As we protest the erosion of worker rights in Wisconsin, the increasing burdens upon the working and the middle classes and the increasing power and privilege of the global aristocracy, many Americans nevertheless gloat and fixate upon the royal wedding. Do they not see the hypocrisy in such actions?
Royalty is a symbol of everything that is wrong with the world today and indeed, has ever been wrong with the world. It is a symbol of inherited wealth and privilege. Of the primacy of blood and heredity over merit and the prevalence of inherited, class-based socio-economic injustice the world over. Royalty, constitutional or not, stands for an untouchable class of elites who wield enormous, inheritable, if limited power (but still far more than the average man) in both the nation they reside and throughout the world, by way of their nation’s international corporate, political and financial reach. Royalty is the pinnacle of the class-system of aristocratic absolutism, where the interests of the poor and the many are overseen and adjudicated by their social “betters,” the rich and the few.
Royalty is something that the Industrial and Financial elite of the United States and Europe have always wished to emulate. When the first capitalists first came into existence, they fought tooth and nail against royalty. But once they won, they made an alliance with them, and tried their utmost to be like them in terms of clothing and food, housing and leisure. Today, the world’s capitalist elite look at the Royal houses of Europe, the Middle East and Asia as leaders of style, opinion and influence. If the Sultan of Brunei has 12 homes, then so must the head of such and such bank. If Prince William owns X number of horses, then by God, so must the CEO of Company XYZ and so on.
Royalty is inimical to democracy and has been seen as such since 1776, the year of the American Revolution and 1789, the year of the French Revolution. I shall not watch this royal wedding because I am an ardent supporter of democracy and a passionate foe of royalty and absolutism in all of its forms.
I have never understood the weakness of the human species, where we seek to deify and glorify and hold-up a select group of people and worship them as false-gods incarnates, worthy of our praise, respect and admiration, when their position, rank, fortune and grace have all come about as a result of birth, accident and the past crimes, murders and robberies committed by their ancestors on those less lucky, clever or well-armed as themselves. At least movie stars and rock stars have "talent," even if a modicum and even if this is somewhat debatable. And sure, even then, we probably give them far more attention and glory and love than they are due. Deprived of sectarian Gods, we search for deities among our fellow mortals and we keep coming up short. And if we search for such saviors and heroes among nobles and monarchs, we might not only come up short, but find the list of our democratic, economic and political rights much shorter, as well.
When Monarchs and nobles can mesmerize the masses, they are more likely to gain our support and trust, particularly during critical periods of time when they wish to maintain their own wealth and power by limiting the wealth and political rights of the common people. We are seeing this in America and Europe and even in Great Britain.
Who cares if the Queen is paying for this wedding out of the so-called "Royal-Purse?" Should there even be a royal purse to begin with? Does the fact that the Royals are paying for this themselves in any way lessen or mitigate the fact that people who watch this ceremony will be far more supportive of the nobles and aristocracy, long after the wedding affair has ended? If a Prince or Duke or Lord suddenly proclaims the need for greater austerity and lower taxes on the rich and higher taxes on the poor, would the upswell of public support for all things royal and all things noble lead to this man's arguments being adopted by the masses? I certainly hope not. And yet I still recognize the danger of this coming about.
Some say the Royal family is good. I mean, look at all the public service they do! Princess Diana raised public awareness for AIDS and became good friends with "Sir" Elton John in the process. The Princes have charities they work on the behalf of. They point to the national unity the monarch can bring to the country in times of peril or crisis. They point to the so-called revenue and jobs that the monarchs bring to Britain. And yet, these arguments are eerily reminiscent of all the Madison Avenue propaganda nonsense we hear in our own country. The only thing is, in America, this bullshit is peddled about the "noblesse oblige" of billionaires and multi-national corporations. In my opinion, its all the same nonsense. Its all white-wash and PR work, and serves to do nothing more than make an unjust system of class-privilege and aristocracy more tolerable to an already highly taxed and politically burdened people.
As democracy slips through the fingers of common people throughout the world, as governments become less and less responsive to the needs and desires of the common people, we still have Nobles and Queens and Princes existing in high levels of society and government. Have we really progressed in the past 200 years?
Human beings have always been mesmerized like deer in the headlights by silly pomp and circumstance, by ritual and glitz and glamour. The façade, the show, and the mythological spectacle that serves nothing more than to legitimize our corrupt, unjust and worthless system. A system in which the poor are exploited, the middle class lack jobs and the rich continue to eat crumpets and cake in their palaces, country clubs and yachts upon the sea.
