So the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their first baby and isn’t that lovely? The new child will be the first British Monarch who claims the throne regardless of gender, and that’s lovely, too. The first born child SHOULD be the next Monarch, as firstborns tend to have all the qualities leadership requires.
Birth order is an interesting phenomenon.
First born children tend to show a strong sense of responsibility and are good at organizing and setting rules. They are accustomed to interacting with adults and caring for younger siblings and comfortable taking a leadership position. All great qualities for a King or Queen to have.
Every once in a while, one of the countries in the Commonwealth of Nations (the Old British Empire) makes a fuss and decides they no longer want a Queen or King as Head of State and off they go to the races, and try to transform themselves into a republic. Only it’s not quite so easy.
A country like Australia, which is a constitutional monarchy, would still have to pick a Head of State. If not the Queen, then whom? Would the Head be elected? And by whom? Citizens? Members of Parliament? Just designated by the Prime Minister? Oh dear. It gets very complicated very fast and it’s just the sort of argument that bureaucratic pinheads can drag out for bloody centuries and then all the coins and money would have to be replaced and really, what’s the fucking point?
I’m actually in favor of the monarchy, and here’s why: it puts FAMILY at the center of the concept of the state. Republics put an INDIVIDUAL at the center of the concept of the state, and that’s okay, as long as the broader society values the family as a unit of production/consumption, and there are safeguards in place to ensure that the Republic doesn’t accidentally become a de facto monarchy, with wealth and power concentrated in the hands of the ruling elite.
George Bush the First? Okay. George the Second? Uh-oh.
The thing about the Windsors is that they are a FAMILY unit, and when we make the King or Queen our Head of State we are explicitly accepting that the proper way to govern a state is by valuing and encouraging individuals to function as part of a social unit, and not just alone. Canada’s national news magazine, Macleans, opens this week with an editorial bemoaning the decline of the family as a social unit, and they are absolutely right.
“A sweeping new study by renowned urban theorist Joel Kotkin makes a depressingly convincing case for the decline of the family as the key decision-maker, growth engine and motivator for modern society; in its place is a world increasingly filled with self-indulgent singletons. Where can we go to change such a trend? Home seems like a good place to start.”
The Royal Family may not be a perfect family (whose is?), but they ARE a family. A soon to be expanding family. The new baby will one day ascend the throne and we will all be better off for it, if we can remember that families are, and always will be, far more important than individuals.
Congratulations, Kate and Will. Sorry about the epic barfing, Kate. That’s the thing about babies. They come with a lot of vomit. Get used to it.
Lots of love,