Thursday, March 22, 2012

uneasy lies the head

“If a few ramshackle colonists in America can send him packing, why can’t we?"

So, said Charles Fox of George III.  With Alan Bennett’s rather anachronistic words, of course.

I have never been fond of monarchies.  The prime principle of American political philosophy is that we are all republicans.

During the early republic, the worst name a politician (or socialite) could be called was “monarchist.”  The Jeffersonians were quick to pull that one on John Adams.  And very quietly on Washington.

So, it should come as no surprise, that I agree with Fox’s sentiments.  Even though there have been moments when it appeared the theatrical run of the teutonic British monarchs would run out, George III’s great great great great granddaughter is still on the throne.  Having ruled even longer than his benighted reign.

How the Brits and the Commonwealth want to run their head of state business is none of mine.  But monarchy certainly would not be my first choice.

That is one reason I was shocked when I heard some Americans talk about restoring King Idris’s line in Libya and Zahir Khan in Afghanistan.  Fortunately, the idea was short lived. 

But what were Americans doing talking about propping up toppled monarchs?  Probably exercising the same political fickleness that caused other Americans to go all weak at the knees for last year's wedding.  (And if you ask "what wedding?," you do not need to worry.  I am not talking about you.)

Well, I guess we all have our moments.  Because I have slipped into the same line of thinking.

When I lived in Greece, I had some sympathies for (and operational contacts with) the recently deposed King Constantine.  The Army had set up a referendum to ask if the people would be happy to be rid of their king.  When military dictators ask you such questions, the safe answer is almost always: "yes, whatever you say.”

And so said the Greek people.  There were reasons for them to be a bit tired of the Greek royal family with German and Danish blood.  And a queen mother who thought being the Kaiser’s daughter was better than a fresh Bismark.

So, off the then-young king went to live in Rome and then England with his cousin Prince Phillip.  Having already married off his sister to the waiting-to-be King of Spain.

Since then, Greece has not had a very happy political history.  Politicians have continually tried to outbid rival parties by offering "benefits" -- without having a way to pay.

As we all know, the dragon eggs are now hatching for the Hellenes.  A Delphic oracle for the rest of the world.

At the moment, the Greek people do not trust either of their big parties.  And they are about to dump the party they just put in office in favor of the party they just dumped out.  There is no moral force at the tip of the heap.

And here is where I violate the deepest of my political beliefs.  King Constantine II may just be the answer to part of Greece’s problems.  The Greeks need someone in charge who they know is telling them the truth.  Even if the truth hurts.  The current parties have none of that moral capital.

This crisis will soon pass.  But a nice steady hand may be what the Greeks need to get through the inevitable financial default that is coming.

And when it is over, the Greeks can certainly send him packing again.

Given the choice, I would also choose London over Athens.   And have several times.


Dean said...


norm said...

Under priced risk was what got the Greeks in over their heads. When Greek bonds were sold at par with German bonds, the Greeks sold all they could, now that the risk is built into the price, things should even out. The people who bought the underpriced bonds should get a haircut, it looks like it will be about 50%. People are saying "this is the end of the euro", poppycock, this is the end of underpriced risk-at least until people forget that investment risk has a price.

And Kings are cool as long as they are nothing more than a hood do-dad.  

Steve Cotton said...

There is that, isn't there?

Steve Cotton said...

Possibly. But there is a structural issue that the Eurozone has not yet addressed.

Merida Mikey said...

Personally, I enjoy the pomp and ceremony associated with the British Royals.  From all I've heard and read, the majority of the British people adore their Royals. 

As far as your rant about Greece goes, I have no real idea what you are talking about as I am not very political at all!  I hope it all works out because I love Greek salad and baklava (sp?).    :-)

Steve Cotton said...

 All things considered, I just may stick with the Greek salad.  Also one of my favorites.

Mcotton said...

I enjoyed the brief history and the modern day world problems report.  It is good to refresh out minds on the past, consider the present and plan for the future. 

Andean said...

Best advice given are often words of wisdom.

Gary Denness said...

I guess I could be regarded as a monarchist. But only in that I'm happy with the status quo. I'd be slightly more bothered if they started meddling in politics. I;d become a republican pretty quick, I suspect.

There are those who argue the case for an enlightened monarchy. That's always struck me as unenlightened. It's great to have a strong leader who has the power and support of the people to implement beneficial policies. But one doesn't need a monarch for that. And when you get a bad egg, well...a monarch is still a monarch. It goes with the territory. At least when it's a democratic leader you can be shot of him. If he refuses to go, you can at the very least call him for what he is....a dictator.

But I find America confusing. You seem to have replaced a single (albeit foreign) monarch with a whole bunch of little kings and emperors. The infamous 1%. Who do an awful lot of political meddling. I'm not against there being a 1%.  There always will be unless cloning goes mad, and communism prevails. But I'd like to think the 1% are still one of us, and not little kings and emperors.

Royals can be fun, by the by. We're getting a whole extra day holiday in June to celebrate our current monarch's reign.

Gary Denness said...

I wouldn't go so far as to say we adore the royals. I'd say most of us are fairly ambivalent. But we like a good party.

Steve Cotton said...

I think I shared my Prince Edward tale with you, didn't I?  For a republican, I tend to hang out with an odd crowd.

As for America's political life, it has gone well beyond confusing.