Friday, July 15, 2011

The Other Incrementalism

. Friday, July 15, 2011

Inching back to monarchy:

Go to the Governor General's website, look at the main page introducing the Governor General, and you see a photograph of Queen Elizabeth II shaking hands with someone whose back is turned to the camera. That someone is David Johnston, the Governor General.

I know what you're thinking. "So what?" I understand that reaction. But it's a mistake. Because that little photo is indicative of a big change: The Crown is back.

Just a few years ago, the Governor General's website was festooned with glorious colour photographs of Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean. But the Queen? There wasn't a single photograph of the Queen on the website of the Queen's representative. In fact, there were almost no references to the Queen at all, and one could easily get the impression that the esteemed Michaëlle Jean was, in all but name, Canada's head of state.

As Dan Gardner goes onto explain this was not an oversight. It was part of a long-term attempt to "quietly shuffle the Queen offstage." One of the bright spots in the Harper years has been the reassertion of traditional Canadian values, especially the military and the monarchy. As noted earlier this week, this is part of the government's tonal conservatism.

Recalling the pre-Trudeau Canada, including a nice invocation of "our fair Dominion" by the PM during the royal progress, reassures the rank and file that the boys in blue haven't gone completely native in Ottawa. It's probably also sincere. Jason Kenney and Stephen Harper seem to believe that monarchy is a good Canadian tradition that needs to be defended. Some might object to the PM's lack of enthusiasm for the Crown, but please keep in mind who we are talking about. Smiling seems to cause him physical pain.

Sounds aren't substance. It's nice to hear words like Dominion. It's very good that our foreign policy is now more oriented around Canadian values, rather than an international relations seminar on multilateralism, but this has little impact on the daily life of the people. We can bemoan this yet still celebrate a small and important gain for Canadianism. Symbolism is cheap but it can carry a great weight.

The monarchy provides an important constitutional role, mostly as a non-partisan referee and ceremonial imprimatur, yet its greater role is as a cultural icon. The affairs of a free people are organized, whenever and wherever possible, upon the basis of persuasion. Unthinking force is the hallmark of tyrannical governments. However noble the goal, a free people will seek always to find ways of accomplish that goal through argument, debate and reasonable compromise. The tyrant orders. The free man talks.

A constitutional monarchy, who is the head of a free people, reigns rather than rules. Lacking much real power the monarch acts as a model of appropriate conduct. There is no finer exemplar than the current sovereign, who has conducted herself in the spirit of her beloved father and grandfather. Note the careful and precise way Her Majesty speaks, her poise and bearing which is kept even with her many years, and the careful discharge of duty. In her actions she sends a clear message: This is an ideal to aspire toward.

This is not to say that this or any monarch is perfect. They are human and should display that most human of traits, a desire to improve and remedy the defects of nature or personal behaviour. Their example and actions transmit to their people the broad values, character traits and common customs that allow for peaceful and civilized existence. Watch HM's 1957 Christmas Address, the first to be broadcast on television. In that broadcast she made the following observation:

Today we need a special kind of courage, not the kind needed in battle but a kind which makes us stand up for everything that we know is right, everything that is true and honest. We need the kind of courage that can withstand the subtle corruption of the cynics so that we can show the world that we are not afraid of the future.

These are not very specific invocation, yet they are also very true. If you have a few moments listen to the whole broadcast. It is filled with noble generalities that can be easily shrugged at. Yet that is much the role of monarchy. Not to issue dissertations on philosophy, or remedy the failings of current public policy, but instead to make a frank appeal to our better natures. To remind, suggest, advise and ultimately to persuade her people toward a more humane existence. Something which is of greater weight, all in all, than much of what passes for politics in these times.


David Byers said...

This edging out of the Queen and promoting the Governor-General as Head of State is going on here in Australia too but it is being done by Australians for Constitutional Monarchy! They don't say the Governor-General is acting Head of State but Head of State in their own right.

All this because they were frightened by republicans calling for "an Australian Head of State". I would rather have a Royal Head of State.

Anonymous said...

That was an excellent article by David Gardner. The growing number of monarchist voices is the Canadian media is an encouraging sign. Still, it's rather sad that it has become something noteworthy when Ministers of the Crown actually voice their loyalty toward the Sovereign to whom they have sworn allegiance.

