The Corner

Re: God Save the Queen, I Guess

Kevin – I couldn’t agree with you more. My basic attitude toward the British monarchy is that it is, well, the British monarchy. I certainly wouldn’t wish it upon America and, like you, find the “creeping royalism” of American politics anathema to republican values that are entirely preferable to their monarchical counterparts. But the values and instruction manuals of the American project were — thankfully — authored by men who were both liberated from the input of average minds and given a pretty much free run at designing a state from scratch. The British enjoyed no such luxury, their institutions having evolved over an extremely long period of time.

It seems highly unlikely that the British will ever get a chance at their own Philadelphia moment. There are few Benjamin Franklins in the contemporary British firmament and, even if they were ubiquitous, they would almost definitely not be invited to any constitutional convention that sought to find a replacement for the monarchy. Were the British to attempt to redesign their system to replace the allegedly “medieval values” that currently obtain, I fear the remedy would be worse than the ill. In this, count me with Burke rather than Paine.

Liberty should be our endgame. The American colonists needed to break with empire and monarch in order to protect, restore, and codify the English liberty that was subverted at the end of the period of salutary neglect. To rediscover its soul, Britain needs no such break. The Queen is not the reason that Britain is no longer as free as they once were — the British are.

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