So ran the headline from Time. Yesterday marked the end of the “Diamond Jubilee” of Queen Elizabeth II of the British monarchy. The four day celebration was is honor of her ascendancy to the throne sixty years ago. On the closing day, crowds of well-wishers gathered to cheer on her majesty by chanting “God Save the Queen!” as she addressed the nation. While the Queen holds little political power today, she and the royal family remain incredibly popular. Throughout the festivities, an estimated 1.5 million people paid their respects to the royal dynasty.
Is there something wrong with this picture?
Monarchies are supposed to be antithetical to freedom. Under feudalistic monarchism, the notion of personal liberty took a backseat to loyalty to the king. Those who weren’t part of or close to the nobility were referred to as subjects. These peasants were to serve without question. Their happiness was supposed to be derived directly from the happiness of their rulers. The class system was rigid as the ruling coalition, that is the king, royal family, nobles, and feudal lords, eagerly held onto power to secure their systematic exploitation.
So why is the Queen of England still so highly regarded today? Does her position not represent a time in the past where men and women were explicitly in the forced servitude of others?
Under close observation, it turns out that monarchs and their close associates were no more despotic than current government structures which are frequently referred to as democratic. The state, being that “its primary intention is to enable the economic exploitation of one class by another” as Albert Jay Nock defined it, is no different than monarchical rule. The goal of the ruling elite within both monarchy and the democratic nation-state has always been to instill a widespread sense of collective reverence to those in charge.
Starting from the very first years of compulsory public education, also known as child imprisonment, the state is romanticized as a positive force in everyday life. History is taught by emphasizing specific periods of governance. Those heads of government who centralized power and enlarged the state apparatus are regarded as brilliant and courageous leaders. The few who did little in terms of taxing more, waging bloody war, or extending Leviathan’s thieving grasp over the public are neglected and subtly referenced as inadequate. Brutal atrocities carried out by those glorified heads of state are overlooked for the sake of extolling their wondrous achievements of broadening the scope of domination on private life by the ruling class. Under their leadership, murder is labeled necessary, theft becomes “giving to the greater good,” and conscription is called doing one’s “duty.”
The end goal of such a twisted version of history is to indoctrinate the masses into subservience to the mother state. As long as Joe Public remains infatuated with his respective nation-state, he is much more of a ripe target for legalized pick pocketing.
Yet these brainwashing tactics hardly differed from those employed during the time of kings. As famed American founding father Thomas Paine commented on the nature of kingship:
We should find the first of them [kings] nothing better than the principal ruffian of some restless gang; whose savage manners or pre-eminence in subtilty obtained him the title of chief among plunderers; and who by increasing in power and extending his depredations, overawed the quiet and defenseless..
Just as flag waving and the national anthem are purposefully used as rituals to state power, the rhetoric of collectivism is a tool to condition unquestioned subordination.
They are all just rallying calls for citizens to bow down and pay tribute.
But of course the idea of a “common good” is a complete fabrication. Only individuals determine what their subjective preferences are. This is the reality kings, dictators, presidents, prime ministers, and politicians never want spreading. It would undermine their ability to keep the flow of societal resources draining into their iron fist. They can’t let the truth get out; that the state and monarchy have been governing structures of predation since time immemorial.
Given the authoritarianism monarchy used to represent, celebrating the continued rule of the Queen of England should be regarded as absurd. But millions are still fooled into believing they are spiritually connected to those who reside within the same arbitrarily constructed nation-state boundaries as themselves. They remain prepared to make the sacrifice of life and property to those who would never do the same.
Meanwhile, actual dissenters to the idea of total obedience to those of the political class often find themselves demonized in public, locked in cages, physically assaulted, or, at worst, killed. One such outspoken critic of state imposed slavery was Michael Gaines who had the audacity of challenging his thirteen year prison sentence for allegedly spitting on prison guards back in 2008. Gaines, who is HIV positive, was accused of instilling the fear of death in the guards despite the fact that HIV can’t be spread through saliva. As District Judge Rebecca Pilshaw readied a long prison sentence for “battery of a law enforcement officer” based on the victim’s accusations alone, Gaines challenged the idea that one person is owed the respect and loyalty of another because they are enforcers of government. When Pilshaw asserted “you’re not respecting my authority,” Gaines shot back with “You’re not respecting me…respect goes both ways. You’re just a woman with a robe on – just a woman, a human being just like I am.” Pilshaw, who was given a total of three reprimands for ethical violations during her tenure as judge and later lost her place at the bench, was shocked at the blatant disrespect someone had for her state-sanctioned authority. Gaines received a long prison sentence for not acknowledging the sanctity of the police state.
Instead of blindly chanting “God Saved the Queen,” those who regard liberty as precious should chant “God Save Michael Gaines.”
To the end, Judge Pilshaw was convinced that her supremacy as a government official should be observed by all. It is the same vein of thinking of all who hold public office, including kings of the past.
Today, the only difference between the systematic malfeasance and plunder that existed under the rule of monarchs and that which defines the state is the ballot box. Voters in a sense get to choose a small portion of their rulers. This gives them the mirage of freedom when the nation-state they inhabit is no less than a contemporary field of serfdom lorded over by kings. Too much of the public still behaves with the mindset of servants. They are pathetically docile to those who hold the keys of their shackles. What the celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s sixty year rule showed is that the people of Great Britain never really escaped from monarchy.