Confessions of an Anglophile

OK, I admit it. I’m an Anglophile. More particularly, I’m a strong proponent of our inherited Anglo-Saxon model of natural rights and their attendant liberty. Among other things, I know that we in America can trace our heritage of liberty all the way back to The Great Charter of the Liberties of England.

Perhaps some Americans are not taught this, but our rebellion in 1776 against Britain was fortuitous: we picked a relatively benign enemy in King George III. By the last third of the 18th century, Britain had become a parliamentary monarchy, with royal power very much shared by elected representatives in the House of Commons. George III wasn’t even close to having absolute power, as would have been the case some two centuries earlier. Royal absolutism in England was put in its coffin almost a century before our Revolution by the Glorious Revolution of 1688.

All that said, Britain insists on maintaining its useless Royals. So, in this year, marking the 60th of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, it is worth remembering the fundamental problem with royalty of any sort. That great proponent of our liberty Tom Paine had this to say (via Spiked):

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…

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.

Not that he means you, Prince Charles. The central point is that position and deference ought not be inherited. A free person should never have to bow to one whose sole accomplishment was being born.

So, to my cousins across the pond: keep your monarchy; it’s only held you back a hundred years or so. It has become an irrelevancy to your power, a drain on your resources, a constant source of mockery. And it’s all for show, a show that is no longer of any importance.

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