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  1. #31
    Radical Centrist BigLeRoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tnbskts View Post
    I just said why. It's hard to find another system where the head of state is simultaneously remotely relevant (I mean, where educated people around the world know his/her name) and separate from party politics. George Bush milked the whole Iraq War thing as a matter of patriotism for supporting it, and by extension the whole Republican response to it and to other things - conveniently managing to blur the line between his position as head of state and his position as the leader of the Republican Party and leading to a situation that was quite dangerous. When Tony Blair tried to do likewise people just laughed at him. We understand that the Prime Minister represents his party, he doesn't always represent his country. That's what the Queen is for.
    I guess I'm just not following the argument then, because the Queen was certainly NOT able to stop Tony Blair from going to war with his pal George.
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  2. #32
    Cat-tastic Babba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLeRoy View Post
    I guess I'm just not following the argument then, because the Queen was certainly NOT able to stop Tony Blair from going to war with his pal George.
    No. She is constitutionally barred from doing such a thing. But I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall during that time at the weekly audience the queen has with the Prime Minister to discuss government matters.

  3. #33
    Member tnbskts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLeRoy View Post
    I guess I'm just not following the argument then, because the Queen was certainly NOT able to stop Tony Blair from going to war with his pal George.
    Yes, you aren't following the argument. This action made Tony Blair very unpopular in the UK, at least partly because there was no way he could hide the fact that it was a political calculation. Bush, on the other hand, could play the "the country demands your patriotic loyalty in following me wherever I go" card and played it very effectively in conflating the national good with the good of the Republican party, since he played dual roles while Tony Blair didn't.
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  4. #34
    Thought Provocateur NightSwimmer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tnbskts View Post
    Yes, you aren't following the argument. This action made Tony Blair very unpopular in the UK, at least partly because there was no way he could hide the fact that it was a political calculation. Bush, on the other hand, could play the "the country demands your patriotic loyalty in following me wherever I go" card and played it very effectively in conflating the national good with the good of the Republican party, since he played dual roles while Tony Blair didn't.

    I don't think the difference is as significant as you make it out to be. The monarchy in the UK is vestigial. Most folks considered Tony Blair to be the functional head of state while he was PM. Both Bush and Blair made political calculations regarding going to war, and the Queen certainly didn't prevent implementation of the policy chosen by Blair.


    BTW: We Americans don't consider our President to be a King appointed by God, to whom we owe our patriotic loyalty. We owe our patriotic loyalty to our Constitution.
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  5. #35
    Veteran Member Dr.Knuckles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arkady View Post
    I never feel more out-of-step with the American people than when subject turns to the British royal family -- an endless source of fascination for millions of Americans, for reasons I cannot even begin to fathom. On the front page of CNN.com, a quarter of the stories in the "Top Stories" section, at the moment, deal with a royal family wedding.

    If you're unfamiliar with the story (hard to imagine, since it's been covered by screaming headlines in every major news outlet), here's a quick summary: a guy who is sixth in line to inherit a meaningless figurehead position for a once-important country is engaged to marry an obscure character actor. That's it. For some reason, this is a major story requiring hundreds of articles over the course of months, even from hard-news outlets.

    Now, to be fair, I don't understand celebrity culture in general. Although I enjoy movies and TV shows, I'm only mildly interested in talents behind the camera, and not interested at all in those in front of it. In fact, I prefer to know as little as possible about such people, since knowing a lot about an actor colors how you see a character (try watching the Cosby Show these days). But as un-engaging as I find regular celebrity gossip, gossip about British royals is ten times worse. At least most celebrities are famous because of something interesting about them -- incredible beauty, great talent, etc. I find it a lot harder to understand why someone would care about a homely aristocrat whose only interesting feature is inbreeding.
    Its not the Queenís job to insult people for admiring her and her family, but Iíve no doubt that privately she would agree wholeheartedly with your post above. No doubt in my mind.

    The Crown is the physical embodiment of national authority - and its supposed to be carried by a dignified caretaker until the rare moment it is required to be activated in defense of the rule of law. Thatís her job. To stand by until some mad populist persuades enough voters to pervert the role of government, and then to step in, stop him, and restore order.

    The baby boomer royals did a lot of damage but it wasnít irreperable. I think the current generation are so far into celebrity that they may never even take the throne.

    Celebrities are people who dance for you and you clap. And thatís what people think Will is now.

    Whats going to happen when he needs to tell voters heís collapsing their government? Theyíre going to say ďwhat? You? The fucking celebrity? I thought you worked for me? Just smile and be pretty, buddy, thatís your job, isnít it?