Michael said...

My favorite parts of the article:
"First, as we should have learned in 2008, obscure and seemingly trivial constitutional matters can very suddenly become urgent matters of national concern. Constitutional clarity is important."


"Third, we're a mature democracy. Important changes should never be driven by a manipulative few relying on the ignorance and apathy of the many."

The US is having problems in these areas at the moment.

Anonymous said...

It is wonderful to know my Candian cousins are keeping up the good fight up north. In the land down under however,we will have to keep keeping on for some time.

Kevin McCrea said...


It's an uphill fight. There's a ruling cultural elite that espouse a particular world view that's been quite influenced by Marxism. The elimination of the monarchy embodies their interpretation of the class struggle. HM and Her family are aristocratic parasites who leech the life-blood from the working classes. You've probably heard something similar from the republicanus australianus species Down Under. Though a distant cousin, the republicanus canadianus species has very similar behavioural patters as his southern counterpart including vindictive, anonymous postings in the troll fashion on websites such as this one, ad-hominem attacks on persons identifying themselves as monarchists, convoluted logic and indefensible arguments and interminable, sanctimonious, pontification while boasting to hold the moral or intellectual high ground, or both. This species is highly venomous, and easily agitated, and is best left alone. Though, it does give me a sense of satisfaction to point out that try as they have over the past fifty years, they haven't stomped out monarchism in our fair Dominion, and its popularity is growing by the day.

Anonymous said...

Keep blogging dears! Because all that the mighty queen of England has left now to protect her rear is a bunch of bloggers. Where are her mighty armies? Buried under the sands of history I see...much like her family will be, thus ending the story of the most evil dynasty in history. The yellow and brown people you monarchists so despise are back and you can't stop our tanks and our planes now. Keep blogging :)

Leacock said...

The House of Saxe Coburg Gotha/Windsor is the most evil dynasty in history? What planet have you just arrived from?

David Byers said...

When someone anonymously says "The yellow and brown people you monarchists so despise are back and you can't stop our tanks and our planes now. Keep blogging :)" I think what a sad new world you would have people live in.

In fact I know many "yellow and brown people" as you call them who support the monarchy. So who is this gruop you talk of?

Graham Sproule said...

I'm willing to bet that the vast most of those who visit the Governor General of Canada's web site and see that picture will simply think it's a mistake. That it wouldn't even occur to them that that photo was chosen deliberately.

Npinkpanther said...

I agree David Byers, the ACM really does itself a disservice by continually pushing the "GG is Head of State" line. It underestimates normal people's intelligence, who, when hearing that said by the ACM, will simply reach the conclusion, "If the GG is really our Head of State then why do we need the Queen?". Most people would not have the time/interest to sit down and consider complicated constitutional arguments for why we DO need the Queen and the Crown, so they just assume that the monarchy itself is redundant and unneeded. I understand Australian republicans are starting to make this argument themselves.

I usually take the position that Australia doesn't have a "Head of State" - we have a Queen, a Governor-General and a Prime Minister who all share the duties of national headship, and who are all essential components of a very successful constitutional system.

David Byers said...

Thank you Npinkpanther, we must not, however, turn away from the fact that Australia does have a Head of State and that Head of State is the Queen. If we are proud of what we have and who we are we will be strong. ACM throws up a idea that will hurt the crown in the long run.

Anonymous said...

"I think what a sad new world you would have people live in."

Yep...a pretty sad world for monarchists, racists and all your ilk that revels in the massacre of April 13,1919 at Jallianwallah Bagh in Amritsar, India. I hope you guys suffer every moment as the browns of India and the yellows of China choke your evil monarchy. We cant blame ordinary freedom loving Brits for those past sins, but shouldnt we blame the monarchists for the sins of the monarchy?

Anonymous said...

It wasn't the King who ordered the massacre, if anything it would've been a colonial police force or militia. Even back then a monarch couldn't have the power to order attacks, those days are confined to the medieval era. Now I hope now that you know your confounded attacks on us are both incorrect and judgmental, you get back to your reading of ''Communist Manifesto''.

J.K. Baltzersen said...

Speaking of massacres ordered by heads of state, gentlemen, the nuclear bombings were such massacres. These were massacres of "yellow people," and they were ordered by a President of a democratic republic.

