An autocracy (a political system governed by a single individual) governed by a monarch who usually inherits the authority
Who are these people? Have you ever given any thought to it? Who are these people happily waving to you from the balconies of their palace. Waving and smiling to you from their limousines? Happily, we wave back, waving our flags, holding pictures of the king or queen high above our heads. Waving and smiling as they pass. Then they are gone.
Let me ask you another question. In what regard do you hold the king and queen (if you do not have a monarchy, maybe try to imagine this question). Do you like them? Do you revere them or fear them? What do you like or love about your monarch?
Some may answer, “they hold the country together,” “they maintain stability,” “it gives the people something to feel good about in themselves,” or simply “they are good for business,” and, “ they bring in a lot of tourists.” But the question I asked you was, in what regard do you hold them?
They have not been elected by a democratic system, and they are not writing government policy. They do not improve your employment hopes, or give you better health care. They do not pay your heating bill for you when you are old, or buy food for you when you are poor; yet still you wave your flags. In some countries it is almost treasonable to speak out against the king or queen, yet they do nothing for you.
Let us go into this a little more deeply shall we? One or two people – who have not been elected – are fabulously wealthy and privileged, do nothing directly for the people, are revered and respected. They wave to us occasionally, and we feel happy. Now I am not anti-monarchy or republican, I just want to understand with you who these people are.
Let’s go back into history when kings and queens were much more powerful than they are today. They ruled with an iron fist, levied taxes from everyone, and waged war against everyone who opposed them. This was a time when kings and queens were respected, both out of fear, and for embodying everything that was strong and great about the country. The national flag was raised in battle, “for king and for country.” The bonding of your nation against another. The pride in your nation. The pride in something bigger than yourself. The pride to belong.
Let’s quickly fast forward to today shall we? A time when politicians can be replaced every four or five years. Compare that to the monarchs who happily pass down their titles (have you ever considered where these titles came from, and who awarded them), and their castles, and their land, and their jewels, and fine arts, to the next in line in their immediate, or extended family. All very nice. Yet no one really complains.
There haven’t been revolutions against the monarchy for many years, but if someone earns a lot running a big business all the workers and unions are up in arms, calling for their resignation; yet this doesn’t seem to happen to the monarchy.
If you look at a prince, king or queen closely enough, I mean really examine him or her, what would they look like? Different to you and me?
Maybe more expensive clothes, more expensive perfume, more expensive shoes. But if you took all that away, and stood naked next to a king, would you look different? I hope the answer you all come up with is no, because that is precisely the point. As humans, we are the same. Yet you are a king, and I am a factory worker. You are above me, and I respect you. I will wave my flag and smile broadly as you pass, happy to know you gave some of your valued time to share with me.
To suggest you would respect someone you don’t know, not because they have done great things for humanity (most have not, as you will see from their great wealth), but because someone tells you he is the king, or head of your country seems a little ludicrous to me, but then, what do I know?
So who are they? They are not individuals. They are the country; the nation. We love them, because we love our country. We don’t care that they have more money or finer jewels than us, we love them, because in times of crisis they stand up and represent the hopes and fears of every citizen. They exist for the good of the country. They show the other countries we are powerful as a nation, and we are proud to belong. In short, this is no different to ancient times. The king is the embodiment of the nation.
So why do we still have kings and queens?
It’s quite simple really. We are nationalistic. We love our country, we believe our country is superior to any other, and as we are only individual citizens, we need to have pride – not in ourselves – but in something greater than all of us. The nation, represented by the flag and ultimately the king and queen. That’s why they need to keep the monarchy in one family, with the title being passed from one family member to another. They must have continuity.
How many politicians come and go? Do you even remember their names? The politicians who work so very hard for you to give you healthcare, employment, pensions when you’re old. Do we care about them? Do we happily smile and wave our flags for them? No, of course we don’t. We need to believe in something greater, something eternal, something that will carry on even if one member dies.
We need to believe in something more powerful than ourselves. Something that makes us feel happier, something that makes us feel that the effort we put in every day is worth it. That one thing is the king or queen. The country. The embodiment of nationalism.
Some countries have voted for a republic, for a president; and when the president, the leader of the country comes past, we happily wave our flags and smile, proud to be part of the great nation. It makes no difference if it is a king or a queen, or a president. Only when we start to forget the nation as all important, and start to think more about the world (worldism, the term that doesn’t exist), will we ever have a strong need to say to our monarchs: “Thank you, we don’t need your services anymore.”
I dedicate myself to you my monarch.
I will labour for you,
give up my life for you,
I will respect and honour you.
For you, are the country I love.
I will wave to you, buy flowers to present to you.
you are so much more than I.
I do not deserve your friendship,
but I am grateful that you shake my hand.
I know you do not toil in the fields,
or have callouses in your hands.
I know you dress in finest silks,
but still I smile and raise my flag
For you are the country I love.
by alan macmillan orr
“The Natural Mind – waking up”