Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A Mature Nation Needs Magic

Magical Monarchy by George Will is mostly a lightweight column dismissing monarchy: "Even if magic can coexist with television and tabloids, does a mature nation need magic, particularly magic emanating from monarchy in a nation too susceptible to snobbery?" He seems surprised to note that a 19th century king had illegitimate children, as if bad behavior were a new invention.

However, I found this historical note intriguing:

Tony Blair, the 10th prime minister of Elizabeth II's reign, was not yet born when she ascended to the throne. Winston Churchill was then the first among her ministers. How much has changed since her June 1953 coronation? The decision to televise it was deeply controversial. Most television sets were in pubs, where, it was feared, decorum among the lower orders might lapse during the ceremony.

Mr. Will does not seem to notice that he has explained in this column why monarchy is necessary. He notes, though in passing, the collapse of the Empire and the moral decay of England over the course of the 20th century... which took place in concert with its continued democratization.

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