Anonymous said...

You monarchists do know that you are gonna end up on the losing side, don't you? And you do realise that since the power of monarchs come from their cruelty and not out of a respect for the basic freedoms of all people, it is perfectly justified for another sovereign state to subjugate a monarch and turn him/her into a whimpering nobody.

Anonymous said...

@Sad little man..

You and whose army? If you saw the worldwide support for the Royal Wedding, the downtrend in the poles for a republic across the realms and the surge in support for the monarchy worldwide by those so called ''Brown and Yellow people'' it would make one think you were on the losing side! And what if we were on the losing side? Better to die fighting in a heroic last stand against the hordes of impressionable fools, like yourself. I hope you find this enlightening.

Anonymous said...

Why do the anti-monarchists always bring up race? They seem to be obsessed with it. Like this person talking about "yellow" and "brown" people as though they are just a homogenous mass. And perpetual victims as well. If it quacks like a racist...


LAW Wells said...

Speaking on the matter of ACM and the Head of State issue, I propose that we counter the title of "head of state" with its superior, the Sovereign, who is undoubtedly the Queen. As for her not being Australian... well, who's being picky on race and place of birth now?

David Byers said...

LAW Wells, The Queen is our Sovereign Head of State, the Governor-General is a acting Head of State. If a nation has a Sovereign that monarch is Head of State, no way around it

Anonymous said...

I have followed and enjoyed this blog for a long time, and have noticed a consistent pattern for all of it. In light of that pattern, I have just one thing to say:

Will no one rid us of these turbulent anonymous commenters?

condemned said...

What exactly are you monarchists fighting for? What do you mean by restoring the glory of the monarchy? For instance, India is a republic. That makes us traitors to the British crown. As such, what punishment do you prescribe for this act of treachery and insubordination? You want Britain to enter a ruinous nuclear war with India in order to punish our nation and bring it back under the "rightful" British crown?

Anonymous said...

You can do what ever you want, India is a nation in which human life means nothing, it is a nation which is extremely backwards and violent, a nation which has little regard for human rights or any eco-sustainability and still worships numerous cloud men, after India left the Empire nothing improved! Even after 60 years of a republic free from the crown India is still a stinking hell hole! Am I some judgemental foreigner? Well i've visited the republic of India, 3 times and the horrible scenes of poverty were appaling! And don't try and make it the fault of the Empire for the desperate state of affairs, because if you were half as patriotic as I am for my nation, you would see to it that India takes its place as free society, but seeing as there is no Westminster System it will be rather difficult. Food for thought hay?

Anonymous said...

Desperate state of affairs? I thought it was the British prime Minister who was grovelling in India., who should I believe, a random commentor on the internet or the Prime Minister of Britain?

Anonymous said...

And well, answer my question. What punishment do you prescribe for Indian traitors? Drag your RAF Tornados like lambs to slaughter over Indian skies if you want.

Leacock said...

I am curious where you got the idea that monarchists are particularily interested in the reconquest of the Indian subcontinent?

Anonymous said...

Because, Leacock, the courageous Mr. Anonymous(thank you, Mr. Baltzersen) believes that all supporters of a particular form of government are responsible for and desperate to revive all the perceived evils done by governments operating under that form, unless, presumably, it is his favored form of government. In that case, whatever evil it does is probably the fault of monarchists and monarchies.

Flight Sgt C.A.Rodgers said...

Seems to me that this blog is plagued by anonymous keyboard warriors doing battle against eachother in the comments section. And as a Flight Sergeant of the RAAF I can say now that the RAF has no desire to strike against India, and to answer your question a suitable punishment for Indian traitors would be to live in India.

Anonymous said...

Bravo, good sir! Excellent response, and God save the Queen!

Anonymous said... thick Aussie Flight Sgt got little more than a schoolyard level answer to that question. The RAF "striking" India? Do you mean like a suicide attack, because that is exactly what a RAF strike on India would look like.

Anonymous said...

By the way, Mr. Rodgers, it does not suit grown ups to play dress up with toy planes and to call themselves Fligh Sgt,etc. I cannot be certain about Australia, but I think it is still a little weird for grown men to call weekend flight school an air force... a Royal Australian Air Force no less. A war isn't exactly a pillow fight, you know :)

Flight Sgt C.A.Rodgers said...

