Saturday, May 31, 2008

How I Joined The Tiny Monarchist Conspiracy And Found Inner Peace

When I first started seriously following current events and taking part in grassroots politics some years back, I discovered that political involvement is pretty much a recipe for manic depression. That's regardless of where you are on the spectrum. Today you'll be elated that Proposition X was defeated and Senator Jones elected; two days later you'll be downcast because Proposition Y was defeated and Senator Smith got elected.

It didn't help that I saw much graver reasons for despair. Like most conservatives of any variety, I believe that it was in the 1960's that things really went to hell. Oh, it took decades (one could argue, centuries) of corruption to make the 60's possible, but that's when the weeds took over the garden. I was born in 1970, which meant that my teachers and the parents of my classmates came of age and went to college during the most morally depraved era of American history. Even as a small child, I instinctively recoiled from the bad morals the adults were shoving down my generation's throat. I doubt most of them really understood what they were doing, but the zeitgeist of the time was so effective that they didn't have to; in the classroom, they would present historical or current events in a way that would plant the seeds for appeasement policies when we were old enough to vote, and then on the playground, they would cheerfully watch as three or four of the biggest boys chose a smaller child to beat up on. I am unfortunately not surprised to read articles about British subjects being arrested for using Imperial measures or for making remarks which someone pretended to misinterpret as racist, while violent criminals are given at most a good talking to. That is precisely the kind of discipline I saw at the schools I attended, so I can't even be shocked.

(Things would probably have been better had I been living in a small town, those being notoriously slower to shed their values, or had I attended a parochial school, but my parents were not religious and were rather startled to see my strong innate urge to be religious manifesting itself without any encouragement from them.)

I have always been, and still am, intensely patriotic. Unfortunately, for a long time I did not merely love my country and its spirit, I also believed that its institutions were the best possible. But all around me I saw deep-set corruption, ranging from a ruinous welfare system and a constantly shifting foreign policy to schools that cannot even prevent eight-year-old boys from beating up their female classmates.

So far as I could see, the best possible system would work for a few generations before its founders' spoiled great-great-grandchildren ruined it. Like the pessimist in the old joke, I didn't believe we were living in the best of all possible worlds, I knew it. It seemed to me futile to even try reforming things, since history showed that a republic will just mess things up again a century down the road.

When "progressive" Americans don't like what's going on, they threaten to move to Canada or one of the more left-wing nations of Europe. They almost never actually do so, of course, but they say it all the time. But when a conservative American is disgruntled, where can she threaten to move to? I am already in what is probably the most conservative nation on the planet. (Which, considering that we're the ones who spawned Woodrow Wilson and that it was here that the European Frankfort School incubated, is quite ironic.)

Seeing clearly what is wrong with America today while simultaneously believing that republic is the best form of government is ample cause for despair. I used to say, sincerely, that there are only two forms of government: bad, and worse. I was very grateful that my country had a bad one.

Thank goodness I eventually figured out what should have been clear all along: that there is a form of government which has stood the test of time, which has a far better record of withstanding the naturally corrupt tendencies of mankind, and which, by the way, has eventually supplanted every republic in history. When I search for websites about monarchism, I often come across blithe statements that it would be impossible for the world to ever go back to monarchy now that it has experienced the ecstatic wonders of elected government. I have to smile. So too did the Romans, Greeks and French revolutionaries once say.

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