Should Elizabeth II end the monarchy?

An impression that I can’t shake the more I learn about the personal histories of people in the British royal family is that it has mostly been awful for them, and they might benefit as much as anyone from the abolition of the institution.

That makes this argument from Polly Toynbee more plausible: Clearly Britain loses more than it gains from the monarchy. Let us be brave and end it.

The only real argument I perceive for maintaining the institution is the idea that it’s a source of unifying stability within U.K. or Canadian or Commonwealth society. It’s the old argument against the French revolution: that things hallowed by tradition have an importance understood in culture more than it could be expressed in explicit rational argument, and that those seeking to design their institutions of government from whole cloth through rationality risk veering into tyrannical violence and social breakdown.

Arguably it’s an institution that can’t maintain its dignity in the absence of deference from the press, politicians, and the public. When society’s institutions are willing to reveal rather than conceal their weaknesses (I remember the character Charles saying something snotty in some docu-drama about not intending to be the first Price of Wales without a mistress) then their ordinariness transcends the high social status conferred on them by tradition and precedent.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

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