It is fashionable in some circles to disparage the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
For reasons that escape me, many of our citizens seem to feel that, no matter what they have accomplished in life, they need also to pretend to be deep thinkers. The phenomenon is especially prevalent in New York.
Some people were designer logos on their shorts. Others assert their status by breathlessly quoting Tom Friedman.
Celebrities who undertake to defend leftist causes fall easily into this category. But the problem extends to members of the American bourgeoisie who seem to believe that they gain great status by echoing the thought of a New York Times columnist.
Until recently more than a few of my fellow New Yorkers opened the Sunday New York Times in order to receive their intellectual marching orders from Frank Rich.
If that thought doesn’t ruin your good mood, nothing will.
Among those who aspire to status in the thinking class, it is de rigeur to be utterly disinterested in the fast approaching the royal wedding. An estimated 2 billion people will end up watching it, but our pseudo-intelligentsia thinks that it is of no import.
They will tell you that America was founded on good, solid anti-aristocratic republican principles, and that our founding fathers were allergic to hereditary aristocracy?
How better to stand up for America than to look down on the British monarchy.
And then, those who suffered the influence of the cult to Princess Diana believe that it’s really about nothing more than celebrity.
Today in the Wall Street Journal, Bret Stephens critiqued that notion and offered a cogent explanation for the importance of the royal wedding. Link here.
In his words: “Regarding this Friday's wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, curmudgeons have said that here is the ultimate celebrity pseudo-event, a manufactured fairy tale from the politically powerless and morally deficient House of Windsor, the significance of which is not only inversely proportionate to the global attention it inspires, but also a gross distraction from everything that ails our troubled world.”
He continued: “Still, it bears pointing out that royalty is the most venerable embodiment of British tradition, tradition is the lifeblood of identity, identity generates social cohesion without resort to force, and social cohesion is the sine qua non of a viable polity.”
Stephens makes a salient point. The British monarchy, shorn of political power, lives on as a symbol of the unity, the social cohesion of the British nation.
This would make it, reasonably, the antidote to the multiculturalism that has been running rampant in Britain for the last few decades. For a recent article about efforts to impose Sharia law in multicultural Britain, see this article.
For the nation that founded liberal democracy and liberated women from arranged marriages to tolerate Islamic extremists who threaten women with death of they do not wear head scarves and want to ban homosexuals is both abhorrent and countercultural.
Of course, the same people who disparage monarchy were thrilled by an award winning film called: “The King’s Speech.”
For those who consider the monarchy to be about nothing more than celebrity, Stephens has a final riposte: “Mainly, they're about people who have been asked to personify a vaguely defined—but deeply felt—idea of national identity through the performance of tedious duties they have no serious option to forgo. These aren't celebrities, but servants. And the 'events' in which they participate aren't 'pseudo.' They are the thin line between Britain and anarchy.”
There is only one angle to this story that still seems to have been overlooked. It is so politically incorrect that few thinkers even dared to broach it.
Most especially, after the debacle that was called Charles and Diana, and the peculiarities of the current heir to the throne, Great Britain is looking for a King.
The last time Great Britain had a King was 1952-- nearly sixty years ago. Ever since, it has had a Queen whose husband is a prince.
But, what about Prince Charles? You do not have to be quite as dyspeptic on monarchy as Christopher Hitchens is, but, frankly, he is correct to describe Prince Charles as a: “… morose, balding, New Age crank and licensed busybody.” Link here.
Worse yet, Prince Charles is an adept of Jungian psychology, and supports the multiculturalist claptrap that is currently sinking Britain.
As Hitchens puts it, Britain’s great hope is that Prince William’s “supposed charisma can save the country from what monarchists dread and republicans ought to hope for: King Charles III.”
And that the luminous Miss Middleton can save Britain from Camilla Parker-Bowles.
I agree with Hitchens up until the point when he blames Charles’s father for his failings.
When trying to understand why the current British royal family seems to be so dysfunctional, we ought, at the very least, to mention that it is a matriarchal family.
Matriarchal families have always had problems bringing up male offspring. In some parts of America it is central to the social pathology.
In polite society we have all learned to blame the father, but when it comes to the current British royal family, the fault seems to lie in hereditary circumstances, not in bad parenting.
By that I mean that Prince Charles was brought up in a family where his mother, quite literally, outranked his father.
He could not emulate his father or take him to be his role model, because he was not going to succeed his father. Charles was designated to succeed his mother. Thus, he was obligated to emulate his mother… not a very good position for a boy or young man to find himself in.
Perhaps that is why, when it came to choosing wives, Charles has chosen unwisely and unwell. From marrying a girl who was least like his mother, Charles moved on to a woman who reminded people of his mother.
At the least, and to everyone‘s great relief, Prince William seems to have made a far better choice of wife than did his father.
Could it be because his father outranked his mother? That would be a strange thought indeed.