Though I yield to none in my patriotism and love of America's republican form of government, as a conservative I have a deep respect for ancient traditions. They should not be cast off lightly.
Thus I highly approve of yesterday's incandescent wedding ceremony between Prince William (now the Duke of Cambridge) and his lovely bride Katherine Elizabeth.
Last night Sithkitten and I watched the taped broadcast and the highlight reels. It truly was a sight to see, and the only sour notes came from TLC's obnoxious and ignorant commentators, whose lack of understanding was matched only by their vulgar critiques of symbolism they clearly did not understand.
America's constitutional system was designed with profound foresight by the Founding Fathers to provide such a separation of powers as to made a constitutional monarch unnecessary. However, parliamentary systems seem to function best with them rather than without.
Hereditary monarchs act as a necessary check upon a government that combines the executive and legislative and one that exercises de facto (and often de jure) control over the judiciary as well. The ability to dissolve the government is used seldom, but it is an important check to prevent an unpopular government from making irreversible changes to the political order.
In my previous post, I noted that World War II was easily preventable and one way in which it could have been stopped was leaving the German monarchy intact. Winston Churchill remarked that whatever the sins of the Kaiser and Crown Prince, a prudent policy would have been to require both to abdicate in favor of the Kaiser's grandson, who would then rule under a regency council until he was old enough. The monarch would have provied a powerful symbol and rallying point against the rise of National Socialism. Indeed, it is hard to say how Hitler could ever have achieved power or attempted his transformation in the face of royal opposition.
Alas, Woodrow Wilson insisted that the entire monarchy be uprooted, and the republic that replaced it was alien, disliked and distrusted. For a time the middle and upper classes rallied around Hindenburg, but he was already old when he took office and his health and abilities declined quickly. After him, there was no one else.
A royal family - with its respect for tradition and it place in the nation's history - would have given the otherwise bankrupt and embittered middle class a place to turn.
One cannot look at the hope and joy shown in London and around the world and not see in it a sense of shared purpose and common heritage. No, it isn't about the dress, or the uniforms, but about the splendor, class and majesty - about the glories of ages past and common myths that unite a people.
Hereditary monarchs are enemies of change by nature, and the genius of the American system of government is that it makes change incremental and slow. With its simple majority rule and unified executive, parliamentary systems can rapidly overthrow the social order. A natural check to this is a monarchy.
King Juan Carlos of Spain helped stop a coup in 1981, and Spain is better off for it.
FINAL THOUGHT: British military dress uniforms are soooo much better looking than ours. You'd think the world's greatest military power could afford to dress its troops better than bus drivers.