The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

April 21, 2016

April 21, 1926

The standard line in American schools is that democracy gives everyone a chance to succeed, and this evolved from a governmental system run by an autocrat whose mandate to rule is that he/she was born into a certain family. That of course is bad history. Few Americans are aware that the British government, far from being a brutal tyrant,  was trying to protect the land of the native Americans by prohibiting settler expansion beyond the Appalachian mountains. It is difficult to believe that policy was not one cause for rebellion. Most citizens of the United States are not aware that absolutism was a Renaissance fantasy.

And on to modern times-- the liberal imagination coughs up a hairball on the subject of royalty; the intelligentsia see little use for the monarchy now. Niall Ferguson says that the only people who support it are the uneducated, lower classes.

There may be a case to be made for a constitutional monarchy today and that is: it allows us to observe inherited traits. For instance, the origin of modern royal families lay in the bravery of warriors. In fact peasants were not allowed to participate in fighting at all-- it was assumed they would just runaway from battle engagements. This warrior class was not literate---at the start that was limited to those serving the church. And now, what do we see, the royals are not terribly bright, not particularly beautiful. but they are .... supremely self confident about who they are. This is a rare quantity on the modern stage. The characteristics of modern man: anxiety and self-doubt, these are not royal characteristics. 

The effect of living among immense and old treasure is also something to be observed. I myself see a certain creativity evinced by some royals and the reasons for this can be considered.

So we have a live DNA experiment and one that can be pondered. But there is something else about royalty today, (of course my example is British royalty) : the role they play in a constitutional government is a weight for social objectivity. People are desperately pleased to get the yearly distributed honors. And these, if necessary can be removed from the recipient. Only someone genuinely above it all, is in a position to focus and enhance this unifying structure.

I mentioned British royalty. The fact is that their function cannot be removed, and then replaced. So there are few families who qualify for our examination.

Kitty Kelly's book, The Royals, (1997) is not of course concerned with the factors we mention. But where else could we find out about the current Queen, whose birthday is April 21, 1926, and cats. One of Kelly's interviewees says:

"If you have the Queen to must lock your cats in the stable because Her Majesty abhors cats."

All grist for the person interested in self-knowledge.

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