A few months ago the western world was hypnotized by the magic of monarchy. Everyone in the media was talking about the royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton. Joyous moments have now turned into dark nights characterized by mindless violence and looting.
Streets of London have turned into a spectacle of unrestrained hooliganism; lawlessness rules and the police are only now starting to regain control of the situation.
The wedding and the recent riots reminded me of a Daily Show episode in which John Oliver interviewed an elderly British lady who had turned her house into a shrine for the British monarchy. During the course of the interview Oliver tried to divert the woman’s attention away from the wedding by bringing up topics such as the earthquakes in Japan, domestic austerity measures, rising unemployment and other momentous events and issues. The woman responded with a dismissive sigh and quickly went on to discuss her wedding memorabilia.
It seemed that for many British people, the wedding was a welcome distraction from the anxieties of the present. Now that the distraction has passed, the time seems to be ripe for serious self-examination.
The monarchy exists and I am not one to advocate its demolition. It serves as a reminder of civility and graciousness, but it does not provide a young British person with anything tangible. The monarchy is an anachronism. In terms of influencing and upholding the values of a society, it is arguably futile.
The antiquated institution is inherently against the ideas of liberal democracy. How can any society advocate merit-based policies when one family is elevated and excused from the tradition of liberalism which is rooted in opposition to monarchy?
Unlike like the lady in John Oliver’s bit, England should not look for distractions and instead it should pursue a society where merit, not blood-line or a romanticized view of one’s country, defines the future.