Perhaps it has not occured to you sir that people who follow this blog do not care for self absorbed little bastards like yourself. The idea of loyalty to a common Queen, idea and flag is a force capable of uniting people across the seas. Something I can't expect you to understand. Now would you kindly suggest a scenario that would lead to Britain and friends declaring war on India?

Flight Sgt C.A.Rodgers said...

And my last post seeing as i'm a rather busy man, spare a thought for the soldiers who defended India in WW2. 73100 men died defending India in the forests of Burma and the like, my uncle Charles Bourke, (on my mothers side) was one of them.

Npinkpanther said...

I smell a troll in the dungeon. Best not to feed it...

Anonymous said... now Britain needs "friends" to declare war on India? the mighty have fallen :D

Here'a a scenario: Step 1: you monarchists get your wish and grab political power in England. Step 2: England, facing financial ruin after a mere 60 years of not being imperialist, decides to turn vampire again.

Of course, Step 3 would be:
Your American masters come out and drag all you lapdogs: Eng, Aus, Can, etc. back into your kennels :)

David Byers said...

Imagine having such a sad life that all you can do is post hate, anonymously, on a blog.

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Treaty of Lisbon: A Litmus Test for the British Monarchy
The Queen and I: The man who caused royal kerfuffle gives view of the monarchy
HMS Ontario sunk in 1780, found intact! at bottom of Lake Ontario
Hold the Lime, Bartender: Only lemon properly complements a gin and tonic
Elizabethans Down Under: Are most Australian monarchists merely "Elizabethans"?
Edwardian Gentleman: What To Do When You Find a Hohenzollern in Your Study
Hooray for Kid's Day!! Melbourne newspaper won't come of Age
Unhappy Kingdom: Why Liberal Democracy is Failing Us
Knightless Realm: The world yawns as John Howard is made an AC
Scots Tory: Bring Back the Stiff Upper Lip, says Gerald Warner
HMY Britannia: Let's lay the keel for a new royal yacht
For Queen, Country and Low Pay: PM pledges to do better
Maple Leaf republic? Roger Kimball's sleight of hand (since corrected!)
Queen's Birthday: New Zealand unveils new Vice-Regal Standard
Prince Charming: Quebec author calls Canadian G-G a "negro queen"
The Senior Service: Sub-Lieutenant Wales to take on Pirates of the Caribbean
Crown of Disenchantment: What does it require to withhold royal assent?
Colonial Mentality: Key republican thinks Victoria Cross is a colonial relic
The Red Baron: Billy Bishop, not Mannock, was the British Empire's top ace
Which Scots conservatism: Unionist or Nationalist?
Loyal Subject: After all she has done, we owe the Queen our oath
Victoria Day – Fête de la Reine: Official B'day of the Queen of Canada
Renaming the Victoria Day Weekend: Let's get rid of Heritage Day Bob
Pro Valore: Canada mints its own Victoria Cross in time for Victoria Day
State Visit to Turkey: Mustafa Akyol says God Save the Queen, Indeed
Norn Iron Unites: What issue is uniting all parties of Northern Ireland?
Extreme Loyalist: Michael Stone attempted to slit the throats of Adams and McGuinness because he just "can't handle" republicans being in government.
Canada's Vice-Regal dubbed an elegant mix between Lady Di and Nelson Mandela
Queen of Australia: Support for Australian republic hits new low
A Heroes Welcome: The Windsor Castle Royal Tattoo, 8-10 May 2008
Fat, Vile and Impudent: Alan Fotheringham is back on the bottle
The Devine Right of Bling: Our Royals have become hereditary celebrities
Battle of the Atlantic: Canadians remember the longest battle of WW2
Old Etonian Toff: Boris Johnson installed as Tory Mayor of London
Britain needs a Patron Saint: Cry God for Harry, Britain and St. Aiden?
Anglos in Mont-Royal: Rooting for the Montreal Canadiens
Daniel Hannan: Borders of the Anglosphere and the British Empire was a mistake
Australia 2020: One Big Fat Republican Con Job
Bye bye Tommy: O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy go away"
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Carpetbaggers Down Under: Kevin 'Mugabe' Rudd wins 98.5% support for republic
Kipling: The Jeremiah of Empire and the Poet Laureate of Civilisation
Duke of Edinburgh: Behind the gaffes is a man of real sincerity
Lord Rutherford: The Father of the Atom lives on in great great grandson
Queen of Australia: Royalty Protects us from Tyranny, David Barnett
Long Live the Broadsheet! Norumbega, more traditionalist than the Pope.
A Tale of Two Countries: Soldiers of Britain and Canada serve the same Queen but...
Loyal Subject: Polishing the Royal Crown, Matt Bondy & Brendon Bedford
Devoted to the End: Obituary of Sir Phillip Bridges
The Monarchist does not recognize the Republic of Kosova
Loyal Subject: MPs Ruse Defeated; God Save the Queen!
St. Paddy's Day: Edmund Burke, the greatest Irishman who ever lived
Not Amused: The Bunkum of Timothy Garton Ash
Hero Harry: Rave Reviews across the Commonwealth
Patriot Prince: Prince Harry fought for us all, Charles Moore
William F. Buckley, RIP: He had a Tory gratitude for the pleasures of life
Their Lordships' Duty: The House of Lords can influence the Lisbon Treaty debate
Knights of Oz: Revive Sirs or I'll have your guts for garters
Peter Hitchens: People love the Queen...and the BBC hates us for it
Our Greatest Monarch: Paul Johnson says Henry V was our greatest monarch
Princess Diana Inquest: A Dirty Raincoat Show for the World
Malcom Turnbull: 'Queen's death will spark republican vote'
Duke of York: The Royals are not "stuffed dummies". They should have their say
Peers of the Realm: The decline and fall of the House of Lords - Charles A. Coulombe
Peter Hitchens: Get rid of the monarchy and you will get rid of a guardian of liberty
Honouring Sir Edmund Hillary
The Queen versus an E.U. President
Going Solo: Prince William earns his Wings
James C. Bennett: The Third Anglosphere Century
Knights of Oz: Revive Sirs or I'll have your guts for garters
Princess Diana Inquest: A Dirty Raincoat Show for the World
Malcom Turnbull: 'Queen's death will spark republican vote'
Future Peer: The life and times of Lady Victoria Beckham
Peers of the Realm: The decline and fall of the House of Lords - Charles A. Coulombe
Peter Hitchens: Get rid of the monarchy and you will get rid of a guardian of liberty


