Royal Wedding

The institution of monarchy as a way of running a nation is still deeply ingrained in our cultural DNA. I’m not particularly shocked at our media frenzy over the royal wedding just consummated in London. I am, rather, getting a bit smug at this confirmation of what I already knew.

A sharp division based on heredity between a ruling class led by a king, and other mortals, was the default way of organizing most of the world’s more successful societies for several millenia. We broke the mold in the USA by establishing a new and more egalitarian kind of government, but that was less than a quarter of a millenium ago. You cannot wish away cultural values and attitudes that have been evolving since the time Egyptian monarchs first started building pyramids just by writing a new constitution. What you can do, and we did, is adopt a new system and then make it work. This, I submit, is the true justification for our sense of American exceptionalism. (See my essay, “The Second American Revolution“.)

That’s the real success story, making the new system work despite the fact that in many ways it still runs counter to deeply ingrained popular instincts. That our instinctive love for monarchy persists is revealed not only by our adoring attention to the ceremony in London but in many other ways. I could comment here on the very large number of quite ordinary Americans who voted for Republicans in the last congressional election, thus greatly enhancing the possibility that we too would turn our society back into one where the very wealthy few dominate a nation of helots. But that might get the discussion onto an even more controversial track. Suffice it for present purposes to say bravo! to the Brits, and congratulations. You have defanged your monarchy while retaining enough of its symbolism to provide periodic ritual occasions for public venting of nostalgia for the bad old days. Rather the way we have done with pro football, providing a harmless way of venting our still very strong instinct to make war.






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2 Responses to Royal Wedding

  1. Beverly Spicer says:

    You know, I think I would rather have Disney Fantasyland ritual and high, elevated weddings of royals as in the UK rather than the exaltation of gladiator-style sports in US football stadiums to rival Roman coliseums and our cannabilistic media constantly feasting on the carrion of our drugged, anexorexic and emotionally challenged Hollywood celebrities.

    • Thoth says:

      You know Ms. Spicer, the point actually was NOT about voting for personal preferences. It was about taking about what is best for constructively dealing with the instinctual needs of “humanity.” It might help to bone up a little big on the Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset’s writings on perspectivism–especially the part in which he talks about how in order to understand reality we have to look that things from more than just our own personal perspective. Otherwise, your thoughts sound rather solipsistic.

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