    Its really not.
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  6. #36
    Radical Centrist BigLeRoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tnbskts View Post
    Yes, you aren't following the argument. This action made Tony Blair very unpopular in the UK, at least partly because there was no way he could hide the fact that it was a political calculation. Bush, on the other hand, could play the "the country demands your patriotic loyalty in following me wherever I go" card and played it very effectively in conflating the national good with the good of the Republican party, since he played dual roles while Tony Blair didn't.
    Have you ever read 'Common Sense' by Thomas Paine?

    You should.

  7. #37
    Veteran Member cpicturetaker12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arkady View Post
    I guess I get the concept of having curiosity for things removed from one's experience but, for me that would be something like immersing myself in the world of wreck-divers or LARPers or some other intricate sub-culture. The British royal family is far removed from my experience, but just seems stuffy and dull.

    In what sense do you think Elizabeth Windsor has done an amazing job? In my view, hers seems like a pretty trivial and self-serving job of trying to prop up the prestige of the decaying institution of the monarchy. And she doesn't seem to have done a very good job of that. You'd be hard-pressed to find a period of time when the royal family lost as much dignity as during her rule.

    As for a slightly famous American marrying into the family: meh. It just seems like a tackier rehash of Edward marrying American celebrity Wallis Simpson, only without the drama of it actually impacting the succession. The bi-racial aspect seems to have some people excited, but I'm not clear on why that matters, either.
    True to all of it! BUT if you ever did a London trip, you might have a different take. We had a blast! Did the changing of the guard, London Tower (the crown jewels), outside the palace stuff, the red double deckers, 2 museums, Harrods and I'm pretty sure, every 3rd PUB!
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  8. #38
    Thought Provocateur NightSwimmer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpicturetaker12 View Post
    True to all of it! BUT if you ever did a London trip, you might have a different take. We had a blast! Did the changing of the guard, London Tower (the crown jewels), outside the palace stuff, the red double deckers, 2 museums, Harrods and I'm pretty sure, every 3rd PUB!

    Rituals from the distant past are definitely historical curiosities, and are therefore somewhat interesting to observe. Still, I tend to agree with Arkady, so far as the overall cult of celebrity is concerned.
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  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Babba View Post
    It seemed like you were saying that anyone who supports the monarchy are the dumber citizens and I was just pointing out that the majority of Brits support it.
    I was just saying that a monarchy could have an advantage in diverting the attention of the dumber citizens from the kinds of politics that matter, thus reducing the damage they do. That doesn't require all those interested in the monarchy to be dumb, nor for all the dumb people to be interested in the monarchy -- merely for it to be disproportionately diverting for the dumb people.
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  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.Knuckles View Post
    Its not the Queen’s job to insult people for admiring her and her family, but I’ve no doubt that privately she would agree wholeheartedly with your post above. No doubt in my mind.

    The Crown is the physical embodiment of national authority - and its supposed to be carried by a dignified caretaker until the rare moment it is required to be activated in defense of the rule of law. That’s her job. To stand by until some mad populist persuades enough voters to pervert the role of government, and then to step in, stop him, and restore order.

    The baby boomer royals did a lot of damage but it wasn’t irreperable. I think the current generation are so far into celebrity that they may never even take the throne.

    Celebrities are people who dance for you and you clap. And that’s what people think Will is now.

    Whats going to happen when he needs to tell voters he’s collapsing their government? They’re going to say “what? You? The fucking celebrity? I thought you worked for me? Just smile and be pretty, buddy, that’s your job, isn’t it?

    Its really not.
    Framed that way, though, I guess I see the tawdry trappings of celebrity as a good thing, to the extent it deprives the monarchy of a misplaced authority. I hate the idea of a nation looking to someone like the Windsors as a moral or civic authority, to warn them of bad turns by their elected government, much less to collapse the government if it is taking what they view as a bad turn. The royal family consists of a bunch of inbred rich people, whose role derives from nothing more legitimate than the fact they're descended from usurpers and thugs who once held real power. I think a nation would do better to reach into a hat and draw the name of a random citizen to act as monarch for the year, if there were to be a monarchy. At least then you'd SOMETIMES get people with something valuable to offer, by way of extraordinary intelligence or wisdom hard-earned from a lifetime of making their way in the world. With an inherited monarchy, the intelligence has effectively been bred out of the royal stock, and they're so isolated from the challenges of earning their daily bread that they'll have no workaday wisdom, either.
    Last edited by Arkady; 16th May 2018 at 05:12 AM.
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