New York Times: Ever Backwards into the Royal Future
Peter Hitchens: People love the Queen...and the BBC hates us for it
Christopher Hitchens: An Anglosphere Future
Andrew Cusack: Republicanism is a traitor's game
Courageous Patrician: Rt Hon Ian Douglas Smith (1919-2007)
The Last Rhodesian: What began with Rhodes and ended with Ian?
Gentleman Journalist: The Lord Baron W.F. Deedes, 1913-2007
Not Amused: Blair's sinister campaign to undermine the Queen
Loyal Subject: Queen Elizabeth: A stranger in her own country
Reverence Deference: Bowing and Scraping Back in Tradition
Rex Murphy: Kennedy, Churchill, Lincoln - The rousing bon mot is no more
Gerald Warner: Don't shed a tear for Diana cult in its death throes
The End of Grandeur: Rich, chincy Canada puts Strathmore on the blocks
Confessions of a Republican Leftie: "The Queen charmed the pants off me"
The King's Own Calgary Regiment: Cpl. Nathan Hornburg is laid to rest
The Royal Gurkha Rifles: Prince William grieves the death of Major Roberts
Queensland Mounted Rifles: Trooper David Pearce, 41, killed in Afghanistan
The Order of Canada: 100 investitures later, Canada's highest honour turns 40
Prince Edward on Prince Edward Island: Troop's link to monarchy important
HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN: Unveils the UK Armed Forces Memorial
Great Britain: "A rotten borough with a banana monarchy" - by Europhile
Peers of the Realm: The decline and fall of the House of Lords - Charles A. Coulombe
Remembering 'Smithy': An obituary tour de force by Andrew Cusack here, here and here.
NOT AMUSED: Her Majesty The Queen in Right of Quebec not invited to Quebec's tercentenary