(Reprinted from my blog of 3/17/21)
We’re starting to see the other side of wealth, nobility, title, and its privileges. As the inside story of British royalty emerges, it becomes clear that the glory, pomp, and privilege of royalty comes at a steep price to both sides of the artificial wall erected because of ancestry and tradition.
The story of Megan and Harry is neither new nor unusual. Harry’s great uncle had to abdicate his throne in order to marry the woman he fell in love with. Harry’s mother was harried by the press and the employees of her ex-husband to the point of a fatal car crash. Harry’s father married to please his family rather than himself and, by later marrying to suit himself, may have forfeited the crown. Harry’s grandfather and grandmother had a flawed marriage that came second to duties to their far-flung empire in which they ruled by the dominance of the Royal Navy and Air Force. They had to pretend benevolence and concern for peoples considered “inferior” by many of their own countrymen and, because of titles, protocols, and precedence, by themselves, their staffs and their relatives.
Behind the luxury, the stiff-necked servitude of their servants, sycophants and security staff; behind the palace walls; freedom is diminished, limited, and inhibited. Whom you marry is an issue of wide and strong interests and consequences as are many things considered private outside of noble circles. Ones compassion and humanity are forced into stilted and practiced habits and attitudes. Protocols confine both sides of the arbitrary and capricious social divisions into pretense, posture, and dishonesty.
Behind these personal and relationship constraints, these civil and serene countenances, are the unseen injustices of the past and present. The Queen of England is also the Queen of Canada, ruler over a land stolen from the French who wrested it violently from its native population. She rules Australia where her ancestors exiled their shunned and unwanted subjects and treated native inhabitants with uninhibited prejudice and disdain. Queen Elizabeth II rules New Zealand where the Maori were also treated as racially inferior and morally deficient. Need we go over her ancestors’ treatment of Scots and Irishmen, or the people of Wales? All-in-all, she has, at one time or another, been the titular ruler of over 30 countries spread all over the world. As a stamp collector, I’ve seen her image and those of her relatives on a lot of different stamps, all attesting to the words: “Hail Britannia, Britannia rules the waves.”
You see the results of British nationalism all over the world in places of militarism and unrest. Israel is the direct and intended result of British colonialism after World War I. Kuwait, the tinder that lit the invasion of Iraq, was a British colony stolen from Iraq and used ever since by British and American oilmen to steal Iraqi oil and ship crude from Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia back to their own refineries. The raging conflict between Pakistan and India is again the direct and intended result of British colonialism and its policy of divide-and-conquer. The British were pitting American tribe against American tribe and exterminating whole villages before we broke free from their rule. Of course we hated their colonialism and its effect on us but we continued their expansionist policies against both native Americans and other colonial powers, gradually widening our area of influence and control as our military has extended its area of operations with successful entrenchment.
While we have only visiting nobility and notoriety here in the United States, we have bastions of power, privilege, and prestige here as well that mimic and often parallel nobility. To have a last name of Rockefeller or DuPont or Hershey is to wield considerable money and influence by ones pedigree. And paparazzi convey a kind of temporary nobility and notoriety to movie and sports stars that create the same barriers and problems on both sides of a supposedly egalitarian society.
Royalty, nobility, and notoriety have worked, after a fashion, until recently. The perquisites of the wealthy and powerful continue, but they are now subject to scrutiny of anyone else on the planet with modern technology. We know that Kings and Queens are just people like us with no “better” blood or genes, and no better lives despite the wealth and influence they inherited.
And our own Leaders and Influencers are becoming more transparent, more human. We can be aware of their flaws and their lies and their pretenses and they, too, have become (at least for many) more and more like us and our equals rather than our superiors, no longer worthy of unquestioned credulity and obedience.
I’ve been reading a somewhat autobiographical biography written by a professor of psychology who also happens to be Donald Trump’s niece. Five hundred years ago, it would have been impossible for a person such as myself to learn the intimate details of a leader’s life and relationships, just as it would have been impossible for any woman to publicly talk about such things and be given any credence. I wouldn’t know what our ambassador said to Saddam Hussein a week before his troops invaded Kuwait. It was a bit more difficult to discover why he invaded Kuwait, but that, too, was a thing of public record.
In response to this threat to their control, the Powers-That-Be are flooding the airwaves and the internet with bogus information that confuses and alarms many of us. This force is against having an informed electorate. It pushes against the majority and their information sources by creating dissonance and fear. And, what is most dismaying, is that many regular news sources, finding that this dissonance and discord increases the attention and viewing of their audience as well, also slant and slander to increase the emotional impact of their news and they include “expert” opinions to keep up the fear and outrage. Furthermore, it increases the donations to political causes that are under some “immediate” threat. Our national political landscape has become a soap opera!
This emotional aspect to election choice and discourse does not help the forces of an effective democracy. Instead, as was demonstrated on 1/6/2021, it leads to foolish, uninformed, emotional crowds led by a few mercenaries spread throughout their ranks.
I’m not sure how we get back to the days of accurate, unbiased information sources, but I pray some well-heeled soul that values democratic principles and truth telling will provide us some relief from the news treating us like fools and feeding us what to think and what to do about it.
Wouldn’t it be more “democratic” if corporations didn’t have unlimited use of advertising and lobbying to pitch their own profit-driven motives, weren’t able to buy our votes and slander their opposition?
Until our minds are free and fed with reality, we will continue to be ruled by the elite that used to be called nobles and kings and, because of money and political power, dictate what we think and who we should fear and hate (for the moment).
And, as we ease and disperse the boundaries and barriers between us, both sides of the artificial divides, be they about breeding, wealth, race, nationality, education, gender, sexual preferences, or political party, both sides will actually gain more freedom, more happiness, and more information and power with which to further the equality — and thus the freedom — of all men and women.