Rituals like royal marriages, coronations, party-rallies, are all artfully contrived methods of participatory propaganda. No less odious and manipulative than the Nazi Nuremberg Rallies and Soviet May Day Parades. People should be protesting in the streets of Britain. They should be challenging their government. They should be demanding greater economic and political rights. Greater accountability. Greater social justice. Greater taxes upon the rich and the abolition of the nobility. Instead, like a bunch of drugged-up monkeys, they stare and drool and salivate at the glitter, the jewels, the gowns and crowns. The soldiers and their shiny swords: all of this frivolity, all of this nonsense, purchased and financed with the blood of millions.
The blood of Irishmen. The blood of Africans. The blood of Boers and Arabs. The blood of Native Americans, of Indians, Afghans and yes, even Americans (Remember 1776).
How much blood sustained the British Crown for how many hundreds of years and gave the British Empire the wealth and power upon which its present prestige is based?
Would Thomas Jefferson be gawking at this wedding? The answer is a resounding NO.
Would Washington find it dignified to acknowledge the superiority or majesty of the British Crown, by allowing himself to become mesmerized by their silly sceptered ceremonies? Again, the answer is a resounding NO.
I for one shall not watch this spectacle. No believer in true democracy, in liberty, equality and the principles of republicanism could ever sleep comfortably knowing that he allowed himself to be hoodwinked in such an ignoble way. I will not acknowledge their majesty by watching this show. Instead, I shall spend the morning sleeping. And when I awaken and all the world is watching tv and gawking at the food and the music, the soldiers and the dancing, I will read Voltaire and Rousseau. Perhaps I will watch the musical, "1776," or the movie, "Michael Collins." But I shall not watch this wedding.
While so many out there dream of kings and queens, princes and princesses (and the undeniably authoritarian, absolutist class-based injustice inherent in such conceptions), I shall dream of heroes and patriots, freedom riders and revolutionaries, sons and daughters of liberty who shed their blood and also their lives so that we might live in a land without kings and nobles.
As we gawk at the Prince and future King of Britain, I look at my own country with measured apprehension. A land where the Koch Brothers are setting themelves up as Robber Barons and nobility for a new age, where Ruppert Murdoch is a new age Prince of Media in his own right and countless bankers and mortgage companies control the lives of working class Americans with a ruthless ferocity that equals the injustices committed by European Nobility, both now and in the past.
Why look across the sea at nobles and dream of past remnants of European feudalism? We have feudalism here and its only getting stronger...
QUOTATIONS BY MARK TWAIN ON MONARCHY AND NOBILITY
"We hold these truths to be self-evident -- that all monarchs are usurpers and descendants of usurpers; for the reason that no throne was ever set up in this world by the will, freely exercised, of the only body possessing the legitimate right to set it up -- the numerical mass of the nation."
- Letter to Sylvester Baxter of Boston Herald, 1889
"Monarchy has speech, and by it has been able to persuade man that it differs somehow from the rattlesnake, has something valuable about it somewhere, something worth preserving, something even good and high and fine, when properly "modified," something entitling it to protection from the club of the first comer who catches it out of its hole."
- An unpublished letter on the Czar, 1890
"Strip the human race, absolutely naked, and it would be a real democracy. But the introduction of even a rag of tiger skin, or a cow tail, could make a badge of distinction and be the beginning of a monarchy."
- Mark Twain's Notebook
"The first gospel of all monarchies should be rebellion; the second should be Rebellion; and the third and all gospels and the only gospel in any monarchy should be Rebellion against Church and State."
- Mark Twain's Notebook
"A select and peculiar kind of slave-proprietor who does not get his property by purchase, or trick, or beguilement, but inherits it -- from an ancestor who stole it."
- "Letters from a Dog to Another Dog Explaining and Accounting for Man"
"There are shams and shams; there are frauds and frauds, but the transparentest of all is the sceptered one. We see monarchs meet and go through solemn ceremonies, farces, with straight countenances; but it is not possible to imagine them meeting in private and not laughing in each other's faces."
- Mark Twain's Notebook
"I wish I might live fifty years longer; I believe I should see the thrones of Europe selling at auction for old iron. I believe I should really see the end of what is surely the grotesquest of all the swindles ever invented by man-- monarchy."
- Letter to Sylvester Baxter of Boston Herald, 1889