Queen Elizabeth: A Bridge Between Greatness and Decline

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And then there’s the queen of all queens, Elizabeth, who the other day celebrated her sixtieth year on the throne.  Yes, you can rage at her and her clan for their obscene, unearned wealth and privilege, or you can pity them for having been doomed by birth to spend their lives being scrutinized by the world and being denied the same right all the rest of us have to chart our own courses.  For my part, I’m pretty much equally divided between rage and pity.  The bottom line, from this America’s point of view, is that monarchy isn’t fair, either to the ruled or to the rulers; it’s archaic, pure and simple – a vestige of a more primitive, pre-democratic, feudal world.  America’s whole raison d’être was, and is, to move beyond such backwardness.

But.  But!  In today’s Europe, as we’ve discovered, there are far worse things than constitutional monarchy.  Since World War II, Britain has been transformed, for the worse, perhaps more drastically than any other country in Western Europe – its society vulgarized, its people demoralized, its commitment to its own self-preservation, once awe-inspiring in its quiet, noble determination, hobbled by the madness of multiculturalism.  As I noted here in January, one in three British adults actually believes that Winston Churchill is a fictional character.  A country whose people were once intensely aware of, and proud of, their magnificent heritage have, in an astonishingly short time, become staggeringly historyless, increasingly unmoored from their own culture and values.  It can seem that the only significant link remaining between today’s Britain and its storied past is none other than Elizabeth II herself – a woman who, if nothing else, can testify to the fact that Winston Churchill, her first prime minister, was, indeed, a historical figure.  The more of a mess Europe and Britain become, and the longer this little woman hangs on, the better she looks, and the more cheering it is to see that there exists among her people a real love for her – a love that, one can only hope, is, at least in part, a reflection of a perhaps only half-conscious appreciation for the continuity with the past that she, virtually alone among public figures in her country, represents.

But after her – what?  The deluge?

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  • dave

    Great piece. I'm a Londoner and it was a very weird weekend here. Many people view the Monarchy as parasites, funded by the tax payer and cannot understand all the sycophantic behaviour of the public. For me what was strange is the fact that the Jubilee gave people a chance to celebrate a nationalist event, without being called a racist bigot, as it has become impossible to be 'proud to be British' anymore, it has become really distasteful to display any national pride and yet the extreme monarchy worship we saw over the weekend shows a completely divided nation.

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      Dave, Speaking as an outsider, an American, it seems to me that the BIGGEST parasite of the British people is the BBC.

      In the US a media outlet is independent and needs to survive on its own.

      I could see that back in the early 20th century the BBC needed public funding to establish itself, but now, it's time for the BBC to stand on its own..

      Queen Elizabeth is a link to the time when Britain was great. Her parents kept their family in London during the blitz of WW2. They stuck it out, dealt with the same threat as the British people. She represents her parents today.

      • Chezwick

        "In the US a media outlet is independent and needs to survive on its own."

        What about NPR and PBS?

  • Stephan

    I am stunned that this site has some problem seeing the difference between noble and mean.

  • koran kid

    'Here comes a candle to light you to bed, here comes a chopper to chop off your head.'

  • tagalog

    I'm willing to lift a glass to Beatrix in a Dutch bar anytime. But as an American, I bow to no monarch. My ancestors fought and died so that they and their descendants would bow to no one. That's what I respect most.

    • Malfleur

      I thought your president bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia -"as an American", of course?

  • Chezwick

    The poster above named 'Dave' has made a prescient observation. In the States, national pride is not yet a rank obscenity like it is in England…(except in the universities). But we're heading that way…certainly the Democratic Party is. Sometimes I believe the only hope for preserving our values is in their celebration and representation by enlightened blacks and Hispanics. Too many whites (including most members of my extended family) have had their patriotism eviscerated by the albatross of white-guilt.

