Friday, April 21, 2006

Elizabeth II's Birthday 

I like to think that there is much in common between the English-speaking nations of the world (Britain, the United States, Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, pseudo-nation Hong Kong, and India). However, at least in the case of Britain, I was slapped in the face with a sentiment that is completely foreign to the American mindset: "Long live the Queen! And long may she reign over us!"

I found that phrase at the end of quite a good article commemorating Elizabeth II's eightieth birthday; however, when I came to it I couldn't help but cringe. Why would I cringe, especially because I really respect the British people's sentiment and loyalty to the Queen? I think the simple answer is that the founding generations of these great United States did a very thorough job in imbibing their new nation with a general distrust and unlove (at the very least) for monarchy and for the words "King" and "Queen" when applied to real political leaders. I have much less of a problem with nobility and aristocracies (although those of the smart and wise are those that I support, not mindless hereditary types), but that's probably just becasue I am generally an elitist (although I do love the common man, I still can't help but feel disgusted at the general ignorance and stupidity of most people--but that's not my point). However, the thought of monarchy just makes me cringe, even now as I write this.

Long live the Anglosphere (and what does that mean?--probably a great fealty to John Locke, at least as interpreted by Allan Bloom), and may it dominate a free world for centuries to come. However, this little phrase reminds me that there are still minor differences--even a powerless Queen in a distant land that should bother me not the least leaves me cringing uncontrollably--between the great inheritors of the Western philisophical tradition. God Bless America--ah, that's so much better.

Now I'll go read the Declaration of Independence to purge myself...

What American can't help but smile and feel noble and uplifted after reading these words:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
I know I can't.

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