This post comes to you from the burning hell of a poolside in Puglia, Italy. If you want a better idea of the kind of ordeal I am currently experiencing, just check out this site. (And it doesn't do it justice, either. Seriously, I think Borgo Egnazia may be the most perfect resort hotel I've ever stayed at. If you can scrape together enough bucks make it your life mission to come here....)
But enough of my glamorous life. I wanted to talk - once more - about the Queen's Diamond Jubilee since I think it's jolly important that not every post on Ricochet today should be about the results in Wisconsin, delightfully encouraging though they are.
The Queen's Diamond Jubilee. If you're a Royalist like me, your heart will sing at this delightful tribute to the top twenty highlights of the celebrations.
Apart from the terrible weather (God, clearly, is a republican - and, to judge by Wisconsin, a Republican too) which is threatening to kill off the poor old Duke of Edinburgh (who caught a nasty chill, standing in the rain, saluting his wife for four hours), the event was a glorious triumph: an affirmation of national unity and pride in a country which has precious little reason for celebrating either right now.
If on the other hand, you're one of those curmudgeons who took such vigorous issue with my last post on this subject, let me correct a few of your more glaring misconceptions.
1. George III is no longer on the throne. What's more, a lot of us Limeys - myself anyway - are really happy for you that you won the Revolution. When I imagine the Revolutionary wars I definitely think of myself as a minuteman rather than, say, Banastre Tarleton. But hey, guess what: things have changed since 1776.
2. For example, there is nothing tyrannical or remotely oppressive about the current monarchy. The Queen may be our Head of State; it may be true that parliament governs with Her Majesty's "consent" - and theoretically she has the power to dissolve it. But that's as far as her authority goes. She is a figurehead; she is also, by strict convention, politically impartial; she is a symbol of tradition, continuation, heritage; she is a focus of national unity. BUT - and it is a big BUT - she has no executive power. This is how Constitutional Monarchy works. Hence my position as a libertarian conservative is perfectly compatible with my belief in the British Monarchy. Because it has no arbitrary power over me: capisce?
3. Your Constitution is great, admirable. Your were exceedingly blessed in your Founding Fathers. No one here is dissing your Constitution, got it?
4. In London, you will find that we no longer wear bowler hats. Nor do we have chimney sweeps who talk with Cockney accents like Dick Van Dyke's. Indeed, no one - save Dick Van Dyke - has ever talked with a Cockney accent like Dick Van Dyke's.
5. Snobbery. The notion that snobbery is the main problem holding Britain back is as ludicrously off the mark as 4. The problems Britain faces right now are much the same as the US faces right now: ever-expanding government - in league with the corporatist-banker class - doling out more and more money it cannot afford to an ever-expanding entitlement class. We conservatives should be in this fight together rather than taking cheap shots at one another. (And if there are any cheap shots in this post, well, darn it, they were provoked).
6. And while we're on the subject of our respective class systems, here's something De Tocqueville noted when he visited the US. In many ways the US class system is more offensive than the European one. Why? Because if you are born into a position of privilege you do at least feel (oftentimes, at any rate) a sense of noblesse oblige - i.e. that you owe society something in return for your accident of birth. If, on the other hand, you have come up from nowhere through the sweat of your brow (the American Way!) then you are likely less inclined to be generous to those beneath you. Why? Because if you got where you are through hard work, why shouldn't everyone else too?
Yes, I'm sure there are numerous exceptions to this. I know many rich Americans are very magnanimous.
But hey, look, I've got a pool to get back to. And this 80-degree heat may not last forever....