  • Lady_Dr

    Some one, some where did a study that those who celebrate Independence Day as children tend to be more patriotic. Folks, July 4th is just a month away – take your children, grandchildren, and/or the neighbor's kids to a parade or a park, let them have fun and teach them a little history. It doesn't need to take much time or preparation. But it could be a milestone in their young lives. They are not being taught patriotism in the public schools that's for sure. We need to show our youth that love of country is good, positive, even fun (that seems to be the highest value some of them are ever taught). SO – let's make a difference.

  • H&R_ Barack

    The difference between the Her Maj, Queen Elizabeth II and First Woman, Michelle Obama……

    1.) Moochelle's coif will not accommodate a hat.
    2.) Moochelle Obama doesn't understand the difference between a place fork, salad fork, or, shrimp fork.
    3.) moreover, .. . taxpayers can boot Moochelle-Antoinette's fat arse out of monarchy in four years!

  • Suzanne

    I understand what you mean, Mr. Bawer. With the problems that England faces today, the Queen actually came out looking pretty good this stime. It was also great to see the English people standing up for things British. I felt the same way last year at the wedding of Willian and Kate. No, as Americans, we are against monarchy- however stripped of power it is- but right now the British royal family are a symbol of tradition and western ideals. However flawed the institution is, they represent England's heritage, not this PC multi-cultural mess that's strangling them.

  • geopeyton

    "Yes, you can rage at her and her clan for their obscene, unearned wealth and privilege, or you can pity them for having been doomed by birth to spend their lives being scrutinized by the world and being denied the same right all the rest of us have to chart our own courses. For my part, I’m pretty much equally divided between rage and pity. "

    This doesn't speak well of you. Better a deluge absent a king than an abundance with a king. Embrace freedom and its results.

    • Malfleur

      I agree with geopeyton. Are you , Mr. Bawer,going to be "raging" soon at the obscene wealth and privileges of your own American clans? Join the Obama 'tax the rich' bandwagon, why don't you? Understand, dummy, this ours is a CONSTITUTIONAL monarchy which means that it presides with the consent of the people. It also pays its way.

  • Stuart Parsons

    How dare you attack my Queen. We are at war. My friend Big Dave will be arriving to surround you and accept your surrender.

    its just that most of us pefer A king or Queen to a President Blair, Thatcher or Cameron…… or even a President Churchill.

    Isn't it a case of the pot calling the kettle black.. We have a Queen you have Imam Obama.

    P.S You still owe us (with interest) for all that tea tipped into Boston Harbour. Big Dave will collect it when he arrives.

    God Save the Queen and Bless America

    • Sage on the Stage

      And you still owe us for burning the White House. Call it even.

  • g_jochnowitz

    Raul Castro, Bashir al-Assad, and Kim Jong-un are evidence of how monarchies begin. A thug takes over a country through force and violence and then decides it is his property, willing the nation to his heirs.

    It’s true that in Europe, monarchies are merely relics, ruled by royal families that typically are akin to trailer-park trash. We were reminded of this by the stories about the death of Princess Diana. We should remember, however, that only one form of government in inherently moral: democracy.

  • Sage on the Stage

    Good Queen Bess II should visit Israel this year, on her 60th Anniversary Jubilee year. That would take some of the steam out of the Islamist surge in England, give moral support to the Israelis, and perhaps take some of the sting out of bad memories of the British Mandate, on the part of Israelis old enough to remember those days.

    • g_jochnowitz

      The Queen's sister, Princess Margaret, made anti-Semitic remarks. Her uncle, the Duke of Windsor, was Hitler's friend. Maybe the reason she has never visited Israel is that she opposes its existence.

      • Sage on the Stage

        "Maybe the reason she has never visited israel is that she opposes its existence." Royal families are
        weird, in the sense that you'll get ten opinions from five Dukes and Princes. So while Princess Margaret may have made anti-semitic remarks; I don't believe the Queen shares those sentiments, nor does her husband, Prince Phillip. (In the same vein, Churchill was a friend of the Jews, while Anthony Eden
        had anti-semitic tendencies)