "For Australia/New Zealand/Britain/Canada!" Instead, my research indicates, the battle cry was "For King and Empire/Country!"

Loyalty is the greatest virtue of monarchism. It is the building block of a monarchic society. Be loyal and productive. In my own view, and perhaps that of others, the republic does not emphasize this message. Instead, hidden in the lies of liberty, equality, and fraternity, is exactly that: lies.

In nearly 11 years of living in a Republic in Latin America, all I've found is that Republics promise much, but give nothing. I've seen more inequality in republics than I've -ever- seen in monarchic nations. I've been to Sweden, England, Canada, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, the US, Panama, El Salvador, Guatemala, Venezuela, and more, and all I've seen is that the most stable, free governments are those that are constitutional monarchies. This isn't mere disillusionment--it's acquired fact.

So before you criticize us for criticizing others, perhaps you should criticize them for having fired the opening volley.

No love,

Marquis Black.

Anonymousterry said...

Marquis Black....please re read my comment and understand what I have stated. Terry

Marquis Black said...

Re-read, and my points stand.

No love,

Marquis.

PS: In fact, regarding the Aussie obsession regarding their flag: let me point out how ironic it is that they adore a flag that features a very prominent Union Jack. In light of that, it's a bit like the Quebecois that wants to separate from Canada, but retain the Canadian currency.

Anonymousterry said...

Marquis Black....I love a good debate and from what I have read in your comments you have left yourself wide open to criticism. But do not hold your breath at this time as I am a little inebriated at present and therefore undebatable. So I will keep you in mind as a pleasure to savor later. Terry

Marquis Black said...

Terry, I'm so glad I've managed to capture the attention of your alcohol-induced stupor. Unfortunately, I have better things to do than to hold my breath for drunks. I find my time is too valuable to be wasted on your ilk.

No love,

Marquis.

Anonymousterry said...

Dear Marquis black...I didn't say I was drunk and your response is typical of the disenfranchised.Terry

PS. I left a nice message for you on my other comment. Terry

Anonymousterry said...

Dear Marquis Black....The monarchy system has been under attack since the early 1970's. Monarchists have since that time continually defended their position, as you say, from the republicans.

Do you believe that the Commonwealth of Nations will survive the Queens death?. This institution is already starting to crumble and the popular opinion in this country is that it will be time on the Queens death to declare a republic.

The British Empire ceased to be an effective Empire after the First World War. It did not survive the Second World War.

I can't speak for other nations troops during the Second War but I can tell you that the majority of the Australian troops signed on because they needed the money. Australia during the thirties was ravaged by the combination of the depression and a very long and severe drought. This country was more affected economically than any Western Nation.

God, King and Empire came a very second,third and fourth place as far as most Aussie soldiers went. The family came first!

I could recommend that you read Kokoda and Tobruk by Peter Fitzsimons or A Bastard of a Place by Peter Brune. These books are very insightful and full of anecdotes which fully exposes the 'personality' of the Aussie Soldier.

Australians are different to others. We have over the past two centuries managed to form the most egalitarian of all Western societies. We as a people display what I believe to be our most potent weapons. Skeptisism and an irreverance for the establishment.

You can be loyal to anything it just depends on the values of the society that you happen to live in.Terry