Sunday, April 13, 2014

Royal Tour Reminds Us the Queen Should be our Last Monarch

You are no doubt already aware, irrespective of which country you are reading this in, that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are visiting New Zealand at this time. I have seen feature articles about the visit in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal and even in Spanish language newspapers, hence my certainty about your knowledge of their visit. The royal couple have brought their infant son, George with them. The Duke and his son are third and fourth in line to the throne of New Zealand, which as a former British colony shares its monarchy with other British Commonwealth nations.

Most New Zealanders support the monarchy out of sense of tradition and probably because they find it provides a reassuring continuity in a rapidly changing world. I don't, for the simple reason that I find it offensive that a family from the other side of the world is qualified by virtue of its blood line to be the heads of state of New Zealand and my own children aren't. Our constitution conventions say that in respect of the right to occupy our top political office, all New Zealanders are second class citizens.

I cannot understand why we retain this vestige of feudalism in the 21st Century. The members of the royal family have no qualifications to be our heads of state other than their ancestry, an ancestry incidentally that is full of despotic thugs who practiced every manner of heinous crime known to mankind - ethnic cleansing, genocide, mass torture - to maintain their grip on power. And this is not all ancient history - the wealth of the current royal family came from the wholesale theft of Catholic lands and other property after the so-called Glorious Revolution. 

I have a fond spot for Queen Elizabeth II and think she has done as good a job as any modern monarch could, but I think the institution should die with her. Charles, her heir, has proven himself unfit for the job, with his ill-advised, partisan meddling in political matters such as the climate change debate and his admiration for despotic Islamic regimes. And the idea that William and his son George have some sort of legitimate claim to be head of state of New Zealand, or any country for that matter, is utterly ridiculous.